Are you attending FtBConscience? Do you want some hard proof, the way that other conventions give you a badge when you’re an attendee? Here’s where you get yours!
It’s a false dichotomy. End of panel. Thank you all for coming!
Actually, it’s a bit more complicated than that. You’ll want to listen to this one, especially where we draw significantly on our personal experiences and discuss how the lines are blurring, and how “meatspace” is not really all that distinguishable from the internet. In fact, the biggest and most important “internet-based” event in my life actually took me some time to recall, because I wasn’t mentally classifying it as internet-related, which is why you’ll hear me fumble for an experience at the start of the panel.
Panelists were Stephanie Zvan, Jason Thibeault, Lux Pickel, PZ Myers, and Jamie Bernstein.
Sorry it’s taking so long to get these out. I basically came crashing back to reality hard after CONvergence, coming home to two gigantic work crises at once, creating a perfect storm that I’m still shovelling out. Fifteen hours yesterday, seven hours sleep, more work since I’ve been awake. Essentially, the only reason I’m posting this now is because I’m on an enforced break while my VPN access point is rebooting. Seriously, God must really hate me for being so dismissive of him over the weekend or something.
I absolutely enjoyed this panel. It was thorough, informative, and hilarious. We discussed gods and god-concepts in various sci fi and fantasy fandoms, including comic books, novels and even video games.
Panelists were Nick Glover, Ryan Consell, Jason Thibeault and Fionnuala Murphy.
This one is the second made using the built-in sound app on my phone, and thus it’s also a crappy 8kHz, though I’ve passed it through a few filters to try to get it to a listenable state. It’s a little quiet, but I’ve managed to take out a good deal of noise and level the sounds somewhat. I may yet go back and do the same to the EvoPsych panel.
This panel was fun, though not nearly as popular or populated as the penis panel. In this one we took audience suggestions about specific sci-fi / fantasy tropes and disproved them, with heavy emphasis on the biology behind most of these alien biology scenarios. Sadly, no questions about tech that I could have fielded. Oh well!
Panelists were Jason Thibeault, Siouxsie Wiles, PZ Myers and Laura Okagaki.
A linguist American living in the UK explains the difference. Apparently there’s a folk etymology built up that “math” is plural because “mathematics” ends with an S. But that’s not the only reason something might end with an S — there’s also the collective noun, like “linguistics”.
Interestingly, she’s gone native, saying “maths” despite knowing better, just to avoid the fight. I’m thinking now about other language patterns or other “in-group signals” that people might evince just to avoid a fight despite knowing better.
Again, I managed to forget to start my scrape bot to pull tweets from Mentions directly. CA7746 bailed me out of a bit of a jam by reparsing the raw HTML of Twitter, a trick I’ve done once already but have evidently lost the code for. I was going to rewrite that parser tonight, but CA7746 has evidently spared me the difficulty.
My usual scrape bot, which pulls from @-mentions from the account proper, could only grab the last 200 statuses — a limitation of the API, it seems. Either I haven’t figured out how to paginate through the results properly, or it simply won’t let me do so the same way as paginating through a direct search for @MockTM would. I might rebuild the engine to grab transcripts from @MockTM searches, though that would mean we wouldn’t be able to limit the tweets pulled to only those people @MockTM has followed. That would mean letting potential spam in.
In case there’s anything spammy above the double-dash (haven’t had time to reread it all), let me know and I’ll pull it out.
Two weekends ago, I went to OmegaCon in Siren, Wisconsin. And by “went”, I mean “was kidnapped and made to go”. There, I played some board games with a whole lot of local board game nerds who frequent the local convention nerdery circuit. Many of these games were fun. The one that Molly and Nick Glover and Tim Wick forced Stephanie, Brianne and I play, though… um… well, that was significantly less so. It was loosely based on the “hit” movie based on the “hit” Christian novel series, Left Behind. “Loose” is definitely the operative word when describing this board game, because it barely qualified as a board game. I shit you not — we played Left Behind: The Movie: The Board Game.
Click the thumbnail below for a fuller experience of the pain we endured for your entertainment. Screen reader users: it’s a picture of the board game. Sorry that you’ll have to make do with the audio descriptions — though really, you’re the lucky ones, with limited exposure to its whargarbl.
In a desperate effort to make the podcast fun — because the game’s mechanics are unbelievably boring even to someone with a vested interest in proving themselves the best Tribulation Forces fighters and redeeming themselves in the eyes of Yahweh, you know, like me — the Geeks Without God crew helpfully included the following drinking game to accompany the podcast. I need to disclaimer this, though. Unless you’re a bull elephant, you’ll have to drink something piss weak to survive.
Here are the rules (feel free to add your own rules in the comments):
Take a drink every time moonshine soaked cherries are passed out or someone mentions consuming one
Take a drink whenever we make a Ghostbusters reference
Take a drink every time someone mentions game theory
Take a drink every time someone says the game sucks
Take a drink every time someone lands on a Carpathia square
Take a drink every time someone says “Flightplan.”
Take a drink every time we get a question about the bible correct
Take a drink any time someone mentions Omegacon
Seriously, just don’t do it. You’ll die.
Go listen. We played so you never, ever, ever have to.
Though if you really must, it’s fairly cheap.
I love the idea of simulating evolution through computer models. The purpose of such an exercise is not so much to prove that evolution happened, or to prove that complexity can evolve from simple rulesets (though that’s certainly important), but to show that randomness and flexibility in solving tasks can create novel approaches that are more creative even than anything that intelligences like ourselves have worked out.
This particular example shows some behaviours from creatures built out of four types of blocks that emulate hopping, running and dragging themselves along a course, in a simulation where creatures that make it across a trial field quickest are rewarded by having more offspring in subsequent generations.
I’m trying to download this fan-made (and Capcom-hosted and sponsored!) free Megaman game for PC right now, but its servers are positively logjammed at the moment. If you can manage, the download’s available here. And if I ever get it, I’m considering broadcasting it on twitch.tv while I play it, just for fun.
The game is described as a love letter to Street Fighter and Megaman fans for the 25th anniversary of both franchises — and from what I’ve seen so far via these videos, it almost certainly is. Seow Zong Hui, the game’s creator, obviously had a lot of love for both to have done what he’s done. That Capcom’s throwing their weight behind this is simply fantastic, and I honestly wish more companies would legitimize fan-made derivative works like this because that might have repercussions on copyright law that would alleviate some of the fear within fandom of being cracked down on by the “intellectual property” owners.