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Thread: The Seventh Helios!

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    Tom Paine's Avatar Mr Common Sense

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    Jun 2005
    Silver Spring, Maryland (inside the Beltway)

    Default The Seventh Helios!

    State of the Thema Devia by Seneca
    Arts and Sciences by Justinian
    Vestigia Vetustatis by Scorch
    Circus Maximus by Darkragnar
    Coliseum by Ozymandias
    Curia by Rome AC
    TWC Member Awards by Nihil
    Editorials by Farnan, Lord Rahl, Grimsta, Oldgamer, Ozymandias, Setarcos Aneist, Siblesz

    A veritable feast of treats once more mes amis, a veritable feast; intellectual fodder in all its magnificent glory. Plus an editorial or two on the side, but hey, that's just a matter of course, right? No, not really, but more on that later; first straight in with the Senecan report:
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 

    Streamlined, focused, modernised with a whole new energy and drive promising to revitalise a failing service that was my reporting of the Thema Devia now focusing on the two main sections, "the mudpit" and "the ethos" Record levels of investment in key sources and human resource development with a innovative target based schemes will ensure massive success.

    Also my prep work for my work as a new labour policy speech writer.

    Wierd and Unusual Death of the Week

    2003: Timothy Treadwell, an American environmentalist who had lived in the wilderness among bears for thirteen summers in a remote region in Alaska, was killed and partially consumed by bears, along with his girlfriend Amie Huguenard. The incident is described in Werner Herzog's documentary film Grizzly Man.

    The unusual thing this week not being the death, weird though it is, but his amazing resemblance to Owen Wilson. When watching the film it took me a few minutes to realise the footage was live!

    Interesting soundtrack by Richard Thompson "Coyotes" though a lot of the rest of his music is reminiscent of excrement covered in tosh.

    Wierd and Unusual Wikipedia Article of the Week

    Another double barrelled point of interest, I'm full of it today. Though if we could not speculate what "it" is I would be less embarressed.

    This is the independant Principality of Sealand (HM Fort Roughs)

    The Principality of Sealand is a micronation located on HM Fort Roughs, a former Maunsell Sea Fort located in the North Sea 10 km (six miles) off the coast of Suffolk, England, at 5153′40″N, 128′57″E. Sealand also claims as territorial waters in a twelve-nautical-mile radius.
    Since 1967, the installation has been occupied by associates and family of Paddy Roy Bates, a former radio broadcaster and former British Army Major, who claims it is a sovereign and independent state.[1] Critics, as well as court rulings in the United States and in Germany, have claimed that Roughs Tower has always remained the property of the United Kingdom, a view that is disputed by the Bates family. The population of the facility rarely exceeds ten, and its inhabitable area is 550 m (5920 sq. ft).
    Sealand's claims to sovereignty and legitimacy are not recognised by any country, yet it is sometimes cited[1] in debates as an interesting case study of how various principles of international law can be applied to a territorial dispute.

    Not exactly the prettiest place and quite why anyone would want to live there is beyond me. Of course some do and yes some even want to aquire it. Turns out The Pirate Bay Torrent Site and known thorn in copyright agents side everywhere tried to aquire it but were perhaps put off by an extortionate 65 million pound price tag. What a way to avoid copyright laws! They obviously missed this one:

    A steal at 7 million dollars US.

    State of the Political Pit:

    Show Johnny Klatchian A Bit of Cold Steel By Jingo He Won't Stand!

    15 British Sailors Siezed By Iran

    A brief yet massive thread showing how truly contentious issue this is. The camps have been divided into those all jingo'd up and ready to show those damn foreigners a dash of cold steel and send them running (they don't like it y'know) and some johnny come latelies who don't know enough but want to know more eager to leave our men in barbarians hands.

    It was so much easier to blame it on Them. It was bleakly depressing to think that They were Us. If it was Them, then nothing was anyone's fault. If it was us, what did that make Me? After all, I'm one of Us. I must be. I've certainly never thought of myself as one of Them. No one ever thinks of themselves as one of Them. We're always one of Us. It's Them that do the bad things.

    -- (Terry Pratchett, Jingo)

    Resistance is Futile, Unity is Strength Except on Abortion!

    Ununited States

    A short but good idea for a thread on the common differences between the two main parties in the USA. Some useful reading for us Brits so I expect all the Yanks to start pitching in.

    The best way to begin genuine bipartisanship to make America stronger is to work together on the real crises facing our country, not to manufacture an artificial crisis to serve a special interest agenda out of touch with the needs of Americans.
    John F. Kerry

    Fake Religous Politics

    Why write a book when a sentence will suffice?

    Are all religous people of a high IQ really closet athiests?

    Can open, worms everywhere!

    Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. I did an original sin. I poked a badger with a spoon." "Say five Hail Mary's and six Hello Dolly's!"
    Eddie Izzard

    Recent Reports suggest link between resurgence of pirate activity at the feet of a mysterious figure known only as Captain Aaargh

    Pirates Are Worse Than Ever

    its reported that only 1% of sea pirates are ever caught, and they are ever increasingly led by organized crime syndicates and gangs. they dont just jump on, and take your good, they take the whole ship and sell it. if thats not bad enough, alot of navies that can provide security to send to these areas like the US who would love to send send the coast guard to the indonesian islands are barely allowed to even chase pirates, much less arrest them. so basically you have basically international terrorism/kidnapping/murder being allowed because no one knows or cares about it
    “Merchant and pirate were for a long period one and the same person. Even today mercantile morality is really nothing but a refinement of piratical morality.”
    Friedrich Nietzsche quotes

    Zimbabwe The Tinpot African Dictatorship Time Forgot

    In the news recently - at least in Britain, the Americans may have had the Super bowl or some other pressing matter that takes priority over international affairs on - there has been a lot of condemnation of South Africa for their refusal to apply either hard or soft pressure on the regime of President Mugabe. Are those commentators right in doing so?

    There are arguments to be made both ways. Amnesty International certainly thinks that Thabo Mbeki and his government could be more unequivocal in condemning the human rights abuses in Zimbabwe; there is a case that could be made for actual economic sanctions of the “individually targeted” kind – cutting Mugabe off from international travel, luxury goods imports and so on. However I do think that people need to remember that however bad things are in Zimbabwe, a civil war will mean that they get much, much worse, and that it is not surprising that the South African government see this possibility a lot more vividly than anyone else does[1], since not only will they be seeing the worst of the refugee problem, they already have strong indications[2] that a Zimbabwean civil war could spill over into their country.

    However, whatever South Africa does is only going to have a marginal effect, and it is really unfair to pretend that they have a magic wand that they could wave to get rid of Mugabe painlessly, and they are only failing to wave it out of misplaced loyalty for Mugabe’s support to the ANC back in the apartheid era. This kind of magical thinking is one of the defining characteristics of the Decent Left – from Iraq to Darfur to Afghanistan, their version of “internationalism” is always predicated on a totally unrealistic view of what it is possible to achieve by foreign intervention, diplomatic or otherwise. (Alex de Waal, in a LRB article linked in the AW comments, sets out exactly how complicated, difficult and prone to failure the whole process really is). I’ve argued before that it just isn’t on to demand that “something must be done” without saying specifically what, and I think a lot of people are doing exactly this in the case of Zimbabwe – either that or they’ve forgotten just how horrific an African civil war can be.

    The other priority that South Africa has, which people also need to realise is a big constraint on their actions, is that they need to be very careful to not give any faction within Zimbabwe the impression that they have an implicit guarantee of South African military support. Alan Kuperman’s work on the moral hazard of humanitarian intervention is tailor-made for an analysis of African revolutionary politics. I think it is mainly a legacy of the Cold War, but there is a real tradition in African opposition movements to spend a lot of time and energy in procuring foreign support; the Angolan civil wars are one of the most obvious examples, but the same dynamic is clearly at work in Darfur, as Alex de Waal’s article shows.

    It’s a really unfortunate characteristic of African politics, because it obviously encourages revolutionary movements to overestimate their strength and to overplay their hands, while at the same time divorcing them from their actual economic and political base. It is one of the many admirable characteristics of Zimbabwe’s Movement for Democratic Change that they have never played this game, even though the temptation to sprout a load of “political advisors” back in Britain must have been quite great. But it also seems that there is a growing tendency in the Zimbabwean opposition (probably in ZANU-PF factions more than anywhere else) towards the view that democratic politics will never get rid of Mugabe and that violent means will have to be carried out. The last thing Zimbabwe needs is for one of the anti-Mugabe factions to get the idea in their heads that there is a brigade of South African tanks ready to roll across the border and join the civil war on their side.

    So what should be done? It is really hard to say. If I had a hundred million dollars and a mansion in Saudi Arabia, I would be on the phone to Mugabe’s private banker right now. Zimbabwe is currently a hyperinflationary economy, and therefore the betting would be that some change of government is very likely in the near future. We can only hope that it will be a democratic change rather than a civil war, and I note in passing that the government of South Africa is one of the few organisations in the world that has actually managed a transition from a fascist government to a democratic one without violence, something which perhaps ought to be more respected than it is.

    But we ought to note that, while obviously the sympathies of every sane person are with the MDC and not Mugabe, it has to be noted that the MDC itself has always been very careful in the support it solicits from the UK in particular, for the entirely sensible reason that it is utterly counterproductive in terms of Zimbabwean politics for the MDC to be identified too much with the former colonial power or with white farmer interests. The middle initial of the MDC is not ornamental – it has always been a party whose aim was democratic change within the constitutional framework of Zimbabwe. True solidarity with the MDC has to respect this fact, rather than treating it as if it were yet another African expat-led revolutionary movement.[3]

    [1] In fairness to the anti-South African case here, it should be noted that the government of Zambia has stepped up the pressure on Zimbabwe in the last week. This is quite significant as Zambia has a history of being the neutral state in the region. Levy “the Cabbage” Mwanawasa is not exactly a statesman of world-historical grandeur and it is possible that his desire to curtail exports to Zimbabwe is more of a domestic austerity measure than anything else, but even so, Zambia has at least as much skin in this game as South Africa does and their decision needs to be taken seriously.
    [2] This news report refers to a “tribal” conflict, but it looks quite likely to have been political to me. In general, nearly all African journalism seems to me to be too eager to attribute all sorts of political issues to ethnic conflicts.
    [3] You might notice that I haven’t actually provided a solution to the problem here. That’s because I don’t have one. That might be because I’m too stupid, or it might be because there isn’t one, or it might be because there is a solution, but it’s an African solution rather than one that the West can provide. Either way, I thought it better to say so in as many words, rather than to make one up for the purpose of having one, or pretend that there was a really obvious solution without saying what it was.

    "When elephants fight it is the grass that suffers."

    -African Proverb

    State of the Ethos

    Return of the housewife, how about beginning of the househusband?

    The Second Coming of the Housewife

    On the basis of what evidence is this stated? Over the last century we have become more stable, more developed... and less housewife based.
    Call me biased, but enough said.

    “The problem lay buried, unspoken for many years in the minds of American women. It was a strange stirring, a sense of dissatisfaction, a yearning that women suffered in the middle of the twentieth century in the United States. Each suburban housewife struggled with it alone. As she made the beds, shopped for groceries, matched slipcover material, ate peanut butter sandwiches with her children, chauffeured Cub Scouts and Brownies, lay beside her husband at night, she was afraid to ask even of herself the silent question: ''Is this all?''”
    Betty Friedan quotes

    I'm not racist I think the BNP show really good organisational and policy making skills....

    How racist are you?

    Can you be frank and honest? Deep down with yourself and we promise we won't judge you, just lynch you repeatedly and string you up from the nearest tree, heap a littany of curses upon your unmarked grave!

    Ahem, no really we won't.

    I look forward confidently to the day when all who work for a living will be one with no thought to their separateness as Negroes, Jews, Italians or any other distinctions. This will be the day when we bring into full realization the American dream -- a dream yet unfulfilled. A dream of equality of opportunity, of privilege and property widely distributed; a dream of a land where men will not take necessities from the many to give luxuries to the few; a dream of a land where men will not argue that the color of a man's skin determines the content of his character; a dream of a nation where all our gifts and resources are held not for ourselves alone, but as instruments of service for the rest of humanity; the dream of a country where every man will respect the dignity and worth of the human personality.
    Martin Luther King

    Thats all your getting out of me. TWC is bugged to hell tonight so I say Adieu.


    Thank you for that, Seneca; great article and a lot of depth there, so I’m sure we all want to post there now!
    I am very glad to be able to welcome back another ex-editor of the Helios, and ex consul, and a lot else, albeit in a sadly temporary role as fill in for Gaius Baltar while he is on sabbatical; I'm sure we can find the author of the following tour de force a place, no?
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    The Arts and Sciences
    by Justinian

    Yes, the horrifying truth is, erm, true — Justinian has taken over the Arts and Sciences section of the Helios. But delay your weeping and gnashing of teeth for now; your regularly scheduled Gaius Baltar will be back with more quality reporting when he returns from holiday. Don’t blame him for the section you are about to receive; it is entirely my fault. Right then, moving on to ...

    The Arts
    In Best 5 Songs of All Time, greek302 invites you to name your top five songs of all time. Now, normally we’d all pull out our slightly less incriminating collections (no Britney Spears please), but in true TWC fashion, a war has erupted between TWC’s resident classic rock aficionados and our loveable but hopelessly wrong metalheads (oh sorry, should I be impartial? whoops). Let’s face the facts boys; classic rock is called classic rock for a reason, and no, it’s not that it’s “old and stuffy”; the reason is that it’s simply better than everything else and occupies at least the top 400 spots in the Best Songs of All Time list. Yes, some blistering metal is great for cruising down the streets of your city, but classic rock is and always will be the best music ever created.

    In true anti-establishment fashion, William the Bastard asks us to name the most over-rated films; his initial offering is ET. In the words of Ebert and Roeper who make obscene amounts of money with two words, “Thumbs up!”. We have a habit of accepting movies as being good because people tell us they are, and the simple fact is that at least 90% of those movies are pure unadulterated horse manure. It’s the movies everyone and their mum’s lesbian lover haven’t seen that we should pay attention to.

    The Duke also raised the question of which band is better, Van Halen or AC/DC. The people have spoken and the answer is obviously AC/DC, those gods of blistering rock and roll, the victor by the rockin’ ration of 31:4. Those four misguided fools should seriously rethink their musical tastes and take a hike down the hiiiiiighway to hell. (No offense). As for those 31 geniuses, we salute you (fire).

    Sir Dinadan invites us to get in touch with our sensitive side in his thread, Poetry. Many of TWC’s own have offered their own poetic presentations, some good, some bad. The verdict from this insensitive bastard is that Turtle and Sir Dinadan tie for sensitive, emotional, etc. etc. members. Not that that’s bad. As long as you don’t receive the “Just Friends” line whenever you read a girl your poems, it’s all good.

    Finally, Frank Miller’s: 300 is a smashing box office success and, our TWC community agrees, a bloody awesome movie. The Iranian government is not quite so enthralled with the movie’s depiction of the Persians; my advice to Ahdaminejadisjehsamdbe (or whatever the man’s name is) is to take his criticism and stuff it up his backside before he gets drop-kicked by Leonidas; as Shazbot put it:


    Lucius Julius has raised the age old conspiracy theory, Was the Apollo Moon Landing Faked?. Sorry Lucius, but as our conspiracy theory experts and science nerds will tell you, the claim has been proved completely wrong on numerous occasions by scientists who know a lot more about it than some half-crazed Novusordum (the elder of our members should get that joke.)

    Let the whole world rejoice! A 120-Year-Old Math Riddle Has Finally Been Solved. I’m not exactly sure what it is or what it does; all I know is it has 248 dimensions, is more complicated than the Human Genome, and bears a striking resemblance to the Eye of Sauron:

    Another classic debate is on again: scheuch13 asks us if we believe in intelligent life in the universe. Some of our more respected members hold the surprising opinion that we are all lost and alone in this universe, but I raise the question; if our universe is the product of random firings in the cosmos, and those random firings happened to combine to produce sentient life on Earth, isn’t it more likely that they would do so again? Us being alone seems to further intelligent design more than more respectable science. But I’m no scientist or alien expert so I will leave this to the scientists and those anally probed by little green men.

    See? Amazing.
    We can also welcome the editor of your next Helios (so be nice), Scorch, back, with an article on the VV... and a complaint:

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    Around the Vestigia Vetustatis
    Things are still looking bleak on the front of the VV, too many threads on the 300, and not enough ... stimulating historical discussion. =P

    However there have been some interesting developments, including some posts saying that the U.S. is the most powerful military in the world right now, and apparently Monty Python's The Life of Brian is the most historically accurate movie ever made - can't say I disagree to the latter.

    Anyway, for goodness sake people, get over to the VV and start posting some interesting threads, it's sad to see it degrade into a loose collection of "who would beat who" threads.

    Justifiably angry in the end there, who wouldn't be though? Come on, get some good stuff going people!
    Next another steadfast of the team, Darkragnar;
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 

    Thats Imb39 , if you cant recognize him/her/it yet.
    I'd Like to Start with Something Different This time, I'd Like to Give a 'Warm' Welcome to all you New guys who've just got their 'Star's' and have become Civitate's. Just to Show the New guy's what it Means to be a Civitate ill show you an Introductory Video on all the Fine Quality's that a Civitate Must 'Ave to survive this 'Dope Show' we like to call TWC, so watch carefully Rookie's you might just learn something today.
    Are you scared yet ? Huh are you ? you better be; for your sake

    Welcome to the Best Part of the Helios, WELCOME to the Circus Maximus.Ze Circus is a great place if you're one of these Three kinds of people :

    • Who Like Video Games (Thats a No brainier)
    • If Ye Be like Thar Capt.Arrgggh An you cant Read Ery Guud.
    • or if you've had too much caffeine like this guy which means that you have too much energy..ah sorry... read English.

    Out of fear of the Lads who chose option c) i better get started; for my sake.

    Cadmium77 has made a thread So it looks like S.T.A.L.K.E.R is out, apparently. about the Game S.T.A.L.K.E.R
    So his thread is as good a place to start this Edition as any,

    Now if you've been living in Heaven/Hell/Iceland/Los Angeles/Canada/India then you wouldn't know that the Game is out; and its good from what i hear
    Gamespot sums the S.T.A.L.K.E.R experience best with their review
    S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl has always been an overly ambitious game, which is probably why it has arrived several years later than originally expected. The game's goal is to create a virtual world with an ecology all its own and then place you in the middle of it. That's something that's rarely been attempted, particularly in a first-person game. However, to the credit of THQ and Ukrainian developer GSC Game World, S.T.A.L.K.E.R. is an impressive accomplishment. This first-person survival game is at times amazing and engrossing and on par with such classics as Deus Ex and System Shock.

    This is another first-person game that features a silent and mysterious protagonist, much like Half-Life's Gordon Freeman. You play as the Marked One, a heavily armed scavenger suffering from amnesia and stuck inside the exclusion zone surrounding the nuclear power plant at Chernobyl, Ukraine. Yes, the same nuclear plant that exploded in 1986 and, in S.T.A.L.K.E.R.'s fiction, again in 1989, creating a radioactive hotspot brimming with mutants, heavily armed rival factions, and all sorts of weird, paranormal activity. Your task: Figure out who you are and what's going on at the core of the zone.
    If you still don't know what S.T.A.L.K.E.R is all about then take a peek into Cadmium77's thread for the Answers Galore.

    Another Big 'Fish' that was Released this month was Silent Hunter: Wolves of the Pacific by Mikelus Trento.
    You Take control of WWII submarines in Silent Hunter 4: Wolves of the Pacific.

    Its one of the most Detiled Sub Sims around, you actually feel like your controling a bucket of bolts WWII sub and as Gamespot put it "There are only two kinds of vessels; there are submarines, and then there are targets."

    I am sorry but for a Lack of Decent Video's on Silent Hunter IV i have decided to post a Surrogate video in its stead ,this has to be one of the Best Video Game....Video's .... out there just watch this for the love of god;if you haven't watched anything yet, if you haven't Red a single word of what i said , If you Cant READ , WATCH this video Still.

    Giorgos - Zahos in the thread Top 25 game of ALL TIME according to Ign. has posted a list of Top 25 Games, of all time, by IGN and Boy IGN cant be Farther from the Truth than this, if you agree with me or if you just want to See the List 1st before making up your mind ; head over to thread and let your voice be heard.

    The True Roman has posted a very Popular Thread Titled Best game you ever played Drop by there and check the thread out ,its a good place to remember the names of all the great games that you once played.

    ....Tooo... Long since my last video.....Must Post
    Watch this Dude Do Woo Tang ,pretty snazzy alright

    We all know what a Communist does but have you ever heard of a Maoist Gaming Magazine , yes sire bob you red that right there's a Communist gaming magazine out there head to Commie site reviews video games! to read some Truly Hilarious Reviews of the Communist Kind.
    Xihu XiangLong was the Creator of this thread and all credit goes to him for making me Laugh.

    Quote Originally Posted by Review For KOTR
    • Knights of the Old Republic ... or should we say Cossacks of the Old Republic?
    • Cossacks/Knights of the Old Republic is one of the most manipulative pieces of software ever devised.
    • It is far easier to use your powers to steal, than to do charity. The game is far easier if you "go capitalistic," which clearly points to early indoctrination conspiracy by the fascists.
    Well thats it for this Edition of the CM, before i leave you Here's another Video
    This time of the Shaolin Monks

    Well thats it from this Humble NiNja, adieu ladies and gentlemen till we meet again.

    Yays for the CM, and yays for nonTW games, hey?
    Another by me, here, I'm afraid. Skip over it if I bore you. *Watches everyone go straight on*

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 

    I'm not here for politics. Well, I am. I'm not here for ethics. Well, I am. I'm here to report. So I'll be very brief and let the warriors do the talking; we have an amazing fight between Ummon and Setarcos Aneist in the Club on euthanasia and assissted suicide, Ummon very capably taking the part of the supporter as a devil's advocate, so kudos to him:
    And we have, pending, a fight between Cassy and... that's right... Ummon, both arguing positions they truly hold, on immigration policies. We have no idea how this one will play out!

    Now, for all you politicians out there, we have a Curial report; rome ac returns to the Helios as Andrew Marr, without the ears. Sorry, very British joke; I mean of course, political correspondent.
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    Hello everybody, I would like to introduce myself Rome ac your new Curia reporter. I would like to thank Ozy for this chance (again), so let’s get started.

    So let’s see what’s new in the dramatic Curia. One of the most popular discussion happening is the New badges and title fonts... where the artistic citizen of TWC are showing there stuff for are the new badges needed, some notable names are Publius, Halie Satanus, a few from Bulgaroctonus newcomer deRougemont and selenius4tsd. Also I would like to congratulate are new Speaker of the House (in fact are first one ever) Obi Wan Asterix I wish him good luck in his new postion.
    Now let’s get to the dirty stuff happening around the Senate House. As most of you guys know a new constitution was implemented a few weeks ago by the Curia and already we seem to have a few doubts about its stability, just look at Gigagaia new thread witch old feuds seems to be rising. Perikles has also propose a new bill in the Prothalamos is radical ide is of that la peasant may nominate themselves for the title of Civitate, witch I find quit a good idea (strange thing about it is that its coming from JP ).
    Finally to finish it all I would like to congratulate or salute all of the following members.

    - Spiff ,former Hexagon member I salute you for you work at TWC.
    -Scottishranger, I congratulate you on your new position as Curator.
    -Katrina, yes a girl is back in the sausage fess that is Staff. I congratulate you Kat
    -Publius, I congratulate you as are first CA Liaison Officer.
    -Mudd, I salute you for you honorable resignation from the CdeC
    - Oh Soren I “guess” I have to Congratulate you on your new postion in the Hexagon.
    That all for this week boys sees yea next time.

    See? No ears.
    Now I am pleased to announce the following article, from Nihil; on the member awards. A set of awards voted for to the members and by the members, presented here by Nihil, who presided over them.
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    TWC Member Awards Winners!

    Greetings. The voting for the TWC member awards is now complete. The polls have closed, and a vast army of slave-noobs has been pressed into service to tally the votes.

    Now it is time to bestow the silverware and the glory of victory upon your winners.

    All in all, we had very few surprises this time round. Pre-voting analysis based on the nominations was generally fairly accurate, although there were one or two shock upsets as we will soon see...

    Without further ado then, let us proceed.

    Best Debater Award - Ozymandias

    This one goes to the indomitable, persistent and post-count-tastic Ozymandias. It's hard to argue with a man who has more posts than Paris Hilton has one-night stands. It's like getting into a punch up with some guy you meet in the pub who is covered in battle scars from head to foot and has no teeth - you just look at him and think - what can I do to this guy that hasn't been done already? That's Ozy. He's seen it all before. He lives in the mudpit and the ethos, taking on all comers, eschewing sleep and daylight as decadent indulgences for cissies. This is his world, and we are just visitors. Most would-be adversaries just take one look at his post count and run without a fight. Would you argue with this man?

    Old debaters never die - they just keep posting until you do.

    For his trophy, Ozymandias wins one of those wind-up chattering teeth things. You know the ones I mean.

    Best Political Poster - Garbarsardar

    Garb is something of an all-rounder, so one doesn't necessarily think of him first and foremost as a political poster any more than as a history, philosophy or arts guy (as demonstrated by his wide range of nominations). He does politics as well as anybody, however, and the voters have noticed. The prize of King of the Mudpit is no easy thing to win, and who can dispute this formidable poster's entitlement? If you dare, I'm sure he will accept your challenge...

    Not only that, but Garb looks impressive in the mud-wrestler's bikini which is the traditional ceremonial garb (get it?) of the mudpit gladiator.

    The prize is a brand new gilded mud-wrestling bikini. Wear it with pride, Garbie.

    Best Historical Poster - ThiudareiksGunthigg

    The title of Best Historical Poster conveys an indisputable gravitas and honour to its winner. When the VV is good, it is one of our best forums. There was a pretty good fight here, but the Tasmanian Devil himself eventually emerged from the fray to claim the title.

    A suitably impressive looking ancient scroll bearing the time-worn and barely-legible name of its winner is the prize.

    Best Ethical Poster - Ozymandias

    A worthy winner indeed, Ozy was the final victor by a hair's breadth over his closest competitor, Oldgamer, for the title of best poster of Ethical and philosphical type stuff. This can only mean that after much battling and philosophical toing-and-froing that God is now definitively dead.

    I am proud to present to my dear friend Ozwald his well-earned trophy, which is an unconditional treaty of surrender from God himself.

    Most Technical Member - Simetrical

    This was never going to be much of a fight. As Sim himself would probably say:"Of course I won. Anything less would be illogical. Bleep."

    Sim wins a can of natural oil, which will delight fans of Ghost in the Shell Stand Alone Complex, and hopefully Sim too.

    Most Popular Member - imb39

    It may set some totalitarianism-detectors ringing for the owner of the site to win this award. What's next - lavish military parades for our great leader's birthday? Spurious elections where we are allowed to vote for only the incumbents and there is no actual opposition?

    What do you mean we already have those? Really? Are you sure?


    Erm, in that case, I have no choice but to offer my sincerest and humblest congratualtions to our glorious leader in this, his most deserved triumph over the imperialistic enemies of the people, and the reactionary forces of decadence which threaten our security from within and without. Long live imb! Long live TWCeania!

    Imb's prize is a huge statue of himself on every corner, endless parades in his honour, and the occasional purge of his political enemies.

    Most Controversial Member - Professor420

    Hurray for controversy! It keeps the place interesting. Our resident rabble-rouser Professor420 always does his utmost to make things lively, and has won a place in all your hearts.

    The prize is a voucher entitling the bearer to one free pardon for his next infraction. Use it wisely, Prof.

    Funniest member - Captain Arrrgh!

    Something amazing happened this year in the funniest member award. From out of nowhere emerged a new and fresh (well, malodorous) individual who changed the way we think of humour forever. This swashbuckling, codpiece-clad buccaneer slashed through the field like a cutlass through a Spaniard, leaving his rivals choking on his dust (and farts). Armed with nothing more than a brace of flintlocks, a roguish charm, and seemingly inexhaustible flatulence, this unwashed desperado swept the ladies and also Livia off their feet, and stole the prize for funniest member while he was at it.

    In the non-farting category, the traditional humourists of TWC reached an interesting three-way deadlock (Cluny, Evariste, and Ferrets). But the real story here was the Captain and his triumphant fanfare of farting.

    The Prize for the funniest Member is the appreciative rep-clicks of the amused masses, and a treasure map leading to Livia's pants.

    Best Strategist - General Sun

    Even I remember General Sun's strategy articles from back in my TW playing days. His very name is synonymous with strategy...

    Sun's Prize is a Marshall's Baton, and some moustache whiskers to stroke whilst gravely pondering.

    Best Bug Reporter - Player 1

    He makes finding bugs look easy. If you're a bug, you don't want to see this guy coming.

    The trophy is an exterminator's bugspray.

    Best AAR Writer- Hex Khan

    Master of the After Action Report, Hex Khan takes the award by a huge margin. His chronicles make for riveting reading.

    Hex Khan wins a dictaphone to mutter observations into for posterity whilst on campaign.

    Best Screenshot - Crypel

    Crypel can certainly compose a compelling shot. His gallery is well worth a look, and he's a deserving winner.

    It give me great pleasure to bestow the prize for this award upon Crypel, which is an artist's beret.

    Best Reporter - Evariste

    We have many fine journalistic chaps, but podcaster supreme, Evariste, has triumphed to claim the title. His charm, wit and porn-movie inspired background music have proven too powerful a combination for his challengers to overcome.

    Therefore Evariste wins the grand prize of a voucher for free representation by a talented libel lawyer of his choice. What true journalist wouldn't kill for such a prize?

    Favourite Staff Member - imb39

    imb really crushed the opposition in this one, and rightly so. He's always been unique amongst TWC staffers for his ability to wield his authority wisely and humbly while still managing to be a nice guy. This might explain why he also won the next award too.

    imb wins: a permaban on the problematic member of his choice, effective immediately, no questions asked.

    Most Helpful Staff Member - imb39

    Not everybody voted for imb, which was surprising, but he won anyway. Hell, he's so helpful that not only has be always been the kind of dude who will go out of his way to assist people, but he also pays for the site! It doesn't get much more helpful than that.

    The prize for being most helpful - everybody will always plague you with PMs all the time over the most trivial of things.

    Best Looking Male Member - Yorkshireman

    Amidst the mostly yawnsome, predictable awards races this year, there was one massive unforseen shock - Yorkshireman's astonishing victory for most memorable manhood. Now, I'm not really in a position to judge, but the voters have spoken and they are in no doubt as to who they like best. Congratulations, Yorkshireman, your member will live in legend.

    As his trophy, Yorkshireman receives a beautifully rendered cast of his mighty member to place upon his mantle and impress visitors to his Yorkshire homestead.

    Best Looking Female - Katrina

    Katrina's fine attributes are manifold, but let's not kid ourselves here - it's the yummy visual assets we are interested in for the purposes of this category. Here too, Katrina does not disappoint. Her voluptuous Venusian charms have smitten the voters, causing widespread drooling and angry looks from the other female contestents.

    The prize: World peace, naturally.

    The tBP Award - tBP

    tBP may not have a complete monopoly on gayness, but this was never going to be a real contest. He walked this one, although respect goes to a very brave Giga who did his best but could only achieve a respectable second place. Better luck next year!

    The Prize - a date with Orlando Bloom.

    Most Helpful Member- Lusted

    Lusted is a fellow who you can turn to in times of need. Fending off even the ubiquitous imb, he takes the title in a blaze of helpful, considerate, self-effacing glory.

    To commemorate this triumph, Lusted wins a course of self-assertiveness lessons. He needs to learn to say no once in a while and not to let people take advantage of his generosity!

    Friendliest Member - Katrina

    If you need a friend, Katrina and her prize-winning bosom will be there for you. I'm proud to say that I sure as hell voted for her. You couldn't hope to meet a nicer forum buddy.

    Katrina's spoils include a teaddy bear and warm affectionate cuddles.

    Fastest Rising Newb - Manstein16

    Although the star of Captain Arrrgh! may burn brightly indeed, there is another meteoric figure whose ruthless stampede to greatness puts even the old sea dog to shame. You better get out of his way, or better still, try to jump aboard his bandwagon while there's still some room, because Manstein is going places fast, baby. If you ever crossed him in the past then now is the time to change your name, or at least your avatar.

    Manstein's coveted prize is an entourage of hangers-on and yes-men, attracted by the sweet smell of success that is wafting around him.

    Best Mentor - imb39

    Also known as the "Vote for your patron" award, it is not surprising that the most prolific patron of all, the great imb, has cleaned up in this category too. Not only has he sired countless screaming brats, but he is also a father to us all, figuratively speaking.

    imb wins a long white grandfatherly beard and pipe and the undying veneration of all, to add to his other booty. What a successful awards he has had!

    Best Avatar or Sig - imb39 / Manji

    In a shocking result, this category has been tied! How to resolve this dilemma?

    On the one hand, Manji is, without question, the king of the sig, having created countless masterpieces for everybody.On the other hand, imb wins all the awards. It's the unspoken rule.

    Therefore, both contestants are disqualified. I think you will find that this judgement embodies a kind of Solomon-like wisdom that satisfies everybody.

    Well, that's it. You don't have to go home, but you can't stay here. I've been Nihil. Goodnight.

    ...I won? Odd. Anyway.

    No introductions this time, because the editorials speak for themselves, they truly do; just remember last issue's disclaimer; we'll go in strict alphabetical order. Farnan first, on the war of Islam, the internal war
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    A war is being raged. A war that spreads from Chicago to London to the suburbs of Paris to the streets of Cairo and Islamabad. It is a war that is being fought throughout the globe. In this war there are no standing armies. This war is like one that has been fought before in 16th and 17th century Europe, it is a war not for land and spoils but for the hearts and mind of the world’s fastest growing religion. It is a war over the character of Sunni Islam and is fought between many factions all over the world.

    One of the factions fighting for the character of Sunni Islam are the opportunistic governments. A prime example of these is Libya under Qaddafi. Qaddafi tore apart Islam, rejecting anything he did not agree with, and used it to create an authoritarian socialist system. He can be thought of as the Islamic Mao. Placing his Green Book, the blueprint of this system, to the level of the Sharia which are the religious laws of Islam similar in a way to the Ten Commandments and Biblical Law of the people of the Jewish and Christian faiths. Qaddafi transformed Islam into Islamo-communism in order to further his goals in an attempt to control his people and not on the basis of faith. Libya is not alone of governments that have used and mutilated Islam in order to gain power and control over the masses.

    Fighting for the control of Sunni Islam is another faction, the neo-revivalists. The neo-revivalists wish a return to Islam as they believe it was during the reign of the Rightly Guided Caliphs, or the first four. According to their beliefs Islam was transformed by the Ulama, or religious scholars, through the centuries and is no longer as Mohammad ibn Abdullah, known in the West as simply Mohammed, had envisioned it. They blamed this corruption on Islam on colonialism and the ills that had faced the Islamic world. In the West we refer to these people as Islamic Fundamentalists, Islamo-facists, or Islamic radicals. This is a diverse group containing such notables as the Muslim Brotherhood, Wahabbism, and terror organizations such as Al-Qaeda. The Muslim Brotherhood, or at least how it was originally envisaged, is a fraternal organization dedicated to the back to the basics of Islam. Founded in 1928 by Hasan al-Banna its ideological basis was based on the works of Rashid Rida who advocated that Islam was self-sufficient and did not need any outside influence as a basis for a functioning modern society. Unlike Al-Qaeda, it does not advocate terrorism to achieve those means preferring to work inside the system. Though illegal in Egypt they create coalitions of the legal parties advocating their goal of neo-revivalist Islam. Splinter groups however had formed that advocate and carry out terrorist attacks. Wahabbism is a second example of neo-revivalism. This movement resembles in some aspects the Puritans of New England during the early days of the United States. The Wahabbists goal is to cleanse the Islamic world of everything that they believe is contrary to the principle of Islam. This included people who practiced non-Islamic faiths, including Jews and Christians who Mohammed commanded to be protected. This group is the official sect of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Ironically, they didn’t get rid of one of the most prevalent practices that was adopted from the Persians and Greeks that was contrary to Islam, veiling and seclusion of women. If any movement could be described as Islamo-facism, this is it. Special religious police enforce the Wahabbi version of Sharia, enforcing harsh penalties on anyone who violates them. People that are not Muslim are not permitted to openly practice their religion. In many instances the strictness of Wahabbism is used as an excuse for the Saudi government to control its subjects. The third movement within neo-revivalism is that of terror organizations such as Al-Qaeda. These groups believe that violence should be used to force to destroy all obstacles in the way to achieving the goal of a return to the basics of Islam. They corrupt Islam and its beliefs in order to further their beliefs of eternal jihad against anyone they consider a sinner. To these radical a sinner is simply anyone who holds an opposing viewpoint. Of all the factions fighting for the heart of Islam, the neo-revivalists are the most visible in the West.

    What is probably the largest faction are the conservatives. The conservatives are simple to explain, they basically believe that Islam does not need major change at this time. A majority of the religious scholars, or ulama, belong to this faction. They are also some of the least visible of the groups fighting over Sunni Islam.

    The side that the West most identifies with are the secularists. The secularist favor a separation of church and state like that which exists in the West. They blame the problems confronting the Middle East on a backwardness they believe is exhibited. Though many times called moderates by the Western press, in the Islamic world they hold a radical view the opposite in opposition to that held by the neo-revivalists. They have gained and hold power most powerfully in Turkey, though the Syrian Baath party that controls the Syrian government is also secular. In Turkey this transformation from an Islamic state into a secular one was accomplished by replaced radical devotion to Islam to radical devotion to nationalism. Another group that is largely secularist are the Kurds. One major reason for the Kurdish secular nature may stem from the need to keep the varying Kurdish factions united in order to achieve their goal of a Kurdistan. Secularists are a minority throughout the Middle East as a whole however, mostly members of the upper class. Because of their economic status, they’re connections with the West, many are businessmen, they are regarded with distrust by many other Muslims. Some, mostly neo-revivalists, claim that they are not even Muslims with some even calling for their deaths claiming Secularists are apostates.

    The fourth major movement in the Middle East is that of the neo-modernists. Neo-modernists wish to reform Islam to meet with the modern times. Unlike the secularists, they do not believe in a separation of church and state believing that Islam should still be the guiding principle behind all government and law. Neo-modernists believe that the Sharia is made up of both mutable and immutable laws. Immutable laws are ones set in stone and consist of laws that are not dictated by the customs and traditions of the background they are set upon. An example of an immutable law is that of daily prayer. A mutable law is one that can be changed and was dictated by the cultural background upon which is was set. One good example of this is the law allowing polygamy. Neo-modernists argue that this law was a compromise due to the times, thus with changing times that law can be changed. Neo-modernist however are the object of criticism by conservatives and neo-revivalists. Conservatives believe Islam should not change with the times, and neo-revivalists believe that changing the Sharia is heresy.

    Muslims living in the West, especially the United States, face another problem. They are facing an internal conflict whether they should integrate with the non-Muslim population and adopt Western customs. Muslims in the United States are generally divided into three primary categories. The first group believes that Muslims in the US should emigrate to the Middle East. They believe that Muslims should live where Sharia law exists. The second group is believing in the seclusion of Muslims from the rest of the community. Their belief is that if Muslims and non-Muslims interact, the non-Muslims will corrupt the Muslims. The third and probably largest group believes that you can be both a Muslim and an American. Even this group is divided between those who believe in full and partial assimilation. Further compounding this problem is the fact that most teachers are not homegrown. Due to a lack of seminaries, the majority of Imams come from the Middle East and no little English and even less about American culture.

    In conclusion, there is a multi-fold conflict over the heart and soul of Islam. On one side are the neo-revivalists, on the other side the secularists. As long as there is this conflict, there will be violence in the Middle East. Whichever philosophy succeeds shall have a drastic affect on Islam for ages to come and the entire West. At the same time as this is happening, Muslims in the West are suffering from an identity crisis of who they really are. Will they be Muslim-Americans, or Muslims living in America? Only time will tell.

    Source: Islam: The Straight Path by John L. Esposito

    Now Grimsta's little injection of reality into our lives, inspied by the 200th Anniversary of the Slave Trade in the British Empire:
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 

    You won't find me swearing that much this issue, in fact I'm going from lowbrow to a semblance of normallity, well as normal as my articles normally are.

    I'll give you a clue.

    We ban it but it's still rife after 200 years.

    Yes, Slavery.

    In the United States of Britain we have widespread sex slaves, mostly Eastern European immigrants who come over here looking for a btter life and find themselves doing exactly what they did in Lithuania for considerably less wages.

    Apparently one woman was locked in a flat for 2 weeks and raped daily. The raper is a vicous prick and I hope he dies a horrid death involving castration and a large swarm of bees.

    This is happening all over the country and it's just wrong people - folk are dying, being raped, molested and generally screwed over by fat white bastards from Manchester and Liverpool (trust the Scousers and Mancs), and if it happens USB will get a name for itself similar to that of the Balkans: Racist, Unfriendly, mostly Muslim and with a penchant for casual sex crime. Lets stop it here folks.

    Most of the people being trafficked are 18-25 years old (some 45%) but there are some 14 year olds and even younger with a sizeable proportion of unknown age. This is evil.

    The BBC estimates as much as 85% of our female sex slaves are from "forn parts" and this has changed in 17 years, in 1990 it was 85% from local areas.

    The tosspots who do stuf like this don't deserve to live, or have a passport, or even be human. They deserve the worst life can through at them and a couple of decades in GitMo getting beaten, raped, crapped on and harrased by the yanks should do them good - that or Abu Ghraib - the two are synonmous with each other.

    I may have stressed this a thousand times in this article folks but it really does jack me off something nasty.

    In other news: A bishop gets chibbed, A Pilot goes 6 times over the limit (so less than normal), some dudes body found in the clyde (brain presumably missing), Welsh council folk cut jobs and 61 folk die in an explosion in Siberia - they where probably all sent there by the soviets so it's ok.

    Charmingly Normal for the Now

    - Grimsta.

    Lord Rahl's "right" opinion next, for all you who watch the gogglebox;
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    Hello again everyone!

    I'm sure that not all of you agreed with my last article in Helios VI, but I don't care so much because I know I'm right! Anyway, I'm going to change course with this article today. Even though I love politics I get sick of it. You hear the same stuff over and over again and nothing gets done, so I have chosen to do something a little more down-to-earth and real life. If anyone has watched enough Family Guy they will know what the title of this little rant comes from. So here goes,

    You Know What Really Grinds My Gears?

    You know what really grinds my gears? TV! Television viewing is one of the most uninteresting and probably the biggest waste of time you'll spend on any given day. Think about it! There are hardly any unique shows out there. Most of them are all differing versions of the same idea. You've got, I believe, four CSI's, a few Law & Orders, and a few ER type shows. Not to mention other shows that are all basically the same idea but under a different name. This doesn't mean that there aren't any good shows on but whenever I go to my friends' places they always seem to be watching those shows, especially women. They will watch Grey's Anatomy like it is an addiction! Those shows aren't the worst though. At least all of those shows have at least some decent acting, interesting writing, and perhaps a hot lady on them. The worst shows are the "reality" shows. You know, shows like, The Real World: Denver. I've seen probably a few shows while hanging out with some of my friends. They call it the "real world" when they get a bunch of people of different races, different personalities, who are complete strangers, and then follow them around with cameras for awhile to see what they do. Then they put them all in this pimped out pad! How is that real? Sure, it causes a bunch of conflict between people but why is that interesting? It is all set up. If they really wanted to do something interesting they'd put a bunch of people from all around the world into one house somewhere.

    You know what else really grinds my gears? TV commercials! Oh, they are the worst! What happened to good commercials? I'd say about 98% of commercials shouldn't be allowed on TV. They aren't funny or they're really annoying. For example, what happened to the Taco Bell dog and the Budweiser frogs? Those guys were awesome! Thankfully most beer commercials are at least decent enough for me to watch a few times before I get annoyed at them. I've always wondered why people can't get good commercials on TV. How much do the companies pay to get their product advertised? Well, it probably is a lot, so why can't a lot of money make a good commercial? It boggles my mind. Sometimes I fancy a thought of becoming someone involved in advertisement. I always got high marks on school projects involving advertisement. Maybe that will come later in my life. All the people who make the commercials do is provide the viewer with something interesting and easily remembered. That shouldn't be too hard to do. Even though someone watching TV is bombarded many times with advertisements on the "tube", I bet they can't remember most of them if I asked the viewer a day or two later. I only remember commercials that are interesting and to the point. That means that all of the other commercials that I only know and remember them as annoying don't do their job. So, that means that there is a lot of ill-spent money being given to people who don't do a good job of using it.

    So, out of all of this just remember, TV sucks. If anyone didn't read through all of that or didn't even start reading it I guess I did a bad job of keeping things interesting. Maybe I wouldn't be good at making commercials after all...

    This rant brought to you by,

    Lord Rahl

    The much loved Oldgamer in a philosophical-political mix here:
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    Oldgamer Reporting for Duty ...

    Science, Faith, and Algore

    Last week, a very large Algore ... a somewhat large carbon footprint in his own right ... fresh from his victory at the annual Celebrity Mutual Praise-a-Thon (otherwise known as the Academy Awards Ceremony), steps before Congress and tells the DEMs there what they want to hear. The world is sick.

    "This is the most dangerous crisis we have ever faced. This problem is burning a hole in the top of the world…. We need to turn the thermostat back down before that melts."

    Some of his ideas: a pollution tax, an immediate freeze on carbon dioxide emissions with sharp reductions in future years, stricter vehicle miles-per-gallon rules, a moratorium on construction of highly polluting coal-fired power plants, a strong global climate-change treaty and the creation of a federally operated "carbon-neutral" mortgage association that would serve as incentive for building energy-efficient homes.

    He asked the Congressmen, “"Did they think it was perfectly all right to keep dumping 70 million tons every single day of global-warming pollution into this Earth's atmosphere?" or "How did they find the uncommon moral courage to rise above politics?" (the latter question asked by one of the most partisan people in America).

    Mr. Gore's theoretical basis for his hope of destroying America's industrial and energy industries, and transferring the wealth of this nation to the Third World, is the notion of human-induced Global Warming, i.e., that humans are destroying the planet by increasing global temperatures. They do this by burning fossil fuels. Although there are many theorists, including vegetarian guru John MacDougall, MD, who believe that the largest single source of carbon dioxide is livestock, for the purpose of eating meats and dairy products, I believe that Al hasn't jumped on the vegetarian bandwagon, yet (if his appearance before congress ... ahem ... amply demonstrated).

    Human-induced GW theorists believe that human activities will cause a dramatic increase in the global temperature over this century, and cause sea levels to rise, along with a consequent increase in violent weather activity. Although the “evidence” isn't in, yet, they believe that action is called for now, before it's too late.

    So, is the planet warming? Is the cause of this warming carbon dioxide? And, if so, are humans doing it?

    Are the above three questions even the purpose of this column? We shall see ...

    We do know that planet earth warmed by a stunning 1 degree Fahrenheit during the 20th century. Frightening statistic, isn't it? And we do know that this warming coincided with a massive increase in human industrial activity, and an increase in carbon dioxide. So, this shows that the human-induced GW theorists are right, correct?

    Could be. Might not be.

    The planet has been gradually warming since the Little Ice Age, some three hundred years ago. This warming also coincides with increased human industrial activity. Does this mean that humans made the Little Ice Age go away? Could be. Might not be.

    You see, just like the Theory of Evolution, there are facts of global warming, and then, there is the Theory of Global Warming. A fact of any theory is a hard piece of data, empirically verifiable, and therefore provable.

    But a theory is nothing but a philosophical model having more resemblance to a theological doctrine than a fact. A fact is discovered, and plugged into the model. If it doesn't fit, the model might be changed. If it does fit, the model will be slightly verified. Hopefully, the scientist will have pure intentions and not a secret political agenda, and will alter the model to fit the facts truthfully.

    In essence, I'm saying that a theory ... especially on a complex subject ... has as much chance of accurately representing reality as Medieval 2: Total War has of accurately modelling the Middle Ages. And the more mods we have, the more personal agendas get put into the game, like blood, uber-Irish, and all-conquering Armenians (no insult intended to Irish or Armenian members of the forum).

    But every theory is merely a philosophical representation of what people believe to be true in the universe. Therefore, it is based on probability.

    Some theories have an extremely high statistical probability, like gravity. Pull an apple off of a tree and release it. Most of us would agree that it will likely fall to the ground. At least, we haven't seen an exception to this theory, and so it is called an Axiom. It is axiomatic that an apple pulled from a tree and released will fall to the ground.

    But gravity is a simple theory, even though it is complex in how it works. What about Evolution, which covers billions of years? What about Global Warming? And are we the cause of the Global Warming?

    The fact is, we just don't know. The climate of the planet is so diverse, and the theory of human-induced climate change is so complex, we just can't know for sure. We didn't know 30 years ago, and we likely won't know 100, 200, or 500 years from now. It's simply too complex an issue.

    By the way, it's a lot of fun to accuse the Left of simplistic thinking!

    You see, we can't go to the year 2100 and see what has happened. That's the big problem with all of science: Verifying the theory in the past, or the future.

    A little formula of mine (the copyright to which is registered, and I freely give permission to the Total War Center to reproduce it!):

    For every theory T, which can be empirically verified by the set of presently-observable phenomena {a,b,c ...}, there must be another set of phenomena {x,y,z ...} which cannot be verified in the past or the future, but which must be present for T to be true.

    So what does this formula mean?

    As simply stated as possible, since a theory cannot be verified in the past or the future, because we cannot go there, another element is necessary. This element could be mathematical, and regarded as probability. But it also bears a striking resemblance to religious faith.

    Lord Bertrand Russell, one of the greatest mathematicians of the last couple of hundred years, and a confirmed atheist, was worried about the problem of verifying past or future events for this very reason. It required an element extremely similar to faith, and that fact bothered him. In the end, he solved the problem by putting less “faith” in science, itself.

    And that brings me to the point of this column!

    Environmentalism, the Gaia Hypothesis, Human-Induced Global Warming Theory ... they are all replacements for religion in the Western world, especially Christianity. In a sense, the Creator is being replaced by the creation, and the Creation is now the object of worship.

    It has its own Church, which consists of the scientists themselves (they serve as the clergy) and the people who devoutly believe in everything they say (the laity). It has its own doctrine, consisting of the theories which cannot be proved beyond a doubt in this life. It has its own inquisitions, consisting in the firing and/or shunning of scientists who do not buy into the “consensus” theories ... it seems to me that a consensus of scientists once believed that the world was flat. Interesting.

    Maybe it even has its own miracles. You know what I mean. The occasional fact supporting human-induced GWT pops up, and everyone is positively amazed!

    And ... especially in the case of Global Warming ... it has its own Pope.

    Pope Algore I (and hopefully, the last).

    Everywhere he goes, he is mobbed by people anxious for his autograph, a few words from him, or a simple touch. In spite of the fact that the man lives in a 20-room mansion with 8 bathrooms, he is seen as the Supreme Pontiff reducing the “carbon footprint” and saving the planet for our children. Like some of the Medieval Popes, his mansion proves that, to him, his dedication to the faith is questionable.

    Does the new Pope fly on commercial airliners? Or does he use a private jet?

    Does he and Tipper live simply, or do they have three properties that they use ... the mansion above, a 4000 sq. ft. home in Arlington, Virginia, and another home in Carthage, Tennessee?

    In public records, there is not a single instance of His Greenness using green energy in either of their large residences. Talk about an inconvenient truth!

    Why did he make sure that his family assets were poured into Occidental Petroleum? This is a company that has been mired in environmentally-insensitive research and drilling. Perhaps he likes his oil royalty better than Gaia?

    Humanity may be sitting on “a ticking time bomb”, but his own property is sitting on a zinc mine. He gets a $20,000 a year royalty from Pasminco Zinc, which has been cited for adding large quantities of barium, iron and zinc to the nearby Caney Fork River. Doesn't he care about the fish and other wildlife in the area? Isn't he worried that “the children” may be harmed?

    Algore wants all of us to give up our lifestyles and live simply, and greenly (is there such a word?). But the Supreme Pontiff of the Church of Global Warming doesn't seem ready to give up his own lifestyle.

    Since Mr. Gore wants the rest of us to radically change our lives, is it asking to much for him to give up his zinc mine? ... or the mansion? ... or the private jet? ... or his Occidental Petroleum portfolio?

    As an aside, does he even know that Occidental has spent thrity years making a mess of the Peruvian rainforest, searching for oil, and indigenous indians are begging the company to clean up this toxic nightmare? ( )

    By the way, Senator James Imhofe is one of Algore's most vocal critics. When Gore went to the Senate side, last week, the following exchange took place.

    "It seems that everything is blamed on global warming," Inhofe said. "Last summer we had a heat wave and everyone said, 'Oh, that's proof it's global warming.' Then we had a mild December. 'Oh, that's proof that global warming is taking place.' … How come you guys never seem to notice it when it gets cold?"

    But Gore held firm, noting that a manatee showed up off Memphis last summer.

    A manatee?

    And the point is?

    Myself, now. On an evil, black, dark crime...
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    "Where they burn books, they will end in burning human beings."

    Said by Heinrich Heine in 1821, the above sentiment holds no less true today; object lessons in this are available down the ages, including but by no means limited to the burnings of the Koran by the Inquisition that Heine objected to and the burning of those books regarded by the Nazis as "un-German", fittingly including within this caregory the work of Heine himself as well as many others.

    What relevance does this aphorism hold in the modern world, the world of information technology, of tolerance, of pluralism, of humanism? Ask those who burn Harry Potter books; ask those who burn Bibles on Youtube; and even ask the Egyption Ministry of Culture, which burned volumes of homoerotic poetry in 2001 for their homoerotic nature. Or you can ask the head of an institution whose motto is "sapere aude", ("Dare to be wise", motto of the Enlightenment); whose libraries are a major selling point for the institution; and whose collections of books are one of the main features of its learning environment and programme.

    I speak, sadly, of my own school. It follows in the footsteps of a fine tradition, in sending its library to the incinerators; was not the great Library of Alexandria sent in such a way? But it appears the consequences of such a folly are unregarded. Now, lest I am accused of melodrama, let me describe the situation; in order to incorporate the two school libraries into one area, add a computer suite, and create office space (in a school, remember) the libraries are being compelled to remove 1/3 of their stock, including some exquisite books, used by the pupils as a point of reference as much as the teachers are. And they are being removed for the purpose of office space? This is a school, not a business, and even where it a business, its not good practice to get one's whole set of employees up in arms against one.

    One thing enrages me more than even this though, and that is the destination of these books. Manchester has a plethora of second hand and charity bookshops that would love some of these volumes, especially those of the archive (almost entirely being thrown out!); the money would go either to preserving small and independant retailers of a kind I have grown to love as an avid bibliophile or to charitable causes such as Oxfam. What is being done with them instead? The skip, bound for the incinerator. Doubly evil given the new "recycling" intiative the same man who ordered these changes has begun; insidious folly, is all I can descrbe this as, lest I get into almost religious language.

    Now, I have been dealing here with the specific case. But what of the general principle of such destruction of knowledge? For that is what book burning is. The principle is simple; all knowledge should be preserved. I decry the burning of Mein Kampf equally to that of the Bible, the burning of 120 Days of Sodom equally to Almansor, even Reflections on the Revolution in France equally to Rights of Man. The destruction of one book is the destruction of knowledge; it is an attack on knowledge, an attack on freedom, an attack on what we hold dear as essentials in life. It runs counter to liberal ideals; it runs counter to freedom of speech and thought; it runs counter to the Enlightenment value mentioned earlier of "sapere aude". How can one stand idly by while this occurs? Once we do, we stand idly by at an action with consequences far more far reaching than any murder on the street, because we open the door to standing idly by to such murders over matters of speech and knowledge.

    A happy postscript to this heavy matter, however; I salvaged around a tenth of the archived books before they were thrown to the fires, and about a sixth of that removed from the History section, while a friend salvaged a further fifth of the archive books and some, though a small quantity only, of the history.

    We are of course very, very, very glad to welcome back Siblesz; an article of great interest and topical relevance, here, on war with Iran…
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    The Reality of a War with Iran

    Growing fears of war between Iran and the West have resulted over the capture of fifteen British sailors. Having read the majority opinion on this forum, I can't help but be sick by some of the inexperience of our fellow posters. Even after the torrential failure of the war in Iraq and its continuing state of chaos, a chaos that is only slightly curved by Iran's ever growing and intranssient influence in that country, simple-minded war-mongerers continue to view war as a favourable course of action. It is reasonable to say that the most likely ending to the second 'Iran hostage crisis' is the release of the sailors within the next two weeks. However, a threat by the Iranian government to try the sailors for espionage has made some more concerned about the definite possibility of war. What would a war between Iran and the West be like? Before I go on to do what I term, "Sibstradamusizing", we have to understand a few things about Iran.

    An Introduction

    Iran is not your usual state. It is not weak, by any standards. It is the world's fourth largest oil producer, it is one of the top 10 military powers, and it has a determined and ideological segment of the population. It is headed by an ideological oligarch of religious crazies called the Council of Ayatollahs - a group that holds its decisions on closed doors and enacts its policies without much bureaucracy, a definite plus in the rapidity of modern times. It is also not another Iraq. Iran is culturally stable, a great asset in case of a prolonged and bitter war. Iran is predominantly Persian, with a variety of other ethnicities that are minor in comparison, meaning ethnicities are easily subdued by the greater majority. Iran's religion is 90% Shi'ite, a huge majority for any country, and one of the more extreme faiths of Islam. All of this contrasts with Iraq's volatile diversity, a diversity that made the Iraq War a walk in the park for the Americans in 2003 by splitting the country in three and carving up the spoils.

    Unlike the nation of Iraq, which was invented by the British Empire after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, Iran has a long and proud history that has at times aroused great fits of fervent nationalism. In 1980, Saddam's Iraq understimated Iran after the Ayatollah's revolution and decided to invade it, thinking the war could be easily won. Five years later, the tables were turned and Baghdad was under siege by the Iranian army. The show of courage of the Iranians in the Iran-Iraq War was epitomized in their human wave attacks, a war hysteria that is remniscient of the Soviet's suicidal wave attacks against the Wehrmacht in WWII. Thousands upon thousands of men, teenagers, and sometimes children, charged mindlessly into minefields, artillery ranges, and long trenches in order to try and breach Iraqi defensive lines.

    These are the people the West is dealing with.

    Internally, Iran is not quite stable and suffers from public revolt. But all the disatisfaction within the populace will melt away if war is started, as it happened in the beginning of the Iran-Iraq War. Not much will be needed to rouse the nation of Iran to another state of war. They have the experience of the past to rely on, they have an ideology to brainwash people with, they have hardy people trained for the task, and they have studied their enemies well in order to better defend, or attack, in a state of war.

    In the West, the weather is not good for war. The West suffers from a weakened and disatisfied population that is tired of the war in Iraq and persuing to end it, and it also suffers from an overstretched and overspent military that can hardly keep order in Afghanistan, any less Iraq. The weakened state of the military will disallow the West to invade Iran by ground, limiting the military campaign in case of war to sea and air, and disabling a crushing victory against Tehran. Furthermore, the U.S. Congress has tilted to the Democrats' side, a far less warmongering party than the Republicans. With the Democrats in power, a less radical option against Iran is inevitable, making America's position in such a conflict weaker. Finally, Europe is in no mood for war, for such a crisis could quite easily escalate its own ethnic divisions and incite violence.

    The Beginning

    One foolish move by the West will trigger a nasty response by Iran as America and Britain remain sitting ducks in a huge trap that will create a firey hell in the their own military turf - Iraq. It is no secret that Iran is a major player in Iraq's own government. Some say that Iran's influence has even superceded that of the United States in Iraq's internal affairs. Since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, Iran has infiltrated every facet of government and civilian life in the South of Iraq with the objective of creating a "greater Iran". It has also supplied weapons to insurgency movements across Iraq in order to increase ethnic division between Sunnis and Shi'ites; an attempt aimed at displacing the Sunnis out of power in crucial centers of influence.

    So what would a likely series of events be if war were started? Let us imagine that the fifteen British sailors are not returned and Iran remains steadfast against the United Nations in its persuit for nuclear energy. Let us also imagine that England releases an ultimatum. If the sailors are not released within the next month, action will be taken. A month passes, and no return of the sailors. New sanctions are imposed on Iran that restrict their import of refined oil, and Iran cannot bear the pressure any longer. Instead of offering concessions to the West, Iran takes steps to further increase tensions by killing four American soldiers in a border skirmish. The Americans retaliate, and kill ten Iranian soldiers. The next day, war is started.

    Week I:
    Day 1: America and the E.U. lead a massive air and sea campaign against Iran.
    Day 2-7: Air and Sea campaign continues. West suffers some opposition from Iranian military, more opposition than it faced in Iraq war, but still manages to swiftly eliminate Iranian military targets. Most of Iranian nuclear program destroyed. Some Iranian missiles launched against U.S. bases. One manages to hit, killing 140 U.S. soldiers. Strait of Hormuz closed by Iranian navy. Oil prices skyrocket to $95 a barrel. Europe and America in state of war as most of the population blames Iran and sides with the West's forces.

    Week II:
    Air and Sea campaign continues. Iranian navy obliterated. Strait of Hormuz relieved. West suffers the loss of one destroyer. Oil prices become lower, but remain high. Most targets inside of Iran destroyed. Iranian border attacks against Iraq succeed at first, but are quickly repulsed. Iranian air force neutralized. Rising tensions in Southern Iraq and Baghdad as Mahdi militia re-appears, strengthened by infiltrated revolutionary guards. Roadside bombs increase.

    Week III: Air campaign continues. Iran, first in a state of chaos, rallies under the Ayatollah and launches more attacks. Iraq tensions very high. Government powerless as Karballah, Basrah, Najav, and Baghdad rise in revolt against what Iran terms "the Great Satan's unjustified aggression". Iran launches missiles. Shi'ite militias target Sunnis in Baghdad.

    Week IV: U.S. bases inside Iraq struck by bombings. Most of Iraq under strict curfew. Riots in Southern Iraq. Basrah turns more volatile. British army bases under attack. Iran continues and itensifies attacks, but each time are repulsed. America retaliates against border attacks, destroying government buildings in Tehran. Iranian government remains in power, and continues radicalizing population. Hezbollah launches attacks against Israel, but is repulsed.

    Week V-VII: Iraqi oil pipelines destroyed. Oil prices remain very high. Iran continues border attacks. Nine American soldiers kidnapped. America retaliates, sending force into Iran to retrieve captured soldiers. Force repulsed, twenty dead. Iraqi government in crisis as some government officials defect to Iran and declare open rebellion. Chaos follows in Baghdad. Sunnis launch reprisals against Shi'ite militias. Thousands dead.

    Week VIII-XII: Civil war begins in Iraq. America finds itself in a precarious situation as most coalition bases in the South and Baghdad under attack. West sends European and American reinforcements of 150,000 soldiers to Iraq. Security in Iraq tightened, but to no avail. Attacks remain constant. Discontent in the West as Iran remains steadfast and launches more border attacks.

    XIII-IX: Impeachment procedures against Bush in Congress. Congress moves to vote on evacuation of Iraq. Iraq continues civil war as hundreds of thousands die. Coalition deaths reach 10,000. Iran continues attacks.

    XX-XXVIII: Congress wins vote but Bush uses veto. Terrorist bombs directed by Iranian revolutionary guards strike throughout the Middle East and Europe. Middle East leadership turns against the West, calling for the end of the war and the evacuation of the coalition out of Iraq.

    A year or two later: Major victory for Iran. Coalition troops evacuate Iraq, a scene remniscient of Vietnam, but with far, far worse consequences. Ethnic cleansing occurs. Tensions between Shi'ites and Sunnis rise enormously in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia condemns Iran, closes access to Mecca to Iranians. Middle East in turmoil.

    An Ending

    It is too difficult to prognosticate anything after this. But you guys get the point. Although destroying Iran's military capabilities might prove to be easy, invading it militarily is not a possibility. Once war is started, Iran's population will rouse to a belligerent state, and Iran will certainly resolve to attacks. Although conventional attacks against Iraq will be easily countered, order over the South of Iraq and Baghdad will be impossible, triggering civil war and trapping the coalition inside its own line of defense. The follow up will not be too good. America's downfall on the world stage will be a direct outcome, following world recession, and European discontentment. Europe's own troubled ethnic make-up will become even more aggressive, triggering riots all over Europe. Terrorist attacks will skyrocket.

    Of course, this is all conjecture. Who knows what will happen. But this is a fairly accurate prediction. If anything, I'm giving the West too much credit in the outcome of a war. However, any factor can change this series of events to the other extreme. The West could gain a major victory, for example, from a regime change inside Iran before war. Or Iran's ayatollahs suddenly change course, give up their nuclear program, and become more peaceful in their attempts to create Iranian hegemony over the Middle East. But if war is begun, regime change will be impossible and a deadly and intractable pattern will be set. And the world will be clouded in darkness indeed, making today's brutish situation seem like a sunny day. And maybe, just maybe, the foolish war-mongerers will shut up after that.

    And finally more philosophy, now from Setarcos Aneist:
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    The Earth spins in unfathomable expanses of nothingness. Once I attempted to model the solar system on a computer. It was impossible. The vast sections of nothing between the planets left them lost in the void. Even the sun was forgotten in the masses of space (kind of an oxymoron that…). We look at a mountain and think it enormous. Even a small hill is large. Yet even the tallest mountain is like a pinprick in one straw of the haystack that is Earth. The Earth itself is impossible to see in my model from the outermost planets. But then again so is the sun. The only think that makes the sun (the largest possible thing you can imagine, then triple it) viewable is the incredible strength of its emissions, impossible to model on my simulation. The outermost planets themselves cannot be seen as I zoom out to view the whole model (never completed, after loosing Venus and Saturn I was unable to model the others. I spent over an hour combing space for some of the largest objects known to man…). Yet even zoomed out to this level I am looking at an expanse unviewable from the perspective of the Galaxy. Itself one of billions.

    We are nothing, nothing compared to the aeons of the past and future, nothing compared to the light millennia of the universe. This is the viewpoint of nihilism. We are worthless, as therefore are all our morals and decisions. It’s a perfectly viable and rational view. For the vast majority of us, no one decision we make will affect more then a hundred others. That’s not even one-ten-millionth of the population of the planet. Even if a nuclear war broke out, and all six billion of us ceased to exist, not a single stone would be disturbed on the surface of mars, our nearest neighbour, and magma would continue to spin deep under our crust. Even on the scale of our planet itself, we are insignificant.

    The Nihilists may be right on the grand scheme of things. But are they right? Are we really nothing? So ingrained it is in us, over the centuries, that we are the centre of the universe (a belief strengthened by our many misguided churches and religions), that we find it a terrible and terrifying thing to realise that we are but small and insignificant.

    The answer? Religion, of course it is. Religion is there to wipe away our fears, fill in what we don’t know, and act as a comfort blanket to protect you from the truth. A grand institutionalised manifestation of our ancient and present fears and ignorance. Too often the answer to “why do you believe?” Is “It makes me feel safe”, “Death is less terrifying”, “You’re ******* wrong and you ******* know it, go **** up someone else’s life and leave me with Jesus, you’re going to ******* hell!” ect ect. Are we so base and cowardly that we must resort to lies and superstition to make us ‘feel safe’. If we are, then I pity mankind.

    However, I have to grudge the theists a victory (grumble grumble), that over Nihilism. The point to the stars, and say, “God loves us, he does! And he put up all the prettyful stars just for us! I like God, he’s nice!” When I look up at the stars, and imagine their size, I fee small. But just like the theists, I don’t care! My tiny little eyes see a smaller world then the universe. I see my men and paper in front of me; I can just about see the edge of the table. I can hear the others playing pool across the room as I await my turn. ‘It’s a small world after all’ the song goes (I have a lovely bunch of coconuts…), and the sing is right. For me, the world is this room. When I visit France, I’ll ignore the thousands I don’t know walking past me, but if I meet a friend on the boat back, I may say, “It’s a small world!” Who cares that I saw no one I knew across France, for me, the world is with those I meet and know. For me, the world is the room I’m in, the person sitting next to me eating a sandwich and the others playing pool. Wait there a moment; I think it’s my turn.

    Yes I lost, what a surprise. I think I just have enough time to finish this biology homework off. That’s what matters to me right now, not some supernova across the galaxy blowing itself and the area around it to shreds. Hell, it probably has more effect on the universe then my biology homework does, but that’s not for me to care about it. In a moment you’ll stop reading this and move on. Just bear in mind, if you have no ambition, if you laze the day away, what else is there to do? Because in the end, no one else cares but you.

    Carpe Diem

    Et fini. Great intellectual stimulation there, I feel; the quality of my writers continues to astound...

    So that's us done here; thanks for reading, see you again in a fortnight, and now go and rep my reporters; they deserve it all over again. Or at least write to the Helios with a letter, we're getting a dearth of them.
    Last edited by imb39; March 27, 2007 at 01:35 PM.

  2. #2
    Skyler's Avatar Soul Searching Sun Gun
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    Default Re: The Seventh Helios!

    ''Are all religous people of a high IQ really closet athiests?''

    Interesting articles although I didn't read through it al yet, ohwell something to last me a few days I guess.

    New chockfull Helios, could the next issue be even more lengthier? Thanks for writing it guys.


    Edit: I am sure to watch the grizzly man, both cool and sad posthumous film.
    Last edited by Skyler; March 27, 2007 at 07:34 AM.

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    Giorgos's Avatar Deus Ex Machina
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    Default Re: The Seventh Helios!

    Good work Gentlemen. Once again.

  4. #4

    Default Re: The Seventh Helios!

    Why is there no report on the Modding Awards? What is this?
    I demand that Ozymandies shall be removed from the post of Helios Big Guy!


  5. #5
    Darkragnar's Avatar Member of Ordo Malleus
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    Default Re: The Seventh Helios!

    Stunning Issue Lads, keep the Good work up.
    Rep's for All of you.
    Rep Me TOO , I like Rep's.
    Last edited by Darkragnar; March 27, 2007 at 09:26 AM.
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  6. #6

    Default Re: The Seventh Helios!

    Indeed I am a strange person...

    Once again a good Helios, how do you beat the last edition everytime with the next one?

  7. #7
    Libertine's Avatar Neptune eats planets
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    Default Re: The Seventh Helios!

    we don't, thing is Ozy gets a slip of paper with our names on it and then uses his infinite improbability generator to pull infintley improbable articles out of nothing but a nice cup of really hot tea...
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  8. #8
    William the Bastard's Avatar Invictus Maneo
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    Default Re: The Seventh Helios!

    Still no mention of the greatest thread for mankind! LOL!
    Other than that well done great read!
    Last edited by William the Bastard; March 27, 2007 at 04:39 PM.

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    Skyler's Avatar Soul Searching Sun Gun
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    Default Re: The Seventh Helios!

    Quote Originally Posted by William the Bastard View Post
    Still no mention of the greatest thread for mankind! LOL!
    I think if you'd ask them nicely (neg,neg,neg) they will make a reference to it in the next helios.

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  10. #10
    William the Bastard's Avatar Invictus Maneo
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    Default Re: The Seventh Helios!

    Quote Originally Posted by Skyler View Post
    I think if you'd ask them nicely (neg,neg,neg) they will make a reference to it in the next helios.
    I would like to think we all through the depths of our souls see the magnificence of said thread! LOL!

  11. #11
    imb39's Avatar Comes Rei Militaris
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    Default Re: The Seventh Helios!

    Stunning, simply stunning

    btw, that picture is not me! I shall sue the people who host the Helios in typical Fox News style...

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    William the Bastard's Avatar Invictus Maneo
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    Default Re: The Seventh Helios!

    imb39 I thought you were this fella reincarnated!

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    therussian's Avatar Use your imagination
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    Default Re: The Seventh Helios!

    Quote Originally Posted by Arakorn-eir View Post
    Why is there no report on the Modding Awards? What is this?
    I demand that Ozymandies shall be removed from the post of Helios Big Guy!

    Hm..........oops I guess that's under ES jurisdiction....eheh. Maybe this Sunday I'll include it in the ES

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    Default Re: The Seventh Helios!

    Just so people know my editorial was a report that I turned into my History 181 class.
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  15. #15
    Nihil's Avatar Annihilationist
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    Default Re: The Seventh Helios!

    I'm delighted and honoured to be part of this Helios, which is the best one I've seen. It's positively exploding with pleasure like a cornucopia of luscious delights.
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    great work guys! keep it up!

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  17. #17

    Default Re: The Seventh Helios!

    Did anyone even read the Arts & Science section? Come on people.

    @William, well, I did include one thread of yours, no? If I was doing the next Arts & Sci section I would certainly include your distracting and slightly disturbing thread.

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  18. #18
    William the Bastard's Avatar Invictus Maneo
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    Default Re: The Seventh Helios!

    Quote Originally Posted by Justinian View Post
    @William, well, I did include one thread of yours, no? If I was doing the next Arts & Sci section I would certainly include your distracting and slightly disturbing thread.
    Cheers Justinian Even though my disturbing thread does deserve

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    deRougemont's Avatar Yeoman
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    Default Re: The Seventh Helios!

    Yay, I'm in the paper!

    Nice work lads!

  20. #20

    Default Re: The Seventh Helios!

    So many editorials to read, so little time...

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