Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Time Machine

I came up with a game the other night and tried it out on a couple of friends. It goes something like this:

If a scientist had time machine and allowed you to KILL one person in history and SAVE another person, who would you choose?

Who would you kill? Who would you save? And why? Bonus points for when?

Play as many rounds as you want.

Ari's choices:

I would kill Andrew Jackson, probably just after the Battle of New Orleans. He established the “strong president” precedent. He established the cabinet full of supporters instead of people who were best for the job. Also, he was a dick. Man had duels. Just killed people. For no reason! I just don't see him as having a good systemic effect on America.

I would save Robert F. Kennedy. I like him more than his brother, plus saving JFK seems it would have all sorts of unintended consequences that might be really bad. But RFK had a real good brain on his shoulders and would have been a real good and interesting president. Imagine if we had RFK instead of Nixon. On a personal note; my dad always gets kind of wistful when he talks about RFK. I think a lot of his hopes died with him.

Kyle's choices:

I would kill Josef Stalin, at some point when he was Propaganda Minister. At first I was thinking I would save Trotsky, but he was already on the run in South America by the time Stalin got to him. It's much more efficient to kill Stalin and let Lenin's successor be Trotsky, because that would be some sweet ass shit. Trotsky would have continued Lenin's philosophy. He was a true intellectual revolutionary as opposed to Stalin who was just a thug.

I would save the guy who was gonna kill Hitler. So that Hitler would die and I would get two kills. Power game.

Gary's choices:

I would kill Woodrow Wilson. Because he layed the ground work for the modern presidency, that attempts to conceal dealings from the general populace. Also depending on the outcome of his presidential election will change America's interactions with the rest of the world including entry into world war I.

I would save Jesus of Nazareth. Thus saving him from martyrdom, shaking and uprooting the foundations of the catholic religion, perhaps limiting christianity to its original state under Jesus rather than the Roman Catholic Church of Peter. Changing the makeup of the northern European religious base so that it remained more or entirely pagan.

I suspect that future rounds of this game will involve specifying an historical period or geographic area, but I just wanted to see what people's responses are. Mainly I think this game (is this even a game?) is really good for stimulating intellectual conversations. It's a dialectical game, if I'm allowed to come up with labels. Conversations that stem from this usually involve discussions about unintended consequences and historical trends i.e. how much effect does one person really have.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Bad Arguments

I gotta come clean. If there was any justice I'd come with a warning label. "Known to make bad arguments." I know it. I make bad arguments all the time. Not saying that all my arguments are bad, but I think a lot are. I try not to, but sometimes I just can't tell.

How do I know then? Because a few hours/days/weeks later, even I'm not convinced by them. And I'm the one who made it in the first place! I use terrible analogies, unfitting metaphors, maybe some hypocrisy, and occasionally some bad logic. Plus a bad habit of playing Devil's advocate or making ironic arguments just for the hell of it.

So please, please, please; when ever I go off on some bullsh*t argument, or when you know I'm wrong, just tell me. Or better yet, convince me. I try to listen to reason, but it can take awhile to sink in so I'll probably be an ass until I realize what a buffoon I am (or hold character for joke arguments). Thanks, in advance, for your patience.

Monday, September 08, 2008

On the colonization of Venus

So I've recently become intrigued by the idea of colonizing Venus. What I figure is that Mars is dominating the whole space exploration conversation right now, even with talk of moon bases. However, the much maligned Venus which is not being considered for no good reason. I'm no rocket scientist but I just want to spread the meme of Venus exploration/colonization out there.

When I bring up the topic, people give the whole VENUS IS DEATHTRAP thing with the extreme pressure, extreme temperatures, the murder-death-kill atmosphere, yadda yadda. That's when I drop the hidden assumption they've been making on them. "Only at the surface." That's when you drop some evidence on their ass, at 50 km above the surface you have, Earth-like temperatures and pressures, with breathable air being a floating gas because of the thickness of the atmosphere. With the Earth-like gravity and closer distance to home planet, Venus starts looking really good. Some Space Age Teflon to deal with the sulfuric acid (which btw, might be a really good ingredient for synthesizing other important chemicals from) and wow! Their face drops.

The smart ones then figure out I'm basically talking about building Cloud City. Yeah, nothing romantic here....

Also I found a good post about colonizing Venus while writing this. Read that instead of this one.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Another pile of bullshit

My dad once related a philosophy on life apparently held my grandfather (or maybe it was his uncle...). The life is like climbing a pile of bullshit, you climb and climb and when you get to the top of this pile of bullshit you'll see there's another bigger pile of bullshit you have to climb. Pessimistic, so I can appreciate the sentiment.

So school year is starting, and for some reason I'm feeling motivated or something. Excited. I'm going to run a few campaigns for the gaming group I'm a part of. That'll be cool, as I haven't run a campaign in a few years, so it'll be nice to be in the ST/DM/GM/GOD seat again. I learned[sic] me some actionscript over the summer, so I can finally start churning out some flash games, and well, this is my final year at college. I hope! Fifth year's the charm, fifth year's the charm.....

Also, I'm going to try not neglecting this blog. We'll see how that goes...

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Reading for 5 sec chunks.

College made me forget how to read. I mean really read. I spend a lot of time reading blogs and such, and most entries of that short and sweet length that is oh so appropriate for internet chatter. But I mean I forgotten how to finish books. The longest things I've actually finished reading are those longer essayish blog posts or shorter philosophy papers.

I read a short story on Boing boing the other day and I felt exhausted. I couldn't understand it. I really liked the story and taking it to completion gave me this wierd feeling, like I felt more exhilarated than I had any right being. I realized that over the course of my college career I have resorted to all sorts of optimizations to deal with the amount of literature I was assigned; skimming, skipping chapters, reading summaries, etc. Doing all this and blogging took up my reading time, so I never got around to actually finishing anything.

But having said all that, I think I'm going to redouble my efforts on reading. You know, actually reading things, from beginning to end. Though, I still got to be somewhat choosy. I've got scholastic appearances to maintain.

Friday, March 14, 2008

possible newer title?

I think I got it. Maintain Lewis Carroll reference but easier/rhythmic to say plus videogame reference. Better?

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

possible new title?

Contrary Wise. I always liked Through the Looking Glass. Is this a good new name for the blog, or should I just chuck it?