Dan Davis (USA)

Said of world record sprinter Dan Davis (USA), in The Animatrix:

Courtesy of The Animatrix

"Only the most exceptional people become aware of the Matrix. Those that learn it exists possess a rare degree of intuition, sensitivity, and a questioning nature. However, very rarely, some gain this wisdom through wholly different means.

"This man is one of those few."

More On Motion Capture

Further notes on my attempts to extend Benjamin:

Film

Production: camera takes live performance and compresses or flattens it into a 2-D space. Consumption: performance is consumed via the 2-D surface of the screen.

Videogame

Production: motion capture technologies take live performance and store it in 3-D space. Consumption: currently consumed as a 3-D experience via the 2-D screen, but only because commercially viable 3-D output devices do not exist yet.

Yankees-Sox Notes

Two weird things that came out of tonight's Yankees-Sox Game 6:

1. They played the end of the game with cops in riot gear on the field, because the New York fans were getting unruly.

2. I got a referral to sportsBabel from a Google search for "curt schilling convert to christianity".

Madden's Next Fifteen?

Notes from last night's Monday Night Football tilt between St. Louis and Tampa Bay:

I don't really have any thoughts on the game last night, 'cause I thought it was pretty boring. Instead, I thought I would highlight the evolution of Madden Football over the past decade and a half. Where is it going in the next fifteen years?

1989

1992

1994

1997

2000

2005

Tolkien, Shakespeare and Virtuality

From Edward Castronova:

What about immersive? Tolkien argued ["On Fairy Stories", 1939] that drama was not a proper modality for the delivery of fantasy: you have to believe the actor before you can believe the world he is in, and that second layer of disbelief, not present in literature, prevents the viewer's immersion. And surely, if average people cannot play Elves, they certainly cannot play Hamlet.

Yet this overlooks the possibility that viewers, indeed a whole society, could become the actors. Not too many writers considered this, before the era of computer networks, anyway. But Shakespeare did.

Yes: Many of his plays consciously invoke the notion of virtuality. In As You Like It, folks escape to the Forest of Arden to change their social status, their names, even their sex, prompting the forest-philosopher Jacques to note that "all the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players." Meanwhile, after The Tempest drops off some real-world folk on a mysterious isle where everything is different and magic is king, its owner declares that everything is an image, indeed, that "we are such stuff as dreams are made on" (emphasis added). Macbeth sums up the absurdity of his situation by declaring "Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage, and then is heard no more." Going the other way, Henry V's Prologue wants to make a whole kingdom into a stage, so she can enact fake battles upon it. And poor Prince Hamlet spends a considerable amount of time working with actors who will play parts related to those being played by the real actors on the stage, a telescoping effect that, according to Shakespeare scholar Harold Bloom [Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human, chapter 23], gives you the overwhelming impression that Hamlet's principle suffering is not that he's got weird parental figures, but that he is a real person trapped inside a play.

Reality and the American Empire

From William Gibson's blog:

In the summer of 2002, after I had written an article in Esquire that the White House didn't like about Bush's former communications director, Karen Hughes, I had a meeting with a senior adviser to Bush. He expressed the White House's displeasure, and then he told me something that at the time I didn't fully comprehend — but which I now believe gets to the very heart of the Bush presidency.

The aide said that guys like me were 'in what we call the reality-based community,' which he defined as people who 'believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.' I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. 'That's not the way the world really works anymore,' he continued. 'We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality — judiciously, as you will — we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.'

– Ron Suskind, "Without a Doubt", New York Times Magazine