Conference Coincidence

I might have finally found a way to get the best out of conferences, so let’s talk about that.


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Casualcore: Cards, Computers, and Competition

Since I quit World of Warcraft years ago, I’ve often lacked a consistent source of things to say for this blog. Sometimes I have ideas, but more often than not I can’t feel strongly enough about it import to commit the N hours to writing out something coherent on the subject. I suppose I’ve lacked a hobby of the same depth, complexity, and community.

But since February I’ve got into Magic: The Gathering, a trading card game with a very large and active fanbase. I’ve built decks, played in tournaments, met great new people, and spent an embarrassing amount of money on pretty cardboard. It’s become an important part of my mental world – there’s so much to think about! And through it all there’s been this niggle. This small itch in the back of my mind which I couldn’t quite find until one day I was remembering my times raiding in World of Warcraft. There’s a similarity here, something I’ve long struggled with but only recently found the words to explain – I call it the casualcore problem.

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Let’s Take Back Democracy

As the costs of Brexit become increasingly clear to anyone paying attention, it appears obvious that when we leave we are going to pay a big economic price. But isn’t the democratic mandate of the Brexit referendum the most important thing about it? Don’t we owe it to ourselves, in order to respect democracy, to carry on with the endeavour regardless of its cost?

These were the questions a friend of mine was confronted by while his coworkers were discussing Brexit at work, and he asked the question;

I don’t really know how to respond, other than declare that I personally am not willing to stand by & let my families lives get wrecked irrespective of the outcome of a vote. If that’s undemocratic then so be it…

So, does that thinking hold water? We should really apply some critical thinking to this problem and see whether there are any effective counter argument.

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Word Explainer

One of the hardest things to master as a writer is the appropriate use of vocabulary to get ones point across effectively and engagingly to the target audience. So, as an author, what happens when your word processor pops up and says that your words are too complicated?

Well, what does a mere computation device know about words?

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Historical Entanglement

Scientists don’t pay enough attention to history, and we need to fix that.

Don’t get me wrong – scientists pay a lot of attention to historical scientists. Our collective worship of Einstein, Darwin, Curie, Hodgkin, & al is plays to the point of obsession. We care also about the history of science; how the specific details of how our disciplines were forged. These compelling stories all offer familiar anchoring points for what essentially amounts to our shared legend of creation. But that’s not enough.

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From the jaws of victory.

I am a failure.

Well, I could just leave it there I suppose. Still, I imagine you were expecting a little elaboration.

I’m a qualified failure.

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Unsafe Spaces

There’s a particular trope among certain parts of Twitter discourse which involve the supposed sensitivity of my generation of University students. We’ve all heard the “snowflake” trope, we’ve all heard how millennials are awful. I find this trend stupid, but mostly harmless. Let old people be angry at the young – they have few better things to worry about, it seems.

But of the “I’m so comfortably middle class I’m worrying about the attitudes of students whom I don’t even know” starter pack, there’s one element which really grinds my gears. It really gets my goat. You could say that it “triggers” me[1]. It is the concept that Universities shouldn’t implement adequate social policies because they have a “responsibility to challenge students”.

Snowflake Morphology2

[1] – …and you’d be an arsehole.

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