sick world

October 25, 2002
Quote of the Moment
It's a sick world out there, and that's why we don't live out there.
Garrison Keillor

ASCII Art of the Moment
     __(.)=   __(.)=
     \___)    \___)    
 =(.)__   =(.)__   >(.)__
  (___/    (___/    (___/
(I really like these ducks)

Online Toy of the Moment
It is a sick world. And this online toy Mr. Rogers Out of Context is so very evil. But also funny.

Mr. Rogers is a little under-rated. He's very geared to appeal to a certain age group, I think around 5 or so, doing things that kids that age want and need; the repetition, the quiet reassurance. And, as a normal rite of passage, it becomes very cool to make fun of Mr. Rogers. The thing is, I think most people still slightly carry the anti-Rogers-attitude, seeing him only as a campy figure to make fun of, not thinking about what he really offers kids.

Research Links of the Moment
The Uncanny Valley is a scientific study on how people react to robots...the main take away seems to be that there's a certain stage of "cyber-realism", right before resemblance to "real human" is complete, that people react very negatively to. I think this has some implications for modern videogames, modern games with realistic characters might be starting to approach that valley. Maybe that's why some game makers are going the other direction, most notably Miyamoto's change of style for the new "Zelda" game.

Also, a slashdot piece that says 'Tetris is Hard'...difficult in a formal mathematical sense even. That surprises me, I had always assumed there was a near 'perfect strategy' that I was just too dense to apply.

Perl of the Moment
This beautiful line of Perl code:
$line =~ s/([^\t]*)\t/$1." "x(8-length($1)%8)/ge;
replaces tabs with the appropriate number of spaces, respecting the tab stops. Its author Phiroze Parakh rocks, and Google Groups knows it.