Tuesday, 29 November 2011

The National Post's War on Science: Boogeymen!

The National Post's War on Science:

Boogeymen!


Note: I had intended this post to be completed around Hallowe'en; however other considerations (particularly my new baby) made this unfeasible. I will keep the general theme despite the much later scheduling.

December 1 Update: This post garnered Idiomatic Composition its first spam comment. I'd like to think that the blog is going somewhere if it's starting to attract spam.

ScienceBlogs' writer Tim Lambert generally blogs on the topic of climate science. One of his long-running categories of posts deals with an Australian newspaper called (wait for it...) The Australian. Per Mr Lambert, The Australian has undertaken a campaign of misinformation, misrepresentation, character attack, and FUD-spreading pertaining to climate science (and climate scientists) so egregious that he characterizes it as a war on science.

Shortly before Hallowe'en, I came across a copy of Canadian newspaper The National Post in which I found an opinion piece consisting of an excerpt from a book written by one Donna Laframboise. The book itself is The Delinquent Teenager Who Was Mistaken For The World's Top Climate Scientist; the opinion piece which I found was the second of two excerpts printed by the NP in its Financial Post sister publication (see online here).

As I hope to demonstrate, Laframboise's work as put on display by the Financial Post is of a piece with the sort of material printed by The Australian as criticized by Lambert and is a worthy candidate for inclusion in the annals of the 'War on Science'. I contend that there are three strains of criticism that can be levelled at the excerpt: it engages in guilt-by-association smears (which I perceive to be the core of the excerpt), it engages in conspiracy theory, and it engages in misrepresentation.

Friday, 11 November 2011

Remote Victory: Introduction

Remote Victory

Introduction


In 1756, the monarchy of Prussia, ruled at the time by Frederick II (later called 'the Great'), faced a perilous situation. An alliance with Great Britain had resulted in Prussia's strategic encirclement and a war with Austria, Russia, and France (and some of their lesser allies) simultaneously.

Despite the odds, and numerous setbacks throughout the war, Frederick and his forces were able to leverage inherent advantages (interior lines of communication, Frederick's leadership, and the excellent Prussian army) and good fortune (namely, the death of Tsarina Elizabeth and the withdrawal of Russia, temporarily, from the war) allowed Prussia to defeat or make peace with all of its (1) enemies and end the war in an improved political and strategic position in Europe.

Frederick II of Prussia, aka 'The Great'

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Flying on the Wings of Liberty

Flying on the Wings of Liberty



A Note on Image Credits: All images and videos are, to my knowledge, created by and property of Blizzard Entertainment, save for one image which is property of Paramount Studios.

Starcraft 2: Wings of Liberty is a real-time strategy video game produced by Blizzard Entertainment. It is the first of a trilogy of games to comprise the Starcraft 2 franchise to be released by Blizzard (the second, Heart of the Swarm is in development and is expected to be released in the not-too-distant future).

I should like to provide in this post my review of Wings of Liberty. It having been over a year since the game was released, I assume anyone who really wanted to has played it through, and feel no compuction about providing plot spoilers (if you haven't played the game, want to, and care about being spoiled, then read no further).

Overview

Starcraft 2 follows the continuing struggles of three species: Terrans, human beings descended from colonists sent from Earth to a distant sector of the Galaxy; Protoss, a mysterious species of physically-strong, psychically-gifted and technologically-advanced beings, and Zerg, an aggregate of genetically-modified creatures collected in a hive mind called the Swarm which indulge in consuming, absorbing, or destroying other beings.

Terrans

Protoss

You get three guesses which species (okay, aggregate of species)
this is, and the first two don't count.

Players control one or more of these species in single- or multi-player games, trying to accomplish varying objecties or simply defeat the forces of other players.

To play, players manipulate combat units which they produce at bases which they must build up and manage. Players collect and spend resources to build units and structures. These combat units are moved around a map in which players operate in a fog of war and in real time, without the benefit of taking turns or otherwise getting extra time (e.g. by pausing play) to make decisions. Players win when the units they manipulate achieve victory conditions or defeat opponents. I shall have more to say on these mechanics below.