The Teaser: Medical Science and the Quest for the Cures...

You know, I'm not sure where to start with this post... but I think it's going to be a big one. I'm about to embark on a series where I explain how medical science is currently progressing, and how within the next 20 years we will have cures for most kinds of heart disease, type II diabetes, arteriosclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, arthritis, osteoporosis, multiple myeloma, high cholesterol, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer's disease, glioblastoma multiforme, prostate cancer and a whole host of other cancers and diseases, particularly those that strike in later life.

Yes, I know, this is a bit of a departure for me, but this is the culmination of several months worth of research (a basic pubmed search that anyone with a willingness to wade through the vocabulary can do) into the subject. And while we don't have those cures today (possibly...), I can point you in the direction that medical science is going. And possibly give you a nudge in the direction that will help you stave off any of these effects in the near future. Bear with me, I'm not crazy, I promise. I'll be backing up these statements with links to papers on pubmed, and the latest medical research from as many sources as I can. The only thing I'll be doing that is a little out there is giving you a hypothesis and a connection which ties all of these together. There's a pattern here, folks.

Thus begins a whirlwind tour of the current medical research, and a story that will sound like something out of the recent movie I Am Legend. I'll be covering human endogenous retroviruses, xenotropic mouse retroviruses, herpes viruses (of which there are several, 8 of which are well known at this point), influenza type-A, adenoviruses and more. We'll see how herpes is connected to Alzheimer's disease, how chickenpox is connected to arthritis, and how to stave it off. We'll see how coldsores can increase your cholesterol level, how having the flu can give you (in exceptionally rare cases) Parkinson's disease, and how a virus originally found in mice could give you prostate cancer. And I'll also, while I'm at it, I'll explain why high fructose corn syrup could cause high cholesterol and diabetes - and in some people, why they have those problems anyway, no matter how they shift their diet. We'll cover why statins work, and what you may need to take in conjunction with them to get things going.

Now the disclaimer:

I am not a doctor. I have no medical training. I have a degree in Pure & Applied Physics with a minor in Electronic Engineering. I work as a programmer, and I'm damn good at spotting patterns and debugging.



I have to put that there, because my advice may be flawed, and I don't want to hurt anyone. All I'm aiming to do here is to push people in the direction of recognizing a pattern here, and hopefully saving a few lives along the way.

Hold on folks, it's going to be a bumpy ride.

#Health, #alzheimer's, #herpes, #cure, #arthritis, #cancer
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Set Piece: Lessons Learned from BioShock

This post was originally written for the Surreal Game Design blog back in December. I'm publishing it here.

One of the great things about BioShock (other than that it's a lovely first person horror game with more than a couple of very cute homages to other great games in the genre... and yes, I'm going to be quite annoyingly company pimpingly obvious here and say The Suffering, but also Half Life) is the way it grabs you and takes you on a fantastic guided tour through the environment they've created.

They did a great job with this. I'm not just talking about the bathysphere journey at the beginning of the game - although to be honest, it's probably the most overt way in which they do this, and it certainly sets the tone for the adventure you're about to go on.

The cool thing is how they do it in other areas of the game.

Take, for example, that big room near the Kashmir Restaurant right at the beginning of the game. The one that you need to get into an elevator and go up. (There are several broken elevators nearby). The elevator is small, and there's only one direction you can look. And because of that, you end up with an impressive crane shot which beautifully displays all of the effort they put into the art of that room.

They do this in other places too. Anywhere there's a large art set piece, they make damn sure that you get to enjoy it - either by making sure that the only route you can take is one that will expose you to it. Stairwells, elevators, corridors... all of them serve to make sure that you get to see the wonderful art deco architecture of it all.

It's a great trick, and one that works very organically. You hardly know they're doing it - certainly, you might not notice it unless you've spent a lot of time studying film. They employ similar devices in their horror moments, with great use of light and shadow to highlight and amplify the moments.

The environment isn't just a theme that gets tacked onto the game, nor is it a way to funnel random monsters at the player. The environment itself is an integral part of the experience - and it's treated as such.

And because of that, it's lovely, unique, and probably a huge part of why BioShock gets such great reviews.

Full Disclosure: I've not finished Bioshock yet. I'm near the end though. But heck, I know what I like. I finally finished Bioshock (since the Surreal Game Design blog went down). Meh. I was unimpressed by the ending. It could have done with some kind of coda to wrap things up.
Even More Disclosure: The most obvious homage to The Suffering is the "body in the locker" trick. And the most obvious one to Half Life is the fact that you're told to go grab a crowbar or something for a weapon.
Too Much Disclosure: Half of the guys here actually jumped up and down when BioShock came out, and we all gathered around the monitor of the Retail XBOX Dev Kit we were playing it on... and the verdict was unanimous. Not only did we all love it, but for a while there, we were all feeling incredibly nostalgic and suddenly wanted to make another horror game. Touché, 2K Games, touché!

#Games, #Game design, #resyndication, #Surreal Game Design Blog
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