Other Ten Percent 3/19/12

Mar 19 2012

I spent most of the weekend playing Mass Effect 3 and learning programming so this is actually my first real writing project since I hammered a few PCWorld things out on Friday. Still I didn’t exactly feel like I didn’t accomplish anything so I’m thinking I maybe need to go for a method with more modest daily goals in more areas or something. The 1000 words each for PCWorld, blogs, and fiction plan is going okay but I maybe need to add a GTD level on top of that or something. Oh hey look, here’s some information that might actually interest you unlike all of that stuff.

The beautiful astronaut book Umberto Eco wrote to teach children about semiotics and tolerance
This is shocking in the exact way it was shocking when I first heard Woody Allen cast ScarJo in a thing. I had not really connected these two parts of my brain before now that I have of course that happened. Umberto Eco wrote a Children’s book about semiotics because of course he did. Slightly more surprising is how much I love the really freaky art style.

Helmetcam video of 9-year-old psyching herself up for a ski-jump
So I like this for what it is: a cute little video of a small child overcoming their fear to do something awesome. I can’t watch this sort of stuff without thinking of it from the like 10,000 foot view these days though. How weird is it that this kid has a record of this for their entire life? Like, not this one specific kid because the answer to that is: not that weird. It’s more that in aggregate the proliferation of point of view footage of our lives seems like one of those things that’s going to make generational understanding with my kids fundamentally impossible. I have a memory of what it was like skiing for the first time. I remember it as being pretty much all of the first minute of this with none of the last 30 seconds. However that’s my own fallible memory of things. I remember there being a ditch that was deep enough for me to fall down and die on one side of the hill I was skiing down and my guess is that ditch was probably like 10 feet deep in actuality. helmet cams aren’t going to kill fallible memory of course but they are going to change it. I don’t know what kind of person I would be if I had a perfect record of what it was like to ski when I was younger but I would be a different one I think. If this all sounds really stupid and obvious I apologize, the concept is still kinda baking. Generally though I just feel like we’re about to raise the first generation that has computer aided total recall and that’s going to get weird in a hurry.

This post-apocalyptic short animation deserves its own movie
Is it just me or is io9 using that headline a lot lately for sci-fi shorts? I could swear there’ve been like 6 shorts in the past year that “deserve their own movie.” Now that might just be that io9’s got a limited attention span and needs to write a lot of headlines, in fact that’s almost certainly part of it. However I can’t help but thinking that sci-fi shorts are kinda where all the sci-fi movies that people who are big into the genre live now. I could go on at length about why truly distinctive Sci-fi doesn’t exist on TV or film much lately (short version: money) but what’s remarkable is that it exists at all. I’m not certain I want to see this stuff migrate back to movies or TV anymore, I want the made-for-the-internet short to be a full on haven for the genre. I’ve kinda been kicking around that I want somebody to bring back the anthology show a lot lately but of course somebody already did: it’s called the internet.

Haha oh Ben Bashford, Zalgo as the New Aesthetic. It may not work as well if you aren’t already familiar with the meme but the connection is startlingly sound.

Dance the flip-flop
If you’re only going to read one OTP entry today (which I think people are doing more and more lately, which is fine) then this is probably the one to read. It’s not that long but the idea behind it is interesting. Essentially the argument is that when you shift a physical thing to the digital world and back again or vice versa what you end up with is more like a xerox than an exact copy and instead of trying to ignore those translation errors you’re actually better off exaggerating them. Like most of the longer stuff I have you guys read it’s basically an OTP entry I wasn’t smart enough to write connecting quite a few ideas I’ve posted here before much more elegantly than I ever have.

PL2Q Hugin, 3d printable quadcopter
Today in Quadcopters: the future is still already here and the whole this is still both amazing and terrifying. I’m seriously considering taking a break on the quadcopter stuff just because I feel like I’m continuing to just run up on this brick wall of how weird these things are getting and just repeatedly going “LOOK! It’s going to be weird!” I think I need to like write some fiction with these things to have a clearer sense of the specific state of these things that’s weirding me out so much about the future.

The title alone makes this an easy pick for OTP but it doesn’t hurt that the manifesto itself, on why we need a universal donation platform for music we love, is brilliant and feels like a very specific vision of the possible future.

Cummulus & Nimbus
No real commentary for this one. I just thought you guys deserved a break from the constant theorizing with something that’s just straight up adorable.

Webcomics Roundup
Guys there were so many awesome web-comics on Friday I had to bring back the old-school Webcomics Roundup. T-rex stumbles on the greatest Batman story every told by tinkering around with his legally and creatively distinct character Bruce Swain. Kate Beaton discusses Dr. Sara Josephine Baker with bonus Typhoid Mary references! And Reginald once again suffers in a world where his genius goes unappreciated in Nedroid.

Words: By David Daw
Sadly one of these free games is no longer relevant to your interests but if you enjoy video games and free stuff then know that I am going to be writing a new regular column for PCWorld called Free Friday where I round up three free games (usually fairly short but pretty rad) that you can play over the weekend. This time There’s a puzzle game a-la portal and a horror game based on something from SCP.

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