Synook

Sunlight

Let the ephemeral sunlight shine through the gathering clouds onto the waves crashing upon the shores of our hearts; and in the last moments of our day shall we be called to travel beyond the endless seas to the place where time is no more, a place forever waiting for those who remain to join us who have gone, in the eternal sunlight of the perfect day.

Fez impressions

Fez is a compelling game. The combination of the art style and music, exploration mechanics, and puzzles come together to create a platformer with a much deeper appeal than most. Many hours into the game, with almost of all objectives complete, I am still encouraged to continue and solve the last secrets within the game.

Perhaps what surprised me most about the game is what the main gameplay actually turned out to be like. For any of you that have seen any gameplay footage from the game, it would seem that the complexity comes mainly from the ability to rotate to 2D world in a “2.5D” manner, and the confusion that arises from that. While the rotation is a major gameplay mechanic the game does not rest long on exploiting it by itself, and introduces many other puzzles and tricks that build upon the original mechanic. By the end of the game, rotating the world seems like a natural action, necessary, but done without thinking twice — it ends up just being how the world of Fez works.

Instead, scattered throughout the game are a vast number of puzzles of all kinds, requiring a broad range of methods in order to solve. From the first, simple manipulation puzzles to end-game, cryptic enigmas the game builds, bit by bit, upon what the player has already completed in order to craft a mystery of a proportion quite incredible for the game of its size, and one that takes a long time to solve. The world is incredibly detailed, with a well-designed code language and many small details that all contribute to the overall solution. There are many surprises, too, such as timed jumping puzzles, that continue to push the boundary even long into the game when everything seems to have been already discovered. It’s never possible to know just what is behind the next closed door.

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Spot Pricing

the-magazine.org

Imagine your city passes a law requiring that all hotels in town, from the fleabag on Mediterranean Avenue to the Four Seasons on Boardwalk, charge $100 a night. You don’t have to be an economist to know what will happen: the best hotels will be booked to capacity every night, and no one will ever stay at the CheapSleep.

No city price-fixes its hotels, but plenty make the same mistake with curbside parking spaces. Make them all the same price, and you’ll never get a spot on chichi Hayes Street unless you drive around (and around, and around) waiting for one to open up.

A promising method of reducing parking prices and increasing availability in San Francisco. Fixed meter pricing (at least here in Melbourne) is getting ridiculously high.

Vaccination

Imagine if 100% of children got vaccinated. The rate of autism is above 0%, so some children will then be diagnosed with autism.

So then the percentage of autistic children who had previously been vaccinated would be 100% — perfect one-way correlation…

Medium

medium.com

Medium is based on the belief that the sharing of ideas and experiences is what moves humanity forward. The Internet is the greatest idea-sharing tool ever imagined, but we’ve only scratched the surface of its capabilities.

An interesting web publishing platform from the people who made Blogger, with some interesting voices writing for it.

Truth and lies

The truth is but a simple thing. To a person, there is only one truth, reflected in the real world around them.

A lie, however, is different. It is far more complex. A lie is part of an alternate reality. This alternate world is similar to the real one, but where there is a lie, it differs. To maintain the lie, it is necessary to live not in the real world, but in this alternate reality. If the alternate reality is forgotten, then the lie will fail, and the truth will be revealed. Thus, concentrating on the details of a carefully constructed and believable alternate reality is an inescapable part of the lie.

Alternate realities, however, are not to be trifled with. Once created, they cannot be escaped. Reconciliation with the real world is not possible. The only way to sustain the lies throughout the alternate reality, is for more lies to be created. Thus, the more time that passes, the more they draw those living within them ever deeper. Lies upon lies, lies within lies, such are inevitable to maintain the alternate reality. So those within, are trapped – forevermore with the burden of maintaining the alternate reality, in all its ever-increasing complexity. Impossible to keep track of, that complexity will be eventually, and then what?

Such it is with lies.

Schlock Mercenary

schlockmercenary.com

The longest-running web comic still around, with one strip published every day, no exceptions, since June 12, 2000. That’s a lot of comic. Well worth a read, if far future space mercenary fiction interests you, of course.

Autumn in Melbourne

Today is the first day of May — the start of the third month of Autumn here in the Southern Hemisphere. In Melbourne, Autumn is a time of highly varying weather, between sun-filled, balmy days, and cold, miserable days filled with wind and rain, but as May comes, so too come more cold days, as the last remnants of summer are blown away in gusts of damp, freezing winter air. The days flee more rapidly in Autumn, too, with daylight saving ensuring the loss of a whole hour of sunlight in the evenings (to be given to the morning). Gone are the evenings of light and warmth, to be replaced by swift nights, only to be retreated from to hide.

Thinking back, the speed in which this change comes about seems exceedingly rapid, for only a couple of months ago Melbourne was in the throes of summer, and one hotter than most other on record. Very slowly did it seem that the days got shorter, and the air cooler, and we even hoped for a quicker decent into winter, sweltering as we were in the unbearable heat. But now all that is gone, a distant memory to be thought of even fondly – how strange our minds work indeed. Now as we travel under the golden leaves and dark skies of autumn all we can wonder of is when the weather may be warm again.

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Geo-engineering and big oil

Sydney, from a Melbourne person's perspective

Well, I haven’t posted anything for a while. But, that’s because I’ve been in Sydney, Australia! As opposed to Melbourne, Australia, where I usually spend my time. Anyway, now I am back, and enjoying (or not) the heat of Melbourne. Several things, however, interested me about Sydney, and of course I am going to write about them here.

The first thing I noticed when I arrived was the weather. Although I was only there for a week or so, the difference between the climates of the two cities struck me. Sydney was much more humid than Melbourne, somewhat tropical, and was also much cooler (though not, apparently, in general). As a result, it was much easier to move around outside, and there was none of the dry, dehydrating wind I find common in Melbourne.

Anyway, enough of the weather — I’m back in Melbourne now and will have to deal with the 37-degree heat in other ways. So what is Sydney itself like?

Compared to Melbourne, Sydney is (or at least seems) big. The CBD itself seems to stretch on forever, and a quick stroll between Darling Harbour, on the West side, and Circular Quay to the North became an hour-long slog (we never made it). The sense of size is further compounded by the high density of the apparently never-ending suburbs. Indeed, some of the population centers, even those close to the CBD like North Sydney and St Leonards have skylines that seemingly would rival those

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