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Comment Re:What does this mean (Score 5, Funny) 103

In A World
where one programmer

*keys clicking*
*CRT fixed-width reflecting on eyeglass lens*
*sudden black screen and gasp*

who relates more closely to computers than to people

*boy and a girl walking side by side*
GIRL: "think you'll come to the party tonight?"
GUY: "do you think computers like Titanic?"
GIRL: "excuse me?"
GUY: "I can show you the world!"

decides enough is enough

GIRL: "I don't think we can see each other."
GUY: "do you think computers have feelings?"

*people dying*

and retreats into his basement to create his own entire world

*guy guzzling 2-liter*

GUY: "I'm going to add the airborn mine cart explosion that can send a dwarf flying through the air and landing in another mine cart today"
OTHER GUY: "you got rent?"

follow us into a world where reality is all topsy-turvy

GUY: "The computer isn't just playing the game. The computer is LEARNING."

*record scratch*

OTHER GUY: "You're telling it what to do."
GUY: "Yeah but I'm telling it it's called do_learn(token).... what? Jeez, shut up!"

and where dreams become reality

GUY: "I can actually make the game program itself, now."
GIRL: "Wow, that's so cool. What's that symbol mean?"
GUY: "Oh, it looks like the game thought it would be a good idea to make itself be about elephants humping with a quest goal of finding a lost abacus."
GIRL: "I have to go. I hear my mom. LET ME GO."

this spring, get ready, to re-define your entire sense of what creativity means

OTHER GUY: "You can't have a flight sim that's about penguins and walruses absorbing blocks of gelatin through their bellies and shooting skyscrapers out of their mouths"
GUY: "It -- it wasn't me. It was THE GAME!"
OTHER GUY: "Yeah but it's stupid."

from the same people that brought you Unsolvable Sokoban, Endless Sudoku, and Eliza

GUY: "It's like it's thinking. It's really thinking."
OTHER GUY: "No, it's like you've been awake for 68 hours"
GUY *hoarsely* "Ith tho amathiiiiiinnnnng"

Starring that guy who played Corky from Growing Pains or whatever the fuck that was

GUY: "I'm just like normal people you know."
GIRL: "Normal people don't think randomly splashing paint on a canvas is creativity."
GUY: "I'm just like Manhattan people you know."

And that girl that never mind

And the other guy who's more successful in life because he isn't completely deranged

OTHER GUY *drooling and staring at tv static*

Rated R for:
* conceptual challenges
* a complete lack of experimental control
* we're pretending being retarded is normal
* the film was computer generated. creators cannot be held liable for what might appear in front of you.

Comment Re:pardon my drunk-on, BUT (Score 2) 103

Thomas Kuhn would just point out that shifting your paradigm in and out of frame and babbling on about AI while you basically lower your standards of what "creative" means is fucking STUPID

fucking stupid premise, fucking stupid article, fucking stupid stupid.

god, what autistic mish-mash are we going to be exposed to next

probably some article about how autism is the new normal. hipsters haven't had enough of that shit, yet. you have to have precisely 3.14 articles of that topic every year or "life" isn't definitively hip-ronic enough.

fucking hipster dumb shit. what self respecting intelligent person ("nerd") doesn't puke at this shit and wish the sprinkler system would turn on in this guy's computer room?

Comment pardon my drunk-on, BUT (Score 1) 103

[moderate this one to flame-bait, it would be honest]

god, shut up. you obviously don't know what you read because you can't even qualify your verbs and shit or whatever. just shut up.

oh, hey, idiot: procedurally generated games have been out forever. there you go. the game was developed by "ai". fuck, what a fucktarded article.

Comment Let's come to a moderate conclusion. (Score 1) 195

If we can, let's put this death into the form of a something like a "Dead Schroedinger's Cat" and put it in a box for the time being.

You don't know for sure why this dead cat is dead, because you don't know enough about it, so you, being no sort of authority on the hidden and ever-changing features of the sub rosa, cannot make well-founded claims as to the causes behind this guy's death.

The "cat" is either dead from a legitimate overdose, or the "cat" is dead from being administered a bad cocktail by some agent of the empire. Unless you open the box, you don't know which it was.

The thing is, it's a dead fucking cat. And either way you look at it, drugs were involved. Does it matter if the guy was chasing his personal dragon and fucked up, or whether somebody showed up at his place and interrogated and killed him with his own drugs and some stuff found in the medicine cabinet? Allow me to carry the "penetration" analogy that some others in comments have mentioned, that in either case, the vector of "attack" is the drugs, the "attacker" being death.

Why would you want to fuck around with things like heroin or cocaine? I'm not a total drug-prude or something. I once spent an entire year, sans three days, high on some weed from Afghanistan. My cousin owns a successful pot shop in Colorado, and he's digging the new legalization just as much as I am. Of course, I can't smoke right now because it ruins my concentration and I'm going through college (a little late I might add) but that's all cool, smoke away, nobody ever died of a fucking pot overdose. I once did a couple doses of crystal MDMA, it was nice (nothing like what ravers describe Ecstacy to be), I felt super relaxed for the first time in my life since, like, adolescence, and it has had a nice, long-term residual effect, so that I don't think I will need to add to it for quite a number of years. But I would never contribute to my death with something known to be instantly lethal like cocaine or heroin. So many friends of mine have died using heroin, it's sort of a lost cause to tell me that there's A World Where heroin is okay to use. Cocaine is notoriously addictive and life-ruining, not to mention associated with heart disease (though some say it's a good agent against cholesterol levels). I tended to my Grandfather on his deathbed while I observed his decline accelerating due to his prescribed addiction to Xanax. So that's me, that's where I'm coming from.

I say it's stupid to do hard or addictive drugs. Look at what you're setting yourself up for: addiction and potential death. Where's the trade-off? "An altered state of mind"? There are plenty of safe hallucinogens to use. "Oh, I do it for the energy" that's bullshit, since I quite using caffeine and smoking cigarettes I have more energy than I ever did before. This is a documented side-effect of quitting systemically harmful drugs, especially stimulants. You don't have to worship L Ron Hubbard to know that some substances are plainly fucking stupid on their face.

And now look at the other possible quantum state of Dead Schroedinger's Cat, here. Suppose he DID get nipped by some secret agent spy-man. What was the cover-up? The guy's drug usage which some here believe is a made-up story but others have pointed out was a fact the guy himself made known. What would we be looking at if there wasn't this handy cover-up available, and a handy stash of drugs and well-stsocked medicine cabinet nearby to aid the implement of destruction? In all likelihood there would be a much more questionable medical examiner's report. So, again, the drug use serves up more "cons" than pros, this time directly to the people who are concerned with this guy's life -- fans, or whatever. You weren't getting high from this guy's drug use. There's no benefit to his drug use at all to you, but now that you're scratching your head wondering "WTF", there's definitely a major drawback to it, wouldn't you say?

So whether the dead cat inside is dead of its own cause, or somebody intervened to hasten death, it's a dead, drug-riddled corpse of a cat. The drugs present aren't doing anything for you, or for me, or obviously for the cat.

I'm not arguing for drug prohibition. I don't personally care which way drug laws swing as regards heroin and cocaine, because I'm never going to use them. All my friends who used heroin, guess what: they all DIED. No, I wasn't close tight friends with Huncke the Junkie, so I don't know about this one case where some dude lived to be old and decrepit while using heroin every day. All my friends who used cocaine are still using it, and it controls their lives even if they don't see it that way.

So, if this dead guy is some great big deal to you and you feel like you've really lost something here, then why don't you grieve his use of "hard" drugs?

Comment Re: some good ones. (for the child) (Score 1) 796

I forgot you mentioned a child.

Tales From the Thousand and One Arabian Nights. Penguin Classics. There are two editions of this book that I've handled. One is a single tome, which I received when I was 8 and proceeded to never forget. The other I gifted to my two brothers when they were 9 and 10, and it was a 2-volume version, a celebratory version if I recall, limited edition. If the whole house is going to be reading, you might want the 2-volume version (it's expanded, not just split in two) because once the kid starts talking about how great the stories are you'll want to put down what you're reading. The adult themes are not spared. Sometimes the stories involve lewd sexuality.

"Where Did I Come From?" It's always good to have The Talk. But after you do, it's good to have a reference around for the kid to read. This one works. It's illustrated, frank, and honest. Moreover, it's short and to the point and doesn't try to fill the kid's head with things. My parents also kept around a copy of "The Joy of Sex" and didn't seem to care if I read it. So maybe get both of those and keep "The Joy" on the parents' bookshelf.

A book on the history of magic tricks. The biggest, thickest, oldest tome you can get covering the greatest span of history possible. My parents had a couple of these. If the book has an illustration of an old Arab in a turban carrying a secret water tank on his back with a tube running down his sleeve, you got the right one.

A book on monsters. The actual kind. Human history is full of "monsters". Pieced-together mermaids. Tales of creatures with fins parading across the countryside in 15th century France. There are some old tomes on this history as well.

"The Secret Teachings of All Ages". Manly P. Hall. 1928. This is written simply enough for an 8 year old with an avid reading habit. The pseudo scientific claims made here and there within should be balanced by a decent book on modern geometry and math and a book on the sciences.

I recommend something similar to "The Giant Golden Book of Mathematics". More or less everything is inside of it, even calculus. It's all very well illustrated. Copies are hard to come by. There are some other books sort of like this that treat math as a serious subject for children, but not many. A quick perusal of "math books for children" on the web turns up countless impetuous results.

There are numerous books on "the way things work" by David Macaulay. Etc.

Comment There are some good ones. (Score 1) 796

"The Humanure Handbook: a guide to composting human manure", by Joseph Jenkins. 2005. This book will single-handedly re-teach you everything there is to know about composting, will shatter all the myths you *thought* you knew, and will make you seriously consider the present and future of modern humanity in our willingness to throw away fresh water and spoil the water table. Winner: Independent Publishing Award; Category Bestseller; Foreward Magazine's Book of the Year Award Finalist; Three Rivers Environmental Awards; Independent Book Publishing Association Benjamin Franklin Award; Mother Earth News Books for Wiser Living Recommendation.

"The Child and the Machine: How Computers Put Our Children's Education at Risk", Alison Armstrong and Charles Casement. 2000. As someone who learned to program computers in the home from age 8, I appreciated many of the points made in the case against introducing computers in the classroom. The author seems not to be too well familiar with the inner workings of machines, and some geek faux pas litter throughout. But the case against similar minds spending mega-bucks on pushing computers at disinterested children is well-made. The well-researched book rails against those who make money purely by pressuring schools to adopt expensive computer placement contracts, and points out that not only is there a lack of evidence that involving computers in schooling is beneficial but cites numerous evidence to the contrary.

"The Little, Brown Essential Handbook". This is that book you were assigned in College Level Writing. Going to write a blog? Be professional about it. There are too many unprofessional writers smearing across the interwebs.

"Consuming the Inedible: Neglected Dimensions of Food Choice". ed. Jeremy MacClancy, Jeya Henry, Helen Macbeth. 2007. In this, Volume 6 of the Anthropology of Food and Nutrition, you will find the details of what people eat when food isn't available. From the cover photo of a little girl picking her nose to the final (the 18th) paper titled "The Use of Waste Products in the Fermentation of Alcoholic Beverages", you're in for a fun read about things like eating clay, dung, salt, lime, garbage, etc.

"Interpersonal Communication: The Whole Story". Kory Floyd. 2009. This is the book assigned in many college Interpersonal Communication courses. It's fun and eye-opening. Having trouble in your marriage, at work, between friends, etc.? The answers may lie in this book. Contains numerous exercises that might help you find out how well you communicate. Full of useful lingo and jargon that you can use to describe interpersonal communications. Equally useful for the super-analytical as for the casual know-it-all.

"The Confessions of Aleister Crowley: an Autohagiography". It's an old book, good luck getting a hardcover copy. It's definitely worth the read. The man's life, as told by himself, makes for wonderful adventure reading.

"Strange Angel: The Otherworldly Life of Rocket Scientist John Whiteside Parsons". George Pendle. 2005. Here's the first man to successfully develop rockets to add thrust to airplanes for the U.S. military. The first man to develop a castable fuel, GALCIT 53. The American man whose inventions and achievements were taken from him and given to a Nazi, and who was almost forgotten by history. Probably due to his involvement in the Ordo Templi Orientis, Aleister Crowley's sacred lodge. Parsons is the man who L. Ron Hubbard stole the money, boat, and girlfriend from to run off and write Dianetics and start Scientology. A fascinating personality.

"Caswal of Axoth". John Petrush. 2005. The strangest, most violent, sci-fi page-turner I've ever had the pleasure of not being able to put down.

"The Ambidextrous Universe" by Martin Gardner. The symmetry of every last symmetric or asymmetric thing in the universe is explained in excruciating detail.

Comment Re:A lot of work -- has it been done already? (Score 1) 44

I can appreciate nefarious and anal-retentive levels, to an extent, I really can.

Back when Super Nintendo released "Super Mario All-Stars", I actually completed every level of Super Mario "Lost Levels" within three days of the game's release, well within the time frame needed to take a picture and send it in to get your "No Warps!" patch. Did I do it? No. How many 12 year olds are into taking 35mm photos of the TV, getting the film developed, getting an envelope ... hold on, I need to sleep in for a bit ... snore ... getting stamps, and actually sending it in the mail? My problem. But I totally, TOTALLY understand hard gaming. I love hard gaming. I'm a very experienced and skilled gamer in a lot of different genres. My favorites are racing, flight combat, and platforming.

But I STILL consider designing levels to be a gracious art. Yeah, yes, you can actually make levels that require tedious replaying and tense perfectionism like Mario Lost Levels (SMB 2 Japan) or like the examples below given for POP, or I suppose like I will find when I go searching for examples of what you're describing (I'm about to do so after I post this response).

That doesn't mean I *appreciate* those levels on any level beyond my enjoyment as a hard gamer. I really, really love games that speak to wider audiences and that are beatable by the median group of game players. I know most people don't enjoy easy peasy games, and I know most people enjoy impossibly hard perfectionist games. So I know for sure that most people enjoy games that are of moderate to hard difficulty, for the sake of being able to beat the game with some effort and also being able to siphon that effort into a momentary proficiency.

In other words, I don't think much is being done by introducing a level editor for a game that doesn't offer much in the way of graphical variation.

Check out the world editor for Zelda (NES original) for instance. You can make a really interesting-looking game out of all those background sprites. With POP, not so much. All that's left to POP is more and more nefarious locking puzzles and so on. Need I say more?

Comment A lot of work -- has it been done already? (Score 1) 44

I remember playing Prince of Persia quite fondly, back when I was in elementary school. Around 25 years ago. I went back and played it again as a 20-something some time ago, as well. Finally beat the damn thing. Video gaming is one of those skills that you definitely get better at with age. Don't let people say it's just a kid's hobby.

I would make levels for it, but I am dead sure that every little possibility had already been utilized, that while you could make more nefarious and harder levels requiring more anal-retentive precision in order to complete safely, those levels would not incorporate anything really "new" that wasn't already tried out within the original game. They really did present practically every edge-case of what the player is capable of doing, every different length and height of "leap of faith", and every confusing combination of trap floors and so on. There's nothing "new" you can do, here.

But I am still going to download that level editor and the next free copy of the game I can find, bitcheeessssss

Comment "Hey, it was the internet! Everybody was doing it! (Score 2) 171


Just always be ready with damage-control on the stuff you have sprinkled around online. Always be up front with yourself and your employers / whomever else whose opinion of your past internet activities could possibly ever matter enough to make you care that much about it / your employers.

They would mostly be concerned about the image that you reflect onto their company. I've thought of this some times. To me, the best idea is to form a website that is your "professional image" site, and do damage-control from there. Maybe package it very simply with a link off of the front page to "My Web Footprint, Q & A".

Start with a nice lead-in that captures the empathy of the audience.

Go into detail about things that you find cringe-worthy, and shrug them off as not being a very big deal and not being reflective of who you are, today. Explain the misconceptions in your mind that led to those past statements or behaviors, and let the audience know how glad you are that you aren't like that any more. If there's evidence of that, link to the evidence.

There, now you're not a potential liability, you're a success story that the corporation can be happy to link to and parade around as proof that they are in touch with real people, not just any people, upward-mobile people.

You have the opportunity to get out of it in ways that older folks who did things they're ashamed of in the 60's and 70's didn't have:

(1.) The opportunity to face it head-on by knowing fully well that it's easily discoverable information and by becoming your own blackmailer ahead of anyone else.

(2.) The opportunity to spin it however you want and make it into whatever sort of rags-to-riches, turned-over-a-leaf, now-I-know-what-the-salt-of-the-Earth-is-really-like sort of story you really think people want to see.

(3.) The opportunity to surround it with gay frog images and links to buy your published-on-demand memoirs of those weird times.

Comment Games and Movies are people's Imaginary Friends (Score 3, Insightful) 380

China is smart to do this. People are far too shut-in these days. Look how much entertainment has expanded and filtered in the niches of everyone's lives. It does not always have a positive effect on individuals (does the news even bother to cover stories of MMORPG recluses any more or is it now to be taken for granted?) and therefore nor does it always have a positive effect on populations.

Consider the effect that a film like "V for Vendetta" has had on activism itself. The iconic Guy Fawkes mask and the anonymized approach to public activism leaked directly from the film into peoples' lives, who took it seriously and decided to implement it in a fashion.

Consider the effect that video games have on what you decide to talk about with people when you're out shopping, or at work, or at school, just "hanging out", and so on. For many people, about the only people they wouldn't talk about their video games with would be their parents, who would grow weary of the subject and try to divert them to something "more productive". And that HAS to be a dwindling case, considering how many life long gamer are now parents of kids old enough to game passionately.

People fall in love with "weighted companion cubes" (despite the dead bodies inside). People spend a great deal of time meditating on whether the cake is a lie or whether there is no spoon.

When you add in a dimension of possible political opinion and conflict to an immersive game, it also adds those political opinions and conflicts to the discussion. With things in China as bad as they are right now, in many districts, it would be a bad idea to entertain people with some game depicting "the day after tomorrow" sort of mayhem that no doubt many of them wish was real today.

Because that is what they would be talking about around the water cooler, or out shopping, or while stocking the coal cellar, or while cooking, or at school. Especially the at school part, that's sort of what China's mostly concerned about. Remember it was students who were active in Tiananmen Square.

Every day, in the United States, I shake my head in shame at how many people are operating in their daily lives on a level of cinema fantasy running through their heads. It's not that they watch too many movies or that the content of the movies is wrong somehow, it's that they take what they've watched far too seriously and for whatever reason they've also adapted it to fit their self image and their perception of what their life actually is.

It's easy to defend these people as "needing heroes", and "needing to be heroes", and so on. But it's not easy to defend people who aren't aware of their surroundings and who aren't concerned with real events and real consequences in real life, no in any sense of the word "defend". And plenty of people -- who don't have self-image and self-esteem issues, or who aren't trying to take reality escapism to a whole different level -- enjoy their hero sagas and their epic struggles as things separate from real life. It's not those people that draw my concern, it's the growing number of others who get completely absorbed and proceed to live in a psychological bubble composed of entertainment imagery.

Case in point, "thug life", which is a cultural mainstream even in neighborhoods where there's no threat of actual gang activity and where there are plenty of opportunities for a better life. It's even a mainstream with little white upper class girls in grade school who obviously aren't going to cap anybody and if they wanted to count stacks they could learn accounting and investment from their millionaire parents. There's something lacking in someone's life besides monetary value and secure social networks, when they emulate being a thug ostensibly in pursuit of money and social standing, even when they have ready access to plenty of both.

It's expensive to get a rich man's money, but, it's cheap to fill a poor man's pockets.

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