Beam “Slavery to Star trek” to Edinburgh

What use is my dormant blog if not for blegging?

My friend Andreea Kindryd started doing stand-up comedy at age 68 and has recently started performing an amazing autobiographical show. After great reviews at the Adelaide Festival she has the chance to perform “Slavery to Star Trek” at the Edinburgh Festival this year, but she needs some help to get there (and back).

Come along to a performance in Sydney later this month, or visit the Pozible project pageand pledge a little support.

Battlestar Galactica: A great TV series ends

When I recall very good TV series like Six Feet Under and The Wire I feel could go back and watch the final episode any time for a reminder of the quality of the series and the characters in it. Battlestar Galactica is an excellent TV series, but I think I’ll be watching the pilot episodes, season 1, and not the finale.

Tonio sums up all that was good and bad about the series finale (beware, here be spoilers):
Battlestar Galactica Ends

Here’s my take on the end of the best Science Fiction TV series in history: it hit the right emotional notes, and it was reasonably satisfying, but it was not a worthy ending to the series, and I suspect that as we all go back and watch the whole thing through we’ll find a lot of threads left dangling or essentially forgotten by the writers.

Annual KLF Wikipedia article linkpimp

Worth reading just for the introduction.

KLF Communications

From the outset, they adopted the philosophy espoused by esoteric novels The Illuminatus! Trilogy, gaining notoriety for various anarchic situationist manifestations, including the defacement of billboard adverts, the posting of prominent cryptic advertisements in NME magazine and the mainstream press, and highly distinctive and unusual performances on Top of the Pops. Their most notorious performance was at the February 1992 BRIT Awards, where they fired machine gun blanks into the audience and dumped a dead sheep at the aftershow party. This performance announced The KLF’s departure from the music business, and in May 1992 the duo deleted their entire back catalogue.

Esoteric novels? They were the finest of their indescribable genre.

Not a cleric

…but almost that boring.

I Am A: True Neutral Human Sorcerer (5th Level)

Ability Scores:

True Neutral A true neutral character does what seems to be a good idea. He doesn’t feel strongly one way or the other when it comes to good vs. evil or law vs. chaos. Most true neutral characters exhibit a lack of conviction or bias rather than a commitment to neutrality. Such a character thinks of good as better than evil after all, he would rather have good neighbors and rulers than evil ones. Still, he’s not personally committed to upholding good in any abstract or universal way. Some true neutral characters, on the other hand, commit themselves philosophically to neutrality. They see good, evil, law, and chaos as prejudices and dangerous extremes. They advocate the middle way of neutrality as the best, most balanced road in the long run. True neutral is the best alignment you can be because it means you act naturally, without prejudice or compulsion. However, true neutral can be a dangerous alignment because it represents apathy, indifference, and a lack of conviction.

Humans are the most adaptable of the common races. Short generations and a penchant for migration and conquest have made them physically diverse as well. Humans are often unorthodox in their dress, sporting unusual hairstyles, fanciful clothes, tattoos, and the like.

Sorcerers are arcane spellcasters who manipulate magic energy with imagination and talent rather than studious discipline. They have no books, no mentors, no theories just raw power that they direct at will. Sorcerers know fewer spells than wizards do and acquire them more slowly, but they can cast individual spells more often and have no need to prepare their incantations ahead of time. Also unlike wizards, sorcerers cannot specialize in a school of magic. Since sorcerers gain their powers without undergoing the years of rigorous study that wizards go through, they have more time to learn fighting skills and are proficient with simple weapons. Charisma is very important for sorcerers; the higher their value in this ability, the higher the spell level they can cast.

Find out What Kind of Dungeons and Dragons Character Would You Be?, courtesy of Easydamus (e-mail)

I wonder what D&D life would be like if I had agreed to assassinate the president in the survey? Oh wait. The back button is my friend.

Hasta la vista el presidente

Obviously I would be among the most odious of chaotic, sonofabitches…

I Am A: Neutral Good Human Sorcerer (5th Level)

Lee-Harvey Oswald was true neutral before he shot JFK and neutral good after? Tell that to Jack Ruby.

I guess the survey is aware of who’s currently President of the US. Maybe it’s geo-located me and knows that my country doesn’t have a president. If I would assassinate some dictator who masquerades as president in Australia’s freedom-tolerating system of constitutional monarchy, then there is good in me!

Via Jeff Freeman

What Kind of Dungeons and Dragons Character Would You Be?

Who said WoW was unassailable?

This game looks like an end-run around WoW’s strengths: storyline depth, spelling, grammar, good localization quality and intentional humour.

From the Elf Online newbie quest database:

Quest name: Meng San’s worries
Quest level: 6~99
Rewarded goods: Fatal Wrath Kerchief 7J?21001?
Procedure: 1.Go to Uncle Lin in Sunset Prairie to buy a bottle of Injure Curer for Iron Arm Meng San in West Carefree Village.
Quest name: Beat elf
Quest level: 1~99
Procedure: 1.Go to HaiLiGe in North Wulong Village after killed 10 Snot Elf in Tranquil Seacoast 1.

And having agreed to join up, this is displayed after the “congratulations!” message:

Play Elf Online, Earn Cash.
Rare Items for Your Choose.
Cashes Points Rare Pets.

And, err, the download instructions look pretty frightening for Vista users:

1.Client latest version, about 890 M;
2.You can use either BT or HTTP to download. BT is recommended;
3.If you use the Vista O/S, please don’t install the game in disk C;
4. If you can’t login the game after downloaded and installed the client, please download manual update patch.

Even now I feel strangely drawn to play.

h/t Broken Toys

Update: Caution… you can’t delete or cancel your account details so be sure to use a pseudonym and a disposable email address during registration. And I can’t figure out how to… err… get an ID for this free game. Impenetrable grammar has its downsides too…

TED: Philippe Starck

“Because I have nothing to show, nothing to say, we shall try to speak about something else.”

I’ve watched a lot of TED videos, but this one is the most fun. Philippe Starck designed that citrus juicer, and a whole lot of other very special everyday items. Even though he has nothing to say, his humility, outlook on life and motivation are well worth 20 minutes of your time.

Via Metacool.

Windows Live Writer

I’ve been using Windows Live Writer for the last couple of posts.  If you’re looking for WYSIWYG editing on WordPress, I can recommend it. 

Live Writer grocks your site’s styles (I doubt it can handle coded style extensions, though) so you can get a pretty accurate preview before you post.  It automatically handles image uploads, categories, gives you buttons to access the dashboard and comments management and produces pretty spare markup.  I haven’t used the video options or any of the other options, but I can acknowledge they’re there. 

It even allows me to gratuitously show off my new toy with…

In all, Live Writer has proven to be a very pleasant offline blog editor.  Between OneNote and Live Writer, I’m in danger of becoming a Microsoft fanboy!

Shopping with children

Tandem running in ants is a form of recruitment in which a single well-informed worker guides a naive nestmate to a goal […references elided…]. The ant Temnothorax albipennis recently satisfied a strict set of predefined criteria for teaching in nonhuman animals […references elided…]. These criteria do not include evaluation as a prerequisite for teaching […references elided…]. However, some authors claim that true teaching is always evaluative, i.e., sensitive to the competence or quality of the pupil […references elided…]. They then assume, on the premise that only humans are capable of making such necessarily complex cognitive evaluations, that teaching must be unique to humans. We conducted experiments to test whether evaluation occurs during tandem running, in which a knowledgeable ant physically guides a naive follower to a goal. In each experiment, we interrupted the tandem run by removing the tandem follower. The response of the leader was to stand still at the point where the tandem run was interrupted. We then measured how long the leader waited for the missing follower before giving up. Our results demonstrate T. albipennis performs three different kinds of evaluation. First, the longer the tandem has proceeded the longer the leader will wait for the follower to re-establish contact. Second, ant teachers modulate their giving-up time depending on the value of the goal. Finally, leaders have shorter giving-up times after unusually slow tandem runs.

From Current Biology. 

I wonder sometimes in the supermarket, while shopping with and losing children, if I’m just a giant ant.  Then I count my limbs and think “naah!” Ants wouldn’t sigh out loud like I do before trudging off to search for lost tandem followers.

(This post an excuse to experiment with Adobe Contribute)

Myers-Briggs for gamers

After taking this test, I know I’m so much more a SEKA than a Capricorn or INFJ…

SEKA (Socializer, Explorer, Killer, Achiever)

SEKA players are usually very interested in the the ‘total experience’ of a virtual world–meeting other people and finding the unique places within it. They don’t care much for PVP or levelling, but meeting up with online friends to see new parts of the world is usually fun and exciting.

Breakdown: Achiever 26.67%, Explorer 66.67%, Killer 33.33%, Socializer 73.33%

I wonder how this compares to Myers-Briggs and Astrology for useful applicability to my interactions with work colleagues?

The Great Global Warming Swindle

I watched the show and the follow-up with Tony Jones and a panel of experts. John Quiggin has an excellent summary of the cut and thrust of the follow-up debate.

The strange panel-in-focus camera work, and random 10 second “serious music and camera panning” transitions detracted from the interviews and panel discussion afterwards, but the response to the documentary was great TV.

After a few questions from the audience I wondered if the real swindle was that the studio audience had been secretly replaced or hand-picked by The Chaser. The majority of questions sounded like The Chaser’s Andrew Hansen character who asks 10 random incomprehensible questions in rapid succession at celebrity press conferences and public meetings. Maybe they forgot to invite an audience and just rounded up a bunch of people from the Agincourt Hotel up the road who were there for the annual Larouche vs Creationism debate series.

If video of the audience question segment turns up online, I’ll post a link to it. I figure we’ll know if my conspiracy theory is true or not if the video turns up here or here.

* Update: Yay, Larvatus Prodeo has video!