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Congress Slashes Funding for Peaceful Conflict Resolution Game

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 5 years ago | from the how-are-our-children-supposed-to-become-warriors-with-this dept.

Role Playing (Games) 84

In a departure from the usual video game setting a recent educational video game called "Cool School" was designed to teach kids peaceful conflict resolution. Unfortunately Congress has decided to slash the funding of this program that has been receiving rave reviews from the testers at schools in Illinois. "Cool School focuses on taking players through a school where just about everything (desks, books, and other objects) are alive and have their own personality. Over the course of ten levels and over 50 different situations designed by Professor Melanie Killen and then-doctoral student Nancy Margie (both of the University of Maryland). The primary goal of the game is to teach students how to solve social conflict through skills like negotiation and cooperation. During the title's development, Killen and Margie were able to work with some talented members of the video game industry, including independent developer F.J. Lennon and animator Dave Warhol." The game is now available as a free download and will play on both Mac OS X and Windows XP.

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84 comments

Funding slashed for a finished game (5, Funny)

CogDissident (951207) | more than 5 years ago | (#23481142)

So, they're "done" with the game, effectively. What part of their funding do they still need? The "sit on their asses and collect money for work they already did" fund?

Thanks slashdot, for providing no link to the article where the funding is being slashed, just two links to a game and people's reviews of it.

Re:Funding slashed for a finished game (4, Informative)

Otter (3800) | more than 5 years ago | (#23481330)

The Ars Technica article does explain it; Congress funded development of the game but not its distribution. Apparently some sort of computer "inter-network" will be required for schools to obtain it, as if such a thing could ever be!

That's also what's holding back Duke Nukem Forever, I suppose.

Re:Funding slashed for a finished game (1)

CogDissident (951207) | more than 5 years ago | (#23481556)

Good that they explained it like that in the link. Instead of linking it as if it were a game review. Which the article exactly looks like throughout. With only one tiny sentence alluding to the fact that they can't ship out the disk-copy to those 3 schools that have computers but no internet.

Re:Funding slashed for a finished game (3, Informative)

perdue (1153995) | more than 5 years ago | (#23481820)

the fact that they can't ship out the disk-copy to those 3 schools that have computers but no internet.
Although TFA [arstechnica.com] is somewhat vague on the point, it seems the problem is not quite that trivial.

Cool School was planned to be shared throughout every US elementary schools until its funding was slashed by Congress. The game is now being digitally distributed, and its spread through the country's school systems is much slower than originally intended.
(emphasis mine)

Re:Funding slashed for a finished game (4, Insightful)

Otter (3800) | more than 5 years ago | (#23481984)

Although TFA is somewhat vague on the point, it seems the problem is not quite that trivial.

No, the problem is as trivial as he said; it's just that the original plan seems to have been much more grandiose. Come to think of it, if they *had* gotten the funding to send a DVD to every school in the country, wouldn't we be getting a story long the lines of "Congress Doesn't Know Internet Exists!!!", with pages of moronic comments about "tubes"?

I don't get the GGP's complaint about Ars Technica, though. It's not the article's fault that it's not mostly about the one sentence the editor fixated on.

Re:Funding slashed for a finished game (1)

perdue (1153995) | more than 5 years ago | (#23482206)

No, the problem is as trivial as he said; it's just that the original plan seems to have been much more grandiose. Come to think of it, if they *had* gotten the funding to send a DVD to every school in the country, wouldn't we be getting a story long the lines of "Congress Doesn't Know Internet Exists!!!"

Those headlines would be as cluelessly inflammatory as a typical kdawson post.

Making something available to everyone != Delivering it to everyone. One approach results in a much, much higher rate of adoption.

Re:Funding slashed for a finished game (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23483106)

Making something available to everyone != Delivering it to everyone.
Oooh, I know this one. "Making it available to everyone" isn't illegal. If the RIAA come after them then Congress have a cast iron case here.

Re:Funding slashed for a finished game (3, Funny)

Shadow Wrought (586631) | more than 5 years ago | (#23482270)

That's also what's holding back Duke Nukem Forever, I suppose.

Really? I heard that Peaceful Conflict Resolution accelerators simply weren't fast enough for Duke's "Resolutions."

Re:Funding slashed for a finished game (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23482832)

Apparently some sort of computer "inter-network" will be required for schools to obtain it, as if such a thing could ever be!

In fact, it was my idea to divert money away from the game in order to create such a computer network.

Sincerely,
Al Gore

Don't copy that floppy! (1)

BobSixtyFour (967533) | more than 5 years ago | (#23484764)

Distribution? I'm scared that a "MC Double Def DP" will appear on the screen the moment I try to copy that floppy. At least thats what I learned in school...

Re:Funding slashed for a finished game (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23481358)

What part of their funding do they still need?

From the article: According to Killen... "...We're hoping that if it takes off, Congress will mandate more funds for it and we can make a version oriented towards older children."

Re:Funding slashed for a finished game (4, Funny)

eln (21727) | more than 5 years ago | (#23481728)

Clearly the only way to settle this is to kick ScuttleMonkey's ass for writing a poor summary.

Re:Funding slashed for a finished game (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23481976)

Advertisement funding!

You didn't think all the advert stories have been posted for free, now did you? Slashvertisement was all they could afford now!

Re:Funding slashed for a finished game (2, Informative)

ghostlibrary (450718) | more than 5 years ago | (#23482000)

Getting games into schools is hard... kinda like the difference between coding a game, and selling it as a bonafide product.

To 'sell' it to schools, you need to a) make them aware of it, usually by presenting at state teacher's fairs and putting notices in periodicals, b) indicate how it supports curricula standards by providing support material and metrics, c) get it into existing channels so the (usual sole) IT person at the school (typically a resource/library person) is allowed to install it, d) support Q&A and teacher queries (customer support), and e) provide a follow-up reporting on its status so schools can continue using it.

Which takes time, and time takes money. Hence the need for funding, and why lack of funding makes distribution slow and random.

Re:Funding slashed for a finished game (2, Funny)

Theoboley (1226542) | more than 5 years ago | (#23482516)

Sorry Kids... Looks like you'll have to go back to solving your conflicts the old fashioned way. Guns, Knives and Fists. Hooray Congress !!!

Well, of course. (1, Flamebait)

Tenebrousedge (1226584) | more than 5 years ago | (#23481182)

What good would our military-government-industrial complex be if this sort of thing grew popular? We must act now to stop the spread of such dangerous new thinking! If "tree of liberty" rhetoric was good enough for this country's founders, it's good enough for me!

Mission Accomplished!

Re:Well, of course. (2, Insightful)

rjhubs (929158) | more than 5 years ago | (#23482180)

maybe the question that should be asked is, why should congress fund any sort of game development? leave education to the educators, and the moral development to families and communities. the only governmental role in morality should be to protect us, not propagate their morals. Even if in this case it is something we all probably could agree on is good, government still shouldn't do it.

Re:Well, of course. (1)

Tenebrousedge (1226584) | more than 5 years ago | (#23482948)

What do we have public education for anyway? We should just can all the funding for that, too. Give it to needy families or something. Lol, what am I saying? My brother works in defense, he could use the money.

Seriously, you're saying the People should not be involved with education for the people. Morality != religion, and especially in the United States people seem to be really keen on legislating the former. Perhaps we not teach in public schools anything remotely related to morality?

Re:Well, of course. (1)

rjhubs (929158) | more than 5 years ago | (#23486496)

There is a difference. Funding for education is acceptable because an educated populous is necessary to have a decently working democracy. Democracy requires educated citizens to have the ability to understand how the system works and ability to understand the issues (whether they actually understand them is a different thing, but at least we try to equip them with the ability). Education is great. But to fund a video game to understand how to resolve conflicts? This in a different realm.

Funding for education is broad, educators can choose (somewhat, minus the failing No Child Left Behind) what to teach and how to teach. The government doesn't fund the writing of text books which describe the government accepted way to do things. Which I see as the equivalent to funding the production of a video game that describes specific ways to handle a situation. If this video game was over a different topic like, how to be a good conservative, democratic citizen, people would scream Propaganda! What if one of the prescribed ways in the game to handle conflict was preemptive strike? Would you support it then? I don't support this kind of funding because it is easy to abuse. Not because I have anything against educating the populous.

George W. Bush, dictator (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23482376)

military-government-industrial complex

There is a lot of evidence [radaronline.com] that whoever controls the U.S. government is planning to have some new "terrorist" events and declare martial law. It's a top-rated story [digg.com] on Digg.com.



Search for "martial law" in digg.com [digg.com] or reddit.com [reddit.com] . There are hundreds of links.


Re:Well, of course. So, is this yet another case (1)

davidsyes (765062) | more than 5 years ago | (#23482552)

of CONgress being the opposite of PROgress?

Or, do we blame it on the "mil", or on the US govt/"leadership" "expeditionary/surrender no options" mentality?

Does it matter? (1)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 5 years ago | (#23482610)

Well, does it really matter, though?

1. First of all, the game seems to be about conflict resolution on a small interpersonal scale. You know, better try to make friends with Joe, instead of punching him in the nose.

I'd say that whatever _external_ policy a military-industrial government may pursue, _internally_ they need a certain social order and people following orders. They don't want their own society to break down into anarchy, even if just because that's bad for business and bad for politics.

Plus, starting from there, you can always dehumanize your enemies and present them as the guys who don't play as nice as we taught y'all to. See, we're all nice to each other and stuff, we teach our kids in school to solve their problems peacefully and help each other, but those dastardly X don't! They're preying on us, trying to destroy our way of life, and teaching their children to do the same! Well, we'll show them that being nice doesn't mean being a helpless victim! (Where X can be muslims, jews, commies, or whatever bogeyman of the day.)

So I'm guessing this kind of game wouldn't really be unwelcome even for the most aggressive government. Now if it taught people that it's good to be nice in international politics, that might be subversive for the likes of Bush. But teaching people to play nice internally isn't really bad for any government, from Bush to China to whatever else.

2. If you want to play non-violent games, even at the international politics level, it's not like other games don't exist that drive the point home. Sometimes through melodramatic hyperbole.

E.g., in Superpower 2 even the slightest aggressive stance would eventually degenerate in global thermonuclear war. (Well, ok, so would almost any other kind of politics;)

E.g., in most of Paradox's games, although they do feature wars and conquest, one of the first things you learn is that a war and the resulting anxiety and uncertainty impacts your economy immediately, and a prolonged war builds up discontent fast. They also teach that too long an aggressive attitude _will_ make all other countries hate you. (Well, ok, after a few patches. As shipped, they usually teach that Switzerland could have conquered the world in WW2 and similar lessons;)

Etc.

Now not many people play these, when they could be zerging Crossroads with their epic gear instead, and head-shotting people in CS, and such. But then I don't really think that this game would have been a major hit with the violent-games-only crowd either. People who played peaceful games or at least games where complex diplomacy and alliances matter, will still play them, and people whose life revolved around their CS score, will still avoid them and would have avoided this one too. I don't think this one game would have made such a difference as to get any politician's panties in a knot.

Re:Does it matter? (1)

Tenebrousedge (1226584) | more than 5 years ago | (#23483336)

I'm sorry, I was rushed. Next time I'll be funnier, I promise!

Actually, I feel like I'm so out of touch that my sense of humor is becoming completely random. Soon I'll become a Python, doomed to never again be understood by mortal men.

Answers!

1. Probably the relative ease with which a population can be led around by the nose is mostly independent of which morality they've been brought up to accept. "Look, they're different and scary!" "Look, something happened to the Maine/Maddox/WTC!" ...and away we go.

2. Is the point that wars are bad? Hmm. Bad for whom? More on topic, I'm sure that there are games which promote warfare and games that do not. Probably they are both less influential than many would like to believe. Which may help to explain what happened to this game...

Re:Does it matter? (1)

mr_mischief (456295) | more than 5 years ago | (#23483406)

Not only do they not want anarchy internally. They'd specifically want either active acceptance or passive rejection of their views and actions. The last thing a tyrannical government wants is active, armed opposition.

Re:Does it matter? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#23494072)

But teaching people to play nice internally isn't really bad for any government, from Bush to China to whatever else.

Sorry, I strongly disagree for a broad number of reasons.

The first and most obvious reason is economic. Let's face it, how many cordless drills do you need on your block? Most people could share with a large number of neighbors and nearly never have a usage collision. How many washers and dryers? I bet your neighborhood could cut that in half if you just shared. See how this works? The reduction in economic activity is potentially serious.

The second reason, which ought to be obvious to anyone, is that if we actually learned to get along there would be no need for the majority of the bullshit apparatus of the state. One percent of our population is in prison right now in the US, that's kind of astonishing to consider.

The simple truth is that by keeping people in a state of persistent anxiety (suppress it if you can [azlyrics.com] ) you can cause an increase in economic activity and help to keep people in a state of suppressed emotional and educational development which helps to produce a steady stream of cannon fodder, which is what this administration is looking for. There's been a constant flow of crap headed in that direction, for example the No Child Left Behind act which is not only an unfunded mandate which further taxes our strained school system (anyone who says we don't need further funding needs only to look at class sizes - although I do understand the basic, so-called libertarian difference of opinion) but which is also a guarantor of mediocrity.

Perhaps you think I'm being paranoid; so does my mother. Guess what? It's the lack of paranoia (if you want to call it that - I don't care) of the previous generations that got us to where we are today. Their misplaced trust in their government, and their confusion of love of country with love of government, has put us in a position in which every one of us is subordinate to the demands of lucre, and we are all paying.

We have a shortage of patriotism in this country - it has been well-supplanted by jingoism.

Really.... (1, Interesting)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#23481372)

Really, Congress should not use funds to help support software that it not free/open source. Now, in true /. style I didn't read TFA but I did read the summery and it doesn't say anything about Linux or source code. If a program isn't F/OSS, number 1 some people can't play it and number 2 its use is governed by one person or company, not the world. And if this goes over well in schools, this could be a real problem for Linux adoption if it doesn't work well in WINE.

Re:Really.... (2, Insightful)

CogDissident (951207) | more than 5 years ago | (#23481626)

The software "is" free, literally. To anyone who wants to get it.

They shouldn't have to give away the source code, and it shouldn't "have" to be inter-operable with linux. It is made for schools, and over 95% of schools run windows. Optimizing it so it runs in wine (which it probably does, its not a graphically-complex game) would have cost money, and had very little in returns.

Now get off your linux soapbox and learn that the real world doesn't revolve around your chosen operating system.

Re:Really.... (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#23481816)

But why should the government which is supposed to be in the public interest fund proprietary software? They should have to give away the source code to get government grants for something for use in public schools because it costs the government more money:

A) The price of the OS which is around $50-$200

B) Tax money not going to the schools but to the makers of the game

C) The price of more expensive hardware to run Windows or OS X

While it is true that most schools run Windows, many are looking into using Linux instead and many many foreign schools have already done so. If this game becomes so much into the curriculum it could waste even more tax dollars on more expensive hardware along with software licenses.

Re:Really.... (2, Insightful)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | more than 5 years ago | (#23484696)

Seriously. Think about it. It was a game meant to teach the youngins. I doubt much time, if any at all, was put into security considerations for the code. It may work great as a game, but be a horrible vector for anyone who wants to exploit a schools computer systems. And if distribution met its goal, practically every school would have this somewhere. This is one case where keeping the source closed makes sense. And you can't tell me "the issues would be fixed if it was just open source". It is taking too long as it is to get to the schools. Imagine someone finding a bug, and somehow through magic there is a whole trusted system of which this patch will get reviewed and distributed back to the schools, and have them actually update all copies. It just won't happen that way. Obscurity may be bad security, but it is better than potentially giving the assailant the club to beat you to death.

Re:Really.... (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#23486312)

I am not talking about if it secure or not, I am talking about how it is wrong to keep schools tied to Windows/Mac and not move to Linux for the purpose of this game.

Re:Really.... (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#23494106)

It may work great as a game, but be a horrible vector for anyone who wants to exploit a schools computer systems. And if distribution met its goal, practically every school would have this somewhere. This is one case where keeping the source closed makes sense.

Why, so that only nefarious individuals with a debugger and too much time on their hands will know where the code can be exploited?

There is no such thing as security through obscurity. Sorry.

The thing that really makes sense is just to do every damned thing on the web. Schools get cheap bandwidth so this doesn't hurt them any and it lets you stay updated.

Re:Really.... (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 5 years ago | (#23496764)

I doubt much time, if any at all, was put into security considerations for the code.
I doubt much should.

Honestly, what is the attack vector here? This isn't a web browser. It's not even a multiplayer game. I very much doubt it needs to talk to the network at all.

I can imagine that parts of it would be "insecure", but only in the sense that someone who already has access to the system could exploit the game to... get access to the system. Horrors!

Imagine someone finding a bug, and somehow through magic there is a whole trusted system of which this patch will get reviewed and distributed back to the schools, and have them actually update all copies.
I know! We'll call it a package manager! In fact, it could even manage more than one "package", and one package could depend on another... Man, this is going to revolutionize the world of 1995!

Seriously, open source it, we'll put it in Edibuntu [edubuntu.org] , problem solved.

Obscurity may be bad security
Wrong. Obscurity is not security, full stop.

People will find vulnerabilities, if they are exploitable at all -- especially if it's as widely distributed as you say. If it's in a position to be compromised for anything (see above), you'll need a patch distribution system, and you'll need people finding vulnerabilities.

Open sourcing it would be a much better use of taxpayer dollars than hiring a crack team to do all that, and port it to Linux for the schools that want it.

Re:Really.... (1)

CowboyNealOption (1262194) | more than 5 years ago | (#23482486)

It is made for schools, and over 95% of schools run windows.
...snip...
Now get off your linux soapbox and learn that the real world doesn't revolve around your chosen operating system.

Oh the irony of that statement.....

Re:Really.... (2, Funny)

0p7imu5_P2im3 (973979) | more than 5 years ago | (#23482560)

While I understand your sentiment, I respectfully disagree. I agree that over 95% of the US, and probably the world, use Windows directly. However, indirectly, everyone uses Unix or Linux.

Today the world revolves around the internet. Something like 65%-70% of internet servers run on Linux and 15%-20% run on some non-Linux version of Unix. (These numbers may have changed since I last checked.) In fact, the root of the internet, some 13 root name servers, all run on Unix/Linux.

Since the internet revolves around these Unix servers, and the world revolves around the internet...

The world does revolve around my chosen operating system! [Insert Maniacal Laughter here.][Overlay Thunder Claps within Maniacal Laughter.]

Re:Really.... (1)

mr_mischief (456295) | more than 5 years ago | (#23483492)

Actually, the Internet itself is more dependent on IOS and JunOS than Unix. The root DNS servers are an important service, but not everything on the net uses DNS (though nearly all initial connections to a site do). A far greater portion of packets go through a router or switch than go through a DNS server. DNS as we know it is not the first and may not be the last name resolution protocol, but the network isn't a network without networking equipment.

Unix is an important server platform, and it's starting to become an important routing and firewall platform. Yet it's still not doing the job by itself. Cisco and Juniper are a huge part of the game.

Re:Really.... (1)

kjkeefe (581605) | more than 5 years ago | (#23482744)

Actually, the whole thing is a big Flash application. It should be a piece of cake to build it for linux.

What the GP is trying to say (or should be) is that they should release the code because the FOSS community can rally around it and provide support and greater release options (linux, future versions of OSX and Windoze)...

Also, I'd like a citation saying that 95% of schools are running Windows. Personally, I think there is a 95% chance that that statement is false [yahoo.com] .

Re:Really.... (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 5 years ago | (#23496568)

Development was sponsored by public funds. We all paid for it.

Give me one good reason the source code shouldn't be released.

According to the site (1)

Evets (629327) | more than 5 years ago | (#23481630)

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

http://www.curriki.org/xwiki/bin/download/Coll_FJLennon/CoolCurriki/CoolCurriki.zip/CoolCurriki.html [curriki.org]

the software was developed by these folks:
http://www.fmcs.gov/ [fmcs.gov]

If I'm not mistaken, anything the government develops is public domain - but that's been obscured a lot by the government contracting outsiders to do things.

sorry - further... (1)

Evets (629327) | more than 5 years ago | (#23481672)

This work, authored by F.J. Lennon, was funded in whole or in part by the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service under U.S. Government contract
Nos. 2006-0039 and 2005-0090, and is, therefore, subject to the following license: The Government is granted for itself and others acting on its
behalf a paid-up nonexclusive, irrevocable, worldwide license in this work, to reproduce, prepare derivative works, distribute copies to the public, and perform publicly and display publicly, by or on behalf of the Government. All other rights are reserved by the copyright owner.


Interesting that the government has an irrevocable license, but seemingly the constituents that make up said government do not.

Re:Really.... (3, Funny)

courtarro (786894) | more than 5 years ago | (#23481708)

Now, in true /. style I didn't read TFA but I did read the summery and it doesn't say anything about Linux or source code.

Wow.

Also in true /. style, I didn't read your whole comment, but I saw something in there about "governed" and "WINE" and you made no mention of "legalized". Frankly I think the US Government has no right to prohibit alcohol sales.

Re:Really.... (3, Funny)

Znork (31774) | more than 5 years ago | (#23482066)

this could be a real problem for Linux adoption

Obviously, someone running Linux or other F/OSS OS doesn't need a game to understand the advantages of cooperation or peaceful conflict resolution. Kernel, license or editor conflicts almost never devolve into physical violence.

How fun would an appropriate game be?

"Mark doesn't agree with your indentation style. What do you do?"

a) Create my own fork
b) Develop software that will display the code in the viewers indent style
c) I demonstrate my indentation preference by indenting Marks face with my fist
d) I write my own new software with a new license allowing only derivative works with the same indentation style

Re:Really.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23482208)

Obviously, someone running Linux or other F/OSS OS doesn't need a game to understand the advantages of cooperation or peaceful conflict resolution.

Hans Reiser?

Re:Really.... (1)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 5 years ago | (#23482248)

Obviously, someone running Linux or other F/OSS OS doesn't need a game to understand the advantages of cooperation or peaceful conflict resolution.

Tell that to the vim and emacs fanbois...

Re:Really.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23493446)

you forgot
e) I say "screw it" and write a language from scratch with my indentation style as part of the grammar.

AKA the Python option :)

Re:Really.... (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 5 years ago | (#23484318)

Congress should not use funds to help support software that it not free/open source.

Congress funds whatever it believes constituents want or need. The primary value of educational software is in what it teaches. If closed source achieves that end, so be it. The world doesn't revolve around the geek.

Why fund such a (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23481392)

fundamentally unamerican game with taxpayer money

Good... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23481584)

This hardly falls under what I'd consider the governments constitutionally mandated functions. At a time in history where we are over committed to the tune of $500k/person we don't need to be spending MORE money on non-essential, non-core services. I can think of a whole laundry list of other spending that needs to be done away with, but at least this is a start.

Re:Good... (1)

CogDissident (951207) | more than 5 years ago | (#23481726)

See, you're ignoring the whole basis of how our debt system works. If we're "dilligent" and work on paying it off, we can do so in maybe 100 years if we spend our money responsibly.

So there are two things that economists say:
One: Debt is funny money, so long as we pay the principle, we can borrow all we want and not worry, because more investments now will bring bigger returns than the interest will cost us.
Two: OMFG! We're all going to 'splode when people come to collect the debt! (and thus, it doesn't actually matter, because if we take out more, they're not going to get any more blood from the stone of our collapsed economy).

And now back to your regularly scheduled AC trolling.

Re:Good... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23481930)

We? It's not your debt or mine, it's the governments. I think you're ignoring the whole basis of how our debt system works. All those trillions aren't owed by Americans, they're owed to Americans. Even the crazy Chinese with a big piece of that debt can only collect in dollars--dollars that are legal tender only in America or on currency markets. If the people "come to collect the debt" the dollars they collect will be worth pennies. It's a supply and demand thing. This is why nobody ever comes to collect, except for the interest.

Re:Good... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23481758)

This hardly falls under what I'd consider the governments constitutionally mandated functions.

Fundamentally, the game is trying to achieve the same thing that the police are trying to acheive - but maybe you don't think that the government should provide police?

Re:Good... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23487086)

> we don't need to be spending MORE money on non-essential, non-core services.

The US Army is a non-essential, non-core service. Iraq has nothing to do with you. Neither does Afghanistan. Oh yeah, the Taliban may be resurgent, but if you left they wouldn't bother you. Osama is long gone. Biggest best funded military in the world with massive spy agencies, and they can't get this guy. (Yes, they may read this post and log it, but pro-tip guys: Osama doesn't post to Slashdot).

I'm just waiting... (1)

Vrallis (33290) | more than 5 years ago | (#23481760)

I'm just waiting to see the body count that results from this.

Gangbanger: "Give me your money, holmes..."
Peacenik: "How much do you need? I'd be happy to help buy you a burger."
Gangbanger: *blows peacenik's brains out, takes his wallet*

Re:I'm just waiting... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23481854)

Bwhahaha... "holmes"

Re:I'm just waiting...Well, that depends if Cuz (1)

davidsyes (765062) | more than 5 years ago | (#23483238)

gets a cap bust in his/her ass:

http://www.myspace.com/justkiddingfilms [myspace.com]

But, teach the kids Tai Chi and conflict resolution might turn the US in Pussy Nbr 1. ThAT is some the US elite/investors/domestic and international owners won't want to be #1 in... They don't want to be "Uncle Same Gets Jacked"... it would be soo sad... so sad...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MJ0xmEPBCJE [youtube.com]

Counterexample (1)

xappax (876447) | more than 5 years ago | (#23495638)

Your made-up scenario is pretty hilarious, mostly because your 'slang' reveals an obvious cluenessness and insulation from the realities of street crime.

However, for the sake of argument, here's a scenario [boingboing.net] that actually happened which demonstrates the value of skillful non-violent conflict resolution.

I tried it out (4, Informative)

Evets (629327) | more than 5 years ago | (#23482224)

I actually have a child in the target group, so I downloaded the game to check it out.

Game-wise, it's nothing special. It's a flash based game with limited user interaction, less than exceptional graphical content, and it plays at 800x600 regardless of your resolution - no full screen capability. In their defense, most games targetting my kids show the same properties.

In the five minutes I played, I was able to click maybe 4 times, with the remainder of the time spent listening to the characters walk me through the game. The general idea they are trying to get across - building conflict resolution skills - is very apparent. I think my child will enjoy this game - although I think she won't choose it very often over other games that she has available such as Dora or Care Bears titles. Frankly, I think the commercial titles offer a much more clear educational experience, but that's not to say I don't like the game at all.

Personally - I think community developed games like those built with Scratch [mit.edu] have a much brighter future. Lord knows how many tax dollars were spent on this game, and if you had 5 involved parents working together for a month and a half, you could have something much better and more open to derivative updates.

Scratch is still flash, but at least you have the ability to update games developed with it - and tailor them to your specific needs/target audience.

Question (4, Insightful)

cptnapalm (120276) | more than 5 years ago | (#23482368)

So which of Congress's enumerated powers did this fall under?

Re:Question (2, Informative)

Uncle Focker (1277658) | more than 5 years ago | (#23482704)

Section 8: The Congress shall have power

To lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the ... general welfare of the United States; but all duties, imposts and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;
Done.

Re:Question (1)

cptnapalm (120276) | more than 5 years ago | (#23484982)

That is not a grant of power. The "common defense and general welfare of the United States" is a limit on the purposes to which Congress may use the money gotten by taxes, duties, imposts and excises.

The common defense and the general welfare are to accomplished using the powers expressly granted to the legislative branch of the Federal government.

Don't get me wrong, this is not how it actually works. The constitution never did recover from FDR.

Re:Question (1)

Veinor (871770) | more than 5 years ago | (#23485248)

That is not a grant of power. The "common defense and general welfare of the United States" is a limit on the purposes to which Congress may use the money gotten by taxes, duties, imposts and excises.
Okay, fine, I'll give you this. I'd then argue that they are spending the money gotten by taxes or whatever on this project, which is intended to provide for general welfare.

The common defense and the general welfare are to accomplished using the powers expressly granted to the legislative branch of the Federal government.
Huh? How are you getting that from

The Congress shall have power To lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States; but all duties, imposts and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States

Re:Question (1)

JesseMcDonald (536341) | more than 5 years ago | (#23486510)

Both you and the sibling poster are missing the point. This is a trivial issue of sentence decomposition:

The Congress shall have power To lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises,

This is what Congress is granted the power to do.

to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States;

This is why Congress is granted said power.

but all duties, imposts and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States

Finally, here is a limitation on the manner in which Congress may exercise this power.

Nowhere in this passage does it say that Congress can actually spend the money so collected on any particular program. It only authorizes the collection of revenues to support Congress's Constitutional functions enumerated elsewhere.

If you still feel I'm splitting hairs over the grammar, consider the ideals and personalities of the people that actually wrote this passage, along with the rest of the Constitution. Would they have intended for Congress to have what amounts to a blank check to direct funds toward any end? Remember, the vast majority of them believed in a limited form of government which didn't involve itself in the everyday affairs of its citizens. Ideals can change of time, sure, but the amendment process exists for a reason; you don't just read whatever meaning you want into the original text.

Re:Question (1)

Uncle Focker (1277658) | more than 5 years ago | (#23485342)

To provide for common defense and general welfare is part of a grant of power "To lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts...". This is taken straight out of the constitution where it is proceded by the phrase "The Congress shall have the power". If that's not a clear grant of power, I don't know what is. I think you're just playing a stupid game of semantics.

Re:Question (2, Insightful)

philipgar (595691) | more than 5 years ago | (#23486912)

you neglect to mention that fact that IMMEDIATELY following this statement the constitution lays out a list enumerating exactly what those powers are. If the line "common defense and general welfare" was taken to grant congress power over everything related to the above there would be no need to explicitly list what congress is allowed to do.

Additionally, if this line was to mean congress could do anything not explicitly forbidden by the first 9 amendments, there would be no need for the 10th amendment which states: "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." It is not arguing semantics to say that when the authors of the constitution wrote the line about "common defense and general welfare" they meant the powers that they were explicitly granting following that statement.

However, the real argument that has been used for years is at the end of enumerating congress' rights which states " To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof." This has fueled the famous "necessary and proper" debate that has raged between strict and loose constructionists for years. However, I don't think anyone of the founders would argue that this statement gives the federal government the power to do anything not denied them in the first 9 amendments (hence the 10th amendment).

Phil

Re:Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23492930)

Actually, there is a specific amendment that means basically "the fact that only some powers are listed doesn't mean that there can't be any others".

It's called the Republican Party.

Let's not pretend it's because of the warmongers (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23482428)

Lets face it, if it got slashed, it's not because of a bunch of warmongers in congress.

It's because it's arguably the most dull, uninteresting pointless idea for a game ever :p

GOOD. (1)

Sciros (986030) | more than 5 years ago | (#23482788)

Congress isn't using war/oil money to fund video games. And in any case it's taxpayer money. And if it was being spent on this game then it was being spent on rubbish, honestly.

Re:GOOD. (2, Informative)

mr_mischief (456295) | more than 5 years ago | (#23483770)

Taxpayer money? ITYM bondholder money. When you're spending trillions of dollars you don't have because you can't collect it in taxes the nonessential parts absolutely count as bondholder money.

Re:GOOD. (2, Interesting)

Tetsujin (103070) | more than 5 years ago | (#23483866)

Congress isn't using war/oil money to fund video games. And in any case it's taxpayer money.
It's all "taxpayer money". So what? That's what a tax is - they take your money. It's not yours anymore.

Video games are a medium, like anything else. The point of this project was to try to use that medium to teach - now, there may be numerous reasons this is not a great idea (the fact that kids play games because they're fun, for instance, combined with a game whose primary goal is not to entertain but to teach - the fact that technology changes so fast that the game may have a short practical lifespan, etc.) but if nothing else, something like this is probably worth research.

Too bad... (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 5 years ago | (#23486772)

To bad the article doesn't tell us anything useful about the funding. Was it a budget item? An earmark? Was it singled out for funding, or bundled in with a bunch of related stuff? How much was it funded for, and for how long? And does "slashed" mean eliminated, or merely reduced? Or simply not extended?

Substance, please.

Playing it now... (1)

SendBot (29932) | more than 5 years ago | (#23488068)

I downloaded it and I'm playing it now. I wouldn't fund this crap either!

And it's making me violent...

actually - it's not bad, but very patronizing. I'll give it a B+ and positive remarks on the report card.
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