Archive for October, 2011

NYPD Notes

23:59 30 Oct 2011

I don’t recall any interactions with the police when I lived in New York, but over the years my accumulated impression has been that it’s a very corrupt organization. That’s not necessarily unusual—I suspect that most of the police forces in major American cities would be just as bad (and nothing I’ve heard about, say, the Los Angeles or Chicago police has made me think otherwise). At the moment, though, the NYPD seem to be at the forefront.

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Q’Rith: Sketch of a New Town

23:37 23 Oct 2011. Updated: 21:23 14 Apr 2013

While filling out background details for an upcoming episode of my D&D campaign, I came up with this town and its history, which I thought worth sharing. It’s strongly rooted in Q’Rith, but could easily be transplanted to another setting, and it looks promising to me as a potential base for a series of adventures, although I’m not sure I’ll actually use it as such.

It’s a harbor town of about 3000, far north of any other urban areas, independent, surrounded by sparsely-populated cold country, and run by a group of six, its founders.

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Considerations for a Space Opera Setting: Artificial Intelligence

23:48 16 Oct 2011

The effect of AI on a setting is similar to the effect of sentient alien beings, in that it helps to define the limits of “humanity”. By AI here I mean strong AI, the ability to create sentient machines, and particularly sentient machines of vastly greater intelligence than humans.

While it’s certainly possible to include AI created by non-human civilizations, that’s really the realm of “sentient aliens” rather than what I have in mind here, which is strong AI created by the human race. The interplay/tension between those two groups is critical a lot of space opera, e.g. Iain M. Banks’ Culture series and Dan Simmons’ Hyperion Cantos—not to mention Battlestar Galactica and critical aspects of the background of the Dune setting.

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Steve Jobs

23:47 09 Oct 2011

I wasn’t a big Steve Jobs fan; despite my working almost exclusively on Mac hardware for the last several years, I disagreed strongly with the direction I thought he was moving computing in. I was surprised to find myself feeling very sad at the news of his passing.

I’m not entirely sure what drove the extent of that sadness.

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One Wednesday in Baseball History

23:44 02 Oct 2011

Crazy things happen in sports. What happened in baseball last Wednesday was a big bag of the insane, the dramatic, and the historic, strongly spiced with the unprecedented.

At the end of the baseball regular season, eight teams (of 32) qualify for the playoffs. The regular season is 162 games long, and usually those eight teams separate themselves from the rest quite a while before it’s over.

But not always. Sometimes every game matters for a team. Last Wednesday, four teams entered the final night of play facing critical games, and for two of those teams not only a playoff spot but the avoidance of an ignominious record was at stake.

It’s been described as the best night in regular season baseball history.

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