Archive for the ‘earth’ Tag

Be a creator

Wednesday, February 6th, 2019

…and not just a consumer…

My son has been drawn to computers from a very young age. It was the games. PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo etc. When he was 2 I could tell that he will spend a lot of time in front of the screen. Upon seeing a computer game for the first time he was already trying to solve it by taking in the whole screen at once and finding alternative ways. Then came came Minecraft. It was a whole different world. But he wasn’t satisfied with just plain vanilla, he had to get the mods. In the early days mods were a bit of a hit-and-miss but I had to teach him how to install them, otherwise I would be doing it 10 times a day… He was still 5 or 6 at that time. As the computers became more powerful, so did the games. Consequently, screen time has also increased.

However, I could also see that apart from just playing, there was tinkering with stuff, and programming potential. As he was also drawn to Arduino and Kano, I started planting an idea in his mind to not just be a consumer of games, but also a creator. To imagine how he would feel when other kids would be playing his games, his creations. He was introduced to Scratch at primary school as well as BASIC.

It wasn’t until early high school that he surprised me with how much BASIC programming he could do. I was absolutely blown away when he showed me a fully functional game in a programming app LowResCoder on his iPad. He persisted with LowResCoder and BASIC for some time although he started learning Java Script and Python. Fast forward to the age of 16 and there is his first game in the Play Store called Bounce-A-Meteor created using Unity (C#). Anyone who has published an app knows how determined you have to be to overcome all the hiccups and obstacles in your way. He has come up with the original concept and designed the game himself. And, of course, coded it. Now he is a creator and can call himself an apps developer. I can’t even express how proud I am 🙂

Anyway, Bounce-A-Meteor is a simple but addictive game where Earth is being bombarded by meteors and your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to defend the planet by bouncing the pesky meteors off giant trampolines that have been fitted to it. You do this by rotating Earth clockwise or anticlockwise by tapping the screen on the left or right respectively. Every 10 seconds a new meteor comes out and gravity also increases with time. To make matters more complicated, meteors can merge when they collide, however, if you think that makes things easier, you’re in for a surprise when the large meteor reaches a critical mass and explodes into many small ones! The game is free and supported by ads, although, he does not want to annoy players with them, so one ad only comes up every third game. Furthermore, the app does not track anything the users do, or collect any sort of information (apart, of course, from Google tracking number of installs and whatever else they track).

Anyway guys, check the game out for yourselves and have fun. Also, start coding 🙂

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We are all made of stars

Tuesday, October 9th, 2012

Everything on earth is made up of molecules that in turn are made up of atoms, or elements. The nuclear reaction inside the core of a star burns hydrogen to produce some heavier versions of hydrogen, then helium. It is a complicated process and takes the whole life cycle of the star to produce even heavier elements. For example, lithium is produced in brown dwarfs and carbon takes place in a set of nuclear fusion reactions inside massive stars.

Our bodies are made up from the same elements. It is not wrong to think that stars made the basic building blocks of our bodies. Then, a master craftsman arranged them in a special way that the elements function together for some purpose, just like in Minecraft you can craft staff from other elements. Now the master craftsman and his like can inhabit the bodies to play the game.

However, let’s not forget where we come from. The Sun is our closest star. The Sun gives life to all living creatures on earth including us. Without it, nothing would be alive. Think about it. Plants and other creatures like phytoplankton, rely on the sunlight for the photosynthesis process to make them grow. These plants make or become food for animals, and humans. Animals are also food for other animals that are higher up in the food chain – this includes humans who consider themselves right on top of the food chain. Looking back through the food chain, we are still “eating” sunlight, or depending on it for life.

So the Sun not only gave us the bodies, but also nourishes and sustains them. Without sunlight, our bodies would not make vitamin D. The Sun could be a highly intelligent and altruistic entity. It does not discriminate about who gets its life-giving energy. It shines on good and evil without judgement. The ancients were not wrong by worshiping the Sun.

Having said that, I now realise that it was not just the ancients. I have been born and raised as a Catholic but have been worshiping the Sun all my life. So are billions of others, without even realising it. Every time they pray and say Amen at the end they give worship to the Egyptian sun-god Amun, which was also sometimes spelled Amen.

As you can see, you’re not just a mortal human. You’re made of the same stuff as the planet earth and made by the stars. I’m sure the ancients knew all this…