Old MacDonald Had A Farmers' Market — total self-sufficiency is a noble, misguided ideal

Every culture has its pathologies, and ours is self-reliance. From some mix of our frontier past, our Little House on the Prairie heritage, our Thoreauvian desire for solitude, and our amazing wealth we’ve derived a level of independence never seen before on this round earth. We’ve built an economy where we need no one else; with a credit card, you can harvest the world’s bounty from the privacy of your…

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Roomba Violates All Three Laws Of Roombotics

The laws of Roombotics, published on iRobot’s website, are basic ethical rules governing Roomba conduct. The first law states that the device “must not suck up jewelry or other valuables, or through inaction, allow valuables to be sucked up.” The second law prescribes that Roomba “must obey vacuuming orders given to it by humans except when such orders would conflict with the first law.” The third and final law authorizes…

Judged by the internet

Rumours that Chiang, 23, was the mass murderer swept across the world after links to his gun-obsessed blogs were posted on social networking website Facebook and similar sites. More than 180,000 people visited his sites, with many noting the similarities between him and the man described in accounts of the Virginia Tech tragedy. Some went so far as to jump to a conclusion. “Early 20s, Asian man, vtech student. Fits…

You Grew Up Playing Shoot’em-Up Games. Why Can’t Your Kids?

Gamers like me have spent years railing against ill-informed parents and politicians who’ve blamed games for making kids violent, unimaginative, fat or worse. But now we’re in a weird position: We’re the first generation that is young enough to have grown up playing games, but old enough to have kids. So it turns out that, whoops, now we’ve got to make sober calls about what sort of entertainment is good…

Monday, April 16th 2007 5:27PM: Students react to the tragedy

Erin Sheehan was one of four people able to walk out of her 9:05 German class in room 207 Norris Hall. –T.Rees Shapiro –Monday, April 16th 2007 5:27PM: Students react to the tragedy This item is too short, and needs some copyediting (that should be “peeked” where it reads “peaked”) but it’s the best eyewitness source I’ve seen interviewed so far. There are no permalinks on this site, and a…

Digital tools were potential life savers during Va. Tech massacre

The Mercury News posted an Associated Press package that included a video news story, accounts from witnesses and a disturbing home-made cell phone video that recorded dozens of gun shots and angry and disturbed screaming, presumably from the gunman. Perhaps most troublesome was that whoever was shooting the cell phone video, actually moved toward the gunfire instead of away from it. Some obvious advice: It’s not worth it. Do not…

The Lost Art of Innocence

I may be nostalgic, but I’m not stupid. Today’s technologically superior, multi-million dollar monstrosities are, in almost every way, superior to anything that even the most creative guy could do in his basement on an old TI. But, without the full spectrum of gaming to be measured against, the games of the day really did more to inspire and amaze on a more regular basis than today’s demographic targeted, designed…

Interfaith Community to Observe Holocaust Memorial Day

On Sunday, April 15, Westmoreland County residents will remember the victims of Nazism by observing Yom HaShoah, the Holocaust Memorial Day. –Interfaith Community to Observe Holocaust Memorial Day (National Catholic Center for Holocaust Education) I just got back from taking my nine-year-old son to this service, which was very moving. The service began in the Congregation Emanu-El Israel synagogue, with a moving service that had people in the congregation reading names…

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Children's Book Illustration by Nick Towers

My ultimate aim is to illustrate children’s books with images like the ones on this site. To this end, I am trying to find ways to make good-looking 3D images quickly–images that have all the magic of the illustrations I loved as a child. –Nick Towers –Children’s Book Illustration by Nick Towers For a year I have been working on and off with Hammer, the Half-Life 2 world builder, with…