Wednesday, August 30, 2006

The World of Star Wars in Our Reality

Over at the Alternative History Discussion Board there is a long and popular thread about the Death Star ending up in our continuum. The scenario is based on Mimas, a moon of Saturn, see above, that kind of looks like the Death Star. Much fun is had by all, except those killed by Vader.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Odd View of Family Values Murderers

In a New York Times story, also here, here and here, about a Pakistani family wacking their daughter because she was according to her mother “she was simply a daughter who did not obey”. It charactizes the conflict as between as parents with "conservative social and religious traditions and their Westernized children." If people think they have the right and duty to murder thier disobidient children they are more than conservative they are from some primative tribe beyond the pale. It has the mistake of that the Italians along with other western countries have not been civilizing the thuggish barbarians in their midst.

Why do we import more barbarians in our midst?
The killing, and a series of other unrelated slayings involving immigrants that followed, has stirred anti-immigrant statements from some residents and groups. It also has prompted front-page debate about what can happen when conservative beliefs collide with the mores of more permissive societies, and has highlighted the generation gap between parents who have immigrated to Italy from countries with conservative social and religious traditions and their Westernized children.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Too Many Clicks - Gamastutra Article

Civilization is a great game. However after you it requires increasing attention and player involvement in the the later turns than in the earlier epochs. Too Many Clicks is a Gamasutra article on the too many things that players have to in too many games.

Oil Crisises Past

Friday, August 18, 2006

New Nigerian Scam Letter

We have probably all recieved a copy of the Nigerian Scam letter. I have recieved this scam in hand written letters, in email and occasionly from non nigerians. In my spam mail acount I have received another dubious request, this time supposely from the wife of the disgraced ANC official Zuma. Zuma was a dubious character before he was a rapist. He was part of the the ANC. Can you trust a political party with its own flag and armed wing.

from ""
Dear Beloved,
I am wife of Sacked Deputy President of South Africa, Mr. Jacob Zuma.

It is out of desperation that I am sending you this mail.My Husband and I need your assistance in fronting for us as owner of funds that are his which might come under nvestigation soon if the fund's ownership is not changed soonest. As my Husband's finances are increasingly becoming the source of investigation by our detractors. The source of these fund's which my Husband earnings would not validate, will further sink him into the cesspool dug by our enemies.

It is because of the dire strait we find ourselves that we resolved to reach you and ask or your assistance in this matter.We are averse to letting those we know here into this deal because we are no longer sure of who our friends are.You will be handsomely rewarded you choose to help us partnerhip in this project.I will be expecting to hear from you and will disclose further details to you upon your response.Do well not to disclose the contents of this mail to anyone.

Best Regards,
Mrs.Lindiwe Zuma.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Invisible Atom: A Reaction

A saw Invisible Atom by the 2b theatre company on sunday. It was an interesting tragedy. Tragedy happens when people revolt against fate and doom themselves in the attempt. In classical tragedy someone tries to avoid evil being done themselves. In Invisible Atom a man attempts to avoid doing evil and so dooms himself. Of course one no more avoid evil then death. We are all collaborate with some sort of unsavory and unethical behavior. At most we can choose our evils like we choose our poisons. But evil like death is part of all of lives.

Check it out when it shows up in your area.

The History of Bowman Trading & Salvage

Along time ago in a galaxy far far way I, Baron von Feldspar was a merchant prince who started, with some unindicted co-conspirators, my own shipping line in the Spinward Marches. At the Traveller Wiki Major Heddon has documented some of the history of Bowman Trading and Salvage.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Appropriate Surname

I was listening to an program on How Does the Human Body Cope with Heat? on NPR. The discusion went on about the ability of humans to cope or not with heat. One of the panelists was a heat expert named Larry Sonna, pronounced sauna.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Annother Take on Cartoon Violence

Remember the cartoon jihad earlier this year. A cartooon fan has produced a fake BBC News webpage full of cartoon violence
part 1
part 2

Friday, August 11, 2006

What can Muslims doing in the west safely

In a thread about
Heathrow Airport employee with all-area access pass among suspected jihadists arrested

In the Western world, what can Muslims be allowed to do, and what must they be prevented from doing? Clearly, anyone who claims that he takes his worldview from the Qur'an, and the Hadith, and the model of Muhammad, uswa hasana, al-insan al-kamil, must be taken seriously. We, the Infidels, have to find out what it means to derive your worldview from the Qur'an, the Hadith, the biography of Muhammad. We cannot guess at this. We cannot assume that Islam, more or less, must be just like other religions, or other belief-systems that are called religions. We have to find out. We cannot find out by listening to Muslims who practice taqiyya-and-tu-quoque. And since the actual contents of Qur'an and Hadith and Sira are, for Infidels, so horrifying in what they directly express and in what they imply, anyone aware of the contents of Islam, the tenets of Islam, the attitudes to which Islam not distortedly but naturally gives rise, must -- however charming, however mild-mannereed, however seemingly acceptalbe in all other respects, must be held to a knowledge of, and acceptance, what is contained in that Qur'an, those Hadith, that model of the Perfect Man.

What then can we allow Muslims in our societies, whether they come from Muslim countries, or happen to have been allowed to settle here, or are among those targetted for the campaigns of Da'wa among disaffected, alienated, psychically or economically marginal people all over the West (from the ditzy lord to the melancholy bicycle-delivery boy, the first looking for an explanation and justification of his upper-class-twit existence, and the second trying to find a structure for his existence, something that will order him about from dawn to dusk, and what's more, provide a grid for viewing the universe and a convenient scapegoat -- the Infidel -- for everything).

We cannot allow them to study, obviously, nuclear physics. We cannot allow them, obviously, to study those aspects of biology, or chemistry, or materials science, that might aid in the manufacture of weapons. Dr. A. Q. Khan in Holland, and Drs. Germs and Anthrax (examples of the liberated Iraqi women who under the previous regime were allowed to study in Great Britain, and bring their deadly knowledge home). We cannot allow them to study encryption, or very much to do with computers beyond the most elementary. We cannot allow them to work for any companies or in any academic departments where they might acquire such knowledge. We cannot allow them to be airline pilots, or part of an airplane crew. We cannot allow them to run our busses or trains. For now we think we can allow them to drive taxis -- but think of a taxi plowing in to a "Salute to Israel" parade, or into this or that gathering of Infidels for any reason, should someone have a lapsus. We cannot allow them, can we, to sort the mail (anthrax), or even to deliver it, if they will find mail not to their liking, or decide to target those who receive that mail not to their liking. We cannot allow them to engage in the indoctrination of our children, whether small or in universities, if they will continue to fill the minds of the unwary ("Gosh, Prof. Khalidi or Prof. Farooq or Prof. Dabashi" is "really brilliant" and "I learned so much about Islam." I'll bet you did.).

We cannot allow them to rise in government where they might sit on key Congressional commmittees, or sit in on meetings of high officers, and learn all kinds of things about potential war plans, or even about where weapons are stored, and how. We cannot allow them to treat, in some cases, Infidels if we have reason to believe that at any minute, for reasons we do not understand, a formerly mild-mannered doctor, supposedly as gentle and sweet as the next, has under his knife someone who suddenly, to him, represents the Infidel at his most evil, his most Shaytanic.

We cannot allow them to take over newspapers, or rise high in television, if we think, if we know, that they will subtly or not-so-subtly engage in propaganda to prevent our right understanding of Islam. Look at the effect, in the BBC, or some of the French papers, of large contingents of Muslims in the Arabic-language services, and the effect such people must have on non-Muslim colleagues.

We cannot allow them to...

Well, you think about it. You fill in the rest. You decide if, upon studying the contents of this belief-system, what functions and jobs you think it reasonable to entrust to those who still claim, who still identify themselves, as Muslims.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Mahar Arar's Problems

There was an article in The Saturday Star about Mahar Arar. The article contrasted the treatment and surport that Arar from Canadians as a whole and the cold shoulder that he has recieved from his own Muslim community. The 17 jihadists who were arrested in Toronto and area have been surported by the general Muslim community. But the Mahar Arar's problem is that he wrongfully arrested for being violent jihadist. If he truly was part of the jihadi movement he would be widely supported by the Muslim community which is generally in favor of violent religious revolution.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Invisible Atom

Some friends of mine will be performing in Toronto. The one-man play Invisible Atom will be running at the Harbourfront Summnerworks Festival next weekend August 11-13. Here are the dates and times. There is more information at the website of 2b Theatre Company. Unfortunately it is flash site. Here is some copy screen scrapped from the flash:
Suspended in a very precise moment in space and time, Atom tells his story of fortune and misfortune, taking the audience on a wild journey of the imagination and covering topics from economics to classical physics.

This “tour-de-force” by 2b artistic co-director Anthony Black keeps you laughing as it questions the nature and acceleration of our progress.

Walking Tanks

There are some people who are very into the idea of walking tanks. The whole game system Battletech, wiki entry, is based on tanks on legs. The problem is that a low profile is winning feature for tank. A tank standing on 10 or 15 legs is bazooka bait. Walking tanks show up in sci-fi setting where there is sufficent technology for grav tanks. Grav Tanks are alot better walking tanks. They can get as high, or higher, walking tanks and then go to ground. Check out Hammer's Slammers, David Drake's fictional exploration of the use grav tanks. Some Japanese fan has built his own walking, shuffling tank that looks a little like the AT-ST Walker from Star Wars. Look here for an archive of spaceship images.

Mel Gibson on the side of Terrorists

Mel Gibson's views have never been very well hidden. The causes he surports are known if not well advertised. He built a Church for a Roman Catholic schismatic group that split after Vatican II. Mel's father Hutton Gibson is a rabid bigot and holocaust deniner. What I think is interesting is that this editorial cartoon, by Lalo, is only one many that linked his antisemitism with the crazy violence of Islamic terrorists. This is going to damage Mel's career forever. What really made anti-semitism unfashionable in a way it wasn't before WWII, in fact many western democracies had levels of official antisemitism up to and during WWII, was the identifiaction of antisemitism with our enemies. These cartoons identify anti-semitism as part of our enemies belief system. However if we begin to sympathize with the people who want to kill or convert us and who also have a hate-on for jooooos, then we should worry.

Weird and Cute Japanese Beer Ad

I never thought Miss Kitty levels of ultra-cuteness could be used to sell beer. Here is the Beerchan flash ad.

Depressing Cartoon and Commentary

Comic Curmudgeon riffs on the depressing nature of panel.
I know Pluggers doesn’t usually do continuing storylines, but I’d like to see the new, bleaker Pluggers follow Rhino-Man for the next few days:
  • “Plugger venture capital.” (Rhino-Man is rooting through a dumpster, looking for bottles or cans he can return.)
  • “Plugger Zoloft.” (Rhino-Man is passed out in his battered easy chair, surrounded by empty cans of Milwaukee’s Best.)
  • “Plugger liquid assets.” (Rhino-Man is selling his blood.)
  • “This is how a Plugger’s wages are garnished.” (Two Bear-Men are cutting off one of Rhino Man’s thumbs.)
  • “Plugger therapy.” (Rhino-Man has a shotgun in his mouth.)

Cat Model

In Get Fuzzy, Fuzzy has a scheme for fame and fortune by becoming a model.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Being Evil in History

YWUA is a term in SHWI that means "you wake up as". It means you take over the body and mind of some character.Today their was a YWUA thread, Second Guessing Hitler, that suggested some ethical amorality. The thread begins:
What would you do if you were Hitler starting in early 1941, you had all his evil intentions, but a little more ability to delay gratification and benefit of hindsight.

Humans as Parasites

Simpsonians at the Actor's Studio

I have always hated the program Inside The Actor's Studio. I have problems for with this program and the Method with is taught at the Actor's Studio. The host James Lipton adopts worshipful uctousness to his guest meatpuppets that grates, previous Ken Lipton hate on. The Actor's Studio is also to heavily worshiped as training ground for some very good actors. The case of the studio, its method and its alumni brings to mind two competing quotes about Eton; "the battle of Waterloo was won on the playing fields of Eton", "every battle thereafter was lost on the playing fields of Eton". There are times when it is worth watching.

Here is the cast of the Simpsons on Inside the Actor's Studio, 22 meg file. What is interesting is the Simpson actors take on a look of their characters when they do their voices. The funniest part for me is the little clip they show of Rainier Wolfcastle at the Actor's Studio. Similarly check out the comparison of Andy Serkis doing Gollum's voice looking a bit like Gollum, below the stuff on The Polar Express.

Youtube links instead of the 22 meg file.
Part 1 Part 2 Part 3

New Spaceport in the Desert

A small desert town in New Mexico is planning to build their own spaceport. This is a couple steps up from the facilities at Vulcan, Alberta. This isn't a sci-fi venture but a base for Virgin Galactic which sounds like a sci-fi venture itself.

Ice Cream Headache

A Spanish Anti-National Anthem

Their has been some political conflict in the US over illegal emigration. Despite being both illegal and open to abuse and fraud, from both employers and employees. There are alot of different interest groups in favor of illegal immigration or the non-enforcement of laws. Business interests are in favor of a pool of insecure and easily cheatable workers, they bring down wage rates for US citizens and discourage unionization. There are other groups in favor of the current regime. The Hispanic population are in favour of growing the number of its interest group. Within this group are hispanic extremist groups, of whom La Raza is the mildest, these groups want to do take back the US southwest. Their are US "liberals", who are generally to right of most right wing parties in the developed world, they are "voices in the wilderness", but ignored. Finally there is one last group in favor of current state of non-enforcement of immigration laws, moslem extremist groups in the US and abroad. The oppenents of current strategy of subsidizing bad employees are derided on all sides as redneck vigliantes.

That was then however the recent (late April) protests about the reform, or deform, of immigration law. There have been some odd hicups of a crowd promoting their patriotism and love of the US were found carrying flags of a foriegn country, Mexico. Now there is a new spanish verison of The Star Spangled Banner. This new verison is being promoted by same groups that have have being pushing for perment amnesty, see here for the song, lyrics and story.

My Counter-Strike Stats on $Kingpin$

I have never been a great Counter-Strike player. My technique of reconnaisence by fire is now riskier. If you kill teammates "accidently" you might be banned. Lately since I reentered the world of Counter-Strike I have mainly been playing at one server, $Kingpin$. Too many single map servers. The other advancement which don't like is the superhero mod. I like Kingpin because it has a wide range of maps including Blahhh and Gahhhhh and doesn't merely run dust forever. Up til today every time I checked my stats at $Kingpin$ I was always in last place. Today I was 1561 place out of 1910. Whoooeee.

Actually I think I reset my stats by missing a couple of days.

Conspiracy Theories

Many humans distrust reality. The blind workings of history in which chance and stupidity are at least as important as any concious design are unsettling to many. Conspiracy theories provide meaning. The problem with most conspiracy theories is that they are like Pre-Copernican astronomy in that they have to be way to complicated to work. But the complicated simplicity of conspiracy theories are comforting. Who can forget that after 911 Arabs postulated that it was all a Jewish plot, here is one example from pro-nazi David Irving's site. Hamas, the governing Palistinian terror group/party/army, thinks that the Masons are an arm of the world wide zionist conspiracy, probably becasue the Protocols of the Elders of Zion mention them. After all who knows the power of their secret handshakes. Here is an interesting site devoted to Conspiricism, it explores all the various way conspiracy theories are formed and promoted.

There are ways we can look on the crazies who see plots behind everything from polio vaccines to death of a Fiat heir. For such people reality is no defense if it doesn't comform to their twisted fantasies.

Or you could play this entire phenomenom for laughs and play Illuminati. This is a game where you construct your own network of plotters to take over the world. You might have Network TV, Bankers, the Mafia, Trekkies, and the Boyscouts in on your plot. Oddly enough the connections that are made in Illuminati are at least as plausible as "real" conspiracy theories.

Anti-Slavery Group

I was reading a story about the lax punishment given to a convicted Saudi slaveowner. When the abolition movement began there was resistance to abolishing slavery by muslim nations. Saudi Arabia bowed to American pressure and officially abolished the slave trade in 1962. The abolitionist movement was founded in Christian ethics. Muslims on the hand saw reasons to keep slavery because their prophet Mohammed the Pedophile, The Rapist, The Thief, The Murderer, was also Mohammed the Enslaver. The biggest practioners of slavery today are criminal networks, many of whom are muslim like Turkish and Albanian gangs, and Muslim Arabs like the Saudis. Here is an group anti-slavery called iAbolish. Go there and read the spooky stories.

The History of Animation, Animated

Roman Roads Through the Alps

I have been following a devoted to trade routes called The Trade Routes Resources Blog. Here is a monograph on Roman roads in the Alps.

Frog Museum, not the Louvre

Some demented taxidermists stuffed and posed dozens of frogs. Years later an institution called The Frog Museum was founded. There are only a few pictures on the website. Still if I was passing through switzerland I would make a special stop to see the frogs.

Things To Do in Jail

There was an episode of OZ that spent 5-10 minutes on all the different ways of creating shivs. It is a design problem because the raw materials are limited to what a prisoner has access to. Which leads to an arty site, now offline unfortunately. A shiv is a primarily a home-made stabbing tool. All the shivs in this exhibit were confiscated at a high security lifer prison.

An NPR program, Talk of the Nation, is having a special this week on prison life. The first program was about solitary confinement, later programs will be about prison overcrowding, and from solitary to freedom. CBC's The Current had an segment today, 8/3/06, about managing sexual offenders.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

How Crappy Games get Funding

We are told that computer games are made to expand on our wildest dreams. However before a game can be made it needs to be funded. There was a recent Gamasutra article, The Game Proposal, about the convoluted path a game must tread in order to receive funding. Proper bureaucratic forms must be followed and the game must be completed. A friend of mine, Tim Carter, has responded with his own rebuttal to this funding process. Of course if present trends continue we will only sequels and movie tie-ins as games in the future.

I can't find the article, but I recently read an Interview with the head of Atari who was gushing in praise of the profit margin of sequels.

Folk song about Mining found on SHWI

O come you young fellas
so handsome and fine,
and seek not your fortune
way down in the mine.
For the mine it will rot you
and seep in your soul,
'til the blood of your body
runs black as the coal.
Where its dark as a dungeon
and damp as the dew,
where the dangers are many and
the pleasures are few.
Where the rain never falls and the
sun never shines,
O seek not your fortunes in the dark
dreary mine.

--- some folk song about mining ---

from the thread Confederacy: Vicious Dystopia or Not?