Google Tweaks (Out), Sweet Indie Gaming Deal, Horror Architecture

GOOGLE REDESIGN:

Google made a few teensy tweaks to its design, and naturally we all flipped our shit. Most noticeably, the logo lost its shading.

In the new design (featured above on the right), well, hardly anything’s different. There are tiny icons representing categories of search (blogs, news, etc) and things are cleaned up ever-so slightly.

Did the redesign make you weep? New can be scary.

PAY WHAT YOU CAN GAMES:

Hey, remember when Radiohead released In Rainbows and you could pay whatever you wanted for it so naturally you paid zero dollars and then felt fucking terrible about it to this day?

Well, Radiohead certainly has enough to get by, but the same can’t be said for probably any indie game developer ever.

Check out this pack of indie games, called the “Humble Bundle.” It’s got the same pay what you can/will/feel like thing going on, you can score a bunch of games you might not have tried otherwise, including the critically acclaimed “World of Goo.” And in true indie spirit, you can choose what percentage of whatever you want to pay goes to the devs or to charity. Aw.

You’ve got three days to get in on the deal, and the Humble Indie Bundle is both PC & Mac friendly.


HORRORTECTURE:

Maybe I’m just a total weirdo, but I love weird mind-bending stuff that kicks my imagination into overdrive. The “Ladybower Belmouth” is definitely one such thing. I’m not all too sure about what a belmouth is, but basically the Ladybower one is an architectural oddity, a drain-like construction in a lake (that presumably serves a practical purpose) that’s extremely mysterious by design. My curiosity is ever so piqued.

Sooner or later, either your nerves or your grip will fail while diminishing steps accumulate below preventing a vertical view. In short, as if you were performing a ritual, this structure will first make you walk in circles, then make you turn your back on the thing you fear, then give you a severe fright, and then deny you the answer to a question any bird could solve in a moment. When you do fall, you will hit the sides before hitting the bottom. Death with time to think about it arriving awaits anyone who peers too far into that hole.
The pretty fascinating scholarly paper analyzing the belmouth prompted me to reread The House of Leaves this week. Which is the utmost in exploring eerie architectural anomalies, even if the titular house is fictitious. Well, not eerie so much as pants-shittingly terrifying, I suppose. And you know, the book has like, literary merits and stuff too.

CARTOONING:

In light of some religious folk getting murderously pissed at a few pesky irreverent cartoonists, there’s going to be a cartoon holiday now where everybody draws the prophet Mohammed. Everybody who can, and like, wants to, that is. He seems kind of hard to draw.

“May 20th has now been designed ‘Everybody Draw Mohammed Day.’ There is power in numbers, and if you’re an artist, creator, cartoonist, or basically anyone who would like to exercise your right to free speech in a way that it is actively threatened, that would be the day to do it.”

TIME MACHINES:

When Stephen Hawking says jump, you jump. That is, you jump the exact height specified by his meticulously rendered, impossibly complex series of equations. And you do it because he’s Stephen Fucking Hawking. So when Stephen Hawking tells us how to build a time machine, you BUILD THAT SHIT. What are you doing still standing here?! According to Hawking:

“If we want to travel into the future, we just need to go fast. Really fast. And I think the only way we’re ever likely to do that is by going into space. The fastest manned vehicle in history was Apollo 10. It reached 25,000mph. But to travel in time we’ll have to go more than 2,000 times faster. And to do that we’d need a much bigger ship, a truly enormous machine. The ship would have to be big enough to carry a huge amount of fuel, enough to accelerate it to nearly the speed of light. Getting to just beneath the cosmic speed limit would require six whole years at full power.

The initial acceleration would be gentle because the ship would be so big and heavy. But gradually it would pick up speed and soon would be covering massive distances. In one week it would have reached the outer planets. After two years it would reach half-light speed and be far outside our solar system. Two years later it would be travelling at 90 per cent of the speed of light. Around 30 trillion miles away from Earth, and four years after launch, the ship would begin to travel in time. For every hour of time on the ship, two would pass on Earth. A similar situation to the spaceship that orbited the massive black hole.

After another two years of full thrust the ship would reach its top speed, 99 per cent of the speed of light. At this speed, a single day on board is a whole year of Earth time. Our ship would be truly flying into the future.”

Sign me up.

TESLA:

Not that I needed another reason to think that infamously crazy-like-a-fox electricity experimenter Nikola Tesla was the most badass scientist ever, but oh hey, sounds like he postulated the future existence of the cell phone– in 1909.

Also, he was so cool that David Bowie played him on screen in The Prestige, which is one of my all-time fave movies ever. FYI.

WOMEN AND GAMING:

Maybe i’m hyper-sensitive, but it’s hard for me not to find the vast majority of articles about female gamers condescending. NPR’s little write up of moms who love “Bejeweled” isn’t much different– it basically makes it sound like women just love shiny things. Like diamonds! Surprise! Women are so funny like that.

GOOGLE CHROME:

Wanna watch speedster browser Google Chrome face off against other Fast Things, like lightning? How about a potato gun? I swear by Chrome– you should really give it a whirl if you haven’t. Something interesting is that the Chrome team specifies they used a MacBook Pro to make the video, but it’s running Windows of course. Jab!

MEME OF THE MOMENT:

I haven’t seen Paul Rudd in anything since Clueless, but it doesn’t matter. This video sums up everything I like about a good, solid viral vid. It needs no context whatsoever, it’s undeniably bizarre and I absolutely cannot stop watching it. Nor can I explain why it beckons me so.

Taylor has written 137 articles for us.

33 Comments

  1. House of Leaves seriously fucks with my head every time I read it.

    Also I’m completely addicted to Bejeweled Blitz because… I don’t know why. I’m obsessed with stupid puzzle games, which makes my “serious” gamer friends laugh at me incessantly.

  2. My mum was addicted to Tritryst as a kid (think Bejeweled meets Tetris) to the point that I had to uninstall it from my computer so that I could sleep instead of being disturbed by light! She only forgave me a couple of years ago when I installed it on her laptop.

    New Google looks too much like Bing, bah.

  3. TIME TRAVEL.
    Am i the only one who finds only time travel into the past exciting. After all we are traveling into the future just slowly. I heard a theory that states that time travel is like a telephone you need a receiver on both sides. I also heard the CERN particle accelorator could work as one.

  4. Ok so my understanding of this time travel thing is that this space ship will b travelling loads faster than what th earth is spinning? Like 1 roatation of earth (a day) would take th ship 1 sec to travel th same distance ? So my question is… Because we are human and will always b tied to th earth would we age as fast as our friends at home? Is time not relative or sumthin ??? Ok iv fucked my own head up now …

    • “Because we are human and will always b tied to th earth would we age as fast as our friends at home?”

      Short answer: no.

      That’s the wrong assumption. We are not in any way tied to earth. The idea is that the faster you get to the speed of light the ‘slower’ time goes for you. It wouldn’t feel any different but if you could watch everything around you would be moving faster. I hate to get mathematical on something like this because algebra isn’t that popular but let me put it like this:

      The speed of light is ‘c’. So if you take a twin brother and put him in a rocket and send that rocket off to space going at something like 90% speed of light (.90c) if you let him just ride for say 5 years. When he gets back he will only have aged (call it) 2 years, whereas his brother is now +5 years. So he’s effectively ‘time traveled’ into the future.

      I haven’t read this particular article but traditionally it’s been known in the sci-fi circles that if you ever get to 1.0c or reach the speed of light, then time would stop, or something or whathave you. The point is the faster you go the slower you ‘age’.

      I don’t remember how good the explanation is but it’s a minor plot point in the book “Ender’s Game”. Good book, great story and it’s easy and short enough for non-geeks to get into. You read that and you should be able to sorta see how it would work.

      • so the twin on the ship would come back to earth and his brother would look really old and he would still look young? would they be the same age?!

        also, ender’s game is one of my favourite books! i’ve felt conflicted though ever since i found out orson scott card is part of NOM and i refuse to read any of the sequels.

  5. I also freaked out a little bit after Google changed mostly because the change was so small that after being like “what is going on!” I decided that I must just be crazy because nothing was different. It was a very disconcerting feeling.

    On another note, I tried to explain time travel to my friend and she just refused to believe me. Also, did anyone else watch some sort of crazy special on PBS where they explained it by having one guy drive off on his scooter at near the speed of light and come back and everyone else was old? Was that just me?

    • I think the scooter bit you’re referring to is from “Cosmos”, with Carl Sagan. In other news I want to look down that bellmouth so bad (though I might go the way of the proverbial cat)!

  6. You are being a little sensitive (and not without reason I guess). It’s the NPR title that’s misleading. The article itself is actually about how casual games attract women. Not how women only play simplistic games. The former is true, the latter is insulting.

    There area lot of girls out there who play real games. Probably most of them are more hardcore than I am but if you deny that the casual market is more women than man that’s like denying most of the Maxim market is more men than woman. It’s not so much a reflection of gender bias as it is the product advertising demo. Maxim doesn’t target women, so that’s not where they go. It’s the same with FPS games that (traditionally and for many many years not at all) didn’t target women.

    • You’re right. And actually, the part that made me squirm was the (audio) interview with the woman playing Bejeweled for some reason, not so much the message of the article.

  7. belmouth spillways and time travel? i love mysteries! my physics teacher in high school liked to talk about wormholes and how if we could catch one and make it big enough to go through, we could fly it out in a spaceship close to the speed of light, we’d have a door to travel into the past and the future.

  8. My friends and I used to have campfire conversations about how time travel and teleportation aren’t actually possible. (Because we are physics nerds.) Not in the sense of actually going to the same place but at a different time and being able to interact. Even what Hawking is describing is just sort of messing with space-time, not traveling to Earth’s future. Reminded me of Flight of the Navigator, though. I loved that movie when I was little.

    • But wouldn’t it be awesome if it were possible?

      I’d go back in time and tell my 13 year old self that it’s okay, I’m gay and mum alreadys knows. Would’ve spared me five years of teenage angsty misery. tehe

  9. Thanks for the “Humble Bundle” tip. Went and got it as I’ve been meaning to check out “World of Goo” for ages. Just tried it out and I love the little goo balls with their squeaking and all. <3

  10. Assuming you could successfully build and launch such a spaceship, wouldn’t you be afraid of colliding with something traveling at speeds near the speed of light?

  11. This fix is BLOWING. MY. MIND.

    I don’t understand Stephen Hawking, man. He’s so fucking smart that it makes my thoughts go broken. The only question I have for him though, is can we make our time travel space ship look like a police box?

  12. The Ladybower Belmouth is 1/2 a mile up the road from me, and I can remember when there was a walkway round the edge. Sadly due to people throwing litter down it they removed it.

    We humans spoil it for ourselves yet again!!

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