Thursday, October 27, 2011

so let your light so shine before men

This is going to be another clip entry to dodge what I truly want to talk about, because this is a blog I've tried to keep focused on the virtual (and technologies, music and movies that support that virtuality), and what's happening in Oakland is all too real.

So, first up: have some instructions for a Jack-o-lantern flamethrower (which, by the way, the creators absolutely do not encourage anyone to make on their own). But the instructions are there, and the video on the page is pretty fun to watch in general--though if you blink, you'll miss it. (Head on over to Instructables for the technical details.)

Next, the "Not Okay" campaign--which has a valid, simple message to begin with--is (as are most things) perverted by the internet. Go us. Seriously, I think the 'parody' posters have just as much of an impact as the actual ones.

Next up, if you're the sort to favor tea or coffee (or absinthe), you tend towards wearing black and pairing it with more black, and you occasionally like to set a more formal table? Meet your new sugar cube purveyor. You can buy them decorated or plain, and you can even order a tall apothecary jar packed with delectable pale skulls to stir into things.

There's a Nyan Cat launcher on the Marketplace; apparently (at least in damage-enabled sims), it works fairly effectively (though people near the one wielding it might complain about being killed by rainbows instead of bullets).

Next, the Kickstarter campaign to "hire" Qarl Linden to fix mesh has been fully funded. Me personally, I'm not entirely sure how that's going to work--because if the Lindens won't integrate the code patches in their actual viewer releases, it's just going to be those TPVs that can get it to integrate with their own viewer code, which yet again is going to break down the grid into the "haves" (those that can see/interact properly with mesh objects/avatars/landscapes), and the "have nots" (those whose systems can't run the mesh viewers, and thus cannot properly see mesh objects/avatars/landscapes). The avatar thing is especially worrisome, still, because if you're not on a mesh viewer, and someone wearing a mesh avatar walks by, initial reports are still that you'll see them naked. Which is a reportable offense in PG areas, so...yeah. That's still kind of a big deal.

Next (and also from NWN), Will Wright is joining the Linden team. So...we seem to be moving from the hideous forced integration of FacebookLife, to the more "game-like" potential of SecondSimLife...and to be frank, well, we're already kind of there anyway. It's not so much a bad idea in my opinion, as it is a strange one. But we'll see what happens when he comes on board.

I'm wholly on board with cyberpunk; I've made my peace with steampunk; I'm even okay with dieselpunk. But "methanepunk" is going to have to prove to me it has a right to the name.

On the other hand, microbial home decor makes sense to me. We've had microbial waste reprocessing technology for some time, that takes waste material into the top of the column, and turns out oxygen and pure water at the other end of the column; it works faultlessly. (It was originally designed for the planned trip to Mars several years back that, err...never got off the ground. So to speak.) And expanding the concept to generate methane to fuel household devices, power lights, and be used to sprout hydroponic food seems like a great idea.

(Of course, on the other other hand, this is the sort of thinking that could lead to insular underground warrens, a la Vault-Tec, but mayhap I'm quibbling there.)

Finally, let's play a game of Find Your State, and then you can figure out what's coming to get you. You're welcome, and I hope it helps to avert great and monstrous catastrophe this holiday season.

I sleepin, not dead! plz do not bury me kthnx

Happy Halloween!


Edward Pearse said...

I hadn't heard about the "Culture, not a costume" posters but after looking at them I'd have to say they're more racist than the cause they're trying to defend against. While assumptions are indeed part of the problem, I'm going to assume the kid in the first poster is supposed to represent the Arabic Muslim (I doubt anyone could tell if he were Coptic just from his looks). The assumption the poster makes though is that someone dressing as a Muslim suicide bomber believes that's indicative of the whole culture. Ditto the second two posters. So really, because they're making the assumption that the stereotype is indicative of the whole culture, it fails.

I've had looong discussions with some of the more vocal "people of colour" in one of the steampunk forums who were up in arms about the term "Victoriental". Just because something is not part of your own culture does not mean you can not appreciate it. And if we're getting into Asian influence on 19th century Europe, sure there were some bad examples but you can still do a hell of a lot.

Stereotypes exist. If I were to don blue jeans, a Harley jacket, tie an American flag bandanna on my head and turn up to a party with a fake gun and a bottle of Jack Daniels, is that offensive because it's not a true and accurate representation of the American people as a whole?

I defy anyone to make a Halloween costume, that isn't a movie character, that wouldn't be a cultural stereotype of some form. Yes it's easy to go overboard into the "offensive" territory, but then defining *offensive* has kept lawyers and courts in business for centuries.

Emilly Orr said...

Stereotypes exist. If I were to don blue jeans, a Harley jacket, tie an American flag bandanna on my head and turn up to a party with a fake gun and a bottle of Jack Daniels, is that offensive because it's not a true and accurate representation of the American people as a whole?

Well, especially keeping in mind that I've met those guys...only swap "fake gun" for "real sub-machine gun" that they claim to use only for hunting...

Personally, I think the "suicide bomber" costume would be offensive if anyone wore it, but on the other hand, Hallowe'en--at least in the US--has evolved into embracing all horrors, and some go worse than that. (I've seen costumes representing abortion. They're never pretty. They're always offensive.) Is it representative of all Arabic culture as a whole? No. Is it a horrifying image that will make some, if not all, Americans flinch, though? Yeah. And that's kind of the point.

I understand what they're trying to say, but the subtext--which isn't very subtextual--is that no one who isn't from these cultures should appropriate any of their influence. And I don't think that broadscale ban should be allowed either. How do we learn about other cultures if we don't find ways to experience them? In a sense, that's what "Victoriental" was about--merchants, missionaries and teachers who traveled to the far East, became enraptured with the countries and cultures they found, and brought what they loved back with them--to sell, to use as instruction, to adopt as daily wear or household decor.

Take that message down far enough, and they're telling me every time I braid my hair into two plaits I'm being wildly offensive to First Nation peoples, which is just ridiculous.

Sphynx Soleil said...



With all the halloween costumes I've seen over the years, that's actually NOT one that's come to MY door. Thankfully. Ewwww.