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"Your 'reality', sir, is lies and balderdash and I'm delighted to say that I have no grasp of it whatsoever."
— Karl Friedrich Hieronymus, Freiherr von Münchhausen

Bush's Detainee Legislation

The neocon/corporatist machine presses on, painstakingly unraveling our moral authority and our Constitutional protections, one bill at a time. Bush's new propsal to legitimize his unconstitutional torture and detention of "terror suspects" is frightening in scope. According to The Boston Globe:

According to the draft [proposal], the military would be allowed to detain all "enemy combatants" until hostilities cease. The bill defines enemy combatants as anyone "engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners who has committed an act that violates the law of war and this statute."

Legal experts said Friday that such language is dangerously broad and could authorize the military to detain indefinitely U.S. citizens who had only tenuous ties to terror networks like al Qaeda.

"That's the big question ... the definition of who can be detained," said Martin Lederman, a law professor at Georgetown University who posted a copy of the bill to a Web blog.

Scott L. Silliman, a retired Air Force Judge Advocate, said the broad definition of enemy combatants is alarming because a U.S. citizen loosely suspected of terror ties would lose access to a civilian court -- and all the rights that come with it. Administration officials have said they want to establish a secret court to try enemy combatants that factor in realities of the battlefield and would protect classified information.

The administration's proposal, as considered at one point during discussions, would toss out several legal rights common in civilian and military courts, including barring hearsay evidence, guaranteeing "speedy trials" and granting a defendant access to evidence. The proposal also would allow defendants to be barred from their own trial and likely allow the submission of coerced testimony.

That's right. In Bush's America the government would be allowed to:
  1. Throw you in jail indefinitely without any actual evidence
  2. Torture you in order to make you confess and then convict you based on that confession
  3. Deny you the right to legal counsel
I am appalled that this cabal which has usurped control of our government has the audacity to even try to pass legislation like this. This could never actually pass in congress... could it? They couldn't possibly try to undermine the very fabric of our legal system, could they? I guess that's the most terrifying thing: I beleieve they might try to do just that.

This administration has me frightened for my very safety. The "War on Terror" is a witch hunt on a scale so bloody and sinister that it makes McCarthyism seem tame. This is police state legislation.

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Friday Free Game: Sudoku Combat

I'll admit it. I was on a bit of a Sudoku kick a little while back. It's a great puzzle, easy to pick up, and good for a 15-to-45-minute workout of your inductive logic skills. This week's Friday Free Game is a multiplayer version of this wildly popular puzzle called Sudoku Combat.

If you're not familiar with Sudoku, here's the idea: you have a 9 × 9 grid. The object of the game is to fill each square in the grid with a number from 1 to 9 such that each row, each column, and each 3 × 3 block contains each digit once and only once. The puzzles start with a small number of squares already filled in, and then you have to complete the picture. You can learn more about Sudoku strategy at or

Sudoku Combat's tag line gets right to the point: "Play against people, show the world how good you are..." You and an opponent are each given the same Sudoku puzzle and the winner is the one who solves it first. You can even see you're opponent's puzzle filling in as you play, so you know whether you're ahead or behind. Even though it's essentially two people playing individual games, this real-time tracking of your opponent makes it feel like a nail-biting competition.

The other strong point of this game's implementation is its no-fuss approach to playing. Just log in with an alias and the system will pair you up against an opponent who wants to play a puzzle of the same complexity as the one you selected (easy, medium, hard or evil) or you can play against a friend. If you want, you can choose from a huge number of broccoli-shaped avatar images to show off your personality. Essentially, it's a one-click-to-play solution, perfect for those who want a quick Sudoku fix with an added dimension.


How to use Google to Get Laid

Many thanks to the incomparable Microsoft technologist (and true geek, despite what dubious accusations otherwise) Robert Scoble for pointing out an amazing post from blogger Damien Mulley on how to use Google to get laid:

This article is about using the many Google sites and applications to get yourself a girl and get yourself laid. In it we’re going to use a guy called Johnny McCool. Johnny is a 22 year old Internet nerd. He works as a programmer with some megacorp, went straight from the computer labs in college to the cubicle farm. He needs to get out more and he needs a girlfriend.
As a result of his post, his link from Scoble, a link on Fleshbot, the front page of and some 100 Diggs, Mulley's blog traffic spiked from about 500 visitors to more than 15,000 in 24 hours. Behold, fellow bloggers, the power of crosslinking.


More StarCraft Flash Action

For those of you who decided to give StarCraft Flash Action III a try, I finally beat the first stage. The key? Buying the rail cannon, of course. Apparently, this is the only weapon capable of killing the Ultralisk. If you want to jump right to Stage 2, the password is omglolwtf. Original.

As well, straight from the creator's forums: StarCraft Flash Action V is in live playtesting. He sure has a penchant for skipping version numbers, doesn't he?

RPG Motivational Posters

This one's making the rounds, so I may as well contribute to the link-spam.... a big thanks to Gnome and N. Mallory for providing links to these great motivational posters for role-players (some 270 of them!). Some of my personal favorites:

  • Gelatinous Cube: Because there's always a 10×10-foot room for Jell-o
  • Natural 20: Nothing else feels quite as good
  • Paladins: Lawful Good and violent about it
  • Party Balance: There are days when SOMEONE should play a cleric
  • Raise Dead: A real friend is the one with 5,000 gp worth of diamonds when you fail your fort save
  • Hirelings: When it's just too dangerous to send a real character
  • RPG Artwork: Let's face it, a lot of it is porn. (Pretty odd porn, too.)
Of course they forgot a few:
  • Rules Lawyers: If they're just guidelines, then why did you shell out $30 for the rulebook?
  • Dedication: If you can't make it to the game, then your character dies!
  • GM Fiat: For some reason, these orcs seem to be immune to acid. Go figure.
  • Roleplaying: I know he's in character because he's talking funny.
I could do these all day.


Friday Free Game: StarCraft Flash Action III

Is it unethical to promote a game which is violating another game's copyright? StarCraft Flash Action III is a stand-alone Flash game that closely mimics the Blizzard classic RTS in a new and interesting way. FA3's creator stole a heap of sprites and sounds from the original and recreated a small subset of its gameplay to produce a fun, interesting mini-game that, while reminiscent of the original StarCraft, is a unique experience unto itself.

This game was an instant hit with me, since it focused on an area of the game that I was always heavily invested in. You see, I usually played the Protoss, who built slowly but had the strongest units, man-for-man. As a result, you had to tenaciously defend your base in the early game to give yourself the opportunity to come back and crush your opponents later on. As a result, the Proton Cannon was your friend. But using it wisely was difficult: where do you place your cannons to best defend your base? With some experience, you would analyze the board, decide on the opponent's most likely vectors of attack and then try to set them up in a crossfire so that you can build your Carriers and Archons in peace.

I'll bet the creator of SCFA3 enjoyed this part of the original StarCraft, too, because that's what the game is all about. The object is simple: keep the onrushing Zerg from destroying your (off-screen) base by placing units on either side of a canyon. Simple enough, right? Not really: each type of unit has its strengths and weaknesses, and sometimes you need to take manual control over them in order to destroy your enemies in time. Plus, you have limits on how many of each type of unit you can place and restrictions on how close together they can be. I found more than once I was kicking myself for putting that Yamato Cannon in the wrong spot.

It seems like it should be so easy, and yet you end up trying to shift your units around in a frantic attempt to keep that last, pesky hydralisk from sneaking through. So far, every time that damned Ultralisk shows up, I lose. But I'm enjoying the game quite a bit and would recommend it to any StarCraft fan.


Dragonlance Movie

As usual, I am a little late with this one, but I figured I'd share: As I just discovered today via RPG Blog, there is an animated Dragonlance movie slated for release in the fall of 2007, and the cast includes some personal favorites, including Michael Rosenbaum as Tanis, Kiefer Sutherland as Raistlin, and Lucy Lawless as Goldmoon. They should have gotten Mark Hamill to do Tasslehoff instead of this Jason Marsden guy. I think he does great voiceover work and I like to know that Luke Skywalker is still working.

In any event, I am glad that they decided to do this as an animated feature rather than attempting some sort of live action thing, which would be pretty much guaranteed to be a disaster. However, according to the Movie FAQ, the screenplay was written by a guy named George Strayton, whose most prominent screen credits are a few episodes of Xena: Warrior Princess. Luckily, he does have some pen-and-paper RPG credits, but his biggest contribution, West End's d6 System (1996), was little more than a rehash of the original Star Wars RPG system and was not exactly critically well-received. This does not leave me much room to hope against hope that they produce something that can capture the magic of the original Dragonlance Trilogy, but you never know.

Cyber Snafu

A hat-tip to Random Good Stuff for pointing out this short video about cyber-sex gone wrong.


Shirt of Fire

Atlas just announced that they released an Ars Magica T-shirt featuring a flaming "CrIg" (Creo Ignem). Okay, now, be honest. Is it just too geeky to wear?

Friday Free Game: Bauns

What do you get when you cross Tetris, Zuma and Bust-a-Move? The oddly-named Bauns, an arcade style puzzler from designer/artist Ferry Halim.

The object of the game is to clear the board by tossing the steel ball at the colored boxes. You begin with a field of 48 boxes and periodically, a new layer of boxes drops in. Meanwhile, you click and drag your ball to shoot it at the boxes, destroying all adjacent boxes that match the color of the one you hit. The real trick, of course, is getting that little ball to go where you want it. But with just a little practice, you're racing the clock, watching the boxes fall into place to set up your next shot.



This post is admittedly way off-topic for a blog about gaming, but whatever.

I read a blog by a woman who calls herself N. Mallory. I began reading because she's a gamer, she often posted interesting links to various political articles, and she loved to bash on the President. Lately, however, her blog has been much more personal in nature. And yesterday she wrote a post entitled "Is Virgin a Dirty Word?"

You see, Ms. Mallory is a virgin and makes no apologies whatever for her choice. Nor should she: I respect everyone's right to choose how to live their lives. But when she announced to someone that she was a virgin, she seemed shocked by their reaction.

Really, I’m quite bewildered and offended by his reaction. What’s so wrong with being a virgin? I mean, I’m not likely to discover that someone I dated in my past has gifted me with some surpise ticking death bomb. I’ve never had to worry about sexual disease or getting pregnant. He makes it sound like I’ve committed some dirty act by not committing dirty acts.
She doesn't understand that it might strike someone as odd to meet a thirty-five-year-old virgin? I was so bewildered by her bewilderment, that I felt I had to respond:

Since I wasn't there, I can't pretend to know exactly what prompted this person's response to your admission, but let me try to explain what I think was going on.

People are often made uncomfortable when confronted by those who are different from themselves. This, it can be argued, is the root cause of homophobia, racism, and any other example of xenophobia you can come up with. We are afraid of that which is foreign. And for adults over the age of 25 or so, the vast majority are not virgins, and so this makes you alien to them in a way that you may not fully appreciate.

You might liken it to someone who has refused to ever watch TV. There is no reason to think that person is any less mature, any less intelligent, any less capable, or any less worthwhile than someone who has. You could even make the argument that someone who hasn't watched TV is better off: they are free from the constant barrage of mass-marketed images, free from the influence of pop culture, and have more leisure time to spend doing things more worthwhile than sitting on the couch. But not watching TV makes you an outsider. You can't talk with co-workers about last night's episode of 24. You don't know the inside jokes from Seinfeld. And since you have voluntarily chosen this path, people just don't get it. They watch TV, everyone they know watches TV, and so the person that doesn't seems abnormal, because they've chosen not to participate. There's nothing inherently better about TV-watchers than non-TV-watchers, but by opting to behave contrary to social expectations, you have made yourself an outcast.

But the TV analogy doesn't go nearly far enough to illustrate the point, because sexuality is such a powerful force in people's lives. Sex is an inherent, biological drive that can outweigh the desire for even food and sleep. For the majority of people, voluntary abstinence is simply unthinkable. This is not to say that people are ruled by sexual desire, but it is a drive so fundamental and so potent that they cannot imagine living without it. Most people cannot understand why someone would choose not to have sex. Even in the face of fervent religious belief, even in the face of punishment or duress, sexual behavior is nearly impossible to totally suppress. Sex fulfills basic physical and emotional needs. To most people, an adult who is a virgin doesn't make sense, because they cannot identify with them.

On top of this, many also see losing one's virginity as a rite of passage into adulthood. Whether this is a useful characterization is debatable, of course, but the fact remains that in our society, this is how it is seen. After all, we refer to media with sexual content as "adult", because we believe that it requires a certain amount of maturity in order to understand it. Like many of life's most powerful experiences, having sex changes your point of view in a way that is hard to explain. The lack of this experience, in many ways, could cause someone to see a virgin as immature, naive or even irrational, because they have willfully exempted themselves from an entire dimension of human experience.

Someone who has never watched TV couldn't really understand the power of the medium to influence our thoughts, to shape our opinions, to entertain or educate us. They have never experienced it, so they just don't get it. In much the same way, you may not understand why your choice seems odd to some, but that's because you're on the outside. You've chosen a different path.

There's nothing inherently wrong with choosing to be a virgin, or a pagan, or a polygamist. But like every choice that puts one at odds with society, the price can be steep, indeed. Not everyone will understand. You just have to know that you made the right choice for your own happiness.

I welcome feedback, flames and comments.


According to The Daily Show, if you Google "Santorum", you will learn a term for a substance that you never knew existed.


Order of the Stick: Translating Haley's Cryptograms

I'm way behind on Order of the Stick, so I started catching up. And where I left off (around 100 strips ago or so), Haley was still speaking in cryptograms. And since I am somehow irrationally compelled to solve them as I go, I figured I'd share the fruits of my labor, which was a combined effort of intuition, perseverence, and some programming to help me keep track of the letter correlations.

Here's Haley's lines from strip #262:

  • You stupid lock! Open! Why won't you open?
  • Going to kill you...
  • I hate amazing-quality locks!
  • Gee, thanks, no pressure there.
  • Damn it! Open!!
  • I am totally in love with you.
Say it with me, now: "Awwww!"

Haley's lines from strip #264:

  • Wait. Listen!
  • Back in the cells! Back! BACK!!

Strip #269 has just a single word: "Arwcrxcon!" I'm having some trouble with that one.

Strip #275 was easy:

  • Huh?
What else could it be?

Strip #277 has just one line, too: "Zfq bq nzml??" I think that translates to "Are we late??" But I'm not sure; there's not enough to go on.

Strip #284 has a lot more to it, so it was easy. Here's the translation:

  • What?
  • No, wait, that verdict doesn't make sense. Laws don't work that way.
  • I've seen enough of my Thieves' Guild friends sent to prison to know that this should have been a conviction.
  • But... but it doesn't make any sense!
  • No! I'm not OK, this whole trial made NO SENSE!
  • We WERE guilty! It should have been a guilty verdict! I can understand if they wanted to reduce the sentence due to the circumstances, but it should have still been a guilty verdict.
  • Oh, never mind, I don't know why I'm bothering.
  • Wait - Elan, what did you just say?
  • Oh my gods, Elan! That's it! Elan, you're a genius!
There are two errors in this one (like there was in strip #248). I think Burlew meant "Wtzs" for "Laws" in Haley's second line, but he wrote "Qtzs" which gives you "Daws" (Q translates as D throughout the rest of the cypher). Likewise, I think in the fifth line ("B'n fxt XO") he meant to write "B'n fxv XO". As it is, the translation is "I'm noa OK".

Haley's got just one line in strip #285, but it's a good one:

  • You can't understand me, so let me just say that you're a frigid bitch and your thighs look fat in that armor.

Strip #291 has just one line, too:

  • I thought you said your dad was dead?

It was tricky, but I got it.

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Colbert's Homage to D&D

Many thanks to my man The Gnome for pointing out Stephen Colbert's homage to D&D, which I have transcribed here:

Earlier this week marked the introduction of Dungeons and Dragons: Stormreach, a new, online version of the popular swords-and-sorcery game. I myself played a lot of the D&D way back when. Actually, I once met Len Lakofka at Gencon 10. I'll never forget when I lost Ferrenith, my 21st level lawful good Paladin. I know, that's redundant. He was on a campaign searching for Tenser, wizard of the circle of light. En route from the Sheldomar Valley to the Thilronian peninsula, he got cornered by a displacer beast and a mind flayer and he failed to save against psionic attack. See, he had already lost a lot of hit points battling a beholder and the cleric in the party couldn't regenerate enough hit points with his heal light wounds spell. All-in-all, a sad day in Badabaskor.

But I gave up D&D in 1984 - my parents were concerned I was being possessed by demons. So one summer they sent me to an exorcism day camp. Eight weeks of sailing, casting out the devils within me and making laniards did the trick. Oh, and I also got a girlfriend.

Anyway, it is the end of an era, and as the cyber-elves and the e-wizards log on to the digital dungeon, I sadly place on my shelf these now-obsolete polyhedral dice. The good news is with D&D now available on the Internet, the social outcasts of today's junior high schools are relieved of the agony of any human contact. Enjoy your magnificent isolation! Don't forget to bathe.

Let me point out that this was a pretty well-researched little rant! Thilronian Peninsula, Sheldomar Valley and Badabaskor are all canonical references from the Greyhawk setting. But there are a two pretty obvious blunders: first, "Heal" Light Wounds was no Cleric spell I ever heard of and second, "save versus psionic attack"? That one's absurd. Every old-school AD&D geek knows that the first edition psionic system was a complete system unto itself that relied on combining attribute scores and would never stoop to reuse a mechanic used elsewhere in the game. Universal mechanics are so 1990's.

But this is what happens when the mundanes try to speak geek. It just grates on the ear of those for whom it is a native tongue.

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It was inevitable, of course: mere hours after Zinedine Zidane's stunning display of unsportsmanlike conduct (check out the remix, too), this goofy Flash game appeared.

Friday Free Game: Virus 2

This week's Friday Free Game is a puzzler like you've never seen before. Virus 2 is definitely light on bells and whistles, but its good depth and unique gameplay had me hooked by the end of the second round.

The board is a hexagonal grid, and each hex is filled with one of seven different colors. The object of the game is to have your "virus" cover the entire board by switching the color of your virus. When you switch colors, any hexes of that color that are touching an "infected" hex become infected themselves. You have up to 35 moves in the first round, and this maximum drops by one each round. Play until you fail.

The first round may strike you as a little too easy: you could probably win by choosing your colors randomly. But as the game progresses and the maximum drops towards 30, you find yourself scanning the board, tracing the patterns of each color, trying to anticipate your next move. Like any good game, it's easy to learn, but deeper than it appears.

There are a few things missing from the game. For example, having some sort of visual indication of which hexes are infected would have made the game more playable and attractive. Sometimes, if you're not looking carefully, you might think that a particular region of hexes is already claimed without realizing that while they're the same color as your virus, they're not touching it. The second thing missing is some variation. While I love the basic gameplay, it does get a bit repetitive without something to break it up. Third – and this may be personal bias – I dislike puzzlers that are inherently finite. The "one-less-move-per-round" mechanic means that you can probably only play a maximum of 15 to 20 rounds, based on the distribution of colors. I doubt it's possible to claim the entire board in less than 25-30 moves.

Still, Virus 2 is a clever and engaging little game, despite its lack of refinement. Happy infection!


Justice 2.0 Is Served

Okay, so I'm really late on this one, but it's such a great story, I had to follow up.

The tale of the stolen sidekick (see my previous post) has come to its conclusion. For those who don't know, the story shakes out like this: Ivanna, who lives in Manhattan, leaves her Sidekick in a cab. She logs on to her account only to find that a sixteen-year-old girl had taken it and had even taken pictures of herself with it. Ivanna asks her friend Evan for help, and they contact the thief, asking for it to be returned. The ignoramus decides to threaten and taunt them, and so Evan, in turn, decides to make the pictures public, publishing the thief's AOL screen name, her MySpace page, and her pictures, saying that he'd like to "embarass the thief as much as possible" and "teach them a lesson on the etiquette of returning peoples [sic] lost belongings".

The website received half a million hits in its first day and over a million a day since, with support pouring in from lawyers, police, and general well-wishers from all corners of the Web. It spawned a mini-phenomenon in the blogosphere and elsewhere on the Internet, including these "enhanced" pics of of the thief, this ridiculous "vlog" report, and many remixes of this video of the Sasha shaking her larcenous booty with a friend. It eventually even made its way to the New York Times (read their woefully sanitized version of the story here). And on June 20th, just two weeks since the site went up, the police arrested Miss Sasha Gomez of Corona, charged her with possession of stolen property in the fifth degree, and returned the Sidekick to its rightful owner.

Evan and Ivanna have decided to put the now-famous Sidekick up for auction on eBay, where it is currently fetching $3,250 with more than thirty hours left. They are donating one third of the money to the Edwin Gould Services for Children and Families and splitting the rest to recoup lost income.

All hail the power of the Internet to bring shame and ruin upon the wrongdoers, be they cellphone thieves or the "Dog Poop Girl"!

Third World Farmer Redux

I have played another very successful round of Third World Farmer, making it through 360 rounds of play before being monumentally bored with the repetitiveness of it all and giving up. I was able to formulate a strategy that seems to keep you afloat indefinitely, in part based on the analysis that I detailed in my previous post. I call the strategy "Pigs and Peanuts".

The yearly events are what really determine your successfulness in the game, and so the stratgey is built around mitigating the detrimental effects of these events.

  • Since most events target only one kind of resource, diversification is essential to staying afloat.
  • Since many events cause you to lose all of your money, prefer redundant structures to cash.
  • Livestock are cheaper than crops in the long run, but if you don't plant crops, then people get mad and destroy your farm, so plant a small amount of crops every year while trying to maintain your livestock.
The strategy only works once you have enough money to start building livestock, so the beginning of the game is simply luck. A few bad events and you will never recover. So the key is to start new games until you have a good start. A good start is being able to have enough money to have a well, a shed and about $100 all at once. From there, this is how to spend your money:
  1. Make sure to plant crops every year. That's where your money goes first. Focus on peanuts first since it has the most stable price range and seems to give a decent return. From there, plant cotton if the price is low (around $15) or wheat if cotton is too expensive. Corn just doesn't seem to be worth it.
  2. Don't bother to plant more than about four or five fields. Optimally, plant three peanuts and two cotton. The cap on income (which I think is $247) makes it so that planting more just means spending money wastefully.

  3. Pigs seem to give the best bang for the buck in terms of long-term return on investment, but if you have too many, there are events that kick in and take them all away. Always try to have three pigs and one chicken (or a cow, if you happen to have a barn). You will lose them sooner or later, but if you have more than four animals and the game takes them right away. Having three pigs gives a nice return every year, and unlike crops, you don't have to keep paying for it.
  4. Never have more than about $100-$200 in reserve, because the risk of losing it all is too great. Instead, build extra sheds. If you need cash, you can sell them off, and you will likely still be able to replenish your livestock after a Civil War or Guerilla Raids if they take one or two of them from you.
  5. Once you have a well, it stays around for the rest of the game unless you sell it, so there is no point in buying redundant wells.
  6. Tools are optional, but try to have a shovel and/or a scythe. Don't bother with the more expensive tools; they get taken too quickly to make it worthwhile.
  7. Barns should only be bought if you need to keep your money down and you don't have much land left for sheds. You lose them quickly, and cows are not as cost-effective as pigs.
  8. Whenever an event can give you money, it's worth taking the opportunity. Children come back quickly, and the downside to these events is usually minimal compared to the need for cash.
Remember, the game isn't fair. Its focus isn't bringing you deep and engaging gameplay; it's making a political point, and making it well. You are fighting an uphill battle you are destined to lose. Only with a healthy dose of luck can you survive long enough to even have a chance. But with this strategy, my virtual family lived for three and a half centuries with eight children and had survived many catastrophes along the way. Not bad for a third world farmer.

Happy Independence Day

In honor of the Fourth of July, I'd like to share a few links to help make your virtual Independence Day celebration more fun. First is Fireworks, a free Flash game with some nice fireworks visuals. Red, white and blue rockets sail across the screen; hit the corresponding detonator when the rocket starts to glow for some sparkly visuals and 100 points. Keep the "bonus wheel" spinning by successfully timing your clicks; once it stops, the game's over.

Next is a Java-based fireworks simulation. Just click around and watch the pretty colors. Okay, it's kind of lame, so sue me. :) Next is a more geeky fireworks simulation where you can experiment with the physics of the fireworks, including the color, the delay of the charge, how much force behind the charge, and even lay out a bunch of rockets at different angles and watch them all go up. Fun in that "wow this is more like physics than a game" kind of way.

And finally, check out two very popular videos (if you haven't seen them yet): one of 16,000 firecrackers set off at once, and another of a fireworks factory exploding. Spectacular stuff.

Have a happy and safe Indepdendence Day.

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The Red Bull Diary is the personal pulpit and intellectual dumping-ground for its author, an amateur game designer, professional programmer, political centrist and incurable skeptic. The Red Bull Diary is gaming, game design, politics, development, geek culture, and other such nonsense.