Structural Engineering Challenge 2.0 : Just to prove how really, really, REALLY geeky I am, I downloaded a new game called Structural Engineering Challenge. You have to build structures so as to support a certain load, basically using the real laws of physics that govern how bridges and towers and shit like that are built (for trivia, this is called statics, or the study of forces in equilibrium). It’s actually pretty interesting. If you actually decide to play, and you need help, bear in mind that an isoceles right triangle is just about the most structurally sound shape known to man, and everything you build should consist of nothing but connected right triangles. Also, bear in mind that even once you beat the challenge goal, it will continue to test your structure until it breaks. For example, in challenge five, the goal was a structure that could hold 30 tons…but it kept pushing my structure in the test until it collapsed under the weight of 187 tons.

SimCity 3000 : BonerLand, run by Mayor Wang, (I know, I’m so childish), is moving ahead nicely. With a population of 30,000, we have a thriving commercial district, the nation’s best schools and hospitals, low crime, a bus and subway system, a sizable budget surplus despite low residential taxes, and average commercial and industrial taxes.

StepMania 3.0 : PC Dance Dance Revolution type game. It’s just not the same without a pad (you use the arrow keys), but it is still fun, and my anime remix sound pack is great (I had to download it seperately).

Wonder Project J : A cool snes game only sold in Japan, but recently fan translated. The graphics are incredible for the SNES (beautiful, beautiful anime style sprites and animation). You can download it, already translation patched, at . Basically, you have to raise a robot boy named Piro ala Princess Maker 2 (another PC game I recommend). The boy has an AI, and unlike most AI training games, he does actually learn the things you teach him. There is a story line (something about human oppression of obsolete robots…I’m not far enough along yet to know details). It defies genre (artificial life simulation, adventure (puzzle solving), RPG, ….).

It occurs to me that I said something awhile ago about not being much of a gamer anymore….apparently that was a mirage…I play games alot now (this might have something to do with my temporary 12 hour work week). Amber is starting to get impatient with the time I spend “watching my robots” at Helper Robot 2 or plotting world conquest in Ghenghis Khan 2.

Oh well, we are about to go out and play some basketball. Amber will surely kick my ass, because she played basketball in high school, while I was busy playing Counterstrike. Suffice to say, when it comes to fighting off a terrorist attack, I might have a one up on her due to my extensive “training” in the simulator. But in the throwing balls through metal hoops department, I’m somewhat out of my field of expertise.

Finally got some of my college documents in the mail, and have to rush them back. I can’t wait to return to my studies.

I was also mailed a copy of my high school transcript. It’s so weird….

For one, I did’t remember that I took a semester of PreCalculus and recieved a B, nor that I got a 70 in Creative Writing as a freshman.

I dread my college transcript….I fucked up in college so bad. I just didn’t know what I wanted. I love computer programming, but I can’t think of anything worse than spending the rest of my life writing the next best database program. I like writing, but didn’t think (and don’t think) that success as a writer has anything to do with having an english degree. It took my meeting my wife, working at First Legal, and reading “Mathematics for NonMathematicians” and “Fear of Physics”*** to put the bug up my ass.

*** I’ve mentioned “Mathematics for NonMathematicians” before. At least for me, math education was fucked up. Has anyone ever explained to you WHY you study algebra, or calculus, or geometry, or trigonometry (the most practical school of mathematics on earth after arithmetic…that next to no one studies)? Or what all these arcane rules and formulas are getting at? How many of you had even heard of the concept of “mathematic proof” in any of your math classes? Not me. This book changed all that. It gave it the perspective math needed to not only make sense, but seem useful.

As for “Fear of Physics”, Dr. Lawrence Krauss (now my favorite science writer of all time) explains exactly how science, physics particularly, works….instead of trying to dazzle you with “Mr. Wizard” style Science is Magic nonsense, he explains the underlying philosophy of naturalism that underlies science, why it underlies science, and an explanation of reductionism and why it is neccessary (best line ever: “Imagine the cow is a dot.”).

This is a great book becuase it expresses and understands that more important than knowing what truths science uncovers, is knowing how it goes about uncovering them, and what worldview (naturalism) this knowledge is filtered through.

blog comments powered by Disqus


02 October 2004