Lots of randomness today:

Learned that the reality TV phenomenon is likely to continue, as it's sheer economics: Whereas scripted programs must be rerun in order to recoup production costs, networks can make a profit on a single showing of a reality program (no pesky writers or actors to pay...). I wonder how long it'll take us to get to the "Jumping For Dollars" scene in The Running Man, where some hapless contestent grasps for $100 bills as Rotweilers nip at his heels.

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Discovered some really cool software, and not all of it just good for writing programs. One particular one I like is a brainstorming tool called FreeMind. Screen shot:



Kinda cool way to develop thought-trees, complete with HTTP links, icons, pictures, whatever.

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I've been avoiding writing about my latest reads, but I guess I should record that I actually read these two novels by Orson Scott Card:


Ender's Game


Ender's Shadow


The premise of both books is a future after two invasions from an alien race, the Buggers. In both cases, humanity had just barely survived. The stress had unified the three major alliances on Earth into one confederacy to prepare for the inevitable 3rd invasion. In addition to building a fleet and developing new weapons, the confederacy is looking for the new Napolean, Caesar, or Alexander, and they're looking in Grade School. "Ender's Game" follows Andrew "Ender" Wiggins as he's identified as a military genius, sent to a space station called Battle School where they play a zero-g game of capture the flag. "Ender's Shadow" follows the same timeline with a different character.

The books were intriguing for one simple reason: They cast everything as a struggle for survival, a game where strategy, reading people, and excellence were all that matters. For some reason, the book 'clicked' with me. My life has always been about avoiding games. It's not so much that I hate to lose, I just never saw much point in playing.

These books cast everything in a completely different light. Play the games! Recognize people's strategy, their strengths and weaknesses, and always, always be cognizant of what's really going on. That's what I did at the autocross on Sunday. I knew Scott was overlooking the threat I posed to him; he'd beaten me handily in the past 4 events. His sights were set on ever higher prey, and I came in below his radar and beat him.

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It's a night of strong thunderstorms here in Kentucky. I pray God keeps us all safe as nature rends itself apart outside.

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