April 7th, 2005


Games Games Games Games (the Slightly Larger Furry Creatures Press)

(...aaand the flop came king-jack-ten of clubs, so everybody pushed all in. The turn and river couldn't help and it turned out that absolutely everyone had ace-queen for the royal. Result, a 200-way split pot and nobody needed to send anything anywhere! Quite extraordinary...)

First, happy birthday to oinomel71! This, of course, operates on the principle that if you start composing a LJ post on someone's birthday and don't finish it in time, it still counts. Happy birthday Eastern Daylight Time, or something?

Second, elvie points out that favourite mad performance art group Blast Theory are running Can You See Me Now? on Thursday and Friday this week between 4pm and 7pm BST - the current game is taking place around "The Junction" in Cambridge - that's Cambridge, UK, not the one near Boston. Anyway, you can run round a virtual chunk of Cambridge pursued by real people whose physical positions are superimposed on the virtual world, trying to avoid being caught by them.

The game is pretty easy, but it's an interesting way to play; before long, you make new challenges for yourself, like staying just out of the way of the runners - perhaps chasing them? - or interacting with other players. The most obvious improvement via improper gameplay is to go to the real Junction in Cambridge, play via wireless internet in their physical presence and throw the runners off-guard. It's old tech (I blogged about it in late 2002) but at least we can be confident it works reliably. Anyway, it's only online for another day or two, so get movin', and perhaps I'll see you in virtual Cambridge.

Third, a new campaign has officially started of the biggest game of them all in Britain - the General Election. Kudos to BBC News for putting what I consider to be an excellent site covering the election online straight away; the highlight, for me, is the issues comparator, which I consider an outstanding piece of public service. Pick three parties and compare their policies on 17 issues at a glance, which I think blows away arguments from the disinterested that all the parties are the same or that the parties spend more time slagging each other off than saying what they stand for. Incidentally, while I'm glad the differences between parties are clear, I do think the fact that there is so much cross-party agreement about best practice is heartening and should be celebrated.

Also interesting to note that the BBC have appropriated the term weblog for their frequently-updated collection of short pieces. I quibble at the terminology slightly in that I still associate weblogs as being primarily about dissemination of weblinks rather than original content, so perhaps I'd call it a journal. Their interface is also sadly lacking a way to view all the entries of that day without users' comments; nevertheless, I'll forgive them that for the fact that they offer a RSS syndicated feed, already syndicated to LJ as blog_vote2005. Anyway, frequent Friends list F5ers, have at.

US politics geeks may well find following the British election fun and possibly less depressing than the US campaign simply because more parties make for more geekery and more colour. Admittedly a good 30%+ of the vote will be taken by each of the Labour and Conservative parties, translating to close to 90% of the seats between them as a result of our First Past The Post scheme, but the Liberal Democrats stand good hopes of increasing both their vote share above 18% and their representation, plus the minority parties may well take a bigger chunk of the vote as well. There isn't a direct equivalent to the Electoral Vote web site which was essential daily reading in the US campaign on the grounds that constituencies are so small (c. 70,000 voters) that you can't really take meaningful polls within them, plus nobody is quite sure which the marginal constituencies really will be. There's always the BBC's poll tracker and associated analysis.

Incidentally, I don't anticipate significant change in foreign policy between the US and the UK, whatever the result of the election. Labour are more traditionally associated with the Democrats and the Conservative party with the Republicans, but Tony Blair has famously strong ties to both Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. The strongly pro-European Liberal Democrats favour closer ties with Europe, which might possibly be at the expense of de-emphasising ties with the US, and they were the highest-profile party to oppose the war in Iraq, but I don't think relations with the USA are a major policy issue for any of the serious players. Perhaps there are questions to be asked about what the UK is getting out of the "Special Relationship" at the moment, but the Conservatives and Labour aren't willing to do so as a policy commitment.

Almost needless to say, I encourage everyone in the UK who is permitted to vote either to do so, or alternatively to take considerable pleasure in deliberately spoiling their ballot paper, quite possibly in a glorious, elaborate and demonstrative fashion. Both voting and proactively spoiling should give tremendous pride.

The big question for me, of course, is who to vote for. Collapse )

For whom should I vote? Feel free to answer that question either by picking a party that matches up most closely to my views, or by challenging my views and suggesting why I should adopt different ones more closely aligned with a particular party.

Lastly, if all these games are too much for you, a safe-for-work and very silly picture: how they celebrate April 1st at a Japanese zoo - or, possibly, confirmation of the existence of the Oriental version of Trigger Happy TV.
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