Wednesday, March 12, 2008

I am the...

You are The Devil

Materiality. Material Force. Material temptation; sometimes obsession

The Devil is often a great card for business success; hard work and ambition.

Perhaps the most misunderstood of all the major arcana, the Devil is not really "Satan" at all, but Pan the half-goat nature god and/or Dionysius. These are gods of pleasure and abandon, of wild behavior and unbridled desires. This is a card about ambitions; it is also synonymous with temptation and addiction. On the flip side, however, the card can be a warning to someone who is too restrained, someone who never allows themselves to get passionate or messy or wild - or ambitious. This, too, is a form of enslavement. As a person, the Devil can stand for a man of money or erotic power, aggressive, controlling, or just persuasive. This is not to say a bad man, but certainly a powerful man who is hard to resist. The important thing is to remember that any chain is freely worn. In most cases, you are enslaved only because you allow it.

What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

discovering archetypes

Everything... begins.
This... began over an inconsideration. On a shared 30-Kbps wireless line, bandwidth is precious; and as with any limited resource, there need to be rules to manage them, to prevent the whole system from collapsing. And when the rules are broken, there are... reactions. Solutions.

Gaiman was unknown to me except as a co-author, the other half of a superlative fantasy-spinner. From that one book followed another, and another... and the whole exploration may have ended there, but for... a few images. Images that prompted me to risk one, just one more experiment.

It gave me a name.

And one night, when the rulebreaker was away, a parallel method was found. An alternative. A chastisement.

A revenge.

The name was, then, inconsequential. It just floated along, and was pinned to the board as an as-good-as-any candidate.

The torrent completed its download.

And on a quiet tuesday evening, I discovered The Sandman.

I'm only 3 stories down, and already I can feel myself being drawn into that universe. Pictures move, faint sounds, scents. Depth.


And most of all, it's so familiar. Like a racial memory, an archetype.

The Matrix. Morpheus. Neo. The black. Everything you see is a dream, and The One is the awakener.

Stephen King's Randall Flagg. The world that had moved on. The Tower. Alternate realities.

MIB. There are hidden truths, hidden stories all around you. Nothing is what it seems to be.


The Man.

John Constantine.

The face in the crowd, for just a second, that looks right at you. Eyes meet. The shock, the subconscious recognition. Then it's gone, and no matter how hard you search, you can never find it again.
Walking through them all, is the same image.


The Endless.

The Man In Black.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

How to build a Generation Starship

Just read Mayflower II recently. it's probably been the best ever description of how a generation starship would actually work in practice, just like the Odyssey series were the best ever in the hibernation-tech travel. And if you think about it, it does make sense - unless you have a habitat the size of a continent, civilization will stagnate, degrade. You can't think in terms of weeks, months, years, even decades; can we plan centuries?

In that small a space, you have to think of not technical, not psychological, not even social issues. You have to think in civilizations. I see a whole new brand of ship's doctor coming up.

Hm - I guess I'm also beginning to see the reason for the holodeck and Deanna Troi, beyond the obvious eyecandy.

Conversely, if we have continent-sized habitats capable of interstellar travel, it makes the point kinda moot. Where do you go, when all you want is already here? Nobody would ever leave; any planet would always come a poor second to the ship itself. You could have roaming generation ships that travel to seed, and move on. Factoring in wear-and-tear issue resolution, of course. Or you could have seeders whose only purpose is to reach the next destination only to rebuild their ship, leave behind descendants, and move on.

Niven's Ringworld is a generation starship taken to the other extreme - a habitat that outclasses any source or destination at an exponential level.

Which brings us back to the Civilization Planner. We would either need supremely long-lived human beings, or Pak. Or we would need automated systems and frozen chromosomes, and independent failsafes of frozen repairmen when things went wrong.

That's possible. Shit, that's possible. We can start reaching the stars the day we have a reliable freezing tech.

Here's another alternate. One mother system that runs the ship. Multiple gene banks. Multiple equipment garages. And multiple independent modules whose only function would be to synthesize and grow trained repair personnel from the gene banks purely when the rest of the systems collapsed so catastrophically that they went out of the parameters of the autosystems. Sure, it'll take years to get the workers - but that's nothing in a journey span of millenia.

Interesting to think of what they would do afterwards, though.


Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Gaming - the next level

Most probably a hoax, but lookit the completely awesome concept. Reality Gaming.

Game puts player into trance, then evil mastermind game coordinator puts player into game. A zombie FPS is replicated in real life in a warehouse, and knocked-out players are put in. Watch them wake up, the completely disbelieving 'this-is-not-happening' look slide into near-madness when the zombies start making their appearance.

Also says a lot of how people react. It took him just a few seconds to start shooting at the people. I can't even say he's adapting to the situation because he's not taking the classic approach to zombies as popularized in hundreds of movies - i.e., zombies can be disposed of by removing the head or destroying the brain - but not a single headshot do we see. He's just opening full-on fire at anyone and everyone. Including the game coordinator, despite his obviously non-zombie look.

Maybe there is some truth in the studies that correlate violent behaviour to games; sadly, one more thing that come through all to clearly is how educational content - removing the head or destroying the brain - tends to be completely discarded in stressful situations.

Monday, March 03, 2008

gamers: catchin 'em young!

The kid on the left must be, what, three? Four, max? His head is at the same level as his controller... and he still drives better than me, with a twenty-five year head start.
The boy has a future, mmm?
Not to miss the sibling rivalry at play; the elder one on the right hogs the Xbox, while the younger is fobbed off with a PS2.