Rich sez, "This is not for the faint of heart, but a friend and I recently wrote a 120 page murder mystery game for 8 daring role-players. It's called 'The Little Engine That Could Kill.' The game consists of 8 short stories, each of which details the perspective of a character who may have been involved in a somewhat gory murder that has occurred on a transcontinental train in 1932. Everybody reads a story and then plays their character as they wish, using what they know to try to figure out who did it. The true murderer, of course, must lie to avoid being caught. The characters are over-the-top and super-suspicious, and, the plot is ridiculously complicated - nobody we've seen has been able to figure out the whole thing so far. We've posted it free on Scribd under a CC license. Hope you enjoy!"
The Little Engine That Could Kill
You waddle through the Bar Car
into you room. You waddle past the Violinist who is sitting on your bed red-faced and angry. You
open the door and waddle forward with a last desperate step as your lungs burn with every breath
and you see the Barman entering the Magician’s quarters. Your sweaty fingers clasp the bottom
corner of his white apron, but they are too wet and slippery and you are too drunk on capitalism and
whiskey to maintain your hold. The Barman pulls himself into the room and swiftly closes the door.
But you are out of control. Your weight is propelling you forward and you can’t stop in time. You
crash into the firm metal door and crumble into a pile of flesh and bones – more flesh than bones --
and the voice of Adam Smith, now wheezing and hacking with exhaustion, whispers “A true
capitalist would tear down barriers to entry. A true capitalist would. A true capitalist. Capitalist.”
You shove your flabby shoulder against the door, but you are shoving against more than just
a steel barrier. You are shoving against fair trade, shoving against the public school tax, and shoving
against...no, you can’t say it, but you can think it. You think, “I am shoving against the the not-for-
profit charity. You shove with the full force of thought conviction, but your weak shoulder bounces
off the door and your bulky body makes a soft wet thud against the cool tile floor...Mr. Smith, are
you there?...Mr. Smith?...You call to him through the darkness of your mind, but he’s not there
anymore and you pass out.
Writing in the Washington Post, Bob Woodward quotes a senior Bush official saying that a high-value prisoner at Gitmo was subjected to torture and can't be prosecuted:
The top Bush administration official in charge of deciding whether to bring Guantanamo Bay detainees to trial has concluded that the U.S. military tortured a Saudi national who allegedly planned to participate in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, interrogating him with techniques that included sustained isolation, sleep deprivation, nudity and prolonged exposure to cold, leaving him in a "life-threatening condition."
Detainee Tortured, Says U.S. Official
"We tortured [Mohammed al-]Qahtani," said Susan J. Crawford, in her first interview since being named convening authority of military commissions by Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates in February 2007. "His treatment met the legal definition of torture. And that's why I did not refer the case" for prosecution.
Crawford, a retired judge who served as general counsel for the Army during the Reagan administration and as Pentagon inspector general when Dick Cheney was secretary of defense, is the first senior Bush administration official responsible for reviewing practices at Guantanamo to publicly state that a detainee was tortured.
Crawford, 61, said the combination of the interrogation techniques, their duration and the impact on Qahtani's health led to her conclusion. "The techniques they used were all authorized, but the manner in which they applied them was overly aggressive and too persistent. . . . You think of torture, you think of some horrendous physical act done to an individual. This was not any one particular act; this was just a combination of things that had a medical impact on him, that hurt his health. It was abusive and uncalled for. And coercive. Clearly coercive. It was that medical impact that pushed me over the edge" to call it torture, she said.
Livejournaller Crisper points out that January 27th (Lewis Carroll's birthday) is the fifth annual "Rabbit Hole Day," wherein bloggers and journallers change their blogging style for 24h. I'll be getting off an overnight flight returning from the awesome Cryptic Confusion
science fiction convention outside of Detroit that morning, but who knows, maybe I'll whomp up a post or two about my personal life, pets, or similar on the cab ride back into town...
January 27th is the birthday of Lewis Carrol, author of ALICE'S ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND. Alice fell down a rabbit hole into a place where everything had changed and none of the rules could be counted on to apply anymore. I say, let's do the same: January 27th, 2005 should be the First Annual LiveJournal Rabbit Hole Day. When you post on that Thursday, instead of the normal daily life and work and news and politics, write about the strange new world you have found yourself in for the day, with its strange new life and work and news and politics. Are your pets talking back at you now? Has your child suddenly grown to full adulthood? Does everyone at work think you're someone else now? Did Bush step down from the White House to become a pro-circuit tap-dancer? Did Zoroastrian missionaries show up on your doorstep with literature in 3-D? Have you been placed under house arrest by bizarre insectoid women wielding clubs made of lunchmeat?
Mark your calendars: January 27th is Rabbit Hole Day
Let's have a day where nobody's life makes sense anymore, where any random LJ you click on will bring you some strange new tale. Let's all fall down the Rabbit Hole for 24 hours and see what's there. It will be beautiful.
(via Warren Ellis
Servotron from the Sprite Stitch Board spent four months creating this fantabulous Zelda: A Link to the Past map in cross-stitch form. It measures 36.5cm by 32cm. Now I want a Torah-sized scrolling cross-stitch of all the Super Mario levels!
Zelda ALTTP Map
Slashdot submitter Kdawson has good news: " A high-profile task force representing 49 state attorneys general was organized to find a solution to the problem of online sexual solicitation. But instead the panel has issued a report (due to be released tomorrow) claiming that 'Social networks are very much like real-world communities that are comprised mostly of good people who are there for the right reasons.' The report concluded that 'the problem of child-on-child bullying, both online and offline, poses a far more serious challenge than the sexual solicitation of minors by adults.'"
Well, good news if you're worried about sexual predation on kids. Not so good if you're worried about bullying. But of course, now that we know that kids are more threatened by the (less-sexy, less-mediagenic) scourge of bullying than the (incredibly scary, totally mediagenic) risk of sexual predation, we'll divert funds and resources to the real risk, right?
The 278-page report, released Tuesday, was the result of a year of meetings between dozens of academics, experts in childhood safety and executives of 30 companies, including Yahoo, AOL, MySpace and Facebook.
Report Calls Online Threats to Children Overblown
The task force, led by the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University, looked at scientific data on online sexual predators and found that children and teenagers were unlikely to be propositioned by adults online. In the cases that do exist, the report said, teenagers are typically willing participants and are already at risk because of poor home environments, substance abuse or other problems.
The April, 1957 issue of Mechanix Illustrated predicted that New York's slum children would escape "gang wars, fiercely fought with knives and zip-guns" by moving to high rooftop baseball diamonds:
PLAYGROUNDS IN THE SKY (Apr, 1957)
There, a few yards from the tenements where they live, on their very roofs, in fact, is a regulation-size baseball diamond with real springy turf! But the kids aren’t interested just now–they played ball all afternoon. Instead, they enter the locker room and in a few minutes are cavorting noisily in a big, broad and very cool swimming pool. Afterwards, they troop onto the ball field, where chairs have been set up, and watch a movie under the stars.
What’s it all about? “This magic land for kids doesn’t exist in my city,” you say. No, it doesn’t–yet!
But it darn well could! It could exist in your town and in hundreds of other communities throughout the nation. Every city could construct huge, all-encompassing playgrounds and recreation centers, using the enormous, readily available space now going completely to waste on the rooftops of their congested areas!
Consumerist has a reprint of a supposedly real apartment-for-rent ad from Craigslist that has been repeatedly pulled off the service. It's hard to believe that a landlord could be this much of a self-caricature, but stranger things have happened (well, maybe not the ID bracelet and exercise yard thing). Real or not, it had me rolling in the aisles.
Worst Apartment Rental Ad Ever
* Heat – Maintained at 21 degrees with lock box to prevent unauthorized tampering. Additional heating available for $20.00 per extra degree of heating per month. You may not use your oven to heat the apartment. If you do, you will be fined $50.00 per occurrence.
* Air conditioning – Maintained at 25 degrees during the summer with lock box to prevent extra cooling from being dispensed. Additional cooling for sale for $20.00 per degree of cooling requested per month.
* 25" Zenith color television set with basic cable service - INCLUDED IN RENT!
* Wireless internet (with content filter applied to block forbidden/immoral websites) - INCLUDED IN RENT!
* Provision of coin laundry services - You will have your own personal coin laundry washer and dryer machines. Washers and dryers are paid using a token system. Tokens can be purchased through the landlord. Washer tokens cost $4.15 each and dryer tokens cost $3.60 each. You are not allowed to use foreign currency or slugs in the washer and dryer. Violators will be fined $100.00 per infraction.
CLEANLINESS: You are responsible for the cleanliness and orderliness of your apartment. Beds are to be made before leaving your suite, countertops must be wiped down, and you must remove all trash. Upon inspection, if the tenant's basement suite is not clean, the cost of cleaning services plus a fine of $100.00 will be levied.
LIGHTS: The lights in your basement suite and in the day room are not to be tampered with. If a light needs repair, report the condition to the Landlord.
WAKE-UP: Wake up will be at 5:30am each morning. All ceiling lights in the suite will be turned on automatically.
LIGHTS OUT: Ceiling lights in the suite will be turned off at 11:30pm.
CONTRABAND: The following items are considered contraband – alcohol, illegal drugs, tobacco, weapons, lock picking equipment. If any contraband is discovered to be in your possession, you will be subject to a minimum $1,000.00 fine. In addition, your items will be confiscated permanently. Second offense – you will be evicted without notice. A bailiff will escort you and your belongings off the premises. Your security deposit will not be returned.
Mark sez, "I brought a few Edison Cylinders in for the elementary kids we're coaching for a Maker-like school competition called Mind Games here in Richmond, VA. (Innovation, compare to iPhone, etc). Since they'll be returning to the idea later I thought some pics would save the 100-year old pieces a grubby-fingered death. That's where the 35-cent price floor jumped out at me. I knew he was brutal about IP, but dayyum, international price cartels too?"
EULA - End User License Agreement. Edison invented that, too
Patented in Great Britain, Germany, France and other Countries. This record is sold upon the condition that it shall not be re-sold to or by any unauthorized dealer or used for duplication, and that it shall not be sold, or offered for sale, by the original, or any subsequent purchaser (except by authorized jobber or factor to an authorized retail dealer) for less than 35 cents in the United States, nor in other countries for less than the price given in the current Edison catalogues of the country in which it is sold. Upon any breach of this condition, the license to use and vend this record, implied from such sale, immediately terminates.
See also: Record industry DRM from 1907
flew a payload of something
into Elmley Prison in Sheerness, Kent, using a RC helicopter. Whatever it was, it's been ingested or hidden, because no one can find it. Not bad!
Remote control toy helicopter 'used to fly drugs into prison'
A spokesman said: 'A remote control helicopter was flown into the grounds of HMP Elmley on December 23.
'As a result of this, a search of the prison grounds and an accommodation block were carried out and nothing was found...'
'Using a mini-helicopter to get contraband into jails is unprecedented. When officers spotted it they nearly fell off their chairs', a prison source told the Sun.
'It could have been drugs or a mobile phone in the package. It is possible it was a dummy run.'
Jonathan sent us his 1-Up mushroom bike-helmet covers, which are guaranteed* to give you an extra life in the event that you get hit by a truck on your push-bike.
1-Up Mushroom Bicycle Helmet Rain Cover -- It gives you an extra life
* Not an actual guarantee
Over at the Creative Commons blog, Fred Benenson writes:
Al Jazeera is releasing 12 broadcast quality videos today shot in Gaza under Creative Commons’ least restrictive Attribution license. Each professionally recorded video has a detailed information page and is hosted on blip.tv allowing for easy downloads of the original files and integration into Miro. The value of this footage is best described by an International Herald Tribune/New York Times article describing the release:
Al Jazeera Launches Creative Commons Repository (Via Sean Bonner)
In a conflict where the Western news media have been largely prevented from reporting from Gaza because of restrictions imposed by the Israeli military, Al Jazeera has had a distinct advantage. It was already there.
More importantly, the permissive CC-BY license means that the footage can be used by anyone including, rival broadcasters, documentary makers, and bloggers, so long as Al Jazeera is credited.
and here is the Al Jazeera Creative Commons Repository
Shoot the Baddies, by Flickr user Olly Moss, whose portfolio site is here . (Thanks, Wayne de Geere!)
Over at Boing Boing Gadgets, Brownlee has the details on this Atari 400 stuffed with a DIY analog music synthesizer. I like how none of the knobs is labeled. "Atari 400 goes analog synth
Today on Offworld
, we saw cards to tell someone special you, honestly, love them more than Xbox
, new games T-shirts teased from Japan's UNIQLO
, and, hilariously, the best Left 4 Dead/Randy 'Macho Man' Savage crossover
of all time.
Elsewhere, we listened to a new megamix of songs
from Xbox Live Arcade flagship game Geometry Wars
, learned to knit our own LittleBigPlanet Sackboy
, and saw how designer Nicholas Felton's latest Feltron annual report delved into the minutiae of Grand Theft Auto's Liberty City
Finally, we saw Wall-E's unofficial cameo in Crayon Physics Deluxe
, and, most amazingly, saw the first official video
for the retro-futurist 'Breakout
2600: The Musical' genius of Gaijin Games's Bit.Trip Beat
My clown friend Gary Peare says:
While your thoughts are being filled with images of Felix Adler (the Jell-O clown), take a look at this.
Memorial for a Cobbler of Clown Shoes
This is a photo of a flower arrangement sent by the folks at Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus for the memorial service this week of Wayne Scott, a former circus clown who for years made all our shoes for us.
It’s an amazing and touching tribute.