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To cheat or not to cheat...

by Dear Jon
January 11, 2002

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Sort 109_Dear Jon-To cheat or not to cheat... ACTUAL LETTER TO DEAR JON:

Dear Jon,

I'm stuck in "Return to Castle Wolfenstein" and need your advice. I discovered the location of the secret sub. However, I cannot determine where the sub is destined nor can I find where to go from here. I have checked all the rooms that I can find and all the sub's defenders have been eliminated. I have 95% health,100% armor and ample supplies of bullets, rockets and gernades. I do not know what to do. Should I go online and use cheat codes? There is a cheat code that allows me to walk through walls and hopefully lead to escape from this maze. This is a dilemma: should I cheat or play by the rules?

Staff Sergeant Hoppity Hopper

Dear Cheater,

I am reminded of the movie "Das Boot," about a German U-Boat during World War II. Unlike "U-573" or whatever that movie was called that was released a couple years ago, "Das Boot" had a German submarine piloted by a German crew who spoke German and everything. This is due in part, I think, because it was Germans who made the movie. I only watched the version with German speech and English sub-titles.

That reminds me of the time I was in downtown Chicago and I went to the Museum of Science and Industry. They had an old German u-boat there, which we could tour. Everything in there was really cramped; it gave you a sense of just how tight the living was. Not even "Das Boot" could be that claustrophobic. You have to have shots that allow movie goers to see action.

It was not at all like "The Hunt for Red October," where the giant Soviet submarine had all kinds of room for gun fights and everything.

Another of the attractions at the Museum of Science and Industry is a wheel with flashing lights that illustrates the Doppler sound effect. And they have toy trains at Christmas. But I get bored their pretty fast. I don't mind the science so much; it is the "industry" that puts me to sleep. That is why I prefer the Planetorium.

But the Doppler sound effect sure is irritating. My wife and I lived with it every night because we had an apartment over the main city street that led directly to the emergency vehicles entrance of the hospital a half-mile away. You would hear the sirens of an ambulance getting louder, and Louder, and LOUDER, UNTIL THEY WERE SCREAMING TO MAKE THE WINDOWS RATTLE, AND Then it would peter out.

We need to design a technology where we only hear what we want to hear, and funnel out all the rest of the noise. My wife says I am already good at that and I don't need any technology, but I don't know what she means, unless she is referring to those times that she sneaks up on me during an important televised sports event and begins to tell me how she is resolving the issue that came up with her co-worker the week before, and wants my feedback, and expects me to have perfect peripheral vision to have seen her there so that if I notice her five minutes later and say, "Hello honey, how was your day?" she gets very upset, so then I explain to her the course of the game so far because I think she is upset for missing the action up to that point, and that only makes her madder. But that is not the Doppler effect. If she wants my attention, all she has to do is get it. Standing directly in front of the television is a good way to do that, even if it annoys me a little.

This is how noise filters can work. We wear them like hearing aids, which, laughably, my wife says I NEED. We press a button to activate the filter. This tunes the ear to whatever it is we are looking at. If the television, only the sound of the television will be heard; if someone who is talking, only their voice will be heard. Then, for things like driving, when people need to HEAR ambulances and radios and swearing pedestrians, they switch the filter off.

If they would display noise filters at the museum of science and industry, I would go back and check it out. I would try them at the Doppler Wheel to see if they work. Of course, things normally do not end up in a museum if they are still selling as consumer items, and we have not seen Personal Noise Filters on the market yet. They are probably the kind of stuff which, once invented, you will only be able to purchase through Home Shopping Network or the magazines on airplanes, if they still have those magazines on airplanes. I mean, someone might roll up a magazine and use it as a weapon, whacking flight attendants on the butt as they charge the cockpit. You can't be too careful these days.

To guarantee absolute safety, we need to empty our airplanes of everything. Passengers must board the plane naked, and lie face down on a bare floor with their hands over their heads. Then we will have beaten terrorism!

You know, however, that a product has not really appeared in the mainstream of the consumer economy until you see it out of the pages of confiscated Airplane Commerce magazines and on the shelves at Wal-Mart. We need noise filters on sale at Wal-Mart, and we need them NOW, or they may never be displayed at the Museum of Science and Industry, which is where they have a submarine, which is what you are asking about.

If you have to ask whether you should cheat or play by the rules, that is your clue to stop playing and do something else, ANYTHING else, like watch a foreign film.

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