Non-fiction Samples

Reaction to the Atrocity in France

If your worldview and/or religion is so delicate that it cannot withstand criticism, then perhaps you should ask yourself why you're supporting a house made of paper.

I've seen many attempts at censorship in the past year. From women being harassed online and in "real life" for speaking out about sexism, to a movie studio being hacked for showing a political film, to this latest atrocity in France, the same message reverberates through it all. "Speak your mind and you will be punished."

I am not sure where the idea came about that anyone has a "right" not to be offended. Giving offense is a cornerstone of free speech. When someone reads a writing of mine, I view it as a positive if they are offended. We are not offended by blood or sex anymore. We are offended by challenges to our values and our assumptions.

And this "offense"--this self-censorship--stultifies our society. The very things that we as a community should be debating instead become taboo, while any lurid details of our lives have become fit for public consumption.

So our societies can claim to be progressive, while actually making very little social progress on just about anything.

This is going to change. This must change.

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Coding Languages for Kids to Learn

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...we also want to introduce children to programming via languages that have relevance in today’s society, as opposed to a language that’s dated or just doesn’t work all of that well. Programming languages that can achieve immediate results are preferable to languages that take a long time and a lot of input to actually DO something.

Also, languages that focus on visual elements are preferable to those that focus on other types of data. For example, a coding language that works with graphics and/or web pages would probably be better for children than a language that focuses more on databases or server management. The whole idea behind introducing children to programming early is to create an interest, and a more graphically appealing programming language will hopefully help you create and foster that interest, even if it may not produce a coder who is ready for their first big job right out of high school. Once again, no matter which language you decide to choose, the important thing is to get your students coding! From HTML to Python, coding will teach your students valuable skills that will accompany them through life. The time to start teaching them is now.

Horizon: Zero Dawn Review

Aloy is a 17 year old girl, which is a refreshing change from the usual space marine stereotypes we’re usually subjected to. She has a sense of humor, carries grudges, and sometimes seems exasperated when trying to help people. The exasperation expressed in the script and in the tone of Aloy’s voice made her seem more real to me—sometimes it’s really frustrating trying to convince people to do what’s best, and Horizon: Zero Dawn captures that frustration better than most other games do. It should be mentioned that Aloy is voiced by Ashly Burch, who also brought a strong sense of character to Chloe in Life Is Strange. Both the script and Burch’s performance work together to create a compelling lead character.

But what about the gameplay? Well, in a word, it’s fantastic. There are nearly 20 different weapons with different characteristics, 26 different types of machine and all sorts of different terrain for the player to stalk killer robots in...I found myself headshotting baddies with ease after a few hours of play, and setting traps with the confidence and skill of an 18th century woodsman.

As you and Aloy explore, you’re surrounded by the sounds of birds calling as well as squawks and groans of the machines. The placements of the creatures and villages is well thought-out—nothing feels random here. This is the most immersive world I’ve ever experienced in a game without putting on a VR headset. The sound and graphics are also among the best I’ve ever seen in a video game. This is a pleasure that would almost feel guilty if it wasn’t so damn good...

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