Showing posts from November 12, 2006

Open Ended Gaming

The Lameness of World of Warcraft And what to do about it. I'm not a WoW player so I don't have a dog in this fight. However, I think the author makes some salient points. Open ended gaming has always been the elusive yet perpetual dream of both fans and programmers. Fable was much hyped for it's open endedness. Whether or not it lived up to the hype is debatable. I loved the game but it certainly wasn't open ended. The lure of WoW is not only the open ended nature of the game, but interactivity.

One thing that Ultima Online got right was allowing players to build houses, castles and other structures to use as a base from which to operate. Blizzard would be wise to let their players do likewise. The sheer numbers of players would make large guild wars very interesting. Commando raids on fortresses to retrieve items or even large scale siege of a castle would be epic.

Middle Earth Online (now titled Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar) is waiting in …

Is science a type of faith?

Donald Sensing makes the claim in a post called Science and religion? No, science is a religion

So said Michael Polanyi, a Fellow of the Royal Society and former professor of physical chemistry at the University of Manchester in an article entitled, “Scientific Conventions and the Free Society,” linked to by The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists. The article is based on a previous work of 1949. Polanyi writes,

" Any account of science which does not explicitly describe it as something we believe in, is essentially incomplete and a false pretension. It amounts to a claim that science is essentially different from and superior to all human beliefs which are not scientific statements, and this is untrue. To show the falsity of this pretension, it should suffice to recall that originality is the mainspring of scientific discovery. Originality in science is the gift of a lonely belief in a line of experiments or of speculations, which at the time no one else had considered to be profitab…

Quote of the Day

Kinsey on Baker

Micheal Kinsey is a dyed in the wool Democrat but not a partisan. He has taken them to the woodshed when needed and even decried their lack of any coherent vision in the last election cycle. In his latest, "Get Jim in Here, Pronto!"

He makes some excellent points. First, he explains that committees in Washington are not the same as elsewhere. Often they are used as political clubs to drive through unpopular decisions by punting them into "bipartisan" committees that steamroll the opposition and keep whomever from having to expend political capital to get things done.

He, rightly, takes Baker et al. to task for forming this impending debacle:

It's a nutty and not very attractive idea to turn an urgent issue of war and peace over to a commission. Commissions have usually been trotted out for long-run social problems: immigration, debt, health care. Going to war is something that ought to be decided by the people we elect. Congress, in recent decades, has virtual…

The Man Without a Face

An Imperfect Spy
East German spymaster Markus Wolf's empty "achievements."

Anne Applebaum writes about the passing of Markus Wolf. The former STASI spymaster.

I read The Man Without A Face when it first came out. I had heard of him obliquely in other books about espionage and mostly the accounts were limited as little was known about him.

To be sure, Applebaum is correct that Wolf saw himself as the elder statesman and she paints him as a cynic. I don't share that last assessment. To me, the one thing that was evident is that he was a true believer. He believed socialism would prevail and that when it had, the need for all the spying would pass. Wolf was indeed ruthless and willing to use underhanded tactics to achieve his ends. That makes him amoral more than cynical. Calculating and cunning but that doesn't mean he didn't believe in the cause.

She dismisses his achievements in light of the fact that the West won the Cold War. That is foolish and …