athelind: (Default)
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At the moment, my Dream Car is the Aptera:




Every time I post a link to the Aptera, though, I get a lot of people whining about how impractical it would be in the snow, and that sort of thing. So, if money is truly no object, it would be sharing my garage with this cinematic classic ...



Yes, it still exists, it's been restored, and it's out there.

And if you make fun of my Aptera, I will take my Landmaster, run over your silly little SUV, and drive through your HOUSE.


athelind: (Default)
http://www.treehugger.com/files/2009/12/roadtown-linear-city.php

http://www.archive.org/details/roadtown00chamgoog

A linear city, built over and around a train line or other transportation conduit.

Interesting for practical potential; moreso as a setting or artifact in the kind of steampunky science-fantasy setting I want to write about.


athelind: (Default)
I announced today, to my FurryMUCK clique, that I didn't want to see any more trailers for Monster Hunter 3. The game doesn't just annoy me: it actively pisses me off, and worse, it makes me think badly not only of gamers in general but of Japanese culture, in wide, bigoted swaths.

The game is beautifully animated, and the eponymous monsters of the title are magnificently designed. Every trailer looks like a wonderful Discovery Channel nature documentary of a world that never was, full of dinosaurs and dragons and even more exotic creatures -- right up until you get to the gameplay, which involves killing things and dismembering them for their body parts to make cheesy, tawdry consumer goods kewl weapons and armor and magic items.

It's jarring.

The generation that grew up on Cute And Fuzzy Cockfighting Seizure Monsters has graduated to Heroic Head-Bashing Harp Seal Hunters. Look at these marvelous creatures! The loving detail that went into their creation! The magnificent, balletic fluidity of their motion! LET'S HIT THEM WITH CLUBS!

This is a game that comes from one of the last whaling nations on Earth. I'm sorry -- this is that "wide, bigoted swath" I mentioned -- but I can't help but see a connection.

This doesn't piss me off as a guy who pretends to be a dragon online. This pisses me off as an Environmental Scientist, and a human being raised with some semblance of decency and empathy toward the natural world.

I don't put much credence into combat games as "murder simulators", but I do think the prevalent attitude these games have that animals serve no purpose other than to exploit, enslave or slaughter provides a bad example.

I wish I could believe that this was meant ironically, or as a commentary on the exploitation of the natural world. The unambitious modeling and jerky animation of the player avatars certainly suggests that; they're raw, brutish intrusions on the elegantly savage ballet of the "monsters". A decade of Happy Cartoony Cockfighting Games For Little Children makes that hard, though.


And after all that self-righteous ranting to my homies about how terrible it is to brainwash kiddies into seeing the slaughter and exploitation of magnificent animals as something fun and exciting, I announced that I was gonna go grab a burger before work.
And then, at work, I was chatting with two of my regular customers, and one of them said, "you really need to get a PSP. Do you have any consoles at all? There's this game..."
"Funny thing, that", said I...

athelind: (Default)
To my surprise, I find myself praying.

This is hard to admit, this year, this hour. Not only am I an avowed agnostic, but the Religious Right has been so soundly mocked for praying for the victory of their Chosen Candidate, as if they could command their God.

The last eight years, however...

It's not much of a prayer, as prayers go. It's just a single word, but one that keeps echoing in my soul as I read Barack Obama's speeches, or watch them on video, or see the words and images of those who have come together, having finally found someone that they can genuinely support, rather than a mere placeholder for their opposition.

It's a single word:

Please.

Last night, [livejournal.com profile] ounceofreason said, It's Christmas Eve, except that there's a decent chance that Santa will burn my house down.

That single sentence perfectly encapsulates how I feel right now.

Please.

Perhaps I'm praying to Old Man Coyote. The last election, for me, moved "Coyote Loves Us" from a wry acknowledgment of Murphy's Law to something akin to an epiphany. It staggered me that Americans could put that man back into the Oval Office even by such a slim margin after seeing what he'd done to this country in that first term; what better evidence that our little corner of the universe was in the paws of a prankster, a practical joker with a penchant toward the scatological, who'd just pulled the national-if-not-global equivalent of a banana peel?

Nice one, Coyote. But just this once...

Please.

I'm going to work now, to while away the next several hours in the ever-so-important task of unpacking and inventorying this week's shipment of comic books and pop culture trinkets.

I welcome the distraction.

When I leave the back room refuge of the comics shop, perhaps there will be good news.

Perhaps I can allow myself to hope.

Please.

athelind: (Default)
The interview went very well, I think. The job sounds fascinating -- exactly the kind of thing I've hoped to get into.

When I told them I didn't know more than the basics of AutoCAD or Illustrator, the response was, "are you willing to learn more?"

OH HELL YES I AM.

It looks like knowing esoteric stuff like hyperspectral image analysis may trump a lack of familiarity with more common stuff.

I should hear from them by the end of the week.
athelind: (Default)
I have an interview today at SRI International, up in Menlo Park, for a job as a GIS Technician.

Of the ten items listed under "Experience" in the job requirements:

  • I am solidly confident in my abilities in four.
  • I have brief, passing experience in four more ("I have opened and modified files in this software").
  • I have only theoretical experience in the remaining two ("I learned how to use the DOS version of software in this general category in the early '90s, and I have a book about more recent versions that I've flipped through.").


I am hoping that the quality of my in-depth experience ("Yes, I did that at NASA"), and my eagerness to get more experience in the other points, will overcome the more dubious qualifications I may have.

Wishes of luck are appreciated, but we're past the point of random fortune: skill and poise will see me through this.

athelind: (Default)

Nanomaterial turns radiation directly into electricity - tech - 27 March 2008 - New Scientist Tech



Can we get a "whoa"?

Combine this with the nantenna, and it's looking like nanotech is going to bring about dramatic transformations in energy production and distribution.

Signs!

Oct. 17th, 2002 12:47 pm
athelind: (Default)
While working on an Environmental Ethics paper just now, I went out and took a walk out into the hills to clear my mind and get some thoughts straight.

As I wandered and pondered, I found myself thinking about the whole animism thing, and how I thought the idea of whimsical, unpredictable nature spirits all with their own agendas made much more sense to me than the monotheistic concept of a single All-Wise, All-Knowning, All-Benevolent All-Father.

In the midst of this musing, I crested a hill-- and about a hundred feet or so ahead of me, a grizzled gray shape came loping and bouncing out of the woods, then arced gracefully back in. I couldn't identify it at first, but as I caught glimpses of it in the trees, I had no trouble.

Coyote, of course.

He stood in a clearing in that clump of woods, looking at me, then looking off across the trail, not quite wanting to disregard me, but not quite having the attention span to focus on me.

I waved, and called out, "Hello, Grandfather! Am I on the right track?"

And then I turned and let him be, grinning cheerfully.

Do monotheists have this kind of fun with THEIR god?

March 2010

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