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Could be good, or utterly dire - Ender's Game is being developed into a series of games. "The first game will focus on the Battle Room, the elite military academy where Ender hones his strategic and tactical skills and that provided some of the most memorable scenes in the book."

"War Dance", by Sabretoothed Ermine, who's now open for commissions - not cheap, but if you look at the full size version by way of example, well worth it.

Here's the trailer for a documentary finalist for screening at SXSW: "Second Skin takes an intimate look at computer gamers whose lives have been transformed by the emerging genre of Massively Multiplayer Online games (MMOs). World of Warcraft, Second Life, and Everquest allow millions of users to simultaneously interact in virtual spaces. Second Skin introduces us to couples who have fallen in love without meeting, disabled players who have found new purpose, addicts, Chinese gold-farming sweatshop workers, wealthy online entrepreneurs and legendary guild leaders - all living in a world that doesn't quite exist." It looks as if it could be quite a genuine production, seemingly lacking the PR fluff and sordid sensationalism that drives a lot of such press coverage.

Here's an SL build that caught my eye: Condensation Land.

dagoski and dronon especially might enjoy this nugget ibneko stumbled upon. ^_^;

TV show for the day: jPod, on CBC, Tuesdays 9pm. Pleasantly snarky look at a group of game developers working for Vancouver-based Neurotronic Arts, and their new boss, who, on seeing the surprisingly gory skating game they've been working on, decides that what he needs in the title is a friendly animal - a turtle, in fact. Add in one of their mothers growing "The Dude" in the family basement, and an untimely electrocution.. ^_^; (Perfect theme tune, too - one of Bonobo's best) You can catch the trailer here - it does a surprisingly good job of it, too.

Another good column by Bruce Schneier, in which he outlines a subtle, important distinction between the TSA's activities and their usefulness. In particular, though, my interest was piqued by one commenter's mention of his TRansnational Republic ID (which, in a surprise to nobody but politicians and pundits, often serves well for such occasions where "proof of ID" is required. He notes that all the information listed is entirely accurate). As they say, "In times of growing globalisation the problem of global representation has not yet been sufficiently addressed, the way of the world as well as the faith of the individuals are increasingly determined by transnational organisations (corporations, churches, trade organisations…). There is no comparable political representation system of the individual."

Well, isn't this delightful? The next UK Census will be handled by a private contractor - not, per se, a bad thing. Except guess who's one of the two final candidates? Lockheed Martin. As Census Alert note:

- They also focus on intelligence and surveillance work and boast of their ability to provide 'integrated threat information' that combines information from many different sources.

- New questions in the 2011 Census will include information about income and place of birth, as well as existing questions about languages spoken in the household and many other personal details.

- This information would be very useful to Lockheed Martin's intelligence work, and fears that the data might not be safe could lead to many people not filling in their Census forms.

On a more personal note, LiveJournal's just introduced new "Explore" areas, which you've probably seen at the top of some LJ pages. It's worth noting that these categories are populated by people's journals (public entries only) - if you'd like to opt-out of this, they note 'You can remove individual posts that are currently appearing in an explore area by clicking on the delete button next to that entry. This will not delete your entry from your journal; it will only remove it from appearing in that explore area. If you want all of your public entries to be excluded from the explore areas, you may opt-out by going to Viewing Options and checking the box labeled "Explore Area Exclusion."' The idea itself is quite neat, though, on the basis of giving people more LJ to read, on topics they might be interested in. I'm not certain what I'll do - most likely, I'll just let their parser work its magic. Given it's all automatic, though, I can only wonder what categories I'll wind up in. =:D

On a more positive note, here's a particularly good SL weblog: Dispatches from a Virtual World. Its core is intelligently written articles, examining diverse aspects of SL society, rather than engaging in drama or press releases. F'rex, one interview was with the founders of The Heron Sanctuary, a support community for people with RL disabilities. In this way, they're able to offer a genuine sense of community that members may not be able to find RL, not to mention being able to enjoy activities that may have been stolen from them physically, or indeed, never had, such as flying.

A fragment of a meme I saw, and thought might be vaguely interesting:

"Search the following [in your music library] and state how many songs come up:"

Death - 11 (oddly, mostly BT, plus Clint Mansell and Goran Bregovic & Iggy Pop)
Life - 44 (bumped up by Art of Trance's "Wildlife on One" and Asura's "Life2")
Love - 163 (not hurt by Vector Lovers)
Hate – 0
You - 301
Sex – 18 (helped a bit by Lords of Acid =:)

And this etymological metaquote sounded like something paka could take great pleasure in illustrating. ^_^
 
 
 
 
 
 
That thing ibneko stumbled upon is obviously fake - it doesn't even pass the laugh test. Does anyone honestly believe that there are people who read a lot, to the point of spendings thousands a year on books, and who're thus arguably at least reasonably intelligent, but who never heard of libraries? If yes, I've got a bridge to sell you.

Bruce Schneier is insightful as usual, of course. Hmm, and the whole ID thing reminds me of Steve Wozniak's showing an ID card that identified him as a "laser safety officer" and had a photo of him wearing an eyepatch to the SS (the Secret Service, that is). :)

As for census-taking, are you required to respond at all, or to provide accurate information? I know if there was a census again in Germany (where participation is obligatory), I would look into how I can stick it to them, no matter who's conducting it. (FWIW, I've got to say I'd put more trust in Lockheed-Martin than in the UK government, too, but that's pretty much a non-statement.)

Thanks for the heads-up on opting from that Explore thingamajic, too; I missed that.
Well, that post was replied to by a friend offering - apparently quite bona fide - an URL (I know it's meant to be Yew Are El, but I've always said Earl. Of course, I also say "wwwww" instead of "double-u double-u double-u", so don't mind me =:) for a commercial book lending service.. I'll take one of Budapest's, please. =:) (Though for a much more modern look, the newer Severn Bridge is rather a nice piece of work. I suppose nothing quite compares to the Millau Viaduct - I've got to find an excuse to travel across that sometime!)

I keep wishing Bruce S would enter politics at some level where he could make a major impact. Far too often, the voices of sanity and logic shy away from that sewer business, with the effects he writes about. I could hope Obama might invite him to rebuild the DHS, but that's probably as likely as Kucinich winning in 2012.

*grin* Woz does seem like a neat sort. Had him reply personally to one of my messages on the PowerList mailing list once, on the topic of old video formats. ^_^ Wish the Sidekick had been more revolutionary than just a communicator, but it's a perfectly viable, decent tool all the same. ('Course, if I were to wind up with something of that kind, it'd be an iPhone - the unlocked potential of that's just fantastic, and it accomplishes its designed role outstandingly well. And I hate phones)

AFAIK, the UK Census is mandatory, yes. Of course, there's little way for them to actually verify any informatino volunteered - they seem to be forgetting the aspect of accuracy through trust rather than coercion (see "ID cards" for more of that). Not that anyone in their right mind would voluntarily trust them with any sensitive information anyway, given the hilariously inept data loss scandals lately. (Lockheed Martin, on the other paw, there's little uncertainty - with that prominent a role in private intelligence gathering, and the virtually non-existent privacy legislation in the US..)

It's a bit annoying the way LJ's yet again chosen to make something like that opt-out rather than opt-in, but so it goes. If they'd simply let people know about these plans well in advance (or did they?), I wouldn't really have minded - plenty of opportunity to decide before the scheme went live, and ponder whether it's worth shielding your entries from that form of public observation. I imagine I'll do as I said - it's all out in public anyway, and maybe I can offer an interesting tidbit to someone along the way.
Yeah, I agree about Bruce. Larry Lessig at least seems to have decided to leave the Creative Commons to others now and combat corruption and the like, which is a good fight, but I'm not sure if he'll really have any success - it may well be that his talent will be wasted this way. Bruce at least has authority, and those that don't listen to him now even though they should will probably never listen to him, anyway.

But yeah, Steve Wozniak is a cool guy - much cooler than Steve Jobs. ^^

Mmm, and as for the opt-out thing... I don't really mind, myself, to be honest; public posts *are* public, after all, and LJ already has had an RSS feed of *all* public posts for the longest time (it has, hasn't it? I'm too lazy/tired to make sure, but I'm 99% sure). So I don't mind an opt-out solution, although I kinda wish they'd have mentioned it in a more prominent fashion.
It's an uphill battle, to be sure - politics anywhere is rarely a pleasant business, with British and American surely amongst the most corrupt of Western democracies. (Which, I suppose we must admit, is at least a world better than those stranded in Nigeria have to live with, or those of many other African republics, usually - strangely enough - where oil or mineral resources factor into matters, or the occasional random nutjob like Mugabe, whose opinions on colonialists can be relied upon to a similar degree to Bush's views on the massed hordes of Islamist bombers and baby factories waiting to subsume Europe) Someone like Lessig's also especially well positioned to help advise on things like virtual worlds, where their international nature will bring about some interesting legal frontiers - if someone gets a job in a virtual realm, under whose employment law are they covered? The employer's, the applicant's, the service provider's (which may be international itself).. ? Specifying a particular realm of law in the contract may be sufficient, but quite likely, that wouldn't be able to eliminate other jurisdictions' legitimate claims on the situation.

For all that, there are some reasonable people around in those corridors of power - often influenced unduly by money, but just as often, I'd like to think, by simplistic representations of a situation, taken up in good faith. It can get awfully difficult telling what's what, of course, when one quite reasonable position is followed by something quite crazy, as with those latest copyright infringement punishments the RIAA and pals are pursuing - $1.5m per CD? Ah, it's good to see they've kept their sense of humor.

I could easily enjoy a good beer with Woz. I doubt Jobs has time for such mortal pleasures. :-P Still, I've got to envy the position of being able to sink oneself so thoroughly, so earnestly into a pursuit. (Making such a spectacular success of it is a good thing too, not least for all the employees, and folks enjoying OS X (yay!) and delightfully cool hardware, but nothing in life should ever be sought only on the grounds of preordained success)

I'm not quite sure - I know there's a .bml feed with all images submitted in public posts, as I discovered somewhat to my surprise when I was first serving all my posts' images myself, and found the "Submit" button resulted in a swarm of a few dozen bots slurping up said images within a few seconds. ^_^;

Oh, something else I noticed but have yet to chase down - seems they finally are going to offer a means to expand all comment threads, rather than collapsing them automatically once any reach a certain length, or more than a page's worth. Not a big matter, but it'll be nice not to have to open up each branch manually.
Yeah, judging from the news, it seems that the UK and US governments are rather corrupt. Curiously enough, though, they both don't rank *too* badly in the 2007 Corruption Perception Index; Germany's somewhere in between them, and the Scandinavian countries are at the top, of course, as usual. (On a side note, it's also interesting that Iraq has apparently been dropping considerably in the past couple of years - it was always very corrupt, but has become even more so now.)

And employment contracts like that are an interesting matter. I think I recall that German criminal law at least stipulates that any crime committed by a German falls under its jurisdiction, no matter where it was committed, but I can't say whether a similar clause exists for civil matters - I doubt it, but I really don't know.

(Of course, issues like these are exactly why the EU was founded. Maybe we'll see more steps into this direction on a larger, global scale in the future, too, even if it will keep Ron Paul whirling like a dervish in his proverbial grave. :))

Yeah, I agree about Jobs and Wozniak. Not that I know either, of course, but from what I read, the former seems to be a thorough businessman, while the latter has retained his own identity as a tinkerer and occasional prankster who doesn't foremost care about money. I don't think Jobs *only* cares about money (the way Gates does, for example), but he's still a business guy.

Mmm, it took a bit of searching (thanks Google - LJ itself is worthless for finding any content on its site), but the "all posts" feed is here (as a regular page; there's a link to an RSS feed of the same on there, too).

Yeah, and I hope they'll do that - collapsed comment threads suck. I really hope they're gonna make it work in all styles, though; right now, one of my biggest gripes with LJ is that there's many things that only work in specific styles (or, equivalent, don't work in specific styles). For example, I sometimes like to shift-click on the delete icon to delete comments without confirmation, and it's *really* annoying that you don't know in advance whether this will actually work or whether you'll get the standard "save as" dialogue because your browser ended up interpreting the shift-click as a "Save link target as".

Seriously, the entire style system on LJ is a mess.
I'm concerned about any attempts to transform Ender's Game into any other kind of media... I just think that they'd either have to bump the age of all the kids up several years, or the whole thing will be torn to pieces by idiots who don't know what they're talking about. We'll have to see though.

In the meantime I should consider reading the rest of the series... and I should read JPod, I've heard nothing but good things about it from people who have read it. I really enjoy Douglas Coupland (Shampoo Planet was brilliant), so I don't know why I haven't gotten around to it yet.

And I really, really want that tribal bunny...
I do still adore that icon. ^_^

I need to read Ender's Game, I think. It sounds as if that was something of a pinnacle for him, from what I gather. I admit, his rather nastily homophobic stance has put me off his work for a while now, but it seems it's better to separate an artist's attitudes from their work, providing that doesn't entail unduly enriching them in the process. Quite possibly he's mollified his stance anyway.

It's rather painful seeing how warped films become over the course of the "creative process" of Hollywood, unless the director, writer, or producer holds sufficient sway with the studio to just let things work out within the team. (Kevin Smith and Superman.. what a fun little saga!) Of course, print and visual media are quite different, so we're all used to books having to be cut here and there to fit into a mere two hours or so of screen time, but the LotR trilogy showed quite well that that can be accomplished, and still leave the majority of the story told. (And then there's the other extreme, where they take a huge mound of material and try mushing it all together, à la Judge Dredd. What a dog's dinner that was..)

Thinking of literary adaptations, those familiar with the work seemed reasonably content with the job the BBC did with Gormenghast - seen it? Visually lush, with some quite excellent casting, rendered into five or six hour-ish episodes. I could send along a copy, if you'd like, or the original DVDs if I can't find my transcodings.

I'd like to dig a bit into how the book and TV version of jPod compare - I suppose everyone's visualisations will be different, just as people's expectations for the voices of Asterix and co were (which did introduce me to quite a few classical concepts at an early age, albeit at the cost of confusing me with "alea iacta est" = "the die is cast", without noting whether the meaning was the singular of "dice", or a mold. Works either way, really =:).

The style on that bun reminds me somewhat of Dark Natasha's - ye gods, but those few lapines she's drawn are memorable. And then there's Blotch, of course, oh yes. ^_^
I love the icon too... I have a ways to go if I'm going to try and catch up with you, though ;)

I didn't actually know anything about Scott Card's homophobia... I'll have to look into that some more. Ender's Game is quite conservative, but I still thought it was thought provoking and entertaining (at the same time :P). I don't remember anything jumping out at me as particularly homophobic though, but then it has been a few years since I read the book.

Hollywood and Books just upset me. I think Lord of the Rings is the sole example I can think of where the movie hasn't at best left too much to be desired from the source, at worst completely raped the printed piece and left me in tears. Well, the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe wasn't bad actually, all things considered, and I still enjoy watching it again now and then. Compare that to say, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix though :(

Gormenghast... isn't that Titus Groan and the rest? I'm mildly curious, but someone in one of my creative writing classes read it and then produced a short story about sentence semantics based upon it that made my head spin and then hurt profusely, so I've always thought I should stay away...
It seems the BBC usually do pretty well with their adaptations though. Except for the poor budget, their version of the Narnia books were all very accurate with attention to detail (even if it did result in one of the most boring Prince Caspian versions ever). And my mother still raves about their Pride and Prejudice. Or is it just because of Colin Firth? Hmmm...

I've seen a few of Dark Natasha's bunnies... they are pretty stunning. But don't get me started on Blotch... I could stare at his lapines (and their hind paws) forever.
Jpod as a TV series!? Oh my oh my.
I'll be watching more, definitely. ^_^

You can find the torrents here, amongst other places.
That's quite an interesting "war dance" picture. Will have to check some of those out sometime.
It did rather remind me of one or two Dark Natasha's drawn, I had to admit, but it's no less its own creation for that. Lapines aren't a regular species for her, unfortunately, but her work's well worth a look.
Oh, I wanted to ask where you got your name. "Porsupah" seems to imply that you have quills. :)
That's probably the ultimate origin (and I'd be happy for it to be the case - Walt Kelly was a true comic genius), but in this context, rather more mundane: a minor character in one of Alan Dean Foster's pulp SF novels, Bloodhype. For some reason, he caught my attention, and wound up being the literal origin of my furry self, notwithstanding my earlier appropriation of another of his characters, though simply as a pseudonym.
So here are my answers to the music library meme:

Death - 3, but this doesn't count all the songs by Steeleye Span or Fairport Convention in which death appears with lots of blood and gore. This would make an interesting playlist: medieval folk-rock songs about death.
Life - 15, mentioend by my favorite bands.
Love - 42. Yay! How propitious.
Hate - 1, but it doesn't count (Chateau d'Isaster Tapes, Jethro Tull)
You - 64 including all the songs from Wish You Were Here.
Sex - 0. How depressing.
Of course, a literal search for "dead" might be enlightening as well, catching Dead Can Dance in particular.. I think the first time I really noticed their work was as one portion of the soundtrack for Baraka. Spellbinding production.. I should check into whether there's been a HD release, though I'm usually at Hyzenthlay's limits with SFM's Torchwood releases, 960x528 plain MPEG-4. 720p H.264's where the poor thing lies on its back with paws in the air. Or maybe that's 1080p.

I did actually have two matches for the substring "hate", but "Rush Limbaugh Hater" is just some invented artist name, rather than the actual creator, whose name I forget (rather a good production, though, all assembled very carefully from his shows, making for a wonderful "Springtime for Hitler" style number), and "Whatever Happened To The People With Chairs Up Their Noses?", by Antediluvian Rocking Horse, a strange little CD from people sufficiently odd for their US release to appear on Seeland, Negativland's label.

I wonder what this "sex" word means anyway? Sounds awfully popular.

BTW, I'm currently having some early words with a rather fun outfit in Berkeley. Perhaps raw fish is in the future again. ^_^