Category Archives: media

Aug. 14: The Philosophy of “Frozen”


I love Frozen because of its theme of sisterhood and its poke at “love at first sight.” But the movie’s overall enduring message has a lot more to do with love.

The line that stuck out to me was “love brings out the best in everyone” from the troll song. Treating someone with love doesn’t transform them into a different person, but it can bring out positive attributes you didn’t know they had. Belle’s friendship with the Beast in Beauty and the Beast reveals “something sweet and almost kind” which even she didn’t see at first. It’s risky to judge someone you’ve just met because you have no idea what you’ll find once you’ve had a genuine conversation with him/her.

We’re not saying you can change her, ‘cuz people don’t really change
We’re only saying that love’s a force that’s powerful and strange
People make bad choices if they’re mad, or scared, or stressed
Throw a little love their way (throw a little love their way) and you’ll bring out their best
True love brings out their best!

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Virtual Factory Farming

In Minecraft, players kill the cows, chickens, and pigs wandering the landscape and cook the dropped meat for food. Generating more food more efficiently has led many players to create automated farms with hundreds of virtual animals in enclosed spaces, bred only to be immediately killed to satisfy the player’s craving for a whole lot of pork.

I have no problem with these ‘virtual factory farms’ because they obviously don’t cause any pain to real animals. Also, like everything else in Minecraft, the animals are just another resourse for the player to use for him/herself. Each cubical cow looks and acts the same as the next. But it is surprising how accurately these virtual contraptions reflect the way we farm actual animals in real life (minus the minecarts).

“The Truth of Masks”: How to Describe Characters

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Wilde brings up the idea that the costumes and mannerisms of an actor “get[s] rid of any necessity for tedious descriptions” of their character. A play has the advantage of immediately depicting unfamiliar apparel and weaponry from a particular time and place. (It’s easier to get a sense of a 16th century clothing through a costume than through a lengthy written description of doublets and mandilions.) More importantly, the expression and demeanor of an actor serve to visually describe the character to the audience.

However, this is not unique to plays. Comic strips and graphic novels also show a character’s physical appearance while simultaneously revealing his/her personality within the action of the story itself. This can be used to great effect when the imagery in a comic contrasts or calls into question the meaning of the text.

Myisha Cherry on gendered virtues

“Let’s all work on being the best people we can be not the best feminine or masculine cultural productions we feel we must become in order to fit into masculine or feminine categories.” -from the article

Feminist Philosophers

Philosopher Myisha Cherry has an excellent article at Huffington Post about how we (to our detriment) gender virtues. She begins:

When people say “act like a lady,” we know what they really mean. They mean act in the manner that society — that is to say, our patriarchal society — has determined that women should act. Because you know, women are not allowed to define that for themselves. Men must do that for them. And when men tell other men to “man up,” we know that means to do nothing that resembles a woman. Here lies the myth and the burden of what is called “feminine virtues” and “masculine virtues”.

And her take-home message is:

End virtue segregation! Let’s all work on being the best people we can be not the best feminine or masculine cultural productions we feel we must become in order to fit into masculine or feminine…

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Screenshots from Up and Coming Indie Game

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Ever dreamed of creating your own video game based on the world you created in your own novel? Thomas Lum, college student and aspiring cognitive/computer science major is spending the summer doing just that. These are screenshots from his summer project so far. Hear what he has to say and get inspired by listening to the first episode of “How to Spend Your Summer.”

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How to Spend your Summer/Podcast

After the chaos and excitement of freshman year, summertime seems to be a welcome change of pace. But loads of free time make me wonder about who I am outside of the structure of school, family obligations and work. Like many other bored college students, I want to do something fulfilling, exciting, fun, and worthwhile, but struggle to find the inspiration or motivation to start. Today I talked with a close friend who knows how to follow through his ideas with incredible results.
Tom Lum is a college student studying computer and cognitive science. This summer, he spends his time creating and coding his own indie computer game inspired in part by his novel, Gear. We discuss the influences of Nidhogg, The Stanley Parable, Super Smash Bros, and Hotline Miami on Tom’s project as well as the “artisnal” quality of indie games today.

For more information about Tom’s creative work (including music, movies, and more), visit http://www.thatbookbytom.com.

Interview Highlights:

On the process of making a video game:

“The coolest part about coding a game from the ground up is that you really can do anything, and at first that’s…the biggest problem… ’cause you can do anything.”

“It’s one of the longest, in terms of projects…like, a movie is great because you can really see the progress of it, a book is good, because…you can show someone a chapter of it. Music is perfect, because you can just show someone a song…that doesn’t take that long. Video games are really just a long-term effort…I get to show it to people a bit, but it’s going to be a long term thing…but, because of that, there’ll hopefully be a good reward.”

On breaking the video game “mold” and indie games today:

“There’s so much of an established basis of what to expect, that it’s really fun and really exciting to get something new…that’s what I would love to do.”

“In the flash game era, games were really just a boredom reducer…whereas [now] they’re really starting to go back to being an “art form”…something that someone makes.”

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march 16: Can you have an epiphany every day?

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Is it possible to have a mini-epiphany every day? A sudden insight into yourself and the world which never occurred to you before? If so, can all these little realizations ever accumulate into a finished, final understanding of the world, or do they just approach infinity? If one hundred million is just as close to infinity as one, can a multitude of mini-epiphanies bear any significant weight on your worldview?