||the Sixth of October, 2002|
|Good distracting stuff from the Popcap
people - Bookworm
is a falling-block Boggle game with reasonable room for strategy (although it's still very easy; it'd be better
as a two-player thing, in Puyo Puyo style)
and the beta-test Word Shark is a nice little underwater remake of Typing of the Dead. Waste some time.
|Carving erasers turns out to be shockingly easy; I was expecting to
generate vast heaps of shredded, useless rubber before producing
anything at all legible, but the stamp to the left is my first and
entirely satisfactory attempt at a personal urban letterboxing stamp. Watch out, Brighton.|
Very satisfying to break from modern technology and
dabble with early printing methods.
You can read a guide
to the basics of eraser carving, or just have at an eraser
with a cheap art scalpel; it's all fairly obvious.
'If,' said Mr Quin, 'I were to say that you did not see the great truths
of science exhibited by that tree, though they stared any man of intellect
in the face, what would you think or say? You would merely regard me as a
pedant with some unimportant theory about vegetable cells. If I were to say
that you did not see in that tree the vile mismanagement of local politics,
you would dismiss me as a Socialist crank with some particular fad about
public parks. If I were to say that you were guilty of the supreme
blasphemy of looking at that tree and not seeing in it a new religion,
a special revelation of God, you would simply say I was a mystic, and think
no more about it. But if' and he lifted a pontifical hand 'if I say
that you cannot see the humour of that tree, and that I see the humour of
it my God! you will roll about at my feet.'
A quote from Chesterton's The Napoleon of Notting Hill which doesn't
seem to exist on the Internet, yet very clearly should.
|Apocalypse update: Oh, it's from Weekly World News, which is just some sort of made-up American tabloid thing, on closer inspection. Careful checking of entirely the wrong sources. Hurrah for the power of generic Yahoo rebranding of news stories, and for Matt's deadpan delivery. Contrast and compare the sober Yahoo version to the original, in context.
|The sun is super angry and is
going to explode! The sun's core temperature is rising dangerously
and it's going to explode and wipe out the solar system somewhen in the
next six years, according to a "top Dutch astrophysicist" who
might not actually exist. I presume we wouldn't even
hear a single badly-attributed news story about this, if it were true.
Tangentially, that recent story about the blonde gene being extinct
within two-hundred years was a load of rubbish.
"We put out a press statement on the health situation in Palestine on
the same day. And comparatively we had very few calls on that, which was
quite pathetic, really." commented the WHO press office.
|"I am super angry. I am going to explode!" - the Japanese
translation device is in the news
again, for some reason. It'd be interesting to
remap it for human voice patterns, to boil complex conversations down to a few
basic combinations of inferred emotions.
CAMRAD Update #2
"Full Ad-wraps™ transform the entire look of your vehicle and cover all
exterior paintwork including colour-coded bumpers, roof, boot, bonnet
and side panels. In addition we also install a Teletracker GPS tracking
unit inside the vehicle to monitor the coverage of the advert."
are offering drivers up to £200 a month if they agree to turn their cars into
soulless GPS-tracked advertising hoardings. A great way to exploit people who need money. They could further this with a system of mobile-phone-linked T-shirts, or
by encasing the homeless in slogan-bedecked plastic. [via Haddock]
|The 21st century grinds on. The old Liberty Shoes factory in Leicester
has been demolished, a spy tells me, flattened along with its
but memorable Statue of Liberty, which looked out blankly across the river. It's still
there in my head, encoded through a song which I
happen to have in the walkman at the moment. I'd better not go back.|
Also on the page of Leicester statues, a fantastic monument to the
ultra-violent combi-sport of the
future that the city favours.
|IE or Mozilla? Opera? Lynx? There's only one way to settle this.
|Have web-trawling spam robots started parsing addresses in the
name at domain dot com
format, yet? If not, why not? And if they are, did the obfuscators really think
that changing the punctuation would foil the evil spam regexps forever?
|Gnod is good.
A simple system that asks you for three bands or artists you like, and suggests
a dozen or so others based on its understanding of their similarities (your reactions
being used to hone that understanding). It feels a bit underpolished and
grumpy, but it's come out with some good suggestions, and the webs of distanced
connection are nice.|
It also knows about films and authors and URLs, but doesn't attempt to connect them with
each other. What the world really needs is an interconnected web of entirely arbitrary
things, with coherent ways of skimming and trimming the data. "People who liked David
Bowie also enjoyed bourbon biscuits."
|Am I coughing because a virus wants to replicate itself outside of my
body, or because my body is trying to physically eject viral material?
Or, most likely, both? It isn't easy being a complex genetic component
of an interconnecting ecosystem.
"The Cozy Catastrophe: Story in which horrific events are
overwhelming the entirety of human civilization, but the action
concentrates on a small group of tidy, middle-class, white Anglo-Saxon
protagonists. The essence of the cozy catastrophe is that the hero
should have a pretty good time (a girl, free suites at the Savoy,
automobiles for the taking) while everyone else is dying off."
We love John Wyndham. The Turkey
City Lexicon is an admonitory list of bad-writing clichés, mostly
science-fictional - some to be careful around, some to keep at bay with sharpened
bargepoles. Ten points for each one you can pin to a specific work. [via Leonard]
"They move fast, and are hard to see before they reach the last 10 feet
or so of their descent towards you. I spot the messagebirds meant for my
station fairly late this time around, and blame it on the lack of light.
As much illumination as possible is natural here, filtered in from great
windows in the higher reaches of the centre, but by the end of the day
shift in the winter months, there is little light left."
Trouble at the Message Centre, a new writer at the Clone. But not
really a new writer, just the stem cells of an old one - Simon Batistoni
has written other short stories, including a glorious and monumental
tale of the Leviathan.
The narrator as a working, creative part of technology, rather than glumly suffering its oppression
at the hands of others. Fulcrum, counterpoint. It works, I like. More
|"Hobbes! She stumbled into the perimeter of wisdom! Run!" -
a (surely not definitive?) collection of Calvinball strips.
|Idea: the secretly-ruled card game Mao as a field sport. A bunch
of people on a pitch with whatever bats and balls and paraphernalia are to hand, with one player acting as an (optionally independent) rule-making referee, carrying
a whistle. Anyone breaking a rule has to go and sit on the sidelines for a minute, without being told what they did wrong. The first secret rule should specify a victory condition, and the winner gets to be referee for the next round, making up an additional restriction or expansion to the game.|
Afterthought: This is pretty much Calvinball,
just with greater structure, uncertainty and paranoia.