“Department of War Gamification”

Girl Security Brings War Games To A Younger Generation : NPR: https://www.npr.org/2019/07/20/743709312/girl-security-brings-war-games-to-a-younger-generation

gamification: definition from Dictionary.com: https://www.dictionary.com/browse/gamification

MCU: Infinity/Kang


In the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie, The Collector gave a nebulous explanation of the Infinty Stones: “Before creation itself, there were six singularities. Then the universe exploded into existence, and the remnants of these systems were forged into concentrated ingots… Infinity Stones.” … and … “These stones, it seems, can only be brandished by beings of extraordinary strength. These carriers can use the stone to mow down entire civilizations like wheat in a field. Once, for a moment, a group was able to share the energy amongst themselves, but even they were quickly destroyed by it.

In Avengers : Infinity War, Wong ofders another partial explanation: “At the dawn of the universe, there was nothing, then boom. The big bang sent six elemental crystals hurtling across the virgin universe. These Infinity Stones each control an essential aspect of existence.”
(Infinity Stones come to represent both the physical mechanics of the Multiverse and the Life that tries to survive within the energy and machinery of Existence: Time, Space, Power, Reality, Mind, Soul.)

Then, further explanation comes from The Ancient One in Avengers: Endgame
Ancient One: I’m sorry. I can’t help you, Bruce. If I give up the Time Stone to help your reality, I’m dooming my own.
Bruce Banner: With all due respect, I’m not sure the science really supports that.
The Ancient One: The Infinity Stones create what you experience as the flow of time. Remove one of the stones, and that flow splits. Now this may benefit your reality, but my new one, not so much. In this new branched reality, without our chief weapon against the forces of darkness, our world will be overrun. Millions will suffer. So, tell me, doctor, can your science prevent all that?
Bruce Banner: No. But we can erase it. Because once we’re done with the stones, we can return each one into its own timeline at the moment it was taken. So, chronologically, in that reality, it never left.
The Ancient One: Yes, but you’re leaving out the most important part. In order to return the stones, you have to survive.
Bruce Banner: We will. I will. I promise.
The Ancient One: I can’t risk this reality on a promise. It’s the duty of the Sorcerer Supreme to protect the Time Stone.

…Why am I going on about this? “Two Steves” result of Endgame. Cause and Effect. Cap goes back in time to return all the stones to their rightful places, in an effort to erase any branching timelines, but ends his journey by taking up residence in the past. He lives out a life with Peggy Carter. Apparently, without spilling the beans about — or at least being unable to counter — the Hydra infiltration of SHIELD. And knowing full well about when Peggy will die, in a nursing home, with the accompanying effects of age-related dimentia.

Cause and Effect. Time.

Spider-Man: Far From Home. Yes, Mysterio’s story of being a warrior from another dimension was all bullshit, an illusion, bit “deception and theatricality” in service of Beck & Friends’ goals, but it led to this fun exchange:
Quentin Beck: There are multiple realities, Peter. This is Earth dimension 616. I’m from Earth-833.
Peter Parker: I’m sorry. You’re saying there’s a multiverse? I thought that was just theoretical. I mean, that completely changes how we understand the initial singularity. We’re talking about an eternal inflation system. And how does that even work with all the quantum, it’s insane!
[Fury and Hill look at him]
Peter Parker: Sorry. It’s really cool.


Cause and Effect. Probability Fields. Quantum Waveforms.

Brian Greene: A Physicist Explains ‘The Hidden Reality’ Of Parallel Universes : NPR: https://www.npr.org/2011/01/24/132932268/a-physicist-explains-why-parallel-universes-may-exist

So, some theoretical narrative conceits that could be useful….

Current moment in Time is the culmination and accumulation of many significant individual binary events, and the cause/effect interactions they have on each other. Its got its own “momentum and inertia” keeping it going.

There may be a Multiverse of Parallel Dimensions. But there might be a more limited number that one might think. Each dimension has its own timeline. Each probably has some “branching timelines” splitting off from it.

Maybe any MCU version of Kang is a character that has become a kind of “constant gardener,” pruning branches from certain timelines among the various parallel worlds. If so, why? To keep the branches from growing into each other and intertwining?

Yddrasil, the World Tree. Each reality is its own “World Tree” in the Multiversal “Forest”? The world-trees might be separate, but do they share the same root-systems?

From Tree to Shining Tree | Radiolab | WNYC Studios: https://www.wnycstudios.org/story/from-tree-to-shining-tree


In Endgame, Thanos claims to have used the Infinty Stones to destroy the Infinty Stones. When Smart Hulk tells The Ancient Ones that, she claims that’s impossible.

So, are the Infinty Stones essentially still intact, but thier atoms and energies just spread out across the Universe? Or across the Multiverse?

Man,… makes me wonder what might be in store for the next phase of Marvel movies and TV. The next Dr. Strange movie, the Eternals, Shang-Chi, and so on. Psychelic, baby.

“Invest now in automation and robot-slaves!”

“Every civilization was built off the back of a disposable workforce.” Quote from a character from a sci-fi movie, Blade Runner 2049.

As a highly socially hierarchical animal species, seems like humanity has always stuggled both for and against class structures. Formation of classes seems inevitable to me. Trying to keep them from becoming numerous and rigid seems to be the best practice; fewer, broader, more permeable seems best. Power-sharing, checks and balances, research/innovation/market redesign are necessary.

Hopefully, as far as how Humans treat each other, we are finally starting to analyze our past, figure out how to move forward. Slavery and other forced labor has been one “very bad habit” [one of many, to be sure].


Thinking about humanity, labor, automations, robots, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and so on.

Having a bit of dark fun reminiscing on some of my favorite sci-fi movies and TV–

  • Ron Moore’s Battlestar Galactica and Caprica series.
  • The two Blade Runner movies.
  • The Matrix Trilogy.
  • Ex Machina
  • EDIT: HBO’s Westworld


Even With Robots, Manufacturers Need The Human Touch : NPR: https://www.npr.org/2019/04/30/717233058/even-in-the-robot-age-manufacturers-need-the-human-touch

Historian Yuval Harari’s 21 Issues Facing The 21st Century | On Point: https://www.wbur.org/onpoint/2019/01/01/yuval-harari-21-issues-21st-century

Measuring Worth – Measuring the Value of a Slave: https://www.measuringworth.com/slavery.php

“Silencing Science”

Silencing Science (Rebroadcast)Reveal: https://www.revealnews.org/episodes/silencing-science-rebroadcast/


Hello, grey_zealot here. Private citizen, blue-collar, tax-paying voter. Moderate/Centrist Republican.

I didn’t vote for Trump in 2016. I will not vote for him in 2020.

Many reasons. The story linked to above presents one set of reasons I will never vote for him.

“Marvel’s Mystic Arts”

So, apparently, there’s a new Dr. Strange movie coming down the pike. I enjoyed the first movie. I’m a fan of Benedict Cumberbatch’s “Sherlock” and the “Imitation Game”, and hace enjoyed his interpretation of Marvel’s resident “Sorcerer Supreme”.

I’m just generally not a fan of “magic” as Marvel tends to use it in superhero comics. I mean, I don’t believe in “magic” in The Real World. Closest I come to it is believing in God.

In the first movie, The Ancient One sort of breezes through half an explanation of “magic” in order move the movie along, about “spells” being analogous to “programming”, about tapping into “interdimensional energies” to manipulate Matter, Energy, Time, and Space.

Fun to think about, sure.

Despite the scenes concerning Strange’s accelerated training, they kind of make “magic” seem too easy. Just something that, once learned, appears to have no “cost”. Doesn’t seem physically draining or potentially damaging to the user.

At one point, in the comics, in trying to establish certain limits on “magic”, Marvel was using ideas developed for certain pen-and-paper roleplaying games for its characters. I barely remember how it goes, and I suppose I should use the internet to search it out, copy/paste the explanation, but I’m feeling impish, and want to try to paraphrase it. So, here’s what I remember….

In Marvel’s Multiverse, “Magic” is essentially energy that is generated by Life itself. One could assume it derives from God/the Great Spirit/The Force, ultimately. Basically, anything “Alive” generates a life force, and therefore “Magical energies”. Being able to tap into them is the thing. It’s not easy.

You could learn to tap into your own energies generated by your own “Soul”, for example. You risk killing yourself, depleting your energies and damaging your body, of course.

You could learn to try to tap into the “magical energies” of other living beings, or even the ambient life-force of the universe itself, or tap through the “dimensional membranes” into the lifeforces of other universes, or powerful “Entities” in those other dimensions.

Pretty vague and amorphous. “Spells.”

Point is, it would be physically taxing for most “normal” creatures, dangerous.

Tapping into energies of “powerful interdimensional entites” could also get you noticed by those entities. Opening more dangerous possibilities.

I am curious to see what more Marvel does. Some tantalizing things were done with “magic” on Marvel TV’s “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” with Ghost Rider.

Not sure how they will continue to approach it. Especially after the events of the Infinity War and Endgame movies, what with the Infinity Stones (“Cosmic/Space Magic”) having been reduced to atoms and spread across the universe by Thanos, then being told by the Ancient One that they can’t really be destroyed. Does that mean they can still be “tapped in to”??

Is that what upcoming movies like the next Dr. Strange, or the one with Shang-Chi (“Master of Kung-Fu”) or the movie based on The Eternals will address? Science & Magic? Science Vs. Magic? Science/Magic?

Jack Kirby’s “The Eternals” mashed-up stuff popular during the 1970’s, like notions of humankind coming from somewhere else originally, or that the mythical “gods” worshipped by ancient human cultures were actually extraterrestrial aliens. (Ideas he played with a bit/somewhat back in the 1960’s too, with Thor.)

I forget which comic book creators created the character if Shang-Chi during the 1970’s, but the comic was a chance for Marvel to tap into the popularity of the “Hong Kong action”/”martial arts” movies of the time, while also using an old 1930’s pulp sci-fi character, Sax Rohmer’s “Fu Manchu”. Fu Manchu often gets derided as “the White West’s racial fear of Asians/Asian culture”, but he was such a cool and dangerous character, such a template/archetype for the “supervillain mastermind”, I can’t imagine Marvel making the mistake of mishandling the character. He’s the “core” of every genius villain, from Professor Moriarty to Lex Luthor to Doctor Doom, and so on.

We shall see. Hope Marvel doesn’t fuck it all up.

Protected: “Robot-Space”

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Hong Kong: Stalwart

UPDATE (2019-07-07): Looking Back 22 Years To The Handover Of Hong Kong From Britain To China : NPR: https://www.npr.org/2019/07/01/737761290/looking-back-22-years-to-the-handover-of-hong-kong-from-britain-to-china

Police In Hong Kong Use Tear Gas To Disperse Demonstrators : NPR: https://www.npr.org/2019/07/02/737919121/police-in-hong-kong-use-tear-gas-to-disperse-demonstrators

UPDATE (2019-06-23):

Hong Kong’s Leader Backpedaled, But Here’s Why The Opposition Movement Continues : NPR: https://www.npr.org/2019/06/19/733393348/hong-kongs-leader-backpedaled-but-here-s-why-the-opposition-movement-continues

How Hong Kong Factors Into The U.S.-China Trade War | Here & Now: https://www.wbur.org/hereandnow/2019/06/19/hong-kong-us-china-trade-war


UPDATE (2019-06-16): Hong Kong Protests Continue As Top Official Apologizes For Extradition Bill : NPR: https://www.npr.org/2019/06/16/733168842/hong-kong-executive-apologizes-as-protests-continue-over-extradition-bill


UPDATE (2019-06-14): Hong Kong Leader Suspends Controversial Extradition Bill : NPR: https://www.npr.org/2019/06/15/732993237/hong-kong-leader-suspends-controversial-extradition-bill


Protesters In Hong Kong Push Back On Beijing – 1A: https://the1a.org/shows/2019-06-13/the-latest-on-protests-in-hong-kong

Critics Say Hong Kong’s Extradition Bill Targets Democracy Activists : NPR: https://www.npr.org/2019/06/13/732270794/critics-say-hong-kongs-extradition-bill-targets-democracy-activists

China Blamed For Cyberattacks During Hong Kong Protests | Here & Now: https://www.wbur.org/hereandnow/2019/06/13/china-cyberattacks-hong-kong-protests



Hong Kong Protesters Sentenced For Role In ‘Umbrella’ Movement : NPR: https://www.npr.org/2019/04/24/716628971/umbrella-protesters-sentenced-for-2014-hong-kong-pro-democracy-demonstration

For Some Japanese Americans, Border Separations Are Déjà Vu : Code Switch : NPR

For Some Japanese Americans, Border Separations Are Déjà Vu : Code Switch : NPR: https://www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/2018/06/20/621972727/for-some-japanese-americans-border-separations-are-deja-vu

‘What Are They Hiding?’: Julián Castro Denied Access To Border Patrol Facility : NPR: https://www.npr.org/2019/06/29/737328707/-what-are-they-hiding-juli-n-castro-denied-access-to-border-patrol-facility

Customs And Border Patrol Investigating Secret Facebook Border Patrol Group : NPR: https://www.npr.org/2019/07/02/737930088/lawmakers-respond-to-vile-secret-facebook-group-created-by-border-patrol-agents


Who Is the Villain in ‘Spider-Man: Far From Home’? Here’s a Brief History: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/05/movies/spider-man-mysterio.html

Last night, Friday evening, the wife and I caught the 7:30pm showing of Spider-Man: Far From Home. She liked it, I loved it. Solid Spidey-story, solid Marvel Cinematic Universe chapter, solid supervillain into.


Mysterio has always been a villain I liked to read, but he’s never been one of my favorites. The movie version captures his twistedness, his creative vanity and scheming, his narcissism, but manages — at first — to make him somewhat sympathetic by a significant tweak to his backstory: the MCU version is not a former Hollywood stuntman, special effects expert, and frustrated actor turned to crime, he’s a former Stark Industries employee, a brilliant engineer in his own right, who felt screwed-over by the now-deceased Tony “Iron Man” Stark.

Although, I think it’s debatable how much of his holographic tech breakthroughs were solely his. Not saying “Tony is the source of all things Stark-Tech”, just saying Stark was always the smartest guy in the room, had a tendency to quickly, reflexively analyze every idea he encountered, and probably wanderedd into Beck’s holographic lab, made a few causal observations, then offered some advice, and the next thing you know, he’s taken over Beck’s project for his own purposes for a short time, did a lot playing around that resulted in improvements, then just kinda dropped Beck’s project back into Beck’s lap when he got what he wanted out of it and got a bit bored with it. Beck no doubt made continued improvements. But, Beck seems egotistical enough to resent everything about Tony’s involvement while simultaneously taking advantage of every single contribution Tony made. Probably self-delusional enough to think he would have made the same advancements at the same pace without Tony sticking his nose in, and that Tony was taking undue credit.

(Wow, got a little deep into the weeds there. Fun.)

One think I liked about Spider-Man: Homecoming was how they took another villain I liked but hates the way comic book writers always treated a a joke (not ideal to de-fang supervillain antagonists, for story purposes; sorta lowers the bar for our protagonists), they instead released Adrian “The Vulture” Toomes’ potential. He was tough and dangerous. And they gave Vulture a “crew”, slipping in characters like Shocker and Tinkerer. And, as with SM:FFH, they addressed cause-and-effect and consequences of what went on in previous MCU entries: they showed Vulture’s crew involved in black market superweapons made from whatever tech they could steal, “dangerous litter” from previous super-battles, from the Chitauri’s alien tech, to busted Ultron robots, to remnants of Justine Hammer’s drone-army. Just constant hints at what it must be like to be an “average civilian” in a world where there are still “normal/mundane dangers” as well as various degrees of “fantastical dangers.”

In SM:FFH, Quentin “Mysterio” Beck gets a crew. They seem to be a very collaborative bunch of disgruntled ex-Stark International employees. One guy is the engineer/scientist Obadiah Stane berated in the first Iron Man movie for being unable to duplicate Tony’s miniaturized and improved “arc reactor”; this guy is the mind behind the army of weaponized drones Beck has equipped with his holographic projector tech. (Weird: I’m googling the actor, trying to find the character info, failing. Is this engineer going to be the MCU version of Spidey-Foe Mendel “Robot-Master” Stromm?)

Anyway, loved everything about the movie. Fun characters, fun story, very well done, satisfying while also making you want more, eager for the next chapter.

MPQ: “Marvel HeroPuzzleClixQuest”

EDIT (2019-07-01): Another personal milestone hit in the “Match-3/RPG” that is “Marvel PuzzleQuest”: hit the 7 million ISO-8 mark. With D3Go’s rapid pace of character releases but apparent inability to adjust its “rarity scales” of 5-star characters in relation, I’ve got nothing I can do with it….EDIT (2019-04-14): Another personal milestone: broke the 6M ISO-8 ceiling. Still way, way behind many of my alliance members. They are *machines*.EDIT (2019-02-27): Wa-Hoo! Finally broke the 5M ISO-8 ceiling. 😎 Yeah, I know: Many players have already done this, especially in my alliance. Just tooting my own horn about a “personal best”. Victory and Life are ephemeral, etc. Still, gonna enjoy it.EDIT (2018-12-15): Hua! Finally broke the 4M ISO-8 ceiling!EDIT (2018-10-10): And now, have broken the 3-million ISO-8 barrier!EDIT (2018-07-28): And now, finally broke the 2-million Iso-8 barrier!Below: Originally published 2018-05-28:Personal nerdy milestone: after 1,348 days of playing “Marvel PuzzleQuest” game app on two different smartphones (spending more money and time on this time-waster than I should), finally passed the *one million Iso-8* threshold. It means nothing in the real world, but I feel a miniscule notion of “accomplishment” over it. I suppose.Now, hoping to see if I can save up “Command Points” so I start get ahold of certain 5-star character covers I need for my “stable” of characters.