My avatar across the web: a photo of my feet in grey-white socks and brown sandals.

Ben Babcock

4 Articles in June 2013

  1. Protest by reading seems about my speed

    It’s been a good week. On Friday night I went to the school’s Year 11 prom. I wore a suit and trainers, with a new bow tie and even some bracers. And somehow I ended up winning Best Dancer (no one could step to that).

    Meanwhile, on the Web this week, here’s what I found interesting:

    • I fondly remember watching Captain Planet as a kid. Looking back, it might seem cheesy (indeed, it probably seemed cheesy to me even then). But both the story and its pro-environmental message spoke to me. So I’m very excited and intrigued to learn that Sony has decided a Captain Planet move is in order. While we’re on the subject, does ayone else remember that one time Captain Planet turned people into trees?
    • Speaking of science and the environment, Bill Nye is one of my heroes. He’s one of the reasons I like to wear bow ties. Bill Nye the Science Guy was another favourite as a child. The New York Times has an excellent spotlight on him. Go read it!
    • Someone has put together an explanation of the various archetypes met during the Hero’s Journey (à la Campbell) using puppets
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  2. Things I wish I had done or seen

    I tweet a lot, and that includes links to interesting things I see on the Web. Twitter is an interesting medium with a lot of advantages—but one of those isn’t really permanence. It’s not easy to go back and look at one’s previous tweets, or to collect and categorize one’s tweets.

    Since I’d like to blog more, I thought I’d try sharing here some of those things (and other things) I’ve encountered over the week.

    • You can use math to become better at Monopoly. Well, you can use math to help you out with any game of chance, but Walter Hickey does an excellent job actually analyzing, step-by-step, the different probabilities involved. You don’t have to be well-versed in math to get something from the presentation, though familiarity with probability will definitely help.
    • I’m stoked that the Large Hadron Collider has detected what is most likely a Higgs boson. It would have been exciting to have to tweak the standard model even more, but now we have some interesting evidence in its favour (especially because it wasn’t quite the mass of Higgs we were looking for). That being said, discovering what you are looking for, instead of something entirely
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  3. Hugo-nominated short stories, 2013 edition

    For the past few years I have paid for the privilege of voting in the Hugo Awards. This comes with access to a voter’s packet of digital copies of most of the nominated texts, from novels to short stories and even some of the related works. It’s much less expensive than it would be to buy all the books individually, not to mention hunt down the publications in which the various shorter works were published (though, as digital publishing makes it easier to publish short works standalone online, this is less of an issue).

    I had already read two of the nominees for Best Novel: Redshirts and Throne of the Crescent Moon, both of which I enjoyed but neither of which I feel are quite “Hugo material”. I recently finished 2312, which I didn’t enjoy as much but, paradoxically, feel probably should get the award! I shall continue to work through the novels, but here on my blog I’ll write some posts about the other categories.

    Normally each category has five nominated works. This year, only three short stories swung enough of votes to meet the threshold for nomination. All three are strong contenders, and all three…

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  4. Books and tea make for a good week

    I sat in the backyard this morning, and much of this afternoon, and read. The weather was very nice last weekend, and it was nice again on Friday and today as well. Spring has finally crept up on us, and summer is around the corner. I’ve enjoyed a week off of school, taken the time to rest and recharge and read.

    It feels so weird that as I sat in the garden, basking in the calm Sunday morning, protesters continued to occupy streets in Turkey. What began as a simple, peaceful demonstration in opposition to government plans for developing a park (into a mall) has erupted into a full-scale riot. Apparently, the Turkish government and police are rather surprised that spraying tear gas on peaceful protesters and running them over with cars isn’t quelling the riot.

    I can’t quite wrap my head around that kind of massive moment. I’m thankful for the Web, particularly Twitter, for being able to provide me with moment-to-moment commentary and especially photos of what’s happening. It doesn’t make me feel connected—I don’t think I have the right to make such a claim when I have no stake in what’s happening—but it makes me…

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About Me

I’m a 27-year-old math and English teacher back in Canada after two years teaching in England. In my free time, I read books! When I’m not reading, I’m writing, coding, or knitting.

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About this site

I started coding websites, in bad HTML on Geocities, in 2004 in a fit of whimsy. Since then I’ve learned PHP/MySQL, coded my own blog software, and rebuilt this site several times. With the exception of the blog, it’s currently running on the exquisite Symphony CMS. This website is hosted by HawkHost

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