Be of good cheer, what can possibly go wrong with a year that has a 13 in it? I mean, the Mayan Apocalypse wasn`t that bad either, now was it? Most likely because there are just trace elements of the Mayans left, but still…
Via Rock, Paper, Shotgun I found this on characters of roleplaying games (RPGs): RPG Style: Analyzing the Structure of RPG Protagonists.
A player character:
For as much as a role-playing game Human Revolution is, it’s difficult to truly play it as a role-playing game. Every bit of dialogue that grates with my ideal is jarring, and snaps me back out of the magical game-world where player and character are the same. I found myself dreading dialogue options: Would choosing this option make Jensen look like some faceless arm of a crime syndicate instead of a person who merely weighs options to find the most logical one? Should I find a bag of puppies for him to oppress?
The problem is that Jensen is not me. He can’t be the character I envision in my head, no matter how much I try. He is his own character, an entity wholly separate from me. I am just the invisible hand telling him which baddies to shoot and what to say in conversation.
as opposed to a player avatar:
Read the rest of this entry »
The Building Technology Heritage Library (BTHL) is primarily a collection of American and Canadian, pre-1964 architectural trade catalogs, house plan books and technical building guides. Trade catalogs are an important primary source to document past design and construction practices. These materials can aid in the preservation and conservation of older structures as well as other research goals.
The BTHL contains materials from various private and institutional collections. These materials are rarely available in most architectural and professional libraries. The first major architectural trade catalog collection is that of the Canadian Centre for Architecture, which encompasses more that 4,000 catalogs from the early 19th century through 1963. In addition to the architectural trade catalogs, the initial contributions include a large number of house plan catalogs, which will be of great interest to owners of older homes. The future growth of the Building Technology Heritage Library will also include contemporary materials on building conservation.
This is a delightful little movie by Moonbot Studios.
From the movie’s description at the Vimeo page:
Inspired, in equal measures, by Hurricane Katrina, Buster Keaton, The Wizard of Oz, and a love for books, “Morris Lessmore” is a story of people who devote their lives to books and books who return the favor. Morris Lessmore is a poignant, humorous allegory about the curative powers of story. Using a variety of techniques (miniatures, computer animation, 2D animation) award winning author/ illustrator William Joyce and Co-director Brandon Oldenburg present a new narrative experience that harkens back to silent films and M-G-M Technicolor musicals. “Morris Lessmore” is old fashioned and cutting edge at the same time.
“The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore” is one of five animated short films that will be considered for outstanding film achievements of 2011 in the 84th Academy Awards ®.
Film Awards Won by “The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore”
To date, “The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore” film has drummed up fans all over the world taking home the following awards:
· Cinequest Film Fest: Best Animated Short
· Palm Springs International ShortFest: Audience Favorite Award
· SIGGRAPH: Best in Show
I still can’t seem to center images or videos in WordPress, at least not easily. When I save a post, WordPress simply removes the ‘center’ tags. With images I can work around the problem by putting the HTML code for a table into the post. Inside the cells of a table, WordPress will leave the ‘center’ tags alone. I don’t want to do this with a video like this, for I’m not sure if I won’t mess up the look of the blog if I make it too wide.
we wish you a warm welcome! Nevertheless we’ll keep a close eye on you. We hope you won’t mind. Your predecessor had some issues, such as earthquakes, famines, nuclear disasters etc., etc., so we are a bit wary at this point.
But don’t let that put you off! Just relax, be yourself and things should turn out alright. Or else.
p. p. Everybody else
A trip down Market Street before the fire, on April 15th, 1906:
This is from the Prelinger Archives, which were acquired by the Library of Congress and also are part of the Internet Archive.
Via the planet5D blog:
“Landscapes: Volume Two” by Dustin Farrell
If you have a fast enough computer, you might want to view it in full screen.
You can find more timelapse videos by him here.
I wish my fellow Chicagoboyz (who thankfully haven`t had me hauled in for being AWOL yet, although they have every reason to [I`ll come in from the cold sooner or later, but not just now]) and our readers a Merry Christmas.
P.S: Don`t let the aniti-capitalist message of Charles Dickens` “A Christmas Carol” get to you.
P.P.S: I missed Thanksgiving, so consequently also didn`t wish you all a Happy Same. To make up for my oversight, I`ll paraphrase Ludwig Wittgenstein in wishing you all the very essence of turkeyness for the rest of your lifes (if and when you want it, that is – I`ll leave coercion to agents of the state).
Fatalists become the first fatalities
I recommend one book that you’ll find there, The French Revolution by the historian and satirical writer Thomas Carlyle. Besides the HTML version the IA also offers the book in a number of other formats.
Carlyle’s prose is very much a matter of taste. If you are interested in the subject matter and enjoy his eccentric and heavily metaphorical style of writing you are in for a real treat.
I am bit surprised the the Internet Archive isn’t much more well-known.
The Internet Archive is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that was founded to build an Internet library. Its purposes include offering permanent access for researchers, historians, scholars, people with disabilities, and the general public to historical collections that exist in digital format. Founded in 1996 and located in San Francisco, the Archive has been receiving data donations from Alexa Internet and others. In late 1999, the organization started to grow to include more well-rounded collections. Now the Internet Archive includes texts, audio, moving images, and software as well as archived web pages in our collections, and provides specialized services for adaptive reading and information access for the blind and other persons with disabilities.
Just follow the links in the quote above and you’ll find an incredible amount of each of the mentioned media.
The source of this image is the Wikimedia Commons. Muchas works entered the public domain in 2010, for he died in 1939 and the copyright expired seventy years after the death of the creator.
The image above is from the Czech art noveau painter and decorative artist Alfons Maria Mucha (known in English as Alphonse Mucha). A list of his works can be found here. I especially like his stained glass window for the St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague
Or in your vernacular, ‘Happy Thanksgiving!’ Either way, I am happy to second Helen’s good wishes.
I second Helen’s good wishes. Have a happy Independence Day.
Even so, I should mention that I am still a little sore that you had to go and secede from such a nice German fellow as George III., of all people. I hope you won’t mind when I sulk a bit while you celebrate.
Fortunately, there’s a cure for that. Please excuse me while I withdraw to provide a substantial stimulus to the American bourbon industry in your honor…
* Or at least before America officially became the United States of America
I couldn’t possibly do the subject, much less the lovely and erudite Sgt. Mom, any justice on this short notice. So here are just two somewhat surprising facts about a (kind of) related subject, i.e, the German-language press in America:
- In 1732, Benjamin Franklin published the Philadelphische Zeitung, the first German-language newspaper in North America. Unfortunately it only lasted for two issues.
- On July 5 1776, The Pennsylvanischer Staatsbote was the first newspaper to report the adoption of the Declaration of Independence.
PS: Some years ago, Sgt. Mom was kind of enough to mail me the recipe for some delicious caramel. I’ve made it several times since then (maybe a bit more often than my waistline can take, but it sure is worth it :)
(A new employee informs me that she spotted a little boy sneaking some candy in his pants. I confront the boy and an older woman about it.)
Me: “Excuse me, ma’am. Hey, kiddo, what’s in your pocket?”
Granny: “Oh, h***, again?! Boy, if you don’t put that d***ed candy back, that lady gonna call the po-po on you! And I ain’t gonna stop her none.”
(The boy, crying, hands me 2 candy bars and a handful of suckers. I thank the lady, and get back to work. A few minutes later, the boy’s mother comes up to me.)
There’s at least one blog for everything, and it turns out that the Washinton Post actually has an obituary blog, called ‘Post Mortem‘.
Some interesting ones:
In 1966, Time magazine ran a provocative cover with the bold question, “Is God Dead?” The story led to sharp backlash from social conservatives and sparked a public debate about philosophy and religion. The editor responsible for that story, Otto Fuerbringer, has died at 97, and his obituary is in today’s (Friday’s) Post.
As an exhibition in Berlin earlier this year demonstrated, Jewish Communists returning from exile to the Soviet occupied part of Germany were confronted with prejudice and suspicion and sometimes even had to fear for their lives. The exhibition was located in the rebuilt Neue Synagogue (New Synagogue) and curated by the Centrum Judaicum Foundation, in cooperation with the historian Andreas Weigelt, who is attending to the documentation center for the former concentration camp Lieberose.
Called “Zwischen Bleiben und Gehen” (“Between Staying and Going”), the exhibition documented the lives of 10 Jewish men and women in the post-war Soviet occupied zone, later East Germany:
Nelhans’ fate was especially tragic. Having survived the war underground in Berlin, he helped found a Jewish community in East Berlin in late 1945, only to be arrested in 1948 by the NKVD, the Soviet secret service – allegedly for helping Jewish Red Army soldiers escape to Palestine.
Jailed for 25 years by a military court, he died in a Soviet labor camp in 1950, aged 51. Some 47 years later the Russian military authorities conceded Nelhans had been falsely convicted and ordered his posthumous rehabilitation.
The East-West propaganda battle began immediately after the war. The Communist Party loudly trumpeted its view that East Germany was innocent of the evil Nazi past.
Stalinist party purges in Eastern Europe, accompanied by anti-Semitic show trials in Prague and Budapest sparked fear among Jews in East Berlin.
Jews who were communist party members often found themselves accused of being “Zionist agents” or “Jewish nationalists” at a time when the communist Eastern bloc was supporting Arab states in their conflict with Israel.
The website of the Centrum Judaicum itself currently has no information on this exhibition, but here is some English language information on two other past exhibitions: Pioneers in Celluloid: Jews in Early Cinema and Relatively Jewish. Albert Einstein – Jew, Zionist, Nonconformist.
Some more pictures of the Neue Synagoge can be found here.
This from the Times:
David Cameron has been embarrassed by his favourite think-tank after it suggested that Liverpool, Sunderland and Bolton should be abandoned because the North would never improve.
The Tory leader, who begins a two-day tour of the North today, firmly rejected a report by Policy Exchange, which suggested that the Government should help northerners to relocate to Oxford and Cambridge. It suggested that Britain’s two university towns are likely to be able to “form the basis of strong, successful, substantial cities”.
“No one is suggesting that residents should be forced to move, but we do argue that they should be told the reality of the position: regeneration, in the sense of convergence, will not happen, because it is not possible.”
and this from the BBC:
The Policy Exchange report said coastal cities like Sunderland and Liverpool had “lost much of their raison d’etre”.
It said the largest coastal cities like Liverpool and Hull had built up for reasons that had since disappeared – like ship building.
Policy Exchange, a registered charity, has been described as Mr Cameron’s favourite think tank. But Mr Cameron, who will be keen to minimise any embarrassment as he tries to gain ground in traditional Labour heartlands, distanced himself from the organisation’s findings on Wednesday, saying the report was “insane”.
“I think the idea that cities can’t regenerate themselves, they were built for one purpose and can’t do another purpose, is just nonsense.
He is certainly right about that. If those cities turn out to be unable to reinvent themselves, they are going to wither away in the long run, but chances are that they are going to be able to adapt and prosper. There are a lot of formerly decrepit cities around the world that have done just that. This think tank seems to have lost contact to reality.
According to Der Spiegel, both Russia and Georgia have made extensive use of misinformation since the conflict began:
The two most important points:
Russia claimed that the Georgians had killed 1,500 people in the South Ossetian capital Tskhinvali and turned 98 percent of the city into ruins during their initial assault. Yet, the field hospital near Alagir [in North Ossetie, Russia], where almost all wounded Russians and South Ossetians were brought to, accepted only about a dozen of them that night.
Georgia had claimed that Russian tanks were advancing towards the Georgian capital Tbilisi. But on Tuesday evening, there were still no tanks to be seen around the city, when the Russian President announced an end to the fighting
(I had to correct my initial translation in one point due to a misunderstanding, please see the update below).
Der Spiegel also refers to an article in the Moscow Times:
Russian television is flush with footage of misery left by the Georgian assault in the separatist district of South Ossetia, but few, if any, reports mention Russia’s bombing of Georgia.
William Dunbar, a correspondent in Georgia for English-language state channel Russia Today, mentioned the bombing in a report Saturday, and he has not gone on air for the station since.
“I had a series of live, video satellite links scheduled for later that day, and they were canceled by Russia Today,” he said by telephone from Tbilisi on Sunday. “The real news, the real facts of the matter, didn’t conform to what they were trying to report, and therefore, they wouldn’t let me report it.
“I felt that I had no choice but to resign,” he added.
Update: In my original translation, I had written about a field hospital near Tskhinvali, for the wording in the article had led me to believe that Alagir is located near the city. But in fact, Alagir is located in North Ossetia, Russia. This article from Reuters also would suggest that casualties are far lower than reported.
When I got there, it was already close to the bursting point…
First the good news:
Eating broccoli could reverse the damage caused by diabetes to heart blood vessels, research suggests.
A University of Warwick team believe the key is a compound found in the vegetable, called sulforaphane.
Lead researcher Professor Paul Thornalley said: “Our study suggests that compounds such as sulforaphane from broccoli may help counter processes linked to the development of vascular disease in diabetes…”
Now the bad news: It’s broccoli.
Earlier today, Georgia attacked South-Ossetia in order to regain this separatist province. This will probably lead to war between Russia and Georgia, and Georgia is already claiming that Russian jets have bombed Georgian targets. Meanwhile, Vladimir Putin has vowed to retaliate against Georgia, for some Russian soldiers have allegedly been killed, and besides, most South-Ossetians have Russian citizenship.
The independence of South-Ossetia from Georgia is not internationally recognized, and neither are the referenda in which the overwhelming majority of South-Ossetians voted for said independence. Btw, North-Ossetia is a part of Russia.
We’ll have to see how this develops, but this might become very bad, if very recent history is anything to go by. Another separatist Georgian province is Abkhasia. In 1993, the Abkhasians won their own war against Georgia with some outside help. The non-Abkhasian population fled or was ethnically cleansed. Up to 10,000 people died, and up to 300,000 were forced into exile. There also is no telling how far Putin might go; the Second Chechen War also has been very bloody.
Meanwhile, some historical background (and very convoluted background at that):
Also, don’t miss the Georgian Affair from 1922, it shows just how complicated things are in the Caucasus region, and no, nobody there thinks that there should be some kind of statute of limitations on revenge, claims to independence or respectively the reconstitution of former statehood as it had been in centuries past.
Update: Russian troops have entered South-Ossetia, two Russian jets have reportedly been shot down.
Update II: Now Abkhasia (or Abkhazia) is threatening to open a second front against Georgia
Their foreign minister points out that Abkhasia was forcibly integrated into the Georgian Soviet Republic when Stalin, a Georgian, led the Soviet Union.
I especially like this:
Dirty IT job No. 5: On-site reboot specialist
Seeking individuals for on-site support of end-users. Must be familiar with three-fingered Ctrl-Alt-Del salute and power cord reconfiguration. Ability to withstand a variety of environments and personality types; concealed-weapons permit a plus. Individuals with anger management issues need not apply.
Closely related to the help desk zombie, but even lower on the totem pole, is the on-site reboot specialist, says Scott Crawford, research director at Enterprise Management Associates in Boulder, Colo. Unlike help desk or support vampires, the on-site rebootnik must venture out into the physical world and deal with actual people.
[ For more fear and loathing of end-user interaction, check out the original "Stupid user tricks: Eleven IT horror stories"]
If you think that this passage suggests a certain level of misanthrophy you haven’t had to put up with enough of the anthropoi out there yet.