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WorldCon, part 4b -- Saturday panels, etc. continued
Bar Harbor
alexx_kay
3:00 "Computer Game Technologies and Education"
A talk by Henry Jenkins about educational games (and the "serious games" movement) in general, and his work at MIT with the Education Arcade project in particular. They've moved on from blue-sky brainstorming into a few actual projects, one of which is well along. They've used the NeverWinter Nights engine to build a model of Colonial Williamsburg, on the eve of the American Revolution. The players take on the roles of various actual figures from history, from a wide variety of social classes and factions. Sounds *very* cool. I expect I may get a chance to check it out this fall, now that I have an "in" via kestrell :-)

4:00 "Postcapitalist Social Mechanisms"
Yet Another Cory Panel (do you sense a theme here)? Also featuring Charles Stross, David Friedman (better known to a few of you, perhaps, as Cariadoc), and somene I had not previously heard of, Benjamin Rosenbaum. I felt that David actually dragged the panel back, somewhat, as he kept insisting on using dictionary definitions of "capitalism", whereas the panel was clearly designed with a more colloquial usage in mind (namely, "modern pseudo-capitalist sytems"). Much of the useful talk centered around reputation-based economies, as for instance, the one in Cory's first novel. Though Cory didn't actually talk very much; he mostly let Benjamin Rosenbaum go. Now *he* was an interesting speaker! Very cogent and interesting, but at about 2.5 times the average speed of human speech. Kes and I kept up fine (she has practice on a fast screen reader; I have practice on her :-), but a large portion of the audience would periodically (in unison!) yell "SLOW DOWN!". He would grimace, ratchet down to normal speed for a while... but he'd be back up to whatwas clearly *his* baseline normal before long :-) One of the significant points made by the panel was that there is no such thing as a "post-scarcity economy", as humans are very good at inventing scarcity.

5:00 "The Monster in the Maze"
A fairly fluffy panel, butit had Neil Gaiman, which was something. Though he showed up late and had to leave early to get ready for the Hugos, so points off for that. Neil of course, was asked about Neverwhere. The Great Beast of London was definitely on-topic for the panel, but Neil opined that he *real* monster in the story was *Jessica*! Topic drifted fairly quickly into the definitional differences between "monster" and "villain".

One of the other panelists was Simon R. Green, who clearly has a bad case of Neil-envy. But he did have a funny bit when 'introducing' himself, claiming to be working on the new hit TV series, "Jesus, P.I." "Down these mean streets walks a man who is more than a man. He will never stop in his quest to find criminals -- and forgive them."

The Hugos were at 8, and I meant to go, but didn't end up doing so. Just as well, as a wopping *1* of the works I voted for won (dramatic presentation short form). And, except for Novella (where the winner was my second choice), I think that the winners were generally unworthy of the accolade. Or at least, a *lot* less worthy than my perfectly enlightened and wise picks, so there!

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