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?

Monday, February 25, 2008

GDC: the wrap up

I wanted to post some parting words, but I had to rapidly decompress from GDC into an academic environment. Now having gotten the nitrogen out of my system, I might be able to type up a final blog post of GDC, so I can get a move on.

- I'm posting more pictures on my Facebook as I find them
- Digital Respect Knuckles to Pat Dugan, Chris Bateman, Tom Long. It was fun hanging out with you guys.
- Also: all the people I've met, had beers with, etc. You made my week.
- I liked not having an agenda at my first GDC. It allowed to talk freely and not deal with the pressure of actually trying to sell myself. I imagine at other GDCs I may go to in the future, this will not be the case.

also: I've been thinking about changing the name of this blog. It's starting to bother me.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

GDC: Some pictures

I've put up pictures of my San Francisco trip so far on the Facebook. You can check them out:

Monday, February 18, 2008

GDC: well, i made it

ZOMG IM HERE!!!!111!!111!oneoneoneoneone!

too bad there so little to do there on monday....
instead I explored and will continue to explore San Francisco

Thursday, February 14, 2008

preparing for that GDC

Got my plane tickets ordered.

Got the hotel arranged.

Got a stack of spending money.

Got my business cards printed.

Got a picture on myGDC profile

I'm so ready for this. Hmmmm, maybe I should pack?
pfff, later.

(also I suspect I will be blogging, posting pictures, and such)

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Studyin' aint fun!

I'm surfing Kotaku and I find an article about Dr. Kawashima of Brain Training fame. There's this little gem in there.

"Having fun is not studying. Making them study is not to entertain children but to pressure them to make efforts. People fall to lower and lower places unless they are driven to go higher," he said (linky)

I find that rather sad. He does not see the link between fun and learning? How play can enhance information retention in your mind? Reminds me of the overachievers from high school, all work and no play. They couldn't understand how I ended up in the same classes as they were, and able to talk about what they knew about just as intelligently as they did. "You must be so smart!" Nothing of the sort. I just happen to like learning and playing.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

The Undead Monkey

My Lord,

I am but a humble philosopher, but I heard reports of undead pirate group that has been terrorizing our holdings in the Caribbean. These uncouth criminals must be stopped, but I putting forth my request to allow me to investigate the matter before they are totally eliminate. You see, there has been one thing that has perplexed me ever since I had heard it. Reports mention the pirates have with them a monkey who is similarly afflicted by their unnatural condition. While it may seem like a small matter, this has the potential to changing our understanding of morality and the animal kingdom.

Rumor has it that the pirates were cursed to be living dead for their greed. However, why is the monkey cursed? Was he cursed simply by proximity, just by being the pirates' pet? Then the monkey cursed unjustly, as he would not be responsible for the pirates' actions. This would lend credence that there is some warlock who has great power that cannot be allowed to act with impunity, which would mean that we would need a greater force in the Caribbean that would appear.

Or is it possible that the monkey was punished for his greed as well? Could it that monkeys are able to be greedy, and therefore to sin. And if they can sin, then they are moral agents. If that can be proven, then we have to rethink our whole stance of treatment of (some) animals. While I am not positing that that monkeys and chimpanzees should be treated as humans, but we do have to treat them ethically, if they are capable of making moral decisions. Our claim that we can own animals is based mostly on the premise that they are not agents who can make their own decisions. Similar to how parents can make decisions on behalf of their children and why we do not hold children responsible in the same way as adults. However, if this is proved false, then we have to expand our understanding of justice itself.

I urge you to permit me to accompany any investigation or military force that will sent after this criminals so that I may delve deeper into this matters and discover if what we hold as moral truths are, in fact, true.

My Lord,
Your Lordship,
Most Humble
And Devoted,

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

I choose free will

I believe in free will but perhaps I am just determined to think that way.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Playing the Philosopher

So, a funny seed of an idea popped into brain. What about some story-driven game (RPGish perhaps) where you play a philosopher. The philosopher collects different arguments and beliefs and then evaluates them. Criticizing your arguments will make them stronger, but become too skeptical (possibly in conjunctions with other arguments or beliefs) and you can no longer use that argument or hold that belief.

Do that the latter enough, and then you become a nihilist. And goddamn it we hate nihilists. Fuck me! Let's say that they are the enemy or something. You don't want to do that.

In life, I've always considered becoming a nihilist like playing the game of philosophy and losing. You tried to come away with stronger beliefs and you ended up with none. You failed it. Maybe I'm wrong, though. /me shrugs.

Then you take this interesting subsystem and apply it to a broader context. Having certain beliefs allows you to do certain things, like say cast certain spells. Being able to perform certain arguments allows you to do certain things in a social context. Get people to act a certain way or whatever. Or simply just spread your ethos.

I'd work on this right now, if I wasn't busy trying to bang out something else out for the EGW. Maybe after...