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Rebecca MacKinnon : “The American School in Shanghai turned a bunch of North Korean asylum-seekers over to the Chinese police, who will send them back to North Korea and thus to j
Sep 30th, 2004 by Ken Hagler

Rebecca MacKinnon: “The American School in Shanghai turned a bunch of North Korean asylum-seekers over to the Chinese police, who will send them back to North Korea and thus to jail/torture. The media is totally not reporting this. It would be great if the blogosphere raised a stink over the questionable actions of our fellow Americans overseas.” [Scripting News]

The Feds love to charge foreigners who have never set foot in America with violating American laws. Here’s a situation where it’s worth considering charging actual American citizens with a crime against American laws comitted overseas. If those poor Koreans are in fact sent back to their deaths, perhaps the school staff that called the police should be charged with murder under the doctrine of “depraved indifference to human life.”

Private Rocket Unofficially Reaches Space .
Sep 29th, 2004 by Ken Hagler

Private Rocket Unofficially Reaches Space. [Yahoo! News]

The first flight was a success! The next flight is scheduled for Monday, and if that goes well they’ll win the X Prize.

Nikon recently announced a new digital SLR, the D2X .
Sep 28th, 2004 by Ken Hagler

Nikon recently announced a new digital SLR, the D2X. Unfortunately it has the same undersized sensor as the earlier D-series cameras, so it’s of no interest to me. If Nikon ever comes out with a full-frame digital SLR, I’ll buy one.

Game.
Sep 27th, 2004 by Ken Hagler

Game. Narrative. Simulation.. This important and thoughtful consideration of role playing game theory by Ron Edwards was recommended by Paranoia legend Greg Costikyan. It starts at an unusual place:

“My straightforward observation of the activity of role-playing is that many participants do not enjoy it very much. Most role-players I encounter are tired, bitter, and frustrated.”

A key lesson (and nicely turned phrase) on incoherent game design is a useful caution for interactive drama theory:

“… The Great Impossible Thing to Believe Before Breakfast: that the Game Master may be defined as the author of the ongoing story, and, simultaneously, the players may determine the actions of the characters as the story’s protagonists.”

Costikyan’s review of the No Press Anthology is the occasion for a fascinating survey of independent RPG design, which I strongly recommend to everyone interested in interactive narrative. [Mark Bernstein]

I’m not so impressed. Mr. Edwards could have saved himself a great deal of time by simply writing, “I am an academic,” followed by six pages filled with “Blah, blah, blah.” It wouldn’t have significantly altered the result.

I took a quick look around the site, but could find no description of the author’s background. I would be very surprised if he wasn’t some sort of graduate student or professor in a “humanities” field at some university or other.

After the X Prize .
Sep 27th, 2004 by Ken Hagler

After the X Prize. rscrawford writes “‘Robert Bigelow, chief of Las Vegas-based Bigelow Aerospace, is apparently setting higher goals for private spaceflight endeavors with America’s Space Prize, a $50 million race to build an orbital vehicle capable of carrying up to seven astronauts to an orbital outpost by the end of the decade,’ according to Space.com. Anyone think it’ll happen?” [Slashdot]

I have no idea if anyone will really put up the money for such a prize, but if they did I think it could be done.

not silent, not even close .
Sep 27th, 2004 by Ken Hagler

not silent, not even close. Couldn’t resist this one:

You could tell he’d had enough. I’m talking about Ibrahim Hooper. If the name is familiar, it’s because Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Washington, D.C., has become the news media’s go-to guy on issues related to Islam and terrorism.

This particular morning, he was being interviewed on an all-news radio station in Washington when the anchor asked a pointed, predictable question: Why don’t we ever hear Muslims and Muslim leaders condemn terrorist atrocities carried out in the name of their faith?

You could almost hear the vein in Hooper’s temple begin to vibrate. He answered in a frustrated voice that he in fact condemns such barbarity all the time, and that he e-mails statements saying so to a wide variety of news outlets, including this particular anchor’s own station. The newsman said he’d never received such a statement. Hooper asked for his e-mail address.

He was still fuming when I reached him by phone an hour later. The question, he said, surfaces in every radio interview. “I spend half my time writing condemnations of terrorism,” he told me, “and nobody seems to be paying attention. And when we say something like, ‘Gee, an Islamic center in El Paso was firebombed on Friday, isn’t that worthy of condemnation, too?’… it’s almost as if people believe Muslims deserve it.”

The reference was to an incident a little more than a week ago wherein a man tossed a beer bottle full of gasoline with a makeshift wick at a group of Muslim kids. Tragedy was averted when the gasoline failed to ignite. CAIR has asked Texas officials to speak out against what it calls “Islamophobia.” At this writing, there has been no response.

I support CAIR’s contention that it condemns Islamic terrorism, having frequently seen such statements in news coverage and on the group’s Web site. “I don’t know what more we can do,” Hooper said…

…”This thing of, you’ve got to jump through these certain hoops, and if you don’t jump through these hoops you’re with the enemy, it’s getting kind of old,” he said.

Indeed, it’s a paradigm that’s as old as pluralistic society. It would never occur to us to require that the Rev. Billy Graham condemn Eric Rudolph, the nominal Christian who allegedly bombed two abortion clinics, a gay nightclub and the Atlanta Olympics.

But the rules are different for minorities, whether religious, sexual or racial. Them we keep on probation, their acceptance conditioned on an unspoken understanding that their loyalty to our mores is always suspect.

It’s not fair, but it is real. So Hooper swallows his frustration and dutifully sends out a statement of condemnation every time some Muslim fanatic misbehaves.

At the end of our conversation, I thanked him for his time. He asked for my e-mail address.

Seriously, folks, Muslims have been saying these things for a long time. Maybe it’s time others started listening. [Al-Muhajabah’s Islamic Blogs]

I’ve noticed this myself.

BBC .  Branson contracts five “Virgin Galactic” spaceliners from Rutan.  [ John Robb’s Weblog ] More on the Virgin/Scaled Composites story.
Sep 27th, 2004 by Ken Hagler

BBC.  Branson contracts five “Virgin Galactic” spaceliners from Rutan.  [John Robb’s Weblog]

More on the Virgin/Scaled Composites story. A ticket price is finally mentioned, but unfortunately it’s very high:

My Pismo came back from Apple today, and (somewhat to my surprise) it’s actually fixed! I should be able to get another year of service out of it before it needs a new motherboard again.
Sep 27th, 2004 by Ken Hagler

My Pismo came back from Apple today, and (somewhat to my surprise) it’s actually fixed! I should be able to get another year of service out of it before it needs a new motherboard again.

# Margaret Talev at The Sacramento Bee – Rifle ban signed by governor – Current owners
Sep 15th, 2004 by Ken Hagler

#
Margaret Talev at The Sacramento Bee –

Rifle ban signed by governor
– Current owners of .50 BMG rifles
are directed to register them. I used

this online form
to send the Governator the following message:
[lrtdiscuss]
bq.
Arnold,

I read in the on-line edition of the Sacramento Bee that you signed
AB50, banning .50 BMG rifles and ammunition in California. I thought
you were a decent human being, and now I discover that you’re nothing
but a girly-man.

Shame on you, sir. Shame.

-Bill St. Clair
[End the War on Freedom]

I don’t have such a rifle (too expensive and heavy for me), but if I did I certainly wouldn’t register it. I’m not at all surprised that Schwartzenegger signed it. It was obvious during the campaign that he was just another liberal running as a Republican–something we have in abundance in California. I was annoyed at the time (and still am) at the idiots who claimed to be conservatives who voted for him and not McClintock, who was genuinely conservative. I didn’t vote for him either (because he was genuinely conservative), but if he was in office he would have vetoed the ban.

My new PC Laptop, a Micron Transport T2200, arrived yesterday ahead of schedule.
Sep 15th, 2004 by Ken Hagler

My new PC Laptop, a Micron Transport T2200, arrived yesterday ahead of schedule. I’ve been getting it set up, and so far I’m impressed with the design. It’s more solidly built than my Pismo, despite being the same weight. The keyboard has a good feel, and the screen is nice and large. The only flaw is an awkward design of the trackpad buttons–a flaw shared by the TiBook. The Pismo has the best button design I’ve seen.

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