Friday Four

Friday, April 11, 2014

1. A BBC piece on the "Great 1980s Dungeons and Dragons Panic" brought back pleasant memories of playing the game with friends during high school and college. It also reminded me of how divorced from reality so many detractors of the game were:

"Since fantasy typically features activities like magic and witchcraft, D&D was perceived to be in direct opposition to biblical precepts and established thinking about witchcraft and magic," says Dr David Waldron, lecturer in history and anthropology at Federation University Australia and author of Roleplaying Games and the Christian Right: Community Formation in Response to a Moral Panic. "There was also a view that youth had an inability to distinguish between fantasy and reality." [italics added, other minor format edits]
That's right: Kids like me who saw "the occult" for the fantasy that it is were to be protected from the baleful influences of a game -- by people who really believed in ghosts, demons, and such. I recall the perfect response to this coming from someone participating in my gaming group when the movie Mazes and Monsters came out: He named his character "Pardieu".

2. Are you moving? Do you have junk to get rid of? Have you a truck and the desire to make some extra money? The truckplease web site wants to help.

3. A five-year-old boy recently exposed a security vulnerability in Microsoft's Xbox.
Kristoffer [Von Hassel] will receive four games, $50 and a year-long subscription to Xbox Live from Microsoft. He also knows what he now wants to be when he grows up: a gamer. His dad is leaning toward something in computer security.
By the way, this isn't the first time the lad has found such a problem.

4. Whenever I hear about a final exam like this, I wonder whether the author is either offering his most clever students a quick A or is merely lazy.
Write a suitable final exam for this course and supply a key.
The answer is here.

-- CAV


Vigilis said...

Gus, the "Final Exam" entry, in my own opinion, is appropriate only for courses in logic or grifting, but who legitimately teaches the latter? The answer also reminded of humor once found in "Reader's Digest".

Was very happy to learn that Michael Stueben not only taught h.s. mathematics, but has contributed to "Reader's Digest" (still found in a few waiting rooms).

His co-author, Diane Sandford, worked for a large D.C. law firm. In short, no grifting, social studies, or history --- only logic!

Gus Van Horn said...

Your quip about "courses in grifting" reminds me of various courses I have encountered over the years that purport to help people become filthy rich. I always wonder why the instructors for such courses are burning their weekends and evenings teaching, as opposed to enjoying the oodles of leisure time promised as a selling point of their courses.