Archives For July 10, 2019

Of all the console games released in the past year, ‘Subnautica’ is the only standout that, I can say with confidence, fits the homeschool friendly category.

Subnautica’ is best described as a science-fiction version of the ‘Swiss Family Robinson’ and ‘20,000 Leagues Under the Sea’. The game itself is structured around survival, and creativity. Struggling against the aquatic environment makes up a large part of the interactivity. This includes crafting, exploration, and making use of the alien, aquatic fauna and flora.

Subnautica’s’ free play style allows the player to stay as long as they want to on the planet. In my opinion, coming from a home education perspective, following the storyline is the better approach. I teamed up with my two youngest homeschoolers, taking turns at moving through each aspect of the game on survival mode. It took us about two weeks (14 evenings and one Saturday) of casual game time to complete.

My application of ‘Subnautica’ for homeschool involved teamwork, planning and an informal round-table application of ideas. We discussed our approach, thought through all the possible ways that would help us solve dilemmas. Most often these were dilemmas we’d caused for our character, by overlooking an important bulkhead, running too low on food, battery life; right down to being too far away from a water source.

Another major educational bonus is the technology available in the game. ‘Subnautica’ begins with a basic escape pod. Players build up from there to complete an underwater sea base (or bases, depending on how big or small you want to go), with Seamoth, Prawn Suit and the mighty, home-away-from-home submarine called the Cyclops – or as we affectionately called ours, The GSS Ned Land (GSS, Grateful Soldier’s Ship).

The underwater geological structures, flora and fauna ultimately make this game the complete package. Underwater plant life is luminous, and provides a range of applications. The sea life is just as varied. This includes a cuttlefish pet, which can be hatched from an egg later in the game.

Some of the downsides of ‘Subnautica’ included the absence of any weather mechanic. Apart from the day and night cycle, and a few clouds, the sun shines all the time. There are also glitches when diving into deeper parts of the ocean. These can be frustrating, but are easy to spot and just as easy to avoid. There aren’t as many clues, making the gamer more dependent on wiki forums than other games.

The storyline also rests on evolutionary dogma, without qualification, and has one very small questionable PDA voiceover that wasn’t necessary to the storyline. Due to the dark, unknown areas that have to be explored, and because these areas are populated by surprising predators, the storyline isn’t suited to kids under 9 years of age. This doesn’t mean that the game is unplayable for that demographic. Creative mode still has a lot to offer.

In the end, we triumphed in our struggle, launching back into space on the Neptune, leaving our marooned existence behind, and taking with us the data PDA’s of survivors, whose disappearance was as mysterious, and intriguing to investigate, as the planet itself. Overall, ‘Subnautica’ is an educational, and enjoyable underwater action adventure, well suited for parents who engage with their kids on all technological platforms.


[Disclaimer: I received no remuneration for this review of any kind].

Official Website

©Rod Lampard, 2019

Under current defamation law, social media users can be held legally responsible for third-party content on any post they make.

The guiding rule seems to be: You posted it. You incited it. Ergo, you’re responsible for it.

In other words, anything someone posts on my timeline or writes in the comments section, that is deemed offensive, defamatory or “hate speech” could end in a lawsuit.

For those who only have a private Facebook account, there is currently no mechanic to prevent this from happening. The only real preventative measure is to keep an eye on comments or keep your friends and comments list small, simple and drama free.

For those who choose to have a public Facebook page, there are two ways to solve the problem before it becomes one. First, Facebook’s mechanism for pages allows content providers to filter (block) certain words. The second way is to have dedicated moderators screen every comment.

Anti-defamation and anti-discrimination laws are great servants, as long as they remain a shield. However, these laws make for a terrible sword in the hands of an opportunist who views everyone not in agreement with them as a traitor, hater or “literal Nazi”.

Defamation laws weren’t written with social media in mind. David Rolph, professor of law at UNSW, highlighted this in his piece for Sydney Morning Herald, where he advocated reform, stating that ‘the last consideration of defamation law by the Australian Law Reform Commission was almost 40 years ago, decades before the advent of the internet.’ (SMH, 2018)

Rolph also mentioned the need to ensure a balance between upholding freedom of speech, and policing false speech; ensuring that people don’t have their reputations unfairly damaged, and can find ‘effective redress, through last resort financial compensation, or more easier remedies of retractions, corrections, and take-down orders’ for online content that is clearly false or blatantly misleading.

The Australian took to an editorial last week to call upon the government to ‘overhaul defamation laws’ after a recent supreme court ruling looks set to establish a precedent, making ‘media companies legally responsible for comments made by other people on the company’s social media pages.

In essence, companies with a public Facebook page are liable for third-party content on their pages. The editorial noted, however, that ‘moderating, blocking or hiding comments, is untenable because of the volume of material that works its way through pubic pages, and the amount of resources it would take to do so; and even though Facebook hasn’t provided a mechanic which allows for comments to be turned off, Facebook isn’t held responsible.’ (The Australian, 2019)

In a recent case related to this, conservative Facebook page, Political Posting Mumma, administrated by mum of four, Marijke Rancie, was sued and pressured into agreeing to a large financial settlement out of court, because of third party content on her Facebook page.

While some third party comments were obviously wrong, and defamatory, Marijke’s original post and comment wasn’t intended to be so. Despite this, and the fact that Facebook doesn’t have a disable comments section, Marijke was, under current defamation law, considered liable for the comments made by others on her Facebook page.

This was confirmed twice by BuzzFeed who cited the plaintiff, Adele Moleta, saying that ‘she was defamed by multiple (200) comments on the post and that Marijke is, for legal purposes, the publisher of those comments’. (BuzzFeed, 2018)

In a disproportionate response, apparently designed to intimidate Marijke, Moleta was backed up by a ‘lawyer on a no-win, no-fee basis, and two pro-bono barristers, one of whom is a QC’ to fight her case against Marijke.

Those looking to make an example of Marijke, because of her outspoken “no” against Same-sex marriage, concerns about the ‘Safe Schools’ program, and concerns about teaching LGBT ideology being given centre stage in schools, found a reason, under current defamation laws concerning third-party content, to do so.

It’s worth noting that while BuzzFeed acknowledges the alleged pain and suffering caused to Moleta by Marijke, BuzzFeed has, since December 2018, posted four articles by Sainty Lane, revisiting the cause of that alleged pain and suffering in minute detail.

Lane also published an article this week discussing the need to vet comments, referring to the same court ruling as the editorial from the Australian.

Lane confirms the problem of defamation laws and third party content, yet gives no mention of the case against Marijke. Even though, Marjike was sued under the premise that her Facebook page was a media company.

Lane also acknowledged the difficulty in policing third party comments, stating that there is ‘no official way to turn off comments’ [i] on Facebook, citing solicitor, Hannah Marhsall as saying “I feel like the legal system and the internet are on this collision path. And what’s going to happen next is really hard to figure.” (BuzzFeed, 2019)

One of the biggest challenges to any reform of defamation law is the contentious term, “hate speech”. This is broadly defined by Facebook as anything that is

 ‘a direct attack on people based on what we call protected characteristics — race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, caste, sex, gender, gender identity, and serious disease or disability. We also provide some protections for immigration status. We define attack as violent or dehumanizing speech, statements of inferiority, or calls for exclusion or segregation.’ (FB, 2019)

Facebook provides no explanation of the latter, and seems to be content with filing it in under the banner of “hate speech”.

Social media companies appear vague and unconcerned about users being sued for defamation because of third party comments made on their own social media posts. These companies also appear to be aloof when providing an objective rounded definition of what ‘dehumanizing speech’, ‘statements of inferiority’, ‘calls for exclusion’, or ‘segregation’ are.

If dehumanizing speech is “hate speech”, why hasn’t Facebook addressed Leftists who use pejorative terms for Christians on their platform? Why does Facebook allow comments that falsely equate Donald Trump with Hitler, or falsely equate any person who gives Trump a cautious “yes”, a Nazi, homophobe, Islamophobe or racist?

And as Republican Senator, Dan Crenshaw said to Google this week, ‘we fought the Nazis. It makes sense to conclude that by you calling a person a Nazi, you’re inciting violence against them.’

Though the term is widespread, no one really seems to know what “hate speech” actually is; it’s as vague and asinine as the phrases “woke”, and “love is love”. [ii]

From Marijke’s example, The Australian, and BuzzFeed’s Saintly Lane’s own observations, it’s easy to see how ambiguous terms like “hate speech”, and unreformed, complex defamation laws, could be used to the advantage of anyone wanting to justify forcing conservatives and Christians out of the public sphere. These could also be used to the advantage of anyone wanting to punish Christians because of perceived wrongs, or because the Spirit and Truth that Christians uphold, does not align with whatever, and whomever, the zeitgeist (spirit of the age) tell us all to worship.

Some LGBT lobby groups already police speech, seeking to punish people for using “incorrect” gender pronouns or for misgendering someone who identifies as LGBT. With the large amount of resources and financial backing for LGBT lobby groups, it would be naïve to think that surveillance of high profile Christians and conservatives on social media doesn’t happen.

Chris Tomlinson, from Brietbart, reported a case this week, where a 52 year old Swedish man, who was an administrator for Facebook group, ‘Stand up for Sweden’, was convicted of “hate” comments made by other Facebook users. The page was reported to police by an ‘online social justice activist group, called Näthatsgranskaren, which has been touted as being responsible for a rise in investigations and prosecutions for online hate speech in Sweden.’ (Breitbart, 2019)

Dialogue is the higher ground in conflict resolution. Lawsuits are a last resort. No one should be bullied, sued or intimidated for speaking truth in love, or be reprimanded and silenced for sharing their faith. Nor should they be punished for providing fair criticism, or for sharing their concerns about socio-political issues with others online.

Continue to speak boldly, and with grace, but until defamation laws have been reformed, and until Social Media companies improve their user interfaces, vet comments because if third party content can and be used against you, it will be.


References:

Rolph, D. 2018. Australia’s defamation laws are ripe for overhaul, Sydney Morning Herald, 9th Dec. 2018 Sourced, 2nd July, 2019

Sainty, L. 2018. One of the faces of the SSM “no” campaign is being sued over a Facebook post, BuzzFeed 20th December, 2018. Sourced 2nd July, 2019.

Saintly, L. 2019. How a Queer woman took on a prominent conservative activist and won $100,000, BuzzFeed, 18th June, 2019. Sourced, 2nd July, 2019.

Saintly, L. 2019. “Political Posting Mumma” has issued a rare apology over comments on one of her Facebook posts, BuzzFeed 24th January, 2019. Sourced 2nd July, 2019.

Saintly, L. 2019. The Woman behind “PPM” has Apologised after being sued over a Facebook Post, BuzzFeed, 4th June, 2019. Sourced, 2nd July, 2019.

Saintly, L. 2019. This Court ruling on Facebook comments is a huge headache for  the Media, BuzzFeed, 28th June, 2019. Sourced 2nd July 2019.

Tomlinson, C. 2019. Swedish Man Convicted of hate comments he did not make, 28th June, 2019. Sourced, 2nd July 2019.

[i] The Facebook mechanic for pages is useful, but their user interface is ultimately useless to anyone looking to moderate a page by themselves. Comments are piled into one notification, and each individual comment has to be viewed in order to see them. If you have 100 plus comments every post, it’s the equivalent of a fulltime job just to keep up. Even turning comments off, if that function was available would cause problems. This is because comments are an important part of the Facebook algorithm when it comes to bumping posts on newsfeeds.

[ii] Back in February, a 70 year old Swedish man was charged with “hate speech” for posting on Facebook that “Somalis are lazy”.

Photo by Wesley Tingey on Unsplash

Originally posted on The Caldron Pool, 3rd July, 2019.

©Rod Lampard, 2019

Eric Abetz gave one of the most important short speeches in Australian political history this week. Yet few Australians would know he even spoke a word, let alone know who Abetz is or what he stands for.

Eric Abetz was born in Germany in 1958, and came with his family to Australia in 1961.

In the 1980s, Abetz worked his way through ‘University as a part-time taxi driver, and farmhand. Once completing his law degree, he went on to practice law in Hobart’s northern suburbs’. [i]

He joined the Liberal Party in 1976 and was appointed to the Senate in February, 1994.

During the Howard era, he worked in various ministerial departments, later becoming Leader of the Opposition in the Senate. After Malcolm Turnbull’s coup against Tony Abbott in 2015, Abetz took a back seat, where he remained a consistent voice for Western Civilisation and the healthy traditions built on a Biblical Christian foundation, such as classical liberalism and freedom, and its correlative individual rights and responsibilities. [ii]

Two years ago, the L.N.P Senator for Tasmania was among the few LNP politicians brave enough to give his “no”, to the then L.N.P Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnball’s, rush to push changes to the Marriage Act into law.

Abetz presented a well reasoned explanation of the problems associated with shredding up the traditional concept a marriage, by surrendering that concept to subjectivism and the insecure and ever-changing, progressive (and increasingly Marxist) understanding of gender, history, theology, society, ethnicity and culture. He publicly lamented the changes, stating with conviction, “it’s a change I regret for the sake of our children”. [iii]

In that same speech, Abetz was right to call out the ‘Safe Schools program’ as “Orwellian”. He was right to call out corporate overreach, as big business marched with contempt for those in their employ, who refused to raise the rainbow flag, or march under it, during the Same Sex marriage survey. He was right to warn Australians that the SSM bill “wasn’t a simple amendment”, accusing the bill of going “a lot further than that which was approved by the Australian people” [iv]. Abetz was right to concede, that the “challenge of parliament is (was) to deliver on both same-sex marriage and the full protection of our freedoms.”[v]

Two years on, with high profile cases such as the firing of Israel Folau, the bullying of Margaret Court, the car bombing of the ACL headquarters, and the public head butting of ex-Prime Minister Tony Abbott, we can say that the challenge to protect freedom, is now a challenge the Australian parliament has failed to meet.

Alongside his speech on the Same-Sex Marriage bill, the Senator’s words this week are a reminder to the Australian parliament of its dismal failure to uphold its determined commitment to preserve freedom, on balance with its corrosive placating of Leftism and LGBT ideology.

Once again Senator Abetz stood up for ALL Australians, stating,

“Today, our society is in grave danger of losing this rich heritage, together with its attendant benefits. That is why I have taken this, the first opportunity the 46th Parliament has afforded me, to make a plea to defend our freedoms. To fail to do so is to squander the legacy bequeathed to us…”

Once again, the Senator was right when saying that,

“In an exercise of Orwellian proportions, these sports stars were targeted for exclusion in the name of inclusion and discriminated against in the name of tolerance. You don’t have to agree with Izzy to agree with his right to express his religious views, or his wife’s right to back him.”

The Senator then outlined why the Folau precedent a threat the freedom.

“Today it’s Izzy’s religious views and his wife’s loyal support. Yesterday it was the Professor Ridd’s scientific views. Tomorrow it might be somebody’s political view. The next might be someone’s environmental view.”
This is a fight for freedom of speech which impacts us all. The government must, and I am confident will, respond to the expressions of the quiet Australians on 18 May and ensure our freedoms, which were bought with the highest of prices, are not sacrificed and squandered on the altar of political correctness. As Sir Robert Menzies so articulately encapsulated in ‘We believe’: ‘We believe in the great human freedoms: to worship, to think, to speak.’”

Senator Abetz’s words are a welcome change to the sleight of hand drivel that often keeps the “quiet Australian” at arm’s length from Australia’s bureaucratic caste.

The Senator’s speech is also in stark contrast to Greens politician, Adam Bandt, who yesterday posted a call to “fight for the Welfare State” on Twitter:

“This LNP gov wants to destroy the welfare state & we need to stop them. We need a big movement that fights for services, not tax cuts, and that won’t cave in to the Libs when it matters. Be part of the fight for a more equal world.”

Instead of advocating for more laws, less freedom and bigger government, Bandt, like many of Australia’s public servants need to get “woke” to what is unraveling freedom and address the corrosion of it.

In the words of Augusto Zimmerman, ‘we need a restoration of freedom’s bill, not a religious discrimination act, one that restores free speech and freedom of association for all, a law against the incitement of religious violence would also do more good than one against religious discrimination’. [vi]

We need less laws and more clarity on tried and true old ones, not more. Prime Minister Scott Morrison should begin by removing or reforming, the contentious 18C amendment to anti-discrimination law. Then insist that a basic understanding of civics, theology and history (without the biased Marxist lens) be essential to a holistic high school education.

In failing in their commitment to preserve freedom, politicians are showing Australians that the well-funded and resourceful relationship between public servants and Leftism comes first.

In failing in their commitment to preserve freedom, as was promised during the Same-Sex marriage survey, Australia’s public servants are showing the rest of us, that they would rather march under a different flag and culture, to that of the Anzacs, whose sacrifice handed us a mandate to preserve the healthy traditions that they so bravely laid down their lives to protect.

It’s this point of contact with history that gives Tasmanian Senator’s speech gravitas:

“Freedom is worth defending. Freedom is worth nurturing. Freedom is worth championing. As our national anthem extols, ‘Australians all let us rejoice, For we are young and free’. Let’s keep it that way.”

Video:

https://www.facebook.com/SenatorAbetz/videos/2274673139509493/


References:

[i] Abetz, E. About Eric, Abetz.com.au Sourced 7th July, 2019.

[ii] ibid, 2019

[iii] Abetz, E. 2017. Speech to the Senate – Marriage Bill, 27th November, 2017. Sourced 7th July, 2019.

[iv] ibid, 2017

[v] ibid, 2017

[vi] Zimmerman, A. 2019. We need a restoration of freedom’s bill, not a religious discrimination act.  The Spectator Australia, 3rd July, 2019. Sourced, 7th July, 2019.

Full transcript to Speech to the Senate  in Support of Freedom of Speech.

Originally posted on The Caldron Pool, 8th July, 2019.

©Rod Lampard, 2019

Nike’s decision to pull a special edition of Air Max shoes featuring the ‘Betsy Ross’ Flag, used by Revolutionaries, during the 1776, American war of Independence, is shallow and proves that social justice warriors are hypocrites.

Reasons for the recall vary. The BBC reported, that Nike recalled the shoes because of ‘complaints about the use of an old US flag embraced by white nationalists’. The BBC righty pointed out, that American Nazi sympathizers (German American Bund) used the flag during the 1930’s. However, the Bund also used the Stars and Stripes. Leaving unanswered the question of how and why this makes the 1776, ‘Betsy Ross’ flag a symbol of racism.

The Nazis used the eagle, the slogan ‘Gott mit uns’ (God is with us), drank water, drove cars, flew planes, used electricity and had their own cinema. Context matters. Just because the Nazis drank water, doesn’t make drinking water racist. Borrowing the BBC’s logic in trying to justify the decision, we may as well say, water is racist. Get woke and boycott it.

The Wall Street Journal took a more direct approach, reporting that Nike’s decision was based on NFL star-turned-activist, ‘Colin Kaepernick, who told the company it shouldn’t sell a shoe with a symbol that he and others consider offensive.’

Not everyone is happy with Nike’s bizarre decision. As the Daily Wire’s Emily Zanotti pointed out, the shoes were in the stores ready to go for the July 4th celebrations, leaving customers confused.

African-American Podcaster and ‘Grace to You’, theologian, Darrell Bernard Harrison took to Facebook, calling it a ‘dust up’. In a lengthy post Harrison criticized the hypocrisy saying

‘the Betsy Ross flag was openly displayed during both of Barack Obama’s inaugurations—both of them. But all of a sudden, that same flag is symbolic of systemic racism? See, this is why I don’t take black liberals seriously. The Betsy Ross flag was of no significance to them whatsoever when the White House was occupied by someone who looks like them. ’

Candace Owens and The Daily Wire also pushed back on both Nike and its supporters by reminding people that ‘a full month of LGBT celebrations MUST be recognized everywhere (even on your UberApp) – but even one day, or one pair of sneakers celebrating America is too much’

 

In response to the Nike recall, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey (Rep) withdrew from an agreement with the company arguing that it,

“…has bowed to the current onslaught of political correctness and historical revisionism, it is a shameful retreat for the company. American businesses should be proud of our country’s history, not abandoning it.” (Ducey, Twitter)

Most major news outlets have widely publicized the fact that Nike was offered financial incentives that would see around 500 jobs created in the city of Goodyear.

500 potential jobs in Goodyear, Arizona, gone, not because of racism, but because of a guilty-by-association subjective rule, applied by Social Justice Warrior activists who fight racism, by viewing everything, and anyone, through a racist lens.

In this case the poor become spectators, sidelined. All while those who claim to fight on their behalf, squabble over a piece of material that is now considered offensive because it was “once seen being displayed by white nationalists”.

The loss of these jobs won’t affect Kaepernick. He enjoys a multi-million dollar deal with Nike. Add onto this, a share of a multi-million dollar settlement from ‘a lawsuit that alleged the league’s 32 owners had conspired to keep them out of football due to their role in leading player national anthem protests.’ (Fox Business, 2019)

Kaepernick, similar to that of Democratic-Socialist, Orcazio-Cortez’s opposition to Amazon setting up in New York, doesn’t seem all that interested in helping raise people out of poverty by providing them with employment opportunities. Just like the very thing they claim to be fighting against, they choose to use symbolism and gestures to rule the day.

There is no justice in this, and the hypocrisy couldn’t be any more blatant.

The recall of Air Max shoes featuring the ‘Betsy Ross’ Flag is a storm in a tea-cup. It’s either a master stroke of marketing genius to promote the product (which is now in high demand), or it’s further proof that virtue signalling elites are more interested in keeping their names in the paper, than putting their hand to the grindstone, where they can help others, help themselves.


References:

BBC, Nike loses factory aid as ‘racist trainer’ row intensifies, 3rd July, 2019.

Gage, J.  AOC blew Amazon out of New York in 2019 over Tax breaks but demanded  one for herself in 2012, The Washington Examiner, 16th April, 2019. Sourced, 3rd July, 2019.

Khadeeja Safdar and Andrew Beaton,  Nike Nixes ‘Betsy Ross Flag’ Sneaker After Colin Kaepernick Intervenes,  WSJ. 1st July, 2019. Sourced 3rd July, 2019.

Barrabi, T. NFL Paid Kaepernick, Reid under $10M to settle collusion lawsuit: Report, Fox Business, 21st March, 2019. Sourced, 3rd July, 2019.

Prestigiacomo, A. Arizona Gov Makes Major Announcement After Nike Pulls American Flag Shoe At Colin Kaepernick’s Behest, Daily Wire, 2nd July, 2019. Sourced, 3rd July, 2019.

Zanotti, E. Nike Pulls American Flag Sneaker After Complaint From Colin Kaepernick, Daily Wire, 1st July, 2019. Sourced, 3rd July, 2019.

Originally posted on The Caldron Pool, 5th July, 2019.

©Rod Lampard, 2019