As some of you know, I was (and am) a big fan of Pebble smartwatches. Sadly, they shut down last month and stopped development on their then-upcoming next generation of watch: the Pebble Time 2. I backed the Kickstarter, so I was pretty bummed to hear that it wasn’t going to come out.* I’ve owned three smartwatches, the original Pebble, the Moto 360, and the Pebble Time, and there are some things that Pebble just does better than the other mainstream smartwatches out there.
I first encountered the Prisoner’s Dilemma in a middle school seminar, where it was presented as a morality problem. Do you potentially doom your unknown partner in order to improve your own odds? After seeing it presented with a similar framing soon afterward in Knights of the Old Republic, and as a case of social dynamics in Roger Highfield’s The Science of Harry Potter, I figured it was just a moral dilemma in the sense of questions like “do you let yourself die to save someone else?” and didn’t think of it much afterward.
The next time I encountered the Prisoner’s Dilemma was many years later, in an essay about how the Prisoner’s Dilemma should decidedly not be viewed as a moral issue in the traditional sense. You’re supposed to think of your partner either as someone entirely morally irrelevant, or assume that any bad karma points that you would get for defecting are reflected in the payout. Viewed this way, the problem is still at least as interesting.
After my recent listen-through of the Star Wars NPR Radio Drama, I was eager to listen to the corresponding drama for The Empire Strikes Back. Considered by many (including myself) to be the best of the series, TESB improves upon the original movie in many ways. Listening to it, two things soon became apparent.
If you’ve ever visited a wiki site other than Wikipedia, it was probably run by Wikia, a site that allows anyone to create and run their own full Wikipedia-style site, for good or for ill. Perhaps their best-known spinoff is Wookieepedia, a Star Wars wiki that is by far the most complete and comprehensive source of Star Wars information outside of Lucasfilm itself, with 117,811 articles as of this writing. And it’s not just huge, lore-filled franchises either; Wikia’s 335,281 (and counting) communities range from a Wallace and Gromit wiki, to a wiki for the Oscars, to a wiki about buffalo nickels. “The 1913 Type 1 (or variety 1) Buffalo Nickel is the first pereoid of 1913,” proclaims this wiki. “This video may also tell you bits and pieses of the 1913 type 1 Buffalo Nickel.”
(fun fact: while looking through the Wikia movies hub I found an inexplicable description of/advertisement for a condo community in Florida that some confused soul had thought would be a good addition to a wiki about movie wikis)
But, like any content-focused Internet community that combines enthusiasm, the ability of anyone whomsoever to join, and a complete lack of moderation of any sort, Wikia gets more and more perplexing the deeper you go in. Take, for example, the fanon wikis.
I’ve had to do more driving than usual lately, so I’ve been on the lookout for good listening material to keep my mind occupied while going back and forth along scenic Interstate 5. So far, my weapon of choice has been podcasts (my latest favorite is the incomparable Citation Needed), but something I’d always been curious about was the radio dramatization of Star Wars that NPR produced in the early 80s. I love CBS Mystery Theater-type audio entertainment and, of course, Star Wars, and I kept seeing information from the radio version used to answer long-standing fan questions, so it seemed like a good thing to dive into. I wasn’t disappointed.