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War Games

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2015

[ by Charles Cameron — not a FIFA joke ]
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via ElMostaque

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I’ve no idea of whether this was photoshopped, staged, screencapped, or simply a brilliant photo, but it’s war fun and games any way you look at it.

A visual koan.

The image is several years old, but I just saw it today via @EMostaque.

Considering various of the universes within this one

Sunday, May 31st, 2015

[ by Charles Cameron — 4th & last in a bizarre series [1, 2, 3] — I must confess I prefer the NASA stars to the game world, but Wm. Blake’s world to all the rest ]
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My curiosity today leads me to compare two “represented” universes, each of them pretty much guaranteed — not that I place great credence in guarantees these days — to blow my mind or at least my socks off, and / or to quake my universe!

SPEC DQ photo & game 02

Here, to assist you in making your own comparison, are two text descriptions of the space photo (upper panel) and the game designs (lower):

SPEC DQ photo & game 01

My own feeling is that both are less awesome than their respective write-ups suggest: the NASA photo because it’s “awesomeness claim” is purely quantitative, whereas the universe is qualitative first and quantitative second; and the game images because they’re pale pastel imitations of our own world — fantastic, yes, but far from imaginative, to use the terminology Coleridge proposed.

Sources:

  • Joe Martino, NASA Has Released The Largest Picture Ever Taken. It Will Rock Your Universe
  • Raffi Khatchadourian, World Without End: Creating a full-scale digital cosmos
  • **

    To give us a sense of proportion — one that includes both qualitative and quantitative elements — here are some other images which, along with the ones from NASA and the game, give you a somewhat wider “range of universes” to consider — all of them in fact contained in the one we blog and read in:

    SPEC DQ Blake Lange

    The first pair shows two humanly-generated images, one by the visionary artist and poet William Blake, the other by the documentary photographer Dorothea Lange. Realism, meet mythic imagination.

    The second pair — aha! — shows two desert sports: one almost archaic in its brutality, the other something akin to post-modern. In the upper panel we glimpse the Afghan national sport of Bukashi, in which the headless carcass of a goat is captured and carried to the goal by terrifying horsemen; in the lower, one of the robot jockeys who have replaced child-jockeys in the camel-racing of Dubai.

    SPEC DQ buzkashi robot camel jockey

    Sources:

  • William Blake, Jacob’s Ladder
  • Dorothea Lange, Migrant Mother

  • L Lukasz, “BUZKASHI” in Mazar-e Sharif
  • Avax News, Robots replace Child Jockeys
  • **

    But let’s be fair to the two first screenshots at the top of the page. Here are the respective videos of the NASA Andromeda megapicture and the Hello Games’ No Man’s Sky for you to consider on their merits —

    — remember: there’s no accounting for tastes.. not even mine own.

    Super Buds

    Tuesday, February 4th, 2014

    [ by Charles Cameron — you can’t even watch the Super Bowl without the Antichrist slipping deftly into your subconscious — or can you? ]
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    Thank God I don’t watch the Super Bowl. If I did, and unless I’d been taking a break during the commercials to go on a scavenger hunt in the kitchen, I might have been exposed to this:

    Horrific, no? And yet so smoothly and sweetly done!

    As you might imagine, this cute commercial was “the Most Successful Commercial of the Super Bowl” according to TIME, and “racked up more than 37 million views”.

    On the other hand, this video commentary has only managed 13,495 views as of the time my writing this post:

    It seems the forces of advertising Antichrist are beating out the voices of false prophecy about 2472 to 1.

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    Or perhaps not.

    I have an alternative theory. Perhaps the Budweiser Clydesdale horses are just Clydesdales, the puppies just puppies — and for the record, it was “17 Clydesdale horses and eight golden Labrador puppies” I missed, thank God, fingers crossed, just in case — and the ad just an ad, the beer just a beer, with nary an Antichrist in sight.

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    Scholar that I am, I believe you might like further resources with which to deepen your understanding of this matter of commercial appeal or (fingers crossed) theological interpretation.

    Our “co-prophet” skipped his usual introduction in this particular “cute puppy” video, but he posts extensively, and I was happy to find his commentary on the Vatican Doves, which I discussed recently [ here and here ]:

    So that’s how our co-prophet sees himself — the “third eagle” of the Apocalypse.

    And then there’s the ad itself, which I must finally admit I prefer to its alleged millennial meaning.

    Two looks behind the scenes:

    and:

    **

    And that’s it, folks.

    Sigmund Freud, or was it Groucho Marx, said it first: sometimes a Clydesdale is just a Clydesdale.

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    Hat-tip: blog-friend Bryan Alexander of the ever-ghastly Infocult.

    Cricket news — the Pakistani Taliban umpire speaks out

    Friday, December 6th, 2013

    [ by Charles Cameron — terror and games — an odd couple methinks, but one that’s not infrequently encountered ]
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    Pakistan Taliban umpire Shahidullah Shahid, left, speaks on Indian cricketer Sachin Tendulkar, right

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    As you may know, I’m not too keen on sports — far too physical for sedentary me, even at a young age — but if there ever was a sport I could enjoy, it would be cricket. In fact I used to spend hours as a boy “playing cricket” in the outfield, singing quietly to myself and spotting caterpillars in the hawthorn hedges that edged my side of the field.

    Imagine my delight, then, to find the Pakistani Taliban has also developed a love for the game. From the Friday Times, today:

    Taliban have threatened media organizations for “quoting out of context” their spokesman’s video statement in which he had likened those who praise the US and criticize the Taliban to those who praise Indian cricketer Sachin Tendulkar and criticise Pakistan’s cricket captain Misbahul Haq.

    The 17-minute video recording was released to present the Taliban’s outlook on the future of talks with the government, Pakistan and its politics, and the role of the armed forces. But what grabbed media attention was a two minute portion in which their spokesman used a cricket analogy to defend the controversial statement of Jamaat-e-Islami leader Munawar Hassan that Pakistani soldiers who died fighting the Taliban were not martyrs.

    “There is this Indian player called Tendulkar. He is being exceedingly praised by the Pakistani media and people. At the same time the media showed disapproval of Misbahul Haq. Even though Tendulkar is a great sportsman, you should not praise him because that is unpatriotic. Instead, you should praise Misbah despite the fact that he is a bad player, because he is ultimately a Pakistani,” said Shahidullah Shahid, the spokesman of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). “Those who praise the soldiers fighting for America, secularism, democracy and British-made laws are like those who lauded Tendulkar instead of Misbah.”

    All in all, I suppose it was an inevitable development — Imran Khan had supported a position that the TTP favored, and it’s hard to “like” Imran Khan without also “liking” cricket. The report continues:

    In the same video, he praised Tehrik-e-Insaaf leader Imran Khan for blocking NATO supplies to Afghanistan because the move was hurting US interests, adding that the Taliban had developed a soft corner for Khan because of the move.

    Of course, the Indians like cricket quite a bit, too.

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    What matters to me about caterpillars, aside for the intriguing “looping” movement some of them have down to a fine art, is the fact that they turn into butterflies — and if I may transcend the material world into pure metaphor for a moment, that butterflies in turn symbolize psyche.

    Me? I’m still in the outfield, still on the lookout for caterpillars, still playing my own highly contemplative form of cricket.

    Serpent logic and related

    Saturday, September 14th, 2013

    [ by Charles Cameron — where paradox begets form in phrasing, redux ]
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    Here for your entertainment and entrainment are some further instances where the tweet doubles back on itself, bites its tail, or otherwise embodies some form of “form” that’s noteworthy in its own right, and possibly indicative of the heart of a problem — think of these tweets as eddies in the flow of things, knots in the wood…

    Two arms crossed as in that MC Escher hand-draws-hand piece:

    And a net version of the same, aka “tit for tat”:

    Speaking of economics, here’s a bit of spiral logic — the economics of spiralling out of control?

    And here’s an example of “endless” recursion, as featured in two tweets about “end” times from Barth’s Notes:

    and its 2013 equivalent:

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    Okay, here are some simple sample opposites. First, the weather forecast for Syria:

    — spelled our explicitly by Andrew Stroehlein, who tweeted “Sunny with a chance of cluster bombs…” in response.

    That one seems fairly fair, but click on the links yourself to see the nuances in King‘s actual statements.

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    Now for some regular serpents’ tails, from the reasonably light-hearted to the heavier end of the scales:

    Okay, here are two from Mikko Hypponen, the first of which is frankly outdated, but still fun:

    Angela Watercutter caught the tide at just the right moment with her Wired piece, Skynet Becomes Self-Aware: How to Welcome Our AI Overlords:

    The time has come. According to the Terminator clock, at 8:11 p.m. Tuesday, Skynet will become self-aware. And humanity will be screwed. Going by canon set out in the Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles TV series, Judgment Day should hit Thursday.

    Never mind Mikko, this one’s funny too — if and only if one’s also familiar with Wikipedia, which seems plausible in all cases for those who follow twitter — it wins double-honors in fact, hitting it out of the self-reference ball-park and into parallelism as satire:

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    Namarupa, or “name and form”, has to do with parallelisms between a name and its referent — or what zen might call the “finger pointing” and the moon — always fun:

    The next one depends on your knowing that the Greek mythological creature known as a Naiad refers to “any of the nymphs in classical mythology living in and giving life to lakes, rivers, springs, and fountains”:

    — aptly named indeed.

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    We’re almost done — here’s one with a built in time-factor:

    It it still there? Aha!

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    Finally, this isn’t a serpent eating its tail by itself:

    — but it becomes one, I’d suggest, when Husain Haqqani, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the US from 2008 to 2011, retweets it!

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    Until next time…


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