From the NY Times Magazine: Twine, the Video-Game Technology for All

This is a really great story from Laura Hudson about the Twine development scene and some of the people creating games using the text-based development tool. The question raised is by the piece is an important one: who gets to be called a gamer, what gets to be called a game and who gets to decide?

One particular paragraph gets to the heart of the matter:

These debates are more than just pedantry, and the questions of authenticity that swirl around Twine games are the same ones that hang over so many of the people who make them: Do they really belong? When video-game fans insist on drawing hard lines around fluid definitions in ways that tend to align with cultural prejudices, perhaps it’s time for them to start questioning whether what they’re protecting is really more important than what they’re keeping out.

And that’s really what has caused all of this strife in the gaming community; people trying to decide and define what, and who, is and isn’t allowed into the club.

Here’s the secret: there is no spoon club. It’s a playground and everyone should be welcome. Some of like the sandbox, some like the swings. Heck, some like the merry-go-round that changes the horses out each year but it is essentially the same ride every time — and that’s OK. This playground has infinite space.

Photo: Porpentine, the creator of the critically acclaimed Twine game Howling Dogs. (Graeme Mitchell for The New York Times)

A haiku from the article: When the Ice Melts

In an opinion piece in today’s New York Times, Michael Novacek, the Museum’s Provost of Science and a Curator in the Division of Paleontology, writes about Prehistory’s Brilliant Future

"Here we are, in the age of the microchip and the Mars explorer, and yet some of our most exciting and extraordinary scientific discoveries are extinct species in Earth’s fossil record."

Read the full piece in the New York Times

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Victo Ngai

  1. Cocoon, 2014
  2. part of Chinese Fairy Tales and Fantasies, 2014
  3. Bowlcut, Applied Arts 2010 selected
  4. Eye Strain, for the The New York Times, 2012
  5. The Terrorist, the Herdsman, the Emir and the Bishop, 2014
  6. 'Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage' by Haruki Murakami, 2014
  7. The Day, 2012
  8. for NYTimes OpEd - Conservation or Curation?, 2014
  9. Moon Catcher, 2013
  10. part of Chinese Fairy Tales and Fantasies, 2014,  images posted with permission of the artist. 

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All works © Victo Ngai 2014. Please do not reproduce without the expressed written consent of Victo Ngai.

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April 25, 1924: As the caption read, “Chief Little Luke’s daughter in the full regalia of her rank as an Indian Princess of the Yukon, whose ancestry is traced through tribal legends to a period far before the first white invader set foot on the North American Continent.” That same month, in the Mid-Week Pictorial, a photo of Chief Little Luke himself (Page 108 of this issue), dressed in “Sunday best in the wildest part of Alaska.” He was in full regalia to meet with “Dr. Philip S. Smith and his party, sent to Alaska to explore the Naval oil reserves.” Photo: The New York Times

A haiku from the article: Billy Porter’s ‘While I Yet Live’ Stars S. Epatha Merkerson

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Dec. 1, 1923: The French actress Mistinguett, née Jeanne Florentine Bourgeois, photographed at home in Paris with her hundreds of fine shoes and blurry pet monkey. She had a certain flair for things ostentatious and dramatic, having reportedly had her famous legs insured in 1919 for 500,000 francs, and, according to The New York Times, challenging strangers who jostled her. “Mlle. Mistinguett, France’s most popular music hall artist, may fight a duel one day soon,” a special cable to The Times reported. “She slapped a man’s face the other evening and his wife is demanding reparation. Meanwhile Mistinguett is practicing with both pistols and foils so that she may be ready.” Photo: The New York Times

A haiku from the article: ‘Egon Schiele: Portraits’ at Neue Galerie

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Hari Kondabolu featured in the NY Times and discusses turning pain into comedy.

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Oct. 17, 1941: After a United States destroyer was torpedoed near Iceland, The Times’s front-page columns were filled with portents of war and worse things to come. On Page 10, however, was a light moment against a backdrop of dark times: A patriotic toddler at a playground for evacuated children in Reading, England, pushed along a British sailor on leave. Photo: The New York Times

The savage heat waves that struck Australia in 2013 were almost certainly a direct consequence of the human release of greenhouse gases, researchers said Monday. It is perhaps the most definitive statement climate scientists have made that ties a specific weather event to global warming.

Five groups of researchers, using distinct methods, analyzed the heat that baked Australia for much of last year and continued into 2014, shutting down the Australian Open tennis tournament at one point in January. All five came to the conclusion that last year’s heat waves could not have been as severe without the long-term climatic warming caused by human activity.

“When we look at the heat across the whole of Australia and the whole 12 months of 2013, we can say that this was virtually impossible without climate change,” said David Karoly, a climate scientist at the University of Melbourne who led one research team.

One of the most direct and definitive statements from climate scientists to date. More here.