I think Steve Jobs got this one wrong

I was showing my five year old daughter panoramic photos of different cities when she started to touch the screen to make it do things, ala my iPhone.  Her efforts only put finger prints on the screen, but had no measurable effect on what the computer did of course.  I think Steve Jobs assertion that no one would want to use multitouch on a laptop/notebook screen is one that will get reconsidered in a year.

Links of Note, 1/7/2011

Quick hit: getting too close to power – Geek Feminism, sexist trolls and worse on the internet

NJ Public Pension Slugfest Reporting Omits 15 Years of Governors Stealing From Workers – Naked Capitalism, as Utah Phillips once said, The long memory is the most radical idea in America.

The Left Has Nowhere To Go – Truth Dig

Good Code– xkcd, a bit o' humor

Another Court Says It's Okay For Police To Search Your Mobile Phone Without A Warrant – Tech Dirt

US Air Force Intelligence Veteran Of Afghan War Explains Why He Supports Wikileaks – Tech Dirt

US Gov't Strategy To Prevent Leaks Is Leaked – Tech Dirt

Wikileaks: Israelis ‘Intend to Keep the Gazan Economy on the Brink of Collapse’ – Juan Cole, via Naked Capitalism

More young scientists: 8-Year-Olds Publish Scientific Bee Study – Geek Feminism

Fed Plans to End Tough Sanction Against Predatory Lending – Naked Capitalism

Standard & Poor’s Triple A Ratings Collapse Again. The Question is Why? – ProPublica

Would You Be Bullish About A Country with Five Years of Negative Real ROE? – Naked Capitalism, not all is rosy in China

Living without Money | a Documentary Film via Mark Boyle

Does America really have the finest military in the world? – Salon

We Really Do Spend More Than $1 Trillion on War – Truth Dig

A War Like No Other

Feynman called a woman “worse than a whore” for not exchanging sex for sandwiches. – Geek Feminism

On the reading queue

I am presently reading A War Like No Other by Victor Davis Hanson about the Peloponnesian War from 431 to 404 BCE.  Hanson is very conservative (see this rant of ideological cherry picking), but the book reads well and after slogging through most of The Landmark Thucydides by Robert B. Strassler, it is a welcome summary of the war.  Not as complete as Peter Green's Alexander to Actium, though, but then that book is a tome.

After that it is on to the other book I got for the holidays: Surface Detail by Iain M. Banks.  Another Culture novel.  I almost cannot wait.

Then on to either The Moneyless Man by Mark Boyle or Paolo Bacigalupi's The Windup Girl, which is the only book on the list which was not a present.

Eventually, I will finish The Landmark Thucydides, if only to say I did.  However, after reading Hanson's rant, some Marx might be a welcome change, either Karl or Groucho.

From Huxley to Orwell

Chris Hedges over at TruthDig has a well thought out article on our transition from Huxley’s Brave New World to Orwell’s 1984.  Corporate/Governmental domination R Us.  A few exerpts:

“The façade is crumbling. And as more and more people realize that they have been used and robbed, we will move swiftly from Huxley’s “Brave New World” to Orwell’s “1984.” The public, at some point, will have to face some very unpleasant truths. The good-paying jobs are not coming back. The largest deficits in human history mean that we are trapped in a debt peonage system that will be used by the corporate state to eradicate the last vestiges of social protection for citizens, including Social Security. The state has devolved from a capitalist democracy to neo-feudalism. And when these truths become apparent, anger will replace the corporate-imposed cheerful conformity. The bleakness of our post-industrial pockets, where some 40 million Americans live in a state of poverty and tens of millions in a category called “near poverty,” coupled with the lack of credit to save families from foreclosures, bank repossessions and bankruptcy from medical bills, means that inverted totalitarianism will no longer work.

Those who do not comply with the dictates of the war on terror, a war which, as Orwell noted, is endless, are brutally silenced. The draconian security measures used to cripple protests at the G-20 gatherings in Pittsburgh and Toronto were wildly disproportionate for the level of street activity. But they sent a clear message—DO NOT TRY THIS. The FBI’s targeting of antiwar and Palestinian activists, which in late September saw agents raid homes in Minneapolis and Chicago, is a harbinger of what is to come for all who dare defy the state’s official Newspeak. The agents—our Thought Police—seized phones, computers, documents and other personal belongings. Subpoenas to appear before a grand jury have since been served on 26 people. The subpoenas cite federal law prohibiting “providing material support or resources to designated foreign terrorist organizations.” Terror, even for those who have nothing to do with terror, becomes the blunt instrument used by Big Brother to protect us from ourselves.”

On the face of it I don’t buy that high government deficits mean that the US government will be crippled.  The Fed can easily print money to pay those deficits and we could inflate our way out of our debts albeit slowly and reasonably.  A bit of inflation tends to improve the situation better than the deflation we are approaching.

That all said, the one and half parties of the wealthy will attempt to convince us otherwise, cut the deficit by imposing austerity on the poor and middle class, not the wealthy or the military.  They never willingly impose austerity on the wealthy or the military.  Chris’ suggestions of our path looks true to me.

UPDATE: A friend suggested that Chris Hedges’ article reminded her of this Barbara Ehrenreich talk, put to cartoons – Smile or Die!

Third play test of star ship rules

We ran another play test of the star ship rules for fleet sized games we are working on.  It was Deisho vs Whitestars.  The Deisho proved to be more powerful than they should have been, raining missiles and fighters on the Whitestars and losing far too few ships considering their technological level.

I put up the pictures I took of the game.  The Deisho ships haven't been fully detailed yet.

Lots of good feedback on improving the rules.  I'll post them once we have another playtest, but if you want to see them now, email info at whenimaginationfails dot org and I will send you the version with the latest edits when I add them.