Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Battlestar Galactica Homeworld Mod

This is a nice looking Battlestar Galactica mod for Homeworld 2. I'm going to download and try it, but from the trailer and screenshots, it looks good.

Monday, October 29, 2007


This is an interesting article on why a man started smoking. Choice quotes:

"China has become so polluted, he told me, that it's better to breathe through a cigarette filter than just take in the air on its own. And if your lungs are going to get shot to hell anyway, you might as well enjoy it."

Friday, October 19, 2007

Past and Future

"There is not really any courage at all in attacking hoary or antiquated things, any more than in offering to fight one's grandmother. The really courageous man is he who defies tyrannies young as the morning and superstitions fresh as the first flowers. The only true free-thinker is he whose intellect is as much free from the future as from the past."

- G. K. Chesterton

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Freeman Dyson

This is an interesting interview with Freeman Dyson. I think we should know who he is. :)


"I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked,"
- Allen Ginsberg

"I have seen some of the most mediocre minds of my generation destroyed by too great an interest in the Beats."
- Theodore Dalrymple

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Pirates and Harry Potter?

This is a good song that mixes Talk Like A Pirate day and Hermione. :) I didn't know that day is her birthday.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Warhammer 40k Tournament

Well, I finally got some time to write about the tournament I played at on Sept. 1. It was quite a lot of fun, with 40 40k players using the Hall of Heroes rules. Hopefully this'll be the first of many tournaments held in Edmonton. (the Games Workshop guys hoped that this would put Edmonton on the map for GW events - if you look on the Canadian website right now it's all about cities like Toronto, Vancouver, and Calgary)

At the tournament, each player had four games, and depending on the score either rose or dropped between the higher and lower tables. I played my Godzilla army, as I mentioned in my earlier post, and not surprisingly it did pretty well - a lot of the time Warhammer 40k is all about the army selection. Despite some bad moves and bad luck, I still won three crushing victories (the second best kind) in the first three games and rose to fight on the second highest table. I was hoping the two highest players (one of them actually played an army very similar to mine) would play each other to a draw, and I would get a good victory out of the last game to win. That was not to be :( I made some bad decisions early in the game (I was a little too aggressive and made a bad gamble), and later bad dice rolling sealed my fate. I actually had a crushing defeat and probably did poorly in the final results. (they still don't have the information posted online yet, and I haven't had a chance to go to West Ed where they have it in the store)

The whole experience was a lot of fun though, and I'd definitely do it again. :)

I brought my camera to the tournament to get pictures of all the cool miniatures I could find, but the camera ran out of batteries half-way through (should've checked...) and I didn't take as many as I would have wanted... I uploaded the full-sized pictures to my Facebook account.

The first army I played against - Eldar (space elves) with grav tanks and the Avatar, which is a giant moving statue of the Eldar war god. The scenario we played was "Head Hunting," which involved killing the enemies' HQ in addition to defeating the enemy army. Of course, my HQ was the Hive Tyrant, a giant monstrous creature. His HQ was the Avatar, another monstrous creature. I managed to kill his Avatar early on in the game, and gained a lot of victory points. But I think in general his list just wasn't as strong as mine, no matter how he could have played it. My genestealers ate up his troops, even his dedicated close-combat troops, and the monstrous creatures shot up his tanks. The end was a crushing victory for me.

The second army I played against were the Daemonhunters, a branch of the Inquisition in Warhammer 40k. This included an Inquisitor and his retinue, plus numerous Grey Knights, space marines specialized in hunting down daemons, and assassins. These are very good, but very expensive (game points-wise) soldiers. In general, the Daemonhunters are not considered a very competitive army. Still, the guy I played against really knew what he was doing. In the first turn he used one of the assassins to kill one of my heavily protected gunfexes. In another attack he killed my flying Hive Tyrant with his Grey Knight grand master. But despite all that, his army was just too few in number, and I eventually gunned down most of his Grey Knights. It was another crushing victory for me.

The third army I played against was an Imperial Guard army. The Imperial Guard are regular human soldiers in Warhammer 40k, as opposed to the space marines, who are genetically-engineered super soldiers. The Imperial Guard are weak individually, especially in close combat, but have a lot of fire power as a whole, with tanks and artillery. My opponent parked his army on his side of the table and basically waited for me to come to him. In a normal scenario this would've been disaster for me, to march into his fire like that, but this particular game was Dawn Raid, where the first three turns were at night. This meant special rules in play that made it harder to target. His troops had search lights, which made it possible to kill some of my genestealers, but it wasn't enough to make a difference. I managed to charge home against him and the genestealers (remember that they rip up space marines in Space Hulk :) ) killed most of his infantry. He had a tank, a mobile artillery piece, and some combat walkers, but those were all shot up by the monstrous creatures. The end was another crushing victory for me. At the beginning of this game I no longer had any power left for my camera, and so I didn't have any pictures.

The last game I had was against Necrons. Basically think undead robots. :) This was a tough but slow army that had a lot of firepower. The table itself had very little terrain, and the game had the Escalation rule, which meant that all my monstrous creatures had to come in later as reinforcements. This caused me to do a risky gamble at the beginning - I charged my genestealers as quickly as possible toward the only units my opponent had on board, some basic Necron warriors who were quite vulnerable to genestealers, and hoped enough of them would survive to tear through his army. This ultimately failed and I only killed some of his troops. His heavies (he had to follow the same escalation rule too) came in and they were terrifying. His main heavy "vehicle" was the Monolith, a floating pyramid that dished out a lot of firepower. This and his remaining warriors killed all of my genestealers, so my monstrous creatures ended up facing them alone. I didn't have the firepower to kill enough of their models to do anything for the rest of the game, and bad dice rolls during shooting didn't help either. This ended with a crushing victory for my opponent.

During the intermissions between the games, I also browsed through all the other armies people had. Many of them were quite nice looking. Too bad I had such a poor camera and couldn't do them justice, and I ran out of batteries to boot. Oh well, the rest of the pictures I took, as I said before, are here.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

40k Tournament

Recently I've been busy priming and painting a bunch of models for a Warhammer 40k tournament in September. I'm assembling a Tyranid "Godzilla" army, an army made of mostly large monstrous creatures. The models are assembled, including magnetic arm sockets on all of the monstrous creatures, but most are not primed or painted yet. I'll have to hurry then...

The main hive tyrant with two tyrant guards. I bought the tyrant already painted, and the scheme is what I'm using for all the other monstrous creatures, but the tyrant has been modified to use magnets.

The carnifex I bought with the above hive tyrant. I modified it to have both big guns as a gunfex.
A new hive tyrant I built with wings and two twin-linked devourers. (really nasty weapons) I still have to prime and paint him.
Two identically equipped carnifexes (carnifices?) with two pairs of twin-linked devourers. Notice the green stuff I used to secure the magnets. These will be covered by the spray primer and paint.
My close combat carnifex, Gene Simmons.
Most of the big guys together. I'll have to post more photos once I paint more of them.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Personhood and the Twilight Zone

This is an interesting discussion about the philosophy of personhood from a (classic) Twilight Zone episode, with comments skirting into Battlestar Galactica. :)

Thursday, July 05, 2007


This is the final performance of Farfour, the Palestinian Mickey Mouse rip-off.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Save the Earth

You can't save the Earth unless you're willing to make other people sacrifice.

- Dogbert

Sunday, June 10, 2007

New Freeware X-COM

There's a very nice looking fan-made X-Com clone with modern 3-D graphics, and it's getting close to done. The game is called UFO: Alien Invasion and already has most of the playable parts available. The UI is very different now and may take some getting used to, but all the original features, from base-building and research to turn-based combat, are there. Download it and give it a try!

Monday, May 21, 2007

Space Combat Physics

Here are a couple of good clips demonstrating the physics of starship combat:

The laws of motion

Explosive decompression

It's actually surprising how many scenes from sci-fi shows have decent physics. I'm not surprised that Babylon 5 seems to make up quite a few of them though. :)

Thursday, May 03, 2007

John Maynard Keynes on Bertrand Russell

Bertie in particular sustained simultaneously a pair of opinions ludicrously incompatible. He held that in fact human affairs were carried on after a most irrational fashion, but that the remedy was quite simple and easy, since all we had to do was to carry them on rationally.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Maritime Combat

Here is the website of a group that does recreation of "historical maritime combat," i.e. hand to hand combat in the time of the pirates! Everything seems quite well researched, and it seems to be another direction in the now burgeoning WMA movement.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Thursday, April 19, 2007


Having sex with your neighbor's goat is a lot like violating a copyright. It's totally victimless, right?

- Scott Adams

(oh, Scott Adams...)

Friday, April 13, 2007

Ben Franklin On Meat Eating

Our People set about catching Cod, & haul’d up a great many. Hitherto I had stuck to my Resolution of not eating animal Food; and on this Occasion, I consider’d … the taking every Fish as a kind of unprovok’d Murder, since none of them had or ever could do us any Injury that might justify the Slaughter. All this seem’d very reasonable. But I had formerly been a great Lover of Fish, & when this came hot out of the Frying Pan, it smeled admirably well. I balanc’d some time between Principle & Inclination: till I recollected, that when the Fish were opened, I saw smaller Fish taken out of their Stomachs: Then thought I, if you eat one another, I don’t see why we mayn’t eat you. So I din’d upon Cod very heartily and continu’d to eat with other People, returning only now & then occasionally to a vegetable Diet. So convenient a thing it is to be a reasonable Creature, since it enables one to find or make a Reason for everything one has a mind to do.

Both this and the previous quote were from this New Yorker article. Interesting stuff.

Scottish Selkirk Grace

Some hae meat and canna eat,
And some wad eat that want it;
But we hae meat and we can eat,
And sae the Lord be thankit.

I think this will be my motto for meat eating from now on. :)

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Ancient and Modern

"The Confucian says: ' The superior man must be ancient in mode of speech and in dress before he can be magnanimous.' We answer him: The so-called ancient speech and dress were all modern once. When the ancients first used that speech and wore that dress they would not be superior men (according to the Confucians' criteria)."

- Mozi, "Against Confucianism"

Blogger Layout

I finally started using the Layout features of Blogger. So now I have labels for posts and real recent comments, which should make navigation much easier. Now to figure out how you can get more than 5 recent comments...

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Reclaiming the Blade

On a related note, there's going to be a documentary film out called "Reclaiming the Blade." It looks at the ongoing reconstruction efforts in Medieval and Renaissance martial arts, and how that's affected movie choreography, etc. It's actually going to be narrated by John Rhys-Davies, :) and will feature people from WETA Workshop. (the people behind the effects in "the Lord of the Rings") It looks like it'll actually be good, especially with advisors like John Clements and Dr. Syndey Anglo.

Mythbusters Ninja

It looks like Mythbusters is going to have an episode on Ninjas. I'm quite impressed though that they did their homework in finding the right people.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Modern Art

Yet another swipe at modern art, this time from the always readable "Spengler" at Asia Times.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

No more Mr. Noodles

I just found out that Momofuku Ando, the inventor of instant noodles, recently died. Well, I guess we should peel off the lid, pour boiling water, and observe three minutes of silence.