May 19, 2006

Notpron

Writing about web page http://www.notpron.com

The self proclaimed 'hardest riddle on the internet'. Over 139 fiendisly difficult levels of a crazy internet based game where the object is to progress from one level to the next by solving the riddle hidden somewhere in each page.

The levels are represented on screen by an image with a small number in the top left representing the level you are currently on. using only your wits you must find the next screen by whatever means possible (outside of using internet spoilers).

So far it has me foxed already on level 8 (and I had help from my housemates). Be warned however that it may consume your life so if you really want to do that revision its probably best not to click.

On the other hand it may be just the stimulus you need to get that thinking engine back on track.

Swings and roundabouts.


May 02, 2006

Fanmail

This place used to be quite different.

For a period, this blog enjoyed regular updates largely written through the self–created character I can only describe after his own catch phrase as Awesome Dan. Awesome Dan was a fascinating mouthpiece through which to express my feelings of the time allowing a laregly carefree dedication to mockery, parody and morally ambivolent praise of the unique. The character evolved as a reaction against the media and circumstances around me at the time filtered through an intensive study of nietzschean teachings that I was engaged in at the time.

Largely deliberately, the character blurred reality around my true personality (I am naturally shy)which gave me freedom to vent my own feelings with the character as a sheild. After finding some measure of popularity Awesome Dan even ventured out from behind the monitor screen for public events and went as far as participating in an election. A fantastic opening gambit in awkward social situations is to have people already think that they know you and believe you to be a fun and interesting person. Awesome Dan allowed me this kind of self–creation which began to filter from the virtual space to the real. Like all characters that people create, Awesome Dan contains a part of me, and I think it is a part of me that has come further to the front in my life since

That is some background for those not otherwise acustomed to the way things used to proceed around here. Anyway, during and since that time I began recieving a small trickle of odd fanmail from people who connected with the character and I began collating that into folder to blog later when enough time had passed to allow distance on the whole proceeding.

So here it is with some commentary:

Notice one cannot put forth relativism without using absolutes?! While life is certainly grey and a thoughtful person does not make snap judgments, thinking involves the hard and sensitive work of unscrambling the black from the white and revising one's position if new information is presented. (moral objectivism, not absolutism)
However, the institutions that many made great sacrifices to reach, at one point existed to feed and free the mind not indoctirnate the once opem minded and conscientious into hard left dogma–of which the relativism of major universities is the greatest blow hard. In a zero sum game, critical thinking has become conflated with mean spirited bad manners. Now confused with therapy, discussion is merely a pointless exploration of one's feelings (which unlike thoughts can fluctuate with your blood sugar and are the least likely to be truest to ones self–that's O.K. because as with cultic induction, so much of this indoctrination is about permanently beating down the individual.) or solipsistic emotional mastrubation. Meanwhile the ironies and hypocrasies of political correctness rear their entitled little heads as those who are appointed authenticly wronged are granted an unlimited stage for badgering and branding their views upon others.

Posted as a comment on one of my more thoughtful entries. It arrived in my inbox at some time later and wins the award for the jump out phrase 'solipsistic emotional masturbation'. Like some kind of drug induced rant by an angry philosophic ponce, I couldn't determine the connection with what I had originally wrote nor really comprehend what exactly the author was trying to express. Barmy.

Johnny Depp is so hot i would say he is even more hotter than Orlando Bloom.I would say that in the faces od Orlando Bloom lovers,thats how hot i think Johnny is.I even feel sad when people say they hate Johnny Depp i feel like Im alone at that time or i feel like crawling into my bathroom in the corner with the lights off!!!if ur reading this johnny im me my screennames r (deleted) and (deleted),or e–mail me at (deleted) please read this!!!I LOVE U JOHNNY DEPP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It starts out normal enough. Johnny Depp, lovely chap yes, yes. Then it becomes slightly aggressive, before taking a sharp and sudden turn into the seriously disturbing. Johnny Depp (clearly a regular reader), I urge you, never encounter this woman. Just don't.

i dont know how i stumbled here–oh yeah the dumping thing–soo not useful btw!but the internet real life cross over–yeah it was really funny, anyway i'm a bored student and you looked hot–so its kinda fun if u ever reply(bet your psycho alert is goin crazy since i said that)anyways you're hot and funny–so enjoy the compliment!

Ha, this one I must have saved just to boost my ego. No, actually I think it was the 'psycho alert' line that actually made me somehow convinced that this fan knew something I didn't. Why would my psycho alert be going crazy? Plus, I'm kind of a grammer and spelling traditionalist and prefer my email seduction attempts coy–er? Is that a word. Likely it was just the novelty of anyone emailing me to tell me I was hot. Pure ego boostage and definitely weird.

Please let me know if this is Big Flake that raps and hip hops. I have a story for you that if interested you could make into a song. I'm not looking for money. A mothers broken heart.

Now this one is truly out of left field. Can someone really 'hip hops'. Why 'A mothers broken heart'. There could be something going on here that runs deep but its in completely the wrong place, and completely obviously so after even a moments glance at this blog. Bizarre.

u seem like a very intersting person and no my job is not a hooker im a student at bournemouth uni and im french , just starting to get used to the english lifestyle.u should come down to bournemouth and meet up with me, we'll take acid and u can get inspired for comics and we'll watch salad fingers…

Acid?! Also, for future reference, starting an email with 'no my job is not a hooker' as if it is tacitly assumed that most of my regular emails are all from hookers. Still Salad Fingers so some good taste there – makes me wonder what me and a weekend high on acid in Bournmouth would possibly produce in the realm of readable comics.

DAN I LOVE YOU. YOUR SO AWESOME AND ME AND MY FREIND COURTNEY ARE GOING TO MARRY YOU. YES THATS RIGHT. YOUR TAKEN. ROAR!!!!!!

Yay, for aggressive bigamy!

Thanks for indulging this trip inside my head.


May 01, 2006

Transhumanism and its impact

Writing about web page http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transhumanism

Perhaps its just the range of readings I've been sampling lately, or perhaps my addled brain is drawing connecting lines where there are none, but I'm suddenly seeing the dawning rays of a transhumanist future.

I feel oddly unprepared, transhumanism is not a topic I ever discovered in academia and indeed seems to be a movement that often takes science fiction as a key explanatory reference. Yet I feel that given my degree title its something I should have covered in more substantial depth somwhere along the lines. I'm not sure I even need to be prepared, I feel a need for some kind of action but I'm unsure how such action might even begin.

Transhumanism – transcending the current human condition. Something rightly feared by many established religions. Especially if it can promise immortality. Its an awe and maybe fear inspiring concept that the 'I' may not be fixed. One may be able to overcome ones physical limits in very direct ways, replace and improve whole limbs, run faster, jump higher and lift more. How can religions continue to hold sway over a transhumanity? Forget your abortion debates, this will be the ultimate showdown between 'science' and 'religion'. The questions just keep piling up. Can an immortal life itself even continue to hold onto meaning? Why do anything now if you have eternity in which to do it?

How will law and order keep pace with a cybernetically enhanced criminal underworld? Even if the technologies are outlawed for general use the criminals will eventually get their hands on black market technology. Will an arms race ensue as real life robo cops grapple with nano–enhanced super criminals? Will the advent of a Universal constructor destroy crime completely by eliminating wealth disparities? Or will new ways be found to mainitain a social wealth heirarchy.

Will our corrupt politicians eventually be overthrown not by the people but by a benevolent omnipotent singularity A.I. ? Will transhumans instead become trans–soldiers fighting the battles of the future in more destructive and insane ways than before?

The questions of science fiction are gradually becoming the issues of scientific fact. Its happening right in front of us and faster than most of us expect. Everyday the news draws us closer to the transhumanist future, described by Francis Fukuyama as the most dangerous idea in the world today. Choose your side wisely as this one could be brutal:

The new species, or "posthuman," will likely view the old "normal" humans as inferior, even savages, and fit for slavery or slaughter. The normals, on the other hand, may see the posthumans as a threat and if they can, may engage in a preemptive strike by killing the posthumans before they themselves are killed or enslaved by them. It is ultimately this predictable potential for genocide that makes species–altering experiments potential weapons of mass destruction, and makes the unaccountable genetic engineer a potential bioterrorist

quoted from bioethicists George Annas, Lori Andrews, and Rosario Isasi


March 05, 2006

Should equality be valued as the highest ideal?

Writing about an entry you don't have permission to view

That every will must consider every other will its equal—would be a principle hostile to life, an agent of the dissolution and destruction of man, an attempt to assassinate the future of man, a sign of weariness, a secret path to nothingness

Casting my eye over the blogs as is my now occasional dirty pleasure I stumbled upon a whole closet full of articles about feminism and abortion. As I read the entry above by Alex and the intensity of the comments following in favour of equality; I couldn't help but be put in mind of Nietzsche. Fairly unsuprising as he is my personal favourite philosopher, but in this case his thoughts are particularly interesting.

Nietzsche detested communism precisely because of its emphasis on equlity as the highest ideal, he believed that to force everyone to become equal would crush individuality and destroy that which is essential for greatness and excellence in all fields – namely difference. His argument runs roughly that the great artists, the great musicians, great statesmen; the heros in every field are known as heros because they were outstanding people. In other words they were not equal, they were not the same, they were, to use a loaded vocabulary, superior.

While I'm not going to go into a complete rehash of Nietzsches analysis of morality and ideals it will suffice to understand that Nietzsche outlines two types – Slave and Master. From wikipedia (a lazy source I know):

Slave morality begins in a ressentiment that turns creative and gives birth to values. (Ressentiment was a term coined by Nietzsche to describe the feeling of the weak, unhealthy and ugly towards those who have fared better in life.) The slave regards the virtues of beauty, power, strength and wealth as 'evil' in an act of revenge against those who have them in abundance. (On the Genealogy of Morals, First Essay, Section 10) Slave morality is therefore a reactionary morality because 'good' does not spring creatively from the individual but develops as a negation of the values of the powerful. The noble person conceives of goodness first and later determines what is 'bad' while the slave conceives of 'evil' first and fashions his own conception of 'good' in opposition to this.

For Nietzsche, equality is an ideal of the slave morality, and here I must bring up an important point that is often lost, Nietzsche does not condemn the slave morality as wholly bad and the master morality as wholly good. He is often misinterpreted as doing so as he argues points against the dominant christian morality of his (and arguably our) time. For Nietzsche though the ideal of equality was one of the worst of these slave morality values because it directly attacked the noble morality which he believed was sometimes necessary for the advancement and survival of the human race.

And isn't Nietzsche right to say that we need leaders? We need heroes? We need the great and noble among us? As members of the herd we may dislike them but everywhere we look we see societies organised in pyramids – from the most basic tribal structures to the political and economic structures of today. Just as the herd needs the great the great also needs the herd or what is he able to measure his greatness against?

Even the great thinkers of equality engels and Marx were unable to think up what a society might look like without pyramids, no clear description for the communist utopia ever appeared in their writings – all the socialist parties, commities and such like that Marx was a member of had leaders and Marx himself has clearly become a hero and Icon of equality. Which of marx's devotees wouldn't have taken a bullet to save the life of the great man?

All difficult and interesting questions for someone who want to defend the ideal of equality at all costs.

The surest way to corrupt a youth is to instruct him to hold in higher esteem those who think alike than those who think differently

October 29, 2005

How excellent is Jam?

How tasty is Jam?
Excitement:
3.142
Intellect sapped:
Too much
Quantity of Slopes:
Tony Hawks
Dictators:
More than you hope
Flange:
Less than you expect
The future of music:
Pirates?
Online Quizes:
0.01
Take the I Hate My Life Quiz

October 19, 2005

Fort awesome

Writing about web page http://www.fortawesome.co.uk/

Forts are awesome.

October 13, 2005

Lonely City

Writing about web page http://www.transmetropolitan.com/

Everyone I like should read Transmetroplitan. The fort recieved a visit the other day from the mighty Colin and he brought with him/dredged from Sam's effluent pits, several tomes of this mighty comic. Featuring the burning rage of Spider Jerusalem, the man who doesn't fear the truth and a post apocolypitic futurist city that bears unmistakable resonances with our world today. Witty, touching and groin-punchingly brutal in its honest examination of the conditions and experience of mankind.

Its good in all the right ways

In other news, it appears that we will soon be getting proper graduate logins and will be able to check out all those secret entries that people don't want the world to see. Personally, I haven't noticed that much change without being able to see them but its nice to feel all included.

Fort Awesome undergoes further changes in the upcoming week as we are building a proper bar out of real wood and everything.


September 22, 2005

Revolving still

Follow-up to A Controlled Revolution? from Dan Lawrence's Blog

Further controller thoughts here

Analyzing the entire corporate startegy of Nintendo versus Microsoft and Sony. I'm sure there is lots to disagree with in there but I think the broad thrust is fair enough.

Other than reading that I've been mostly coding stuff up in a mixture of javascript(which I have no idea about) and php (which I also have little to no concept of). So far it hasn't been too bad with the internet, general all round coding skills and some helpful housemates, all chipping in to bash it into shape. Turns out the little tool I am trying to code up is actually just like a simplified JIRA. Its mostly to organise myself to do the coding on the Half-Life 2 game, but also to practice those web developer skills to add to the CV.

Good.


September 17, 2005

A Controlled Revolution?

Just to show, to those who doubted, that Nintendo haven't gone completely mad here's what they are doing to ensure support from third party developers.

If thats not enough to prove to you that this controller is very exciting then check out this teaser video.

I highly reccommend it.

In case you haven't been following the story (And who hasn't?), Nintendo have decided that the next generation of Console Wars will be won, not by the people with the best graphics, but by the people with the best ideas. This controller for their new Revolution console is their first blow (That bit in the middle slides out, looks like a TV remote, and can do all kind of fancy stuff – watch the video its the only way to understand how a game about chopping carrots could actually exist in the near future).


September 16, 2005

CSS Returns And Dan Gets Bed

After only a short outage I've bought the blog back up under my custom scheme.

After a few changes its now better than ever. With all kinds of magical stuff going on.

In other news, I have obtained a nice shiny new bed thus completing my furniture collection. Things are quite tightly packed into my new room with two desks, large chair, a cupboard, drawers and a double bed; but it does all fit and the new bed is truly awesome.

Found a bit of time to carry on playing Planescape: Torment this week, noticed a few bugs which have marred the play experience slightly but thats being picky. It truly is a shining example of a dialogue driven game, taking much of its best features from the world of the text adventure rather than fancy 3D graphics. Behind every door in Planescape lurks some mystery, and there are lots of interesting choices (Do I end the suffering of an old woman who I believe will not recover from her illness; by stabbing her? Do I kill someone just because they are a demon and someone has asked me to? Do the undead have a right to existence? Am I responsible for my crimes if I do not remember them or anything about the person I was when I commited them? Is immortality a blessing or a curse?)

Still jobless.


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