"The Blessings-of-Civilization Trust,
wisely and cautiously administered, is a Daisy
. There is more money
in it, more territory
, more sovereignty
, and other kinds of emolument, than there is in any other game that is played. But Christendom has been playing it badly of late years, and must certainly suffer by it, in my opinion. She has been so eager to get every stake that appeared on the green cloth, that the People who Sit in Darkness
have noticed it – they have noticed it, and have begun to show alarm
. They have become suspicious of the Blessings of Civilization."
posted by homunculus
on Jun 13, 2007 -
Six Visions of the End:
Fall Down Six Times, an essay by Ran Prieur, describes six possible scenarios for the near future: Worst Case ("Meanwhile computer technology keeps accelerating, leading by 2050 to an insane and nearly all-powerful artificial intelligence, which exterminates all life on Earth except a single human, who it keeps alive to torture for all eternity: you."), Ridiculous Best Case ("In 2016 Dean steps down and the new president is an anarchist who spends eight years peacefully dismantling the federal government and building local systems that make central control irrelevant and impossible."), Naive Sci-Fi Utopia ("Everyone can live forever, and
have kids, and
enjoy wide open spaces. No one is sure how this is possible, but it probably has something to do with the Mayan calendar or the word "quantum.""), and three others. Whether or not you agree with his vision, the exercise of imagining different futures is a useful one that might help us see a way through the multiple crises the Earth is going through. What does your apocalypse look like?
posted by spacewaitress
on Apr 11, 2006 -
of Algebra: "Gabriela, sooner or later someone's going to tell you that algebra teaches reasoning. This is a lie propagated by, among others, algebra teachers.
posted by daksya
on Feb 16, 2006 -
Collapse of civilization: Not necessarily a bad thing
Many will no doubt find the foregoing discussion of collapse depressing or pessimistic. In “How Civilizations Fall: A Theory of Catabolic Collapse”, John Michael Greer hints at why this is, writing, “Even within the social sciences, the process by which complex societies give way to smaller and simpler ones has often been presented in language drawn from literary tragedy, as though the loss of sociocultural complexity necessarily warranted a negative value judgment. This is understandable, since the collapse of civilizations often involves catastrophic human mortality and the loss of priceless cultural treasures, but like any value judgment it can obscure important features of the matter at hand.” Greer goes on to characterize collapse in terms of ecological succession.
…Collapse happens precisely because it improves our lives—and it happens when the alternative is no longer tolerable.
posted by halekon
on Dec 27, 2005 -
is San Francisco's newest museum. The Museum of the African Diaspora is the latest addition to the SOMA neighborhood's expanding cultural riches, and promises to be fascinating (and, as far as I can tell, unique in the world). [more inside]
posted by trip and a half
on Nov 30, 2005 -
National Geographic has a special issue
on Africa out this month. There's also their Africa resource
posted by Gyan
on Sep 21, 2005 -
Was agriculture a mistake? Guns, Germs, and Steel
author Jared Diamond asks this question. Originally published in 1987, it's still completely relevant today. I personally feel that memes
are the real culprit, and they are inevitable in any sizable social group with a common system of communication. Could agriculture be an ancient meme which has profoundly impacted the history of mankind?
posted by mullingitover
on Jun 27, 2005 -
All right, but apart from the sanitation
, the medicine
, public order
, a fresh
, and public
, what have the Romans ever done for us?
Oh. Peace? Shut up!
posted by gimonca
on Mar 28, 2005 -
Classic Games Convention.
For those of you
into vintage games, tomorrow is the last day to check out PhillyClassic 4
, a vintage game fest at which developers will release new vintage games
. Some industry personalities
will be present, including Sid Meier of Civilization
fame, and Cindy Morgan
from everyone's classic game movie, Tron
, soon to have a sequel (the game, not the movie). Play a vintage game on a current system
, or relive the good old days of Vectrex
. Leave your quarters at home (the games are on free-play), but bring your joysticks to donate
to the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.
posted by ringmaster
on Mar 29, 2003 -
City older than Mohenjodaro unearthed.
This subject has always fascinated me, what is the world's oldest city/civilization? I remember learning in school the standard-tigris and euphrates river valley in Iraq version. But since I left school there seems to have been an ongoing search with multiple claims, here are a few links to newer claims, hamoukar, mohenjodaro, harappa, details of hamoukar, by the archaeologist.
Does anyone have any insights, links are welcome, and what in your opinion is the oldest city/civilization in the world.
posted by bittennails
on Jan 16, 2002 -
Aztecs Conquer Russian Civilization
…Now that Sid Meier's Civilization III
has been released for the Mac OS
, I shall now begin to wall myself off from our own actual
civilization and begin a weeks-long campaign to rule a fictional world.
Civ3 truly is, as its packaging claims, “the Greatest Game of All Time.” Civ is not merely a battle simuator or an extrapolation of the board game Risk — it's a chance to learn how successful (and not-so-successful) societies can be developed through history. Strategy gaming at its finest.
posted by Down10
on Jan 9, 2002 -
The stuff from which Myth is made.
A recent discovery of a meteor impact crater in the middle-east, dating around 2300BC, is shedding new light on the decline of many cultures and the rise of many legends.
posted by mkn
on Nov 15, 2001 -
interview with Sid Meier and Jeff Briggs. the return of turn-based games? :) looks like you'll be able to build the internet, small wonder!
posted by kliuless
on Oct 20, 2001 -
Uh, guys? It's just a damn game.
Three different stories on the same page about people taking games far too seriously. I love my video games as much as the next person, but the closest I've come to injuring myself (or others) was getting an hour or two less sleep on the weekend from playing Civilization too much. Does anyone have any personal stories about games (video, board or card) unexpectedly causing injury?
posted by Grum
on Aug 25, 2001 -