Tuesday, June 26, 2012

NCAA Football Playoff Plan Approved

The NCAA has approved a plan to eliminate the current BCS and install a playoff system.

In the new system will use a committee, instead of a poll system, to determine rankings.

NCAA basketball already uses a similar system for it's tournaments, and it was used a basis for the football version.

Said committee will select the top four out of all the NCAA football teams.

One and four will play each other as two and three do the same. The winners of each game will then continue to the playoff for the national title.

The games will be hosted at the Rose, Orange, Fiesta, and Sugar Bowls; with two more to be added.

2014 will be the first year of the playoff.

Review: Civilization V: Gods and Kings

Gods and Kings came out a week ago, and it's been a little disappointing. The first thing I noticed was that the game is slower, especially to load, and sometimes freezes up during combat. Can't blame my comp on this one, it's totally more than capable of handling ciV.

Whilst the religion has the intriguing ability to be different each time, depending on which beliefs you choose, I have yet to see the great sweeping religious wars that it could cause in cIV. Nor does it have the ability to bring about world peace, and victory if the entire world comes to your religion and you basically become super pope. For the most part the religion aspect of ciV seems mostly to be something else for you to have to worry about building in your cities, distracting from troops or buildings. So many of the supposed benefits are only possibilities rather than sureties, it's almost like playing the lottery, though the odds area a lil better than that. Be careful not to fall into the trap of building too many prophets, they cost a lot more than missionaries, but only have one more conversion ability.

The spies also have left me wanting a bit, as they really can't do all that much. O sure, now you can look inside a city to see what is being built, but you can't sabotage that in any way, so at most it gives you a little warning of a troop build up or a wonder nearing completion. If you're behind technologically your spy can steal techs (after a very long time), but if you're ahead they just sit there. The ability to effect a city state's voting outcome only really seems to be usable by the AI, as every time I've looked I only have a zero percent chance of achieving such a feat. Apparently the best thing my spies can accomplish is to let me know so and so is going to invade someone else, and then gain a lil favor with them if I send a warning.

Great leaders have significantly been changed, the addition of a Great Admiral being the most immediately obvious and helpful. I was very saddened though to see the changes to the Great Merchant, who can no longer start a golden age, leaving them only useful if there are city states in the world. Without city states present, they have no ability to do anything except take up space, so I was forced to use the delete unit button. The Great Artist has also been severely limited, due to the ability to culture bomb being taken away, which at least for me was it's primary use.

Moving to the one hundred point combat system seems to have been a brilliant move, which I am very happy with. Though I will definitely admit being annoyed by enemy units surviving at one percent health. I have definitely noticed an improvement in how the AI sends out it's armies, as well as in how it fights yours. Finally an AI that has some real tactics instead of just numbers.

The new civilizations seem to fit in well, and the Carthaginian ability to cross mountains isn't as alarming as it sounds. O yes, no longer are they safe boundaries if they're you're neighbor, but any Carthaginian units that end their turn on the mountain lose fifty health points. That eliminated my main fear (and hope) of them hiding up on the mountains, where I couldn't go, and pounding my units from above.

Boudicca and her Celts may be too powerful though, or it was just my luck of the draw. In my first Gods and Kings game I played as them, and the game was all too easy. The second saw my forces, and that of the rest of the world combined, unable to keep up with them. I'm in my third game now (as the Dutch), no Celts are present, and the world seems fairly well balanced without them in it. Hopefully I'm wrong, and the first two were just the way those games went. But I shall def be keeping an eye out for Celts showing up.

As I said I'm only in the third game of Gods and Kings, so maybe my opinion will change in the future, and if it does I shall be sure to let you know. For now though, I'll just keep hoping thing get better.

Cameron Confirms Avatar Movie Series

Back in 2010 James Cameron stated that he planned to see Avatar become a trilogy.

Now he has not only confirmed that, but announced he will start making the films this fall. Yes, films.

For Cameron making one at a time isn't enough. He plans on shooting Avatar 2 and 3, at the same time.

Nor does it seem a trilogy will be good enough, as he mentioned that there would at least be an Avatar 4.

Avatar 2 is set to come out sometime in 2015, with the rest to follow.

Cameron has stated that he only plans on making Avatar films for the remainder of his life.

The first Avatar grossed over two billion dollars worldwide, making it the all time leading dollar maker.

At this time only Sigourney Weaver has confirmed that she will be reprising her role in the films.

Battles Against Fires Continue in Colorado

At least nine fires are burning throughout Colorado at this time. Most have been burning for at least a week, with some having gone on for over a month.

The Chimney Rock Fire had been threatening homes on the north side of Cabezon Canyon, since it's start Monday, but latest reports have the fire completely suppressed.

Residents of the town of Elbert have been allowed back home, as the CR 102 fire, which started Sunday, reaches ninety percent containment.

Lightning started several fires near Boulder and Flatirons, firefighters hit them hard and quick due to the locations and only two are left. So far no evacuations have been ordered there, and hopes are to have the remaining two finished off tonight.

At over 87,000 acres the High Park Fire continues to burn since being started by lightning on the ninth. One person and 248 houses have been lost to the fire. Close to 1,900 personnel have it around fifty-five percent contained. Many evacuation orders are still in place to the northwest of Fort Collins.

Parts of Last Chance and Woodrow are no longer evacuated due to the Last Chance Fire's becoming one hundred percent contained. A car accident sent sparks into dry grass on Monday, and the fire quickly spread, burning 45,000 acres and four homes in less than twenty-four hours. Local residents were crucial in stopping the fire, using tractors to plow fire lines to halt the blaze.

Northwest of Pagosa Springs, the Little Sand Fire has reached over 22,000 acres. It started on May 13 and is only twenty-nine percent contained. Around two hundred personnel are fighting the fire, struggling against difficult terrain, and doing their best to keep it from spreading towards the town.

No evacuations have yet been issued for the three hundred acre Treasure Fire. The fire started Saturday, near Leadville, and is under investigation. It is considered to have been human made. Firefighters have it near ten percent contained.

Some of the 11,000 evacuations for the Waldo Canyon Fire were lifted on Tuesday, but the fire is getting closer to some homes in Manitou Springs and parts of Colorado Springs. Garden of The Gods and the surrounding area is still closed due to the threat. Six hundred personnel have reached five percent containment on the fire, which has burned over 5,100 acres and at least one home. The fire's cause is under investigation.

Four hundred personnel have reached fifteen percent containment on the Weber Fire near Mancos. Over one hundred homes have been evacuated, and several highways in the area have been closed to the public. Officials are investigating the cause of the fire, but it too is thought to have been set by humans.

Turkey Promises Retaliation if Syria Nears Border

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared that, "any military approach to the Turkish border from the Syrian side will be perceived as a threat and will be dealt with accordingly."

His speech came after Syrian forces shot down a Turkish jet on Friday.

The two countries have arguing stories as to whose side of the border the plane was on when it was fired upon.

Over the past year there have been several incidents of Syrian troops crossing into or firing into Turkey, as they chased or fired upon escaping refugees.

NATO  has pledged it's full support to it's member state Turkey.

Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen continued on to promise that the alliance would keep a close eye on all happenings near the border area, but also said that, "It is my clear expectation that the situation won’t continue to escalate. What we have seen is a completely unacceptable act, and I would expect Syria to take all necessary steps to avoid such events in the future."

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad let loose a defiant speech re-accusing the United States, Israel, Al Qaeda, and others of working together to take his country from him.

Big Ben's Tower to be Renamed After The Queen

Britain's Parliament has decreed that Victoria Tower shall be renamed to Elizabeth II Tower.

The decision came as way to honor Queen Elizabeth II during her Diamond Jubilee.

Elizabeth has served as Queen for sixty years.

Victoria Tower had originally been named King's Tower, but was renamed after Queen Victoria when she reached her own Diamond Jubilee.

The tower is part of the Parliament building, but is most famous for what is in the tower, Big Ben.

Many people thought that the renaming was happening to Ben, but Big Ben is actually the bell which is housed inside the tower.

A ceremony is being planned now, for the renaming, which Parliament and the Queen shall all attend.