Gaming for good

Here is Jane McGonigal TED talk on “Gaming can make a better world”:

This is an inspiring talk about using the drive of gaming to useful ends. I have mused before on weather games can be used for education and believe this is an untapped way of motivating people to better themselves and improve their performance.

One of the points she talked about in the “lack of feedback” (winning points) in real life for actions. Then there is Jesse Schell (scary) talk “When games invade real life” and he suggests with sensors and wireless connectivity becoming ultra cheap it will start to pervade everything and thus point systems for things you do in reality will become normal:

I think with ones entire schooling, if turned into a game could be far more rewarding for kids and teachers. You might have whole classes in school competing as one against another class or even another class in another school. In Jesse Schell talk he already mentions that one lecture, Lee N. Sheldon who changed the grading system and gave out experience points for assignments which increased attendance and quality of homework.

“If you want to build a ship don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea” Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Steroid addiction

There is a dull drone in my head
that squeezes my shoulders to to to the ears
A graffiti proof paint on which no thoughts may stand out
Except to bite at the world
EVERY SINGLE SOUL
So the mind is put to the grid
Till it is only sharp and stabbing
And every stranger is your new found enemy
And every friend only thinks of themselves
Against you! Against you!
The world is an ugly cage
Against which you RAGE

When you are tired of dwelling in this hell
And forgiveness the unreachable holy-land
Tomorrow begins again

Living with Crohns

Here is a list of things I have found affect Crohns over the last 12 years of dealing with it. Western doctors will give you no info regarding this. Mainly because all research is funded by drug company’s and its safer, liability wise, for them to prescribe drugs than diet change. I have meet people who completely control Crohns with diet (vegetarianism) who have suffered much worse than myself. Everyone is different and you have to find the things that aggravate it in yourself.

Avoid:

  • Milk is evil. Stay away from all dairy products. Usually you can find soya milk versions of everything.
  • Meat seems to have an affect on the digestion generally. I cut it and lost weight and felt better generally. Also any amount of meat (excluding fish) seems to make me feel bloated and tired as its hard to digest.
  • Coffee. All stimulants seem to have a stressing affect on the body.
  • Cigarettes. I blame smoking for the initial onset of my Crohns as I was a heavy smoker just before I got it and a couple of puffs on a cigarette gives me immediate stomach pain.
  • Alcohol. Beer seems to be bad for me. Wine is OK but only small amounts. Spirits are the best but harsh on the body.
  • Stress. Medium to high stress _always_ triggers a flare up.
  • Changes to sleep patterns. This affects me a lot. Probably due to the stress it causes on the mind/body.

Try more of:

  • Fish oils (D vitamin) are very good for you and will help stop Crohns coming back. I take Cod liver oil tables daily now.
  • Fresh veg, home grown. Most of the produce in supermarkets is picked very green and has no chance to rippern and thus has almost no nutritional value. I lived for a month only on garden greens (in Czech Republic) and I lost weight and my Crohns was completely reverted.
  • Exercise. I found riding my bike 2 hours a day (to+from work) made me very fit and more resilient to stress. When I was in this state I cold drink as much as I liked without much effect on the Crohns.
  • Chinese herbs. 6-7 years ago I started to take Chinese herbs for Crohns and found they could completely stop a flare-up. I have managed since them to live without western prescription drugs. This amazing fact also lead me to believe that diet can completely control the condition.

I’d experiment with your diet try being vegetarian or even vegan (I’m about to try this when I return to Berlin) to see how it makes you feel and how your condition responds. If it keeps you off the drugs and out of hospital its worth trying.

Finally the biggest hurdle will be yourself. I tried to ignore it and refused to accept the complete change of life style that it demands. I suffered fairly badly and almost died twice from loss of blood. You are now forced to become aware of your body and what affects it, which is a good thing and I’m grateful to Crohns for that as I know I wouldn’t have gotten there until I was much much older. Sadly most people don’t start to look after their health until it breaks. The sooner you accept it and start to respect it the healthier and happier you’ll be.

Tropical afternoon

A wet sky ends another flushed day
Letting go of the days hot frustrations
Releasing the struggle that started at dawn
So one can finally say “I’m done.”
The race is over. Nobody won.

The cool breeze retires ambition
Let the shoulders sag and, put on loose shoes,
Smile in the company of others
Reflecting at the slow replay of the days events
Forever to be frozen in memory

Washed in hopes or regrets

A definition of Consciousness

Suppose ‘consciousness’ could be defined as the ability of a ‘being that can learn’ to understand how its self learns. Thus it then has to ‘decide’, a rudimentary idea in our perception of ‘consciousness’.

I think this explains to a degree then our ‘personality’ which we use to direct our experiences in the world and thus our learning. We, in a manner, feed our learning what it likes best: pleasurable experiences.

If this is true, what does it say about the ‘Turing test’ and there for the way forward for AI research.

Alone

I am alone
Not wanting to own
Not hungry to commend
Not needing
But always without
With eyes wide shut
I can not tell dreams from reality
So I trust neather
When will my time come?
What will it be made of?

Years have I walked empty handed
On the outside
Collecting scraps of hope
Speaking to beast and insect alike
They read the answer from my face:
Love the high and love the low,
Love the fire and love the snow,
Imagination will take you
where you need to go.

Homecoming

I have been deaf to this world
What has been said is lost to me.
To the new voices of my old friends,
Again we embrace for the first time
This package delivered, wrapped to peel
So all will be anew in this homecoming

I will be the same and born bright
With heart yearning for foundations
Putting one ear to their walls
All that I was can be again
Rebirth to my ‘good-old’ futures
Dreamed again in comfort and kind eyes