Thursday, April 17, 2008

Boys Who Don't Play Video Games (or Play Violent Games Exclusively) at Risk

Authors of "Grand Theft Childhood" were interviewed by G4 (seems a bit rehearsed) on video games and violence. They suggest video games are not cause of violence. And though playing violent games excessively is associated with higher risk of getting into trouble, so is not playing video games at all.


Playing violent video games is not a cause of real world violence.

Exclusively playing violent M-rated games and for 15 hours or more a week is a risk marker - associated with statistically significant risk of getting in trouble. This is true for both boys and girls.

But for boys, not playing any video games at all is also a risk marker. The researchers suppose that playing video games is a sign of social competence for boys and not playing at all is a sign that something is wrong.

A whole lot of people play games (63% of US). Yet we're still doing well and we'd see that if we stop paying attention to a causal link that does not exist.

Violent media does not cause crime. But if a person is at risk of violent behavior, an underlying factor may also cause them to consume violent media excessively. Or if they are socially isolated they may get into more trouble, and video games are a big part of how boys socialize now.

Seems like mainstream media has got cause and effect backwards. If the world survived Jazz and Rock & Roll, I'm sure it will survive video games.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Ignorance is Bliss to None but Fools

It's funny how I thought I was a decent-looking guy. Didn't even notice my face was so asymmetrical and misshapen until I took a few pictures of myself to draw self-portraits recently.

Maybe it's a recent development. I've seen plenty of my baby pictures and pictures from high school, but I never noticed this.

I'll probably stop minding it soon, but it disturbs me that I failed to notice it soooner. What else about myself did I fail to perceive accurately?

Thursday, April 10, 2008

I Do Not Want to Extend My Auto Warranty Coverage

I get calls from "extend your auto warranty" telemarketers, almost every day. Mostly on my work phone and sometimes on my cellphone (despite it being illegal for telemarketers to call cellphones).

It sucks nasty meatballs. But wait. There's more. Months ago, I finally stayed on and talked to a rep. They wanted make, model and year of my car. They didn't even know how old my car was! All they had was my number! Haha. They were National Dealers of St Peters, MO. I clearly told the rep that I want my information taken off THEIR system. He then forwarded me to their "do not call department" - a recorded message instructing me to make use of the national do-not-call registry. I had to chuckle at their audacity. They basically gave me the finger.

It was awful nice of them when later they started offering an option to "press 3" to get off their list. Too bad it didn't work.

And now, even as my phone numbers sit on the do-not-call list, their autodialer calls. It instructs me to "press 2" to take advantage of this "final notice" to extend my auto insurance.

So today, I press 2. I wait for a rep. She asks me for my vehicle's make, model and year. Instead of answering, I ask for the name and location of the company she works for. *CLICK* she hangs up abruptly.

My guess is that it's the same scum from St. Peters.

Hope they get shut down soon. I'm having hard time suppressing the urge to drive down there to drill holes through their equipment.

Found an article from MSNBC on these car warranty companies, written two months ago. That could explain why they didn't bother to give me the company info today.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Fun with Oracle Data Dictionary Views

Played around with some data dictionary views in Oracle. "USER_TAB_PRIVS" is a view which contains information about object privileges that are associated with the user (object privileges for which the current user is object owner, privilege granter, or privilege grantee). "ROLE_TAB_PRIVS" is a view of object privileges granted to roles given to the user.

I wanted to find out exactly how these views work. So I set up a test in the following way to see how "ROLE_ROLE_PRIVS" and "ROLE_TAB_PRIVS" work.

create user testuser identified by "pass";
create role testrole1;
create role testrole2;
create role testrole3;
grant testrole1 to testuser;
grant testrole2 to testrole1;
grant testrole3 to testrole2;

grant select on testschema.testview1 to testrole1;
grant select on testschema.testview2 to testrole2;
grant select on testschema.testview3 to testrole3;

I logged in as "testuser". Querying "ROLE_ROLE_PRIVS" displayed both "testrole2" and "testrole3" as "GRANTED_ROLE". Querying "ROLE_TAB_PRIVS" displayed all three views under the column "TABLE_NAME" for which the user has been granted "SELECT" privileges via the roles.

I mainly wanted to find out whether I'd need to recursively query these views for all object privileges a user has. But it seems the task will simply require querying "USER_TAB_PRIVS" and "ROLE_TAB_PRIVS".

Reading through descriptions of other data dictionary views, it occurs to me that I might as well query the "ALL_TAB_PRIVS_RECD" since it will list all privileges user has on objects the user does not own. Then querying "USER_OBJECTS" for views would yield the views user owns.

Alternatively, querying "ALL_OBJECTS" for views could also work if it is a assumed that the user has "SELECT" privilege to those views.