"All right action flows from the breath"
- Hajakujo

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Wednesday, August 30, 2006

~ A History of Oil ~

Anyone who hasn't seen this yet must hie thee hence at once!

I would vote Robert Newman No.1 for President, Prime Minister, Premiere, Chairman, Party Leader etc, all at the same time. Secure in the knowledge that any man, who can not only be in multiple physical coordinate spaces at the same time, but can also perfectly imitate the current holders of these positions (at the same time as the time of his polymanifestation trick)...would probably do a better job of running the world, even if the cost was his own sanity.

Also, he's done his research...

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Flow is...

Well, for me Flow has variously been found in karate, city centre bicycle couriering, trail-less hill walking, programming, writing papers, and games. Computer, team, physical, mental, solitary or social, competitive or cooperative. Games are just a great way to achieve a state of highly optimal psycho-physiological being. Not all games, maybe not even most games. Well, maybe most games, for me. Maybe most because I only play the ones that survive the critical weeding out of mass-consumption. But in any event, they seem to me to belong to a class of activity that almost singularly well enables Flow. Whatever the bounds of this class of activity (and I don't think I'll attempt a definition of those bounds any time soon), games fall within it unless their design is broken. And falling within it, they provide a 'shortcut' to Flow that is a pointer to a revolution of the self for every individual that can see the path. For as Csikszentmihalyi says, "those who are in Flow most often tend to have more positive experiences in the rest of their lives".

Why does this class of activity more easily lead to a Flow experience? If Flow, as its primogenitor claims, is a "panhuman phenomenon" recognised the world over and found in almost any activity, then surely no single type of activity will facilitate Flow more easily than another? Well, it is this very universality that allows me to reason that Flow must be a part of our evolutionary heritage, and thus its manifestation will be a uniform cognitive event, no matter the individual or activity. Csiks' even posits something similar, when he says "the universality of Flow might be accounted for by the fact that it is a connection that evolution has built into our nervous system".
If this is the case, then it is logical that the 'connection in the nervous system' - which I would describe as a cognitive/emotional state - can be approached more quickly by pursuing an activty that requires a similar cognitive state to be assumed. Games require this from the player, they incorporate an element of the imperative in that they force the participant to follow certain rules, to observe certain formalities and ultimately assume a certain state of mind.

This may not be a mind-blowing observation to anyone who's read enough on the topic to follow the implicit references, but it's the why of it thats really interesting. What could it be about games that incites Flow - structure, mechanics, constituative/operational/implicit rules, cute graphics? Any takers on a complete explanation or dire refutation, please - talk to me baby :D

I just had to steal this...

To the optimist, the glass is half full.
To the pessimist, the glass is half empty.
To the engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.

An engineer was crossing a road one-day when a frog called out to him and said, "If you kiss me, I'll turn into a beautiful princess." He bent over, picked up the frog and put it in his pocket. The frog spoke up again and said,
"If you kiss me and turn me back into a beautiful princess, I will stay with you for one week." The engineer took the frog out of his pocket, smiled at it and returned it to the pocket. The frog then cried out, "If you kiss me and turn me back into a princess, I'll stay with you and do ANYTHING you want." Again the engineer took the frog out, smiled at it and put it back into his pocket.

Finally, the frog asked, "What is the matter? I've told you I'm a beautiful princess and that I'll stay with you for a week and do anything you want. Why won't you kiss me?"

The engineer said, "Look, I'm an engineer. I don't have time for a girlfriend, but a talking frog, now that's cool."
Taken from here.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Poetry of Flow

“When goals are clear,

when above-average challenges are matched to skills,

and when accurate feedback is forthcoming,

a person becomes…so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter;

the experience itself is so enjoyable

that people will do it even at great cost,

for the sheer sake of doing it.”

- Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi, 1990

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Poetry of Play

“Play is a voluntary activity or occupation,

executed within certain fixed limits of time and place,

according to rules freely accepted but absolutely binding,

having its aim in itself and

accompanied by a feeling of tension,


and the consciousness that it is ‘different’ from ‘ordinary life’.”

- Johann Huizinga, 1949

Monday, August 21, 2006

I am a character in a play in the mind of 10,000 monkeys...

Here I am on Chris Bateman's onlyagame blog again, weighing in with nerdish, hyper-intellectual humour to the gathering of game ghouls. Below is my entry, reproduced with slightly better formatting for clarity (although clarity in the content is sadly absent).

Level 1.6180339887 muser & mutterer
Background: see Grimoire Backgroundicus (that's here!)

M|WS|BS| S | T | W | I | A | Ld
5 | 10| 7 |0.2| 8 |2.4| 2 | 6 | 0

M = Moaning
WS = Worry Skill
BS = Bullsh*t Skill
S = Staying at work power
T = True grit (and we are chock full of that)
W = Wounds (avg number sustained after 1 week of drinking and karate practice)
I = Idiot points
A = Argumentative-ness
Ld = Leadership


99% Pontificating about modern mediated culture.
77% Pretending to be clever.
Speed (at completing internet postings and emails) 1/27% Lucidity (of internet contributions) 12% - 63% depending on lucidity of reader
5% Programming
10% Researching

Special Ability
pReScIeNcE - can predict own future within the ontological bounds of own dynamic, subjectively-defined reality E.g. (10+5 / x {12 <>

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Morally oxygen starved games

A couple of games that are not about trying to kill as many things as possible.
Peacemaker by Impact Games, and A Force More Powerful, by BreakAway Ltd.

Hear hear. Not that these types of games ever find much of an audience, or are generally much fun. But the spirit is also important - if I want to say that games are important, then I have to admit that they affect people and thus they affect people's behaviour. And if that's the case, I have to admit that games should have moral awareness.

Of course that doesn't mean they have to be po-faced preachers of messages Good and Holy - a moral compass is one thing, but sermonising is a pain in the ass. Like, I wonder if you could call Defcon an astute moral parable, in the satirical bent of "How I Learned to Stop Worrying..."

Feeble excuse for a Gratuitous Quote!
"Gentlemen! You can't fight in here, this is the War Room!"

Digital Identity - D.I.D.

A while ago I wrote on electronic identity and privacy issues..."Its about the digital signifier population that makes up your electronic identity being accessible to you, controllable by you, and gated by you".

I wanted to address what I meant by that closing sentence, and what it implies in the day-to-day.

Which is longest?

Which of your conceptions of the phases of time is longest - the past, the present or the future?

Its only a mini brainteaser, since there's no strictly right answer. If you look at it in terms of age of the universe, we have a figure of about 14billion years for the age of the universe, and by any of the topologies it will be around for a lot longer than that, so the answer there would be 'the future'. If you look at it in terms of an objective reality of observable phenomenon, then all you have is the past. You can't observe future events, unless you count indirect observations of sort implied by quantum non-locality, and that's only relatively in the future. If you can't observe future events, then you cannot really say you are observing present events, since the events themselves take time to be observed. In this sense, the answer would be 'the past'.

What I answered, because I like the simplicity of the logic involved, was 'the present'. In this case, one assumes that there is no past or future. Relatively, subjectively, one simply discounts the independent existence of time. There is only the present, and from that viewpoint it is the only possible answer, never mind the right one.

Answers on a postcard, winners receive nothing.

Thursday, August 17, 2006


Of course, string theory is currently stuck in the toilet, it can't advance and all the efforts to do so seem to just diversify (and dilute) its potential as a solution. So using it a basis for a posit on the nature of conscious embodiment is a little...dodgy.

Coming up fast from behind are Loop quantum gravity and Heim theory, the former of which does not initially require extra dimensions (Heim is formulated in 6 dimensions, as I understand it. Not many do understand Heim right now).
Of course, as Smolin says, if there were to be extra dimensions and supersymmetry, loop quantum gravity could accommodate them. So I might be alright after all.

I really don't care right now, to be honest. I'm waiting for the Heim vehicles, close-to-light-speed gravitational-field-manipulating spaceships, so I can be Buck Rogers...