Jason posted a link to a NY Times article on the origins and evolution of religion, which fit in nicely with the book I am reading: A History of God, by Karen Armstrong. In this book Armstrong puts down the results of her research of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam as well as, and to a lesser extent, a few other religions and ideologies.

“The human idea of God has a history, since it has always meant something slightly different to each group of people who have used it at various points of time. The idea of God formed in one generation by one set of human beings could be meaningless in another. Indeed, the statement ‘I believe in God’ has no objective meaning, as such, but like and other statement only means something in context, when proclaimed by a particular community. Consequently there is no one unchanging idea contained in the word ‘God’; instead, the word contains a whole spectrum of meanings, some of which are contradictory or even mutually exclusive.”

She takes a pretty pragmatic approach at looking at how religious beliefs have formed and changed throughout history. It seems that humans may have always had religious feelings – an idea that may even be central to how we became human. This sense of spirit or connection with something larger than us has always driven us to wonder, create, sing, fear, and ultimately evolve our society into what it has become today.

It seems too, that religion is highly pragmatic. “…it is far more important for a particular idea of God to work than for it to be ideologically or scientifically sound.” The last quote brings to a point the problems I have always had with religion. I have always been very interested in proving that an idea was thoroughly sound before “putting my stock” in it. Much less important to me is how a particular view could make my life better, a way of living that could help me achieve greater piece. Maybe what religious folks call faith is actually just the ability to give up on finding proof and just selecting a set of rules that you can live with – perhaps not the perfect set of rules – without flaws, but a set that will no doubt lead to greater satisfaction.

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I have always thought of video games as more or less consumable goods. Some people would obviously disagree, ahem, Brent

Just because I happen to be packing my home office up in preparation for yet another move in a month or so, and I am going through all my computer games and game boxes, I decided to make this list of my 10 favorite games (ranked primarily by number of hours spent playing them). I have lumped like games together for ease and clarity. Here goes:

  1. Pool of Radiance
  2. Diablo I & II
  3. Tetris
  4. Myst, Riven
  5. Pirates, Pirates Gold
  6. Baldur’s Gate (and subsequent spin-offs and expansions)
  7. Sim City, 2000, 3000
  8. Ultima Online
  9. Madden Football (all the versions)
  10. Civilization I, II, & III

Honorable Mention: Neverwinter Nights and three old Apple IIgs games: Ultima IV, Defender of the Crown, and King of Chicago.

Please not that this list is based upon the hours I have played each game. I may, at some point, come out with a list based on what I think are the “best” games ever at some point soon.

Show and tell

wang-weilin_smIt’s not the computer game, The Sims, but it looks just like it. It’s Jon Haddock’s latest creation: Isometric Screenshots where Haddock recreates famous media scenes from the past and not-so-past, like the one shown at right depicting Wang Weilin’s protest in front of an army tank at Tiananmen Square. Other screenshots show the seizing of Eli·n Gonz·lez, and scenes from the Godfather and Sound of Music. [Newsweek]

Besides moving offices, we here at Risdall Linnihan Advertising Interactive have been busy creating some sites the last several months. It is quite amazing how many sites we actually churn out of our rather small shop. Unfortunately that churn doesn’t always produce what I would call top shelf work. Here are some recent sites which I feel do fit the bill:

Theatre de la Jeune Lune – A site for a great little theatre that I have now gotten the chance to work on twice with two companies. I must say that the result this time around is much better.

LeasePoint.com – One of those dot coms still clinging to life. I think the site is rather nice looking.

Bachman’s – This site is disappointing only in the fact that we could do ecommerce this time around. Hopefully soon.

Chronimed – I got to work on this one twice too – it seems these clients just follow me around. The budget constraints limited what we could do. Its not the best, but the site is a vast improvement over what they had. (and no that slowness isn’t a result of poorly optimized graphics)

Risdall Linnihan Advertising – This site went against every usability standard I brought up, but “they” went ahead and built it anyway. You didn’t hear me complaining. Those who saw the previous site (that had been up for years and years) surely can understand why.

We have several large web projects underway right now and I hope to be able to post them here too. Feel free to send comments on the sites above. I’m sure I will hear a fair amount from a couple of you.

The gecko has arrived! (almost)

Netscape has released what they are calling “Preview Release 1” of their much-anticipated 6.0 browser. (what happened to 5.0?)

From playing with it a little I have noticed several things:

  • Weird interface. Nice I guess, but it will take getting used to (or I could just change it with “skins” – which IE has as well) It seems very java-licious.
  • I have noticed some rendering differences between it and IE but similar to past versions of Netscape. It looks like it still puts some unnecessary line breaks in, but I’ll have to look into it further.
  • It renders very quickly. This is really, really cool.
  • Only 4 prominent “buttons”, Back Forward, Refresh, and Stop. Perfect.
  • When you mouse over submit buttons and pulldown menus they are highlighted. Verdict: unsure about this one.
  • Really cheesy, bad, bad, authentication popup screen
  • I kinda don’t like how the browser window “blends with the site it is viewing. There isn’t a good visual barrier, but it does do “full screen” better.
  • Nice source view. Mmmmmm, color-coded.

You can download it here. There are versions for Windows, Mac, and Linux.

Sega will give you a Dreamcast if you sign up for 2 years of Internet access.

Also, a cool local band has just released their first CD, Take The Wheel and their single, Steer, is currently playing on 104.1 The Point, here in Minneapolis.
Check them out, they’re Radio5.