1.11.2004


"Real Time Democracy" vs. Turn Based Democracy


Huzzah! I get to put some of this gamer lingo into use.

There's a genre of video games called Real Time Strategy, often shortened to RTS. It refers to those over-head view war games such as the Command & Counquer and Warcraft series. In these games you have your army of individual units and you are tasked with going out and blowing up the other guy's stuff. Their defining property is that the game is fluid. The clock is running. Units move immediately on command and so do the enemy's.

Turn based strategy is a different animal. This is the genre of Risk. It's a more complicated (or simplistic, depending on your opinion) electronic chess. You stage your pieces in anticipation of your opponent's moves, then you end your turn and the enemy responds to the changes you've made, stages his pieces then it's your turn again.

If I may make a (rather poor) analogy, what you're seeing is the difference between the Internet and a town council.

The Internet is fluid chaos with meme's (units) moving, morphing, being built, and dying out at a furious pace. Links(resources) are gathered and employed to influence hearts and minds, and it's all happening 24-7.

The town council is less frequent. People go out and sign petitions(alliances), gather statistics(resources), make pamphlet and prepare themselves for the coming meeting. Once the meeting is over, you've seen what your opponents have been doing, and you adjust accordingly in preperation of the next meeting.

"Real Time Democracy" is taking the town meeting outside of city hall, and waging the ideological war 24-7.

More Cognitive Dissonance


There's been a lot of discussion the last few months about the cognitive dissonance afflicting the Left and its national avatars these last few years. And in trying to redirect a reader to his original point Steven Den Beste just dropped a wonderfully apt explanation for cognitive dissonance in the middle of the essay.

    The way that the locus of beliefs which are clustered together today in the faction I call empiricism ended up collected together is to some extent the result of historical contingency. In the particular case you ask about, it isn't so much that empiricism automatically leads one to humanism, as that in the first part of the Enlightenment empiricism was best able to flourish in the areas where humanism was also coming to dominate, and as a result the two ended up largely co-mingled thereafter. That's the kind of thing that happens in history, whether it makes philosophical sense or not.

    Each faction holds a group of ideas which are only loosely associated with one another on a philosophical level. I was trying to identify various strains of belief in each movement and trying to identify where they did actually come from, EVEN IF the totally collection of such ideas makes no sense philosophically – which in fact it does not, for either the empiricist or the p-idealist factions.

    If there's philosophical inconsistency, that's something you should take up with the true believers, not with me. I can't create a consistency that isn't there, and I'm not trying to claim that one actually exists. On the contrary, one of my basic and most important points in this series, which I had intended to devote an entire article to, is that they are not consistent. I think that's a critical point in trying to understand what is going on.

My personal favorite example of C.D. is the person who can tell you in the same breath that Communisim is a wondeful idea, and that women have the right to an abortion. The primary argument for a woman's right to an abortion is that her body is private property. The Communist Manifesto calls for the abolition of all private property.

How on Earth did those two ideas get wrapped together? Just a quick shot from the hip:
-Classical Liberalism originally based rights on the ownership of property.
-Until recently classical Liberalism was the ideology held tightly by the more religious members of American society.
-Said religious citizens were opposed to abortion.
-(ergo; vis-a-vis; a.k.a. totally guessing) The "enemy of my enemy" argument was put into play and the Left adopted abortion as a political cause.

So here is a historical contingency setting up cognitive dissonance.

I'm certain people more intelligent than I have made note of this many years prior, but situations like this became more apparent when there is a political shift, in this case the rise of the neo-conservative. Individuals dedicated to Liberalism and Libertarianism, without the religious aspect.

(If there are any horrendous typos, I blame it on my having made a complete hash of my body after performing a most stupendous faceplant on my mountain bike yesterday.)

1.08.2004


Did you ever knooooowww that you're my heeeerrroooooo!!

Sorry about that...

I knew the moment I saw the cactus that James Lileks must be visiting family in Phoenix. I'm continuously puzzled how people get more bent out of shape seeing their first cactus than seeing the Grand Canyon. Cholla, Prickly Pear, Barrel, those are a dime a dozen, but the Saguaro draws tourists like a magnet. The best place to see them is, of course, the Desert Botanical Garden. The last time I was there was in fourth grade and they had a stand of saguaros that were in the 40 to 50 foot range. Whether they are still there I couldn't say. It takes hundreds of years for them to get that big, and they have to avoid the dreaded *snicker* haboob.

They sell those little potted cacti, but I'd be curious to see whether they'd let anyone on a plane with one.

    Phoenix is sprawl on a scale I’ve never seen elsewhere, but it’s such lovely sprawl, such new fresh unspoiled sprawl. Broad roads, muted signage. One or two hues, at most, by law. All tiled roofs. All so low.

This is definetly the case. We passed up LA in surface area a while ago and we're projected to pass up Philly in the list of the largest cities in the US some time this year. This lead to a little bit of whining and griping on Philly's part. Now if only the local paper kept better archives, I could link all the boohooing that happened on this end.

As far as the "two hues" and all tile roofs, I'd advise caution on praising the concept in strange company. I don't know how prevalent HOA's are back in Minnesota, but out here any and every knew housing track has a HOA and CCNR's ready to go into effect when the first family moves in. You can't paint your house or change your landscaping without HOA approval. If you forget to bring your garbage can in, you get fined. Basketball hoop in the driveway? Only if you're lucky. It's a total clusterfarg of dualing neighborhood Hitler-wannabes trying to one up each other on the "how tight is my sphincter" scale.

The prinicpal is sound. It's the ease of abuse that has yet to be hammered out.

Oh and if you're looking for quaint little Mexican food joints [shameless pimping because I know the family], I'd reccomend Casa Reynoso in Tempe. The place has been around for a while and John McCain drops in there (or at least he used to) from time to time (they have photographic evidence).[/pimping]

1.07.2004


The audience makes a difference.


As insane as it might seem to begin my adventures in blogging by subjecting myself to the scrutiny of linking the Blogfather, I suddenly felt the need to be a nitpick.

While the survey was informal, it still doesn't take the demographic of the audience into account. The RIAA (as much as I despise what they've done to commercial music) has their head on straight when it comes to choosing where to fight piracy (it's the "how" that they've been executing poorly). They're going after tech savvy youth who want the latest and greatest releases, but don't have the money to pay the RIAA's inflated prices. I doubt they very much care about a how a book on violent kids sells when it's also available for free download. The book is aimed at adults who've taken on the responsibility of parenthood and are quite likely willing to pay for the information it provides The CD's are meant to bleed the dollars out of the pockets of young teenie boppers looking for the latest Britney/Eminem fix.

1.06.2004


*waves*

This is a shout out to Jenna on the West Side!
Alrighty then... I guess I could start with some things I know and love.

Videogames.

That's right, the mind destroying choice of a new generation. (Hey, the Boomers had LSD, we can have our fun too). With that in mind, I'll first point anyone who might stumble in here toward the link to zenosaga.com. There you will find pretty much anything and everything pertaining to the ongoing Xenosaga series and it's spiritual predecessor Xenogears.

RPGamer and rpgfan are both sites dedicated to keeping their readers up to date on the latest buzz surrounding electronic Role-Playing Games. That includes everything from Diablo style hack-and-slash to turn based strategy like Final Fantasy Tactics. (But not online forum RPG's and the like)

From there we move on to another hallowed ground of geekdom.

Fantasy literature.

That first link over there leads to wotmania. There you will find all manner of info and speculation on the WoT (not War on Terror) but the Wheel of TIme by Robert Jordan. The books are quite good, but recently the fan community has been facing two year delays between new releases. This can lead to widespread madness (as evidence, I submit the Community Messageboard). Those true masters of the geeky arts then move on to the Other Fantasy messageboard, or my own personal stomping ground, the Games MB.

Well I think that's enough for now. Tune in next time for a quick dive into Japanese Anime and "how not to be a freeking otaku."
Ooooooohhh... cool new toy... I wonder how long it takes before I break it?