Benny's Adventures

Let’s Hope My Laptop Experiences a Christmas Miracle!

Much of why I’ve been mum the last little while is the breakdown of my laptop. It has been sent to a HP service center so hopefully I will get it back soon and my productivity comes back up. I also don’t have my desktop because I’m at home in Florida. Thus I’m in a pickle and am sorely missing my usual tools (such as Windows Live Writer).

In any case, I hope to be back writing comfortably soon!

24 December 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

On the way to the Kitchen

I found this on Reddit and it made me laugh like crazy for some reason (I think it’s the delivery of the last line):

18 December 2010 Posted by | Funny | , , , , | Leave a comment

Harvest or Rescue? A Bioshock Thought Experiment

Bioschock is a highly rated game from 2007. I just today beat it on the Xbox 360 (I know I’m a bit behind) and had my mind blown with awesomeness. I tried to play as accurately as I could to my personality and one thing always kept me wondering. If I were actually in the shoes of the protagonist (rather than experiencing his adventures virtually), would I rescue or harvest the little sisters?

This post DOES contain spoilers, so if you haven’t played the game for whatever reason, you’ve been warned!

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For this thought experiment let’s assume that even as we transfer the game concepts to reality the framework of the game remains sound (Plasmids exist, you can still endure just as much punishment, carry around all those weapons, etc.) Given this premise, when you first meet a little sister you can choose to liberate or harvest you are told two different things:

  • Atlas tells you to harvest the little sister, claiming they are no longer children – no longer human – and you should have no remorse for harvesting Adam from them.
  • Dr. Tenenbaum asks you to rescue the little sisters at this point after providing you the means of performing the rescue. She also claims she will make it worth your while.

At that moment all you know is that you can get Adam from the little sisters by harvesting them or forego that benefit to get a reward that may or may not be commensurate with the Adam you obtain from the little sister directly. There’s no way to know in advance that you get any Adam at all from rescuing the sisters nor do you know how Tenenbaum will make it worth your while.

Up to this point you’ve been harassed by splicers who you’ve dispatched with no remorse and have no human contact except Atlas and Ryan. Tenenbaum is a third. Whatever your thoughts coming into Rapture are, you’ve also searched many a dead body for loot just to survive.

All these things are fine if you know you’re playing a video game but should this happen in real life how would you feel? Though you are coerced by the magic phrase to pursue certain paths you retain some level of autonomy. (I don’t see why Atlas simply doesn’t say, “Would you kindly harvest the little sister?” or “Harvest the little sister. Would you kindly?” I think that’s how it should actually be phrased.) Evidence indicates that even as you do what you are commanded to you retain your own thoughts and emotions and it’s your body that is being controlled (an audio diary from Dr. Suchong).

Now, back to the situation in front of you. What do you do?

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Personally I’d like to think that I’ll rescue the little sister because as a decent human being I cannot harm this innocent, little girl-like creature regardless of what claims are made about her. At the same time I wonder how the events that unfold would affect me. First there’s the plane crash. Next there are the frequent assaults by crazed splicers. As someone who hasn’t picked up a weapon in my life for the purpose of killing being thrown into that situation would be shocking to say the least.

Let me be clear: I can’t imagine harvesting a little sister. But I say that not experiencing the terrifying series of events that plays out in the game.

When I think about it I begin to doubt myself. Maybe because of the shock I will hesitate less to harvest the little sister especially because I can’t know that at the end of the day I’ll have about the same amount of Adam. In this hostile, foreign situation all I really know is that Atlas has helped me out (or so it convincingly seems) and this Tenenbaum person has obvious ulterior motives – the protection of the little sisters for whatever reason. Especially after the threat she makes I have no reason to think that she cares for my safety while Atlas does seem to look out for me.

Truth be told in the actual situation I don’t think my thoughts would be as clear. Still I think that I’m built to have a certain threshold I need to cross before being able to harvest a little sister. That being said it’s far more likely I’ll reach that threshold under the stress of everything that’s been happening.

16 December 2010 Posted by | Gaming, Thinking | , , , , | Leave a comment

Why do I blog?

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Previously I questioned the value of my posts. Even more fundamental is my reason for blogging. There are a lot of reasons for people to blog. I don’t have any delusions of being relevant to millions of people but if several people benefit I would not complain.

However, my first and foremost reason for beginning to start this particular blog is to create a small but sure revenue stream.

There was a time when I had “pure” reasons for blogging. I had a blog with xanga and this served as a vessel for sharing my thoughts to primarily my high school friends. Back then I had no ideas of making money or even internet stardom with the blog.

My ambitions have changed since then. Currently I definitely would enjoy making some money off this blog. I would also not mind getting a decent readership who I communicate with.

Is that a bad thing? It doesn’t seem like it as along as I’m putting out decent content and not trying to game the system. Time will tell if it works out as intended though.

16 December 2010 Posted by | Blogging, Internet | , , | 1 Comment

A Blogger’s Dilemma

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Every time I set out to write a blog post I run into a problem. What is my post worth?

Sometimes I find something interesting and want to share it. Would it be worthwhile though? Won’t my readers just get it from somewhere else? Who am I to think that my little blog is the one that’ll introduce a reader to something interesting when they have so many other resources?

Then there are the times I have the inspiration to create a post entirely of my own thought and I question the value people would get from it. Perhaps my epitomes are old news for my readers. Perhaps it’s not relevant to them.

What’s the point in blogging then? What role do I play when I share something I’ve found, and what role do I play when I write my own thoughts down?

Oddly enough I think this post began with simply considering the option of concocting an original post or sharing something interesting I’ve found. The process of writing transformed the idea from something mundane to philosophical questioning of my own worth as a blogger.

Either way I think it’s interesting – and I’ll continue to post things I find as well as my own thoughts because whatever the meta-blog-ical value is, I’d still like to create a successful blog that I can eventually make some money off of.

16 December 2010 Posted by | Blogging, Internet | , , | 2 Comments

Good Dog

From the blog “tastefully offensive”:

9 December 2010 Posted by | Funny, Internet | , , , , | Leave a comment

My Path to Getting Things Done

There are two components to getting things done:

  1. Motivation
  2. Discipline

These are the two major categories that I think everything related to getting things done falls under. I did a brief search of the blogosphere and found several interesting pieces on the concept of “getting things done.” There’re even Getting Things Done (GTD) Systems and whole books about this.

The different thoughts and systems all dance around the aforementioned core concepts. The following discussion is not meant to serve as strict rules that you must follow but as inspiration to develop your own mindset and methodology to reaching your goals. Here is my way:

  1. Motivation
    • First, determine what there is to be done. This can be assignments from class, hobbies, or random things that have come up for any reason.
    • Now prioritize these tasks. Tasks with deadlines get top priority, obviously. Hobbies and other things are more flexible.
    • Finally these tasks are in a position to gain motivation.
      • Find the light at the end of the tunnel for everything you want to do. The most important thing is to make the light concrete. For school make sure the goal is a tangible reward such as a higher GPA. For other tasks make sure there is an end product that you can look at and know you’re done. Abstract ideas are troublesome because humans can rationalize away delays or anything else that can set you back.
      • Decide why these goals help you get what you want. It helps to make these as tangible as possible (“a great job in the future” is better than simply “success”, for example)
  2. Discipline
    • Start! The most important thing is to actually start whatever task you are currently working on. Don’t tell yourself you’ll start after you check your e-mail or catch up on Facebook updates. Just start!
    • Don’t get distracted.

I think the two biggest points to this process is deciding why you want to reach your goals and starting. Once you figure out why you want something your human nature is to reach for it. The next tough thing is to actually start working on it. If you accomplish that the completion does not take as much will power.

As I mentioned earlier these ideas serve more as guidelines so feel free to adapt them into your own process or modify these ideas with other tools. For example, following this process is simplified by Google Tasks. Just make sure you don’t lose yourself in setting yourself up for success and forget to actually succeed (like I said… Start! Just do it!0.

9 December 2010 Posted by | Feeling Good, Life, productivity | , , , , | Leave a comment

What People Are Noticing: Perception v. Reality

I believe I found this some time ago on Reddit. Pretty interesting (and accurate, I think). Enjoy!

8 December 2010 Posted by | Feeling Good, Life | , , , , | 2 Comments

Nobody Trips Over Mountains

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“Nobody trips over mountains. It is the small pebble that causes you to stumble. Pass all the pebbles in your path and you will find you have crossed the mountain.”

I first heard this quote from a high school friend and has no known source as far as I can tell but it has impressive lessons. In my own life this has played out so many times that I wish I’d known this since the day I was born. Even as I write this there are little things that stand to trip me up and derail my quest to succeed in life.

One way this can play out in life can be as simple as e-mail messages piling up. I’ve gotten better about it but there are still austria_alps_mountain_271284_ltimes when I will not reply to an e-mail as soon as I can and this piles up over time. As the e-mails pile up eventually I am unable to really respond to it because now there are dozens of messages and the task of replying to them becomes daunting and sometimes impossible for time-sensitive issues.

Another way I think about is that the mountain of completing an assignment and getting a good grade is never an issue but where it falls apart is when a small part of the assignment is ignored for some reason (perhaps, say, if I feel like it’s not worth it). The other level to it is that if I stumble on a pebble early on (such as slacking off on the first problem set in a class) then I can’t pass later pebbles in the quest to climb the mountain and learn the subject material because I’ve fallen down and can’t get up as later pebbles continue to trip me up.

In looking for the exact quote I came across this blog that ultimately does a much better job of talking about the quote. I consider it more evidence for the validity of the quote. Perhaps you can add more evidence to this wise expression?

6 December 2010 Posted by | Life | , , , , | 1 Comment

   

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