Archive for February, 2006
Current mood: Not Groggy
The unusual thing about motorcycles is that they don’t fall down. (I’m not saying they can’t, it’s just that they typically don’t) How does a motorcycle stay up? I mean, when it is standing still, it is really hard to balance. You have to use your feet or the kickstand or it will just topple over. (This is true for bicycles too, for those of us who haven’t actually ridden a motorcycle) But when the motorcycle starts moving, it stays up. It feels like magic. If it falls down when it is standing still, why should it be any different if it is moving?The answer is time dilation. As a moving object (the motorcycle) approches the speed of light, its mass increases, as predicted by special relativity. In four dimensional terms, the motorcycle compresses, bringing a little more of the future motorcycle into the present (or to put it another way, the motorcycle in the present catches up with the part of itself that is already in the future) This coexistance of present and future in the present is what prevents the act of “falling down”. If the motorcycle were to start to fall, it would have already started to fall, thus getting in its own way and propping itself back up.It doesn’t have to be a motorcycle. Any moving object approaching the speed of light can reproduce this effect. Try it yourself by running really fast and then trying to fall down.
See? It can’t be done.
Current mood: out-of-sync with something
I usually like to post here about art, and that art is usually in the form of drawings. But I also believe in games-as-art. For something crazy like 9 years now, I have been working on a program called the OHRRPGCE which lets you make your own game with minimal programming knowledge. It is only good for old-school console-style RPG games similar to the NES and Super Nintendo Final Fantasy games– so if you are not into that you won’t be interested– but if you ARE into that, by all means, do play with this new toy.
People don’t often thing of game-making as art, and I think that is partly because the tools of the medium are so hard to pick up, let alone to master. You don’t have to be Rembrandt to pick up a paintbrush and slap some paint on a canvas. Most art is very approachable, even if it isn’t easy to do well. Programming games on the other hand requires you to spend hours, days, weeks, even months reading tutorials and manuals before you can even learn and understand enough to blit your first pixel. That is part of why I do this. This is not the same kind of tool the professionals use, but it is a tool that anybody can pick up.
My game maker used to be a DOS program, but yesterday I released a version that runs natively on Windows, making it that much more approachable for average non-programmers. If you want to try it out, you can download it from http://HamsterRepublic.com/dl/ohrrpgce-win-installer.exe
Current mood: dissemantic
EDIT: I wrote this post before “Xena” got its official name: Eris
I am a space nerd. Even before I started kindergarten, I had memorized the names of all the planets in the solar system. I was very excited back then about the idea of a 10th planet.
Depending on how you count, there are already 10 planets… or more… or less. The trouble is, once we got good at looking for small objects beyond Pluto, it started to become clear that the word “Planet” was becoming ambiguous. There is currently a debate in the space-nerd community over whether Pluto should lose “Planet” status, or whether a whole bunch of other big-balls-of-rock-and-ice should be added to the list of planets. Personally, I don’t care one way or the other, but the debate did get me wondering about exactly how big these objects are in a way that I can actually relate to the size. So I grabbed a screen-shot from google maps and made this diagram of how big the moon, Pluto and Xena would be if you placed them on the Earth’s surface.
I got the diameter approximation for Xena from this BBC news article. Note that Xena is not the “official” name. This This particular planet.. planetoid… planety-thing has not yet been given an official name. I don’t put much stock in official naming schemes. People who obsess about officially correct naming misunderstand an important thing about names. A name is not intended to be a universal truth. A name does not need to be unique, it does not need to be consistent, it does not even need to be agreed-upon. A name is just a word that is associated with a particular thing in a particular context.
Our most sincere apologies to the citizens of Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Columbia, Jamaica, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, Brazil, Suriname, French Guiana, Benin, Nigeria, Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Togo, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Siera Leone, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Senegal, The Gambia, and Cape Verde, who were all crushed in the making of this illustration. I am very sorry. Our sympathy also goes out to the countless millions in other parts of the word who were killed by the ensuing mega-tidal-waves.EDIT: It has been brought to my attention that I am also a geography nerd ;)
Current mood: 12 percent dead, 70 percent really really good
About a month ago, a nice stranger named Erin noticed this drawing in my gallery, and asked me if I would draw a fairy for her to use in a tattoo. The finished product deviated greatly from what she originally described to me, so much so that I would be really surprised if it is of any use to her at all, but nonetheless, I did enjoy drawing it. It is nice to be inspired by someone else’s ideas once in a while.If any of you reading this would like to commission me to draw them a picture, just let me know (with the understanding that after you tell me what you want me to draw, I will then go and draw whatever I feel like drawing instead ;)