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?
In 2009, President Obama pledged to “restore science to its rightful place.” He said, “We will not just meet, but we will exceed the level achieved at the height of the space race, through policies that invest in basic and applied research, create new incentives for private innovation, promote breakthroughs in energy and medicine, and […]
When I was little, my mother had a 1960s sit-under hair dryer with a huge translucent plastic hood that I’d imagine was a variation on a Star Trek Transporter. But that hulking machine had nothing on these vintage hair dryers from the first part of the 20th century. These would have provided me with years […]
In a new report, the U.S. Government Accountability Office reveals that the “Department of Defense uses 8- inch floppy disks in a legacy system that coordinates the operational functions of the nation’s nuclear forces.” That floppy format was developed in the late 1960s and was obsolete by the 1980s. I wonder if the DoD saves […]
Some truths are universal. For one, your phone will always run out of power when you most need it. For another, the charging cords that come packaged with your Apple device will fray, split, and rip faster than Usain Bolt in a game of tag.Instead, pick up a charging cord that anyone would have a tough […]
Some people say magic tricks are nerdy and best left to your 12-year-old asthmatic cousin. But others see value in perfecting the slight of hand and showmanship associated with a perfectly executed routine. We’re firmly in the latter camp. And now, we’re giving you the ability to put a few parlor tricks up your sleeve with the Penguin […]
Bluetooth speakers may be convenient to use, but many of them just aren’t that powerful. Sure, it may be fine if you’re seated in front of the speaker. But move across the room, and you may strain to hear what’s coming from those tiny drivers.There’s a reason why the G-BOOM Wireless Bluetooth Boombox (now $79.99 in the Boing […]