I was going to write an article about the American military mind, what's wrongwith it, etc, but, in reality, I don't know enough about it for what Iwas going to write to really be accurate. All I can say is that I don'tlike what I see. Americans, stereotypical Americans, I don't like what Isee there. It's often been said that Americans (or the Swiss, or the Israelis,or the North Koreans, depending on who you ask) have the best military in theworld. The idea of so much power, mixed with the American ignorance of therest of the world, crusade mentality, and self-serving nature.. scary.
Anyhow, let's segue from that into problems I see with the American military,starting with the thing that inspired me to write in the first place.Take a look at this. Yes, American military forces toyed with prisonersin Iraq, making pyramids out of them or staging them in sexual innuendo, writingstuff on their skin, and committing other abuses. This is absolutely incredible.As a brief aside, BushJr, according to the article, knew about this for awhile,but didn't comment on it until the photos hit the papers. These things areunforgivable, and will do incalcuable damage to the efforts of reconstructingIraq, itself a situation that America never should have been in, but now isstuck to, thanks to the idiot at the helm. This, and little else, will be whatIraqis remember 20 years from now -- that Americans invaded their country toremove a pretty bad leader, and showed the kind of society they could be if theytried. Wonderful. I've had a few friends who have family in the military, andone of the things they describe is that the military teaches you to hate theenemy and dehumanize them. Looks like our troops have leaned that lesson ratherwell. BushJr said it very well, "That's not the way we do things in America".Yup, America normally scoots people out of the public eye, to Cuba or someother place where the media isn't, in order to commit atrocities.Of course, that's just the first ring in our military circus. Observe thefreak show of freakishly backwards homophobic rules, justified by arguments thatwould happily also justify making the military all white, male, protestant, republican, and let's not forget, non-Irish. Don't ask, don't tell. Sshh. Andthen there's the Crusade ring, where military folk describe the Americanmilitary as being an army of their god, out to crush the Muslim heathens, peoplewho start drawing up plans when they hear about plans for a new Crusade.America, the land of clowns with guns, now coming to a country near you.
On a similar note, here's an interesting article on routine, minor censorshipthat occurs in video games on its way to the United States. I was completelyunaware of this...
"And that gets to the second reality: There are well organized forces thatwork hard to punish software makers and sellers for what they considerreligious transgressions."
These transgressions include having crosses as earrings for characters, orsimilar. These are put in the context of a lot of other localization that theydid, and while they reach different conclusions, I think there are some prettyclear guidelines that gamemakers should use when making a localized versionof a game.. first, yes, translate to the local language -- it's not good toassume everyone in the world speaks Japanese (or any other language) (althoughleaving in the original language might also be a good thing, so people canchoose). Second, adopt to conventions, when it make sense, that are completelyunrelated to the content (interpreted very inclusively) of the game. The articlementions controller button usage, there are probably other examples. Next,try really hard to retain all content from the original, just adding littleexplanations when needed to provide background. If Americans learn, in a quickcut-scene, that Japanese have an elaborate tea ceremony they sometimes use,you're doing them a public service, and people actually like to learn things,so they'll remember your game a bit more. Finally, don't remove stuff you canexplain unless it's *very* clear that Americans won't get it -- if you're goingto make them do a quiz over "Hello Kitty" to progress in the game, orsimilar, it's ok to replace it with something else or chop it. Don't ever, ever,bow to local customs like hiding areas of your culture that might createculture shock.
More neat science -- Israeli researchers have made an amazing advance -- they'vetied their previous work with molecular computers to medical technology,designing what promises to be an injectable doctor which could seek out andrepair/destroy malfunctioning cells. This kind of thing does have some peoplea bit worried, but at the very least it's fascinating what they've done...
Apple recently made an upgrade to iTunes, to lock out open source folk whoconnected to their service without using their client. Within 24 hoursof their upgrade, one of us figured out the changes, and adaptedthe code so people who used it are back on. Amusing.
Anyhow, classes are done for this semester, so I just need to finish withfinals and the last paper, and I can relax... ahh, that sounds nice.