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Thread: Helios the Eleventh

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    Tom Paine's Avatar Mr Common Sense

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    Jun 2005
    Silver Spring, Maryland (inside the Beltway)

    Default Helios the Eleventh

    Thema Deviant by [user]enoch[/user]
    Arts and Sciences by [user]Gaius Baltar[/user]
    Vestigia Vetustatis by [user]Scorch[/user]
    Circus Maximus by [user]Darkragnar[/user]
    Basement by [user]Shaun[/user]
    Fight Club! by [user]Garbarsardar[/user]
    Curia by [user]rome ac[/user]
    The Speaker on the Curia by [user]Ozymandias[/user]
    The TWC Wiki by [user]Ozymandias[/user]
    Editorials by [user]Farnan[/user], [user]Lord Rahl[/user], [user]Oldgamer[/user], [user]Siblesz[/user], [user]the Black Prince[/user]
    Birthday! of [user]Grimsta[/user]

    Welcome, all, to a bright new era - the 11th Helios! Not only have we hit double digits, we keep going strong, and get stronger! We open with the controversial enoch on the home of controversy and debate on matters of the day, affecting us all, in the Thema Devia...nt.
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 

    I have had quite a week so forgive me if I am missing some of what I am. I finally feel Anthony’s quip in the thirteenth episode of the HBO series Rome....

    Knives in the Senate House…
    if you follow

    Ethos is the topic of the fortnight in the EMM, which has somehow been tamer than the pit these days….

    What the heck is Logic anyway?

    Screw Jesus and his fancy miracles, my faith is logic based
    The Logic Machine? that is Richard Dawkins
    Atheism is not only illogical………it can also get you sent to the principal’s included
    And how can anyone discuss logic without calling out the anti religion of Darwinism

    what about the logic of everything else and
    Whatever happened to plain old reason?

    Don’t miss Seneca’s musings on Ontological anxiety – Uncertainty
    Although be prepared to think above your pay grade
    For something a little lighter check out his thoughts on Basic FAQ for Buddhism - A religion that works

    Or share stories of how you came to your religious beliefs in a nearly peaceful setting, although you wouldn’t have guessed it considering the madman behind it all

    And, of course…hot objectifying porn?

    The Mudpit

    Three country staples are still on the diet

    A whole bunch of Middle East fact mixing with some delicious propaganda

    The Evil Israeli Empire?
    economic repression
    a greedy, uncaring world
    and why haven’t the Palestinians tried nonviolent resistance – it seems so obvious…

    The Eviler American Hegemony

    Victory over the insurgents or was it of the insurgents? see for yourself
    You may also be surprised at who holds the title of The Most Hated People On Earth
    Even the Scots want out….
    Might be they are just disappointed that the New European Century isn’t really working out

    But the can’t miss thread of the week for all the right and wrong reasons is the juggernaut that was Jerry Falwell - 7pgs. in one day ending in the best flamewar I have seen in a while…..well, the second best ……and ozy wants me to avoid controversy…..hehehe

    And deviant seems a pretty good term to describe both the report and the reporter; I assure you, it was the term the man himself used, not mine! had it been up to me, I... would probably have made a less witty joke. Let's be honest.
    Anyway. We can welcome back an old member of the Helios who missed the last few issues - how many, I forget - due to an erratic schedule; he assures me this hasn't inconvenienced him too much to produce, and how much effort is real life worth anyway? Well, here we are, Gaius Baltar returns to tell us about Arts and Sciences:
    Arts & Sciences
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    May 19, 2007
    By Gaius Baltar

    After roaming around the countryside for a bit, I had the opportunity to step back into the role of Helios Reporter. Leaning back and looking at the never-ending stack of material on my desk, I puffed slowly on my pipe and and remembered coming across King Henrys desk, alone in the flickering light of the lobby, scattered papers about the floor. There was a dame involved, I could tell because of the perfume...and there was a cigar crumpled in the ash tray.

    Things change quickly around here.

    I shuffled through the desk drawers and found what I was looking for, the 38 special he kept under his bible.

    Tucking the piece comfortably into my vest, I thought, “Why not?..what could go wrong?”

    The Arts

    My first step was to visit the Arts Forum. I was looking for my old favorites, Battlestar Galactica and Rome on HBO, and the TWC Art Gallery. No luck, they had faded back several pages.

    Battlestar Galactica has enjoyed some critical support, even though fan response has tailed off after the first season. The move to the Sunday night, 10pm time slot here in the US has not been a positive experience either. Some shows, such as the early season 2 episodes, showed the flash of tremendous potential these shows, and the series as a whole, could have.

    Starbuck has a thing for Leoben, and well...Apollo, and of course her husband, and perhaps Adama....and even a Cylon get the idea...perhaps now that shes a Cylon she can have a wider range of experiences....

    Starbuck knows the juicy details when it comes to Cylon Raiders....

    Tigh gets some quality time with a Cylon.

    Which one would make a good Tribunal Judge?

    Unfortunately, writers have slowed the series down to a virtual crawl, with a focus on interpersonal relationships, between Starbuck and Apollo, Apollo and Dualla, Starbuck and her husband, Apollo and Adama, Starbuck and the Cylon, Baltar and Number 6 and whatever transitory mating the shows producers could mangle up. In some episodes not a single weapon was discharged in anger!. Contrast that with the series opening montage, where a Cylon fleet methodically nukes Caprica into a wasteland, or the season 2 opening series Exodus Part 2, where Adama jumps the Galatica into the upper atmosphere of New Caprica and release his Vipers as he drops like a fireball over the Cylon base, then in a blast of lightspeed energy, jumps back out into the upper atmosphere to fight three Cylon baseships. Despite these emotional extremes in programming, the series has been renewed for a fourth season, with a full slate of 22-hour long episodes expected, beginning in early 2008.

    SCI FI has renewed Battlestar Galactica for a full fourth season, commissioning 22 hour-long episodes of "the best show on television." This will include a special two-hour extended event that will air during fourth quarter 2007 and be released on DVD by Universal Studios Home Entertainment. Production will resume in May with an eye toward a early 2008 season premiere.
    As voiced by well respected members in the now dusty thread,

    Quote Originally Posted by enoch
    The existence of BSG is, for me, sufficient proof that there is a God and he loves us
    Quote Originally Posted by kanaric
    lol, yes a decent sci-fi tv show finally is definitely showing divine intervention.
    Quote Originally Posted by Gaius Baltar
    Thats a LONG wait.......
    As a lifetime Battlestar fan, I am eagerly anticipating the new season.

    Visit the BattleStar Galactica website for the latest in news, podcasts, screens and other material.


    One the best shows in television, ROME , Rome on HBO, was cancelled after its second season. Industry watchers indicated that the actors in the series, mainly British, had signed the usual 2 year agreement during initial staffing. Apparently the shows massive 100 million budget made additional salary demands alarming, and the producers shut down the series.
    I wanted to watch the shows in their entirety, but was rebuffed by the hefty 80 dollar (USD) price for the first season’s shows on DVD. I have however, managed to watch the first seven episodes of season 1. The critics heaped praise on the actors portrayal of Julius Caesar, Pompey and other famous characters of the era, as well as the lavishly designed costumes, and the authentic Italian countryside used as a giant set. So what happened to the multiple Emmy award winning show?

    HBO Chairman and CEO Chris Albrecht says that "Rome" was originally envisioned as a miniseries, but after seeing the quality of the first scripts the network and its partners (Italian broadcaster Rai was also involved) decided to go ahead with a full-blown show. However, after dealing with the logistics of shooting overseas and the high cost -- reports pegged the price tag for the first season at somewhere around $100 million -- HBO made the decision to pull the plug (the commitments of BBC and Rai were due to run out after the coming season as well).
    As well, ROME never drew the audiences like other HBO series, such as the Sopranos or Six Feet Under. In any event, as the magnificent series fades into the past, I will track down the remaining episodes like Caesars stolen Eagle in Gaul (The Stolen Eagle).

    The end of the Republic, and the start of the Empire...

    Titus Pullo and Lucius Vorenus, the men who made Rome, and Cleopatra...

    Praying to the Gods, under an evicerated thats religion...

    TWC Members were also upset about the end of the series,

    Quote Originally Posted by mrjesushat
    I move that we petition HBO to bend to our will, or face destruction at the hands of disgruntled message-board dorks with no lives
    Quote Originally Posted by Ringeck
    Of course I watch Rome. Always great to see a historical series that at least attempts to go for some realism. And it is a great show, really. I think it is reasonable to end it at this point. The series was always about the fall of the republic, and now the republic is solidly fallen.
    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Arrrgh!
    Dat dar be thar mostest dissapointin' endin' to a series da Capatain evur laid 'is wun good eye on!!!! Oi knew it was going ta end like dis since Season Wun, but tha way Vorenus got wounded - Bollocks!!! Big, salty, lop-sided bollocks!! Thar wuz no drama in it at bloody all! Dey should've invested more dubloons in a big CGI Actium Battle, ba goad! Arrrghhh!!!! Tis a dark day fer awe Rome luvers. Oi be goin' off ta have a cry, an' a big, soggy depressed fart....
    as an editorial note, my spellchecker hit on every one of Capt Args words....


    As a regular feature of my Arts Reports, I have also include a picture from the TWC Art Gallery Thread This weeks choice is by Holger Danske, which he describes as "Colonial Marines".

    Great work. If your ever looking for inspiration, go no further than the Arts Forum and the TWC Art Gallery Thread.


    The Athenaeum

    Truthfully, the Athenaeum suffers from a lack of traffic, looking at the first page, the top 10 threads have a total of 161 posts, thats as many as the thread “US Immigration Policy Favors the SKilled over the poor" received in less than a day in the Mud Pit. What then, does this observation allow you to conclude, well, that people are more interested in discussing Politics that Science. This may also explain the curious way in which people are drawn to our own CVRIA. Politics is generally more interesting then skins, screenshots and AARs. In any event, several threads stand out..

    The Science Quiz, sticked early, has simple rules;

    Quote Originally Posted by Annaeus
    Well,the rules are simple.The poster has to ask 5 questions based on Science or Maths.There is no limit to the extent of answer the question could have but try to give preference to questions with one-word answers.The subsequent poster isn't allowed to ask questions unless he replies to the questions asked in previous post. At least,he's required to answer 3 questions out of five…….
    What has followed is a series of tricky encounters, for example, take a look at this question set from Diogenes_of_Sinope

    Quote Originally Posted by Diogenes_of_Sinope
    1) What's the max and min number of empty p-orbitals a triplet carbene can have and what is their respective hybridisation (assume hybridisation correctly predicts orbital configuration for organic compounds).

    2) Which substituent in an organic molecule is the better leaving group? F or I and most importantly (the real question), why?

    3) How many resonance structures does a (singly) deprotonated benzene have?

    4) What neurotransmitter boils at -88.48 °C?

    5) Would a steel ball travel faster through water at 25 °C or -5 °C?
    Better than a game of Soduku any day, this invigorating exercise will challenge you in several different areas of math and science. Print a set off and take it on your next plane trip.

    Also of interest, the No Summer Ice by 2020 thread. Having watched Al Gore’s provacative docudrama "An Inconvenient Truth on the global warmingphenomena, watching for changes in atmospheric events should become a daily event.

    The basis of the concept…from a Reuter’s new article…

    The Arctic ice cap is melting much faster than expected and is now about 30 years ahead of predictions made by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a U.S. ice expert said on Tuesday.
    This means the ocean at the top of the world could be free or nearly free of summer ice by 2020, three decades sooner than the global panel's gloomiest forecast of 2050.
    In opposition, Simetrical posted a sizzling response, aimed at debunking the idea….

    I remain unconvinced of the clarity of any threat facing us. And even if there is one, I haven't seen any good reason for why cutting back on our use of fossil fuels, liquid gold, is the most economical or reasonable way of facing it.
    In any event, global warming, pollution, overpopulation will become a major issue for all nations within the next few decades.


    As the evening progressed, I was forced to relight my pipe and turn on some streaming Music, courtesy of WinAmp. This handy media player allows you to listen to music streamed live over the internet from stations around the globe, and in just about any genre you could imagine. Polish folk?, dance, techno, punk, classical…rock?, Japanese pop? Its all there, as well as video, podcasts, and the price is right, its all FREE.

    Gently humming a tune, a clicked the cylinder on the 38 and viewed the loaded chambers. Snapping it back into place, I thought to myself " Just have to love the sound of a loaded gun". Nonchalatently I mused through the folders on the desk. Several, in plain sight, clearly belonged to the previous Administration, making me wonder if they were still subject to any nondisclosure agreements. I leaned back and blew a smoke ring towards the musty ceiling, "Well, maybe its just better to leak them to the press...". If this gig is going to stick, Im going to need some good stories. I piled the folders into my briefcase and headed for the door. See you next should be interesting.

    OK, remember to visit the Arts and Sciences forums, and lets all cut down on fossil fuel consumption….but you first.


    Onto our next; it appears that whinges and whines have their desired effect - not only did the last Helios receive comments, but Scorch's whinge has borne fruit of its own; activity in the VV appears to have, well, happened!

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    Well, welcome to another report on the Vestigia Vestutatis. So let's hop right into it.

    My personal favourite can-of-worms type thread is this one: Who Won The War: Britain, the US, or Russia.

    I think the honours for this thread have to go to Caelius here:
    Quote Originally Posted by Caelius View Post
    I love it how some of the Europeans on this thread are *****ing about the US "getting the best out of the war", or "coming in late".

    Let's get something straight here, the last time I looked the US Govt. serves it's people, the very same people who had no interest in wanting to send men to fight and die in what was considered "another European war" at that time. That opinion only changed after the wake up call that was Pearl Harbor, followed by Germany declaring war a few days later.

    The US did what it could for it's allies through programs like Lend Lease (primarily because of the genius and foresight FDR had that war was unavoidable), but people really shouldn't have the misguided delusion that the US somehow had an obligation to enter the war when the rest of Europe did.

    I've already shared my opinion on why it's rediculous to debate semantics on which part of the Allied "Tripod" did more than the others.

    Take away the US and Great Britain starves, nor can the USSR supply it's armies with basic raw materials, and later gets coldcocked by the Japanese when they march into Siberia. Take away the USSR and both the US and UK lose millions of more men throughout the war, with the conflict likely going into 1947 or 48, and most likely ending with yet another armstice similar to WWI rather than the complete and unconditional surrender of Nazi Germany. Take away the UK and the Enigma Code doesn't get broken, the Germans & Italians secure N. Africa and precious oil reserves in the ME (no need for a Stalingrad Campaign), Japan cakewalks all over S.E. Asia (probably invades Australia) before the US even enters the war, and when it does, is further denied from using the Isles as a staging point for Overlord.

    Just off the top of my head.
    I think he's exactly right. It wasn't one particular country that won the war, but rather the right mix of military and productive input from MANY countries (not just the UK, the US and Russia) that lead to the eventual downfall of Germany.

    The next thread I'd like to draw your attention to is this one, History's Worst Guys Ever. This is quite an interesting topic, and could be approached from one of two perspectives.

    Firstly, we could assume worst means evil, and then the usual suspects of Hitler, Stalin and Mugabe would be mentioned in an instant.

    OR we could say that by worst we mean politically inept. In this case one of any number of candidates could be put on the oh-so-irresistible pedestal of being history's worst leader.

    So I'd like to encourage you to jump into the VV, and there are any number of topics you could get involved in. Here are some other potentially interesting threads:
    The History of your Name
    The Fall of Rome
    If you could live during any time period ...

    So jump on in, and hopefully I'll see you around there.

    Like I say... whinging works. A hard sell, that is.
    Next up, the ever-enthusiastic though recently sorely missed Darkragnar, released - at least temporarily - from the iron vice-like grip real-life (that mythical state) had on him. Well, here is something on the non-TW gaming community of TWC!

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    Finally a Circus Maximus Article, Its been a long time coming and boy have i got an article for you, monumental things have taken place in the gaming world, so without further adieu ill start this editions Circus Maximus.

    If you dont know yet that Blizzard have Announced Starcraft II then you must either be Dead or Dieing.

    Manji's aptly named thread Starcraft 2 Confirmed has all the juicy details , including two Ingame videos posted on the 5th page by moi.
    On a more personal note i am glad that its finally coming , I've waited 9 years for blizzard to announce the sequel and now its finally coming.
    Watch this Awesome Cinematic Trailer to Starcraft II

    Goatbuster3000's thread Let the waves of Halo 3 gameplay videos begin...Has all the low down on Halo 3 the....the much awaited....sequal...Go to Goatbusters thread for a bunch of Halo 3 Videos.
    If you hate/Love the Halo franchise then let your voice be heard head over to that Goat Buster's thread and tell us about it.
    Mean while watch the Betalicious Video

    I suggest looking at the High Res image, not the puny one posted aboveLink
    IronBrig4's The Reds are coming! World in Conflict thread has all the low down on World in Conflict, the game developers have just announced this month that NATO is now officially the 3rd new fraction in World at War, the other two being America and Russia, watch the Video To see Europe at and her finest In Action (Cluster Bombing Awesomeness ) , the game is set in cold war 1980's which sees the Russian's...Pardon me...the Soviets invade America and basically go nuts all over the place.

    The game promises to focus on Realism, but not at the expense of the gameplay, Its a Solid game in which you can now play as NATO ,which includes forces from all the Member Nations (well almost all of the major ones) so u can have Tornado's , German Leopard 2 tanks , Italian A129 Mangusta Heavy Attack Helicopters , the German PAH-1 light helicopter..etc.. keep an eye out for this one , its going to be one hell of a game.Watch NATO In action :-

    Now Have you ever wondered what it would be like to play as Jesus and lay a smack down on Moses or Noah or Eve or Satan or even God himself then worry not your Fantasy has come true; try playing Adult Swim's: BiBle Fight
    conanthebarbarian has to be given all the credit for introducing the game to twc so head over to his thread named Adult Swim: BiBle Fight
    Hey whatcha gotta lose its free and hardly takes anytime to load

    Also check out the New Team Fortress 2 Character Teaser
    Its pretty good, if you dont know what Team Fortress 2 is then its an upcoming Multiplayer game by Valve which is going to kick ass.
    As of 2000 the game looked like this :-

    And Now as of 2006 it looks like this,radical change ain't it.

    Funny Trailer

    Are you a Child of the 90's ? were you born in the 80's ? did you play games in the 90's ? then the The Angry Video Game Nerd will bring back some fond memories about the old Nintendo Games, head over to the thread (click on the blue link at the start of this sentence) for the nostalgia factor alone , plus this guy is pretty hilarious with his use of profanity; Credit goes to
    Ulyaoth for making the tread.

    Before I End This Editions article let me present 1 last video, its from Call of duty 4 Modern Combat...Waatcch.

    As usual, Shaun is providing some good-quality Basement coverage, this time mainly taken up with helping others to help you when your computer refuses to do things. Now me, I take a boot to it, but Shaun advises.... other tactics...
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    Hello, and welcome to this week's Basement report.
    gr33kp1mp777 declared that he hates computers! This is blasphemy! He bought a $2800 computer and it cant play Medieval Total War 2 smoothly. Ordering your parts separately and building it yourself one, pre built computers nil. I would bet my house that $2800 worth of PC components from somewhere like Newegg would play the game smoothly. Hell, I don’t have to be sure, I just need to look at the PC hardware buyers guide. Also, we do like it when you give us information, but I think gr33kp1mp777 went a little overboard: try and keep the system information as concise as possible, little more than ten lines are needed, certainly not over one thousand.
    Try and make sure that essential bits are easily noticed (like the CPU, graphics card etc), or even better still, only include the essential information – which is;
    • The Processor, we need its manufacturer (e.g. Athlon), model (e.g. 4800 X2) and clock speed (measured in MHz or GHz).

    • Your Graphics card. We need the brand, which will almost certainly be either nVidia or ATI. We then need the card model, for nVidia’s this will usually be a GeForce with a number like 7800 then letters at the end like ‘GT’, this would be a 7800GT. Although some people do still have GeForce 4’s. For ATI this will be something like X1950XTX, although some people do still have 9000 series cards like 9800pros.

    • Your RAM (Random access memory, basically your memory that holds programs when they are being used). We need to know how much it is, for the lucky people it will be 1GB or over, many still only have 512MB or 256MB. I possible, also tell us the manufacturer as well.

    • The Hard disk. Tell us its size and brand. Always helpful.

    • The Power Supply Unit (PSU) – tell us its power and brand. Cheap brands are more likely to be unreliable and not produce the power output it says.

    • Your PC’s cooling. Fans, water cooling etc. Useful to determine if your PC is crashing due to over heating.

    From that six pieces of information, we can usually tell you why your computer is not running the latest game at acceptable speeds, or crashing or most other problems that could be hardware related.

    We are always glad to help, but sometimes just giving us useless information can be a little off putting.
    Or even better, you can help yourself! Instead of posting immediately after the crash/error or upon notice that your PC is running slowly, do a spyware and virus scan. Often unexplained crashes and slowdowns can be caused by Viruses and spyware. If that’s not the problem, the go to task manager, then the processes tab, then sort the processes so that the one using up the most CPU time will be top. See what is on top. Look suspicious or unfamiliar? Google it, see if its known malware. If it’s a program that you know about and is safe to turn off, turn it off. Does that solve the problem?

    Now, a new reporter makes his mark - the fantabulous Garbarsardar (with the silly name, yes, that's the one) on his own creation, the pitfight... sorry, Fight Club.
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 

    Fight Club-the theatre of blood this week.

    One of the most burning what-ifs in the site's history is again unlikely to have a definitive answer. Do we really care? As long as there is blood on the walls and teeth on the planks of course we don't. No its not Spartans vs. Samurai or Guderian vs. Darth Vader it's the other one, you guessed, Alexander in India!

    And who would be better to fight but a Greek and an Indian. Leonidas with his 6-footer (overhand) tries to dodge the poisonous cane arrows that Shyam is launching from the top of his war elephant. My take: no end in sight.

    Another snake charming tablas lover, the indomitable Pra challenges the elusive Nihil and anyone else that comes in his way. The topic og the challenge is elusive but such trivialities hardly matter in the Fight Club.

    I also have word that soon Thiundareiks "the pwner" Gunthigg is soon to reopen the Holocaust melee with Hans "not one step back" Kloss. We'll see.

    Last but not least, a fight that started in the tribunal now reside in its natural habitat. I'm talking of course of the mudslinging between Manji ( a person with questionable ancestry) and felicissimus a member with unquestionable cultural ancestry but less so in terms of spelling. We care not. This is the Fight Club not the Grammar police Club.


    Well, I called the TD political and controversial (and the author a deviant, but that's another matter :wink: ); but the TD has nothing, nothing, on the subject of the next two reports - rome ac's thoughts on the Curia, followed by my own, slightly lengthier, thoughts as Speaker.
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 

    Welcome again to another Curia report by none other then R to A to the C (Rome ac). First of all lets start with one of the most impressive thing that I have ever saw are good old tpb has open a thread listing every Citizens possible on TWC (but he would like to say that this is still a work in progress). Also Stuie is now officially an Opifex, congratulation you deserve this Stu.
    As you all know Soren has resigning is position as senior CoM this week and has been replace by the junior Manstein, but of course controversy has risen before his retirement, Garbarsardar opened a thread in the Curia in witch he addressed Soren for is accusation against Professor420 for supposedly blackmailing Staff, both parties addressed there defense for this issue, if you would like to know more about this accident here’s the thread
    . That about it for today folks hope you had a good read.

    Curia Report, from the Speaker
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    Well, the Curia has its normal bickering, its normal infighting, and its normal minor controversy, but it’s been a little more extroverted over the last fortnight than normal… but let’s leave that ‘til the end.

    Consilium de Civitate

    Since the last Helios, 14 promotional votes have taken place in the CdeC, resulting in a stunning 10 new Citizens and 2 new Patricians; all those whose votes succeeded deserve hearty congratulations on that score. However, the CdeC has also undertaken a heady task – 4 disciplinary cases have had to occur, resulting in some very harsh punishments for certain members of the Curia. Well, life goes on, though, no?

    Closed Votes

    As a whole the Curia has been quite busy too; we’ve had a Tribune elected, with Garbarsardar pipping Tacticalwithdrawal to the post by a matter of only 5 votes (less than 10% of the voters!) on a manifesto of harshness equivalent only to that of when he was a moderator… tremble in fear oh ye appellants, for the Garb will not spare ye, not according to his statement.
    Of course, the Curia hasn’t just elected a Tribune – its also ratified 3 Tribounoi into their posts; all ratified by large margins, the men in question are Ragabash; Scorch; and the ever-controversial Manji, who still managed to obtain the second widest margin of success – nice going, Manji!
    And yet more people-centric votes, that’s right, Opifices have been made; in the form of the promotions of Stuie & dvk901; much congratulations, of course, to the pair of them.
    But even this could not prevent the Curia voting on at least some legislation – that’s right, we’ve entered a period of mass voting it seems, but this is no bad thing! Two Bills have passed into Law – self-legislation, to some extent, but with dramatic ramifications. The first is the decision, passed by a wide margin, to set the Tribunal’s rules as per the wishes of the Curia; the extent to which the Tribunal bows to the will of the Curia is, of course, an interesting matter and even now remains to be seen. Further, there have been two Constitutional Amendments; the first, again passed by a massively wide margin, was to tighten up the rules on Votes of No Confidence in members of the staff elected by the Curia; the implications of this have not, however, been tested, since the Curia has not seen fit to actually apply a vote of no confidence to anyone as of yet. However, there was one more closed legislative vote as yet uncovered – a failed vote to drastically tighten up the requirements for entering the Miles (now, once more, Patrician) class, rejected by a narrow margin because it failed to meet to the required majority of two-thirds.

    Current Prothalamos Debate

    Now, we come to probably the most interesting section – the Curia’s legislative debate, in the Prothalamos. While I will not cover these chronologically, or even all of the debates, the first debate to look at is rather… old. Beginning in mid-April, it continued until a week ago when, as many debates do, it fizzled out, without a vote. The subject? A wider, more democratic, more open Curia; originally proposed by Tacticalwithdrawal herein, many other iterations and proposals with the same purpose and intent have been made, some foolish, some superb, and some just plain silly. Since this is the way of things anyway, one might ask what difference it makes, of course… but then, an open Curia makes a lot of difference; talk to Professor420 for a long discussion on why!
    And the next is an equally long running debate, but not in this thread – a proposal to change the names to Medieval ones.. Well, all I can say is, so long as we get some appropriate theme I don’t much care if it be Turkish or Mayan, so long as its not the present profusion of confusion! Ah well… c’est la vie Curielle, non?
    Another old debate which has not died, and will – if the present proponent gets his way – be in the “Closed Votes” section by next Helios, is that of the Syntagma Change Window. A mid-March proposal by Tacticalwithdrawal, it never got beyond debate to an actual vote, and people have fiddled with it ever since – a version is soon to go to the vote that bears little resemblance to the original proposal, but has some of the benefits and many of the flaws; we shall see whether the Bill is passed, let alone a facilitative feature of the Curia, or just something that squeezes its life from it.
    There are two… controversial, shall we say… matters of debate in the Curia at present, as well; subject of a multiplicity of threads in each case. The less controversial one, but with rather more threads to its name, is the area of Medals; proposals from Mimirswell for conversion of honourary ranks to medals, which have raised one or two objections but seen majority support, including by holders of the ranks that will be abolished; from Belisarius for a variety of new medals to be created and some of the old ones to be tweaked in new and interesting ways (a thread there that ended up with everyone chipping in with a rewrite or two); and from Ragabash, in an attempt to widen the qualifications for a specific medal. In this case, the Senatorial robe, in an effort to reward all Curial activity; it seems to have fallen a little dead in the water, at least temporarily, despite support from many members of the Curia.
    That isn’t all the Medal threads though; we have five proposed Philosopher’s Robes already by Garbarsardar (proposing Longfiddlyname, sorry, ThiudareiksGunthigg) and Belisarius (proposing, in three different threads, Garbarsardar; Tacticalwithdrawal; Siblesz; and, for some unfathomable reason, me) so expect to see some of those medals floating around in the near future; and outgoing Wiki editor Perikles proposed two Wiki medals for makanyane and Spiff. Medals galore, the shine is blinding!
    The final subject of Curial debate I want to look at here is the Tribunal, that fine old institution recently democratised and recently caught trying to overturn Hex and moderation policy on a variety of issues central to the preservation of the site. Since the democratisation was already a subject of controversy amongst the upper echelons and amongst some members of the general membership, a proposal has been put forward to return the Tribunal to its original state; formed by, of, and with Hex. Many Curia members who have posted in the thread have posted in support; a few have posted against the measure; and some have used it as an opportunity to launch attacks on Hex as a body and on various individual members. Two compromise proposals have been put forward in the thread and rejected, and a third attempt to fix the problems (not taking any notice of the actual cause of the problems, of course) was launched in a separate thread; we shall see what the will of the Curia says, and which way it sways.

    Votes! Yay, Suffrage!

    Onto those which have in fact gone to the vote, and I won’t say much about these (that could be called campaigning!) but the first takes the form of a personal proposal by me to amend the Constitution to avoid the Speaker (me, at present) needing administrative rights – codifying the Hex-set status quo, in fact, into law. Read the debate here, and go and vote here.
    And another one, by tBP, proposing change to the Citizen’s Behaviour sections of the Constitution (no, I can’t quote Article and Section) to bring it in line with CdeC practices, rather than have the CdeC change her practices to those delineated for her; vote on that one here, after reading the debate here.
    Finally for the votes – yep, there are only a few concurrent ones presently – a proposal by Leonidas the Lion, which was debated here, that in the user profile we be allowed to see all the ranks of members; a sound proposal, and presumably technically possible (at least, no one to date has said it is not); and up for the vote here.

    Curial Miscellany

    Medals again arise in the Curia main… a thread for the discussion of the implementation and medal design has arisen, and Manji has appointed himself Medalmaker-In-Chief here so go and praise him; and members qualifying automatically for some medals have been asked to remind people that they do here.
    Names are also a problem… still, yes. We retain a thread on new names in the Curia main to augment those lying dormant there and in the Prothalamos, here, and even the badges are a subject of distaste and dislike it seems from these threads.
    Now we come to what is a, thankfully, closed, but only recently, debacle; that helped force Soren into resignation, and has caused mass chaos in the Curia. This is the Soren-Prof affair, and I am not willing to go into any more details than just naming it, so don’t ask for them but if you want more… well, here’s the thread at the heart of it all.
    I next give you one of the most long running debates of all; started in the wake of the reversal of the reforms to the Curia preceding these ones; gaining gathering momentum but little additional strength; and annoying a lot of people, the debate on the future of the Patrician rank. Given force by ex-elitists such as Setanta and Setarcos Aneist, the rank is the centre once more of various controversies in the wake of the introduction of medals, due to their overlap; join the debate, post your own view, and see how long it takes for me to disagree!
    Finally, for this section, some pretty much breaking news; the Second Speaker's Report to the Curia has been published, on the activities in Hex over the last fortnight; go read it, and yes, an opportunity for questions is given.

    Involve Yourself!

    Later in this Helios there is a plug for the TWC Wiki. But what good, one might well ask, is a Wiki without an Editor-in-Chief to oversee the wiki and ensure it remains at a high standard? The sad resignation of Perikles as Wiki Officer leaves the position open, and we are therefore awaiting applicants to hold a Curial election... only citizens may apply to hold this role but I urge all citizens with any interest to so do! Apply here.
    We're also opening a Curial Committee. TWC needs to continue to expand even if the TW franchise ends; therefore, the Hex Council has decided to look into methods of diversification into other games franchises; what franchises and how we can go about it. If you think you have some nice ideas on the matter, apply here or (if you are a citizen) you may also apply here!

    Now, having read that monster of a report… have a good fortnight until the next, and good politicking!

    Now, normally I'd say "without further ado, onto the Editorials", but the experience of last edition's advertising of the Tent has fashioned a trend in my mind: Now, it seems, we can use our readership.... to advertise other branches of the TWC Content to! This issue, its the Wiki, with some associated jargon!
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    Web 2.0, we've all heard of it; the "social web", "user-generated content", or even "what the Web was supposed to be all along" (Tim Berners-Lee, real creator of the internet). This forum is Web 2.0, Wikipedia is Web 2.0... and the TWC Wiki is Web 2.0. Oh, what's that? You haven't heard of the TWC Wiki? But its right up there, linked at the top of the page. You mean you haven't actually looked at it? This wonderful, undertapped, and underused resource, and you haven't looked at it? Ah, of course not! What use could it be for you? I mean, other than some strategy guides, of course... and member histories for those obscure people you've heard of but can't remember what they did, like imb39... and histories of the TWC site itself... and massive numbers of mod descriptions. I mean, what use is any of that to you? ...Wait, you mean it is actually useful when I put it like that? Well there, here you go, here's the link! Go have fun, and remember, don't just browse the Wiki, build it!

    Now without further ado, onto the editorials!

    No introductions needed for this section, whatsoever; nor for the article which was scheduled to be first... and unfortunately had to be withdrawn on grounds of decency and legality. As you may have guessed, it was by Grimsta. Anyway, onto the first, a piece which seems revolutionary in its nature... and oddly fatalistic, given the writer. I give you, Farnan!
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    The Impossible

    I'm going to start this with a poem by Longfellow:



    TELL me not, in mournful numbers,
    Life is but an empty dream ! —
    For the soul is dead that slumbers,
    And things are not what they seem.

    Life is real ! Life is earnest!
    And the grave is not its goal ;
    Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
    Was not spoken of the soul.

    Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
    Is our destined end or way ;
    But to act, that each to-morrow
    Find us farther than to-day.

    Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
    And our hearts, though stout and brave,
    Still, like muffled drums, are beating
    Funeral marches to the grave.

    In the world's broad field of battle,
    In the bivouac of Life,
    Be not like dumb, driven cattle !
    Be a hero in the strife !

    Trust no Future, howe'er pleasant !
    Let the dead Past bury its dead !
    Act,— act in the living Present !
    Heart within, and God o'erhead !

    Lives of great men all remind us
    We can make our lives sublime,
    And, departing, leave behind us
    Footprints on the sands of time ;

    Footprints, that perhaps another,
    Sailing o'er life's solemn main,
    A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
    Seeing, shall take heart again.

    Let us, then, be up and doing,
    With a heart for any fate ;
    Still achieving, still pursuing,
    Learn to labor and to wait.

    This poem has become my favorite over time because of the message it sends. People today seem to content with the medicore with getting by. Furthermore they don't see the truth in life, which is:

    Money is worthless.

    Yes it is true, the great green peices of paper that seem to dominate lives of billions around the world is useless. People get trapped in the idea that the goal of life is to make money and save it. For what use though? What use is having 68 Billion dollars? Will it make your life fufilled? Will it make you immortal? There is another truth in life that is often not talked about:

    You are going to die.

    Yes we are all going to die, it is inevitable. No amount of money will prevent this. We all know this yet we all forget it. We all believe that if we make enough money we can use it later, don't worry your saving will eventually pay off...and then you die. All that money you saved up will then be for nought.

    What am I trying to get at you may ask. Well this all goes back to the problem your humble editorialist is trying to address...

    People are too rational, too logical, too focused on the possible.

    Nobody believes in dreaming the impossible and doing it anymore. They limit themselves to the possible, the rational, the logical. No one sees it fit to do the impossible anymore. They get stuck discarding their goals and their dreams because they have been taught they can't do it. They get stuck doing the rational and the logical. They take a job they don't like, just because they think, "I can use the money to get what I want." Then they save up their entire lives and die never having made the world one iota different. They "become like dumb driven cattle."

    Maybe it is the foolishness of youth, but I believe that mindset is bullcrap. People need to quick thinking logically, and rationally. They should quit focusing so much on the possible and do the impossible. Don't think about it, just do it. For when one shoots for the impossibe, that is when they do the great things. That is when they excel. That is when they become "a hero in the strife."

    Hopefully I have made sense and made an impression on people.


    Following that aspirational piece, a verbose piece from the lovely Lord Rahl;
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    Again I stray from politics (for the most part) to another issue that I have pondered recently. As a person interested in history, and an avid reader of books about history, I often marvel at the achievements of certain individuals. Many times I contemplate of how some of the world's most prominent individuals came to achieve their objectives and their dreams. This made me think about how their abilities and opportunity would compare to the individuals of today. So my mind's thinkings began to contrast some of the more commonly held views of our society and thus I ruminated over such thoughts. I have become curious why people believe that there are definite boundaries for advancement and achievement in society today. Although it may seem to be quite a reality, and indeed to some it seems to be the inescapable truth, I feel as if it is merely a mental boundary rather than physical or more worldly...for the most part. There are some who will never be able to dig themselves out of the hole that they have dug for themselves or that they have been placed in to begin with but for many of us, and by "us" I tend to speak of the majority of people in Western society, the hole can be overcome by hard work and perhaps a bit of luck and/or fortune.

    Generally it is my belief that men bring forth their own victories and defeats rather than those brought by something different. The old saying that the gods help those who help themselves is quite an interesting and most definite truism when it comes to what I have observed from the world. I wish to now explain the realities of life. Fortune is said to be and is generally of a man's own making. So long as he will not allow circumstances to dictate his actions, fortune is apt to be constant. When he begins to heed adverse facts, we see what is generally called bad luck step in. This is undeniably true. But it is equally true that the utmost ability sometimes runs foul of uncontrollable circumstances. I would call that one's luck. All this being said now the individual should know that they for the most part control their own destiny. For every moment there is a chance and for every chance it should be taken! A missed chance in this world is hardly given again so not let any chance get away without pursuit. We can see how fortune and one's own making was regarding some of the world's greatest figures. Men like Alexander the Great did not let themselves become a victim of circumstances and the world. Alexander simply took his own action. For every moment that was presented he took it with such courage and cunning that barely any chances strayed from his grasp. This is how many today should act.

    Too many times we will see our problem ahead of us and not look beyond it to the solution. The world is not like mathematics. The world does not work on definite solutions and therefore the individual can most surely make their own path to success. As a favorite series of novels I have read state, "Think of the solution, not the problem." This simple statement can help many rethink the obstacles they face now and will face in the future. To only think of the problem will create worry and make the mind dwell on the negative. To gain victory there should be no pessimism, for a negative view of things will surely be injurious to the action. If you think of the solution to your problem then you will most likely achieve such. Doing so is the making of your own fortune. Fortune favors the fortunate but the individual is who ultimately decides that. These thoughts bring forth my point that any barriers that one sees for themselves or others is very much imagined in the mind. Man would not have come this far if the perceived barriers were not broken and so also should and could still be done by the one and the many.

    Why have I told you all of this? Well, I believe this will make some think a bit differently of how they will approach things. Every moment sitting on the couch watching the television habitually brings about nothing. When one turns off the television and later remembers of the tasks they are to perform, that is when they know of their wasted moments and wasted opportunities. Why do we waste these? That is an easy question to answer, because we are merely human! But history never remembers those who wasted their time, their moments, their opportunities. History remembers those who made the most of them. Some used them for the right and some for the wrong but that is beside the point. You are who you make yourself to be. If that is true then if you do not make yourself what you could be then you will never be who you could be. When you are in your hole and an opportunity to use a shovel is given then take it! Dig yourself out of the confined space and make for yourself your own life! Even if you must use your hands and feet you can still get out. Fortune will provide opportunity but with the taking of the opportunities the more fortune one will bring to themselves. So, my friends, with the next chance that is given I sincerely hope that you take it; for it may bring you your own good fortune.

    Most briefly yours,

    Lord Rahl

    Next, while drawing on his experiences, Oldgamer refuses to make them the focus of his articles, including this one on mercenaries, a fascinating topic;
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    Oldgamer Reporting for Duty ...

    Mercs, Myths ... and Me

    Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jesse Ventura, muscles bulging through their BDU's and body armor, slipping quietly through the jungle carrying at least 150 pounds of equipment and weapons each, including Jesse's mini-gun ...

    ... Along with Carl Weathers, Bill Duke, Sonny Landham, Richard Chaves, and Shane Black. All of them are armed to the teeth, silent, deadly, and determined to get in, get the mission over, and get out. Then, and only then, will they collect what they came to the jungle for in the first place – their pay.

    They are the very picture of the modern mercenary. They are powerful, lethal, and combine the qualities of John Wayne with the Ninja (who, after all, is merely a killer-for-hire). In the public's eye, they are what all mercenaries are. They are willing to sell their military skills to the highest bidder, no matter what the cause.

    And they are as much of a myth as the alien predator they seek, in the 1987 film Predator.

    Why, you ask?

    Arnold, Jesse, and Carl wouldn't last ten minutes in a jungle. Besides the fact that their metabolism is too high for the stifling heat and humidity of a tropical forest, they do something that no merc wants to do – they stand out. They are extremely conspicuous. He who stands out in the crowd is quickly dead, in the places where real mercenaries go.

    How do you know where real mercenaries go, you ask?

    Because I was one, I respond.

    What is a mercenary?

    First, let's clear something up. The etymology of the word “soldier” stems from the Latin Solidarius, which indicates someone who serves in the armed forces for pay (literally, it means “he who is paid”). By this definition, every soldier in every country of the world is a mercenary. However, since the very word “mercenary” carries with it some negative emotional baggage, and I don't wish to offend real soldiers ... including our own beloved Farnan ... I won't go there (even though an all-volunteer military is closer to a mercenary force than one which is primarily composed of conscripts).

    A mercenary is a person, who usually has actual military skills, who sells those skills to a governmental or non-governmental entity for pay. Naturally, the mercenary chooses to whom he will sell his skills, and for what cause. Sometimes, the mercenary is an idealist who fights for something dear to his heart, like democracy, or to help people in need fight against oppression. Sometimes, the mercenary is simply a bloody murderer who wishes to keep on killing. There's a lot of variation in them.

    I started out my career as a sniper specialist with the 101st Airborne Division. I'll never forget the day I qualified on the rifle range at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. There were captains, majors, colonels, and at least one general, there to watch. I set records, that day, that are still on the books of the US Armed Forces. Yes, I'm proud of that.

    I practiced my trade in Vietnam, where I proved that the Viet Cong were not the invincible warriors that many people thought they were. I ambushed them! I also established the notion that ... at least in jungle terrain ... the sniper is safer by himself, than he is with a spotter (my logic being that two men in the jungle are twice as likely to be spotted as one man).

    Badly wounded in April of 1969, I came back to the States for recovery. Doctors said that I wasn't healthy enough to return to active duty. However, upon discharge from the service, I was almost immediately contacted by people of our intel services, and I worked for them, whenever I worked (except on one notable occasion).

    In the course of my service to my country, there are two things to note. First, I worked unofficially for the United States. Second, the pay I earned was not commensurate with the dangers I faced. But I wasn't “in it” for the pay.

    What are some of the dangers, besides getting killed by enemy fire, of course?

    The main danger is capture. The merc has no official status overseas. If he is captured, the government can plausibly deny any knowledge of your identity, you can't call your local US Embassy for help, and the enemy can torture or kill you at will. Depending on the enemy, it might be better to put your sidearm to your head and squeeze, than be captured.

    Another danger is other mercenaries. Not everyone may be up to your standards. Others may be up to your standards, but a threat to everyone and everything around them.

    About the only covert trip overseas that I can discuss here is a trip to Vietnam in the early 1970's. I was picked to go out on a mission with a group of mercs that were in the pay of the government of South Vietnam. They turned out to be mostly ex-German Wehrmacht, and were as vicious and as capable as their reputation. Mostly middle-aged and elderly men, they were some of the most dangerous people I've ever been with. They killed without hesitation or mercy, and I witnessed one war crime, committed on the Ho Chi Minh trail, in Cambodia.

    It might be interesting, at this point, to note that one of my own relatives was former Waffen SS, and spent his life, after the end of WWII, fighting for one paymaster or another. War was all he knew. He died in his 70's, a full colonel in the Army of the Republic of South Africa, killed on one of its raids into Angola in the 1980's.

    Given their age, I sincerely doubt that there's many ex-Wehrmacht fighting in the world, today. That's good. My report on what I had seen recommended that the United States threaten South Vietnam with a cutoff of all military and economic aid, if they didn't send the Germans packing. I don't know what happened.

    However, my experience with other mercenaries in the field indicated to me that most of them fought for their own country, for very little pay, in places where their country did not want to have an official presence.

    So, are there real mercenaries in the field, today?

    For sure, there are.

    Until recently, the country that made the most extensive use of mercenaries was France. Of course, I'm talking about the Foreign Legion, whose glorious record of achievement and last stands ... a tradition with the Legion Etrangere ... goes back for centuries. Indeed, you may join the Legion, today, believe it or not.

    Hehehe ...

    Today, however, the United States employs companies that have within the ranks a large number of people who could only be called “mercenaries”. One of the largest of these is Blackwater USA ( ), which may have many thousands of heavily-armed troops in Iraq and other parts of the world.

    Suffice it to say that one shouldn't believe in the myth of the mercenary. As it has been since ancient times, the mercenary is generally an average person with actual military skills, who fights for a country or a cause as a means of making his living, in the world.

    If I was only a little younger and healthier, I would probably organize a merc expedition to Dharfur. It would probably be at personal expense, but it would be a very worthy cause. Indeed, I and a number of other American mercs went into Rwanda, at the height of the genocide there, to establish a safe zone for people trying to escape the violence. Some of us didn't come back, and we were saved only when a group of Aussie mercs came in country to assist us. But we saved many thousands of lives. It was one of the proudest moments of my life.

    So Arnold, Carl, and Jesse, move over for the real merc. He may not be very romantic, but his presence in the world fills a void and serves a purpose.

    And now, I fully expect someone to open a thread about mercenaries and attack everything that I've said in this article. That's all right. I've been attacked, before ...

    He's right, someone will. Not with a thread, but with a debate, in the next Helios; that critic will be me. The programme is as follows; I will have a set-piece editorial countering Oldgamer's glowing view of the life of the mercenary... and then the floor will be opened to questions PMed to me in the next two weeks, before Helios 12, for us to answer; on Oldgamer's experience, on the nature of the mercenary, anything. Go for it, readers, go for it!
    Siblesz has, it seems, received some critiques for previous editorials published in the Helios; this is a public reply to one such private critique, in true Enlightenment style that we should all admire;
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    Response to a commentary on Helios 8: The Insanity of Existence in Society

    My story is told from the perspective of the boy who is robbed of his fantasies by the realities of the world, so I do agree that my essay might seem too aggressive at times. But it was my intention to show the repercussions of living in an irrational world from an emotional perspective. I also agree that the story of Adam and Eve can be explained more logically if its literal meaning is not imposed on the imagination. I have read Milton's Paradise Lost, an epic poem that relates the concept of attained wisdom and lost innocence in a veil of sybolism of good against evil, Satan against God, materialism against spiritualism. Rather than supposing moral superiority from either side, Milton tends to be quite fair in its depiction of both sides. I am greatly attracted by the philosophical possibilities of such a perspective, and I am a firm believer in its premises.

    Having said that, in my essay, I was going against the literal mindset of such a position. There are some that believe that everything is separated in black and white, when all things are but mixes and shades of black and white. In my rant against the unfairness of the dementia of our society, I was going after the childish explanations for concepts that require a deeper understanding of our realities and a greater awareness of the necessity of doubt to confront dogma. Dogma has been a tool of ignorance for a millenia, and my only point in relating my frustration in society is the dogma present in most human beings, a dogma that chooses to judge blindly instead of to understand, that chooses to impose one sense of reality over the other, when all realities are equally just as long as the lives of others are not interfered with. After all, those who attain the mindset of non-aggression and tolerance are those that live justly, while those that participate in the contrary and that are blind with zealotry are those that impose their moralism to create and motivate injustice in society. The majority, out of ignorance, choose to follow in the latter. It is this debasement of justice, this insanity of oppressive thought and conformist values that eradicates the middle way, the way of compassion and tolerance, and the way of freedom and happiness. And that leaves the just in perpetual suffering for their clear state of mind. Justice cannot co-exist with injustice.

    I am also not against the concept of God, I am just against the concept of God as related by the literalists. I am against most of Christianity's concept of God, a concept that depicts God as a bearded man who sits in a big chair in heaven, accompanied by angels and saints, and decides who gets to go to heaven and who gets to go to hell. Us heathens and disbelievers, according to this dogma, get to go to hell. But thieves, murderers, and scoundrels get to go to heaven as long as they repent and accept Christ as their lord and saviour. It is this irrationality that I go against, and it is the irrationality of the people who believe in such stupidity that I cannot tolerate. The perception of all human beings in all societies have been affected by this sort of rhetoric, rhetoric that does not make any sense and that was created thousands of years ago by politicians, or priests, who wanted to control and manipulate their populations.

    I do believe in my own form of god, a god who, much like the Bible, the Torah, or even Buddhist scriptures relate, composes everything in the universe and is omnipotent and omnipresent. It is omnipotent and omnipresent because it is everything in the universe, but conscious it cannot be at the same time. When I analyze my god scientifically, I call it gravity and the constant flow of the positive and negative energies of the universe. When I analyze my god according to human values, I call it the spirit of the self and the universe entwingled in one. I have no doubt that there is a god, but in my mind, one might as well not call it a god, for the word god has been demeaned by blind fanaticism in the dogma of religion. I prefer to call it "it", instead. I agree with you that we cannot know everything, but we can suppose enough as to know that if there is an individual, conscious form of God, then there must be something superior to Him, a parent force, for anything less than that would be impossible, in-so-far as modern science can tell us.

    Lastly, I do understand that prejudice and injustice is inevitable, and I do state that in my last paragraph of the essay. Unfortunately, for us dreamers, the possibility of peaceful co-existence and justice is destroyed as long as we choose to judge the ignorance of others. Maybe in the future I will learn not to reproach the ignorant, I will learn to ignore them, and I will learn to co-exist with them without being frustrated by their short-comings. After all, I'm no better than they, for I too choose to judge. The only way to live freely is to cease judging. Of course, it is not logical to ignore faults in the system, but it will make one sane to overlook them.

    Finally, and... shall we say controversially... the Queer Corner, fronted by tBP. I must warn you no lynch mobs will be tolerated but at the end of the article, I'll be sticking a link... and an explanation of it. Without further ado, the Black Prince's thoughts;
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    Queer Concern

    Till Death Do Us Part

    I’m forever curious about the two main arguments presented in opposition to gay marriage. They’re always totally illogical, make no sense, and have no bearing on the issue at all, not to mention being hypocritical, yet the religious right holds them up as the ultimate symbol of… something.

    That’s right folks, this week's Queer Concern is about gay marriage!

    The arguments on my side of the fence are really pretty straightforward. If straight people can have their marriage recognised by the state, and gain all kinds of benefits and legal rights from it, why can’t normal people also have their marriage recognised? Is the love I would show a boyfriend any different to the love my parents share, or that you might? Is our commitment to each other any less than your own? Of course its not. There are gay relationships out there that have lasted for 40 odd years, terminating with the death of a partner, and gay marriages that have lasted a bare 3 years, just as there are in the straight world.

    So why is gay marriage such a contentious issue?
    Only 5 countries in the world have legalised gay marriage. Just 5. The Netherlands, Belgium, Canada, Spain and South Africa.

    Only 1 country in the world, over and above those 5, will recognise a marriage conducted in those countries, and that’s Israel. The British lesbian couple who got married in Canada had to re-register as civil partners when they returned to the UK. Their fight is ongoing. The Irish couple who did the same got no recognition whatsoever, because Ireland is now one of only 2 of the EU15 nations not to have some form of marriage or partnership, Italy being the other.

    As far as the UK goes, our civil partnership scheme is, with a few superficial differences, precisely the same as our civil marriage. Its performed in a registry office, and all the same procedures rules and regulations that affect civil marriages affect civil partnerships. So why not just merge the 2? Why not just have one Civil Marriage scheme for everyone? Why the segregation?

    I’m told its because marriage is sacred, marriage is special, but I’ve yet to meet anyone who can tell me why this might be.

    The usual 2 arguments I here are as follows.
    1/ because marriage is about procreation.
    Really, this argument is dead in the water. The state or Church won’t prevent two people over 65 getting married, yet they cannot reproduce. It doesn’t insist on fertility checks on couples before marriage, to prevent barren/infertile people marrying. It doesn’t force a divorce on people who can’t, or won’t produce children.
    This may be news to some, but many gay couples do in fact have children. Some bring them from previous relationships, many others adopt, as they have been able to do so since 1997. I really see no strength to this argument. All things considered, its rather absurd to say marriage is about making babies when you allow people who don’t want or can’t have children to marry.

    However, not to worry! As the “New Jersey Lawyer” reports
    A foolish consistency no longer is just the hobgoblin of small minds; now it's also the sword of gay rights. Last year the Washington state Supreme Court ruled the legislature could ban gay marriage because it has a legitimate interest in preserving marriage as a vessel for procreation. OK, gay rights advocates say, then put your mommy where your mouth is. They've succeeded in launching an initiative to annul all marriages that don't produce children within three years and to criminalize the receipt of legal benefits by those partners whose marriage has been annulled. If it receives 224,800 signatures by July 6, it will be on the ballot in November.

    Problem solved then!

    Moving on, the other common argument is religion.
    This one I particularly hate. Religion has nothing to do with marriage.
    However, gay people aren’t demanding that churches open their doors, we’re not demanding that priests conduct and bless unions they want no part of. If the Christian Church wants to remain a bastion of homophobic prejudice ignorance and intolerance, in clear violation of all that Jesus tried to teach them, that’s their business. When it comes down to it, there’s a lot of more tolerant religions out there, and I know priests of my religion who would have no problems bringing the blessing of the gods of Britain to my future partnership.

    All gay people ask for is the ability to get married. This has nothing to do with the Church. According to the Office of National Statistics, in 2004, only 32% of all marriages were conducted in a church. The clear majority were Civil Marriages, not religious ones. This figure is down from about 44% in 1994.

    I don’t give a damn about what the Christian church wants. I don’t care if they preach against gay marriage in every pulpit from Lands End to John O’Groats. That has nothing to do with what happens in a totally secular registry office. Religious arguments have no bearing at all on what is, and what is not considered to be a civil marriage.

    But even if that were the case, let's remember, marriage is not a Christian institution. Marriage pre-dates Christianity. For the first 200 years of its existence as the official religion in Rome, the Christian church had almost nothing to do with marriage ceremonies. From then (500AD or so) right up until the Council of Trent in the 1560s, marriage still wasn’t a compulsory church domain. It was common place for marriage to be conducted by a priest of course, but not essential. Priests just happened to be some of few literate people around able to complete the marriage documents, marriage being of course, primarily a matter of contract.

    It was not until the Council of Trent, a response to the rise of Protestantism that Rome tried to stamp down and exert its authority, stating in the 24th Decree of the Council, published on the 11th November 1563 that all marriages had to be conducted by a priest in the presence of 2 witnesses.

    Marriage, I’m told, is the union of man and woman… but where does that come from? Again, something as recent as the Council of Trent, which issued a statement in 1566 that defined marriage as "The conjugal union of man and woman, contracted between two qualified persons, which obliges them to live together throughout life."

    Well that’s all fine and dandy… if you happen to be Catholic and want a Catholic ceremony. But I’m not, I’m quite frankly, I’m fed up of having someone else’s standards, ones that are oftentimes quite alien to my own religion, forced upon me.

    In the UK, such a requirement – i.e. of a church, did not become a part of our law until 1753. Civil marriage is governed by the Marriage Acts of 1949 and 1994. Religion plays no part in them. They merely set out terms and procedures which must be followed for a marriage to be legally recognised by the state. In a discussion about extending those procedures, for a purely secular concept, to gay people, what role does religion have to play?

    Marriage is not about religion, religion has very little to do with marriage, and its clearly not about children. So why not just end the futility of these absurd arguments and take the brave bold step necessary and finally recognise that gay people aren’t 2nd class citizens and deserve all the rights straight people receive.

    the Black Prince

    Gay Quote of the Week
    Ed Fallon on an Iowa State Bill defending marriage by defining it as solely between Men and Women
    What are you trying to protect heterosexual marriages from? There isn't a limited amount of love in Iowa. It isn't a non-renewable resource. If Amy and Barbara or Mike and Steve love each other, it doesn't mean that John and Mary can't.

    Now, I know many of you will want to respond to that. Do so briefly here, but do not expect debate; in fact a recent, if rather long, thread exists on the topic, to which I advise you take more longwinded criticisms; and here's the link.

    A new innovation (again) now (yes, yes, too many, I know); Birthday articles. When Content staff have a birthday coinciding with the release of a Helios, they're going to be asked to provide a sort of personal biography, which will be published; so here's Grimsta's, since he turns 19 today. Just a tiny personal note here - he's the man behind the first Helioi I read, and so its him you can thank for my editoriship of these things.
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    Having had an article pulled today I felt the urge to right something else - a little less offensive and with slightly less ToS violation - remember kids, that ain't cool.

    Today was my birthday And I got a subscription to The Spectator - great magazine - funny but clever - a recomended read.

    As most of you know I don't really write about important stuff, I go off on long tangents about stuff that doesn't matter in the realistic world... funny seeing as I was hired to do World News and now I spend my time ranting about life.

    At my Editors encouragment I'm going to do my TWC life with a short conclusion about why I'm better than most of you.

    I Joined TWC and posted some stuff about Mods, was kicking around and helped Kscott out on a (inherently doomed) mod.

    It got doomed about 3 weeks later for a reason I can't quite remember.

    Of course this isn't the stuff most people care about... you want to read the juicy stuff.

    At one point of time - a while back can't remember the details there was an instaff argument - its all pointless RP **** but meh, lifes just a game

    Basically Sibs got pissed off with Kscott (dude) and AP (slightly less dudey but still pretty decent) and they had a big *****ing session. Right about this time The Bavarian Noble (god alone knows what he calls himself now...) and Simetrical where meant to have been trying to get TBN made admin - to be honest I don't remember all the details.

    It was then I published and edited (with the help of a half bottle of scotch and some... Tobacco Alternatives) a very poorly written to a daily mail standard that accused Tom, Dick & Harry of doing This, That and the Other.

    Long story short tBP with apparent backing from a whole bunch of people tried to get Sim ostracised from the Curia (not sure if we can still do that, must check), its safe to say that failed.

    It really isnt that exciting when I recount it but It had some small effect.

    I got stuck in the Curial Hall of Fame for one

    It also got quite a few people interested in The Helios (The Curialy(??) charged edition had some 800 views in a matter of hours which I believe is some kind of record)

    Anyhoo - no real point to this but my last article got pulled on the grounds of ToS violation - i.e I mentioned smoking Pot and Stealing - BAD!

    Anyhoo. Turrah!
    Anyone wanting to wish him happy birthday by PM or birthday-rep him, the profile: [user]Grimsta[/user]

    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.
    Last edited by Ozymandias; May 21, 2007 at 02:45 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Helios the Eleventh

    There is a slight error in the Arts and sciences, at the top there is a [/center]tag but obviously no [center] tag. What I am reading so far is excellent, congrats to my fellow reporters.
    Under the patronage of Rhah and brother of eventhorizen.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Helios the Eleventh

    Good read.

  4. #4
    Farnan's Avatar Saviors of the Japanese
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    Right behind you starring over your shoulder.

    Default Re: Helios the Eleventh

    Quote Originally Posted by Shaun View Post
    There is a slight error in the Arts and sciences, at the top there is a [/center]tag but obviously no [center] tag. What I am reading so far is excellent, congrats to my fellow reporters.
    And Ozy calls himself an editor.
    “The nation that will insist upon drawing a broad line of demarcation between the fighting man and the thinking man is liable to find its fighting done by fools and its thinking by cowards.”

    —Sir William Francis Butler

  5. #5
    Tom Paine's Avatar Mr Common Sense

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    Silver Spring, Maryland (inside the Beltway)

    Default Re: Helios the Eleventh

    Everyone's a critic...

  6. #6
    Lord Rahl's Avatar Behold the Beard
    Content Emeritus

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    Aug 2004
    The stars at night are big and bright!

    Default Re: Helios the Eleventh

    Following that aspirational piece, a verbose piece from the lovely Lord Rahl;
    Is that a true statement?

    Anyway, a good Helios this is!

    Patron of: Ó Cathasaigh, Major. Stupidity, Kscott, Major König, Nationalist_Cause, Kleos, Rush Limbaugh, General_Curtis_LeMay, and NIKO_TWOW.RU | Patronized by: MadBurgerMaker
    Opifex, Civitate, ex-CdeC, Ex-Urbanis Legio, Ex-Quaestor, Ex-Helios Editor, Sig God, Skin Creator & Badge Forger
    I may be back... | @BeardedRiker

  7. #7
    Incinerate_IV's Avatar Burn baby burn
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    Pennsylvania, USA

    Default Re: Helios the Eleventh

    Good stuff.

    Well said, Shaun.
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  8. #8

    Default Re: Helios the Eleventh

    Well done Ozy! Fascinating read all in all.

    In Patronicum sub Siblesz

  9. #9
    Duke_of_Bavaria's Avatar Vicarius
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    Nov 2006
    Valhalla, Svea Rike

    Default Re: Helios the Eleventh

    Woah I never knew Helios kicked this much ass. Gotta start reading it, good work .

    Kustjägarsoldat, A-dyk #31 Nordenskiöld - KJ för alltid!

  10. #10
    Giorgos's Avatar Deus Ex Machina
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    Larissa/Skiathos Hellas(Greece)

    Default Re: Helios the Eleventh

    Not bad at all.

  11. #11
    Darkragnar's Avatar Member of Ordo Malleus
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    Mar 2005

    Default Re: Helios the Eleventh

    bravo chaps , excellent work.
    Member of the House of Marenostrum
    They call this war a cloud over the land. But they made the weather and then they stand in the rain and say ****, it's raining!

  12. #12

    Default Re: Helios the Eleventh

    That almost deserves a censor bypass f-word for how good that was.
    Count no man happy until he is dead.

  13. #13
    chris_uk_83's Avatar Physicist
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    Feb 2007
    Lancaster, England

    Default Re: Helios the Eleventh

    Another fine helios. I especially enjoyed the poem by Longfellow, very deep. I have a lot of respect for tBP's article too. Also enjoyed reading about real life mercs, thanks OldGamer.

    Looking forward to Helios 12.

    If I've helped you, rep me. I live for rep.

  14. #14
    Oldgamer's Avatar My President ...
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    Illinois, and I DID obtain my concealed carry permit! I'm packin'!

    Default Re: Helios the Eleventh

    Quote Originally Posted by chris_uk_83 View Post
    Another fine helios. I especially enjoyed the poem by Longfellow, very deep. I have a lot of respect for tBP's article too. Also enjoyed reading about real life mercs, thanks OldGamer.

    Looking forward to Helios 12.
    You're welcome!

  15. #15
    imb39's Avatar Comes Rei Militaris
    Patrician Citizen Administrator Emeritus

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    Sep 2004

    Default Re: Helios the Eleventh

    Another terrific quality packed periodical. I never cease to be amazed with the quality of work on offer. Thank you all, guys!

  16. #16
    CaptainCernick's Avatar Trouvère
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    In between Holland, Germany, France aaand... Luxemburg!

    Default Re: Helios the Eleventh

    A fine piece of work. Very varied and entertaining. As well as informative, of course.

    Siggy pic courtesy of the uncomparably artistic Atterdag.
    is my patron.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Helios the Eleventh

    Good read

  18. #18
    the Black Prince's Avatar British Patriot
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    Eastham, Wirral, England

    Default Re: Helios the Eleventh

    thanks Chris, i guess that makes 4 people who read my article lol

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jul 2005

    Default Re: Helios the Eleventh

    I read it
    Under the patronage of Rhah and brother of eventhorizen.

  20. #20
    Oldgamer's Avatar My President ...
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    Illinois, and I DID obtain my concealed carry permit! I'm packin'!

    Default Re: Helios the Eleventh

    Quote Originally Posted by the Black Prince View Post
    thanks Chris, i guess that makes 4 people who read my article lol
    Prince, I always read your articles. Sometimes, I read them with my jaw hanging agape. But I read them!

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