Since 1996

February 28, 2001

Library Addition: Out of Space, Part 1: Going Down (text)
What could go wrong on a brief trip to Interstellar University? Plenty, as it happens.

That’s right: the first new fiction in almost two years. It’s finally been released. In fact, I actually went back in time and released it over a week ago! Really!

Okay, it just took me a long time to update the Library. It’s actually a complex process, or, rather, a complex lack-of-process. I start new series so infrequently that ZedneWeb’s structure has changed since the last time. Plus, I’ve had some business trips in the beginning of the month that screwed up my posting momentum, leading to almost missing February altogether. (As it is, I’m just barely squeaking by.)

But I think the time-travel explanation is more fun.

Ye olde Pile of Links

Even with those two trips, I’ve managed to visit quite a few sites in the past month, and I’ve forgotten about most of them. But, of the ones I haven’t forgotten about, the following are the ones I found most conveniently-written-down-in-a-handy-list.

(Yes, I am part German. Why?)

NUBlog points to an article discussing the danger of banning Napster-like services in a free society. In it, the author writes, “If we make Napster-like free file sharing illegal, we’ll have to rid ourselves of either computers or democracy. You can’t have both.” This perhaps sounds excessive, but read the article. There is enormous pressure by powerful companies to change things to make piracy impossible, but the danger is preventing people from copying files for legitimate reasons (as I’ve discussed previously).

NUBlog also leads me to Plastic, another Slashdot-style news-link-with-reader-comments site. Dunno how interesting it is, as I have enough stuff to keep track of without adding more discussion forums to my regular reading list, but I did find two interesting links.

The first is to Dogma 2001, an article at Gamasutra which proposes ways to bring innovation and an emphasis on gameplay back into video games by forbidding the more common, tired clicés. Most of the games I’ve played recently (not many, as it happens) would not qualify under Dogma 2001, but that’s kind of the point, I guess. Think of how new and different Tetris was, back when there weren't a thousand derivatives on the market. How often do you see something so different on the market?

The other is an article discussing the U.S. military’s tendancy to pay for weapons systems before it’s known if they work. This, claims the article, is not an especially shrewd strategy.

Elsewhere, Salon has done a profile of Matt Groening, creator of The Simpsons and Futurama, two of the four shows I watch regularly these days.

The remaining two shows are Buffy and Angel, whose fans have developed quite the enormous heap of interlinked web sites that I won’t be pointing out here, except for this hypothetical look at the number of vampires a region can support, complete with graphs and equations.

And finally, a look at the rise in Satanism among Harry Potter fans and the latest questionable activities by Bill Gates (the latter via Mark Engelbert). #