Language and Duolingo

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I went to a secondary school which at the time emphasised language teaching. Students were encouraged to take two different language GCSEs – one in Year 10, and one in Year 11. My class had Italian, then French.

Even though I had completed 4 years of French by the end of secondary school, I never clicked with the language. As I learn most readily through reading and writing, I found the gaps between spoken and written French confusing. So while the written side of GCSE French came easily to me, trying to speak in French was frustrating.

Italian was far more enjoyable –  the logical connections between how words are pronounced and spelt made the language easier for me to understand. I enjoyed the language so much that I’ve repeatedly considered revisiting it.

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Revisiting Faith

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A long time ago on a website far, far away (sorry Blogger.com!), I used to write about faith. I haven’t done that for a while- things got complicated, I left my church, and after that, bringing the subject up felt disingenuous. Explaining my perspective felt difficult; just saying either “Christian” or “non-Christian” wasn’t true, while saying “ex-Christian” implied a grudge or enmity which didn’t exist. I’ve since deleted the entirety of that blog from the internet, which may have been a bit hasty in retrospect. But I recently read part of a book which made me think about the subject again.

When I was a psychology student and in my “learn everything about Christianity” phase, I found a book called “The Integration of Psychology and Theology”. Then I forgot to ever read it. By the time I eventually started reading the book, it logically shouldn’t have meant anything to me. But I found a lot of value in how the book was written and how it approached both topics.

Integration…  does exactly what you would expect; it talks about why people perceive conflicts between psychology and theology, and whether these conflicts can be overcome. It was written by the Rosemead School of Psychology, an APA-accredited University which aims “to train clinical psychologists from a Christian perspective”. The book lays out four potential ways in which someone can view psychology and theology:

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Jostein Gaarder

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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)

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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

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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

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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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#OER17

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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.