Monthly Archives: August 2015

Vega Conflict: Building your Base

This is the first in a series of hints and tips taken from my Vega Conflict Game Guide.

Before you can create fleets of fearsomely-armed ships to rain electric death upon your enemies, you must first build a base to build and support them. Your base consists of a number of different modular structures that are laid out on an isometric grid. At the start of the game you have only “The Bridge”, your command center, which alone has the ability to build all other modules.

The Bridge is also the power production center for your base. Power generated in the Bridge’s reactor flows throughout the network and supplies power to all modules, so these modules must be placed close together or they will not receive power (exception: Terminus Mines).

Any module — including the Bridge — may be moved to any position at any time (as long as it can receive power in order to operate) and thus the entire base can grow and move as you see fit. All modules produced by the Bridge start out at level I, but all may be upgraded, at various costs of ore, gas and time/coins, to unlock greater capabilities and strength. Upgrading The Bridge also allows you to hold more fleets in your Fleet Bay. The Bridge (and terminus mines) can be upgraded to level V – all other modules can be upgraded to level X.

In addition to the Bridge, there are five main types of modules:

  1. Storage: Unused resources need to be stored until needed, and there are two types of modules for this purpose. The first type is the generic Storage Module, use to hold Gas or Ore (which starts at 50,000t for level I and doubles at every subsequent level). In addition, there is a specialized storage module for storing Antimatter (which starts at 250kt then up to 400, 640, 1024…)
  2. Defense: Combat Modules are the mainstay of your defence against attack by other players. While all modules above level IV can have armor plating (and at higher levels, shields) added to make them tougher and more resistant to attack; only the Combat Modules can have weapons mounted on them.
  3. Labs: There are three labs that can be built by The Bridge: First up is the Arms Lab, which is used to research ship and base weapons, The Tech Lab, which is used to research ship and base shields, along with ship and base “specials” (ship thrusters and weapons-enhancement technologies). Finally there is the Ship Lab, which researches the hulls of the different ships that can then be built by the ship factory, along with ship armor, base armor and cargo capacity upgrades. Each of these labs starts off as Level I and has to be upgraded (max level is X) to unlock new technologies and capabilities
  4. Mining: There are two type of mining module: Ore and Gas. Either must be placed adjacent to an asteroid in order to mine it, and they both have a limited storage capacity that must be manually emptied once they become full — at which point they get a yellow marker and the module ceases its ore or gas extraction operations.Miners that are not actively mining because they are not adjacent to an asteroid, have a red marker. Watch for inactive mining installations; remove the mined-out asteroids, and move the miners to new asteroids to continue mining operations.
  5. Fleet Support: This consists of two modules, one Ship Factory and one Fleet Bay. The former produces and refits ships, the latter supports flight operations and performs repairs to damaged ships. Upgrading the Ship Factory unlocks the production of new ship types, while upgrading the Fleet Bay increases the weight limit of each fleet, allowing you to launch more and heavier ships into combat.

In addition, there are Terminus Mines and an optional Commerce Module that you can purchase and will generate coins.

Your base has a level number which represents its power and capabilities. It starts off at Level 1, and a fully-maxed-out base is Level 46. To prevent high level players stomping on newer ones, your base can only be attacked by fleets within five levels of your base. Once your base reaches level 35, however, it’s open season and you can be attacked by anyone.

TL;DR

  • Always be researching, building, upgrading, refitting and repairing.
  • If you are not refitting your labs or fleet modules, you should always endeavor to have five items in your build queue – three research labs, one module build/refit, and a ship build/refit. If you are repairing ships, that brings the total to six active modules.
  • When committing to a build, upgrade, research or refit, you have five minutes to change your mind; after that, you will lose your money if you cancel – so choose wisely!
  • Time your upgrades and research items so that they do not end in the middle of the night. Since you cannot “queue” items, you must start them manually, and you do not want your modules sitting idle.
  • Do not upgrade your Base to level 35 until you are ready. Once that happens, the five-level cap disappears and anyone can attack your base.

These Hints and tips are taken from my Game Guide, over a hundred pages of hints, tips, tricks and tactics that will help you get to grips with the finer points of the game, all for a paltry $2.99. However, if you use this link, you can get it for $1 off.

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In praise of Traditional Marriage – Part 3

Or: Where do we go from here?

Part One Part Two

The Story So Far: (source)

  • Step 1: Tell two generations of men they are sexist, brutish, scum of the earth who will forever be inferior to women.
  • Step 2: Give women massive privilege in obtaining scholarships and jobs.
  • Step 3: Indoctrinate generations of women into perceiving every man as a vile monster, and that being “strong and independent” requires being hateful to men.
  • Step 4: Rig divorce and child custody laws to make marriage a hideous trap for men.
  • Step 5: Dehumanize men to the point that we believe their only role is to be a servant to women.
  • Step 6: Act surprised when men give women the middle finger.

Feminism, the culture and some truly horrible changes in the law have made marriage such an unpalatable option for men that large portions of the population are simply eschewing marriage, if not avoiding women entirely. The same changes that freed women from men also freed men from women.

Action, meet consequence.

Let me be clear: I am happily married, enjoy being married, and hope to remain so all the days of my life. But should I find myself unexpectedly single, I would not rush back to the altar, nor would I encourage today’s young men to marry. Partly because the institution has been ruined, but mostly because most women make poor wife material.

Many are the Varnish, few are the Wood.

From up here in the cheap seats, it seems to me that most women are looking for a man who is Tall, Handsome, Muscular, Masculine, Confident, Competent, Charming, Charismatic… and rich. So 80% of the women are eying up the top 5% of the men. Nothing wrong with that, but statistically speaking, most of those women are doomed to disappointment; “settling” for either a lesser man, or a collection of cats.

So what is a marriage-minded man to do?

Here are a few ideas and words of advice:

  • Cultivate Awesomeness: be a whole man whose body, mind and spirit are in balance.
  • Build Wealth: All other things being equal, a man with a paid-for car and enough cash in the bank to live for a year will be far more desirable to women that one who does not have these things.
  • Live Frugally: Don’t buy useless crap.
  • Dress well. Whether you like it or not, clothes make the man, and are among the first thing that people notice.
  • Out Yourself: Make yourself available. Be out in public. Watch for opportunities to make new friends.
  • Approach women. If you’re shy, do it anyway.
  • Project power: Women are attracted to powerful men. This is why thugs and “gangstas” never lack for female company. Your dress, posture and demeanor signal to women that you are a high-value man.
  • Stay Strong. Women are attracted to strength; this is simple biology. Stay fit, be strong, keep a good posture, do not slouch.
  • No Need: Don’t act needy. If you are always free to see her, she will realize that you are not high value and will lose attraction — and once you lose that, it’s a one-way trip to the dreaded friend-zone, if she doesn’t ignore you and move on. Don’t return texts immediately.
  • Be Brief: Keep text message exchanges short. The purpose of texting is to arrange a date, not to share life stories. Don’t waste your time on women who don’t want to meet.
  • Friends First: Or, as the saying goes, “Bro’s before Ho’s” — never allow a woman to decided how you spend your time, and with who. At the same time, cultivate friendships with other high-quality men — don’t hang out with losers or trifling men. Remember that you are the average of your five closest friends.
  • Talk Proper: Keep your mouthpiece crisp: Men are generally turned on by images. Women are generally turned on by words. This is why men watch porn and women read romance novels. Learn to speak well.
  • Be Content: Be irrationally confident, playful and fun. Women don’t want to be around miserable men.
  • You Win: Make it clear that she is not the prize, you are.

In the last part, I detailed some of the attributes of men that women find attractive. But what about the women?

“A woman of good character, who can find? Her value is more than rubies”, is how King Solomon put it nearly three millennia ago. And this is as true today as it was back then. Western women are in the main, not very marriage-minded.

But women are really good at hiding the negative aspects of their nature (deceitful, conniving, manipulative, moody) from a man until he has signed on the dotted line and can’t walk — or run — out the door. This is yet another reason why men prefer younger women — they have had fewer opportunities to ruin themselves.

And what about her? What is a man to look for in a woman?

  • Younger is better: If you want to have a bunch of children, a woman past her prime years (18-24) is simply a bad bet. And if you don’t want to have children, why are you getting married in the first place?
  • Cut out the fat: Unless you are into bigger girls (most men aren’t), avoid them entirely. They will rant and rave and yell and scream and call you names and foam at the mouth and flop on the floor. Just leave them there. And hope they like cats.
  • Pick religious/moral/disciplined over cute/hot/sexy. If she reads Cosmo, move on.
  • Go for wife skills: Is she good with kids? Can she cook? Does she think being a wife and mother is a chore or a calling?
  • Avoid girls with tattoos, piercings or brightly-colored hair. These are all “slut tells”, and may point to a troubled past. Girls with one or more of these tells will vehemently deny this. Don’t believe them. Women lie to look better than they actually are, as the multi billion-dollar fashion and cosmetics industries mutely testify.
  • Single Mom? Just say No: It is an indication of how sick Western Society has become that single mothers are held in such high regard. There are three kinds of “single mothers”: Widows (ok, but you may end up living in another man’s shadow), Divorcees (a crap-shoot; remember, the divorce is never her fault) and Baby Mamas (Hell to the no – leave them to the consequences of their misbehavior). As if that is not enough, single mothers will generally put their kids before you, which is never good recipe for a healthy marriage. You never want to find yourself in a position where you have all the responsibility and none of the authority.
  • What about Daddy? Are her parents married? Does she have a healthy, respectful relationship with her father?
  • Too much education? Nothing wrong with a girl having qualifications or even a good job. But the brutal, simple truth is that she chose those things over marriage in her prime years, which means that you are more likely to be a must-have fashion accessory than the most important thing in her life.
  • Watch for impulsive traits: Debt means that may be looking for an ATM to bail her out of her current troubles.
  • Doubly so for Addictions, medical problems or previous trauma, such as child molestation or rape. No, it’s not her fault, but you are not her therapist. You cannot fix her. She may try to play the damsel in distress to appeal to every good man’s protective instinct. Don’t be fooled by this act.
  • Run, don’t walk, away from women with any kind of mental health issues (depression/anxiety/BPD/BSC) — you don’t want to be shackled to a nutter for the rest of your life, nor do you want one for the mother of your children.
  • Does she have a servant’s heart? Men want a wife who is respectful, pleasant and submissive. If she even mentions Feminism — unless it is followed by the words “… is rubbish” — leave her be. Spending your life shackled to a “strong, independent woman” is a bad idea that rarely ends well.
  • Ignore what she says, watch what she does. If its all about her, there will never been room in her life for you.
  • Trust but verify: Demand open access to her medical, financial and sexual history. Make is a requirement that she gives you the password to her Social Media accounts (without giving her time to hide the evidence) and look for evidence of misbehavior.
  • Demand a lie-detector test. Don’t be afraid to ask the hard questions. Don’t be like the man who found out a year into the marriage that his “low-mileage” wife (4 previous partners) turned out to be the “village bicycle” (37).
  • If there is a financial imbalance, demand a pre-nuptual agreement. If she balks, you just found a gold-digger.
  • Avoid One-Itis. There is no “The One” for you. Run the numbers — there are about a million girls born every year — that means another girl turns 18 every 31.5 seconds. There are literally two born every minute.

Godless and Kingsley

Hollywood, it appears, has an aversion to God. Or originality. Or both.

The Smart Money refused to have anything to do with Mel Gibson, only to find itself flummoxed by the runaway success of “The Passion of the Christ”. Since then there have been many “Christian” movies to grace our screens lately. including offerings such as Fireproof (not impressed), Courageous (Very good) and God’s not Dead (OK, but faintly nonsensical in places). Most of these were small/medium budget movies, and all made a health profit at the box office.

I recently had occasion to watch “Exodus: Gods and Kings”. This film billed itself as a fictionalized account of the Book of Exodus, but it took a lot of liberties with scriptures that are considered fundamental to three of the world’s major religions: Christianity, Judaism and Islam:

  • Moses was reputedly about eighty years old when he returned to Egypt to liberate the children of Israel. The Directors chose to cast him as a young man.
  • Moses’ brother Aaron, who acts as the speaker for the reticent Moses, is not mentioned at all.
  • The producers went to great lengths to attempt to explain the plagues of Egypt as natural phenomena wherever possible
  • Moses’ repeated warnings and entreaties to Ramses — and the Pharaoh’s hardness of heart — are not mentioned at all.
  • Most of the top-billing cast were played by white Americans. Wassup wid dat?
  • When God finally showed up in person, it was in the form of a petulant, vindictive little boy, constantly sneering and plotting revenge, that I found fundamentally unbelievable and incompatible with the scriptural character of God. There is nowhere in scripture that God takes joy in killing.

I came away feeling like I had watched a big-budget historical documentary that was trying to prove the non-existence of God. I wasn’t offended in the least, I just didn’t get the impression that I had come face-to-face with the living God of the bible. Whether this is a due  to an error of the filmmakers or a fault in my theology I cannot say.

What I can say is that the producers of this film have taken a diabolical (no pun intended) liberty with the source material that seems almost like a calculated insult to the world’s three biggest faiths. The result fell between two stools, and ended up being neither accurate nor particularly enjoyable.

The best thing that I can say about this movie is that I didn’t pay a penny to see it — it was an in-flight movie. Afterwards I watched the “Shaun the Sheep” movie, wonderful chuckle-fest that was just what I needed to wipe the ghastly taste of this truly bad excuse of a biblical tale from my mind.

Affordable?

Where ObamaCare went wrong.

The Affordable Care Act — or ObamaCare, as I prefer to call it, giving credit where credit is due — is a wonderful panoply of the entertaining, the frustrating and annoying to me.

  • Entertaining, as it is quite amusing watching a bunch of politicians trying to implement socialized medicine and ending up with a curious hodge-podge of Marxism, Capitalism and Corporatism.
  • Frustrating, because I have personally experienced the costs of a piece of legislation that was so complicated that we had to pass it to find out what was in it (thanks Nancy!).
  • Annoying because I work — indirectly — in the Healthcare industry, and have seen and have had to deal with the direct knock-on effects and consequences that have resulted from the introduction of this legislation.
What they did:
  • Insurance for everybody! At some point somebody decided that Health Insurance was a fundamental Human Right, and that we should all have Health Insurance. Pity the 90% of the people on this planet have never heard this.
  • That’s an order! The Supreme Court has bought into this flummery to the degree that they ruled that it was a crime to refuse Health Insurance if it was offered to you.
  • Expand Medicaid! Free coverage for the poor! Sounds good, but who’s going to pay for this? More on that later.
  • Abolish Pre-existing conditions: Depending on who you ask, this was either one of the few good things that came out of the Affordable Care Act or an affront to Free-Market Capitalism. Until now, insurance companies could refuse to insure you if you had a pre-existing condition.
  • Abolish annual and lifetime caps. Nobody wants unlimited liability and exposure, and Insurance Companies are no exception. A Heart Transplant costs millions… and nobody wants to pay for that.
Unintended Consequences:
  • The words: “If you like your health care plan, you can keep it” will go down in history as one of the great presidential lies of all times, along with “Read my lips, no more taxes“, “I am not a crook“, and “I did not have sex with that woman“.
  • The first consequence of Obamacare was that premiums went up significantly. So much so that my employers dropped the HMO and PPO options that they had been offering, leaving only the High-Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) — the cheapest option for them, and the most expensive for those of us who are not young and healthy. The good news is that I now pay about 20% less for health insurance. The bad news is that I am on the hook for the first $10,000 of expenses, Since I have a dependent who has severe allergies and Asthma, I am about $6000 a year worse off than before. Thanks for the pay cut, your Obama-ness.
  • Only the largest groups get a good deal: My employers are not a large company, so they get a crappy deal from the Insurance Companies. Big organizations like Federal and State Government, Home Depot and Wal-Mart can use their size to get a better deal.
  • Doctors don’t get paid. Under HMO/PPO, the patient pays a Co-Pay. Under HDHP, the entire bill goes to the insurance company where it is “adjusted” and then gets passed on to the customer… who ignores it for several months. Medical bills are now at the back of the line to get paid after just about everything else.
  • Insurance companies won’t to answer the phone: “All of our agents are busy at the moment”, “call volume is exceptionally high at the moment”, and “We can’t come to the phone right now” all mean the same thing WE DO NOT HAVE ENOUGH EMPLOYEES.When even your local pharmacist is getting having their time wasted by the IVR run-around, something is rotten in the state of Denmark.
What they should have done:
  • Removed or phased out the incentive that enabled employers to offer Health Insurance.
  • Added tax breaks for individuals who purchase private health insurance. or added the incentive to private buyers.
  • Favorable tax treatment to Health Care Professionals who provide free services.
  • Made *all* medical expenses tax-deductible, and abolish that stupid AGI requirement.
  • Removed all sweetheart in-network deals for Insurance companies – the original idea behind the HMO was that the insurance companies paid top dollar so that the uninsured could get free or low-cost treatment. This lasted until the Insurance companies realized that there was money left on the table that they could grab.
  • Broken the AMA-induced doctor shortage by introducing government-backed training for doctors and/or allowing Nurse Practitioners and Midwives to practice medicine in limited situations without a Doctor present.
  • Introduced menu pricing or allowed patients to negotiate prices directly, with governmental oversight in place when this is not possible.
  • Reduced our reliance on Employer-provided Health Insurance: Employer Health Insurance first became popular during the Carter years; with a wage freeze in place, employers scrambled for a way to keep their best employees, and this was one of the “perks” that they came up with. There is no definitive reason why Health insurance has to be the province of employers!
  • Divided healthcare into acute care (private) and chronic care (public) components, let the private sector handle the former and the Government handle the latter.
  • Prohibited conflict-of-interest situations like Insurance companies involving themselves in providing (cheap) medical care.
  • Required that Insurance Companies answered the phone. Not sure if there is any practical way to do this.

Of course, none of these things were going to happen, since they all result in a cost to the Government, the Health Insurance companies, or the Doctors.

And we can’t have that now, can we?

SCOTUS Screws Up

This is a long-overdue post, but I didn’t want to expound on this subject without giving it some serious thought, as it is a highly controversial subject.

The Supreme Court has ruled that Gay Marriage is now legal in every state of the Union.

Short answer: This is wrong on so many levels.

Longer answer:

  • There is nothing in the Constitution that suggests that Gay Marriage is a constitutional right. You do not have the *right* to marry anyone.
  • There is nothing in the Constitution that gives any of the three branches of the Federal Government any power over marriage.
  • Marriage has always been a free exercise of religion — an area where the Federal Government is explicitly ordered to keep out.
  • Since the Federal Government has no explicit constitutional mandate to police marriage, this responsibility clearly falls to the States, which is where it was before five Supreme Court Judges (including, unsurprisingly, all three women on the court) decided to usurp that power.

Women on top

This ruling is a logical and expected consequence of giving women the vote. That sounds like a horrible, sexist thing to say, but it is nonetheless true. Two-thirds of the six men on the Supreme Court voted against this measure; had the court been all-male, the measure would have been soundly defeated 6-3. But there were also three women on the court, and that made all the difference.

This is hardly surprising; women in general overwhelmingly vote for progressive/liberal/democratic causes and candidates; they also tend to vote for legislation and social programs that benefit them at the expense of others (such as affirmative action, free birth control and other female-only benefits), as opposed to the population in general. They also, as a rule, tend to prioritize feelings over unpleasant truths. It comes as no surprise, then, that all three women on the court voted in favor of recognizing Gay Marriage, and that was enough to squeak out a 5 to 4 victory — the narrowest possible.

It’s not over till it’s over

I have noticed that whenever Liberals win a victory over the Conservatives — such as in this situation — the former instruct the latter in no uncertain terms to sit down and shut up, as the question has been settled for all time. But when the latter takes place — such as California’s Proposition 8, where the majority of Californians voted against gay marriage, or the Hobby Lobby Abortifactants ruling — the result is cry of the losers is invariably a rallying battle-cry of “This is not over! We shall fight on until victory is ours!

Well folks, this is not over. And there will be consequences.

With Marriage comes Divorce

Yes, Gay marriage is now legal in all fifty states, for good or ill. I suspect that there will be quite a lot of ill. For one thing, when you get marriage, you also get divorce. And given that gay men are generally more promiscuous than straight men, I suspect that we will be seeing a lot of those. With Divorce comes property and custody battles; with the added wrinkle that identifying the “mother” or the “father” is impossible in this case, which will make the jobs of the family courts far more difficult than the current “man-bad-woman-good” model currently allows. Still, given that gays are generally more affluent than straights, the divorce lawyers must be rubbing their hands together in delightful anticipation of the windfall that is to come.

The Beatings will continue until morale improves

With marriage also comes a higher level of domestic violence, and studies have shown that lifetime Domestic Violence statistics among homosexuals is significantly higher than among heterosexuals (7.1% for men, 20% for women). Gay men report 21% Domestic Violence, Lesbians report an incredible 35% — and that was before they were allowed to marry. Given that Domestic Violence is less prevalent outside of marriage on the premise that either partner can walk away at any time, one can only assume that once marriage enters the picture, things will get worse.

Unholy Matrimony

While it is true that Homosexuals now have the right to marry, it has not yet been decided whether they can force a given minister, church or denomination to marry them. And if the primary goal of gay marriage proponents is social acceptance, that is going to be a major sticking point. The US Constitution States that “Congress shall make no law regarding the establishment of religion and the free exercise thereof“. If marriage within the church is an exercise of religion (Hint: it is), this means that Congress cannot compel a church to marry anybody.

In the real world, ministers can, and do, refuse to marry heterosexual couples — for a variety of reasons — every doo-dah-ding-dong-day. And many will flatly refuse to marry homosexuals, claiming (rightly) that the Bible does not have a single positive thing to say about homosexuality. That is their prerogative — both legally and morally.

And even those churches that choose to marry homosexuals (Which is the bride? Which is the groom?) may find their pews emptying as folks leave in disgust — particularly the older ones, whose tithes and offerings keep the doors open and the preacher in paid employment. Hopefully the happy couple have enough rich friends who will step in and take up the slack.

Disagreement is not Homophobia

There are some who will read this and label me as some sort of bible-thumping homophobe. You are welcome to your opinion, as I am welcome to mine. We can agree to disagree. But you understand this: disagreement is not hatred or fear. To my gay readers out there, live your lives as you see fit; the Constitution guarantees you the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Do what you want to do with whom you want to do it, as long as nobody gets hurt it is no concern of mine. If you need specific legal rights — survivorship, beneficiary, custody, etc — you can have them in a Civil Union. I have no problem with that.

But when you mess with Marriage, you mess with God. And He has an annoying habit of having the last word.

And that’s all I have to say about that.