Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Why there is no "Citizen Kane" of video games.

Video games as a medium are fundamentally different from any other sort of art. Imagine you're writing a great novel. Now imagine you're trying to make that great novel into a choose-your-own-adventure story, without losing the quality of the story. Can you do it?

The big difference between video games and choose-your-own-adventures on the one hand, and paintings, sculptures, literature, and film on the other, is that in traditional media the artist has total control over the work. The sculptor sculpts, the writer writes, and then you look at the work. The programmer, however, must create an outline for the player to fill in however they wish. The artwork must be a collaboration between total strangers. This is new and difficult, and people are still trying to figure out how to do it.

Friday, December 18, 2009

On deriving morality from first principles

1. You are not special.

2. Therefore, hypocrisy is bad; the same rules should apply to you and to others.

3. Therefore, the golden rule.

4. Therefore, the rest of liberal ethics.

Conservative ethics [the difference] has some extra bits that may not be derivable quite so easily. Being quite liberal myself, however, I'll stop here.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Looking at NYC

Looking at Manhattan from a 20th floor balcony, I see the tiny people down below.
I see the size of the people, and I see the size of the buildings.
I see the size of the people.
I see the size of the buildings they have built.
I look further, and see the rows of those buildings.
Row upon row, upon row, upon row.
As far as I can see.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Old links

I've had these lying around for a while, but haven't posted them.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

On up-to-the-minute news

I was reading RISKS:
In the November 2009 election in Kentucky, there was a serious discrepancy between how ES&S's iVotronic voting machines worked and how some voters were instructed. Some voters were apparently falsely told that touching `Vote' completed the voting process. However, that only displayed the review screen, whereas subsequently touching `Cast Ballot' was required. Conspiratorial election judges were then able to modify the ballot and cast it. In addition to the fraud, it is clear that the `vote' screen should have instead been labeled something such as `review'. Five insiders were indicted -- including conspiracy to commit vote fraud, extortion, and tampering with grand jury witnesses in a subsequent attempt at a cover-up.

I was just thinking how lucky it is these people were caught. Then I realized... "will have been caught"? Or are we living in Minority Report now, and are arresting people for precrimes?

More info, including accurate dates, here.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Companies whose motto is apparently "do be evil"

  • Insurance companies (including mine... I need to get a new one...) say they won't stop weaseling out of contracts with customers who have the gall to get sick.
  • Fox News (Yeah, I know, total shock to see them under this category, right?) fired two reporters for refusing to falsify their story. They sued, but Fox won on appeal, with the argument that there is no "law, rule, or regulation" against their lying (or compelling their employees to lie): the FCC rule is just a "policy". Fox is now suing them for millions in legal fees.