Friday, May 3, 2024

Spillover by David Quammen

This book is great for those who want to understand how a spillover happens, especially considering exotic diseases, for example Ebola, HIV, SARS, etc. Spillover is a term to express the threshold of circumstances how a zoonotic disease spills to humans. The aim is to answer questions: when, where and how. It does not dig into the microchemistry or microbiology of certain hot diseases, which is good, because it does not serve the purposes in this case. It does mention some aspects of mathematical equations to forecast an epidemic, and people who invented them. Quammen has done good work to track down researchers and map information around diseases. The main focus in this book is zoonotic diseases.

Fragments or highlights I learned from this book (might contain errors, excuse my memory):

HIV originates from “southern” Cameroon. There is a monkey species which carries SIV with equilibrium state. From there, somehow the monkey has contaminated a chimpanzee population, probably a chimpanzee has eaten a monkey carrying SIV. Chimpanzees have their own epidemic of AIDS. I do not remember which thing spilled the SIV to humans, the chimpanzee or the monkey, but it is for sure that the probable explanation is during a widespread trend of bushmeat. A human has eaten some sort of bushmeat or there has been an accident during a hunt, where SIV blood has gone to a wound of a hunter. It is hard to speculate the precise event, because it is history in a jungle. It is also for sure that HIV has been around in humans since the beginning of 20th century (1908). The least probable theory is that HIV is some kind of lab product, but it is mentioned that HIV could have been spread during polio vaccines in Africa during 1950-1960, because of using expensive reusable needles and “growing” vaccines in some sort of cell culture of chimpanzees, which is contaminated. AIDS 'previous name was (suggested) GRID, Gay Related Immune Deficiency, but soon people realized that there are other routes to contaminate a body, and not only gay people, the GRID was abandoned. HIV-1 and HIV-2 have multiple groups/variations. HIV/SIV is a retrovirus, which drills into the cell dna and embeds the payload in there.

Zoonotic spillovers are a result of human “breakout”. Humans are the biggest breakout in the entire history of the earth. The biomass of people is only the latter of the biomass of livestock, which is also the result of humans. Why all these exotic killer diseases emerge is only because humans are disrupting the balance of nature. People cut down forests, spread living spaces, invade the habitat of other species, which enforces other creatures more closely to the human population. People eat almost anything in certain parts of the world. Ebola mainly spills, because somebody drags out a diseased corpse of an ape from the forest and a village will eat the whole thing. There are mines in caves, which contain habitat of bats, which contaminate the caves with guano, and miners of course get contact with these feces. Bats are probably the most common reservoirs of exotic diseases, because bats species cover ¼ of all mammal species. There are over 1600 species of bats in the world. In China, there is Wild Flavor trend, which means that people would like to eat anything they can get their hands on. In wet markets, Chinese stacks all sorts of creatures together without any regulations or responsibility, and all these excrements circulating from bats and other creatures, will create pandemics like SARS.

Some livestock farms, let say in Europe, consist for example pigs or goats. Pig is a creature, which oinks, farts and does such a heavy duty ventilation, that in a case of epidemic in the pig farm, can amplify a virus and spread the virus airborne. With certain weather conditions, the virus can travel en masse vast distances to a town or a city, causing zoonosis in the human population. Same can happen in goat farms, when goats live in certain conditions where a pathogen can gain superiority. This is again a result of human culture.

The book was written in 2012, and it tried to speculate about the next big pandemic. In the end section the speculation is around certain diseases like influenza, but it also mentions coronaviruses, which eventually happened. SARS was preceding coronavirus.

It is an absolutely great read.

Self-reflection, if that matters:

Reading the book on many bus trips to work, I often watched how grossly people actually maintain their sanitary. 6 of 10 people touch their faces at least once in that particular bus trip. At least 1 or 2 of 10 people had to constantly touch their faces. Somebody actually dug his nose, put the finger in his mouth and after that he shaked something to the ground, and next he was touching the stop button. One guy had to stroke his hair constantly, because the hair-do has to be whatever it had to be. One girl poked her eyeball with her bare finger. One guy stroked his girlfriend's hair, and his fingers were utterly brownish, probably from a filth, and the guy was the whitest caucasoid there is. I understand that it is good to have an exposure to something to maintain the resistance of the body, but there should be at least some decency. I think that this is again a feature of human breakout. I am not saying that most people are idiots, but most people certainly lack self-preservation and discretion. The thinking of causality and pure ignorance. If we think of epidemics/pandemics, the reason is purely in here. There is a reason why in local supermarkets people are standing in the middle of the corridor. There is a reason why somebody sneezes and the virus disperses in the middle of the corridor of that supermarket. There is a reason why people are walking in the middle of the corridor, wandering around not knowing that there are other people around. As the book said, evolution has no purposes, only results.

Friday, March 22, 2024

Science VS Religion

When you prowl the Internet, you can occasionally see people arguing about science versus religions. Usually both delegates have pretty bad arguments: The science guy tries to explain what science is, while the religion guy tries to gain support from quotes of religious texts.

Religions try to explain the existence, and in a way try to link the progress in a life to the afterlife. Religions are works of imagination, no matter how strong an individual tries to believe or is impressed by a story. Religions are a pre-science way to understand or explain the happenings in the world, but most importantly ways to give a life a purpose. There have been beliefs probably for millions of years. People tried to explain why some disease killed somebody or why lightning struck a tree. Beliefs and religions come and go. Some more sophisticated religions contain references to real life. For example, no doubt Jesus lived, but was he really “a magician” or a miracle maker? It is more likely that he was an extremely influential person with pretty good insights to life, but everything else around it is probably fabricated or misunderstood. People tend to have an ability to magnify the real happenings and fill empty spaces to have an uniform story to pass on to next generations. It is like a habitual trait. People need structure. Trying to connect the existence, reason for it and real life occurrences to one explanation is kind of far fetched. If somebody dies, why does it have to be a will of a god? It could also be that the god had nothing to do with anyways, so you are practically blaming the god for no reason, which is heresy and blasphemy?

I have never read any religious texts completely, mainly because the executions are outdated or themes are kind of childish. I started to read the bible, but I had to stop when there started to come out a list of some kind of family tree of a guy(?). I actually have something better to do in my life, than read something, which does not have any actual relevance to reality, or the reference is long gone. It reminded me as if I started to read a phone book, and from that trying to understand life. I believe that many religious texts have good intentions and life advice when reading between the lines. But so does reading a phone book, which tells plainly that there are just people and this is the list of life? People tend to explain things that they do not understand. There are also psychological factors that can affect the perception of an individual. Somebody was probably in psychosis or on drugs, who knows?

Where is the problem? The problem is when a person tries to convert another person or push predilections onto somebody else. Is it right to exploit a person who is vulnerable to believe whatever is there and sounds good? Is it right to enforce beliefs to somebody who does not want to believe? Same goes another way, is it right to enforce thoughts on somebody who does want to believe? Does this actually mean that your religious beliefs are wrong if you are trying to enforce your beliefs? Is it evidence that if there are multiple religions, they are probably all wrong? In the end, it could even escalate to violence, which is proven many times in history. Anyhow, religious texts are always prone to be exploited by somebody who is narcissistic, psychopathic and power hungry, or more commonly self-righteous. This is where religions are at their weakest. People like to prove that another person is wrong. It is a continuous loop, which does not prove anything.

Thoughts. People are built from thoughts? It is normal to have thoughts and feelings, that is what makes us people, humans. This is how science explains life. Science is a key to everything, to understand the lock of existence, is probably the most religious way to explain science. Science can be right or wrong, but the difference to religions is that science evolves, innovates and reforms its concepts and implementations. Science never claims to be the ultimate truth, as some religions do, but it is the most sophisticated tool to understand “the truth”. For example, religious beliefs and texts are built around predefined concepts, there are boundaries. During the test of time, either the religion will disappear, it will stay as a hollow shell for a tradition, or the texts will get adjusted. By adjustment, I mean somebody uses his power to interpret religious beliefs/texts to match the purpose of the belief and religious agenda to the current ambiance or attitude of the population, as if trying to rebrand the old ways. Religion is prone to be mismanaged by a man, and a vector can be made that it is a will of a man. Religion is the feeling of presence of a supernatural force, and a journey is to honor by worshipping it and finding markers leading to the righteous path. From a “scientific” point of view, it is completely normal to have feelings, but the difference between right and wrong is how extreme these feelings are driving an individual to a path, how ill the methods are to enforce thoughts. Probably the most common sense method to spot an individual, who has lost the way of the god, is the one who does not understand that there are other people around, who believe in other realities. Belief is an individual feeling and it should gather around people who believe the same way, not enforce it on those who do not want to. This is what divides a man from right and wrong, ill and sane.

Science is an idea of thinking in the context of finding evidence. Classical fallacy between religious and scientific people in the Internet is an argument similar to this: Triggering effect could be (not making a remark that it is always a fault of a religious individual) that an religious individual brings in something religious to the table in the subject of, let say, sports. We can even take more specific subjects, for example Mixed Martial Arts and Khabib Nurmagomedov, and his glorious success in life. A religious person says that the success of Khabib is because of a god. Scientific guy says that there is no god. Then the interaction between these guys takes a lane of cluttered perceptions of realities, which actually proves the point. Religious guy says, which is actually something that somebody has said, that if you can not touch or see gravity, it does not exist. The last notion from a religious “proof” is probably the simplest rhetoric I have ever seen, but it is also proof of the quality of the mob. The mob means a generic population who can not think more sophisticatedly, probably lack education, has limited understanding, but still have to take part in an argument. The argument keeps going on and on in the same lane of nonsense, both guys trying to poke each other with some derogatory ideals, in simplest terms, just to hurt each other. And it is not just only about this case sample, but it is probably happening widely in the whole Internet. Is it really surprising? No, actually it is not, you can see the same quality of talk in any local pub around cheap beer (or other substance) in any part of the world. Or the kids in the local kindergarten having an argument over who has a stronger father. The point is, if you are a believer of science, you are probably wrong. If you are a zealot of a religion, you are probably wrong. Why is it so hard to keep some slack in your thinking? Why is it important to always be right and somebody else has to be wrong? I think the key for thinking is the classical phrase, I know that I do not know. Let people believe what they want to believe. Let people experience life on their own terms.

Another case study was when I had an argument with a person who had a background in science and in scientific institutions. The argument was about the subject of intelligence and motivation. The subject raveled around a board game. I said something similar that I do not have the intelligence to beat my opponent, and the opponent said that there is only motivation. The argument evolved a little while and the person deemed that the only difference between people is the motivation, in his words people are pretty much equal, for example in intelligence. I tried to illustrate the intelligence part by taking an example of Magnus Carlsen, probably the best chess player in the world. With simplified terms and Magnus Carlsen, I tried to explain that intelligence is a physiological trait, determined by brain tissue, which derives a usage of memory and pattern recognition. The other person insisted on his beliefs, and explained that “motivation is a complex thing”. I do understand that there is a motivation, which is the defining factor between a person who has motivation and the other who has not. But in my opinion, motivation is only a beginner attribute. It is not a magical well, which will give a person supernatural powers to exceed the physiological definitions. Motivation can be measured by time. With that time, you can train, study, focus and do whatever you believe helps to achieve victory, even cheating. If there are two individuals who have the same amount of motivation, the only separating things are the physiological traits and sometimes luck. That is why there are rankings, for example in chess or intelligence quotients. I could not ever beat Magnus Carlsen in chess, even if I practiced 24 hours a day for the rest of my life, with the best help I could get in the world. This is the fact. Even my psychologist said in my evaluation that my intelligence is lower than most people have, mainly because of poor memory usage, and I can not do anything about it. But the other fact in this argument, is that the other person is not familiar with the competitive world: He does not like or play video games, he does not watch sports or he has never taken part in any competitive sports. Practically he did not have a perspective to the subject at all, which is why he believes this way. We happened to play a board game, and the argument got him naked, even though he is a very bright and intelligent person. I did not start bickering about it much, I just let him believe what he knew. Nothing I could do about it. There is a darkside, though. Some people purposely mask their achievements under the motivation, even if it is obvious that they are cheating, for example in the competitive bodybuilding business. Substances are “illegal” in sports, so it is good to have a chance to give the audience false impressions of what is possible and what is not.

Saturday, March 9, 2024

The Life

What is life? Life is a progress of evolution to mold the future of organisms for greater existence and survival. But what about individuality? Does life have a purpose for a unit? It surely feels extremely personal experience, considering how sinister and dangerous our surroundings are. Can you really trust anything? Can you trust a fellowship? To some extent, yes, considering friends and family, but does it really give consolation to the grim dark fate we all are going to face? Absolutely not, of course if you are expert at ignoring it, then yes. What about the status of your life, does it matter?

I am a narcissist, who is working extensively to suppress the inner stem of vanity. I have always wanted to be the best of the best, to be a legendary or at least elite on something. Usually when observing other people, there are lots of people who triumph and some do not. In my case, it is somewhat sadistically hilarious to observe my own life goals to be failures, and actually see how these failures feel in contrast to an extremely narcissist tendency of craving for excellency.

When I was a child, I wanted to be the best ice-hockey player, and I was pretty good at skating and fast for using a hockey stick, but I never had a chance to play in an actual team. The reality check was the individuals who were playing in actual teams, who could beat me in it by physical profiles and skill. I always played solo, while hockey is about team play. I am glad I did not pursue it, because I played for myself, not for the team.

Later years I wanted to be the best at arts: drawing, painting or digital arts. The real fuel for my purpose was the reality that I managed to get into an arts academy, which was hard for me, but it actually deepened my delusions of being an influential figure in the arts. It was a great feeling though, to feel that this is it, I actually found it, I have a divine purpose, this is the sign and everything is possible between earth and sky. The signs were already from early childhood, everybody praised my artistic skills in paper and everybody supported it in school and home. But there was always a looming menace in the background. What if somebody is better, what are the odds? There was actually a person who was better than me in my childhood, who was technically better, mainly because he practiced more than I did, while I merely practiced in school when I had to and rarely in my free time. I was jealous of the opponent, but he was a good guy and I actually silently venerated him best I could in my narcissistic head.

In the arts academy, the self importance got a little bit out of hand. While I was there, while working really hard, my ego grew and grew, and I actually started to build a vision of being an elite “player”, maybe even a legendary artist among the greatests. Was the entry to the arts academy a divine sign or was it an odyssey? Yes, it was an odyssey, a zany trip to delusions. I had skills, but only in a class of thousands of other artists in the world, not including those who are actually even better. How did I know? The reality check was that nobody is interested in my work. I tried to seek display time in various galleries, but they were not interested. “The national gallery” said that I need to go through a ladder of lesser galleries and build some sort of CV. I asked from a couple of lesser galleries, but some never answered or there were time tables. From these, I made a quick judgment, that if my work would have made an impact or it would have had any artistic value, somebody would have paid attention. Even though the sample (galleries) was generally quite small, I drew the quick conclusion that nobody is interested. I understand that building an artistic profile might require lots of work, but at that point the well was already exhausted.

Does art need recognition? In my world, yes. What is the point of living if there is no grandeur? The life support of an artist, in my opinion, is that to produce art it stems from a well of motivation, and the well is filled by response and admiration of an audience. My well is depleted and all I can do is just to quit, because it was all about an odyssey. I had no grand plan for what other prosperous people had. The bone that is left is probably the evolutionary purpose. Just to acknowledge it and focus on death, because that is what life is about. To figure out death? Well I am pretty sure, with my way of life, I will not die within ten years. But there are lots of environmental effects which affect the end result quite drastically: diseases, pollution and people. My empirical view is that my genetic makeup is quite ordinary, so all these hazards have quite a good impact. I am pretty sure I will die in 20 or 30 years, although I want to live at least a little bit more than 40 years from now. Why? To test the time and evaluation.

Is it quite hard to sit down, look and see, to probe death for 20 to 40 years? Well, yes it is, at least for those whose interests are elsewhere. My current interests are in figuring out death, how and when it comes, because that is the way to be prepared. I am currently 38 years old, and I am fairly sure that my death is coming after 20 years, because of environmental effects (pollution and people). The point is not figuring out what is becoming after death, because that is just a waste of imagination (religion and other mumbo jumbo). The fact is that there have been people for millions of years on earth, and other life forms, and when I am dead, there will be others after me. Probably there will be blackness or incarnation, who knows, the identity is shredded and I do not exist anymore, and it is actually good, because my life had no purpose or grandeur. After my death, nobody remembers me, same as nobody remembers a person somewhere 2 million years ago. What is the point of sit and see? The point is to be prepared for becoming wrath, to be ready to die, to accept the horrors of losing self-preservation, losing the control of your life. Some say that “enjoy your life as long as it lasts”, but that is just a variation of attitude, something to do for someone who doesn't care or can not focus, or who is afraid of thinking about it (death).

Would it be easier to do a suicide? Practically yes, but if there is a creator, who tests you? Not referring precisely to any Abrahamic religion or other forms of imagination. It is just good to keep in mind that if there is something that tries to tell your purpose, and somehow guides you through life, and ending your life prematurely, would be a waste of the individual grand plan, and would be punishable by that creator. That is why death is something to fear, something to not take lightly. How to die? It is about preparing the mind for an equilibrium. You constantly know that you are inhaling toxic air (fibers, heavy metals, dusts, particulates, microbes, gasses …), all contributing to your death. It is 90% likely that you will die in a grand war. It is all about conquering fear. When you are in a battlefield, and a carpet bomb hits, you can close your eyes and accept it, because you knew this would be it.

Are these symptoms of loneliness? Would love save a lonely, depressed wanderer? It is surely something to do. Raising a family is a work, to generally waste your thoughts for. I do not generally believe in love, because it is a narcotic, to be dependent on something, like that would be the purpose of life, while it actually is not. Death is the purpose of life? An offspring is a good motivational, evolutionary concept for an individual who believes in it, but it does not save you from your doom. Also, it doesn't matter who breeds, because there would probably be someone who breeds anyway, and it does not have anything to do with you personally. Some people, like politicians or religions, these heretics of life, like to affect other people's lives, because it bothers them that you do not believe like them. It is a consolation against loneliness, that people gather around to feel unity in a dystopian world. Still, the individual life and death is a personal voyage. In other words, death comes within a person, while life comes outside of a person. Cynicism can be described as a great shield for defending fate. It is a heavy burden, but it is all you have in a lonely trip in a chaotic world, and it will ensure your safe journey to the gates of doom.

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Bus Driver’s Syndrome

Yesterday I was on the way home from work, and the transportation was a public bus. You might think that the bus driver's job is rather simple, or I imagined it was: a bus driver drives a bus safely, not causing problems and dangerous situations in the traffic, and ensures safety of passengers by driving composedly. Usually the bus is required to stop on the front end of a bus stop to ensure that other buses can park at the same stop. The bus driver drives a bus and handles the transaction of fees accordingly and does not editorialize what people are going in and out, unless there is a problem caused by a passenger. It is not the driver's business what age, gender, race or social status the passenger is.

Apparently even a bus driver's job, which is not the most prestigious or hardest in the world, can be too difficult to handle for some people. And I do not mean the driving part, but how a driver should handle the social aspect of the job. I have seen lots of different drivers, some can handle the job how it should be and some think that their personality traits should be brought or reflected to the job and professionalism. Yesterday I was at a bus stop waiting 15 minutes early. Couple of people appeared during the waiting period. I was waiting on the front end of the stop and others were aligned accordingly. The bus came, instead of driving to the front end of the bus stop, the driver decided to halt at the midsection of the stop. This meant that the waiting line composition did not matter anymore. People started to go inside the bus and as soon as the first customer went inside, the driver started instantly rambling, with an excessively loud tone, about how he decided to take the last customer first leaving the first last. He was so proud of his usage of power that he continued to babble about it with an overly jovial tone and constantly tried to innovate simple jokes from such an event. Jokes simply circulated around the misfortune of people who waited longer than others, and he managed to get some satisfaction from it. I tried to understand the situation from the angle of if I am a humorless person, or is the situation just absurd. Both angles do have a sense of humor and childish fun, but then I realized that there is a mundane depth in society.

People with a slightest chance to express their sadistic tendencies, will take the opportunity to act accordingly. Sadism does not have to be serious on a scale to have consequences, but it reminds of certain traits in human behavior. If there is a slightest gray area, which is not regulated by law, order, rules and enforcement, an individual with a deprived sense of morality and ethics, will always chronically probe the holes to gain personal interests, even if they are something small, in this case teasing unknown people for his own amusement. The main reason why some people are degenerated, is the fact of lacking education. Bus driver's license does not require complex studies, which are in universities. Biggest demographic employed in the job are probably having some lesser education. This means that when the education is lacking philosophical and sociological studies, the individual is in danger of being automatically left behind on social development, unless the person is extensively studying in his spare time.

To counter the behavior of degenerated people on the job, is to have strict rules even in the smallest details. Outlines of the bus drivers protocol could/should be: The driver drives the bus to the utmost front end of a bus stop to ensure the integrity of the passenger waiting line and making room for other buses to arrive. The driver handles the fee transactions accordingly and does not act anything extra to decelerate the prediction of the route. The driver withholds inner opinions of others, politics and religion, and does not give out any prejudice regarding gender, race or age. Driver concentrates fully on the traffic and does not entertain passengers at the expense of their safety. The driver needs to maintain professionalism, even if it needs authoritarian outlines.

To undermine the previous text and add a juicy ending to it, we can think of the demographic of people in a public bus. Stereotypical bus has a layout, which is divided into two parts, back and front halves, divided with a middle door. Usually the back side attracts people with sociological problems: junkies, drunks, teens and miscellaneous with attitude problems. The front attracts mostly old people, young children and fat individuals.

Constant trend in a public bus is that when a passenger leaves a bus, he/she yells something like “thanks” to the bus driver. Some manage to actually scream it and some just settle for a faint wail. It probably should serve a purpose to be a compliment for the bus driver for the service, but actually it is only a remark for the passenger him-/herself for a kind gesture, sort of a vague narcissistic rite. The proof is that most of the time the “thanks” is so muffled that the driver can not hear it, and the fact the driver usually doesn't care, because of apathy from the mileage. It mimics a rite of good manners, even though the customer paid for the trip and the bus driver only does his/her routine job. Funny thing is the fact that the bus driver is going to be on the job and route, no matter how many kind gestures there are or aren't. The bus serves a purpose transporting people on the route, not serving people itself and their emotions, although the bus driver and the occupation belong to the customer service. It is the same as if a person buys food with his/her own earned money, cooks it alone, eats it alone and at the end of it thanks him-/herself for such an effort. Completely useless gestures.


Sunday, October 29, 2023

A Perfect Human

A Perfect Human

How to specify a perfect human being? Since there is no pattern, this is just a hypothetical thinking, which is hilarious.

Perfect human beings excel in every field in life: Art, Science, Sports and Social.

In Sports, an individual can sustain a relatively apt amount of muscle and endurance to maintain the ability to perform at least 3 kilometers in the Cooper test. An individual has a natural ability to orient to tactical games, like Ice Hockey and European Football, and excel better than most of the people. He/She has better cellular activity than most has.

In Science, an individual masters advanced concepts of physics and chemistry, and can form complex algorithms in mathematics. Using scientific concepts, he/she can engineer solutions to current retardant problems. There is no problem orienting thinking to new logical instruments like programming languages. In economy and finance, it is possible to detect flaws in current systems and fabricate new ideas. An individual can write coherent, analytical texts relying on scientific purposes.

In Art, an individual can write fiction while understanding concepts of existing entertainment, but also innovating to unknown themes. A person can read visual arts through theory. He/she can control paint brush to form color areas to form complex morphologies, including different lighting patterns, compositions and themes. A person can use pencils to draw lines, which will craft complex lighting patterns, compositions and themes. An individual can play various instruments and can dissect compositions to sophisticated entities.

In Social, he/she understands the concept of life, life and death. There is no selfish need to pursue happiness and success at the expense of others. An individual has a higher level of empathy, and can grasp with ease various social situations. He/she understands that power, money and control is vanity. An individual knows that he/she does not know, therefore he/she is just equal to the others. A person is immune to beliefs.

Monday, April 10, 2023

Master Game Design Study

A retrospective view of my attendance in the educational system in Finland. Well, not necessarily to Finland schools only, but can be perceived as a global trend, though perhaps not in China or Germany. This part takes on my view of Aalto University, which is branded as a university, but it contains elements of a polytechnic institute. It is nowadays hard to tell which is a university or polytechnic assembly, because everything is commercialized. I tried to get into the masters program of game design, which sounded cool, but the reception was kind of awkward in the game place. This happened over 10 years ago, and has haunted me ever since, mainly because I got disqualified and the disappointment of such a “prestigious” school. I was already graduating in my bachelors in Arts Academy of Turku, where teachers had this vague childish battle of politics and power. After that, my “career” took a sudden stop and changed my view of pursuing ladders in the corporate world.

The game design programme contained an entrance examination. First phase was about doing some qualification tasks, literary and some game design documents, which needed to be done with some preliminary guides. I dont remember what the tasks were about, except one, which was about something to do with designing a board game with a theme of jealousy. I did the tasks, posted them and later got into phase two, which was a visitation to the school where there was an interview by various people. I dont know who these people were, i cant remember was there any introductions at all, but if there were and I dont remember the titles. Only interviewer i do remember vaguely was probably a leader of the whole board, who resembled a poor mans Tom Hall, I mean mainly by external composition. He had this weird obsession to keep a time in every phase of the interview. If time was running out he had to make a notification from it. I mean the interview was already 30 minutes late by the interviewers, because I remember I played Nintendo DS for a long time in the “lobby” waiting my turn. Why do they punish interviewees, if they cannot keep the integrity of their schedule? They should plan these sorts of things more carefully and prepare some buffer time for each interview. There was no rush for any of these guys, because the whole school was almost empty. All the classrooms were empty with massive amount of computers sitting still.

Well, my view of game design as a study subject in a university is pseudoscience. There is no scientific formulation of how to make a good game. Actually many legendary games are written, from a conceptual level, by people who did their own thing and tried new ideas, without any university specialization to the subject. There is no study which speculates the success of a certain idea or concept, or at least if there is, it seems to be a problem nowadays. Why is it important to have a university level degree to design a game? To know what works and what does not? Isnt this common sense? All you need to do is to play a lot of video-games, analyze what did you like and didnt. To have a course to talk with some university level jargon about what works and doesnt, is just a waste of time and resources for everybody, school and students. I have never heard of a successful game, which is formulated by specialized personnel from a masters degree of game design, which would have made an imprint to the industry. If there is, i wouldnt want to heard about it, because it is done by run in the mill opportunistic excel corporate climbers just to make quick cash. Game design is a calling and only those can do interesting concepts and executions, who actually play a lot of video-games and have deep knowledge of actual experience from start to finish of a game. There is just no way around it. Nobody can teach what specific games are all about and how innovate ideas further. If you do have a great concept, the least thing you want to do is give it to a corporation or an institute, so they can take credit from it.

How did this show in the Interview of Aalto University? During the whole interview, we never discussed anything about what makes a good game. Not a single peep about great game design, or anything about existing games.I had a playable demo of a game, which we made in a group of people, and when I showed it to the interviewing board, we never talked about it. Actually, a couple of these guys looked like they did not understand what they were seeing, like this was the first time they ever saw actual gameplay footage, and our game was just a humble shooter in third person. They had no interest whatsoever in the subject. The central topic circulated on how the student is able to dedicate his time to the school. I understand that u have a commitment to the subject, but it is too much to ask to serve the purpose of a school. Schools serve people. The idea is to cultivate a students abilities to innovate and make something in his life. Not the other way, where school objects a student as a pawn to promote a school. The irony here is that the game design degree did not know what they were talking about on the basis of the interview. Since we are dealing with pseudoscience, there is no way that there is a point at all that the whole line of study exists, or maybe it has a purpose for climbing a corporate ladder, when everybody expects you to have no uniqueness.

There is a proof. Two guys who I met briefly at somewhere in the association of the Arts Academy of Turku, who actually got into game design in Aalto at the same time of qualification process. One guy was this hot shot from the USA, who loved to hear his own voice. He had to force his notion onto everything that people did and he had to express himself constantly. It does not fit in a room full of Finnish people. It is cool to have a passion for the subject, but there is also reticence and discretion to form a great person and consider other people. The most awkward thing was these constant notions to his wife, which was embarrassing and made people sick. It is a funny joke at one time, after that it is worn out.

The other guy was a senior alumni from my line of study in bachelors. He was this hip guy, who did not care about other people at all, and this immature attitude all the time. One time he was teaching some nonsense and we had a field trip somewhere. Map was on the canvas pointing to the location and I asked where the location was. He and a couple fellow students laughed and this alumni said that the location is on the map. Well, their laugh ceased when I said I cannot see to the other side of the room, obviously because I am myopic. Well atleast i tasted a little bit of embarrassment from their faces, but later I did not have any respect for this guy and tried to avoid him as much as possible. The delicious part was that his graduation work, which is supposed to show talent and skills, was so embarrassingly bad that I have ever seen such bad student work. It was a Flash animation, with some noisy music typically for a person in puberty, and the whole animation was trashley done. The narrative had no point and the whole execution yells how the maker ever got this far, now looking back how on earth he ever got to the game design masters. Answer is quite obvious from both of these cases: You can talk your way around anything nowadays, without skills or talent. You just need to say the right words. That bothers me the most. Watch JoeyBToonz in Youtube, if you wanna know what i mean.

Saturday, October 22, 2022

Life and Death

Life and Death

What aches my head about life and death: When a human is wasting his life? Does working in a meaningless job, having a career or blatantly doing nothing, have anything to do with anything? We, humans, are the same matter as a swamp frog or microbes in a mud? Actually we are distinctly more similar to fungi than to plants? Is jizzing in a fertile love companion the only reason for life? As an individual and a proof, my kin goes backwards millions of years, so is it a miracle that i or anybody else exist today, even though earth is overpopulated?

I am watching a painting of a Ukrainian girl, made by Nikolay Rachkov. The girl in the picture is very ordinary looking and there are not any aspects which makes it interesting, except the painting job is quite realistic and there is something in the arrangement and the background. I have an impossible itch to meet this person, even though she is from a totally different time period (from the 1800s). I want to say hi to her, because in the painting she looks alive and well, even though she has been dead long before my time. I would like to ask, to know, what kind of person she is. What does she like to do or what is there to do in that time period in a Slavic realm? Is she ordinary or is there magic, which makes the world interesting to travel.

I watched a movie from 1978, The Panic in Needle Park, starring Al Pacino and Kitty Winn. Watching Kitty Winn has the same effect as in the painting of Ukrainian Girl. Kitty Winn is kind of a very ordinary looking woman, a talented actress no doubt, but her face has this charm, which reminds me of what life is all about. More fire to the woods is the fact that she stopped acting a long time ago and she "traded" her career to raising a family. She got what she wanted. She started her family almost the same age that I am today, and it brings out the same urges as the painting. I need to meet her just to get my reality right. What kind of person she is. Was the long time in a marriage and raising a family really worth it. What did she do on a daily basis? Was it like running on a treadmill, having ordinary things to do and relying on routines? Was it safer to have an ordinary life than having a flash in a film star career? There are lots more trivial questions to ask to map what kind of person she is.

Here i am, painting my miniature figures, drawing with wooden pencils, 3d modeling and doing all sorts of graphics. What is the point in that? I have never really achieved anything professionally, even though I am pretty good at what I do, although there are thousands as talented and skilled as/than I am. So it does not matter am i recognized or not, because there are lots more other people doing exactly same thing, some succeeding and some dont. That is life, little bit of luck and effort, and still all that is forgotten when time passes and u die with ur identity.

Looking to the future, when i am as old as Kitty Winn is today, when i know that time has gone and wondering backwards, did the life was worth it. It is depressing to think that far or near in the future, u have reached the end, and u are thinking of this moment now thinking of the future and what is possible to achieve.

I am now going to watch Lethal Weapon 4, just to sink all complex complications and emotions into a meaningless, empty entertainment.