Sunday, April 25, 2010

Thanks Stephen Hawking

You know, and I was just about to hang out with some aliens. But after reading this article, I'm starting to have second thoughts:
British astrophysicist Stephen Hawking says aliens are out there, but it could be too dangerous for humans to interact with extraterrestrial life. Hawking claims in a new documentary that intelligent alien lifeforms almost certainly exist, but warns that communicating with them could be "too risky."
Damn! There go my plans for the weekend. This is sort of like someone telling you, "Hey, don't catch the flu." I'll see what I can do.

Personally, I don't believe that aliens exist, or at least not creatures with legs and eyes and such. To me it's one of those irrelevant questions. Say that aliens either do, or do not, exist. Am I supposed to do something different with my life? Sometimes I think our fear of "aliens" is really just our own sublimated fear of each other. I know most people find it hard to believe that humans are the only intelligent lifeforms in the entire universe, but I don't. And yes, JFK was assassinated by just some guy with a rifle. Sorry to be a party pooper.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Interesting Article About Pianos...Now This Is What Slate Is For

The Wolf at Our Heals: The centuries-old struggle to stay in tune.

The article is an interesting explanation of an arcane subject understandable by a layman. The whole thing could be completely wrong and I wouldn't know. But it was a very enjoyable use of my 10 minutes.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Video Games Still Not Art

Or so says Roger Ebert.

Why not? Ebert prefers cave paintings to some game about the Waco confrontation I've never heard about.

He writes, "One obvious difference between art and games is that you can win a game. It has rules, points, objectives, and an outcome."

So? Let's say that I convince the National Hockey League to play its next game inside of San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. We put ice all over the floors and somehow incorporate the stairs. That would be sort of artistic wouldn't it?

Ebert continues: "She quotes Robert McKee's definition of good writing as "being motivated by a desire to touch the audience." This is not a useful definition, because a great deal of bad writing is also motivated by the same desire."

Bad art isn't art? If what we're after is some kind of high-brow definition of art that excludes crap like Thomas Kinkade paintings then great. But this definition would also exclude a lot of the movies that Ebert likes. Also, what is and is not art would change over time as the critical reputation of artists waxes and wanes.

Ebert thinks art improves when it "improves or alters nature through an passage through what we might call the artist's soul, or vision." Okay, great, but video games could do this.

The only real distinction that Ebert makes in the piece is that bit about rules and goals. Which is fine I suppose. But then we'd have all the art parts of a game--the story, the digital paintings, the music--and also some non-art parts. This reminds me of how in a movie you have all the guys just bringing sandwiches and calculating budgets and doing all that other non-art stuff that goes into making a movie. Wait a minute...

Personally, I don't see the art/non-art distinction being all that meaningful. I'm much more interested in the good art/bad art distinction. Or the good game/bad game distinction. Art/non-art? Well that's just something to talk about if you have nothing else to say.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Little Earl - Film Director?

Directing a short film (yes, you heard me right) hasn't left much time for El Bloggo - in addition to working full-time, searching for an apartment, trying to move into said new apartment, and following every single game of the recently commenced baseball season. But once again the day will come when I will be unemployed and antisocial, and you would be wise to take heed of the sheer sonic force that my blogging power will emit.