Tag Archives: Stephen Fry

Creation of moments

What is the value that comes from the creation of the moment? It is a fair question, a question mot do not now, mostly never reminiscence on. There I was rewatching NCIS season 2, one moment merely going up into the episode, the next moment a new series/mini series/movie comes into mind. This is not the first time, it has happened close to a dozen times, the frame of creation is one that most cannot fathom, but what happens when it falls into your lap? Would you recognise it? We are so ‘obsessed’ with the eternal, that no one seems to look into the other direction. What happens when we consider that the stories of the Greek gods were mostly true? We see some (Stephen Fry) give rise to one train of thought, even though I haven’t picked up Troy yet, the hardcover looks amazing. But in this, what happens when we consider that Poseidon, Hades and Zeus are close to gods, but what happens when the power of Poseidon changes due to our pollution, what happens when he becomes his version of deranged and strikes out? What happens when in the old days their seat of Olympus was because it was the highest they initially knew, so what happens when they moved to a place higher? What happens to him with pollution? You might think that this is all bollocks and from an academic point of view you could optionally be right. It is about creation, but what happens when creation can no longer happen? Creation of life and creation of thought? It remains a fair question. Some forms of creation is to invoke into others questions others were too afraid to ask. Minstrels did this all the way back in the 12th century. You see, this also reflects on the now, larger corporations are afraid of the question, but how healthy is meat nowadays? The overuse of antibiotics gives us more and more to worry about. We might shrug our shoulders on “A new report is taking the US beef industry to task for overuse of medically important antibiotics. The report, released yesterday by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), reveals that US cattle producers use more than 40% of all medically important antibiotics—those that are also used in human medicine—sold for use in US livestock, and use them three to six times more intensively than many of their European counterparts”, yet to some extent there is truth to ‘You are what you eat’ in that regard we have mostly become diseased. So how long until there is a visible impact? I wrote about this a few years ago, can we even consider beef, especially when the beef we ate when we were young (60’s) is no longer the same from the beef we see today, the meat makers do not want us to look, they are pretty much scared shitless on the findings there, and I would be too. I am not some vegetarian or vegan. I like my beef jut fine, I like sheep like any other, mostly as cutlets. Yet the question is more important than we think, even as too many scientists (most for valid reasons) are not wondering where Covid came from, but it evolves somehow and for the first time in a century is there a visible impact. And when you consider that we will hit the 1,500,000 cadaver marker, we better wake up. When have we seen that flu was a small temporary thing? During WW1 the numbers were skewed and most of us did not know better, but now that we do, can we idly sit by? 

So if Poseidon wanes in the ocean due to pollution, what can we hope for ourselves? In light of us handing over 1,500,000 foot soldiers to Hades, are we so much better? Yet I am not trying to ‘confuse’ science with fiction, however, is there a chance that we limited our view of science for reasons unknown? How many true long term investigations were done on the impact of antibiotics? The maker does not want to look into it, not to the degree we need to look, the seller of beef wants his money, so he is not cooperating, but can we afford that posture? 

Harvard Medical School gave us ‘Antibiotic resistance and the dangers of superbugs’ (Sep 2019), if that is so, did we, through short sightedness create Covid? I am not telling, I am asking. And it is not the weirdest question, only two weeks ago did we get “Identifying the source will be tricky, and investigators will need to grapple with the sensitive political situation”, I do not think it is politically sensitive, it is not merely Chin, or the United States, it is all of is that created weakness in all of us, especially mothers. How did we look at the advertisements of that crying child and mommy just grasping for the nearest ‘Panadol for Children’? 

I personally believe (and many others do too) that this might seem like a good idea but it could be limiting their immune system, it takes a while to kick in and the body uses pain (and discomfort) to regulate parts of it to some extent. I am not some whack anti-vaxxer, we have seen the good that vaccines do, I have seen the impact on some others that polio did, now it is close to extinct, but we need to see a larger scale, that what strengthen us, and what does not, what merely gives a short term relief only to hit us twice over in the future. I am not advocating against any vaccine, but I am questioning what we are doing to ourselves and is that not what we need to do? If the Iliad gave us the power of us 2000 years ago, why did we abandon some truths? Are the new truths so much better? 

When we look at the setting of Fate (us), Pride (corporations), Hubris (the opponents of corporations), wrath (victims) and consideration of the gods. Most of us tend to forget that Helen of Troy was a daughter of Zeus, as such this setting was larger, we forgot about that. When we consider that Eris (goddess of strife) ended up giving the Apple of Discord to Paris (an older Macintosh model), we optionally see the Iliad s a much larger story where we are pawns in a game that is beyond our scope. It is merely one way to look at it and if this now comes to haunt us through the choices made (pollution) we might realise that we were warned thousands of years ago, we merely decided to ignore that warning, at our own peril mind you.

So as I watched the episode of NCIS where the perpetrator was already dead and the girl was a stage of a larger form of jealousy, I wonder what happened in the end to the apple of discord, especially with a new Apple (G6) coming. Will we take a bite out of that one too, or will we realise that this world is finite and we almost squandered a larger part of it, for much too long. When we consider one more speculation, when we see “Wagyu beef is extremely rich in monounsaturated fatty acids and contains all of the essential amino acids, including omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids”, is that unique to Kobe beef, or is that because we gave up the healthy nutrients because we relied on antibiotics and medication to maximise our profits? I honestly do not know, I am merely asking. It is what one does when creation takes a gander in an unexpected direction. 

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The jeopardy lingo

It seems fitting that I do see sort of Homage to Jeopardy, I was never a fan like a lot are, but Alex Trebek pretty much put his heart and soul into that and it seems fitting that we acknowledge that, if only for that one simple part. This article is largely based on the Al Jazeera article (at https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/11/17/report-us-military-buying-location-data-on-popular-muslim-apps)

So as we see “US military buys location data of popular Muslim apps: Report”, the question becomes ‘Who bought a lot of religious tainted data?’ Yes the military did. It was a setting that was always going to happen and there is every indication that this has been going in for quite a while. It is one of the flags that I saw coming over a year ago setting the stage that Saudi Arabia with its (at present) vastly superior 5G might want to offer apps and such from their locality. Even though it is not about the apps, but consider all US and EU data missing Arabic data, it is something to think about and I saw this scenario taking shape some time ago. 

Next we get “several used by Muslims that have been downloaded nearly 100 billion times” gets us to the question ‘Who at Motherboard was unable to count and weight their data properly?’, yes another point for the blogger, the numbers indicate that the apps in question had been downloaded by every person on the planet at least 12 Tims, in light of the fact that less than to thirds of the planet has an internet capable phone makes the setting a little dubious. 

And as it is time to see “Monday found the US Special Operations Command was procuring location data from several companies”, we get to ‘What did US politicians allow to happen in light of personal privacy?’ Which is a loaded question by itself. You see there is every indication that a lot of people have all kinds of apps, there is another indication that those in the extreme know (those who know extreme actions taking place) have a digital footprint that is close to zero, as such I actually wonder how interesting the data is, as I downloaded the Quran on Android, they might have my details, well good luck to the and if they get personal details on Olivia Wilde, Laura Vandervoort, Leslie Bibb, Natasha McElhone or Olivia Munn, would US Special command please forward that to my personal phone? I gratefully thank you in advance for that. 

As such when we get to “the Motherboard investigation noted some companies obtain app location data when advertisers pay to insert their ads into peoples’ browsing sessions” we almost get to the end of round one where we wonder how foreign intelligence organisations react to the US military acquiring the location at a of its citizens. It is a slippery slope, you see if advertisers can buy it, why not the US military? Isn’t that a fair question? Stating that Halal Malik, on 34th street, best Islamic butcher in New York can get data, yet the US military can not is basically discrimination, as such there is a much larger station there and the question becomes, what additional data was given to the US Military that Malik was unable to get, which boils down to another level of discrimination. So when we get to Timmy the sea-rat Hawkins (allegedly his nickname) giving us “We strictly adhere to established procedures and policies for protecting the privacy, civil liberties, constitutional and legal rights of American citizens”, I reckon that it has the emphasis on ‘legal rights of American citizens’, anyone not in that group might not have any rights. So at that point we get to “it tracks 25 million devices inside the United States every month and 40 million elsewhere – including in the European Union, Latin America, and the Asia-Pacific region” we get to ‘What rights do the 40 million tracked mobile devices have?’, yup they allegedly have none, but that is a speculation from my side, in addition how many players outside of Al Jazeera have this and how much visibility will this part not get, especially in Europe, UK, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. I reckon France (for obvious reasons) will go along with whatever the politicians connected to this will say to them. 

You see there is an almost dangerous setting when we see “US Senator Ron Wyden told Motherboard that X-Mode also admitted selling data it collected to other “US military customers”” I am setting the emphasis on ‘almost’, from my point of view if you have no issues with commercial corporations digging on your needs, then why object to governments doing the same thing? As I personally see it, there is a lot more to question when healthcare insurers get your data than the government does. It seems almost fair, they all get access, and this is what I stated again and again is the price of free apps and free social media, so now that the cat is out of the bag (he is just to the right of your peripheral vision) we will see all these people scream, shout and cry yet I wonder why and what do you have to hide? It pretty much boils down to something (I believe it was Stephen Fry) that was said “If you do not want your nude pictures on the internet, do not pose naked”, the man has a point and it is a point we can adapt or use in emphasis as the actor Chris Evans gave joy to a billion woman, whilst setting his staff to the notion to go vote. Yes that was an accidental unintended pun. 

So even if we consider both ends of the spectrum and the setting where we keep all our data sacred and separate, we will soon find that it is much to late for that. Apart from the things I reported recently giving some people 5 versions of the customer data, and part from these mishaps, there is a whole station of data that is on back-ups, legacy systems and there is close to no stage of any kind of legal rights. We saw the Guardian give us close to a year ago ‘NHS data is a goldmine. It must be saved from big tech’, if you really think that big tech is the larger danger you are quite out of your mind. Even now we see the emotional response to Islamic data on Al Jazeera, so how about your health data available for health instances to tweak your annual premium, or them adjusting the questionnaire? Did you consider the simple question ‘How often do you smoke?’, whilst most people automatically answer ‘Don’t smoke’, yet social media has you puffing something and the health records give them certain other parameters, so when they ask you for verification purposes, you unwillingly set yourself up for a massive price hike, or a stage where you might be discontinued as a customer when you actually need help, because they will claim you lied. The setting eludes a lot of people but it is an important stage, because there are close to a dozen other settings the will give you health issues when you turn 50, 60 and when you are pre-dead.

Which almost gets us to the question ‘Who, what, when, where, how, why for $50’ and you will see that the bulk of the people are not ready for what is linked behind it all.

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Opposed to Fry

The Guardian placed an interesting piece regarding Stephen Fry. This is a good thing, it is always nice to see the point of view of a truly intelligent person, even if I do not entirely agree. This is what happens in an intelligent world, one gives a good point of view and the second person opposes it, or agrees with it. In a true interactive dialogue, the problems of the world could be solved in such manner, which is why it tends to be really sad when politicians avoid that approach slightly too often. The article (at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/may/28/stephen-fry-facebook-and-other-platforms-should-be-classed-as-publishers) gives a few nice gems to start with: “Stephen Fry has called for Facebook and other “aggregating news agencies” to be reclassified as publishers in order to stop fake news and online abuse spreading by making social media subject to the same legal responsibilities as traditional news websites“, this is a good start, but here is also the foundation of my disagreement.

You see ‘Facebook and other “aggregating news agencies”‘ gives us a point, in my view Facebook is not an aggregating news agency. It is a social media outlet and as such, the Guardian, the Daily Mail, Reuters, CNN and a whole host of other providers push their articles to Facebook, often just a small eye catcher with a link to their web page. People can use ‘like‘ and ‘follow‘ and as such the news appears on their time line. This is mere facilitation. Do not get me wrong, Stephen Fry makes good points. In my opposition I would state that it makes more sense to go after the tabloids. Until they clean up their act with the innuendo and their not ‘fake’ but ‘intentional misrepresented‘ news, news that is miscommunicated in such ways to create emotional waves. They need to lose their 0% VAT option, that should be reserved for ACTUAL NEWSPAPERS. You see, these tabloids also use the social media as a projecting outlet. In all this Facebook merely facilitates. The second quote is “Fry accused social media platforms of refusing to “take responsibility for those dangerous, defamatory, inflammatory and fake items whose effects will have legal consequences for traditional printed or broadcast media, but which they can escape”“, I find it a lot harder to disagree with, although, when was the last time tabloids were actually truly fined to a realistic amount, an amount where the fine is set to the revenue of a week of published papers? You see when you have 2 billion users, you will get waves of fake news, or false information. There are no numbers, but consider that with 2 billion users, you are looking at 250 million to 1 billion added events per day, how can this be policed? Now, algorithms to police the use of certain words and that could help to some degree, yet the abusers of the social media system are getting clued in too. So they are getting good at avoiding triggering the software by avoiding words that flags them. In addition, when it is done via fake accounts, how can anything be stopped?

Fry makes a good case, yet I think he is not seeing the scope and amount of data involved. In addition, we see “At the moment, they are evading responsibility for their content as they can claim to be platforms, rather than publishers. Given that they are now a major source of news for 80% of the population, that is clearly an absurd anomaly“, he is completely correct, yet the users of Facebook have the option to not watch it or to not accept it on their timeline. Doesn’t that make it a choice of freedom for the users of Facebook? I have in the past needed to block content from a ‘so called‘ friend, merely because of the amount of BS he was forwarding. It was fixed with a mere click of the button. This is not an opposition towards the point Stephen Fry is making, but an answer on how some people could deal with it. In this equation we have the number of people on Facebook, there is a variable that takes into account the amount of BS we get from tabloids, and you better believe that they are active, via ‘stories’ and via advertisement. The advanced options of granularity that Facebook advertisements offers is the reason why those tabloids want to be there and the tabloid group outside of the UK is massively larger than the disgusting size of the UK tabloids is and they are all offering their links on a global scale.

Can Facebook be held to account? Well, to a certain level they can, you see, the actual propagator of events needs a Facebook account. When information is limited to an audience, the impact is lessened. So as Facebook users can no longer send information to friends of friends, only to friends, we have lost an iteration, this could be the difference between 500 people getting the news (fake or real) or the impact that this news goes to 250,000 people, when the addition is that newsmakers can no longer forward it over timelines, but only to the one subscribed timeline, we will soon see a shift on the wave of messages. In addition, not only is the damage contained (to some degree), but as forwarding any post becomes an instance, there would be a much smaller list to police and the users forwarding the post would no longer be the facilitator, they would become the publisher. Facebook is kinda ‘off the hook’, but the user is not, they could to some degree be held to account for certain actions. It makes the events a lot more manageable. In addition, it could limit impact of events.

So here we see the optional solution to some degree. It must be clear that it is to some extent, because it merely drops the impact, it does not take it away. Stephen follows it all up by also making reference to the British Airways IT fiasco. We now see “Fry cautioned that the world’s reliance on digital systems would also inevitably prompt a cataclysmic cyber-attack and bring on a “digital winter for humankind”“, there is certainly a danger and an issue here. The question becomes which issue is in play? As we see Reuters giving us: ““Many of our IT systems are back up today,” BA Chairman and Chief Executive Alex Cruz said in a video posted on Twitter“, we need to realise that even as Terminal 5 was designed to deal with 35 million passengers, in 2015, the numbers give us ‘Terminal 5 handled 33.1 million passengers on 215,716 flights‘, this gets us the average of 91,000 passengers a day, for 590 flights. So there would be an issue for 3-4 days I reckon. That is just the one day impact. The issue that plays and the caution of Stephen Fry is that as we are unaware of why and how it happened, there is no guarantee that it will not happen again. One of the Guardian articles gives us: “The glitch is believed to have been caused by a power supply issue and there is no evidence of a cyber-attack, the airline said. It has denied a claim by the GMB union that BA’s decision to outsource hundreds of IT jobs to India last year was behind the problems“, which has two parts one is the power supply issue, which is a bit of an issue, the second one is outsourcing. The first one is weird, that is, until we know where that power issue was. If there is a server farm, the server farm would be an issue. At this point, the backup systems should have been working, which should if properly set up be in a secondary location. power issues there too? There are several points where the issue could impact, yet with proper setup and tested solutions, the impact should not have been to the degree it was. That is, unless this was done by the same team who ‘tried’ to give the NHS a new system about 5 years ago, if so then all bets are off. The outsourcing sounds nice when you are a union, but that would merely impact the customer service as I personally see it, so until I see specific evidence of that, I will call it a bogus claim by GMB.

The Stephen Fry issue was neither, he merely stated ‘digital winter for humankind‘, which is an actual danger we are facing more and more. You can judge that for yourself and test it. You merely have to switch off mobile data and Wi-Fi from your mobile for 24 hours. 99.992% will not be able to do that, we are that relying on getting fed digital information. We will offer a host of excuses; like ‘I need to be reachable‘ or ‘people need me non-stop‘. I see it as all bogus mentions of the fact that we are digitally too dependent. If you give these people the additional limitation of ONLY using the e-mail and office programs, the chaos is nearly complete. We are all 100% digitally dependent. That means that any damage to such an infrastructure will bring us distress. We then see “An extinction-level event … will obliterate our title deeds, eliminate our personal records, annul our bank accounts and life savings” which is only part of the quote, but this part has already been arranged for the people of the world, it is called Wall Street (remember 2004 and 2008).

The final part to address is the part we see combined in the article. “Fry also addressed the rise of big data, which has seen private companies competing for and using the personal data of millions for corporate gain, the gig economy of Uber and Deliveroo; the inability of governments worldwide to keep up with technological progress; and live-streaming services like Facebook Live allowing people to broadcast acts of violence and self-harm“, the three elements are:

  1. Rise of big data
  2. Keeping up with technological progress
  3. Live streaming towards violence and self-harm

There is no issue with the rise of big data, well, there is but the people are in denial. They are all about government and the optional alleged abuse of that data, whilst they give the green light to places like Facebook and other instances to do just that, and now they get to sell aggregated data. Yet, when we use a certain data property, where every person is 1, like a social security number or a insurance policy number, when every aggregated fact is founded on a population of 1, how aggregated are you then?

We know that governments are not technologically up to date. You see, the cost to get that done is just too high. In addition, governments and other large non-commercial organisations tend to not push or pursue policies too high, which is why the NHS had its Ransomware issues. We see Labour and socialistic parties on how it all needs to be about people programs, whilst they all know perfectly well that without proper infrastructure there would be nothing left to work with, they just don’t care! They need their image of creating jobs, whilst spending all the cash they have and pushing the government into the deepest debt to keep whatever lame promise they make and the next person gets to deal with the mess they leave behind. The lack of long term foresight is also the Achilles of IT, any IT structure needs a foresight of what is to be done next, by living in a fantasy ‘at the present’ setting, is why some politicians go into denial and in that case IT systems will falter over time and no one is set into the field of ‘let’s get this working properly’, the NHS is the clearest example, but not the only one, or the last one to buckle.

The live stream is the larger issue that has no real solution, that is until the numbers are dealt with. As larger facilitators get a handle of what is pushed online, resources open up to resolve certain issues. There will forever be a risk that certain live streams get through, yet the chances might be limited over time. In that, until the laws change, there remains a problem. Part of it is the law itself. The fact that a rape was streamed live, in it watchers saw Raymond Gates, who was accused in the attack and charged with kidnapping, rape, sexual battery and pandering sexual matter involving a minor. That person ended up with 9 years in jail, whilst he ‘enjoyed’ media limelight attention for many months. Marina Lonina, the person who filmed it all got ‘caught up in the likes’. The New York Times stated: “The defendants each face more than 40 years in prison if convicted“, yet in the end, yet the girl filming it got 9 months, the man doing the act got 9 years (source: CBC). So as we see, it seems that the act of live streaming is rewarded with an optional implied sentence reduction of 39 years and 3 months. So if the governments want to make change, I would suggest that they clean up their justice departments and get some proper convictions in place that will deter such live stream actions. In addition, if Marina Lonina would have been convicted with at least the 8 years in addition, so that she and the actual penetrator served the same amount, there might be a chance that live streaming of self harm will fall. There is no evidence that it will, but you get to solve the matter in small steps. Take away the ‘benefits’ of being merely the camera man or girl, the amount of events might drop too.

So here is my view and opposition of the parts Stephen Fry offered. He made good points and raising awareness of issues is always a good thing, especially if they are made by a person as renowned as Stephen Fry, but in all this dimensionality is still a factor. The response against issues (which I blogged earlier) on ‘tough new laws on extremist and explicit video‘, yet in all this, many transgressors will not get convicted and making it the problem of the facilitator, whilst the governments know that the law falls short is just blatantly stupid on the side of the governments. In the end, these people are not stupid, this track will continue for several years, whilst those politicians with: “the rules are not yet public and now enter what is known as “trialogue” – discussions between negotiators from the EC, the European parliament and the Council of the European Union“, gave rise to my ménage-a-trialogue label as this becomes a new EC gravy train which ends up coasting a boatload in lunches, meetings, hotels and flights whilst not resulting in any actual solution. Do you still think Brexit was a bad idea?

OK, my bad, this was not about Brexit, but the issue of laws and free speech have been on the agenda for the longest of times as ‘Strasbourg on March 24th, judges, journalists, lawyers and activists discussed the challenges facing the protection of free expression in Europe‘, there we saw that Helen Darbishire stressed on that event that “it is necessary that the judiciary in individual countries become more aware of European jurisprudence and standards“. If it is true that many countries are establishing regulations, transparency of public information is still far from being a reality. Yet when we consider that freedom of expression can be positive or negative and any hindrance of it goes via Strasbourg, the limitations faced cannot be pushed onto large corporations that facilitate. As the government leaves the field open to tabloids and even make them VAT exempt in the progress, a facilitator that comes with editors, writers and photographers, how can you push the blame onto a facilitation service that has been largely automated? And the worst of all, the governments pushing to place the blame in the other isle know this very well. As long as the debate goes on, they are ‘working on it‘ making the issue even worse.

So even as I oppose Stephen Fry to some extent, it was good and really interesting to read parts of his view (I was not at the event, so the Guardian might not have given me all he said), and as I read his view, I contemplated the views I had and tested them, that is what the views of an intelligent person does, they allow you to test these views against the views you have, which is awesome any given day of the week.

 

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The virtual reality of it all

Well, I would have expected my gaming ideas to come from many places, the Guardian was not one of them to be honest, but there you have it, we find information in all kinds of places. reason here is the other BAFTA, not the one eloquently mentioned by Stephen Fry (aka Reaver to gamers), but by the Gaming BAFTA, which will be awarded on March 12th (at http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/feb/10/alien-isolation-2015-bafta-video-game-award-nominations). There are many titles that will be mentioned, many will become non winners, and remain nominees none the less and one will stand out. Let’s take a look at those categories and some of the games mentioned.

Artistic Achievement

This is the only place where we see Ubisoft shine, to be more precise their graphical teams, no matter how I spoke out against Ubisoft and how they neglected Assassins Creed, their graphical teams did not. These graphical gurus did show a level of excellence that has been from out of this world. No matter how many bugs we see in Unity, the graphics were unreal, as were they for Black Flag; it is a well-deserved nomination and a possible winner, although they will compete with their own title Far Cry 4 here.

Audio achievement

There is one title that stands out, more important, the title itself is an achievement that many will have waited for, for a long time. It is Alien: Isolation and it puts the SEGA logo back on the screen in a most wonderful way. This alien game is not about blasting, it is about staying alive. This is the one perfect horror survival game that places the genre in a new light whilst remaining true to the atmosphere of the original Alien movie. The Evil Within scratches the surface of this genre, Alien: Isolation breaks through the skin and leaves you sweaty with possible heart problems, just like the original movie from 1979. The game truly takes you to the nerve wrecking ordeal of sharing a spaceship with an alien in the most unwanted way. The audio is every bit as important as the graphics and the audio team delivered like nothing you ever faced before.

Best Game

Is always a hard nut to crack, many games stand out in their own way, for various reasons, SEGA is the strongest nominee here, but a truly exceptional game delivers on many fronts, as such all titles deserve to be there, personally Destiny is as I see it, the least likely title to win, as it depends too much on multiplayer events, yet, this does not take it out of the race, I wonder how the silent title in the back (Monument Valley) will do. It is a silent gem, the use of the masterpieces of M. C. Escher are not to be ignored. There is a mesmerising element in this game that is as addictive as a game like Minecraft ever will be. As I mention addiction, I must warn you to stay away from nominee handheld game ‘Threes’. what seems like a simple game of addition, will turn from one second into the next into a game of addiction and your next set of threes is only one little swipe away. I reckon that in this category it will be a fight between Monument Valley and Threes and either should be seen as a worthy winner.

 

I can go on but you will have to take your own look and see what you think should be the right one to win. The important element here is that we see two parts of gaming that are now clearly impacting business. The first one is quality, yes, I started with the good side of Ubisoft as their graphical teams truly deserve it, but overall Ubisoft bungled the ball and an event like this, where they should be in domination, they are only attending in the most minimalistic of ways. The critique on several levels for Far Cry 4 and the massive failure Assassins Creed: Unity has shown to be, should be a clear indication that Yves Guillemot needs to clean up his divisions and he needs to do it no sooner than 5 minutes after the gaming BAFTA’s have ended.

The second part in all this is originality in gaming. SEGA is showing that in no small matter, in addition, we see Minecraft mentioned a few times, but the stellar part is that silent achievement Monument Valley, developer Ustwo under guidance of fearless leader Neil McFarland shows that independent developers are the future in more ways than one. The Creative Assembly (those behind Alien: Isolation and the old EA sports games) are not indie as such, but they are a far stretch from a massive developer like 2K and Ubisoft, which in addition show those larger developers that the true gems are in the mind of a person and not in the massive visibility of a division.

It will be interesting to see who is elected winner in these BAFTA’s for the mere reason that those who decide might not be the group that largely play these games, the one part that will be interesting to see is that the audience might see the real Ellie (Ashley Johnson), it is always nice to meet the person you kept safe in a digital world, even if she looks nothing like the digital character, an issue Jonathan Irons who will be portraying Kevin Spacey won’t face any day soon. I am eager to see Cliff Martinez on the stage, hopefully for winning the BAFTA for Far Cry 4, which was an excellent piece of work. I have been a fan of his work since Solaris and Contagion, two of his many created master works. As a debut game, Hitman Go definitely takes a shine. They changed a shooting assassin into a tough puzzle game with pawns shaped like Sebuteo figurines, but in the style of Hitman 47 and the goons he goes after. However, in that same category we see Shovel knight, a true retro game, based on the best of the best old style console games, whilst looking new fresh and fun to play. It is a fun achievement for both the new and the seasoned gamer.

So we will all be looking forward, or in some cases dreading this awarding evening. The only worry might be that the people who casted their votes and enjoying a horror survival stealth game is too low, which might impact SEGA to get a decent amount of the 6 nominations it received. We will see it all on March 12th and no matter who wins, I feel certain that the winning views will entice several players to take a look into nominated and winning games they had not considered playing before, that in itself will make the gaming BAFTA a great event for nominee, winner and gamer alike

The full nomination list can be found at http://www.bafta.org/sites/default/files/uploads/baftagamesawardsnominationslist.pdf

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The Soccer ball and other sports

This morning, I was woken up with the information in regards to ‘concerns’ in regards to the world championship soccer. I have never been much of a soccer fan, even though I was born in the Netherlands. It was never my cup of cacao.

When I heard of the concerns, I thought that made perfect sense, then my eyes saw the pictures of the stadium. I think they are concepts, not unlike other images that Google showed. No matter which one will be build, these stadiums are amazing pinnacles of design. It left with me that sparkle I had when I saw the first images of the Munich Olympics in 1972. It was overcast by events that will remain a black page on sporting events forever, but the stadiums looked amazing.

So is this about the stadium? Not quite!

As we introduce sports to other parts of the worlds, the sports will take on a new dimension, this is equally the case now that soccer will be hosted by Qatar (in 2022). It brings small changes. I saw the concerns and I do not disagree, yet what are the alternatives? Play a game at dawn and a game at night? Play only late at night?

Are those not alternatives? The nights can be cool in the Middle East, I experienced that first hand for months, so moving the cup date until late autumn, or perhaps early summer/late spring?

These are all options, yet the first thing I heard stated when the winter option was given, was that it could interfere with the FA Cup. (The Dutch are likely to state the KNVB cup). So is all this about the cup itself or the issues surrounding advertisement revenues?

The World cup is only once every 4 years, it’s not like it is a daily exercise. Qatar is also the consequence for growing the sport. They won fair and square and it was voiced (and I do not disagree) that it should be held there. Yes, player safety need to be on the forefront of considerations, which is why moving the event to a non-summer month is a good idea in my mind. If we look at www.weatheonline.co.uk we see that March to May, if the matches are early or late in the day seems to be the best, after that it is likely to be October to December (which might not be ideal for others). The days might be warm in these instances, yet the nights are definitely not warm, so there should be quite the cooling when the sun goes down.

I do find this situation interesting, with 209 FIFA nations, this is the first time that players will be subjected to these tropical conditions. Consider these tropical nations playing under what they would consider Arctic conditions? These players in a rare twist of fate will have the home weather advantage, and if in the end Scotland or Sweden take home the cup? What a party that would be!

In the article I disagree with the quote “His predecessor David Bernstein said in June that any plans to move the World Cup to the winter were ‘fundamentally flawed’.” (At http://news.sky.com/story/1126848/fa-boss-summer-world-cup-in-qatar-impossible)

Flawed by what reasoning? It is a given that his concern was the FA cup, that is fair enough, but this is the FIFA world cup! Yet, in all honesty, I cannot truly oppose his statement as it would disrupt national cups in many European nations, which is a truth. Yet, the idea becomes, why must we tailor to get it all? Should these players be subject to 64 additional games at all cost? Seems to be a little one sided. However, moving it to spring could be an idea too. I reckon that this could work if we take the sport into mind. Many cup officials in several nations are now playing with Excel to see the advertisement and sponsor ‘damage’ that is a direct consequence of these events.

That part seems not to be too ‘illuminated’ at present. Yet when we read the Telegraph (at http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/retailandconsumer/leisure/8552114/McDonalds-joins-Coca-Cola-and-Visa-in-calling-for-Fifa-change.html) we read “McDonald’s joins Coca-Cola and Visa in calling for Fifa change“.

It seems that these three are adamant in maximising their view at every expense (bang for the buck approach), even at the expense of sports. If Jamie Oliver is to be believed, then the hamburgers from McDonald are not for human consumption, so why are they a party to sport advice at all? In the article by David Warner at http://politicalblindspot.com/hamburger-chef-jamie-oliver-proves-mcdonalds-burgers-unfit-for-human-consumption/ the quote is: “After Oliver showed how McDonald’s hamburgers are made, the franchise finally announced that it will change its recipe, and yet there was barely a peep about this in the mainstream, corporate media.” This can be proven with the Google search terms ‘Jamie Oliver on McDonalds‘. There is no guardian or other large newspapers and the one result link from Google mentioning the Telegraph states “Jamie Oliver praises McDonald’s – Telegraph“.

You might wonder how this is all connected. The answer is simple: ADVERTISEMENTS! (aka revenue)

There are issues on several levels and these companies have so much pull that through advertisements they have pull with what is written. Consider the fact that the large players (Guardian, Washington Post, LA Times) are not for, or against, they just don’t seem to appear in the first load of result pages at all (according to the Google search).

The issue I am raising is that this all seems to be no longer about the sport. If it was then those ‘big players’ would accept the elected choice and accept the unfortunate event of one year less advertisement revenue (yeah right!).

The next issue is actually entirely the opposite. I am disgusted on the horror Russians perform on the Russian Gay community. The fact that these people get tortured and murdered and the torturers take pride in publishing pictures of the event is utterly unacceptable. So I understand the fact that people speak out against this level of violence. Especially Stephen Fry made a clear case against the Russian Winter games. If you support this then give support him and follow him on Twitter (@stephenfry). I support him, but I am personally not in favour of banning or stopping the winter games. For me the view is that once we intertwine sports with political causes, no matter how just or correct they are, then the one door of change might close permanently. Yes, what happens in Russia is wrong, but if citizens who are going there as athletes can instil change where politicians fail, is that not a worthy cause? When I grew up I learned pretty much the origin of the Olympics as it was quoted on Wiki “It has been widely written that during the Games, all conflicts among the participating city-states were postponed until the Games were finished. This cessation of hostilities was known as the Olympic peace or truce.” Is that not how wars were resolved? In case we see America getting involved in this, let us not forget, that if one is gay and not living in San Francisco, often their rights are silently forgotten. The guardian had an excellent presentation of that at http://www.theguardian.com/world/interactive/2012/may/08/gay-rights-united-states

They might not show the barbarism that Russia is currently presenting, yet the political lobby has been using gay rights as a racquetball between Democrats and Republicans for decades. I still feel that in the end, sport will be at the centre of unification. If we see and accept (at least I do) that the African American athletes were at the centre of the equalising force between racial differences, then sports could also be the equalising force for sexual differences.

I just hope that it will be sooner rather than later, because persecution has never ever been good for any soul. That applies for both the persecutor and the persecuted.

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