Wed, 15 Jun 2005top
the future is now
As I waxed speculatively the other day about the development of a topographic symbiosis between the virtual and the real, apparently I've missed the boat because it's already here.
Wed, 08 Jun 2005top
I skurffed a random essay through Blogdex about Los Angeles and the way it is depicted in various media. The author in particular talks about the abstracted representation of Los Angeles in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and how strange it is to have been to a real place and find it recreated in a video game. I imagine the emotional impact is quite different than if one had grown up in L.A., where one becomes naturally trained to appreciate the gradations between "real-real," "fake-real," "real-fake," and "fake-fake." (Or maybe it's just me.) I tend to assume that the rest of the world tends to simply dichotomize experiences between "real" and "fake," since that seems to be the most useful distinction.
Anyway, it got me imagining a merger between geocaching and virtual reality, where, in cyberspace, there is a near 1:1 construct of the real world, where your movements in the real world are completely mirrored by the movements of your avatar in the Matrix-like world. For example, say I'm going down Hollywood Boulevard in the real world. Say that once I got to the intersection of Hollywood and Highland, I decide to log in to cyberspace. In cyberspace, I'll still be at the intersection of Hollywood and Highland, but instead of the monstrous megamall that stands at that intersection, there is instead, oh, a space elevator. Or some other structure that is easy to program in cyberspace but essentially impossible to create in the real world. So you would have these two symbiotic paradigms: the real world, and a meta digital world, which would for the most part remain identical except for some magnificent modifications.
Wed, 27 Apr 2005top
For all us sci-fi geeks. A comparison of the sizes of different starships from various books, movies, and video games.
Tue, 09 Nov 2004top
getting the hell out
I had long, reasoned talk with the attending physician I work for after the election. She and I are both liberals in a city overrun by conservatives, and we got to talking about leaving the country.
Now I know that we shouldn't bail out quite yet. After all, California is a pretty blue state, and who knows, maybe San Diego could have a liberal mayor yet (Go Donna Frye!) I was actually quite amazed at the number of Kerry/Edwards stickers I've seen here in S.D., and I have a feeling a good number of those are on the cars of people in the military who are sick of the shit that Rumsfeld and W are feeding them.
Various forms of secession have been discussed on the Internet, abetted by the fact that Red State America would be gladdened by getting rid of us. California would probably be all right on its own, although I'm sure water rights to the Colorado River would get nasty, a border war waiting to happen. (I wonder if Las Vegas would join up with us? After all, much of the commerce done there is by Californians, and Clark County voted pretty blue. Then we'd have a bigger claim on the Colorado...)
Barring successful independence from Jesusland, I've tried to figure out a graceful exit plan. There is a chance that tyranny will be overcome, and perhaps we will be a free country again in 2008, when I finish my residency, but I'm not holding my breath. So currently I'm looking for a place to deposit my money where I can hold it in pound sterling in anticipation of the impending massive devaluation of American dollar, once China decides it's done with subsidizing our massive deficit and gets rid of their hoard of dollars. I'm still a little wary of the Euro, although I suspect it will be much more stable than the dollar in the next few years, so we'll see. I still haven't figured out a country to emigrate to, though. One, I have to figure out somewhere where my M.D. would translate into a job. Two, I'd have to find a place where I wouldn't be driven to suicide by seasonal affective disorder. (So despite it's utopian-like society, this kind of X'es out Finland.) Now lest you believe I'll be surrounded by white people, well, I will be, but there are Filipinos everywhere. I've met Pinoys and Pinays from Norway, Denmark, Austria, you name it. Good thing I know a little Tagalog.
But I'm not in a hurry. I'll have to keep my ear to the ground in case there is a civil war, but maybe W will go the way of Nixon and fail to finish his term.
Wed, 29 Sep 2004top
red line to the sea
As I pine for non-asphalt dependent public transit in L.A., the City Council decides to support an expansion of the Red Line [registration required] The Red Line is L.A.'s only existing heavy-rail subway, which currently runs from Downtown L.A. (starting at Union Station) up to North Hollywood (trying to bite off of SoHo in NYC and calling itself NoHo), with a little spur that goes a little ways down Wilshire Blvd. That spur was actually suppose to go all the way to the Westside, but, unfortunately, there were a bunch of explosive methane pockets in the way (undoubtedly inspiring the movie "Volcano") The straw that broke the camel's back was the huge sinkhole that formed in Hollywood, and politics killed any more expansion. The MTA has instead focused on light-rail and improving the bus system.
But traffic down Wilshire Blvd. is horrrrible, and the stupid bus lanes are actually hurting businesses and making the traffic worse for cars, so they are now reconsidering.
The price tag is stupendous: $1 billion. (I feel like laughing evilly and maniacally, and putting my pinky in my mouth.) But if it happens, then L.A. is on its way to becoming a world class city.