Friday, February 15, 2013

this vicious circle's getting out of hand

[12:55] ʎpuɐↃ ssǝɹʇsıW (cxxxxxxxx): I read this message in wow skin group PLEASE CIRCULATE THIS NOTICE TO YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY ON YOUR CONTACT LIST.


In the coming days, you should be aware¦
Do not open any message with an attachment called: "Invitation FACEBOOK", regardless of who sent it.
It is a virus that opens an Olympic torch that burns the whole hard disc C of your computer. This virus will be received from someone you had in your address book.
That's why you should send this message to all your can
[12:56] Emilly Orr: Oh, not again

I swear, I see at least one of these a day, and I'm not in a lot of high-traffic groups by intent. I'm sure that people in larger, more "chatty" groups see this more than I do.

[12:56] Emilly Orr: [Cxxxx], it's not a real threat
[12:56] Lxxx Pxxxxxxx: wow
[12:56] ღ ριηкч ღ (pxxxxxxxx Fxxx): thanks i will spam that around asap
[12:57] Emilly Orr: Please don't.
[12:57] ღ ριηкч ღ (pxxxxxxxx Fxxx): huh?

So, I did some quick work to track it down. I wasn't trying for open hostility, just information. While I was off doing that, others were chiming in.

[12:59] pxxx (pxxxxxxx Mxxxxxxxx): Candy, that's spam., it's ment to have people like you paste it all over
[12:59] pxxx (pxxxxxxx Mxxxxxxxx): so please dont
[12:58] ʎpuɐↃ ssǝɹʇsıW (cxxxxxxxx): I check and is in all the web, but just in case dont open it

That's the problem, isn't it? If we don't understand the technology we use, we don't understand how and why it stops working, let alone why it works in the first place. And I am not immune to this sort of magical thinking--I've made the "box of magic smoke" references, and there have been more than a few times where I've honestly struck computer towers, as if percussive maintenance would actually work on motherboards and hard drives.

[12:59] Zxxxxxxxxxx Hxxxxxxxxx: Spam can also be used for sammiches.
[12:59] Zxxxxxxxxxx Hxxxxxxxxx: But that is a diffrent conversation.
[12:59] Exxxxx (pxxxxxxxxxxxxx Rxxxxxxx): probably a more interesting one
[13:00] Emilly Orr: Not only that, but it's OLD spam. Like vintage 2006 old:

But this is how infection works, right? One person gets sick, infects another person, who infects another person, get the idea. And in more places than just SL, virii no longer have to be computer-based. Now, they can be purely text-based, and people will still pick up the infection and pass it on. Whether out of fear, confusion, or simple misunderstanding of the technologies we increasingly rely upon, virii still exist, and will find new ways to keep existing--save that, once they move away from malicious coding, become far more insidious wasters of our time.

So what's the deal behind Prince Stolas on Twitter? God, of all people, tipped me to him, and it's a little unnerving that his/her/its user pic (as well as the name, for that matter) both relate to the Goetic hierarchy of named demons. Of course, to be fair, My Lord Stiv was never all that sane, even when he was hanging out at the Enigma in SL, so it's unsurprising to find him consorting with owl-faced demonic entities.

What is surprising, I suppose, is to find said owl-faced demonic entity handing out "fashion curses" on Twitter.

Turning to current news, someone mentioned a meteorite striking Russia late last night. I tossed the link to friends, and we went off to look for proof of veracity.

Turns out a meteorite did strike Russia last night. There's a ton of video footage, and at this point, a ton of coverage, and just about every link is saying that this had nothing to do with the "near miss" fly-by of DA14.

I'm not so sure, to be perfectly honest; while it wasn't DA14, it likely was an outrider pulled along the asteroid's route.

[Insert from the Editrix: here is a great article on what did--and didn't--happen regarding the meteor strike over Russia. Prevailing science says my theory's wrong; the meteor that hit and DA14 were on completely different ellipticals.]

Turning to video games: there have been many ways for Lara Croft to die in the older games; usually some variation of being hit by things (bullets, tigers, lasers, the ground), or being drowned, being crushed by falling things, et cetera; none of them were really that memorable, in the sense that the death itself wasn't the point, but the end-stop moment where you'd have to try again. They were, as a rule, just memorable enough that (most) players didn't want to see them over and over again.

More news from the front lines of the new Lara Croft: this is now their idea of memorable. (Clicking that link, btw, leads to an incredibly visceral and disturbing death that someone made into a .gif; I would say it's definitely NSFW, and might indeed be NSF anyone, ever.)

This is what's been bothering me about the new trend towards "realism" in games. And it's not even the Uncanny Valley aspects of coding, nor am I going to go off on how violent videogames cause children to find guns and kill people, because they don't. I do think, however, that violence in video games, combined with the violence we see on television, on our streets, by watching the news, by watching horror doesn't predispose anyone to violent thoughts or outbursts, but I do think it becomes easier and easier to adapt to the set point of violence, whatever that is for the culture at the time.

To that end, I think scenes like this, where Croft is going to die, there is no way for her not to die, yet we are shown her death throes to the end anyway, vividly; I think scenes like this are closer to torture porn, frankly, than "realistic" death, with "weight and impact". And we run a very real risk, by participating in these death scenes by proxy, of making it easier to shrug off other forms of violence.

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