Jostein Gaarder


Like many people, I was first introduced to author Jostein Gaarder through his most famous book Sophie’s World. I’ve since read a few of his books, most recently Maya and The Castle In The Pyrenees. Reading these two stories so close together made the similarities and shared foundations across his books incredibly visible, and gave me a new perspective of what an author might intend from their stories.

First, an introduction. Jostein Gaarder is a Norwegian author of novels which focus on philosophical exploration and dialogue. Most novels centre on a singular character (or a reconnecting pair) forced to reconcile their past and present, and to question their past decisions.

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Academic Update- July (and Graduation)


As of yesterday, I have graduated from my MSc. So now I’m a … post-graduate? double-graduate? (Someone with more degrees than sense- probably!)

I found the day a little odd, thanks to being in the mildly-uncommon situation of graduating from the same university twice. I experienced a few déjà vu moments as a result. Yet some parts of the day were different. The biggest difference was size: in 2014 I graduated in a class of 200, in a ceremony dedicated to psychology qualifications. Yesterday I was one of a class of 9 (7 of us were at the ceremony). We shared a ceremony with one standard-sized group – biological sciences – and other tiny, specialist, and/or interdisciplinary subjects.

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Yu-Gi-Oh! | Deckbuilding + Selling


When it comes to selling Yu-Gi-Oh! online, selling decks is more complicated than selling singles and playsets. This is because an eBay listing for a deck can mean at least three different things:

1) A high-end competitive deck for tournament play.  These decks will have every card needed for advanced combos and strategies used in the archetype and may include “tournament-staple” expensive cards such as Pot of Desires (currently $60 for one). Many are advertised as OTK- (one-turn-kill) decks.

2) A low-end beginner deck for those just starting the game. These range in quality and utility- some may be made solely from cards in the archetype, regardless of how useful those cards are or what other cards could improve it. Some may contain only the archetype’s most common monsters, alongside other generic monsters and spells/traps. As a result, a poor beginner’s deck can lack playability because it may not have the cards necessary to understand the archetype’s key mechanic or it may have only parts of important combos.

3) An awkward middle ground which may sometimes be called “budget competitive”. Decks here can occupy any potential point between 1 and 2. Lower-end ones will be playable, just nowhere near competitive standard. Higher-end ones may have all the commonly-used monsters of an archetype, and one or two copies of higher-priced monsters, without having the Pot of Desires-style overkill cards. They should contain the key mechanic and combo of the deck, but they will probably lack advanced-level setups.

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Yu-Gi-Oh! | Maximum Crisis release


The newest YGO set, Maximum Crisis (MACR), came out recently and, as expected, it’s got more powerful monsters than previous sets. After seeing just how game-breaking this set’s boss monster is,  I feel like “Maximum Crisis” also describes Konami’s strategy right now.

MACR seems like the pinnacle of current-format YGO- “peak Yu-Gi-Oh”, if you will. But there’s still two more sets to go before the first Link-format booster box and I have no idea how anything could possibly compete with, let alone defeat, the MACR boss monster.

I obtained one copy of the boss- Supreme King Z-Arc – from a MACR box, so let’s have a look at him.
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This week I went to my first academic conference, OER17, to present my MSc research.

Having never been before, I wasn’t sure what to expect- I’d only been told “this is a bunch of people who want to change the world”. That didn’t help me prepare, but it did sound interesting.

After attending, I can fairly confidently say that expression was not hyperbole- everyone was incredibly motivated about their projects, and equally supportive of each others’ projects. While presentations aren’t a comfortable experience for me,  the experience was valuable: I’m glad I was encouraged to apply in the first place, and that I listened.

Now, to process the ideas I learned about over the last two days.

P.S. If anyone is curious about what I did, my presentation slides are up on Google Drive, as well as two versions of the questionnaire I developed for my research. The Word doc is an exact copy of the version my participants took through Qualtrics, and the PDF version solely contains the questions.

Academic Update- February 2017


November’s deadlines were supposed to mark the unofficial end of my MSc. However, I’m going to be in academic-land for a little longer now, as I’ve been offered two really cool opportunities involving my MSc work. (So these should really just be called academic updates now…).

The first opportunity I’ve been given is presenting my findings at a conference on Open Educational Resources in April. That’s somewhere between awesome and terrifying right now, especially as I’m really not a fan of presentations, and that I wasn’t  expecting to be accepted when I applied!

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Anti-Deskbot Deck Construction #2


Following on from the first post, here’s my attempt to build a deck that can hold its own against Deskbots.


Given the high ATK values of Deskbots, attacking them head-on is almost guaranteed to go badly. Therefore the best approach seems to be a mixture of;

  • cards which can attack directly to avoid confronting Deskbot 003.
  • cards which can do damage outside of the battle phase to avoid Deskbot 009’s effect-negation.
  • cards which can prevent other cards from being destroyed by battle.

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