Sunday, June 29, 2008

Flickr, Piclens, Stormtroopers and You

The best flickr group, evar.    (Via this dude, here

Secondly, Piclens--if you haven't, you should. Unfortunately they haven't updated a Safari version since way before Leopard, so you've got to use Firefox. This is junk, as even the new Firefox drops my web-surfing efficiency by like 15%! That's crazy, people.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Monday, June 23, 2008

4am funny

fail owned pwned pictures

Gummy Fail, Dirty Mind Win

Fail at Walmart

fail blog.

last post of the day, I swear.

I finally got my toys and camera out.

Mister Pony and I were...

discussing the discovery he made early this morning that one could order specific bricks via the Lego website. As in, one could specify a brick and order as many of that brick as needed.
That's some crazy stuff... when you think about it, which of course, I do.
I also think about things... Horrible things that need not be mentioned here.
We got on to discussing the uses of gratuitous surpluses of the same brick, and I brought up one of my heroes, Mr. Keith Goldman, lord and master of the House of Smack, an AFOL(Adult Fan of Lego) While I, in my self-centric universe believe that I have told and documented Mr. Goldman's work here before, It could be that I have only imagined this to be so. This was the claim of the Pone, and I realized I may have posted pictures but not credited them to the Mr. Goldman.
If this is the case, i duly apologize to the Master of the House of Smack and apologize to all the potential fans who may not have known who they were looking at if in fact I have posted this before. Damn, this is wordy.
So here's his site page
and above is my favorite piece to date by him, which I think will bring this post's circle to a close.

So that's why they shoot so badly, and die so easily.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Because Fugu demanded it...

Here are some pics of the fan-designed Lego sets that came out last month. Lego actually got the impetus to scroll through the endless webpages of Lego fans and get some of their designs mass produced. Pretty interesting. I think the originals may have been designed with the Lego Digital Design tool, which if I'm not mistaken is an easily downloadable tool.
Also of interest; Neo Classic Space, courtesy of Legoloverman

Thursday, June 19, 2008

So the Spore Creature Creator is out. Yay.

The free creature editor itself is pretty nifty. You've got some rudimentary controls over body shape, a bunch of malleable appendages to apply, and some basic color schemes. I'm betting the $10 full version is tons of fun. One of my big worries was that everything would look too uniformly like muppets and that's still kind of the case, but there's the sporepedia showing some decent variability in design, so I'm hopeful.

Here's a few observations, though since it took them a trillion years to finally release the game I'm sure none of this would be realistic to change: 

1) Everyone gets a central spine--clearly, that sucks. At least one or two different options here like a segmental architecture, jellies, or something like Philip Pullman's mulefas would be great to play around with. (Ooo, it's like that sugar coating of science and evolution all over again! Though this time due to impracticability rather than purposeful misinformation ^_^)

2) Basic physiology is nonexistent. For example, people can't have wings. WE JUST CAN'T. Our chests would stick out a good foot or more to support the muscles needed to use them, man. Likewise, an arm at the end of a tail would just go floppity floppity all the time and be completely useless and eaten off a lot. It would be neat, though, if by putting an arm somewhere the necessary support structures would alter the look of the thing so that they could actually work. And the reason this might be worthwhile in Spore, would be to cut down on retarded looking creatures.

3) There's too many retarded looking creatures. Seriously--lack of creativity aside (which includes me), why, whenever there's the opportunity, do hundreds of people instantly feel the need to make a shitload of penises? I mean, after the first one, what's the point? Am I just getting old? It's not that I find them at all offensive, just boring. Although I have to admit this one here is pretty cute.

4) They look like muppets.

All in all it looks like a pretty great time waster so far, so yay, it's not the disappointment I was worried it would be. And it might get me to stop hearing these guys in my sleep at night, so double yay!

Here be Lego?

I don't think this guy’s work has been featured before--has it?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Yay and aw.

The end of an era. The last Y The Last Man trade came out today. I almost don't want to read it.

Monday, June 16, 2008

The evolutionary evangelist

You'll love this: a pastor who calls himself an evolutionary evangelist.

For the last six years, he has traveled across North America with his wife, Connie Barlow, in a van that displays an image of two fish kissing each other — one labeled Jesus, the other Darwin — explaining to conservative and liberal congregations why understanding and accepting evolution will bring them closer to spiritual fulfillment.

He thinks evolution will help us "understand our sinful ways" (To use the reporter's words.) I'm not sure this way of thinking really harms anyone - so long as school boards don't force teachers to teach it in science class. But the article quotes a scientist saying it could encourage society to think less rigorously about evolution.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

4X Game Symposium

It's funny you ask, because I'm in the middle of trying to sort out which one I'm going to go back to and invest some time in.

4X games are my favourite genre. Unfortunately, the market lately hasn't been pulling off anything spectacular, and I'm a nerd. We have a few choices. Some mainstream, and some not so.

Space Empires IV
Space Empires IV is probably the most polished of the series of Space Empires games from Malfador. The single author of these games, Aaron Hall, listens to the handful of geeks who've been playing this game since conception, and has incorporated anything geeky anyone could think of. You'll have to implement some mods, because the stock AI is a push over. There's a mod called the TDM which enhances the AI considerably. Huge learning curve, but if that scares you, you wouldn't be looking for a 4x game. There's been many patches on this, but we figure that the last patch released a few months ago may be the last since SEV is up and running. It is possible that we could all multiplay this using something called Play By Web.

Space Empires V

This game is not polished. There's a list of bugs that stretch several wiki pages long. It also implements 3D stuff which flies in the face of pragmatic 4x gaming. SEV is still actively being patched, has a lot of potential, but in its current state, might not be worth investing time. If it were 2009, and 10 patches later, I'd probably recommend this over SE4.

It's a more flashy than 4.

It is possible that we could all multiplay this using something called Play By Web.

Galactic Civilizations II Gold + Twilight of the Arnor Expansion Pack
Of all the 4x'ers listed here, GalCiv 2 is the most polished space game. Excellent production values, continued support from the most dedicated developer in the business, Stardock, present this game as a mainstream winner. I've never seen this game get anything less than a 90% in any game mag review.

It is a good game.


If you're itching for *serious* dedicated management simulation of an epic galactic empire with details spilling out of its collective asshole, then you may not be sated. The game's technology descriptions, for example, are somewhat silly. When I first read them, with their Douglas Adams-esque unseriousness, it left me with a bad taste in my mouth. It's temporary, because, really, it doesn't affect gameplay, and the core-system is far more polished than the flavour text might lead you to believe at first. And that's all that's supposed to matter. I guess.

If you liked the strategy depth provided by being able to design your own ships with their various game-related components, detailed turn based combat, etc., you may not be sated. While you can design your ships with superficial parts, weapons, shields, systems,e tc., combat is a rock paper scissors affair that takes place real-time, and it's automatic. Dice rolls in the back-ground, gentlemen. Disappointing.

Civilization 4

4 X games aren't necessarily about space. Also, space strategy games aren't necessarily 4x games. The last fact is something the industry needs to learn about the game Sins of a Solar Empire. That game is an RTS. It is not a 4x game. These people are retards (who say it is a 4x game: retards).

Anyway, Civ 4 is choice. It's not space. It's polished, won uncounted awards. Solid. No unit design, boring combat. Still, solid.

Master of Orion III

Ooo, this is a contentious one. I'd probably guess that 80% of Master of Orion 2 fans were hugely disappointed with this game. They thought it wasn't in the spirit of the originals, and it was a shitty buggy mess.

I think: It was a shitty buggy mess. It was so buggy and shitty that I couldn't play it.

Someone by the name of Bhuric came along and fixed most of that. After the last patch released by Quicksilver/Atari, Bhuric cracked the exe code, developed DLLs, and basically fixed bugs to his hearts content. As it stands now, I figure he's developed 30 patches or so.

As a game, it's a good 4x'er. Extremely detailed, and sometimes complicated, colony management, huge research tree, excellent ship and fleet design. Epic. Probably more epic than they others here.

Summary: capturing the spirit of the older 4x games is tough now-adays. They don't sell well. If they don't sell well, people don't make em, and if they do, they're not supported. Of course, there's a few gems, like the Space Empire series. I think I'm going to hit up SE4, and have another go at it. Ship design and strategic turn based combat in that game rivals all others on this page, the bug list is shorter than SEv, and it probably best captures the spirit of classics like Moo2 and Pax.

I'm always playing GalCiv 2, though.

(My favorite space game is X3 Reunion. It is not a 4x.)

Litcube, I need your help.

I'm looking for a game, something a that you'd consider a reasonable successor to the Pax Imperia and Master of Orion franchises. The kind of thing where one finds oneself managing a ridiculously large and complicated galactic empire--I'm finding myself in the sort of situation where I might need to shut my brain down for periods of time fighting big old space battles and planetary insurrections. Because of certain strategic choices made by the makers of my computer, the flavor of OS seems to be irrelevant. I know that this is one of your many fields of expertise, and hope that you can help.

-Mr. Pony

Thursday, June 12, 2008

...Why I ask for the GMO aisle at Kokua

...And why I am no more a fan of Greenpeace than of Mr Funes. It really doesn't matter what side of the fence you're on. If you're in a position of power and influence, you've got a responsibility to get your shit right. If, for example, you're going to define the dogma for a religion that billions of people are going to follow, have a little humility. 

OR, for example, if you are Sue Kedgley, MP for the New Zealand Green Party and itching to say anything that makes you look like a radical environmentalist, maybe you should do even a little research about a chemical before you decide it should be banned:

In an email response to a spoof highlighting all the dangers and deaths from water, Green MP Sue Kedgley's office said she was 'absolutely supportive' of a ban on dihydrogen monoxide in New Zealand.

The email on dihydrogen monoxide points out it is a colourless, odourless, tasteless chemical used in all sorts of dangerous industries and that in gaseous form it causes thousands of burns; in liquid form millions of deaths from overdose (drowning), and in its solid state causes tissue damage.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Direct evidence of evolution

Bacteria Make Major Evolutionary Shift In the Lab
Twenty years ago, evolutionary biologist Richard Lenski of Michigan State University in East Lansing, US, took a single Escherichia coli bacterium and used its descendants to found 12 laboratory populations.

The 12 have been growing ever since, gradually accumulating mutations and evolving for more than 44,000 generations, while Lenski watches what happens...

In a nutshell--after tens of thousands of generations the bacteria evolved to thrive using a growth medium they had no business eating. A small step of sorts, but that's also the point.
We've got more evidence showing that we understand evolution than we do for gravity. For seriousness. Compared to gravity, evolution is cake!

See? Don't get me started... >_<

The Emissary

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

"The extraterrestrial is my brother"

The Catholic Church says we may have alien friends. This came out about a month ago, but I'm posting it now in case you missed it. I've since read Vatican officials have made a similar remarks before, but apparently a lot of people hadn't heard them because this interview was big news for many. A highlight:

Aliens could be out there, and believing that the universe may contain
extraterrestrial life does not contradict a faith in God, the Vatican's chief
astronomer says....Mr Funes mused that aliens would not have been visited by
Jesus, because his "incarnation was a unique and unrepeatable event". However, "I am sure that they too, in some way, would have the possibility to benefit
from God's mercy".


Sunday, June 1, 2008

Coco's and the Waikikian

That post about La Mariana got me thinking about the good old days. Not that I was around for them or had any real appreciation for them until maybe 10 years ago, but still.

One of the things I do remember is going to Coco's, and sprinting for that treasure chest filled with toys they had so kids could occupy themselves while parents got all liquored up. Not that my parents ever got all liquored up. God I wish they had, though. Anyway, so of course I'm off to the internet to find photos of said establishment, and I come up only with  this. So does anyone out there have pictures of this place? Say, possibly with his mom gogo dancing in a cage? Possibly while high? Cypress Hill, I'm looking in your direction...

Some noteworthy history: Apparently Coco's wasn't the first tikiesque establishment at the corner of Kapiolani and Kalakaua. Before that there was the Kau Kau Korner (vague, unfortunate hints at a second random Simpsons ref...), with this kickin' menu. Apparently it was around for nearly 30 years until Coco's took over in 1960. I wonder if people were as outraged when Coco's took over as some were when Hard Rock came in, although, I suspect not so much.

And here's another place I've never heard of before: the Waikikian. Nice. They sure knew their their sci-fi architecture back then.