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Argument or GTFO
[Sent to me by my brother. Thanks bro!]
Reading on a computer screen is often not pleasant, especially when a lot of reading has to be done. This is a general problem for philosophy since nearly everything is in PDF format and if you don’t want to print out a tree’s worth of paper you are stuck.
I got a Kindle. Kindles can handle PDFs, but what I just found out is that Kindles can do the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy quite well. I downloaded the webpage and then deleted the content from the top of the page down to the start of the article. Then I used Calibre to convert the webpage into Kindle format. It looks great and the images come out well.
So I did some poking around, and found out that if you use a Firefox extension called “Download Them All” you can download a webpage and all the links on that webpage, i.e. you could go the contents page of the SEP and then download all the articles linked there. Basically you could have the entire SEP on your Kindle and be good to go.
For those readers of mine, I’d like to open up a small opportunity. Quite a bit of my time and effort has gone into revamping parts of the theory of evolution and I have previously mentioned here that I’ve taught myself to program and created a simulation. Well, this isn’t completely true.
The short version is that I’ve made computers try to survive the real world. By real world, I mean my program contains lots of little files that make decisions, and these decisions are about buying and selling stocks, based upon actual real-time data available on the internet. The decision engines (or ‘orgs’, as I like to call them) that correctly predict the movement of the stocks make money and eventually replicate. Those orgs that are unsuccessful at predicting stock movements lose money and die off. The replication process is governed by genetic algorithms that include various mutations.
The short short version is that the program is a cross between a stock market program and a tomagotchi (digital pet). You host a colony of organisms that survive by ‘eating’ (buy and selling) stocks; it acts as your own personal hedge fund.
Anyway, I could use a tester or two, so if anyone here wants to participate, send me an email. I’ll get around to writing up more details about the program soon too.
In other news, I’ve finally gotten around to updating the NYC Area Philosophy Calendar. Someone even sent me a nice email asking if I was still going to do it (before I got around to it.. busy busy) and another person even asked if they could start adding events.
Hmmm, interest in the calendar (it only took 2 years). An actual object (program) that came from studying philosophy (original theory of biology, 2004.). It’s taken some time but I feel like I must be moving up in the world.
Johnny Chung Lee pretty much shocked the entire video game world (and lots of others) with this video (5.8 million views, 5/5 star rating with 21,000 votes):
This is a pretty nifty bit of engineering, using the off the shelf Wii Remote and a relatively cheap extra (safety glasses with IR leds <15$) to provide a very high level virtual reality setup.
Secondly Nintendo has recently come out with the Wii Balance Board. This peripheral can accurately measure your weight distribution.
If we combine the potential of head tracking with weight distribution it would be possible to create a very accurate Matrix-style dodging bullets experience, simulating what is seen in this clip:
This would be a damn sweet feature if integrated into a full action game. It could likely be accomplished with head-tracking alone, but the combination of board, head-tracking, and Wii Motion Plus makes for near full body integration. The Matrix franchise is perfectly positioned to take advantage of the technology, seeing as everyone wears sunglasses in the movie anyway.
Apropos my first post on video game design, I have thought up a new “game” for the Wii. It is a marionette theater simulator: you would get to create virtual marionettes, with customizable bodies and outfits (Mii integration if possible, lots of different clothing options), and levels would include performing different scenes from plays or entire plays. The accelerometers of the Wii controllers would function as the strings on the virtual marionettes. As you tilt the controllers different ‘strings’ would get pulled or slackened moving the different parts of the marionette’s body.
Interactive audio effects would be crucial: recorded voice acting for characters, dynamic background music and sound effects (e.g. when a marionette hits a wall, a thud could be made), with karaoke-style text of the characters’ lines scrolling across the screen, as an option (voice recognition, if possible). A scene/play creation mode would allow players access to creating their own sets, characters, and lines, giving the game infinite replay value (online sharing of new sets, characters, etc., and entire plays, if possible). Buttons could trigger effects on stage, change the motion control to different characters, have the marionettes pick objects up, change camera angle, etc.
If saving a marionette performance and text-to-voice is included (with user-defined manipulations – angry, soft, loud, etc.) a playwright could produce his or her play on the Wii and immediately distribute its virtual staging. This could be done by recording the output of the Wii, but if the Wii could upload and download complete performances, it would become an artistic platform.
A good puppet show is something amazing. Check out these scenes from Being John Malkovich done by Phil Huber:
Here’s what I said:
Creativity comes from ruthlessness.
Being thoroughly ruthless with what you have and what has been done will allow you to create something new. If there is something that is equal to your abilities, i.e. you do not have command of it, then that thing is something new, at least for you.
If you are unwilling to be ruthless then you will know that the work you are doing does not require your full attention and you will be selling yourself and your creativity short.
Y’all should check out Spoonbuzz. It’s a blog dedicated to marketing in the best possible way: making your vision of yourself and your world a reality. I guess the way I think of it is a cross between motivational speaking and down and dirty marketing advice from a ‘I want to be in marketing for the next 40 years’ guy. And that is a direct quote because Josh is a buddy of mine. So go to his blog and sign up for the rss feed.
I’ve bought meself a Wii and I quite like it. But there needs to be some more killer games.. freaking mercury meltdown got delayed. So for some reason – this is a first for me – I thought of a video game design. Simply put it is a spy game. The interesting thing is that each level is composed of 2 parts: the first part is a ‘training’ program put on by the spy agency to train the spy in what needs to be done. This ‘training program’ will not make use of the Wii motion sensors but will feature classic style gameplay only. Then the spy is sent on the mission but now to do everything will require using the motion controls. This game design will specific highlight the immersion that the motion controls bring to the game by contrasting them with the classic controls for doing the exact same operation. Also, the game design is efficient by reusing aspects of the same level design twice, though with different art direction, and differences in the ‘training’ and ‘mission’ – due to ‘incomplete intelligence’ – will make for good surprises. Ok game makers, hop to.