Dec 31 2006

Good Luck In 2007

And have fun, y’all.

More soon…


Dec 28 2006

Super Robot

Having dumped several thousand words into a word document I begin to research the genealogy of fictional robots. I am currently enjoying the distinction between ‘Real Robot’ and ‘Super Robot’.


Dec 28 2006

“Rituals”

John Brockman in the LA Times, discussing what lies ahead in 2007:

“Pop Atheism” might include popular atheist TV and movie characters, professional athletes, political figures, etc. Look for the first billion-dollar IPO for the Web service that gets atheists together for “rituals,” dating and political and business networking.


Dec 28 2006

The Nightly News

Issue #1 of cleverly designed comic ‘The Nightly News’ is available free online.


Dec 27 2006

My Private Gormenghast

I regularly dream about archaic architecture. My most vivid dreams seem to be of fictional buildings, usually old Victorian or Gothic in style and often (although not always) in a state of disrepair. Last night I dreamt that I was taking a stroll through the (non-existent) coastal village of Waugh in Cornwall. The place was built up on several craggy outcroppings and a large island that was entirely draped in dark slate roofs hung on dark-wood beams. The alleys between buildings were lined with shuttered lanterns. The central village was focused round a series of Saxon barns and a huge church, which was adorned with garlands and pagan wicker models. It was the kind of place that, were it to exist, would have been attributed to architectural eccentrics and would now have been pickled in time by The National Trust.

Were I a better artist I would draw up sequence of paintings based on my private Gormenghasts. Other dream towns I have visited include a beautiful German garden-library complex, which was surrounded by large grey-stone barns, the ruins of a red-stone abbey and entombed in threateningly vast, densely trimmed hedges. Then there was the Escher cottage-treehouse which was larger at the top than it was at the bottom (which I was shown around by Nick Cave) and the derelict Victorian monolith that overlooked a seething arcane valley of tumble-down towers and chimneys. The latter of these I moved into the for cheap rent and to demonstrate my ‘expertise’ with coal-fired boilers.


Dec 22 2006

Large Face

Yesterday I caught a late-night repeat of Rod Liddle’s documentary “The Trouble With Atheism”. I’ve not seen much TV recently so I was pleased to be able to take some time to watch something that wasn’t the 7:45AM rerun of an American front-room soap opera. Sadly I was to be disappointed and, eventually, incredulous. Instead of an intellectually nourishing investigation of matters pertaining to the non-belief in God I found myself watching a lazy, rambling sequence of interviews with tired looking intellectuals, punctuated with the odd close-up on Liddle’s large face.

It seems that Liddle intended to demonstrate that atheists hang their beliefs on either cosmology or Darwinism. He then tried to demonstrate how both of these ideas were on troubled ground, ultimately wandering into Marxist pogroms and Nazi eugenics. Atheist fundamentalists, Liddle wanted to demonstrate, are big trouble.

What Liddle seems to have missed entirely is that there simply is no such trouble with atheism. Atheism doesn’t mean oppressive anti-God diatribes or instant wars; just a belief that all that Beard In The Sky stuff is purposeless. The UK doesn’t seem to be struggling with its institutionalised atheism: there’s a separation between Church and government and we are, for the most part, getting along without belief in God. This doesn’t mean that we’re relying on Cosmology or Darwinism either; we’re just relying on practical experience. We do not believe that guidebooks to living in the desert written 2000 years ago make worthwhile manuals for life. We see no benefit in worshiping invisible beings in the large halls that litter our landscapes. We do not believe in God, not because of Darwinism, or cosmology, or propaganda penned by Richard Dawkins, but because it is irrelevant.


Dec 19 2006

Receiver

Issue #17 of Vodafone’s Receiver magazine is all about gaming. There’s stuff in there by D.B. Weiss, Matt Jones, and Jim Rossignol. Give it a read.


Dec 16 2006

Keep It Down

An interesting post on Healthbolt describes what drinking Coca Cola does for/to you:

Have you ever wondered why Coke comes with a smile? It’s because it gets you high. They took the cocaine out almost a hundred years ago. You know why? It was redundant.

* In The First 10 minutes: 10 teaspoons of sugar hit your system. (100% of your recommended daily intake.) You don’t immediately vomit from the overwhelming sweetness because phosphoric acid cuts the flavor allowing you to keep it down.
* 20 minutes: Your blood sugar spikes, causing an insulin burst. Your liver responds to this by turning any sugar it can get its hands on into fat. (There’s plenty of that at this particular moment)
* 40 minutes: Caffeine absorption is complete. Your pupils dialate, your blood pressure rises, as a response your livers dumps more sugar into your bloodstream. The adenosine receptors in your brain are now blocked preventing drowsiness.
* 45 minutes: Your body ups your dopamine production stimulating the pleasure centers of your brain. This is physically the same way heroin works, by the way.


Dec 14 2006

Reach Into Their Stomachs

This is absolutely extraordinary. BBC News:

The world’s tallest man has saved two dolphins by using his long arms to reach into their stomachs and pull out dangerous plastic shards.

Mongolian herdsman Bao Xishun was called in after the dolphins swallowed plastic used around their pool at an aquarium in Fushun, north-east China.


Dec 13 2006

Gritty

As Eurogamer reports, Interplay are aiming to make a Fallout MMO. Now I’m getting a bit sceptical as regards MMO news, not least when it comes from a formerly-dead publishing company, and especially when no one seems to be entering the market with any worthwhile ideas or decent handle on how to make a fresh generation of persistent games work. But lets just weigh that for a moment: a Fallout MMO. No orcs, no goblins. A post-apocalypse sci-fi MMO. A gritty MMO. No poncing about pretending to be Luna The Moon Fairy… Sounds like a commercial disaster to me, but you never know. Maybe, just maybe, it would have an audience.

And let us pray to the Gods of development that someone who has been paying attention over the last five years gets put in charge of this one. With a proposed budget of $75 million it could really go somewhere. Please, please, please: no more half-arsed misfires. Look at how players can generate their own content: no more Quest-o-matic 100-spleen collections, and no more level grind. Lets have something that runs itself. (Yes, I /really/ want to have a reason to stop playing Eve, one day.)