frobzwiththingz: (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] pheromone got me thinking about bowling recently. As an admirer/builder of things mechanical, bowling pinsetters have always been an interest. A couple of years ago i ran across (on the 'net, of course) a couple of people designing a new duckpin pinsetter. This would be cool, as no company has made one since about 1947. All duckpin bowling centers still running are doing so via ancient spare parts, sheer force of will, duct-tape, and bailing wire. I was curious to see if they had gotten anywhere, so i searched for them again today. Couldn't find them. But i did find this, on a candlepin bowling site:

"In a world dominated by technology, automatic scoring brings an age-old pastime, bowling, into the Information Age. No longer do bowlers have to mark scores on sheets of paper with big fat pencils. People are free to socialize and run to the snack bar or the restroom while the computer does the nitty-gritty work for them. Bowlers can sit back, relax, and cheer on their teammates while they bowl."

"Autoscoring also opens up the game of candlepin bowling to a new clientele - people who have never gone bowling before. These people can simply lace up their bowling shoes and roll without having to learn how to keep score. Too, the animations that autoscoring often provides entertain bowlers, congratulating them when they throw a strike or ridiculing them when they roll a gutter ball. When people see and use the autoscoring systems, they no longer will think of bowling as an antique game stuck in the 1950s in "dark, dingy basements."


Well, grump. I dont like the new "auto scoring" bowling centers. Is it really the goal of "the information age" to eliminate any need for my brain to process information? Should it be? Isn't "keeping score" in some way part of the whole "bowling" experience? Is it really better to take it out? What, exactly, is added by having those animations?

And what is this about bowling being a "dark, dingy basement" thing? What if made the above "information age" transformations to other "dark, dingy basement" activities? "No Ma'am, there is no need to count your lashes. Our automated system does that for you. When you reach 25 the wide-screen Hello Kitty Avatar will awaken and scoff at you."

If anyone does do that, i want royalties.
frobzwiththingz: (Default)
George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, etc; this means YOU.

I just saw what i think is the best science fiction film i've seen in years. And it required virtually *no* special effects at all. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Learn from this, people. Please.
frobzwiththingz: (Default)
a recent entry in [livejournal.com profile] n0ire's lj (about a bill in committee in in Florida) got me wondering yet again about the whole "Evolution-vs-Creationism-in-the-Schools" issue that this country can't seem to get rid of. Every time i hear about another fundamentalist press to get Creationism taught side by side with evolutionist theory it's invariably accompanied by an equal or greater group of scared secularists screaming "NFW" from the other side of the fence. And they've won, so far, but it seems that the battle never goes away. Each time i see it i become more convinced that the only way to get rid of the creationists once and for all is to Let Them In.

If I were a science teacher in the public schools, I'd be perfectly happy to allow one of those folk time in my classroom to explain their theory. I mean, really, how much time would it take? How long can it possibly take to let them read Genesis 1:1-31? Put it in ascii and it's less than 5Kbytes. There's more than enough wasted time in any high school science class to burn a day letting a creationist state their case in front of my students. I say go for it. Here's what i see as a one possible result:

Me: "Today we have a special guest lecturer, Mr. Fun D. Mentalist from the Institute for Creationist Research. We've agreed to let them send a representative of their research group come in and explain to you how the Earth and the universe was created. Please give Mr. Mentalist your full attention and respect. Thank you. Why don't we just delve right in: Mr. Mentalist, how did we come to be here today? How was the earth created?"

FDM: "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth." (Genesis 1:1)
[insert Genesis 1: 2-19 here. no need to quote it to you all.]

[silence]

Me: "Um, OK. what about all those plants and animals? how did they get there?"

FDM: [insert Genesis 1:20-31 here]

(By this point we might have taken up a whole 15 minutes. Horrors.)

Me: Wow. Thats pretty awesome. How did he do it?

FDM: [blank stare] "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth."

Me: I didn't ask you *what* he did. I asked you *how* he did it. Since you're the guest lecturer today, we're willing to take *what* he did as a matter of faith. We're interested in the details. I had to pull a lot of strings with the school committee to let you speak here. In fact, they thought i was a bit nuts. But in the interest of Truth, all alternate explanations of how the universe was formed really should be examined. So please, tell us. how did God create the earth and the creatures on it?

FDM: [more blank stares]

Me: Did he use power tools? Advanced nanotech? Something else? Did he watch reruns of "This Old House"?

FDM: You really shouldn't be so disrepectful.

Me: Sorry. I'll rephrase that. Does your scripture give you any clues as to how God accomplished those seemingly miraculous tasks?

FDM: Um, no.

Me: Don't you want to know? We scientists do.

FDM: It was not meant for us mortals to understand such things.

Me: Um, actually it was. The ability to seek out such knowledge was freely offered to us. The price for gaining that was to become mortal. And possibly understand far more than we really wanted to [Genesis 2:16]. And, according to your doctrine, that decision was made for us quite a while ago [Genesis 3:1-6]. I dont have a time machine, and thus i cannot go back and vomit up that fruit.
Mr. Mentalism, this is a science class. it's entire point is to figure out how the universe works and how it got there. If you have any information that could help us out, we'd really like to have it. I was really hoping you had some divine revelation for us; some *big clue* we havent dug up yet. If you would rather argue whether we *should* be trying to figure out how it was done, I can arrange some time for you to speak in Mr Hartley's "Religion and Ethics" class down the hall. Would you like that?

FDM: [more blank stares.]

Etc. Honestly, i can't see Mr. Fun D. Mentalist getting any better result than this, and i dont understand why the secularist folk are afraid to let it happen.

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