by timothy. 1 Comment


Good Reads Mailing List | 2004 week 21 number 1

Never mind goodreads, these articles are so hot that if they were women I’d flirt with them. – Timothy

Game Theories | Clive Thompson
“As Castronova stared at the auction listings, he recognized with a shock what he was looking at. It was a form of currency trading. Each item had a value in virtual ‘platinum pieces’; when it was sold on eBay, someone was paying cold hard American cash for it. That meant the platinum piece was worth something in real currency. EverQuest’s economy actually had real-world value. […] When he averaged the results, he was stunned to discover that the EverQuest platinum piece was worth about one cent U.S. – higher than the Japanese yen or the Italian lira. With that information, he could figure out how fast the EverQuest economy was growing. […] The Gross National Product of EverQuest, measured by how much wealth all the players together created in a single year inside the game. It turned out to be $2,266 U.S. per capita. By World Bank rankings, that made EverQuest richer than India, Bulgaria, or China, and nearly as wealthy as Russia. It was the seventy-seventh richest country in the world. And it didn’t even exist.”

Lessons from Homer | Ian Brown
“I was reading Homer’s Iliad when the pictures from Abu Ghraib began to appear. […] One moment I was swimming through 15,693 lines of hexametric verse — long stretches of which-god-did-what-infantile-thing-to-whom, interrupted by splurts of eye-poking gore and knockout stanzas of shattering beauty about rage and revenge. The next I was trying to decipher a digital snapshot of — well, what was that square of interlocking human flesh supposed to be? […] As war atrocities — next to, say, King David’s habit of collecting the foreskins of his victims, or the 500 innocents slaughtered at My Lai in 1968, or even compared with the Chechen trick of sniping at Russians from behind a wounded Russian prisoner strung up in a window — the abuses at Abu Ghraib seemed relatively mild.[…] All over the United States, intellectuals of once-firm conviction, from Michael Ignatieff on the left to Andrew Sullivan on the right, were having meltdowns. […]I read the passage one last time, and put the The Iliad down. Already the moral valence of the Abu Ghraib affair was reversing itself, as the al-Qaeda beheading of an American named Nicholas Berg darkened the Internet. The Abu Ghraib jailers were creepy, but America’s enemies were judged creepier. “

A Troy boy’s epic pecs | Rick Groen
Troy takes all the wind out of Homer’s sails. This is an epic made by a modernist who doesn’t believe in epics. Doesn’t believe in the honour of battle, or the status of a tragic hero, or the ideal of romantic love, or the dictates of an omnipotent god. What’s left? Not mythology, to be sure, but a rather bland sociology lecturing us on the realpolitik of power and the human waste of war. Now, such a contemporary sermon is well and good…”

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emailed by Timothy on Tuesday 18 May 2004 @ 1:24 PM

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