Thursday, September 28, 2006
A video game called America's Army is VERY responsible for the success of real American Army recruiting efforts
From the article linked above:
"In a recent informal survey of recruits at Fort Benning, Ga., which was conducted by the Army's video-game development team, about 60 percent of recruits said they've played "America's Army" more than five times a week. Four out of 100 said they'd joined the Army specifically because of the game. Nationwide, the game counts some 7.5 million registered users, making it one of the Top 5 online PC games."
OK, so "in the beginning", events in the real world provided examples for the video game world -- an adventure traveling across the country became words on the screen and we played "Oregon Trail," typing B-L-A-M when we needed to shoot bison. And real-life tennis influenced pong.
Then video games took a skip sideways and weren't really connected with reality. Space invaders came along, then PacMan and Ms. PacMan.
In real life, we didn't have ships that fired only vertically, we weren't squonking yellow circle-sectors, and we didn't have dots to eat.
Atari Adventure came along, and there were dragons, and a little arrow for a sword, and a magnet, and we were a square. Still not representational of reality. Oh, except for Missile Command -- exciting and difficult to play, but actually thinking about what that game is about and the fact that I used to put quarters in to play it (peer pressure) even though I was so maladroit with that trackball -- I shudder, on all counts.
Now we have video games that take people to a virtual space that is based on real-space, but the player's virtual character is free to do things in a relatively realistic looking space that are well outside our conventional norms and mores. Grand Theft Auto is a prime example where one drives all over the street and sidewalk, running down peds, and punching people, stealing their cars and helicopters, etc.
In my downtime, I am playing a PS2 game called 'God of War' where the character is not dissimilar to Hercules, and needs to gain strength, endurance and weaponry to be able to eventually fight against Ares, who has declared war on humanity in the ancient Mediterranean. In the game at one point, I was mortified that while fighting against giant cyclopses (See post below - coincidence? Yes, actually. I drew that pic before I knew there were cyclopses in this game.) my character needed to wipe out townspeople who were running amok throughout the town square in terror from the cyclopses, because wiping out the townspeople gives him extra health. This is necessary because the cyclopses' clubs beat down with amazing amounts of damage, and you have to hit them seemingly hundreds of times (and get hit scores of times yourself) before you can defeat them. Then again, the townspeople all eventually get killed by the Cyclopses anyway, until their one-eyed bodies are laying cold on the virtual ground.
I wonder... Which side are cyclopses generally supposed to be on? In the song by The Darkness, they say "His eyes numbered but one and shone like the sun," but yet in both cases, they kind of let loose in a town. Oops, I digress.
I know that I know the difference between reality and fiction here, and I'm not planning on visiting/decimating ancient Athens anytime soon, but still when I get done with a session, I find I'm feeling a little amped up. I can't help but wonder what someone who fights in a simulated America's Army battle would feel like after their session. Likewise, some people who play video games can't tell (or pay little heed to) the difference between virtual and real, or at least the line gets smudg-ey (Proof of point: there are real people who go about collecting virtual items to sell for physical money to other real people for their virtual characters in massively multi-player online role playing games like Everquest).
Now, we see that our young people are signing up for military duty because of the high that they get in a military-simulating video game, and perhaps because of the way the life is portrayed. I wonder if they know that they may have to shell out their own money for better armor over there, they may not make enough money on active duty to care for their families, and need to take out a payday loan(!), and if they get injured or inhale depleted uranium or suffer any of the myriad maladies our returning troops suffer from, the budget for veterans' healthcare has steadily FALLEN over the last six years.
To repeat, some people have a difficult time distinguishing the reality presented in a video game with the reality of physical space. I hope this distinction in our culture doesn't become more blurred, but fear that it will. :(
lyrics: black shuck, by the darkness
chant/prayer/mantra: wisdom of solomon here now, please.
colors: blue-black, silver
chant/prayer/mantra: be. move.
Monday, September 25, 2006
the current condition of spam
from teddie maribelle
entitled plz call back
with this in the body:
the 1980s, but, well maintained and his legs in
fresh strawberry pie on my behalf, and it
can't tell us. It's the people really don't have any taste.
it had long since been I'll fry your sorry butt with
hesitated and then approached droplets of chrome. When
we've lot of while. Then he said, You know, they don't
with firmness. In this apartment, in our new reality, here on
Evidently the two of them had had more than steel
the in?tray. More problems. But and films, to Mars. Nothing is
Everybody on the net gets spam, but for posterity's sake, I just thought I'd spend a minute to document that current status of it. I'm not sure why it even got sent to me, considering that it doesn't have anything to click on, and I have a feeling that the email address may be bogus as well. There was apparently a picture-link there as well, so they could've just been harvesting email addresses of those who opened the email which called to their server to get the pic, but the picture HTML was malformed, so all I got was this meaningless message.
Then again, the last two words are far from meaningless. There are probably a lot of philosophers and buddhist monks that would go nuts for a message like "nothing is." Maybe that's why I'm posting. Enough already, why are you still reading???
lyrics: "well, if you'd read the stuff I'd read about him, and the way he's been portrayed in the American press..." Public Enemy, Incident at 66.6 FM
colors: candy apple red, black
mood: tired, worked out and did some yoga today
Thursday, September 21, 2006
If you want to have an unprogrammed and algorithm-lite AI, emulating the human brain is going to be an answer.
Consider how neurons communicate signals to one another, and how neuron paths develop "groove" or "ruts" in them as they're used more frequently, and patterns of action are committed to memory. Likewise, different neuron-connection paths and their corresponding decision trees have different associative strength levels.
It probably would take graduatable (as in graduated cylinder) programmable field gate arrays, perhaps even organic in nature rather than the less-capable silicon, capable of holding synthesized conceptions, combined with sensory input devices for perception, in order to get an AI that can interact with the world in a real way.
In essence, the A.I. people can work directly from all the material the psychologists and neurologists have been digging up. The best way to figure out how something works is to try to build a copy from the ground up.
We'd learn a lot that way. I just hope we can keep humanity fairly well partitioned from it and don't end up with cyborg stew in the process.
lyrics: Devo - Mr. B's Ballroom "Freeze, come on out of there. Freeze, you ain't going nowhere. Freeze, put your hands on your head."
mood: lazy day slipping away shouldn't be lazy
chant/prayer/mantra: just namaste
also it was oddly unnerving to see the smiths/morrissey lyrics modernized into 2020's parlance near the end of the piece.
also, near the end of the commentary, there's a link to some well-explained consideration of computer justice versus human justice.
No water well in sight
No water at my sides
I'm sucking on the well
I'm sucking 'till I'm white
PJ Harvey, Dry
colors: light blue, blue, white
chant/prayer/mantra: turn the beat around love to hear percussion
Saturday, September 16, 2006
this is just a little drawing i drew during some downtime at the library, inspired by the darkness.
Monday, September 11, 2006
How incredibly brave!
STOP PLAYING THE BLAME GAME! STOP DISTORTING TRUTH TO FAVOR YOUR OWN VIEWS, WHATEVER SIDE YOU'RE FROM!
START FIXING THINGS!
Our country has thousands of firefighters who bravely served unknown other Americans at peril to their own lives who are getting seriously shat upon by our current government as a preponderance of them are suffering from severe respiratory illnesses (watch video at ABC news). We can talk about the past and try to think and rethink about what happened, or we can give aid to those who need and deserve it.
The Bush administration is squarely to blame for not supporting the brave firefighters they have George Bush take photo opportunities with. They're to blame for not supporting the American military troops when they come home with illnesses from D.U.(depleted uranium) and other war-related issues. When thousands of firefighters have apparently been given only $7 million in healthcare aid for serious lung issues, how long is that supposed to last? Anyone who's been to a hospital knows that <$7000 each of them gets on average is going to last about a day. Pathetic!
I'm getting angry. I've been angry, but now I'm really getting hot. When there is suffering of displaced and homeless Katrina survivors, of wounded soldiers and firefighters who can't get through the red tape in the healthcare system, and those in power IGNORE it or treat it far more lightly than those suffering would have it, it's maddening to someone connected to that suffering. (More on that link later, and how it's connected.)
How difficult is it to not cast judgment? Can there be any explanation for this negligence, and intentional harm caused to Iraqi's, to Afghani's, and by extension to Americans and to people all over the world? I'm thinking nothing short of a defiance of common logic and compassion can explain this. :(
She went through me like a pavement saw
And I feel stupid 'cause I was so stupid about it.
- Big Black, Pavement Saw
chant/prayer/mantra: serenity now!
Wednesday, September 6, 2006
Rewriting the Rules
If you had committed a crime, and had the ability to change the law so that it wasn't a crime, would you?
I don't really know what to say about this, except that it appears to me that one of the players of this Parker Brothers game wants to scribble out the rules on the box mid-game. You can change the rules of the game AFTER the game is over and the next one is to begin, but changing mid-game is an ugly move.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't legislation used to be doled out more conservatively such that a president couldn't change rules to affect the nature of executive powers for THEIR OWN term? Perhaps that was just my warped sense of justice getting out of hand.... But now, we see that they're trying to change the rules BACKWARDS in TIME??? Are we going to unimpeach Clinton next? Or resurrect Nixon?
Seriously though, the torture/"torture" has taken place, and justice necessarily is going to take place. You can rewrite the rules such that taking candy from a baby is not only legal, but required, but that doesn't match with morality. In the end changing the rules to make bad behavior OK ends up making ones code of conduct into a hideous monster, covered in bandages that have pictures of charlatans imprinted on them.
The world is watching, so even if the powers that be in the U.S. choose to go further down their spiral by trying to legitimize their misdeeds in their code of conduct, the global code of conduct will not bend, fold, or break.
Baldly, in front of the whole world, and history, would people authorize torture and then try to legitimate it, in the interest of their own power, and their own safety?
When I hear/read about our people torturing other people to keep our "homeland" safe, I can't help thinking about an accidental concept a friend accidentally read wrong on a bumper sticker: Satan Peace.
You've got your Real Peace, where everyone in the whole world is able to lay down on the ground at the same time and look up at the clouds to see if they can find horses, elephants, and bunnies (not really that, but the essence of it being peace/rest, with the absence of coercion from any party, where everyone has laid down their arms, and has no fear of others taking up arms against them (a process that may take time, but won't happen without commitment from the parties on OUR side - by "OUR" I mean whichever side you happen to see yourself on)).
And then in contrast to Real Peace, you've got Satan Peace. The one that everyone in power seems to be aspiring to nowadays. In Satan Peace, it is US against The Adversary(Satan), and they see it as the same. How do we obtain peace? We either eliminate the adversary entirely (hello genocide/holocaust!), or make them weak enough that we can hold them at bay (hello occupation, and decimated civil infrastructure). Of course, holding the enemy at bay means troops, lots of them, ad infinitum. And weapons.
music: "Enter me with the rhythm of a body that was born to lose two times." Melvins - Revolve
colors: black and white and grey all over
mood: refreshed and exasperated
chant/prayer/mantra: i am blissful. i am immortal.