Once in a while, you come across something on the interwebs that's such a fundamentally bad idea that you couldn't possibly suggest that people explore it, yet you feel compelled to write a post about it because it's also so fundamentally awesome. So I'm writing a post about Lose / Lose, a new game created by Zach Gage, that you really, really shouldn't play.
Here's the basic premise: You're a little spaceship hurtling through space against a steady stream of alien spacecraft. You have a cannon and are free to use it, but each enemy is tied to a different file on your hard drive, and when you kill an enemy that file is immediately, irrevocably deleted. For real. It chooses files at random, so you have no choice in the matter other than whether or not to shoot in the first place. Oh, and if your ship is destroyed, the game application deletes itself.
Here's a video of what gameplay looks like. I literally cringe with each enemy death:
More detail, along with some rationale, from Zach himself:
Lose/Lose is a video-game
with real life consequences. Each alien in the game is created based on
a random file on the players computer. If the player kills the alien,
the file it is based on is deleted. If the players ship is destroyed,
the application itself is deleted.
Although touching aliens will cause the player to lose the game, and
killing aliens awards points, the aliens will never actually fire at
the player. This calls into question the player's mission, which is
never explicitly stated, only hinted at through classic game mechanics.
Is the player supposed to be an aggressor? Or merely an observer,
traversing through a dangerous land?
Why do we assume that because we are given a weapon an awarded for using it, that doing so is right?
By way of exploring what it means to kill in a video-game, Lose/Lose
broaches bigger questions. As technology grows, our understanding of it
diminishes, yet, at the same time, it becomes increasingly important in
our lives. At what point does our virtual data become as important to
us as physical possessions? If we have reached that point already, what
real objects do we value less than our data? What implications does
trusting something so important to something we understand so poorly
A wise computer named WOPR once said something very wise to me: "The only winning move is not to play." You would do well to listen, and to never play Lose / Lose. Unless....you're trying to reformat your hard drive and want something more engaging than an MS DOS terminal.
The only flaw I can find with this is that its creators presuppose the presence of electricity and a modicum of understanding of in-depth scientific information. Although I suppose that if you've already created a working time machine, the latter won't be much of an issue.
Just don't touch anything! I don't want to all of a sudden have tentacles and speak butterfly language.
For a measly $350, you can completely revolutionize your world and the way you extract and populate streams of information from and into your surroundings. Created by students and professors at (surprise, surprise) MIT's MediaLab, Sixth Sense is the perfect marriage of digital and analog, molecules and megabytes.
That's a cute way of saying that for the first time, someone has figured out how to engineer an almost seamless connection between the real world and the internet. And the best part is, they used regular, affordable off-the-shelf electronics to do it: a camera, a mini-projector and a mobile device.
It's a bit long, but this video explains everything. Watch for yourself:
A bit more detail from Gizmodo if you couldn't get through the whole video:
"The camera recognizes objects around you instantly, with the
micro-projector overlaying the information on any surface, including
the object itself or your hand. Then, you can access or manipulate the
information using your fingers. Need to make a call? Extend your hand
on front of the projector and numbers will appear for you to click.
Need to know the time? Draw a circle on your wrist and a watch will
appear. Want to take a photo? Just make a square with your fingers,
highlighting what you want to frame, and the system will make the
photo—which you can later organize with the others using your own hands
over the air...
Now take this to every aspect of your everyday life. You can be in a
taxi going to the airport, and just by taking out your boarding pass,
Sixth Sense will grab real time information about your flight and
display it over the ticket. You won't need to do any action. Just hold
it in front of your and it will work.
The key here is that Sixth Sense recognizes the objects around you,
displaying information automatically and letting you access it in any
way you want, in the simplest way possible."
It's a miniature satellite made from off-the-shelf consumer-grade electronics components, with a volume of exactly 1 litre, a weight of no more than 1 kilograms and a price tag of between $65,000 - 85,000 (I suspect the price depends mostly on whether you opt for a laser-etched Decepticon insignia).
So for the price of a luxury car, you can put a small but very real payload into orbit! And many university astronomy and engineering departments have done just that since 1999, when the CubeSat was coined / invented by students at CalPoly and Stanford Universities.
You can either build and case-mod one of your own (finally a good way to get rid of that old GameCube), or you can just be lazy and get one from Boeing, but the latter route is likely to cost more.
Good luck getting NASA to launch your nanosatellite, though. Despite the low price tag, there's apparently a lot of red tape since a Dnepr rocket carrying 14 adorable little nanosatellites exploded at launch in 2006. Poor little guys.
The next nanosatellite launch by NASA is in November 2009, leaving just enough time to clone your DNA and get it out of Earth's orbit before the Large Hadron Collider kills us all!
Artist / producer / musician Ron Winter has finally given us a way to invoke the drum intro to Milli Vanilli's "Girl You Know it's True" with a single mouse click. Or is it PM Dawn? Does it matter? By the time you find the "BAM!" button it's irrelevant.
In a scenario that evokes Vonnegut's Harrison Bergeron, you may have heard of the "anti-teenager" noise, a high-frequency squeal that's more or less inaudible to people over the age of 25. It was discovered in the early 2000's by inventor Howard Stapleton, and was quickly adopted by shopkeepers seeking to drive off crowds of loitering teens. In a perfect example of an authoritarian method of control being appropriated by the control subjects and turned into a means of rebellion, however, evil teens quickly realized that they could use the weird physiology of the sound to their advantage.
By turning the sound into an mp3 or .raw file and installing it as a ringtone on their mobile phones, teens realized they could subvert cellphone use restrictions in school, theaters and other public areas where cell phone use is banned since older authority figures can't hear their phones ringing. It's really popular, and is being sold and marketed as "Teen Buzz."
So how lame are you? Can you hear the noise? No? Then hike up your pleated corduroys, smooth out your turtleneck and turn down the James Taylor.
Below is a user-experience video of Multiverse, an animated light display by artist Leo Villareal that utilizes 41,000 LED lights installed in the Concourse walkway between the East and West buildings of the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C.
Watching this makes me feel like I'm in the Millenium Falcon!