Daily Archives: 15 August 2008

Metropolitan Police release Total Perspective Vortex (beta)

The Metropolitan Police have launched a beta version of their new crime mapping website. It’s a simple enough Google Maps mash up but I found it highly addictive.

It could be improved – for one thing a break down of crimes by type would be useful. But it does take the figures down to sub-ward level, which is particularly handy.

Overall though, my main reaction to it is probably as it should be: so what? It turns out I live in an “average” area for crime and by “average” I mean there was one recorded crime in June and three in May. Some of the areas neighbouring this crime cesspit have even lower recorded incidents. Where I work, things are slightly worse – 7 incidents in June within my sub-ward. But even then it is surrounded by more average areas. The overall picture is far from a city under seige.

For H2G2, Douglas Adams invented the Total Perspective Vortex – an instrument torture designed to show you exactly how small and insignificant you really are. While I’m sure the Metropolitan Police’s new mashup isn’t powered by a piece of fairy cake, it does have a similar effect. I know the Daily Mail were demanding this sort of thing a few months ago, but I suspect they will end up loathing it as it will (literally) put them in their place.

Ban my games of DEATH!

The One Ring - as found in Lord of the Rings RiskAlix’s announcement that the boardgame War on Terror has been seized by police worried that people might use the “EVIL” balaclava included in it for nefarious acts has got me wondering: what other subversive components lurk within my boadgame sets? I would suggest the following; if the Metro Police would care to raid my house and confiscate them they are welcome to as long as they don’t mind me mocking them mercilessly:

  • Lord of the Rings Risk contains a replica of The One Ring. Invisibility would be very handy for committing criminal acts and anyone owning a copy of this game may inadvertantly be fooled into thinking that this bit of tin will enable them to hide in ladies’ dressing rooms for acts of voyeurism.
  • While Ideology (note to self: second edition is out – check to see if the playing pieces are better quality than the 1st ed) also allows players to play the role of such admirable belief systems as capitalism and imperialism, it also has a darker side. Communism, Fascism and Islamism are all included and by suggesting that these have certain “advantages” the innocent may be seduced into believing such ideals. Filth!
  • The playing pieces in Puerto Rico may officially be known as “colonists” but given their colour and the fact that you play plantation owners, it isn’t hard to work out what they really represent. A clear breach of the Race Relations Act. Similarly, the Robber in Settlers of Catan is unforgiveable (and let’s not get into all that “wood for sheep” business).
  • Ca$h’n’Gun$ – with real, live (foam) guns. Need I say more?

And that isn’t even mentioning the fact that Monopoly turns the most sane, reasonable of individuals into sociopathic bastards. Fundamentally, with all these games out there, it’s a wonder we have a society left!