The YouTube Partner Program needs to be more exclusive again

Back when YouTube was still young, being a YouTube Partner actually meant something. Not only did it allow you to add custom thumbnails and a header to your YouTube channel (back when it was more customizable), it also allowed you to make money off your videos. The only way you would be allowed to make money off your videos if it they were even worth monetizing – so being a YouTube Partner acted as validation for a lot of people.

Then, for some reason, YouTube opened up its “Partner” program to … pretty much everyone. Anybody was basically able to create a YouTube channel, verify that they’re a real person, then start “making money” off the videos right off the bat. There was no build-up process to ensure that YouTube partnership was actually a prestigious title given to only reputable creators.

Two days ago, YouTube posted an update on their Creator Blog titled “Additional changes to the YouTube Partner Program (YPP) to better protect creators.” In this blog post, they said that they will be limiting access to the Partner Program only to channels with over 1,000 subscribers and over 4,000 hours of watchtime in the past year.

When I read this, I was pretty excited. It seemed like YouTube was going back to ensuring that their Partner Program is actually a real special program, and not just something build straight into the “base version” of YouTube. However, after reading the comments on the post and look at people’s responses on social media, I was a bit confused at how much outrage there was about this change.

I personally stopped uploading to YouTube a while back because I didn’t agree with YouTube’s visions on their website. I hated how little it seemed like they cared about their creators, with strange policies like opening up partnership and monetization to the general public being one of many contributing factors. Because of that, I haven’t really been keeping up with the newest updates to YouTube, but based off what I know, there are a few reasons why most of the people complaining about this change are wrong.

  • This protects creators from losing out on money because of people reuploading their videos. Back when I was more deeply involved in YouTube, a big problem that came up with popular creators is that people would just rip videos off the creator’s channel and steal it for their own, brand new channel. This was a no-risk maneuver because they could just create a new channel and instantly be able to monetize content if a different channel got banned.
  • People who have fewer than 1,000 subscribers and less than 4,000 hours of watchtime per YEAR should not even be trying to make money from YouTube. This requirement isn’t actually that high, and I sort of wish YouTube had set the bar a little bit higher. A majority of people who are enrolled in monetization are most likely making less than single-digit dollars per year, and I personally think it’s not even worth it for Google AdSense to be even keeping track of these people’s money. It’s easy for people to pretend like they’re “YouTubers,” but it’s time to snap out of it and realize that vlogging as a hobby to just friends doesn’t make them a YouTuber.
  • Real creators are probably going to start making more money. YouTube has been rampant with completely random and unjustified demonetization on perfectly acceptable videos, so they need all the money they can get. By guaranteeing to advertisers that their ads will be displayed on videos from reputable channels, rather than completely random videos from insignificant, single-digit-subscriber channels, advertisers are more likely to want to invest more money, because they know their ads will have a greater impact than before.

This isn’t enough to bring me back to regularly uploading to my own YouTube channel (although I obviously will be uploading on my employer’s channels as part of my job). However, if YouTube continues to take these kinds of steps to actually make sure real creators are being protected and filtering out those who just abuse the system, I may reconsider in the future.




This restaurant is way too expensive

You might’ve seen from yesterday that I went out with some of Tempo Storm’s professional gamers to an indoor rock climbing facility. After we wrapped that up, we went out to get some dinner at a restaurant the manager picked – a Japanese grill called Shin-Sen-Gumi. Because this was his event that he coordinated and put together for his players, I went along with it … and soon realized that he had picked out a peculiarly expensive restaurant.

The prices were somewhat deceptive – the portion sizes were surprisingly small, some of which literally only came with three bites of meat for US$8.50.





The final bill came out to be over US$382 for a party of five. After clarifying with the manager that I was absolutely not the one who had picked out this restaurant, I wished him the best of luck in justifying his choice of restaurant when submitting his company reimbursement.




Rock climbing adventures with T/S HotS

I did a bit more field work today – Tempo Storm’s Heroes of the Storm team’s manager took the guys indoor rock climbing, and I was there to capture the action in photos and videos. There will be a polished final video product coming out in the next handful of days, but for now, here are some highlight photos from rock climbing:





Like usual for my Tempo Storm photo shoots, the full album can be found on Flickr:

Edit: The video is live too now – it’s available on Tempo Storm’s Heroes of the Storm YouTube channel.




I guess I’m collecting Pokémon cards now

Pokémon was the first game I actually really got into as a kid, but I was only ever a fan of the Game Boy games and not the Trading Card Game (TCG). I never really found much pleasure in collecting or possessing material goods in general, and that tendency continues on to this day as an adult – I’d much rather have money, knowledge, and electronic possessions rather than large collections of physical souvenirs.

The only Pokémon TCG card I ever owned was a random Psyduck that I think a friend gave me for free. I didn’t really see the purpose of owning them, because at that time, I didn’t even know how to properly play the card game. I also thought it was a complete waste of money to own Pokémon trading cards (the magnitude of wastefulness probably also amplified by the fact that I didn’t actually make any money back then).

As a small child, my favorite Pokémon was Eevee. I felt like flexibility, adaptability, and diversity was a very important characteristic, and Eevee was able to do that – it could evolve into a fire, water, or electric type. I started liking Eevee even more when Pokémon Gold and Silver came out and I discovered that Eevee could now also evolve into a dark or psychic type as well.

I still like Eevee to this day, and Eevee remained my favorite Pokémon for a while – not only because I still liked the concept of Eevee, but also because I didn’t really pay that much attention to Pokémon to really know much about the hundreds of new Pokémon that were being released since the Johto expansion. However, I’ve recently been paying closer attention to the new Pokémon games and the mega evolutions, and I discovered a Pokémon that I think is my new favorite – Absol.

One clear advantage that I think Absol has over Eevee is its appearance. If you know me in person, you know that I really like white clothing (most of the casual t-shirts I wear are white, and I have a thing for white jackets). A secondary favorite color of mine is anything on the grayscale spectrum. Our good buddy Absol happens to naturally be both of those colors, all while having a stylish and fashionable fur arrangement and horn accent. Ask me to pick a favorite “real” color that isn’t white, gray, or black, and I will say I like the ferocity and power of the color red … and Absol’s shiny form just happens to be red.

Absol also has some empathy-inducing lore behind it. Absol is considered to be the disaster Pokémon because every time people see it come down from the mountains, disasters occur. Surely, Absol is the one causing them, right? Of course, Absol is actually misunderstood – it comes down from its natural mountainous habitat to warn civilization about natural disasters coming because it’s able to sense it, not because it’s causing the destruction itself.

Even though I’ve never been a fan of collecting cards, and I still don’t really have much of an interest in doing so, I never said that I was actually against it. In an attempt to explore different opportunities and try out things I never got to do as a child (even though I didn’t actually particularly even want to do this as a child), I decided to start a very small Pokémon card collection of only Absol.

Why Absol? I would obviously pick one of my favorite Pokémon, but I decided to go with Absol instead of Eevee because I didn’t want to create a snowball effect of wanting more and more Pokémon cards. My mission is to try and collect all the Absol cards, and once that is complete, I can put the project on hold, admire my collection, and wait until more new Absol cards come out in future expansions. If I were to do that with Eevee, I would have a very easy progression to wanting to collect all the Eevee evolution Pokémon cards as well, and I’m trying to do this as a side hobby purely for fun, not to drain my entire entertainment budget into it. And even then, Absol still has quite a few cards available; not only are there multiple versions of Absol printed, but all of them come in different languages as well.

I’m looking to spend no more than about US$100.00 on my initial purchase (which would include a binder, sleeves, and as many cards as possible), then spend no more than about an hour a week searching for good deals on card vendor and auction websites to try and round out my collection. I would imagine that the time investment would start waning down to just a few hours a month once I get a hold of all the cards in common circulation, and have narrowed down the empty slots in my collection to just rare foreign cards.

When I want to do something, I tend to go all-in, so I spent a bit of time doing some research on all the Absol cards in print right now. I’ll be using this as a reference for how much more progress I need to make to complete my English and Japanese collection, before moving on to foreign languages (which I’m finding may include, but is not limited to, Korean, Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, Italian, Polish, Dutch, and Russian). I also have the cards listed in order of release date, which is how I will be organizing my physical collection.

I’ll be coming back to this blog post once in a while and making some edits to the table – checking off cards I purchase, and adding more cards that I discover exist.


Card name Expansion Release date Rarity Number
Forina’s Absol
Movie Commemoration VS Pack 2003 . 07 . 19 008/019 🇯🇵
Pokémon Card Gym Official Start Lottery 040/ADV-P 🇯🇵
EX Dragon 2003 . 11 . 24 Rare Holo 1/97 🇺🇸 ✓ $5.99
EX Dragon Rare Reverse Holo 1/97 🇺🇸 ✓ $3.89
Rulers of the Heavens Rare Holo 048/054 🇯🇵
EX Team Magma vs Team Aqua 2004 . 03 . 15 Rare Holo 96/95 🇺🇸 ✓ $7.79
7-Eleven Pokémon Fair campaign 034/ADV-P 🇯🇵
7-Eleven Pokémon Fair campaign 035/ADV-P 🇯🇵
EX Legend Maker 2006 . 02 . 13 Rare 15/92 🇺🇸 ✓ $0.49
EX Legend Maker Rare Reverse Holo 15/92 🇺🇸 ✓ $0.99
Mirage Forest Rare 072/086 🇯🇵
EX Holon Phantoms 2006 . 05 . 03 Rare 18/110 🇺🇸
EX Holon Phantoms Rare Reverse Holo 18/110 🇺🇸 ✓ $2.59
Mightyena Quarter Deck 006/015 🇯🇵
Absol ex
EX Power Keepers 2007 . 02 . 14 Rare Holo ex 92/108 🇺🇸 ✓ $8.99
EX Power Keepers World Championship 92/108 🇺🇸 ✓ $0.99
World Champions Pack Rare Holo ex 060/108 🇯🇵
Secret Wonders 2007 . 11 . 07 Rare 21/132 🇺🇸 ✓ $0.99
Secret Wonders Rare Reverse Holo 21/132 🇺🇸 ✓ $2.39
Shining Darkness Rare 🇯🇵
Absol G
Supreme Victors 2009 . 08 . 19 Rare Holo 1/147 🇺🇸 ✓ $1.49
Supreme Victors Rare Reverse Holo 1/147 🇺🇸 ✓ $1.69
Beat of the Frontier Rare Holo 064/100 🇯🇵
Absol G LV.X
Supreme Victors 2009 . 08 . 19 Rare Holo LV.X 141/147 🇺🇸 ✓ $3.49
Beat of the Frontier Rare Holo LV.X 065/100 🇯🇵
Triumphant 2010 . 11 . 03 SuperRare Holo 91/102 🇺🇸 ✓ $2.99
Lost Link SuperRare Holo 027/040 🇯🇵
Plasma Freeze 2013 . 05 . 08 Rare Holo 67/116 🇺🇸 ✓ $0.79
Plasma Freeze Rare Reverse Holo 67/116 🇺🇸 ✓ $0.59
Spiral Force R 033/051 🇯🇵
Roaring Skies 2015 . 05 . 06 Rare Holo 40/108 🇺🇸 ✓ $0.49
Roaring Skies Rare Reverse Holo 40/108 🇺🇸 ✓ $0.49
Roaring Skies World Championship 40/108 🇺🇸 ✓ $0.25
Emerald Break R 034/078 🇯🇵
Premium Champion Pack 077/131 🇯🇵
Mega Absol-EX Premium Collection 2015 . 05 . 29 XY62 🇺🇸 ✓ $2.49
Battle Festa 2014: 12 Play Point prize 🇯🇵
Mega Absol-EX
Mega Absol-EX Premium Collection 2015 . 05 . 29 XY63 🇺🇸 ✓ $2.69
Mega Absol-EX Premium Collection Oversize XY63 🇺🇸 ✓ $3.49
Mega Absol-EX Premium Collection Code Card 🇺🇸 ✓ $1.49
Battle Festa 2014: 12 Play Point prize 🇯🇵
Alola Collector’s Pin 2-Pack Blister 2016 . 11 . 18 XY178 🇺🇸
Pokémon Card Gym Karen Night Battle 🇯🇵
Guardians Rising 2017 . 05 . 05 Rare Holo 81/145 🇺🇸 ✓ $0.79
Guardians Rising Rare Reverse Holo 81/145 🇺🇸 ✓ $0.49
Strength Expansion Pack Sun & Moon 038/051 🇯🇵




Why does Google Flights think Basic Economy is the same as Economy?

Budget airlines like Spirit and Frontier have been a lot more successful than anyone would have imagined – apparently people are ok with giving up every possible aspect of comfort in exchange for the lowest ticket price possible. As a result of this, leading airline brands in the United States, like Amer­i­can Airlines and United Airlines, have also implemented a budget system by creating a new class of service called Basic Economy.

In a flying sense, it’s the same as regular Economy; the difference isn’t like how first class is separated from the rest of the plane in domestic flights. But, the process leading up to the actual flight is drastically different – you can’t bring carry-on luggage, you have to pay extra fees for everything, you board the plane last, and you get assigned your seat (instead of picking it ahead of time at booking/check-in).

I’m going to be going on a trip soon, so I’ve been looking at airline prices. Even though I’m pretty loyal to oneworld and only fly American Airlines, I still want to do some price comparisons to see if it’s worth flying with another airline for one trip and foregoing adding to my frequent flyer balance. I think Google Flights is a great tool to use to do that, so I browse it pretty frequently.

One thing that’s been irritating me about Google Flights lately is how they’ve integrated Basic Economy into their search results, but haven’t actually separated it from the rest of the classes of travel. They have Economy, Premium Economy, Business, and First Class, but no Basic Economy (under which I would assume Spirit Airlines and other no-amenity airlines would fall).

Google Flights

Because of that, I often run into situations where I search for a flight and get really excited when I see that American Airlines and United Airlines are offering Economy flights that are somehow the same price as Spirit Airlines. I eagerly click on my preferred oneworld airline to book…

Google Flights

… only to find that, even though Google Flights hasn’t im­ple­mented Basic Economy vs. Economy filtering in the search field, they have, in fact, im­ple­mented it in the actual ticket purchase page. So, when I go to actually buy the ticket, there is a new drop-down menu that magically appears that now does actually have that distinction in place … and wants to charge me an extra US$28 to upgrade to Economy – the class of service I was looking for in the first place.

Google Flights

I’d imagine that this is likely an issue with budget airlines like Spirit and Frontier getting permanently relegated to Basic Economy status on all their flights, and they wouldn’t be too happy about that, but I feel like this is a pretty important quality-of-life feature that Google Flights should look into implementing in the search function from the beginning.

In the meantime, this price is still pretty good, and it looks like I’ll be headed to Chicago in a few weeks for just around US$100.




SpeedRun Arena

For what feels like the tenth time in the past week (it’s actually only the fourth time in the past week), I went back to Esports Arena to cover an event – this time, SpeedRun Arena with one of Tempo Storm’s broadcast personalities, Trihex.

Of course, I don’t go to things unless I’m being productive, so I have a photo album of the full Speedrun Arena event. Here are some highlights:





I’m also filming video footage for this event as well; I’ll be editing all that together into a vlog over the next day or so, and post a link to it here when it’s ready.

Edit: I’m done editing, and the vlog is up – check it out embedded below, or on Tempo Storm’s Twitch channel.




You might be mad at Logan Paul for the wrong reason

If you haven’t heard yet by the explosive media coverage, people are a bit angry with Logan Paul because of a vlog he posted on YouTube that included footage of the dead body of a man who committed suicide in Aokigahara, Japan, often referred to as “Suicide Forest.” I’m not really a fan of Logan Paul’s lifestyle and choices, so I don’t follow him, but the public outcry made it next to impossible for me to ignore this, so I looked into it a bit more closely.

Although I agree with the general public and believe Logan Paul is in the wrong, I think most people are mad at Logan Paul for the wrong reasons. Here’s a breakdown of the situation, and reasons why people should and should not be upset with Logan Paul, through the eyes of someone with a background in criminal psychology.


Unjustified reason: Logan Paul’s laughter

Laughter is a complicated thing. In fact, it’s so complicated that there is an entire field of research dedicated to studying the psychology and physiology behind laughter – it’s called gelotology.

We’ve all witnessed awkward or nervous laughter – laughter that is prompted by cases of stress, discomfort, embarrassment, trauma, and/or pain. The physiological source of this kind of laughter is completely different – nervous laughter comes from the nose and/or throat, while joyful laughter comes from diaphragm contractions. It’s prevalent enough in everyday life that I’m actually surprised this many people are so unempathetic such that they are claiming Logan Paul is laughing out of amusement instead of nervousness … but then again, this may also be a case of bandwagoning.

Sometimes, there is a disconnect between how our body wants to feel and how our brain actually feels. Neuroscientific studies show that when we en­counter something traumatic, our brains often trigger nervous laughter as a way to attempt to convince ourselves that the awful thing we are wit­nessing isn’t actually that awful. To keep things simple, this is a coping mechanism.

The most famous study demonstrating nervous laughter is Stanley Milgram’s obedience experiment, in which subjects (the “teachers”) were instructed to electrocute experiment insiders (the “learners”) every time the “learner” got a quiz question incorrect. Of course, the electrocution on the “learner” was fake, but they were told to act as if they were in terrible pain.

The test subjects laughed at the cries and screams for help not because they were sadistic, but because they were unsure of what to do. The discomfort they experienced while they were having an internal mental dilemma – whether to continue electrocuting the “learner,” or defy the authority of the principal researcher – prompted them to laugh in order to relieve some of the stress.

Seeing a dead body is no joke for most people, and for someone like Logan Paul, it’s likely that this was the first time he ever saw a dead body “out on the field” (as opposed to in a controlled environment, like a funeral). He was laughing because his body was put in a shocking situation and it didn’t know what else to do. We shouldn’t be hating him because his body engaged in an uncontrollable physiological reaction.


Inconclusive reason: Displaying a dead body

It’s easy to skip this topic by saying “displaying shocking images is against YouTube’s terms of service” and disregard this entire argument, but I think this is important.

Culture is a powerful force. So powerful, in fact, that it basically determines what is okay and not okay to do. Cultures can vary substantially across different regions – that’s why culture shock exists. Sometimes, culture is so dramatically different that something considered to be inherently bad in one culture is not inherently bad in another.

Japanese culture sees suicide very differently than other cultures.

Have you ever heard the meme “commit sudoku”? It’s often accompanied with an image of a dead man with a bloody sudoku board carved into his chest. The origin of this meme is an ironic representation of the confusion of the word “sudoku” with “seppuku,” a Japanese term describing an honorable, ritualistic suicide by disembowelment. The fact that such a concept even exists in Japan should be a clear indication that Japanese views on suicide are very different than American views.

The Japanese government is taking steps to ensure suicide rates go down in Japan, but public demonstrations of seppuku have been done as recently as 1970 by Yukio Mishima after a failed coup d’état. Those who were raised in, or are familiar with, that era have non-negligible exposure to a culture accepting suicide, as long as it is done in an honorable manner.

An example of a suicide that may be considered honorable is if a man is unable to support his family due to unemployment. According to his inter­pre­tation, he would have believed he did the right thing by taking his own life because he was being a disservice to his family; consequently, he is allowing his wife to remarry with a more financially stable man, resulting in a brighter future for his children.

To Americans, a story like this would be catastrophic and heartbreaking. To some Japanese, especially members of older generations, this is considered tolerable behavior.

This is not at all an argument claiming that it is okay to show this man’s body because he is Japanese. We may never know the circumstances sur­round­ing his suicide, and there is no guarantee that he committed suicide with honorable intentions. Just because he was found in a public forest does not automatically mean he intended for his suicide to be a public event.

I stand by the philosophy that we should respect his privacy and conceal his body. However, it is important to note that we should not be quick to generalize our thoughts on all situations, as unexpected things – like wildly differing cultural views – can introduce strange twists. Just because you and I think one way does not mean the rest of the world thinks the same way.


The most concerning reason: Logan Paul may be increasing suicide rates

To keep things simple, talking about suicide increases suicide.

That is obviously grossly oversimplified, but the point remains the same – research has shown that poor media coverage of suicide increases suicide rates. The more detailed the coverage, the higher the chance of suicide rates increasing. Once suicide methods and photos are introduced, rates skyrocket relative to other types of coverage (known as the dose-response relationship).

By providing video coverage of this Japanese man’s suicide in his vlog, Logan Paul is exposing his fans to a trigger that has been scientifically proven to increase suicide rates in those with risk factors. Adolescents suffering from depression and anxiety are most in danger – which happens to be the age group in which most of Logan Paul’s fanbase is presumed to reside.

Another issue of Logan Paul’s methodology of coverage is the lack of depth of discussion. Excluding cases of youth impulse, most instances of suicide are a culmination of a massive number of problems. Poor coverage of suicide events may misattribute the motivation behind suicide to something superficial or simple, thus implicitly reporting that suicide may be an option for single-faceted problems. Although Logan Paul attempts to discourage his audience from engaging in suicide, it is done with relatively low emotional depth; it is critical to balance out the negativity of the suicide story with stories of hope and recovery.

(As a disclaimer, there is some degree of generalization happening here when applying the findings of these studies to this scenario. Most conclusive studies investigate suicides by notable public figures who may have had a following, putting followers at risk for imitation. In this video, Logan Paul is reporting on an anonymous man, which may provide a sufficient disconnect between the suicide victim and the viewer such that this research could possibly be inapplicable.)

While doing some supplementary research and fact checking while composing this piece, I ran into a website called that goes further in depth on the topic of the media inadvertently increasing suicide rates. If you’re interested in learning more about this phenomenon and finding out how you can avoid it in your own coverage (even if it’s just commenting about it on social media), I recommend you check out their website.

In summary, if you’re mad at Logan Paul for his actions, your emotions are probably justified. However, instead of being mad just because everyone else is mad, it’s important to reflect and understand the real reasons why you should feel the way you do.