With my hands now recovering from what was diagnosed as a case of mild
extensor tendonitis, I'm hoping to get back into the habit of writing
something here every day, in the morning or evening. Let's warm up with
a linked list:
- The AV Club pays tribute to Bea Arthur by posting her roast of
Pamela Anderson. It's a pitch-perfect slice of comedy--the whole bit
is Arthur simply reading selections from Anderson's "fictional" book
with that dry, acid tone of hers.
- The Boston Globe finds a few yuppies who have given
up technology in their lives. "They're not elderly luddites," the
paper writes. Indeed: they're not elderly. And remember, it's the
Internet that's killing journalism, so presumably these people are quite
trustworthy and not creepy at all.
- Late last week, I started writing a voxel terrain engine in Flash,
just as a practice project. So far, getting something to run at a decent
framerate and resolution (say, 640x480) has been a challenge. I've been
reading a lot of Actionscript
optimizations, which are fascinating in a geeky kind of way. As a
high-level scripting language that gets compiled to bytecode (and,
sometimes, native instructions), some of the speedbumps are suprising.
- Speaking of terrain engines, if you haven't seen the footage of indie
MMO/shooter Love, you really ought to take a look. The UI
looks pretty hardcore, but the way that developer Eskil Steenberg has
put together a flexible, beautiful framework for user-generated problem
solving is very impressive. I particularly like the way that items in
the world can be triggered by a "key" over the in-game radio system, so
that complex mechanisms can be built out of simple components.
- In all the fuss (hype?) about Twitter and social change, Evgeny
Morozov reminds us to remember the power
of radio. I have a soft spot for radio, obviously. This is just one
of many great posts that Morozov's been putting up at his Foreign Policy blog.
- Tim Hwang, founder of ROFLCon, talked to the Berkman Center about
memes and their spread early this month. Interesting comments about
how open platforms like 4chan have a lot more cultural generativity than
closed systems like Facebook. Unfortunately, I feel like it's just
really not that simple.
- Along those lines, Mute Magazine has a piece on Africa and software
politics. It makes a few new points: that lack of bandwidth is a
serious problem for African open-source, that open-source is (sadly) not
a panacea incompatible with state power, and that (similar to the
Ishango Bone, which is the oldest known table of prime numbers) perhaps
the network society needs a new, Afrocentric genealogy.
- And for the data visualization nerds reading, the World Bank has
opened up its economic indicators and development photos with an external web API. It doesn't
look incredibly detailed yet, but I guess it's a start.