My friend Ken Hollings, author of Welcome to Mars: Fantasies of Science in the American Century, 1947-1959, just produced a terrific radio documentary for BBC Radio 3 about war games, immersive simulations, and the "military-entertainment complex." From the description of the program, titled "From Gameboy to Armageddon":
Men have always played at and with soldiers. Gaming has been an essential part of warfare and by the 19th Century it had been developed into the sophisticated "Kriegspiel", derived from the still influential theories of Von Clausewitz and played at military colleges in both Europe and America. These war games then became real games for table-top strategists by the early 20th Century. A remarkable synergy developed between colleges of war and devisers of such games, particularly in America. And in the think tanks of the RAND Corp gaming theory was used intensively to plot the future of war and nuclear destruction.
But from the late 1970s computer strategy games started to form a powerful loop between gamers and warriors. With the creation of the SIMNET, the military began to develop hugely powerful simulators and now convergence is taking place between military and the entertainment industry. Some say we are living in what Stanford Professor Tim Lenoir has called 'the military entertainment complex', with military functions increasingly taking place online, using simulation for training and in the treatment of soldiers suffering from post traumatic stress disorder. But is this new realm of war truly a revolution - the shape of things to come - or just more virtual bangs for real bucks?
The public bathroom at Beijing’s Temple of Heaven Park now has a toilet paper dispenser outfitted with a camera and facial recognition technology to prevent toilet paper theft. From the New York Times: Before entering restrooms in the park, visitors must now stare into a computer mounted on the wall for three seconds before a […]
Poking a golden tortoise beetle (“goldbug”) triggers the insect’s color to change from gold to a red-orange. Inspired by the natural system underlying that insectoid superpower, MIT researchers have developed flexible sensors circuits that can be 3-D printed. Eventually, the technology could lead to sensor-laden skin for robots. From MIT News: “In nature, networks of […]
MNTNT’s Albert Clock is a clock that presents the hours and minutes as simple math problems. Is it annoying or engaging? Or…. both! In standard mode, the queries change every minute. They are completely random, so even the query for the hours change, even if the result stays the same. You can speed up this […]
When you can’t wait for the world’s longest meeting to end, the mindless leg bouncing makes your boredom obvious and just annoys everybody else. Everyone knows the TPS reports need the damn cover sheet, but some sadistic colleague keeps forgetting, probably on purpose just to eat into your lunch hour. Enough is enough!While serving a […]
What could be more fun than a slingshot that shoots tiny airplanes? A slingshot that shoots tiny glowing airplanes of course! These toy planes are outfitted with ultra-bright LEDs, so you can fly all night without losing them in the trees.Whether you are a regular-sized child, or an overgrown adult one, these light-up flyers offer […]
You know the drill. You go to the dentist and they ask you how often you floss. You lie through your teeth and say, “every day!” (Bonus points if you have some cilantro or chives stuck in your gums from lunch). You don’t want to keep up the charade any longer, but rubbing that tiny strand […]