Penn Jillette on Videogaming

November 24, 2009

I am a fan of Penn and Teller. They do amazing magic trick shows to educate others on our mind and perception, and they generally encourage critical thinking and skepticism. Recently, Penn got in an interview about the episode of Bullshit on videogames. Wow, finally, someone who defends videogame as a legitimate form of entertainment and art! Not that there has never been a defense on electronic gaming and all, but it is usually from the gamers who defend it themselves. Sometimes, I wonder if those people decrying videogames as harmful to society might have some truth to it. Maybe they do, but then, I remind myself that movies have far more violent content, but it has never brought about the downfall of our civilization. Although just like videogames, movies did have its stages in which it was trying to vie for public acceptance, especially those with violent and sexual contents. So did rock and roll, many books, and whatever form of entertainment you can think of. Eventually, movies did become considered legitimate forms of arts. I wonder whether videogames will reach the same status.

Oh yeah, and it is true, Jack Thompson is, I am quoting here, an “a**hole”. Although that particular legal bit of videogaming history is over, as the media is being accepted, and the guy has been disbarred. Of course, you have to be careful of the games you hand out to children, but I tell you, this Jack Thompson guy was going to extremes.

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Astro Art and Planets

August 17, 2009

Firstly, on with carnival 115.

Secondly, I found this cool website of artistic renditions of our Solar System. They are extremely well done. Sometimes, it feels like you are there. ^_^ This one is my favorite:

triton

That is Triton being destroyed. Its orbit is too low, and it will eventually decay.Sad that a lot of cool stuff in our System is going to end in destruction, including Saturn’s rings, Phobos, eventually, the sun itself, with Mercury along with it, and maybe Venus and Earth. We better appreciate them while we can! 😉

Also, I found, get this, the blog of the astronomer who found Eris, that goddess of discord which killed Pluto, Mike Brown’s blog! He is a planetary astronomer, which is pretty much my favorite branch of astronomy. Planets, unlike stars and galaxies, are like people. Each one of them have different personalities, and each one has so many fascinating stuff we don’t know about. Let’s take Titan, that weird exotic place with liquid methane lakes, and recently, a stormy cloud over the equator. It must be really weird being in that planet, with all the hazy sky. I wonder if you can see Saturns through the haze? Anyways, you see, whichever that exists outside the Solar System, there must be many that are quiet exotic as this one.

Even if we don’t have a lot of info on extrasolar planets, we are still finding weird and exotic things like Pulsar Planets, hot Jupiters and Neptunes, and maybe ocean worlds. Plus, how about the moons of those planets, what are they like? Recently, they found a huge puff ball exoplanet orbiting the opposite of what the planets usually do. You may check the database if you want, but there are a lot of weird planets out there, each one unique. So yeah, that is my ideal job, once I plod through undergraduate school, which starts at August 24.

This video, by the way, represents everything I love about astronomy:

(hat tip badastronomy, universe today, and PZ for the video)