Well, never mind, I guess. Hope it works out for you... though I doubt it will.
What's happened in Madrid has made me reconsider a lot of my harsh and simplistic opinions. The fact that right now no one knows precisely who was behind that crime is meaningful. I find myself thinking this: Perhaps after all it is not important who precisely carried out which atrocity (not on a grand scale, I mean; it's important to the people on the scene, of course.) The true danger of our time is that committing random atrocities, in a delicate technological civilization uniquely vulnerable to them as at no time before in history, may become commonplace and accepted. That's what we have to fight: the physical manifestation of bad thinking, the nihilistic attitude that has no demands but regards death as an end in and of itself. We have to fight it with armies and bombs, and with policemen and judges, and with books and ideas and arguments. It doesn't matter if it's in New York City, or if it's in Madrid, or Bali or Tel Aviv or Baghdad. Or, for that matter, Paris or Berlin or Belfast or Moscow or Beirut. We -- the vast majority of the world's citizens, people who may have different ideas about God or economics or lines on a map but who deep down just want to be left alone to live the best life we can, in the way we see fit -- are all on the same side here. Maybe we should start acting like it.
A radio producer in Washington, D.C., got a promotion a few years ago on the grounds that he was a "good decision-maker." Self-deprecating to a fault, he reminded his bosses that many of the decisions heíd made since joining the station hadnít exactly worked out. They didnít care. "Being a good decision-maker means youíre good at making decisions," one executive cheerily told him. "It doesnít mean you make good decisions."
Heralding a new age of lasers!
Here's a new panoramic image of Meridani Planum on Mars from the Opportunity rover. The rover's next target crater is visible on the left. In the center is the remains of the backshell and parachute used to make its landing, and to the right is a series of tracks left by the lander as it bounced to a halt. I am just totally grooving on all this Mars stuff, let me tell you -- these two versatile robots with all their scientific instruments are the next best thing to actually having human beings on site.
Via the always fascinating A Voyage to Arcturus: "The Leviathan of Parsontown," the 18th century's Hubble Space Telescope. And, a rather stunning motorcycle ride through Chernobyl.
One of my heroes is Eugene Jarvis, the man behind such classic arcade games as Defender and Robotron. (As it happens, I've ended up working at his old stomping grounds, Midway Games. It wasn't intentional at the time... but then perhaps there was something unconscious that sent me here?) Here are two interviews with him: this one mostly looks nostalgically to the past, while this one delves deeper into his thoughts on game design and the morality of modern games.
One bit in the second interview that stood out for me is Jarvis's belief that games can and should relate to current events and current fears. He is in fact putting his money where his mouth is by making an arcade game called "Target: Terror," in which terrorist threats to the Golden Gate Bridge and the White House must be dealt with. He has well-spoken disdain for those too squeamish to take on such topics. It happens that this is an issue I've been nosing around myself -- somewhere on my hard drive is the design document for an Ace Combat style fighter plane sim, where the "zeroth" mission that sets the stage for the rest of the game puts the player in the cockpit of a fighter jet tasked to shoot down a hijacked airliner heading for lower Manhattan. The body of the game consists of various military missions against the organizers of various terrorist acts. Yes, it's a damn near grotesque use of emotional images. And since when are we in America such pathetic trembling creatures that we can't endure being reminded of such things? Who exactly is it that this might offend?
Wandering further off the subject: it is funny, you know -- we covered up the holes in the city as quickly as possible and designed a new building to stick in the hole, and then everyone just shut up about it. We're not allowed to talk about it or think about it. The current Administration's attempts to mention 9/11 in campaign ads are being vociferously attacked by the media and the opposition party as politicizing the incident. Well, really, now... this is a democracy, and there's a Presidential election coming up. We're supposed to politicize stuff! Is there any more important political issue than 9/11 and how to stop any more of them from happening? Shouldn't Incumbent Politician B's actions taken against the threat, or Challenger Politician K's alternative proposed policies towards it, be the centerpiece of this election? If it's taken off the table, for whatever reason (fill your own -- stupidity, media bias, political correctness, sinister conspiracies) then we're not really being treated seriously by the news media -- we're being treated like children. We're being encouraged to argue over the mortgage or the color of the wallpaper while the house is burning down.
I'm not sure where I'm really going with this, except possibly to suggest that the vast majority of journalists, news editors, and publishers should be put in a large hole and then covered up with as much dirt as is practical. I guess that covers it really.
NASA will be holding a press conference at 2:00 PM EST Tuesday, March 2 to announce "significant findings" from the Mars rovers. It'll be simulcast here (but not here.) As well, if you're curious about the software problem which sidelined Spirit for a week or so last month, this article in the EE Times describes what the problem was and how they fixed it.
Which Science Fiction Writer Are You? I got David Brin, which surprisingly is about right.
Perhaps it is possible to take cosplaying too far.
I feel terrible for the people of Iran.
Ooh, these links are stacking up. Better go through the pile: What we need more of is Science! Astonishing fantasy aircraft! The 1,000 Fighting Styles of Donald Rumsfeld! The best attempt to open a door ever animated! A sinister e-mail exploit analyzed! And finally, the handy all-in-one explanation of why your anti-spam technique won't work! Phew... that ought to do it for a little while.
This is just a guess, but I bet if a Presidential candidate actually used ads like these he'd win about nine hundred states.
Download some fabbo tunes from Capcom's recent game P.N. 03 at this link.
A reasonably comprehensive collection of battle quotes from Final Fantasy X-2. As it happens, I have a save file for FFX-2, with the heroines parked just a few feet short of the final battle. I haven't touched it in weeks. Am I ever going to finish the game? Well... I don't know, honestly. Not because I didn't enjoy playing it -- I did; there's such infectious fun about that game that it's impossible not to play through the whole thing with a silly grin on your face. And not because it's too hard -- the characters are all around level 70 and have been swatting final-dungeon monsters aside with contemptuous ease. No, I think it's because deep down I don't want the game to end. Playing FFX-2 was like taking a long tropical vacation in the middle of this miserable Chicago winter, and I may never feel inclined to bring that feeling to a close.
How to speak like a samurai!