March 3, 2008
We here at Mostly for Me definitely enjoy our science fiction - but this article goes one better. Instead of guessing about how our futures might look, this article from the 1901 Ladies Home Journal describes how THEY thought things would look in 2001, a century after the article was written.
Some of the material is dead on target. People are now taller. Ready-made meals are bought from stores, no cooking required. We do, in fact, use "Air-Ships" for transportation, and "wireless telephone and telegraph circuits" certainly "span the world." According to the prediction, we should be "able to telephone China quite as readily as we now talk from New York to Brooklyn. By an automatic signal they will connect with any circuit in their locality without the intervention of a 'hello girl.'" And so we are. There has never been a single "hello girl" on my telephone line, and it's a crying shame. And although we don't purchase things from stores by pneumatic tube, I would say that shopping online is close enough for me. It's not pneumatic, but I hear there are tubes.
Other predictions were not to accurate. "Peas and beans will be as large as beets," for example: no luck there. The ladies also predicted that mosquitoes, flies, rats, roaches and other pests would all be eliminated. From the heart of New York City, I'm here to testify that we're not even close. And let me add to that, the prediction our large cities will be free of traffic, as all transportation "...will be below or high above ground when brought within city limits." Sign me up for THAT!
The article is well worth a read - see a (barely) legible version by clicking on the image above.
Full article: davidthedesigner.com
March 1, 2008
"The Minnesota Zoo and eduweb are partnering to develop WolfQuest, an innovative new project that brings the immersive, compelling drama and action of video games to informal science learning while creating a model for nationwide distribution."—WolfQuestFIRST: Watch This
Back? Let's continue.
Education is a great thing. Video games are also great things, mostly. Unfortunately, just like Aliens and Predators, they aren't always great together.
Enter WolfQuest, the game where you get to make your own wolf persona, hunt elk and sniff wolf piss in the hopes that your animal spirit will rage so hard that Mom and Dad will be calling your local senator before you can say A.N.W.R.Let me take a minute and say that:
- This game is free
- It's for kids...I think
- It means well
- You will truly enjoy this game...
...for about 3 minutes. You start by naming and customizing your own wolf. The attributes are dictated by three sliders which basically boil down to speed, strength and endurance. The sliders, using some kind of magical relevance, are supposed to maintain that classic RPG ratio and balance, so that if you jack-up your strength, your speed will suffer. It doesn't quite work. If you "jiggle the handle" a bit with the sliders you can pretty much freak it out and get everything close to its max.
WOLF TIP #1 —
Don't initially try and make a 700lb super wolf. You need speed more than strength.
Once your wolf-self is in the game you'll be treated to a sweeping shot of your wolf situated in the landscape, scored to some appropriately rugged music which, all comes together in an emotionally stirring moment that would make Peter Jackson weep. Then the game starts. You'll be prompted to find a mate, but really you'll want to go kill something. I mean, you're a damn wolf.
WOLF TIP #2 — Before you start screaming "how in the shit can there not be a Howl Key!", it's 'H'.
You can follow your compass to find some elk, and chances are will eventually find them. Here's where that speed comes in handy. You race up to an elk and sink your teeth into his fluffy posterior by clicking the mouse button. Then you stay there, fused with his behind, while he drags you to Hell and back like only an elk with a wolf attached to his ass can. Eventually the elk's health meter will drop and so will he. At this point you and walk up to it and eat you some fresh kill. Just click and desiccate. There you have it. Hunting.
After you've had your fill of that glory you'll want to find your mate, or just quit the game. Let's assume you want to find your mate. You can go into "Scent Mode" which is kind of cool. When you toggle this first person view you can track the scents of different animals, including that ever elusive Wolf-tang.
I'll skip to the chase and assume you've found your lady friend. Here's where WolfQuest truly enters the bizarre. You'll enter a dialogue-ish tree-ish, conversation-like interaction with the other wolf. You'll say something like "You're Strong" and do a pathetic little cower animation. She'll respond with "I want to be boss!" and growl. It's truly something you need to experience. After clicking through the options enough times she'll probably run away.
And that's when I turned the game off.
I've heard from other WolfQuest packies that you can woo the ladies, and the game kind of hits its "end game" phase, with no new objectives. I've also heard you can start your own pack and, if you believe the site, go online and where you can run free with the other pitied kids that aren't allowed to play Grand Theft Auto 4
Wolf Quest is genuinely entertaining for a bit. I appreciate the learning through games, I really do. Unfortunately though, I don't think I learned anything about wolves other than it sucks to be a wolf and hanging on an elk's ass is a shitty way to spend a life.DOWNLOAD IT: WolfQuest
January 3, 2008
"The agency that regulates the city's taxi industry has adopted a new fuel efficiency rule that will require all cabs purchased after October 1, 2008, to get at least 25 miles per gallon... New York City cabs purchased after October 1, 2008 [must] get at least 25 mpg. Those bought after the fall of 2009 will have to achieve 30 mpg."
As a big fan (and frequent ZipCar patron) of the 40-50mpg Toyota Prius, demanding 25 or even 30 miles per gallon from taxicabs seems a little silly. If NYC wants to mandate that we all take a trip back to the 90s, why not start with regulating huge flannel shirts and enormous white socks? But the real shocker in this CNN article comes later:
"Right now, a majority of the city's 13,000 cabs are Ford Crown Victorias. But the Crown Vic's V-8 engine currently gets around 14 mpg..."
Really? 14 miles per gallon? How embarrassing. With our fancy "green" office buildings and hordes of local farmers' markets, how did we let this one slip, NYC? It's like finding out that-after all that complaining you did-it is your OWN fart stinking up the living room. So come on TLC, quit strong-arming drivers into putting in GPS systems, and let's move on to implementing rules that actually matter.
Full article: Rule will force NYC taxis to go green