Chutes and Ladders (‘Snakes and Ladders’ in England, and ‘Hoses and Pickets’ in Canada) is fun to play for 5-year-olds, but it quickly loses its value once the players realize that the game is entirely deterministic.
Perhaps it is because we enjoy the illusion of choice and freedom of will that we prefer games that allow us to make mistakes in judgement, rather than simply following the directions from the omnipotent, yet random force of a die or spinning wheel.
So, to make the game more enjoyable, here are some variation that older players might enjoy.
This is the most crucial variation in that it adds the possibility of choice to each turn.
As in parcheesi (or Sorry!), on each turn, a player may … Read the rest
The theater used to be people’s source of low-brow entertainment. The traveling shows of the 1890s, for example, would have some cornball songs, slapstick comedy, and burlesque.
When film became a popular medium, it initially relied on immitating the successful aspects of theater, and became the principal source of this kind of music, comedic, and otherwise titilating content. (The Three Stooges and others of that era had all been Vaudeville acts)
Theater was more expensive in terms of reaching a wide audience, and responded to this competition by becoming more high-brow and abandoning the corny songs and slapstick in favor of more erudite entertainment.
Film grew in popularity and began adding other kinds of content, such as newsreels and cartoons, which theater had never been able … Read the rest
Chess has some interesting abstractions: the pawns represent the relatively weak infantry who can only advance but are able to attack in a diagonal, quasi-phalanx style; the hooked move of the knight represents cavalry’s ability to flank and get behind the enemy; and I imagine the rook’s long-range motion represents the long attack of archers in the towers.
But all the other aspects of the game do not represent reality, and I’m guessing were adjustments made to improve gameplay. It would make more sense to give the king the movement ability that the queen has, but as it also makes the most sense as the ultimate target, I understand the reason to separate the ‘royal family’ into two units, one with power and one as target. … Read the rest
According to Mitsubishi, Wakamaru was designed by Mr. Toshiyuki Kita, who patterned the robot after a growing child. The name “wakamaru” derives from the childhood nickname of Minamoto Yoshitsune, a twelfth-century Japanese Samurai who engineered military victories that enabled his brother Yoritomo to gain control of Japan. The name is associated with “growth” and “development,” the company says.
Wakamaru uses face recognition to identify up to ten people, including two that considers “owners.” It uses speech recognition technology to identify 10,000 Japanese words. Speech synthesis capabilities include voice modulation and using gestures when speaking. It recognizes names given it by users, Mitsubishi says.
A panoramic top-of-head camera enables Wakamaru to identify its position in the house according to the ceiling. This camera also allows the robot … Read the rest
Heinrich Schenker had some interesting theories of music. One, I believe, was that every euphonious melody begins on the 3rd or 5th and ends on the root.
If you find a melody that does not fit this pattern, by adding or removing notes so that the melody does fit will actually ‘fix’ the melody and make it sound better.
– Made with FruityLoops, Jazz32, and Audition, as well as Blaze Audio Wave Creator and Goldwave
– VanBasco’s Karaoke Player is good for previewing midi files, jetAudio converts just about all formats, including midi. AnvilStudio edits midi files.
The Old Negro Space Program is one of those ‘mockumentaries’ that is just so darn funny. There is overt humor, but at another level is the parodying of all the Ric and Kevin Burns films, and at another level is an indirect perspective on race relations in America.… Read the rest