The Beauty of the XBOX 360

Tthe will allow consumers to enjoy such literary gems as The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, at a fraction of the price a full computer would cost. The deep story, memorable quests, and allusions found through The Elder Scrolls series generally make it a mind-expanding game. I fondly remember the emotions I expected playing the previous game in the series, Morrowind, and expect the same nobility, awe, and wonder from Oblivion.


Additionally, one should ponder how the strong graphic realism of moder video games effect native technological learners.

If the gradual decrease in crime over the past many years is partially caused by the rise of violent electronic, what will the mass worldwide representation of The Elder Scrolls-style dreamscapes mean? Will they become more or less consequential than movies such as Lord of the Rings and Narnia, and can electronic entertainment truly be meaningful with book-form accompaniment? And to what extent will the “virtual texts” that populate the virtual literary world of The Elder Scrolls count as novels?


Further, we know that video games are good for children. They superempower creative thinking. What will be the effect of such learning in a pseudo-feudal-European environment?


The Power of Blogs

tdaxp and his battle with NationMaster: A Lesson in Networks,” by Mark Safranski, ZenPundit, 7 November 2005,

Bloggers Break Sony,” by Thomas Claburn, InformationWeek, 16 November 2005,

Ever since my run-in with ended victoriously, I have been paying more attention to the free-speech rights of bloggers, and the power-relationship between blogs and the MSC (Main-Stream Corporations). Many bloggers helped me during the bruhaha, including (but not limited to) Coming Anarchy, Dawn’s Early Light, I Hate Linux, NationMaster Scam, Panhandle Pundit, and Sibby Online. Additionally, ZenPundit‘s Mark wrote

Dan of tdaxp, long a blogfriend of Zenpundit is locked in a consumer complaint battle with an internet information company known as NationMaster. In the day of the dead tree media, there was a saying about the power of big city newspapers ” Don’t get in a pissing contest with somebody who buys ink by the barrel”. Today, an updated version might go like this ” Don’t get in a pissing contest with somebody who is part of a scale free network

The aggressive nature of the words struck me, particularly because Mark is such a wise pundit. I trust his judgement more than anyone else in the blogosphere. Yet it still seemed to me that blogs were rather powerless. So imagine my delight when I read this, a news article which closely parrellels Mark’s thoughts

Sony’s decision to withdraw its controversial copy-protected CDs followed weeks of flames by bloggers.

Sony BMG Music Entertainment said Wednesday it will stop selling 50 CD titles with its XCP content protection software. Sony also said it will remove the discs from stores, and offer replacements without copy protection to customers.

“It seems crystal clear that but for the citizen journalists, Sony never would have done anything about this,” says Fred von Lohmann, senior intellectual property attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a cyber liberties advocacy group that has been vocal in its condemnation of Sony and may eventually file a a lawsuit against Sony, in addition to three that have already been filed. “It’s plain to me that it was Sony’s intent to brush the story under the rug and forget about it.”

Alan Scott, chief marketing office at business information service Factiva, said, “I think that we’re in an entirely new world from a marketing perspective. The rules of the game have changed dramatically. The old way of doing things by ignoring issues, or with giving the canned PR spin response within the blogosphere, it just doesn’t work.”

Without blogs, rough-shod corporations and politicians like and could even get away with harmful lawsuits without any consequences.

The Citizen-Media, also known as the blogosphere, is an important leveler, extending connectivity to those other than the Main-Stream Media and the Main-Stream Corporations.

Update: ZenPundit‘s Mark thinks deeper

In my view Dan is correct but he has not taken his analysis nearly far enough. In fairness though, the premise that the blogosphere is the power of vox populi incarnate is shared by the bicoastal media elite who look on with as much horror and loathing as Dan does admiration and wonder. The everyman is really irrelevant here and if Dan was only an everyman he’d have received a subpeona from NationMaster’s corporate shyster squad by now.

The blogosphere is an aggregator of intelligence and influence
. Primarly, for the moment, blogging is an amusement for these talented individuals but when they are threatened or offended they can respond with surprising speed and intensity. Just ask John Kerry or Dan Rather. Or Trent Lott. They are not the general public which is why the corporate P.R. routine and bigshot bluster backfires so badly with bloggers.

Read the whole thing

The Muslim Sisterhood

Brotherhood Wins 20 Pct. of Egypt Vote,” by Nadia Abou El-Magd, Associated Press, 16 November 2005,

Good news from Egypt, as The Society of the Muslim Brothers fares well in the parliamentary elections

An Egyptian woman shows her thumb, marked by red ink, after voting at a polling station in Cairo 15 November 2005. Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood said it had won 34 seats in the first phase of legislative elections, in a breakthrough for the banned but tolerated Islamist group.

The Muslim Brotherhood won 20 percent of the overall vote in the first round of Egypt’s parliamentary elections, according to initial official results released Wednesday after a day of intense runoff balloting.

The Brotherhood, the country’s largest opposition group, is officially banned as a political party in Egypt but fielded candidates as independents. It won 30 seats, while the ruling National Democratic Party won 50 seats, the semi-official Middle East News Agency reported, quoting judges in counting stations.

The results of Tuesday’s runoffs and last week’s polling — the first round in the four-week elections — mean the Brotherhood has already captured 34 seats in parliament, more than double the 15 it held in the outgoing assembly. This confirms its position as the biggest single opposition group to President
Hosni Mubarak’s government.

An Egyptian woman receives assistance on finding her voting station during the runoff election on 133 out of 164 seats that were not decided last week during the first phase of parliamentary elections in Cairo, 15 November 2005. Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood said it had won 34 seats in the first phase of legislative elections, in a breakthrough for the banned but tolerated Islamist group

This in spite of widespread voter intimidation by the present government, Hosni Mubarrak’s NDP….

Human rights groups and election monitors reported widespread irregularities, including ruling party supporters attacking and intimidating opposition supporters at polling stations and busing in voters from outside the constituency.

The Egyptian Organization for Human Rights said it saw “increasing instances of election bribes … collective voting, and in some cases assaults on voters for not supporting NDP candidates.”

A female Muslim Brotherhood supporter stands outside a polling station in Cairo’s suburb of Nasr City before voting in Egypt’s reruns parliamentary elections, Tuesday Nov. 15, 2005.

The Muslim Brothers are an important tool in defeating terrorism. They have a lot to gain from free-and-fair elections in Syria and in a federal Sunni Arab Iraq. As I wrote earlier

Every success in the Cold War came from using nationalists against ideologues. In China and Yugoslavia we helped turn a radical ideology into a patriotic party. We can do so against in Egypt.

Female Muslim Brotherhood supporters chat outside a polling station in Cairo’s suburb of Nasr City before voting Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2005, in Egypt’s runoff parliamentary elections. The poster for Brotherhood candidates, Makarim el-Deeri, right, the only female Brotherhood candidate, and Issam Mukhtar, carries Brotherhood logo and their election campaign slogan ‘Islam is the solution.’

The Muslim Brothers run, and, as much as they could, won.


New Bob Woodward / Valerie Plame Scandal Emerges

Sources: Plame Learned Covert Status from Woodward,” by Scott Ott, Scrappleface, 16 November 2005, (from The Corner).

An extreme form of 5GW, apparently:

Special Prosecutor , who secured grand jury indictments against a top Bush administration official last month, today announced he may be close to discovering who told that she was an undercover CIA agent.

Mr. Fitzgerald refused to release any names, but sources close to the probe said evidence indicates that the Washington Post’s may have revealed Ms. Plame’s covert status to her.

The prosecutor declined to comment on Mr. Woodward’s possible connection to the case, instead he focused on Ms. Plame’s apparent ignorance of her role at the Central Intelligence Agency.

“In the months, and even years, leading up to July 2003, Valerie Plame was not behaving like someone who knew she was a covert agent,” said Mr. Fitzgerald. “The woman friends knew as Mrs. seems to have learned of her undercover status at about the same time a reference to her appeared in Robert Novak’s syndicated column.”

The prosecutor said it may be a violation of federal law to reveal a CIA agent’s covert status to the agent.

“We’re looking at what’s called ‘deep deep cover’ in the intel community,” Mr. Fitzgerald said. “In other words, the CIA unwittingly may have been using Mrs. Wilson as an undercover agent without her knowledge, or the knowledge of anyone else at the Agency.”

Meanwhile, as former vice presidential chief of staff I. Lewis ‘Scooter’ Libby awaits trial on five counts of hindering the CIA leak probe, Mr. Novak and Mr. Woodward remain at large.

Scrappleface has been featured on tdaxp before.