eResearchAU, Academia, Gaming Updates

I've spent the entire week at eResearchAustralasia at the Pullman Hotel, and after five days of lectures and workshops my brain is a combination of full, fried, and tired. Actually, this year's conference was pretty good, with a good balance between technology and collaboration. Attended the pre-conference workshops; one the first day there was collaboration between AU and the EU, which made me realise that the people of the continent are preparing for a hard Brexit and want us onside, which suits me fine. The second day was more of a sysadmins and HPC day which was almost like an AA-meeting of how we all have the same stories of dealing with users, data etc. From the main conference program balanced my attendance between technical tools, eresearch engagement in training. My own presentation, on the use of GPUs for marine population samples went well. Was a little surprised and disappointed at the end of the day by one eResearch provider's CEO claiming that they had to keep their training material private for their business model. They apparently haven't thought hard enough about this.

Whilst on the topic of thinking hard about a subject I have been accepted into the London School of Economics for a Graduate Diploma of Economics, because clearly having four degrees is not enough. I'll be doing this concurrently with a Masters of Higher Education at the University of Otago (I enrolled in the wrong course three years ago and it's taken me that long to get things together to give it another shot). On top of that, I'll consider an offer from another British University of a Masters in Science, specifically on Information System which sadly will require two weeks on-campus in Switzerland (or Manchester). Obviously, it is not too crazy to do three postgraduate degrees simultaneously, especially when I have this overriding meta-narrative consideration of the relationship between higher education, information technology, and political economy. I think in the long run I will be satisfied with ten degrees, although I know that sometime within the next five years or so I'll be due for a change in intellectual orientation towards more aesthetic issues that combines my pre-existing studies in legal and moral regulations, followed by organisational and factual inquiry. Maybe when I'm in my seventies I'll do a Divinity and History double-major and upload my brain just in case I've forgotten to write anything down.

In the vast quantities of spare time I've had this week I've worked primarily on RuneQuest Glorantha DownUnder and the RuneQuest system review article for RPG Review, which now has hit a remarkable nine-thousand words. At this rate I could do an honours thesis on RuneQuest! Further I've translated the Le Monde article on Greg Stafford for RPG Review and was pleasantly surprised to be told that my translation was "perfect". Perhaps my French, at least in written mode, isn't as bad as I think it is? I have been heavily helped in this forthcoming issue on a massive article from Zoe Brain on the Mucky Ducks (yeah, RuneQuest is "that duck game") along with an equally-sized piece from William Noble on Australian prehistorical animals for RuneQuest. In actual play this week our regular Megatraveller game was cancelled so, for the first time is twenty-five or so years, we cracked open the old MARS Illumanti set and cranked up this delightful game of conspiracy. It was a close affair with all players being one turn away from their victory conditions, but with my Discordians making it to the cut first by managing to control a sufficient number of groups, although it was a close call when the Servants of Cthulhu running the UFOs failed to destroy the convenience stores via the Semiconscious Liberation Army. Crazy situations, well-balanced, easy-to-play. No wonder we used to love it so much.

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