Paramount Pictures Absolutely Ruins Sonic The Hedgehog

Paramount Pictures recently posted their official trailer of Sonic the Hedgehog on YouTube, which became the top trending video.

A Youtube account by the name of Tenebra asked “is this an out of season April Fools joke?”

Another account by the name of Hubert Konopia said, “Gangsta Paradise, what the hell it’s like matching Imagine Dragons with porn”.

Actor Jim Carrey will star as Doctor Eggman.

The live action adventure comedy has certainly ruffled the feathers of at least some of those who grew up playing the blue hedgehog video game franchise. The main reason for this is because Sonic doesn’t properly resemble the older cartoon version of Sonic’s appearance.

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This is how Sonic looked in the 1991 “Sonic the Hedgehog” video game.

IGN reviews editor Tom Marks constructed a comparison between Sonic’s original eye style and the newer, more “realistic” style.

New Sonic has, to name a few differences, human-like teeth, more “realistic” fur, and a more human-like brow bone. The producers reportedly desired a more realistic style to help Sonic, a blue, fast, talking hedgehog, fit in to the real world in the movie.

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In an interview with IGN, producer Tim Miller discussed the eye style difference:

“I don’t think SEGA was entirely happy with the eye decision,” said Miller, “but these sorts of things you go, ‘It’s going to look weird if we don’t do this.’ But everything is a discussion, and that’s kind of the goal, which is to only change what’s necessary and stay true to the rest of it.”

Miller, also a producer of Deadpool, also commented on Sonic’s fur that attempts to mimic the real-world animal:

“That was always Stage 1 of adapting it to what the real world is and what a real animal would be like… It would be weird and it would feel like he was running around nude if he was some sort of otter-like thing. It was always, for us, fur, and we never considered anything different. It’s part of what integrates him into the real world and makes him a real creature.”

Producer Neal Moritz, creator of the Fast and Furious franchise, spoke about Sonic’s shoe style in the movie:

“We looked at every different variation of what shoes he’s worn and we’re trying to pay homage to that and also make it current and present day in what we think a Sonic of today would wear.”

A key question from IGN is whether Sonic’s super speed will still exist, or be erased to be more “realistic”. Sonic’s slogan is “Sonic’s the name, speed’s my game!”

In protest to the different design style, an Australian Change.org user by the name of “Gay Gayson” created a petition to “Stop the Making of the Sonic the Hedgehog Movie”. So far, 81 people have signed it.

The movie will be in theaters in November this year.

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By Penny Hoffmann

Nikola Tesla Was Against Feminism?

By Penny Hoffmann

Nikola Tesla (1856-1943) is known as a Serbian American inventor and engineer. What many may not know about him are his views on feminism.

In an interview for a 1924 news article by Galveston Daily News titled “Mr.Tesla Explains Why He Will Never Marry: Famous Scientist Felt Unworthy of Woman as She Used To Be, and Now He Can’t Endure Her Trying to Outdo the Men”, Tesla states that women who try to compete with men by taking on male roles are making themselves inferior:

“I had always thought of woman, as possessing those delicate qualities of mind and soul that made her in these respects far superior to man. I had put her on a lofty pedestal, figuratively speaking, and ranked her in certain important attributes considerably higher than man. I worshiped at the feet of the creature i raised to this height, and, like every true worshiper, i felt myself unworthy of the object of my worship. But all this was in the past. Now the soft-voiced gentle woman of my reverent dreams has all but vanished. In her place has come the woman who thinks that her chief success in life relies in making herself as much as possible like man – in dress, voice, actions, sports and achievements of every kind.”

Tesla also states that the feminist movement where females abandon their gender roles and become more masculine is a sign of the downfall of a civilization:

“Women, are becoming stronger than men, both physically and mentally. The world has experienced many tragedies, but to my mind the greatest tragedy of all is the present economic condition wherein women strive against men, and in many cases actually succeed in upsurping their places in the professions and in industry. This growing tendency of women to overshadow the masculine is a sign of a deteriorating civilization.”

Men have desired to reach for the stars because they are inspired by the woman they fancy, mothers, or just any female figure in their life that believes in them:

“Woman’s determined competition with man in the business world is breaking down some of the best traditions – things which have proved the moving factors in the world’s slow but substantial progress. Practically all the great achievements of man until now have been inspired by his love and devotion to woman. Man has aspired to great things because some woman believed in him, because he wished to command her admiration and respect.”

Vessels have historically been named after women for the same reason, but were alternatively named after goddesses and other historical figures with the idea of safety and protection so the vessel survives whatever journey it undergoes.

Tesla then explains further about how men would self-sacrifice when working to serve women, and that, maybe, the male in society is useless. If women agree with this, then, Tesla believes, the worst of the world’s human history is taking place:

“For these reasons he has fought for her and risked his life and his all for her time and time again. Perhaps the male in human society is useless. I am frank to admit that i don’t know. If women are beginning to feel this way about it, and there is striking evidence at hand that they do, then we are entering upon the cruelest period of the world’s history. Our civilization will sink into a state like that which is found among the bees, ants and other insects – a state wherein the male is ruthlessly killed off. In this matriarchal empire which will be established the female rules. As the female predominates, the males are at her mercy. The male is considered important only as a factor in the scheme of the continuity of life.”

Tesla states that, when women see themselves as independent from man in terms of her breaking gender norms in the business world and not wanting to co-operate, this limits man’s ability to be independent:

“The tendency of women to push aside man, supplanting the old spirit of cooperation with him in all the affairs of life, is very disappointing to me. Woman’s independence and her cleverness in obtaining what she wants in the business world is breaking down man’s spirit of independence. The old fire he once experienced at being able to achieve something that would compel and hold a woman’s devotion is turning to ashes. Women don’t seem to want that sort of thing today. They appear to want to control and govern. They want man to look up to them, instead of their looking up to him. Conditions abroad suggest that the same tendency is worldwide.”

Tesla states that women are the victim when choosing this behavior, not the victor as what they imagine to be:

“I am considering this question not merely from the standpoint of a man, i am thinking of the woman’s side of it. As we contemplate any change, we naturally take into consideration the results that may follow such an innovation. One of the results to my mind is quite a pathetic one. Woman, herself, is really the victim of, as she thinks, the victor. Contentment is absent from her life. She is ambitious, often far beyond her natural equipment, to attain the thing she wants. She too frequently forgets that all women cannot be prima donnas and motion picture stars. Woman’s discontent makes the life of the present day still more over-stressed. The high pitch given to existence by people who are restless and dissatisfied because they fail to achieve things wholly out of proportion to the health and talent with which Nature has endowed them is a bad thing for the world.”

Because women will be the victims instead of victors, women will not be happy:

“It seems to me that women are not particularly happy in this newly found freedom, in this new competition which they are waging so persistently against men in business and even in sport. The question that naturally arises is, whether the women themselves are the gainers or the losers. It seems to me that anything which adds to the great discontent which we observe on every side to-day must be a bad influence on out life. Women who keep themselves agitated by their tremendous ambition to beat man at his game are losing at the same time something that counts for more in the end, than the empty honors that success in business or one of the professions can ever give.”

Because of corruption and tricksters, Tesla does not choose to conform with the general public:

“Discontent makes for cranks and unnatural people. There seems to be an uncommon number of them about today. This is one of the reasons i remain apart from the crowds. The public, or semi-public, character is the target for all sorts of attacks and unpleasant communications. For example, i used to receive all sorts of strange notes, many of them letters from cranks threatening my life, because they have read about my experiments in manufacturing lightning bolts. They wrote that they believed i was using these lightning flashes to kill them!”

Tesla states there are many examples of women who do not compete or try to outdo men that become great influencers:

“The power of the true woman is so great that i believe if a beautiful woman – that is to say, one beautiful in spirit, in manner and in thought, in fact, beautiful in every respect, a sort of goddess – were to appear suddenly on earth, she could command the whole world. Her leadership, i believe, would be universally recognized. History has given us many examples of the wonderful influence exerted by unusual women. Among these have been the mothers of great men. But their influence lay not in their determination to outdo man, or even to compete with him. Perhaps because woman is a finer and more highly sensitized instrument she knows by instinct her power and understands that the extent of it lies in the high position she takes for herself. But the superior never descends to the level of the commonplace.”

PROOF: Democrats are working with social media companies to try and harm the 2020 Trump re-election and the Conservative and Alt-Right movement

By Penny Hoffmann

In a paper classed as private and confidential, titled “Democracy Matters: Strategic Plan For Action”, Media Matters, American Bridge, CREW, and Shareblue are all actively fighting against right-wing misinformation, and social media platforms such as Facebook and Google have agreed to be their allies.

In the document, the current hurdles for the goal are highlighted. An analysis of their opposition, what Shareblue and their associates have already accomplished to get to this goal, and what is promised for the future are detailed. Their mission began in 2017 and will last for four years, up until Trump runs for presidency again in 2020.

The document even highlighted how they got Facebook to support their plans:

“During the 2016 election, Facebook refused to do anything about the dangerous rise of fake news or even acknowledge their role in promoting disinformation: Mark Zuckerberg called the notion that fake news is a problem “crazy”. In November, we launched a campaign pressuring Facebook to: 1) acknowledge the problem of the proliferation of fake news on Facebook and its consequences for our democracy and 2) commit to taking action to fix the problem. As a result of our push for accountability, Zuckerberg did both. Our campaign was covered by prominent national political, business, and tech media outlets, and we’ve been engaging with Facebook leadership behind the scenes to share our expertise and offer input on developing meaningful solutions.”

This is what Media Matters and their associates have already accomplished:

“Media Matters has already secured access to raw data from Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites. We have also put in place the technology neccessary to automatically mine white nationalist message boards and alt-right communities for our archive. We will now develop technologies and processes to systematically monitor and analyze this unfiltered data.”

“Our digital efforts were largely focused on changing the narrative with the traditional media versus voters. This worked to a point but wasn’t enough in the face of a news media incentivised by profit and access and fearful of intimidation and bullying by the Trump forces.”

“In 2016, a full two-thirds of Facebook users used the platform to get news. Facebook’s algorithm fuels confirmation bias by feeding content from outlets that tell the users what they want to hear. Fake news purveyors exploited this vulnerability. Fake news purveyors exploited this vulnerability for profit and political influence.”

The paper also provided a “competitive analysis” whereby their rivals and the threats they pose were highlighted. Their competition is right-wing media, but more specifically: the Conservative Media Research Center, Breitbart, Steve Bannon, and Donald Trump (obviously) and his Trump TV.

Here is what the paper said about Breitbart, for example:

“Breitbart, which has received millions in funding from extremest billionaires close to the Trump administration, provides a nexus point in the so-called alt-right (the newest branding for American white nationalism, anti-Semitism, and misogyny) to exploit vulnerabilities throughout the media landscape. With a powerful ally in the White House (former chief executive Steve Bannon will be Trump’s chief strategist), Breitbart plans to export its brand of anti-establishment racism on a global scale.”

Media Matters lists what their top outcomes are and what they will “focus on achieving” in the next four years, which began in 2017:

“In the next four years, Media Matters will continue its core mission of disarming right-wing misinformation, while leading the fight against the next generation of conservative disinformation: The proliferation of fake news and propaganda now threatening the country’s information ecosystem.”

“- Serial misinformers and right-wing propagandists inhabiting everything from social media to the highest levels of government will be exposed, discredited. Journalists, activists, allies, politicians, and the general public will routinely utilize and weaponize our research products to understand and take action against the changing media ecosystem and the extremists seeking to manipulate it. We will continue to break engagement records and dramatically expand and diversify our reach by presenting our research in multiple formats on a variety of platforms. Key right-wing targets will see their influence diminish as a result of our work.

– Internet and social media platforms, like Google and Facebook, will no longer uncritically and without consequence host and enrich fake news sites and propagandists. Social media companies will engage with us over their promotion of the fake news industry. Facebook will adjust its model to stem the flow of damaging fake news on its platform’s pages. Google will cut off these pages’ accompanying sites’ access to revenue by pulling their access to Google’s ad platform.

– Toxic alt-right social media-fueled harassment campaigns that silence dissent and poison our national discourse will be punished and halted. Hundreds and thousands of activists will join our campaigns to push back on alt-right harassment. Key alt-right figures will lose credibility and influence in response to our research and pressure.”

American Bridge, a participant for this plan, is given orders that aim to make it “the epicenter of Democrats’ work to regain power”. It has three goals that will be in favor of the Democrats:

“American Bridge will cement itself as the standard-bearer of opposition research, build on its role as a progressive clearinghouse for information that drives the narrative on Republican officeholders and candidates, and be at the epicenter of Democrats’ work to regain power – starting in 2017 and building to 2020. Here’s what success will look like:

– Trump will be defeated either through impeachment or at the ballot box in 2020.

– The balance of power will shift back to democrats. We will measurably impact US Senate, gubernatorial, and state legislative races.

– We will free ourselves from solely relying on the press. Our robust digital program will reach voters directly online.”

CREW is another participant in the plan to get Trump out of office. Crew has four goals that will aid in doing so:

“CREW will be the leading nonpartisan ethics watchdog group in a period of crisis with a president and administration that present possible conflicts of interest and ethical problems on an unprecedented scale. CREW will demand ethical conduct from the administration and all parts of government, expose improper influence from powerful interests, and ensure accountability when the administration and others shirk ethical standards, rules, and laws.
Here’s what success will look like:

– Trump will be afflicted by a steady flow of damaging information, new revelations, and an inability to avoid conflicts issues.

– The Trump administration will be forced to defend illegal conduct in court.

– Powerful industries and interest groups will see their influence wane.

– Dark money will be a political liability in key states.”

Shareblue, another participant, is planning to replace Conservative influence on social media with influence from Democrats instead. They plan to harm Trump’s presidency by “emboldening the opposition and empowering the majority of Americans who oppose him”. Shareblue has five goals in order to aid Media Matters’ plan:

“- Shareblue will become the de facto news outlet for opposition leaders and the grassroots.

– Trump allies will be forced to step down or change course due to news published by Shareblue.

– Under pressure from Shareblue, Democrats will take more aggressive positions against Trump.

– Shareblue will achieve financial stability while diversifying content offerings and platforms.

– Top editorial and writing talent will leave competitors to join Shareblue.”

Media Matters is against “even the slightest bit of normalization of Trump”. Funnily enough, Media Matters plans to resist Trump’s authoritarianism by utilizing authoritarianism themselves by means of, for example, collaborating with social platforms in order to remove what they deem as “fake news”. Thus, authoritarianism, in their eyes, is fine if they themselves do it:

“We are going to fight for the things in which we believe, and we are going to fight against any attempt to erode the cornerstone work and values of the progressive movement and this pluralistic nation… Media Matters will be vigilant in holding news media accountable for even the slightest bit of normalization of Trump. We will encourage journalists to defend standard practices, like the protective press pool and media credentialing, and strive for higher standards against this threat… we are going to resist the normalization of Donald Trump. His every conflict of interest, his every bit of cronyism, his every move towards authoritarianism, his every subversion of our democratic systems and principles, his every radical departure from foreign and domestic policy norms… we are going to contest every effort, at every level of government, to limit rights, rescind protections, entrench inequality, redistribute wealth upwards, or in any other way fundamentally undermine the tenets of egalitarianism that must serve as the bedrock of our democracy.”

Predictive technology, collaborating with social media platforms, omnichannel communications, and a massive grassroots truth squad are all methods Media Matters will use to monitor fake news. Predictive technology will allow individuals and outlets who participate in fake news, misinformation, and harassment, to be identified by Media Matters.

Here is what content Media Matters also corrects:

“Media Matters’ issue teams are focused on correcting misinformation on: gun violence and public safety, LGBT equality, reproductive health and gender equality, climate and energy, and economic policy.”

Academia is facing severe problems

By Penny Hoffmann

When we think of academia, we would like to believe that it is completely factual as much of the findings from academia are eventually opened for public view. However, academia, just like other organisations, faces its own problems.

Richard Dawkins, a well-known evolutionary biologist who is particularly famous for his commentaries on religion, states in his famous book “The Selfish Gene” that students and colleagues may be the backbone for building the reputation of senior scientists:

“I recently learned a disagreeable fact: there are influential scientists in the habit of putting their names to publications in whose composition they have played no part. Apparently some senior scientists claim joint authorship of a paper when all they have contributed is bench space, grant money and an editorial read-through of the manuscript. For all i know, entire scientific reputations may have been built on the work of students and colleagues!”

According to a research article titled “The natural selection of bad science”, authored by Paul E. Smaldino and Richard McElreath, misuse of procedures and methods remain both common and normative. The remainder of quotes are from the research article:

“In March 2016, the American Statistical Association published a set of corrective guidelines about the use and misuse of p-values. Statisticians have been publishing guidelines of this kind for decades. Beyond mere significance testing, research design in general has a history of shortcomings and repeated corrective guidelines. Yet misuse of statistical procedures and poor methods has persisted and possibly grown. In fields such as psychology, neuroscience and medicine, practices that increase false discoveries remain not only common, but normative.”

Many prominent UK researchers suggest that there is an increase in “fatal errors and retractions” in “as much as half of the scientific literature… especially of prominent publications”:

“In April 2015, members of the UK’s science establishment attended a closed-door symposium on the reliability of biomedical research. The symposium focused on the contemporary crisis of faith in research. Many prominent researchers believe that as much as half of the scientific literature—not only in medicine, by also in psychology and other fields—may be wrong. Fatal errors and retractions, especially of prominent publications, are increasing.”

Additionally, governments can intervene the production of papers by means of adding or redacting findings, contributor names, and so on, in order to suit an agenda. Academic publications can be affected by the politics of the scientist’s location. For example, papers may be publicly inaccessible in a nation because the contents threaten propaganda that is used to control the public’s perceptions.

Institutional incentives tend to favor poor research methods and abuse of statistical procedures:

“When researchers are rewarded primarily for publishing, then habits which promote publication are naturally selected.”

When in a competitive industry such as science in academia, praise from professors and the like is often sought after. Thus, because of human error, publishing as many findings as possible and simultaneously being accurate can be a difficult balance to maintain:

“‘Scientists are human and will therefore respond (consciously or unconsciously) to incentives; when personal success (e.g. promotion) is associated with the quality and (critically) the quantity of publications produced, it makes more sense to use finite resources to generate as many publications as possible’.”

Frederik Anseel, a professor at King’s College London, states that “there is probably a serious problem with mental health in academia” and that it “probably has something to do with how academia is organized as an industry, how we train people, how we manage people, and how careers develop”. The overly competitive field, deadlines and isolation in terms of social lives would have some bearing on the mental health of people in academia.

In a ScienceMag article, Arnav Chhabra, a grad student at Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts, details the difficulty of maintaining a healthy balance of a personal and work life:

“In my third year of grad school, everything seemed to fall apart. I was dealing with my grandmother’s death, and then my girlfriend and I broke up. I spent the following year in a painful feedback loop of depression and despair. Every day, I would trudge into lab and try to get excited about my projects. But when I encountered minor hurdles such as a failed replication or contaminated samples, I would become discouraged and give up. Even when my experiments went smoothly, I felt guilty about the time I had wasted being unproductive. I knew I was struggling, but I didn’t ask for help. I thought I could deal with my state of mind just as I had dealt with every other problem in my life: Bottle up my emotions, attack the problem with logic, and iterate until I arrived at a solution.”

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“Figure 1”: “Average statistical power from 44 reviews of papers published in journals in the social and behavioural sciences between 1960 and 2011. Data are power to detect small effect sizes (d=0.2), assuming a false-positive rate of α=0.05, and indicate both very low power (mean=0.24) but also no increase over time (R2=0.00097).”

Another problem that Smaldino and McElreath revealed is that sample sizes, which aid in drawing statistically sound conclusions, have not increased in size in the last 50 years.