The word is murder . . .

. . . not suicide.


A woman identifying herself as the ex-girlfriend of the man accused of crashing Germanwings Flight 9525 into the French Alps told Germany's leading tabloid that he said one day he would "do something" and then "everyone will know my name."


The spin toward sympathy is astounding. Face it, the guy was a mass murderer. Evil is the only word that truly describes him.

Man the shields, Scotty

Here's a story that's getting a lot of play in certain quarters - and generating the requisite Star Wars headlines:

Boeing just patented a force field. Technically, the patent is for a “method and system for shockwave attenuation via electromagnetic arc,” but that’s just a long way of writing out something unbelievably futuristic: protective force fields . . . The device as patented only protects against the shockwave of an explosion, but most of the vehicles it’d be mounted on are already armored enough to protect people inside from the shrapnel that comes with a bomb blast.
The concept uses a sensor to detect an explosion in water or air--say, an IED on the side of the road--then estimates the time and location of the explosion. Next, the signal from the sensor triggers a laser (or a blast of electricity or microwave energy) that heats up a section of air or water, creating a plasma shield in between the explosion and the vehicle. The plasma's temperature and density help deflect and absorb the shockwaves from the explosion.


Force fields, lasers, rail guns . . . it gets harder and harder to make this stuff up.

Unsung heroes

I had the honor last week of addressing a group of professionals who work for the American intelligence community at an awards ceremony. Over a dozen agencies were represented, including a few even I'd never heard of.

It was an interesting experience – their work is so secret I had to leave before the awards were given out, and my tour of the “not quite so secret” areas of the facility consisted of a walk down two hallways.

They were fascinating hallways.

Too often these days, government employees are mindlessly criticized for any number of bogus issues. I was glad to have even a tiny role in thanking them for the job they do for all of us, especially in this case, as their work helps keep me and my family safe.

And yours as well.

Fact follows fiction . . .

. . . and vice versa.

From the NY Times:

MINNEAPOLIS — Reading back over Abdi Nur’s Twitter feed, his chilling progression from the basketball courts of South Minneapolis to the battlefields of Syria is clear.

Early last year, he began posting stern religious pronouncements and snippets of scripture. By April 2, a day after turning 20, he hailed Islamic fighters: “If the sky would be proud of the existence of the stars, the land should be proud of the existence of the Mujahideen.”

The true story is chilling . . . and not a little reminiscent of the story I wrote in Deep Black: Jihad several years ago.


Programming problems . . .

. . . become narrative solutions. AKA, video games are a collaborative art.

Here’s a story-telling problem you only encounter in games –

Producer: We need to move this episode earlier.
Me: Why?
Producer: We need three and a half minutes to load [the next level segment] and this shuffle is the only way to do it.
Me: Sounds like a programming problem.
Producer: Not any more.

Understanding PTS


"By comparing US Marines who develop PTSD symptoms to those who do not, we can measure differences in genes, but also take into consideration the dynamic relationships between and among them, their connectivity," said senior author Michael S. Breen, of the University of Southampton in the UK.
"Because PTSD is thought to be such a complex disorder," he added, "measuring these dynamic relationships is crucial to better understanding the PTSD pathology."
In their analysis, researchers identified both innate immune system and interferon signaling gene groups before and following the development of PTSD in the participants, causing them to question what triggers interferon signaling prior to PTSD.
"The answer could be any number of factors," said principal investigator Dr. Dewleen G. Baker, of the Veteran Affairs San Diego Healthcare System and the University of California-San Diego, "ranging from a simple explanation of increased anticipatory stress prior to deployment or more complex scenarios where individuals may have a higher viral load. It's a question for future studies."

A physical link to PTS would be an immense breakthrough, though not a guarantee of a cure. Story.

And now for something . . .

. . . completely different.

Heading to Boston this weekend to visit and talk about Redacted Studios and one of our upcoming games, Afro Samurai II. Hope to see you there.