Posts Tagged ‘games’
Lars Yenken‘s “The Great Language Game” is an interactive game, being played worldwide, that challenges users to distinguish among (currently) 87 languages based on their sound alone. As Lars explains,
There are perhaps six or seven thousand languages in the world. Even so-called hyperpolyglots, people who learn to speak six or more fluently, barely scratch the surface. You and I will never be able to communicate in all these languages without machine aids, but learning to identify what’s being spoken near us, that’s within our reach…
Besides, it’s fun!
[TotH to reddit]
* Ralph Waldo Emerson
As we prick up our ears, we might send thoughtful birthday greetings to Alfred North Whitehead; he was born on this date in 1861. Whitehead began his career as a mathematician and logician, perhaps most famously co-authoring (with his former student, Bertrand Russell), the three-volume Principia Mathematica (1910–13), one of the twentieth century’s most important works in mathematical logic.
But in the late teens and early 20s, Whitehead shifted his focus to philosophy, the central result of which was a new field called process philosophy, which has found application in a wide variety of disciplines (e.g., ecology, theology, education, physics, biology, economics, and psychology).
“There is urgency in coming to see the world as a web of interrelated processes of which we are integral parts, so that all of our choices and actions have consequences for the world around us.”
Castle, Forest, Island, Sea
From bickering birds to scary monsters, choose your quest and find your way out of the castle.
There are nine chapters exploring key questions in philosophy and it will take approximately 30-60 minutes to complete your adventure. As you navigate through the story, the game will build up an idea of how you feel about these questions, and at the end of the game you’ll receive an analysis of your choices and a map of how your opinions compare to different philosophers through the ages…
As we wander the halls of wisdom, we might send edenic birthday greetings to Diane Ackerman; she was born on this date in 1948. An author, poet, and naturalist, she is best known for her bestseller A Natural History of the Senses, which was made into a 1995 PBS series hosted by the birthday girl.
Ackerman also has the rare distinction of having a molecule named after her (dianeackerone, a novel secretory product from a crocodile).
The values of the letters in Scrabble were assigned according to the front page of a US newspaper in the 1930s. Is it time the scoring system was updated to reflect today’s usage?
All Scrabble players know that Q and Z are the highest scoring tiles. You can get 10 points for each, in the English language version of the game.
But according to one American researcher, Z really only deserves six points.
And it’s not just Z that’s under fire. After 75 years of Scrabble, some argue that the current tile values are out of date as certain letters have become more common than they used to be…
Read the full, unsettling story at the BBC.
As we reshuffle our tiles, we might recall that it was on this date in 1950 that a nine-member gang stole $1,218,211.19 in cash, and over $1.5-million in checks, money orders and other securities from the Brinks Building in Boston. The largest robbery in the history of United States (at the time), it was quickly known as “the crime of the century”– and as “The Great Brinks Robbery.” The crew was meticulous, and left almost no clues at the scene; their ingenious plan was to sit on their spoils for six years – time enough for the statute of limitations to expire. In the end, all nine were arrested– but most of the money was never recovered.
Patrick Combs actually did something that most of us have only imagined doing: he deposited one of the phony, “not negotiable” checks included in the junkmail that swells our recycling… And the check cleared.
As he explains in the Financial Times,
It was a cheque, made out in my name, for $95,093.35 and it came in a junk-mail letter from a get-rich-quick company. It was worthless, meant only as a financial tease, a lip-licking come-on. “This is how much money you could soon be making.” What it was never meant for was deposit. But that’s exactly what made the thought of depositing it so irresistibly funny. What could possibly be funnier than depositing a perfectly ridiculous, obviously false, fake cheque? (Did I mention it had “non-negotiable” clearly written on it?) So, as a joke, I deposited the fake cheque into my bank’s ATM. I felt like a million bucks doing so. I’d never had so much fun at my bank. Come to think of it, I’d never had any fun at my bank until the moment I endorsed the back of this “cheque” with a smiley face and slipped the Monopoly-like money into the mouth of the hungry ATM. For the first time ever, I walked away from my bank laughing.
What I expected to happen next was a short phone call from my bank. Or a letter informing me of what I already knew, that the cheque I deposited was not real. Admittedly, I also hoped for a compliment on my refined sense of humour. A “Mr Combs, what you deposited was not real but very funny, especially considering your real bank account balance history” (an account always bouncing into overdraft).But the call or the letter never came and I forgot about my joke. Then, five days later, I returned to withdraw some cash from the ATM, and noticed a much higher than usual bank balance. $95,093.35 higher! The bank had credited my account with the fake, false, stupid cheque!…
As we reconsider those sweepstakes mailings, we might spare a carefully-regulated thought for Edmond “According to…” Hoyle; he died on this date in 1769. An expert on whist– all the rage in the 18th Century– Hoyle tutored members of high society on the game. He converted his notes into a books, which became a best seller, then moved on to other games (backgammon, piquet, chess, and quadrille). Hoyle never actually wrote an encyclopedic rule book. But as his name had become synonymous with canonical reference, “Hoyle’s Rules of Games” became a standard title (as “Webster’s” later did in the lexicographical sphere), and “according to Hoyle” passed into use as a testament to its subject’s adherence to rules or concordance with highest authority.
And so, the season of carnivals, fairs– of Midway Madness– begins… Covet that kewpie? Wanna take home that teddy? ”Beat the Carnies: The Secrets to Winning 5 Popular State Fair Games” has you covered.
As we wash the cotton candy off of our fingers, we might send illustrated birthday greetings to Richard Scarry; he was born on this date in 1919. Scarry wrote or illustrated over 300 children’s books, which have (so far) sold over 300 million copies worldwide.
Mrs. Bunny turned on the television to little bunny’s favorite program.
The little bunny turned the sound away up loud and nearly frightened his mother out of her wits.
Oh naughty bunny.
(from Naughty Bunny, 1959)