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Rights, Justice, and Games
Nov 1, 2014

One picture that has been viral these days depicts a diver next to a giant shark. It reads "This is the most dangerous animal in the world. It is responsible for millions of deaths every year. By its side, a great white shark swims peacefully." The irony is not only funny to read but also hard to disagree. Especially today. According to World Health Organization, in the twentieth century only "an estimated 191 million people lost their lives directly or indirectly as a result of conflict, and well over half of them were civilians." When we woke up to the 9/11 tragedy at the turn of the century, we were reminded in a most hideous fashion that hopes for a global peace was not yet to come and the menace was imminent not only for distant lands and unknown people, but for all of us and at the doorstep of everyone. The difference perhaps is that violence is becoming more organized and conducted by masses rather than individuals. As mentioned in the lead article, "in the past, oppression and cruelty came from a few individuals; the masses are now the oppressors. Instead of the cruel individuals of the past, there are networks of cruelty all around."

How can we then speak of absolute justice when there are so many innocents oppressed, murdered, and their rights confiscated at the hands of tyrants? "Is God just" Dr. Horkuc asks in this issue when He creates people in their respective particular places and under particular conditions and expect the same scores from both? Horkuc writes in this issue that the cup analogy of Bediuzzaman offers a solution to this dilemma.

Occupied with extreme work load, a great majority of us in modern times are bent double and exhausted in most cases to the point of total collapse. Is it only the amount of unnecessary work load or that we do not know how to deal with the present conditions that underlies this exhaustion? Ihsan Kose argues for a "minimum work principle" in the universe. From gravity to routes ants pursue on their tracks, to electrical circuit boards, the path light moves and all phenomena in the universe apparently manifest themselves with one common thing: lowest energy consumption. The article is prescriptive in the sense that whatever we may be busy with, we can and we should find the most efficient formula for best outcome in return for minimum amount of energy, so that we can make best of our stamina reserves.

Computer games are approached with suspicion, yet the number of people engaging with games and the amount of hours and even days we spend for them are increasing. "Gamification," however, Ahmet Tugra argues, has become a trendy word. "It aims at transforming real life context in a manner that adopts game thinking in online platforms. From this perspective, it proposes to increase motivation, engagement, sense of enjoyment, and the positive attitudes of people towards work." Games enhance cognitive development in children, and a balanced adaptation of games into real life contexts may help us generate more convenient work and family environment for adults.