Thursday, May 27, 2004

Anthony sent me this press release:
Leeds Metropolitan University - Latest News - Hiroshima Nagasaki A-Bomb Exhibition comes to Leeds - 18/05/04
"As part of its world tour a moving and inspirational exhibition featuring photographs, artefacts and film footage from the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombs in 1945 will be on show at Leeds Metropolitan University from 28 May to 18 June."
If you live in Leeds this sounds like something you probably ought to make the effort to see. The threat of nuclear war seems less these days without the two superpowers threatening each other but in reality the risks are greater with more countries creating their own stores of weapons while countries that already have nuclear stockpiles doing little to try and reduce them (see previous entry)

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

AfricaPundit: "Irene Wambui can't imagine why anyone would buy a baby stroller. She says she sees it as a cold cage filled with useless rattles, cup holders and mirrored headlights. Imagine children being stuffed into such a contraption and pushed around town like some kind of pet.

Yet here she is in the middle-class Westlands shopping district, trying to sell her store's newest merchandise, the four-wheeled plastic and metal tool of modern motherhood. But so far, strollers have been a flop in Nairobi, an affront to a time-honored tradition."

Monday, May 24, 2004

Vernor Vinge on the Singularity “A central feature of strongly superhuman entities will likely be their ability to communicate at variable bandwidths, including ones far higher than speech or written messages. What happens when pieces of ego can be copied and merged, when the size of a selfawareness can grow or shrink to fit the nature of the problems under consideration? These are essential features of strong superhumanity and the Singularity. Thinking about them, one begins to feel how essentially strange and different the Post-Human era will be -- _no matter how cleverly and benignly it is brought to be_.” Vernor Vinge
The Munros, Scotland's highest mountains, Hillwalking routes for all Munros - MunroMagic.com More Scotland info.
deviantART: where ART meets application! A beautiful and popular site.

Sunday, May 23, 2004

Saturday, May 22, 2004

Walk Scotland - Site with lots of info about wlaking in Scotland, including routes up Munroes and legal stuff about camping, etc.

Friday, May 21, 2004

GameSpy: The Annual GameSpy E3 Awards!: "Fargo: The Total War series is perhaps my all-time favorite game franchise. And now this. Rome may very well end my marriage. Rome will use up the rest of my vacation days from work. Rome will replace my wasteful desire to have children. Sometime before the end of the year my family will find me -- wearing a toga -- face down on my keyboard groping weakly for my mouse after a weeklong sleepless marathon without nourishment. 'We have to take you to the hospital,' they'll say. At which I will croak, through a dry cracked windpipe: 'Just ... one ... more ... turn...'


Funny story: At last year's show they showed us how the elephants could mow down hordes of troops with ease. They also mentioned that the best defense against elephants, historically, was to light a mob of pigs on fire. The flaming, squealing pigs would so freak out the elephants that they'd go amok. THIS year, they showed us the flaming pigs. I had waited 12 months for this. I was on the edge of my seat. The elephants came pounding down the hillside toward my legions. 'All right, let's send in the pigs!' the developers hollered. I was sweating with anticipation. At long last! Our superweapon unveiled! 'CRY HAVOC AND LET SLIP THE PIGS OF WAR!' I bellowed. And so they lit the pigs on fire."
Official Site : Total War

Sunday, May 16, 2004

"You could be forgiven for not noticing it, but international endeavours to chart a path to nuclear disarnament fell to pieces this month as two weeks of fraught negotiations in New York between 188 countries ended in failure. The event went unremarked in the world's media." New Scientist Editorial, 15th May 2004.
Obviously it would be a bad idea for N. Korea to get hold of them, and we guess that Saddam didn't have any, but what exactly are the US, UK or, for that matter, French governments doing about their commitments to the Non-Proliferation Treaty? This recent CND report helps to shed a little light on the UK and I found this from the Seattle Post Intelligencer. See also the Greenpeace site for some background information.
Meanwhile, friends of the US can build what they like (and no, this time it's not Israel).
As it stands we are still, after fifty years, Seven minutes to midnight. But that's not news, is it?
METAL GEAR SOLID 3 : SNAKE EATER
- Just keep telling myself it's only a game, but I'm looking forward to this more than any film that is coming out this year. Recommend that you check out the E3 2004 trailer. Camo competition looks like fun too, the samples show that they are looking for some fun ideas.

Friday, May 07, 2004

The New York Times > Opinion > Disney's Craven Behavior: "Give the Walt Disney Company a gold medal for cowardice for blocking its Miramax division from distributing a film that criticizes President Bush and his family. A company that ought to be championing free expression has instead chosen to censor a documentary that clearly falls within the bounds of acceptable political commentary."
Ansible 202, May 2004: "David Pringle, weary of business hassles after 22 years of editing and publishing Interzone, is stepping down and transferring control of the magazine to Andy Cox of The Third Alternative. His swan-song editorial should appear in the delayed issue #193 for January/February 2004, now expected in May with a Spring 2004 dateline. Existing subscriptions will be honoured by TTA Press. The Interzone era has been a remarkable one for British SF, and -- we all hope -- is far from over."
I was sad to hear of this, although at least it will hopefully continue. Interzone has been responsible for several rejection letters, some helpful advice and a lot of good fiction, including Zoran Zivkovic, AListair Reynolds and Paul DiFillipo, that I would never otherwise have read.

Monday, May 03, 2004

The Physics of 'Now'
Authors: James B. Hartle

"The world is four-dimensional according to fundamental physics, governed by basic laws that operate in a spacetime that has no unique division into space and time. Yet our subjective experience is divided into present, past, and future. This paper discusses the origin of this division in terms of simple models of information gathering and utilizing systems (IGUSes). Past, present, and future are not properties of four-dimensional spacetime but notions describing how individual IGUSes process information. Their origin is to be found in how these IGUSes evolved or were constructed. The past, present, and future of an IGUS is consistent with the four-dimensional laws of physics and can be described in four-dimensional terms. The present, for instance, is not a moment of time in the sense of a spacelike surface in spacetime. Rather there is a localized notion of present at each point along an IGUS' world line. The common present of many localized IGUSes is an approximate notion appropriate when they are sufficiently close to each other and have relative velocities much less than that of light. But modes of organization that are different from present, past and future can be imagined that are consistent with the physical laws. We speculate why the present, past, and future organization might be favored by evolution and therefore a cognitive universal."