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diegetics



This blog is dedicated to media and how our media shapes our reality, but more than that, how we shape our reality with media. Epistemology, Ontology, Media Studies



Updated: 2014-10-28T04:08:57.401-07:00

 



Writing Death

2010-01-02T13:47:18.219-08:00

The consciousness of every human being thrives in death. Every thought you have ever had has regarded an event that has come and gone before you thought it. Our thoughts do not regard the present. There is an electro-chemical mediation that creates latency that separates thought from direct experience by a few milliseconds. Therefore all thought occurs in memory.

In writing death, I haven't seen any story that really portrays this time differential. For instance, we wouldn't experience the milliseconds prior to our death AT ALL. Because consciousness happens after the fact. So at the moment of death we have lost all of our experiences that happened immediately preceding it. Though it is interesting that the brain continues to function for a short period of time due to the accumulation of resources that exist in the brain already. So the brain can continue even a little while after certain vital functions finish. So it is possible to experience the cessation of your heartbeat, but not the cessation of thought, because the memory is formed in real time, the cortical processing of it is on a time lag.



Frontline Episode on Transmedia

2009-12-18T13:20:27.541-08:00

This episode of Frontline that came out a couple of years ago talks about a lot of the trends in advertising and the usage of information. It's not specifically about Transmedia, but it is.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/persuaders/view/



Transmedia and properties for young people

2009-11-24T09:40:42.638-08:00

As I learn more about Twilight during the release of New Moon as my wife reads them for some market research so that she can learn what all the fuss is about, I have come to a question that I find to be interesting. Twilight is essentially the story of a nihilistic young girl who wants nothing more than to die. She has an abusive vampire boyfriend who keeps her alive and tortures her throughout the course of the story. But he does it 'all for love' so it's ok. A lot of Twihards are over 30 and lonely. Apparently the desire to have someone make all of your decisions and treat you like shit is sexy for a much larger segment of the population than may have been apparent to most of us. The girl I lost my virginity to left me for someone who treated her like shit, whereas I was generally pretty nice to her. She wanted me back later, and wanted me more when I was cool, diffident and kind of a jerk to her, but I'd moved on and had an older woman I was dating by that time. Though, I think I internalized a lesson, "Girls wants to be treated like shit.", and so I treated some girls like shit before I learned that it's not really the right thing to do, and more importantly that I didn't need to act like that to get women. So I hope that today my wife agrees that I am doing a much better job at treating women properly. Having a daughter has definitely opened my mind to this. What I have discovered in reading discussions of the inherent misogyny underlying the Twilight Saga is that this is actually common for adolescent girls. This says a lot about the thirty-something women who still want this in their lives. First it says I am glad I am not with that kind of woman, second it tells me something I always kind of knew about the vampire genre, but had difficulty articulating. Twilight has both more literary merit than people give it credit for, and less literary merit than its fans give it credit for. In a way it's a very good portrayal of the poisonous nature of a vampiric relationship. It seems to show the essential nature of the separation between the ages of a vampire and a human. Essentially, Edward is a pedophile who has kidnapped and isolated a young child who is powerless to stop him. She embraces it, but who knows how much she actually wants it? Is it vampire Glamer? I don't know, I haven't read any of it, I am going from pure commentary. I will not spend my time reading something so universally reviled as one of the worst pieces of shit ever written just to make a pedantic point. So may the Twihards forgive me. This may explain why young girls are so enamoured of older men. It may explain why they are enamoured of abusive men. It doesn't explain why older women are so enamoured.Which brings me at long last to my question: To what degree is it essential that your property grow with your audience?I ask this question as I have been reading (anecdotally of course) reports of kids who loved the first movie coming back with stark derision for the second movie. Of course it grossed a ridiculous amount of money on opening night and over the weekend, but what will it's staying power be? Are there enough women with stunted sexual and emotional development to continue to propel this franchise in the coming weeks? Are the adolescent girls who were 13 before and 15 now and growing out of their Twilight phase easily replaceable by girls who are 13 now? I would argue that for a successful franchise to properly assert itself, it should grow with its audience. This is rarely done. Right now Gossip Girl and Heroes are the two shows that come to mind immediately where the shows are growing up with their audience. But the question as it regards Twilight is: Is it essential? Does it even matter if a franchise matures? If it does mature, what are the benefits and drawbacks? If it doesn't mature, what are the benefits and drawbacks? I would like to think it's important, but that could just be my aesthetic sensibilities asserting themselves. It seems to me that Twil[...]



Futures of Entertainment

2009-09-28T09:15:02.502-07:00

Hey,

I'm thinking about trying to do FOE4 on the cheap. Anyone in Boston have a sofa?

Thanks,
Erek



I was mentioned on Canarytrap.net's weekly round-up.

2009-09-25T12:16:26.839-07:00

It's nice that something I had to say was meaningful to someone who herself has some interesting stuff to share.

I just discovered her when Jeff posted her to his blog.


Here is the discussion she refers to.




New study shows the narrow concentration of financial power

2009-08-29T21:34:50.297-07:00

http://www.insidescience.org/research/study_says_world_s_stocks_controlled_by_select_few

Recently an article in Rolling Stone compared Goldman Sachs to a vampire draining the world. This article explicates how the world's financial power coalesces around a few key organizations.

WASHINGTON -- A recent analysis of the 2007 financial markets of 48 countries has revealed that the world's finances are in the hands of just a few mutual funds, banks, and corporations. This is the first clear picture of the global concentration of financial power, and point out the worldwide financial system's vulnerability as it stood on the brink of the current economic crisis.

A pair of physicists at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich did a physics-based analysis of the world economy as it looked in early 2007. Stefano Battiston and James Glattfelder extracted the information from the tangled yarn that links 24,877 stocks and 106,141 shareholding entities in 48 countries, revealing what they called the "backbone" of each country's financial market. These backbones represented the owners of 80 percent of a country's market capital, yet consisted of remarkably few shareholders.





New Avatar trailer is out

2009-08-21T02:48:00.661-07:00

http://www.apple.com/trailers/fox/avatar/hd/

This movie is being sold as a lot of things. One of the main things I have heard about it is how it will bridge the uncanny valley. It resoundingly fails to do that. It looks like World of Warcraft.

Don't get me wrong, it's pretty, but District 9 bridges the uncanny valley, this one does not.

It's all in the eyes and the corner of the lips. Basically, in high concept computer animation such as this facial movement looks very stiff and stilted like everyone has had their eyelids stretched and injects botox into their eyebrows and lips, in otherwords, they have sacrificed expressiveness for fullness. Meaning that the stills will look great, in terms of the animation it will be lacking.

I still look forward to it as I look forward to every sci fi epic, even though the last three major sci fi epic trilogies have pretty much straight up sucked: Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, The Matrix. I find the overwrought environmentalist paganism to be a little sketchy, but I'm willing to watch Fern Gully meets Halo. ;)



The Voice of the Revolution

2009-06-22T10:44:21.693-07:00

(image)


Neda Agha-Soltan was shot and killed with videos from multiple angles by the Basij in Iran. I am told that her name Neda means 'voice'. The high profile death of a beautiful woman puts a romantic face on what is seeming to be a revolution.

At this point I cannot see that things can go back to the way they were in Iran. People who don't know anything about the way Iranian politics works, which admittedly is most of us, think of Iran as being run by an invincible bloc of ruling Mullahs. I have for many years thought this not to be the case.

Books like 'Lipstick Jihad' by Azadeh Moaveni and 'Reading Lolita in Tehran' by Azar Nafisi tell the story of a soft women's revolution in Iran. You can see by Neda's makeup and her colorful headscarf and the way you can see her bangs peaking out from beneath it that this revolution has had more and more impact.

It was only a matter of time before this culture permeated the youth and a groundswell would occur. It seems like now is that time. I am very hopeful for Iran. I see Iran as a possible key to a more peaceful middle-east. Iran could be a highly successful nation. It has a very intelligent populace, with a highly skilled and educated class of people with a great diaspora flung around the world. It could easily become one of the top tier nations in this world, which is should. The great empires of the past have left levels of development that its peoples have never truly forgotten. Where there have been great and progressive empires there are smart and industrious peoples. The characters of those empires are very important to the character of the culture left behind.

In Persia there has been a great meeting point of many great cultures, and hopefully Persia can take join that nations of the world like India and China and become a stabilizing force in its region of the world. Iran has great oil reserves but poor refining technology. A more liberal Iran could see advanced technology flood into its borders so that it can get the most out of its oil fields. With that wealth they can build a more advanced technological civilization so that they need not worry about sliding backward when the oil has been sucked dry.

With the video of the death of their beautiful martyr (which I have been unable to bring myself to watch) maybe we will see something beautiful grow from the land where her blood was spilled.



The Iranian Elections and their attempt to stifle viral communication

2009-06-15T07:32:39.804-07:00

Here are examples of how seriously governments are taking the ability for the populace to communicate with one another. What is at stake is the very ability for people to communicate with each other as they see fit. I do not see the Ayatollahs winning this one. I think that this is the catalyst for real change in Iran. Iran Moves to end Facebook RevolutionWe've had a few readers send in updates on the chaotic post-election situation in Iran. Twitter is providing better coverage than CNN at the moment. There are both tech and humanitarian angles to the story, as the two samples below illustrate. First, Hugh Pickens writes with a report from The Times (UK) that"the Iranian government is mounting a campaign to disrupt independent media organizations and Web sites that air doubts about the validity of the re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as the nation's president. Reports from Tehran say that social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter were taken down after Mr Ahmadinejad claimed victory. SMS text messaging, a preferred medium of communication for young Iranians, has also been disabled. 'The blocking of access to foreign news media has been stepped up, according to Reporters Without Borders. 'The Internet is now very slow, like the mobile phone network. YouTube and Facebook are hard to access and pro-reform sites... are completely inaccessible.'"And reader momen abdullah sends in one of the more disturbing Ask Slashdots you are likely to see."People, we need your urgent help in Iran. We are under attack by the government. They stole the election. And now are arresting everybody. They also filtered every sensitive Web page. But our problem is that they also block the SMS network and are scrambling satellite TVs. Please, can you help us to set up some sort of network using our home wireless access points? Can anybody show us a link on how to install small TV/radio stations? Any suggestion for setting up a network? Please tell us what to do or we are going to die in the a nuclear war between Iran and US."Update: 06/14 18:32 GMT by KD : Jim Cowie contributes a blog post from Renesys taking a closer look at thestate of Iranian Internet transit, as seen in the aggregated global routing tables, and concluding that the story may not be as clear-cut as has been reported.The Computer is the Enemy9:12 AM ET -- The computer is the enemy. We reported last night on accounts of major violence at Tehran University. The AP adds some more detail this morning:Overnight, police and hard-line militia stormed the campus at the city's biggest university, ransacking dormitories and arresting dozens of students angry over what they say was mass election fraud.The nighttime gathering of about 3,000 students at dormitories of Tehran University started with students chanting "Death to the dictator." But it quickly erupted into clashes as students threw rocks and Molotov cocktails at police, who fought back with tear gas and plastic bullets, a 25-year-old student who witnessed the fighting told The Associated Press. He would only give one name, Akbar, out of fears for his safety.The students set a truck and other vehicles on fire and hurled stones and bricks at the police, he said. Hard-line militia volunteers loyal to the Revolutionary Guard stormed the dormitories, ransacking student rooms and smashing computers and furniture with axes and wooden sticks, Akbar said.Before leaving around 4 a.m., the police took away memory cards and computer software material, Akbar said, adding that dozens of students were arrested.He said many students suffered bruises, cuts and broken bones in the scuffling and that there was still smoldering garbage on the campus by midmorning but that the situation had calmed down."Many students are now leaving to go home to their families, they are scared," he said. "But others are staying. The polic[...]



The Taliban the Neo-Taliban and why was the ISI attacked?

2009-05-31T02:33:52.116-07:00

http://www.forbes.com/2009/05/29/taliban-isi-let-jem-lashkar-jaish-pashtun-afghanistan-opinions-contributors-pakistan.html

Here is a good article regarding the stories we tell ourselves.  Who are the villains in the story?  Who is the Taliban?  We are so used to simplifying a broad category:  Al Qaeda, that we are completely willing to accept a simplistic subset:  The Taliban.  But who are the Taliban?  This article claims that what we consider 'The Taliban', is actually the 'Neo-Taliban', headed by Mullah Mohammed Omar, one of those strange Islamic names that we think is meaningful but really isn't, just a placeholder for, "Evil Cobra (Taliban) Leader."  He's either Cobra Commander, Serpentor, or Destro, regardless of his actual identity, he's evil, we know that much, and that's all we need to know.  

What is their story?  Who are they?  And why do we care whether they attack the ISI?  Well, we support the ISI, that's the simple version right?  But we also support the Afghani government, just like we used to support the Northern Alliance.  Then again who in our government supports which faction?  Who supports the Northern Alliance?  Who supports the Taliban?  Oh wait they are the enemy, they are Al Qaeda, what huh?  I am so confused.  I can't keep straight who is one what side.  Just tell me who the OSS/CIA favors and I'll think about the 'why' later.  

The problem here is one of characterization.  Who is the Taliban?  We support the ISI, so who is the Taliban that the ISI supports?  Do we support the ISI's Taliban even though we don't support the Taliban?  What the fuck?  Who are we?  We are the Americans.  Are we liberal or conservative?  Are we progressive or Evangelical?  We are American, but who do we support?  

I hope people who have any influence have more definitive answers than I do.  I hope they can see more granularly than i can, but based on the relationship of Hollywood production to the properties I love, and my experience with them, I highly doubt it's any different.  I am close to leftist wannabe revolutionaries, and Evangelical theologians, and no one has ever given me a satisfactory answer as to how they can divine who is one which side.  They just know it 'when they see it.'

I really hope our intelligence services have a more granular response than that, but based on my experience with people who 'claim' big relationships to whatever and thus and so, I kind of doubt it.  

This is one of those places where I agree with George W. Bush about our favorite philosopher.  Jesus warned us about things of this world.  I am uncertain about some things, this being one of them, and whether or not 5:30 AM is morning or still night.  It's pretty bright right now, but it might be dark if we were in November.  

The basic reality is that war is as granular as individual piques and grudges.  I know I am an American, and I love America and I hope that some grand Egregor is guiding us toward Pax Americana, but I also hope that people are thinking this granularly as it impacts our foreign policy.  At the same time, I am afraid they are lost in minutiae, unsure of who is who, and what is what, and defaulting to broader spectrum of 'enemy' versus 'ally'.  

Richelieu, Mazarin, Machiavelli, look over us, because this is really fucking complicated. 



'Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles' cancelled.

2009-05-19T12:37:47.499-07:00

This seems to me like a mistake.  I haven't seen the second season so I am likely part of the reason it is being cancelled, but with a movie on its way out this seems like a remarkable failure to capture a transmedia synergy.  You'd think  a third season would make sense considering they will have the hype of the movie to draw from.  

Very short sighted thinking IMV.  

This is just further evidence that indy producers of On-Demand media need to get their asses into gear.  

Hint hint.







Microexpressions Test: Can you spot a Lie?

2009-05-08T14:45:20.642-07:00

The Show 'Lie to Me' is based off of the work of Dr. Paul Ekman. Here is a test to see how good you are at spotting microexpressions.

http://www.cio.com/article/facial-expressions-test

Microexpressions are the involuntary expressions that show your true feelings even when you are trying to hide them.

Our lies are as important to who we are as is the truth. Our story is actually told via the lies we use to cover things up. If our emotions were displayed honestly there would be no real story. The true feelings are the 'subtext'.



Don't Tear It Down Take It Over

2009-04-16T00:27:07.500-07:00

I am sovereign, I am the state. I own who I am, I have the power that I have and I am responsible for the actions caused by my will. No one can take from me my identity, unless I choose to let them. No one can guide my actions unless I go along. I can be a businessman, I can run for City Council, I can join Greenpeace, the Peace Corp, the ACLU, the KKK, The Freemasons, The Daughters of the American Revolution, Al Qaeda, The Minutemen, The Government, The Military, The CIA, The Church. I can live in New York, I can live in Wyoming, I can live in Tehran, I can live in Tokyo, I can live in the heart of the city, the sticks or the suburbs. I can kill a man, rape a woman or vice versa. I can have a child, I can raise a child, I can abort a child, I can help a child, I can teach a child. I am not free and I never will be. Freedom is a crass fantasy that has lost all semblance of meaning. Freedom once referred to individual sovereignty. I have that, I am sovereign. No man owns me, but I am not free from my environment, I am not free from the state. I am sovereign, I am the state, and you are a shareholder in my life as I am in yours. Money is not magical, it has not power, none at all. I have power, my will has power, my choices have power, and my perception has power. Without these money isn't even paper because no one ever bothered to print it. There is no they, only us. They is a label based on arbitrary separation created to sow the seeds of distrust. This does not mean that I do not recognize that there are people out there who have more power than I do. But here's the kicker, they alone do not necessarily have more power than I do, not unless they grow their own food or are a master of the martial arts, or have some kind of individual power that increases their sovereignty. Money does not do this. Money cannot do this. What money does is represent an avatar of power. We imbue it voluntarily with the ability to control and manipulate our actions. While it is the lifeblood of civilization, it is not a thing unto itself. It is a being of pure belief. If I stop believing in it, it will stop having power. This is not to say that those who have money have no power over me. They have power over me only because money allows them to bind themselves collectively. Money can be used to purchase the will of others and devote it to my causes, just as I may sell my will to others and devote it to their causes. If I sell my will to another, I am active in that cause, I am complicit and I am responsible. I will be called to atone, though it is not certain that I will ever truly understand the means of my atonement. I judge and am judged, every moment of every day by every living being, based on criteria passed down through the generations from beings who have caused effects and been affected by other causes. I am not a slave, I am sovereign. No one owns me, though I lease myself out from time to time. Sometimes I give charitably, but even in my charity, I am selfish, because I am sovereign. My means are devoted to my wants, and my wants are informed by my desires, so even the good I do, the help I do others springs from my own desire. If I am ever disappointed it is because I had unrealistic expectations. I distorted my perception by my fantasies. This is nobodies fault but my own. I take full responsibility for this, I might as well, because I will suffer for it nonetheless whether I accept it or not. What is God? God is the sum totality of all attendant will in existance, aware of itself existing through action. Because Consciousness exists at all, and consciousness is a collective process, God exists. Proof of God is Tautological, God proves itself. [...]



A Crass New Way to Shill to the Mice that Be

2009-03-03T18:57:04.860-08:00

Jeff Gomez asked me about Transmedia storytelling. He asked:'In the future, I would appreciate your thoughts on how transmedia storytelling either helps or hinders the driving of the points you ponder to the target audience. Is transmedia a legitimate aesthetic that allows the visionary new ways to convey narrative to today's audience, or is it simply a crass new way to shill for the Mice that Be?' While I chose the title that I did because it just sounds great, I'm going to say that it's both.Transmedia storytelling is storytelling that involves multiple different formats. This differs from multi-media in one significant way. Multi-media refers to the same aspect of the same story being presented in multiple medias. The movie poster, the trailer, the web site, and the guerilla marketing campaign are all examples of multi-media. Transmedia is when the story is told through multiple media but the story intersects but doesn't duplicate that being offered in another medium. Examples of this are movies like 'The Matrix' or 'The Chronicles of Riddick' that spawned cartoons, comic books and video games that were all successful products for the franchise independently of the focus medium, the film.My answer to Mr. Gomez would be that Transmedia storytelling is the most complete way to tell a story. When I seek out current events, I watch the news, read stories, comment on message boards and blogs and listen to radio broadcasts. The same story is told in many different mediums. As it is, corporate media has been using transmedia internally for longer than anyone who is reading this has been alive. There has always been a treatment, a script, a storyboard, set pieces, actors, a media campaign with promotional materials, a soundtrack, parties, and possible other mediums I am not even thinking of, but I could go on forever if I started listening jello sculptures and sky-writing. Not a single film, video game or any other audio-visual medium has ever been produced that did not use multiple mediums to convey the story. Now, no single person has ever experienced every single piece of media related to film, with the possible exception of a film's director, but even then some things are produced by others that do not make it in, often even published without consulting the director if it's a project made by a different department. With transmedia the story behind the story is just as important. The making of, and the commentary are now cultural standards for films and video games. These are considered part of the overall franchise, though they don't necessarily tell the story that is portrayed on screen in the final product. We spend billions on magazines that tell us the trials and tribulations of the actors and actresses that we see on screen.To reference our dearly and recently departed friend Paul Harvey, we desperately want to know, 'The Rest of the Story'. Paul Harvey made his career out of bringing trivia about famous people to the forefront of our knowledge. His storytelling style was one where he took the focal point of the story and hid it, while telling us the story. It was not until the end that he revealed who it was that he was talking about. Every film has a focus, a protagonist, an antagonist and supporting characters who we get to know over the course of the film. We know something of the actions and motivations of the first, second, third, and sometimes fourth tier characters in a film, but what about the 107th tier characters? If it's true that there are six degrees of separation between everyone on Earth, then even the extra smoking a joint in the nightclub behind the fighters in the scene has a story, and on occasion he [...]



Rush Limbaugh is wrecking the Right

2009-03-03T09:38:37.260-08:00

John Derbyshire is a thoughtful conservative intellectual, the kind of voice that the country is benefitted greatly by. While Liberals might feel shouted down by Rush Limbaugh, it is actually a rational conservatism that is the least known today.

Limbaugh has recently made some notable Republicans kiss the ring after trying to distance themselves from him. In Michael Steele's case, he just over-reached and Rush called him on it, and in this case Rush was indeed right, but Rush being right all the time doesn't help the Republican party. I doubt the leader of the RNC will last very much longer.

Here is a great article from John Derbyshire about the problems with the GOP. My personal political leanings are generally pretty conservative, but the Rushpublican party does not represent my views at all. If the Republican party has put up a credible alternative to Obama I might not have voted for him. In the end I am pragmatic and my views can be summed up by this quote by Alexander Pope:

'Of forms of government let fools protest/Whatever is best administered is best'

I highly recommend the article by John Derbyshire, it represents everything the Republican party needs to be for the good of our Republic, but it also represents everything the GOP is not.



Espionage, Tournaments and Assassinations Eve Online politics

2009-02-10T19:07:01.698-08:00

I play the MMO Eve Online. It is in my opinion the most fascinating of them all. I originally avoided it when I first heard of it because I knew I would get sucked in, and I have.What originally drew me to Eve Online was the Guiding Hand Social Club Heist possibly the most famous MMO event in history. Surely to be eclipsed by the events of the last week. This last week has shown that Eve Online has its own culture, its own civilizations. For several years there has been a war between two major alliances. Band of Brothers (BoB) and Goonswarm. Goonswarm came to the game from the Something Awful Forums. BoB's goal in the game was to dominate it, and for a while it seemed like they were going to. They controlled vast amounts of space, but were an overextended empire, something that the Goons exploited. Goonswarm's agenda was to 'break' Eve. BoB eventually consolidated it's control over two very resource rich regions, Delve and Querious. Querious is behind Delve, and one must go through Delve to get there.Now recently there was a heist, where Goonswarm was able to turn a BoB director over to their side. The defector was able to give the keys to La Mittani of Goonswarm, who in a flash of inspiration realized he could dissolve BoB, the most famous alliance in the game. So three hours later he did it. Here is the full story of how he did it. After dissolving the alliance Goons immediately snagged the copyright.So in the world of Eve Online they brought low the greatest alliance by stealing it's copyright. The reason it worked is because of the Eve Sovereignty system. The Sovereignty system is tied into the alliance framework, and is based on the alliance's force projection. If you have more than three more Player Owned Stations (POS) than your nearest competitor, you own the system. This means you can rename it, you get benefits like the ability to build your own Jump Gates so you can jump from system to system. Being able to control a large territory gives you the ability to build massive industrial capacity, as well as giving you unfettered access to ore. A lot of the ore you can get in these systems is rare and very valuable. So controlling your own space has real tangible in-game benefits.So when BoB's sovereignty went down, so did their jump gates, some of their factories and a lot of their protective systems. They were smart though, they had a backup alliance ready to reclaim the sovereignty and so they got back to sovereignty one in many systems quickly. However, this opened the floodgates and other alliances made a push into Delve. In the first couple of days hundreds of ships were destroyed, it might be thousands by the time I write this. Keep in mind that in Eve Online all the ships that fly in a fleet are flown by players, you cannot control an NPC fleet under you as a fleet commander, the closest you can get to that are drone ships and carriers with fighters that are as powerful as the midrange ships by themselves.So as of this week the entire balance of power in Eve has shifted.In other news in the game, the Sixth Eve Alliance Tournament was underway. Alliances field competitive fleets over the course of about a week or so. In one of the tournaments Issler Dainze of The Honda Accord alliance was assassinated by his own teammate, who held a grudge from another alliance. They went on to win anyway.To understand all of this you have to understand that all of the player owned ships are built by players from ore mined by players, using manufacturing processes refined by players, in an economy driven by the players. The logistics required to control a region like [...]



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2009-01-31T07:00:40.315-08:00

The Omega Point, Singularity, Transhumanism and God http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omega_PointQuote:Five Attributes of the Omega PointTeilhard de Chardin's The Phenomenon of Man states that the Omega Point must possess the following five attributes. It is: * Already existing. Only thus can the rise of the universe towards higher stages of consciousness be explained. * Personal – an intellectual being and not an abstract idea.The complexification of matter has not only led to higher forms of consciousness, but accordingly to more personalization, of which human beings are the highest attained form in the universe. They are completely individualized, free centers of operation. It is in this way that man is said to be made in the image of God, who is the highest form of personality. Teilhard expressly stated that in the Omega Point, when the universe becomes One, human persons will not be suppressed, but super-personalized. Personality will be infinitely enriched. This is because the Omega Point unites creation, and the more it unites, the more the universe complexifies and rises in consciousness. Thus, as God creates the universe evolves towards higher forms of complexity, consciousness, and finally with humans, personality, because God, who is drawing the universe towards Him, is a person. * Transcendent.The Omega Point cannot be the result of the universe's final complexification of itself on consciousness. Instead, the Omega Point must exist even before the universe's evolution, because the Omega Point is responsible for the rise of the universe towards more complexity, consciousness and personality. Which essentially means that the Omega Point is outside the framework in which the universe rises, because it is by the attraction of the Omega Point that the universe evolves towards Him. * Autonomous – that is, free from the limitations of space (nonlocality) and time (atemporality).Five Attributes of the Omega PointTeilhard de Chardin's The Phenomenon of Man states that the Omega Point must possess the following five attributes. It is: * Already existing. Only thus can the rise of the universe towards higher stages of consciousness be explained. * Personal – an intellectual being and not an abstract idea.The complexification of matter has not only led to higher forms of consciousness, but accordingly to more personalization, of which human beings are the highest attained form in the universe. They are completely individualized, free centers of operation. It is in this way that man is said to be made in the image of God, who is the highest form of personality. Teilhard expressly stated that in the Omega Point, when the universe becomes One, human persons will not be suppressed, but super-personalized. Personality will be infinitely enriched. This is because the Omega Point unites creation, and the more it unites, the more the universe complexifies and rises in consciousness. Thus, as God creates the universe evolves towards higher forms of complexity, consciousness, and finally with humans, personality, because God, who is drawing the universe towards Him, is a person. * Transcendent.The Omega Point cannot be the result of the universe's final complexification of itself on consciousness. Instead, the Omega Point must exist even before the universe's evolution, because the Omega Point is responsible for the rise of the universe towards more complexity, consciousness and personality. Which essentially means that the Omega Point is outside the framework in which the universe rises, because it is by the attraction of the Omega P[...]



Must female characters in children's properties be merely vehicles for an ethical lesson?

2008-12-02T11:59:53.855-08:00

My wife works in the Transmedia industry. She has dealt with properties ranging from adult to teen to children to general marketing. For those who do not know, Transmedia refers to a larger storytelling medium that creates a world that transcends merely one medium. You can't just have a novel, a movie, and a video game, but you must have a contiguous narrative.In preparation for a possible contract on a famous girl's property she began to read the book, "Packaging Girlhood: Rescuing Our Daughters from Marketers' Schemes" by Sharon Lamb and Lyn Mikel Brown. It was also inspired by the fact that we have a young daughter, and so does her boss. So in general because of career reasons, and family reasons it is a topic that has become near and dear to our hearts. There are few things more revolting than Bratz dolls. Unfortunately though, even as natural allies to the book's message, it has managed to turn us off to it's subject matter. In a stereotypically academic way, the authors are out of touch with mainstream society. I won't even go too deeply into their penchant for picking properties that never really found purchase, who people are largely unaware of, while missing out on perfect examples that would have resonated for a much greater audience, or their recommendation for documentaries that cost hundreds of dollars, ensuring that those documentaries bypass the concerned parent market almost completely.The main thing that we have noticed, as we are very concerned with narrative, is the notion that characters should be reduced to mere objects for a moral lesson. In adult literature/film, it is considered a masterpiece if the characters touch on something deep within us. Yes, the ethical lesson is there, but it need not be there as a result of the characters exemplifying it. Many a great tragedy has touched our hearts with characters who are destroyed, never redeemed throughout the course of the entire film. In Darren Aronofsky's "Requiem for a Dream", none of the characters, not even Ellyn Bursten's innocent single widow is saved despite the warnings of her more worldly son played by Jared Leto. Everyone in the film ends tragically. Leto loses his arm to Gangrene from shooting up, Marlon Wayans goes to a southern prison, Jennifer Connolly cuddles with the heroin she earned by being part of a double anal penetration show, and Ellen Burstyn goes insane from a speed induced craze as prescribed by an inattentive doctor. No one in that movie ended up in a good spot. But it made it's point about the horrors of drug addiction, in a way that few films have before or since.In "Packaging Girlhood", Lamb and Brown make various complaints about some really nitpicky details of some fictional girl's lives. They range from the extremely trivial, such as Peaches Tickle's 50s housewife style in 'Jojo's Circus' where they completely ignore the dynamism inherent in the character, who is an attentive Mother and wife, who is treated well by her husband, has lots of supportive friends who she is supportive of as well, and helps run the family business as clowns in the circus. Jojo Tickle, the main character an Peaches's daughter is a very happy well adjusted child who is the leader of her group of friends. It is one of the best and most uplifting shows that show girls in a positive light without presenting some sense of arbitrary opposition between men and women. The men are men and the women are women in the show, but there is no conflict between them and their identities. No one tells people what they can and cannot do because they are w[...]



Hollywood's Technological Rot

2008-11-09T19:03:29.262-08:00

So here we are, it's about an hour past dawn of the information age, and I find myself incredulous. Those best positioned to benefit from such an achievement are unable to get over their old business models.Television has been the standard mode of communicating fictional properties for the last half of the twentieth century. The audio/visual medium has been refined to an enduring artform. It has revolutionized the way we do business and facilitated the rise of an unprecedented technological culture. It's biggest drawback? It only communicates one way.Big businesses have relied on TV commercials ever since we saw the successes of Betty Crocker and Lucky Strike Cigarettes in the 50s. If it were not for television it might have taken a bit longer to put a washer and dryer in every home. You wouldn't have a dishwasher let alone Cascade dishwasher detergent. You can positively forget about a Microwave, and your George Foreman grill would be who is George and why do I want his grill?Now, all of this has been measured through statistical means. If you have a commercial running in a locality you can measure whether orders for your product are up there or not. But what if you are already a common brand? How can you tell if your commercials are reaching their target audience once you are no longer trying to teach consumers that your brand exists? How should Coca Cola know that it's advertising investment is reaching the maximum number of eyeballs per dollar? Well, as far as I can tell, they rely on Nielsen ratings. Nielsen ratings rely on people keeping a diary of their viewing appetites. Knowing how well people maintain their diet diaries should tell you something about how effective this all is. I participated in a study related to a heart condition I have, and I didn't even fill out all the paperwork properly to study a condition that I have which is potentially life threatening. While I am not the most dilligent when it comes to things of this nature, I imagine that I am probably not an isolated demographic.This brings us to where we are today. A world with DVR and On-Demand, stop-gap measures intended to satisfy the needs of a vestigial TV organ located somewhere in the Frontal Cortex. These are intended for those of us who simply cannot accept the reality of where we are today. Proprietary delivery networks are a thing of the past. They are obsolete. They are not yet extinct but they are outmoded, and unecessary.They are also the entirety of what makes Hollywood. Hollywood is a distribution system, a brokerage, and little more. It has been one of the most multinational institutions in the world for quite some time now. It has outsourced its filming every chance it got. The greatest example of this are the Mountains behind the Bronx in, "Rumble in the Bronx.", I know, I know that's not really a Hollywood film, but that's a part of my point, the distinction of 'Hollywood' really only matters in terms of the distribution. Where it is filmed is likely not Hollywood, where the actors are from or even live currently is likely not Hollywood. What makes something 'Hollywood' is if the bigwigs behind the scenes decide whether or not to give it access to its distribution networks. Now that's Hollywood. The second thing that it is, is a brokerage. People go there to get funding for a film. It is less necessary to kowtow to Hollywood as a Brokerage than as a distribution system however. Hollywood as a Brokerage will remain more relevant than Hollywood as a distribution system in the long run.Now[...]



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2008-10-24T21:38:09.507-07:00

I've never been entirely comfortable in the world of the stone worshippers. It is a world that found it's culmination in the industrial era, where everything can be separated into constituent parts, a function of mechanism, inert matter, finding purchase, pivoting, using leverage, maintaining structural support through the force of counter-balance. Though I do not feel entirely comfortable within it, I understand it very well. I've always had a knack for engineering, how pieces fit together, why a wheel has spokes, why an undercarriage has struts. Despite this understanding I have never quite found four walls and a roof to be quite the protective structure it is meant to be. Certainly I like to be sheltered from the rain as much as the next bloke. I've always pined for a more natural and organic world. Where edges are less sharply defined, where one shape grows from another, where water flows unimpeded by a sudden and incongruous form placed there simply to cause its flow to cease. In the ancient world we can see the rise of Rome and the culmination of stone worship. The way of life that we currently understand, where we find comfort or distress stems from ancient Rome. It is the world of coinage, Doric, Ionic and Corinthian columns, and a structured system. The idea of being ruled by a system as opposed to our kinship group comes from these grand Empires whose systems persist through the ages. When Caesar conquered the Gauls he did through the use of wealth, fancy beads, wine, and other trade. Things that the Celts did not ever know they missed before they had it. The Romans used the protection of trade as a pretext for the militarization of Gaul. As trade became more established the encroachment became ever more well established. Few stories tell the tale of the conflict between vegetable and mineral alchemy quite like the fall of Vercingetorix at the hands of Caesar. Even as the system of Caesar was replaced by the Catholic church, the nod to the conflict was put into place by the ancient Masons. Grand Cathedrals were built atop sacred groves. Supposedly the site upon which Chartres stands today, was once the sacred grove of the Carnutes, a proud Celtic tribe. Carved into Chartres stone is an homage to the vegetable alchemy that preceded it. Columns that resemble the trunks of trees and numerous floral patterns mark the stone structure. Today the world of the Stone Worshippers is being replaced by that of those who worship information. No longer do we carve our knowledge into stone to be held for posterity. Now we save what we know within the encapsulation of electrons. Binary data holds the keys to our memories. I find a grim satisfaction in this. I am more at home here, all the while sitting within my square domicile. The stone worshippers are finally being overthrown. Of course every faction believes that they have a monopoly on spirituality. The Neo-Pagan Hippy thinks that their love for Mother Gaia is more sacred and deep than that of the vulgar Evangelical Christian in their Boxen Mega-church. The Catholic Church still harbors resentment that it is not the premiere spiritual authority on Earth. And of course us information worshippers, we believe that we are beyond all of those luddites with their worship of crude matter in whatever form it comes in. The Matrix for all its Hollywood ugliness is the hallmark of a new era. It recognized the change in our culture, and brought it to the forefront of the consciousness of even the least self-critical amo[...]



Why diegetics?

2008-10-10T20:02:16.109-07:00

DiegesisDi`e*ge"sis\, n. [NL., fr. Gr. ?, fr. ? to narrate; dia` through + ? to lead.] A narrative or history; a recital or relation.Diegesis is the (fictional) world in which the situations and events narrated occur; andtelling, recounting, as opposed to showing, enacting.For a very long time I wanted to start a blog. I didn't know where to begin or to whom I wanted to write. With a word, 'diegetics', I found my voice. I have spent quite a long time examining the epistemology of perspective, and how it impacts our world. Not so much as in how it informs our worldview, but how much informs our world. When we think, we act, when we act we shape the world around us. While the world is a real and tangible thing, full of exigent circumstances that must be acknowledged, it is also mutable. We have the ability to affect our environment.This post-modern notion is quite discomforting for many people for whom the idea of a static reality, a reality that confirms their thoughts, their beliefs, their biases, is vital to their ontological well-being.At this moment in history, that is stripped from them, brutally, by a society that doesn't care for their notions of propriety. In this society you can be anything...supposedly.You get to choose what role you play in the grand drama of your life. Again...supposedly. We use narrative to describe our lives, to understand history and our place within it. We craft a story where for better or worse we have chosen a role to play. Some of us are not even the protagonists in our own lives.Diegesis refers to the flow of the story. Diegetics, as I am using it refers to the study of context. How does the thing being viewed fit into the broader context? Sometimes it doesn't, and that's when we come to an ontological crisis, where the paradigm shifts and we shift with it. Our ability to shape our world suddenly comes into question as our circumstances drag us kicking and screaming along with them.In our world, we are beset by virtual realities, little mini worlds where we can assume another role, but it fits seemlessly within our larger role, as we devote part of the greater context to this lesser context. On occasion it is for a night, when we chat up that beautiful girl we met in the bar. Other times it is for an extended period of time, as we cultivate an online career in a Massively Multiplayer Online game.This blog is dedicated to how our virtual worlds, the worlds inside our head come out and become our real world. When we emerged from the muck, it is possible that the voices in our head seemed to us like the voices of the ancestors, or of Gods of some kind. At some point the voices of some came to represent a greater validity than the voices of others. That leads us to where we are today.I intend to address epistemological issues that I am exploring, but this blog is also about media, and how we use media, and how media uses us. My posts will alternate between a philosophy of the historical narrative in which we reside, and an analysis of how we present our crafted narratives to ourselves and each other. So expect the occasional pseudo-intellectual meandering, (I am crafting one now) interspersed with discussions of media, information systems and more specifically the transmedia medium in which we reside here on the internet.[...]



Alternate Lives and Virtual Realities

2008-10-10T20:08:42.978-07:00

Alternate lives within a life are no less real than anything else that occurs within them. To illustrate this point, I will put my thesis in contrast to this thesis eloquently stated by William S. Lind, the originator of the term, 4th Generation Warfare, which refers to war where some of the principles are non-state actors. 4G War is the natural state of an atomised culture, one where conflicting ontologies and epistemologies war with one another for supremacy in an abstract, virtual space. On occasion, these wars become phenomenological, they become real, and they wield real knives and fire real bullets. There are very few things that people tacitly agree upon more than the coherence of matter. Physical death is the final arbiter of ideological conflict. If those that believed in an idea are dead, then so is that idea.The Discarded ImageThe Discarded Image is the title of C.S. Lewis’s last book, and perhaps his best. On the surface, it is a discussion of medieval cosmology and the Ptolemaic universe. In reality it is about very much more, including the medieval refutation of the modern notion of “equality,” which decrees that people are interchangeable. That vast error lies at the heart of many of the ideologies which made the 20th century such a horror and which still gnaw at the vitals of Western civilization. Lewis recognized that on many matters, our medieval ancestors were wiser than ourselves.This is the first place where I find myself in disagreement with Lind's thesis, and by extension Lewis's. Both of these men have had a profound impact on my worldview, and that I choose this essay is out of a great respect for what is being said, however, herein contained is the seed of Lind's virtual world. The basis for what he is saying is that in essence, the Medieval world is more real than the world in which we live today. That is not true. People who live in the real world do not drown women in order to determine whether or not they are a witch.In the face of this possibility, or maybe probability, what indeed are individuals and families to do? I think the answer, if there is one, begins with my friend David Kline’s farm. David Kline is an Amishman. He farms about 200 acres in Holmes County, Ohio, good land that supports a herd of forty to fifty dairy cows. He has some modern equipment, such as milking machines, but his life does not depend on any of it. In today’s world, his farm provides him a good living. In a Fourth Generation world, his farm would still provide well for him and his family. I am not talking about “survivalism” here. The Kline farm represents much more than that. As I have said to David more than once, what he and other Amish are doing is preserving an understanding of how to live in reality for the time when all the virtual realities collapse.Within his own wording, he gives the us the key to his virtual world. In this virtual world, the Kline farm is representative of something. It is an icon, an idol. Lind pines for a time where connection to the soil reminded us of the reality in which we live.Virtual realities lie at the heart of Brave New World, aka the New World Order, “globalism,” “democratic capitalism” (as the neo-cons define it), etc. The bargain Brave New World offers is this: if you will only do as Marcuse advises and trade the Reality Principle for the Pleasure Principle, we will enmesh you in virtual realities that will make you happy. Tru[...]