The Red Bull Diary   Recent Posts
RSSRSS Friday Free Games
"Your 'reality', sir, is lies and balderdash and I'm delighted to say that I have no grasp of it whatsoever."
— Karl Friedrich Hieronymus, Freiherr von Münchhausen

Gaming Literacy in New York City

As reported by NPR and Gamasutra, there is a new high school opening in New York City with a curriculum focusing on designing video games.

Said Gamelab Institute of Play executive director Katie Salen, "We are conceiving the school as a dynamic learning system that takes its cues from the way games are designed, shared and played. All players in the school – teachers, students, parents and administrators – will be empowered to innovate using 21st century literacies that are native to games and design."

"This means learning to think about the world as a set of in interconnected systems that can be affected or changed through action and choice, the ability to navigate complex information networks, the power to build worlds and tell stories, to see collaboration in competition, and communicate across diverse social spaces. It means that students and teachers will engage in their own learning in powerful ways," she added.

—Gamasutra, "New NYC School to Promote 'Gaming Literacy'"
And now the MacArthur Foundation has pledged $1.1 million to support this effort to reinvent education by redefining what it means to be literate. As explained in the NPR podcast, the idea of envisioning the world as the interplay of dynamic systems is something unique to life in the 21st century and requires new ways of preparing children for those challenges.

This is exciting news. The Internet has brought about fundamental changes in the way we think about and use information. In Google era, the fundamental question has shifted from "What is the answer?" to "How do I find it?" Today more than ever, we need to synthesize many different viewpoints and explore ideas through many different media.

Game design is all about understanding the implications of interconnected systems, and the built-in motivational power of a game system can be just the sort of shot in the arm that the educational system needs – especially here in New York. The school is set to open after a two year incubation and planning period. This is an exciting project, and one I hope creates a new way of looking at both games and education.

Labels: , , ,


One of the most retarded videos I have seen yet. Worse, maybe, than the Juggernaut.

Two clay dudes stumble upon a bunch of land mines... or are they pancakes? The ninja in the beginning is the best part. Watch.


Oddly (Not Very) Presidential

Via the New York Times, I found an article in the Boston Phoenix called Empty Pantsuit. Writer Steven Stark talks about why the two new biographies of Hillary Rodham Clinton are so boring. The reason, of course, is that she's just not a very interesting person.

The press's assumption about Hillary has always been that she's the power behind the throne: the smart, savvy one at Yale Law School, who got better grades but postponed her own political career for the benefit of her husband. David Brock wrote an earlier biography, The Education of Hillary Rodham, that advanced this thesis, making the claim that Hillary, not Bill, was the leading light of the twosome.

There’s only one problem with this theory: there isn’t evidence to support it. Love him or hate him, Bill is a political phenomenon.

But don't get me started on the woman who used her husband and my state to launch her political career. What really interested me in this article was not it telling me what I already knew, but the list of odds that followed. I just had to share it for my readers:
Rudy Giuliani 3-2
Fred Thompson 3-1
Mitt Romney 7-2
John Mccain 7-1
Mike Huckabee 200-1
Sam Brownback 1000-1
Tommy Thompson 20,000-1
Duncan Hunter 20,000-1
James Gilmore 40,000-1
Tom Tancredo 75,000-1
Ron Paul500,000-1
Barack Obama 4-3
Hillary Clinton 3-2
John Edwards7-1
Bill Richardson 40-1
Joe Biden 65-1
Chris Dodd 150-1
Dennis Kucinich 25,000-1
Mike Gravel 1,000,000-1
I decided to post this because it reminded me a bit of the post I wrote about the Papacy before Ratzinger was elected. I've emboldened the names of my favorite from each party above. Figures I would pick the Republican whose chances are judged to be half-a-million-to-one.

And I think that if Bloomberg enters the race, things will look very different for both parties. I don't think Bloomberg is by any means an ideal presidential candidate, he is, as Scott Adams has pointed out, smart, efficient, and independently wealthy.

For me, the only way to root out the corruption that is destroying the American democracy is to reform the campaigning and election process. The only one capable of doing so is an independent who does not have a vested interest in propping up the existing system.

Labels: , ,

Ms. Angel

About a year and a half ago, I met a woman that changed my life. I remember when I first looked into those eyes, there was something almost ethereal in their sheer luminescence. I'll call her Ms. Angel, because I feel like she had been sent to me. And this winter, the most kind-hearted and intelligent woman I have ever met has inexplicably agreed to become my wife.

Our wedding will be on August 4th in Schenectady, New York.

I am the luckiest man in the world.



Yesterday was my 33rd birthday, and I spent it in Pennsylvania at my grandfather's funeral. He died over the weekend after a stroke caused massive hemhorraging in his brain. He was 91.

My father's brothers and sisters and a few of my cousings surrounded his bed as my grandmother held his hand. He was struggling for breath. The hemhorraging had gotten so bad that blood was leaking from his nose and his ears. My father was with my mom at a trade show in Las Vegas at the time; my grandmother put the phone to my grandfather's ear so that my father could say his final goodbye long-distance. As my grandmother related the story, his breaths grew further apart and eventually, his breath failed altogether.

This is a man who survived one of the most devestating campaigns of a long and brutal war. A British colony at the time, Malta was the most consistently heavily bombed place on Earth during World War II: 17,000 tons of bombs were dropped on an island smaller than 100 square miles in area over a two and a half year period. The Maltese people were forced to live underground in the ancient catacombs. The bombardment was so bad that the people were dying of starvation and thirst. The allies could not get supplies to the tiny island because of the constant barrage by German bombers.

This is a man who worked three jobs when he first arrived in this country with five young children and a sixth soon to come. They lived in East New York, one of the poorest areas of the city, and struggled to make ends meet. It was my grandfather's unflagging commitment to his family that taught my father a very valuable lesson: life is hard work, and you have to look out for your own. Family is what is most important in this life.

This is a man whose mind had slowly slipped away. For the last five years or so, my grandfather hardly recognized his own grandchildren. He forgot how to speak English, lapsing back to his native Maltese, making it impossible for most of us to understand him. But my grandmother never faltered; she took care of him every day, scarcely leaving his side. And in the final moments, he was holding her hand. At the end of the funeral, my grandmother touched his coffin and vowed to never forget.

My grandparents were together for sixty-six years. He has left behind six children, eighteen grandchildren and ten great-grandchildren.

We can never forget the sacrifices you made for us, Grandpa. Rest in peace.


Pandora: My Favorite New Songs
LibraryThing: What I'm Currently Reading
Archive Links
Friends of the Red Bull

Sinfest by Tatsuya Ishida

Order of the Stick by Rich Burlew
The Red Bull Diary Is
The Red Bull Diary is the personal pulpit and intellectual dumping-ground for its author, an amateur game designer, professional programmer, political centrist and incurable skeptic. The Red Bull Diary is gaming, game design, politics, development, geek culture, and other such nonsense.