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Misinformation Age

When I was a kid, we had a School Computer.

Yes, that’s right, singular. This was the early 90s; it was wheeled between classrooms on a trolley and played a selection of blocky educational games about as engaging as a marketing pamphlet about sensible shoes. Later, there were computer rooms, but we certainly didn’t have mobile phones to consult on any given enquiry. FBI agents on TV had mobile phones; kids at school did not. Teenagers didn’t have an important reason to warrant getting one. That last part hasn’t really changed.

Anyway. The point I’m underlining is how widely available information is. With the powerful array of devices often only a tap from the internet, we’re more plugged-in than ever. Access to incredible resources like Wikipedia have revolutionised autodidactism and even regular taught education. Thanks to the concept of crowd-content, you can find videos about any kind of esoteric thing you are trying to do; from upgrading Nerf guns to learning when to omit the phrase “watashi wa” in Japanese.

But there is a concerning side-effect to the information revolution. Continue reading

Basically, I think I should blog more again, maybe

So.

Lately, I’ve been getting incredibly frustrated with something, but I don’t really know what that something is. I have a grating, itchy discomfort somewhere in my brain that commands me to let things out. Why? Because there are too many people that are friggin’ wrong about everything.

When in discourse, it is healthy and desirable to seek opinions and arguments contrary to your own. I am keen and receptive to the other sides from my viewpoint; I’ve actively sought it. However, I think in this I’ve reached a critical juncture where I’m about done. I’ve heard enough bull from people that wouldn’t know a fact if it gave them an enema. I can’t stand to read another paragraph of supposedly witty quasi-intellectual defence of human stupidity, purporting to be “fair” by simply picking the mean between two arguments. And discussions with those who confuse emotional distress for logical reasoning are getting tiresome.

Guys, I’m gonna blog the heck out of all of you.

Timewasters of the World

I’ve not got much excuse for having done so little with the site in the last 6-12 months, besides a wedding but I may be rather milking that one. It soon became clear that my neglect had worse effects than just my overactive guilty conscience: another useless timewaster somewhere in the world decided to write a script that makes my website turn into a spam emitter unless I keep wordpress constantly updated. Seriously, I feel like all I do in life these days is update things.

So if you’re joining us in the future, why not laugh at the idiotic people of today for (amongst other things) trying, unsuccessfully, to block GM salmon from being sellable in the US, without actually having any reasons. Can you believe people used to be this ignorant?? I know, right! Luckily we get there in the end.

If you’re joining us from the present; congratulations! You have remarkably unlikely timing. Or you check my site every day and are therefore part of my Fan Club. I love you guys.

However, if you’re joining us from the past; awesome! You’ve got the time travel thing sorted. Big props to you, it’s a toughie.

Autumn’s Eve

Having recently returned from visiting family-to-be in New Brunswick, Canada, the dust has come off old projects and I’m looking to get things moving again. September begins and- good grief, I can’t believe 2015 is drawing to a close. Apart from the fast-approaching wedding in October, the end of this year is a time for finishing things.

So that’s what I will be doing.

A Farewell to Pratchett

Eulogies really aren’t my thing, especially not when they pertain to people who are very well known by the general public and not personally known by me (which, let’s face it, are usually the same thing). However, I make an exception here in that I’d like to mark the passing of Terry Pratchett in a way that I failed to do with the death of another of my literary heroes, Ian Banks, last year.

As a child, I greatly enjoyed reading about fantastical worlds. A few books from my early years have stuck with me, but none so much as Pratchett’s Bromeliad/Nomes trilogy and his Johnny Maxwell series, particularly Only You Can Save Mankind; in which the main character plays a spaceflight simulator game only to discover that it’s actually taking place in a faraway galaxy. I also read a few of the Discworld novels and will doubtlessly read more of them in the future, but the Nomes and Johnny were the biggest influence Pratchett had on me (and certainly on my upcoming novel Chronozone Zero).

So I’d like to just take a moment to say a quiet thanks to him for that. I only wish I could have had the chance to meet him.

Critical Systems Failure

Another year, another games jam. This time, myself and my colleague Mike (with a little help) built a game for Global Games Jam 2015 at the UCS campus. The theme: “What do we do now?”. Our interpretation?

CRITICAL SYSTEMS FAILURE

An advanced experiment goes wrong, the reactor is going critical and there’s not even time to nip home and feed the cat. Critical Systems Failure puts you into that classic dramatic moment where it’s all going wrong and you; an untrained rookie with no manual, have got to stabilise the situation… or risk total destruction!

CSF

Continue reading

Carl Sagan on Books

” A book is made from a tree. It is an assemblage of flat, flexible parts (still called ‘leaves’) imprinted with dark pigmented squiggles. One glance at it and you hear the voice of another person – perhaps someone dead for thousands of years. Across the millennia, the author is speaking, clearly and silently, inside your head, directly to you. Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people, citizens of distant epochs, who never knew one another. Books break the shackles of time, proof that humans can work magic. “

– Carl Sagan, Cosmos (1980)

Came across this yesterday; seems all the more poignant now that Sagan himself is speaking to us beyond his time.

Picking up where we left off

I recently realised that I haven’t made any posts for a good long while. This is always the way of these things; after a gap, you feel the need to do something worth the wait, which only worsens the problem. New Year provides a useful occasion to carry on like nothing happened (or in this case, did happen).

So, Twenty-Fifteen, eh? We meet at last.

It’s shaping up to be a busy year. First up, in February I am pushing a new initiative I made up on the spot: Finish a Novel Feb. Specifically, I am looking to finish Chronozone. NaNoWriMo is all well and good for creating loads of rough, unfinished drafts but, well, it seems I can do that pretty well already. So come Feb, I will be committing to complete the draft of Chronozone Zero.

It’s not an initiative that’s going to catch on or anything; hardly a challenge worth a website for; but it will get me where I want to go. Wish me luck.