<< archive: may 11 2002 - may 27 2002 >>
harm me with harmony. doomsday, drop a load on 'em.
thank you for saving us with that magnificent blend of graceful athleticism and idiotic slapstick.
ah, the rapier-like wit of a person who really should know better.
they were civilians. they knew the risks when they took the job.
the inventory shows you all the nice things you can never have.
and it runs on war bonds and has naked ladies painted on the hull!
information wants to be wrong.
your opponent does not know that this is a game.

approved links

Angels From Another Pin


Talking Points Memo

Roger Ebert

The Institute of Official Cheer


ToastyFrog Jump!

Bob the Angry Flower


Words cannot express the magnificence of MC (Stephen) Hawking (and here's the home page.)
I'm back from the Electronic Entertainment Expo! And I didn't bring back just a nasty chest cold from Los Angeles, either. No sir, I have fully established my geek credentials and so I feel entitled to give you the following E3 impressions:

  1. The consoles have taken over. The South Hall was one hundred percent PC games last year. This year the consoles have spread out of West Hall and taken over more than half of South. Speaking as someone who is a PC game programmer by trade: oh dear.
  2. But the games are much better than last year -- spectacularily better, in fact. Last year, of course, all the focus was on the flashy new console hardware, and the awkward truth was that the new games were a) few in number and b) mostly lousy (in the case of the X-Box.) Not this time. This is a great time to own a PS2, and a not-bad time to own a Gamecube, X-Box, or even a gaming PC -- the PC's quantity may be down but the quality is intimidatingly high.
  3. Kentia Hall: rather dull. Kentia is a downstairs exhibit hall for all the people who can't afford a booth in the main halls of the LA Convention Center; it generally represents the industry's more eccentric low-budget side, with all matter of unusual game controllers, obscure industry trade rags and pavilions from Germany and South Korea jostling side by side. Last year it was the most interesting place at E3. This year, it seemed rather tame -- perhaps because the rest of the industry is making good games again.
  4. 2002 is the Year of the Giant Robot. Battle Engine Aquila and R.A.D.: Robot Alchemical Drive jumped way out in front for me.
  5. Dark Cloud 2. I had no idea there was even going to be one, and there it was at E3. Joy!
Let's see, what has been happening while I was away? It looks like the Internet is doomed. But on the other hand: Holy Xiao, we're goin' to Mars!
I'm off to E3, so service will resume on Sunday, May 26 (and I probably won't be able to answer any email until then.) See you later.
Geocaching is something straight out of a David Brin novel, I swear to Betsy: cheerfully decentralized abuse of technology (in this case, GPS receivers) for a purpose its creators never intended (in this case, treasure hunting.) I'm not complaining, mind you.

As long as I'm linking to science fiction writers, here's my favorite, Jack McDevitt. I note that he has a new book coming out in July. Ooo.

It's Architecture Day: here's the new Greater London Authority building, now in its later stages of construction, and a design taking shape for rebuilding 7 World Trade Center.
Hooray for arms control, of course, but I can't help but notice that W. talks like a badly translated Japanese video game. "When I sign the treaty with President Putin in Russia, it will begin the new era of U.S.-Russian relationships," Bush commented. "Launch all F-18! For great justice!"
Your run of the mill hollow-earth theory suggests that vast openings exist at the North and South Poles, through which an interior "shell" of the Earth, with continents on the inside and an artificial sun at the center, is accessible -- this interior being, of course, chockablock with lost civilizations, dinosaurs, evil robots and other such Doc Savage stuff. More audacious hollow-earthers have proposed that the continents and oceans of Earth -- the ones you're living on right now -- are actually on the inside of a shell drifting through space. The sun and planets move cunningly about in the center of the shell to give the illusion of the orbits we know and the stars, of course, are the lights of cities on the other side.

Now that's all good as far as it goes, but it lacks a certain punch. But I was impressed when I read a Martin Gardner article about Mostafa Abdelkader's "Geocosmos," which neatly dispenses with all the tricky orbital mechanics. By performing a geometric inversion with respect to the sphere of the Earth, a model of the universe can be constructed where all of infinite space -- hundred billion galaxies, quasars, cosmic background radiation and all -- is located inside the seven-thousand-mile-across shell of Earth. Light rays follow corkscrew paths, the speed of light varies with distance from the sphere's center, objects leaving Earth's surface become smaller and smaller as they rise into the sky, und so weiter; and the thrillingest part is, it's completely unfalsifiable! It's rather a breathtaking vision when you stop to think about it. There isn't quite a page on the Web devoted to Abdelkader's theory (which surprises me, actually) but an academic paper in Microsoft Word format with some excellent details and clarifying figures is located here; skip about two-thirds down or search for Abdelkader's name. Or if you like, there's Google's rather freeform HTML rendering here.


I was going to tell you about the smiley-face bomber and eternal spam lists and aerogel, but, uh, maybe I should just refer you to USS Clueless today instead and save myself the trouble, huh?

Ooo, nanotech.

For anyone out there who likes lists of random quotes with obscure connotations, I've noted down all the tag lines from the old not-exactly-a-weblog I used to have on my site. So, you know, there you are.

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