ISSUE 1.21

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Virtual Murder

The ethics of virtual reality murder, a bizarre death from the past, firethrowing drones, beautiful art, and more.


Murder in virtual reality should be illegal

This is an interesting one. On the one hand, I don't think I'm any more a cold-blooded killer from shooting up robots or zombies in VR, nor would I particularly care if it were human representations (multiple military-themed VR shooters do this). But what the author is arguing is really for simulated murder with a much higher fidelity of virtual reality, where you could actually enact the horribly vivid experience of murdering someone, hypothetically feeling their body with your hands. Yeah, I'd agree with that - overly vivid representations get way too close to actual military training, which is not something I want exposed to the populace.


Analysis of a Toxic Death

"A year ago two dozen emergency room staff were mysteriously felled by fumes emanating from a dying young woman. Investigations turned up nothing--until a team of chemists from a nuclear weapons lab got involved." I know, geez, an article from 1995 with no flashy cover image. But this is worth a read if you're into the morbid and bizarre. The blood of a woman's dying body somehow turned into a nerve gas, and nobody could figure out why.


10 Essential Interactive Fiction Games for Beginners

I don't know if interactive fiction is your jam or not, but it's seriously my jam, and I recommend you trying to investigate it as a potential jam or even a jelly. Interactive fiction is essentially "get candle from table" and "you cannot get candle from table" except taken to the next level and generally much better-designed than the old school ones. I HIGHLY recommend trying Galatea, as it is incredibly replayable, fascinating, and almost convincing.


Trevor Paglen Is Making Art Out of the Surveillance State

An overview of this guy's work with the recurring theme of creating artwork out of data, CIA black sites, cameras, and more.


A Neural Representation of Sketch Drawings

Link to tweet. Besides the funny tweet, this is a pretty fascinating paper on teaching a neural network to produce sketches. Worth looking through just for the pictures! (You can skip the math.)