Total Drek

Or, the thoughts of several frustrated intellectuals on Sociology, Gaming, Science, Politics, Science Fiction, Religion, and whatever the hell else strikes their fancy. There is absolutely no reason why you should read this blog. None. Seriously. Go hit your back button. It's up in the upper left-hand corner of your browser... it says "Back." Don't say we didn't warn you.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Just to thoroughly confuse things...

Many of you may remember a while back when I introduced all of you to Conservapedia, an alternative to Wikipedia for those who think that reality can be changed by just wishing really, really hard. At the time I did a head-to-head comparison between the two and, as we discovered, comparing Wikipedia to Conservapedia is like comparing The New York Times to The Weekly World News.

Well, believe it or not, I've recently learned of a third-alternative in this war between ultra-conservatives and people who believe in objective reality. Rather than explaining things from a "factual" perspective or from a "conservative friendly" perspective they go a third route: just make it all up.

I refer, of course, to the fascinating Uncyclopedia, the Wiki for people who are less interested in correct factual information than in being entertained.* It has many of the same articles as Wikipedia or Conservapedia, but told from the unique and informative viewpoint of a crazy person. Take, for example, this excerpt from the article on Charles Darwin:

Darwin is best known for his second book, Dance Dance Evolution, and of course for his piercings, of which he had accumulated 1821 by the end of his too-brief life. Some philosophers argue that this is the only reason for which he was also called "The Neighbour of the Beast", but others claim this moniker was actually conceived because of the aviator's work as a bouncer at Iron Maiden's (May They rest in peace.) first concerts, and his subsequent founding of Mayhem, a band somewhat less known than his theories came to be.

...

As he lay dying, Darwin was reported to have requested some Ritz crackers. The pope saw his chance and, acting quickly, placed a communion wafer in Darwin's outstretched hand. Upon eating the wafer, Darwin immediately began a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. They had four children and retired to Yorkshire where they lived happily ever after until Darwin died two minutes later.


Not to be outdone, William Dembski also has an entry:

William Dembski is a mathematician and a wannabe scientist. He is also one of the leading lights in the Incredulous design movement and the author of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Math. From his lofty untenured position at whatever Baptist seminary couldn't find a real creationist in time for that semester, Dembski has proved a number of mathematical theorems which are so important that they make the guy that proved the Pointclick conjecture look like a pauncy prissypants. Dembski's ideas are generally not recognized by the stodgy Evil Atheist Conspiracy, but are quickly catching on with the youth of today who can't get enough of his catchy beatings and the hip sound of nasal whining. Dembski is widely known by his immediate circle of friends as the "Isaac Newton of Information Theory". Dembski has several publications, although people who oppose his ideas often point out that his contribution to science can best be described by the number zero and his publications are mostly incoherent ramblings on the internets.

CSI is Dembski's premiere accomplishment. Contrary to what most of the internets seems to think, jokes pretending to confuse CSI with the Tv show of the same name turn out to be more desperate than amusing, so let's instead pretend to be serious for a second, because it turns out that by doing so, we can discover something REALLY amusing.

CSI means "Complex Specified Information." But let's break that down further: in mathematics, one major definition of "complex" is "a lengthy string that cannot be compressed very much." And according to Dembski, one valid definition of specification is high compressibility. Therefore, Complex Specified Information means "something that cannot be compressed very much, but is highly compressible" which is another way of saying: "something that contains a lot of information, but doesn't contain a lot of information."

Clearly, there aren't enough Nobel prizes in all of Benmark for someone that could come up with a definition that profound: to properly award such genius we may even be forced to crack open next year's supply crate of Special Olympics Gold Medals, award them all to Hitler, lacquer Hitler, bronze the lacquered Hitler and present them to Dembski in a ceremony where he is stapled to bronzed lacquered Hitler and thrown into the sea to share his insights with Aquaman.


And, of course, if mocking scientists and not-scientists isn't quite your cup of tea, uncyclopedia also has a fine selection of irrelevent pop culture.** Take, for example, this article on the videogame Master of Orion II:***

Master of Orion II is a tern-based strategy game developed by Microsoft and released in 1989. In the game, the player takes on the role of emperor of a technological civilization, with the task of expanding to other star systems and eventually ruling the galaxy. It is considered a 4X game, the four Xs standing for:

eXpand - The bigger you can build your butt, the better. If you can build it Really Fucking Big, that's great. It doesn't mean you'll win the game, though, because the psilon empire is probably certainly bigger than yours anyway.
eXterminate - Diplomacy sometimes works, but usually it doesn't, in which case you'll have to blow every other civilization up as fast as you can.
seX - The more you can rape alien beings with different biochemistries and anatomy than you, the better. Apparently the game designers read too many Edgar Rice Burroughs stories.
Xylophone - The game doesn't actually have anything to do with xylophones, that was just put in to make it a 4X game instead of a 3X, or XXX, game.

...

After this you will get to customize your race. You can choose any of a number of pictures, most of which are pornographic. You will also be able to choose abilities for your race. You get to choose from the following abilities:

Aquatic - Your race will be able to play water polo.
Subterranean - Your race will live in basements with all the lights off, surfing the Internet for porn.
Lithovore - Your race will be able to eat rocks, and will therefore thrive on any planet made of rocks without having to grow extra food. However, this also makes it impossible to research oral sex.
Creative - Your race is creative during sex. This will help your diplomatic efforts by 10% and increase population growth by 20%.
Horny - Your race will be exceptionally horny, increasing population growth by 50%.
Communist - This lets your race start out in Soviet Russia, where Master of Orion II plays YOU! Except that it already does, so this doesn't really have any effect.

...

Space monsters

Some of the more useful stars in the galaxy are protected by giant space monsters, in order to prevent players from getting them. Other space monsters occasionally fly into the galaxy and attack players. They are quite tough, because for some reason random individual life forms can evolve in interstellar space to be more powerful than ships built by intelligent civilizations. Space monsters come in several varieties:

Dragon - Space dragons are enormous brown reptiles that fire plasma breaths at anyone who approaches them. However, they are also very greedy and occasionally it is possible to pay one off to go attack a different player.
Eel - Space eels are huge red invertebrates that cruise into the galaxy and start multiplying at an amazing rate. They must be dealt with quickly before their exponential rate of growth swamps everyone in the galaxy. It's not clear where they find the food to do this; apparently the designers didn't consider that part.
Crystal - Space crystals are gigantic silicon-based monsters that attack by telepathically taking over ships and using them against their former owners.
Jesus - As a tribute to Uncyclopedia, one of the monsters available is a 500-foot Jesus. Unlike other monsters, it is on a mission for peace in the galaxy, and will magically heal any damaged ships it comes across. Unfortunately, sometimes during a battle it will tend to heal the enemy ships, inadvertently making things worse for the player.


So, in short, Uncyclopedia is a fascinating mix of humor***** and fact that, ultimately, has the effect of draining your brain of useful information. Give it a try and see if you don't enjoy the experience.


* For those who are wondering: yes, this does also nicely describe Fox News.

** Indeed, given time, I think it may one day rival Wikipedia's outstanding collection.

*** This is all for you, Tom.****

**** For those who are wondering, we've discussed MOOII previously.

***** Note that I didn't say "good" humor.

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1 Comments:

Blogger TDEC said...

Ah, the sweet taste of procrastination.

Monday, March 12, 2007 1:05:00 PM  

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