Daily Thoughts 58: The Shallows, Planetary Society, Defining Games

Author's selfie Sporting my new Planetary Society t-shirt while hanging out in the hammock chair. It’s been a long day! After my walk this morning I spent time cleaning out our shed of things to go to the transfer station. Followed by errands, before coming back to work on my assignments for class, and wrapped up with a movie.

The Planetary Society

It is surprising to me (in retrospect) that I hadn’t already joined the Planetary Society. After listening to books by Bill Nye and Jim Bell, I finally took the leap and joined. I should have done it a long time ago.

The Shallows

We watched The Shallows tonight after having rented it nearly a month ago. This was a good surprise. A survival horror movie, a short of Halloween meets Jaws. Lively did an excellent job carrying the movie (since for much of the movie she’s the only person on the screen). I also loved that her character was named Nancy. I don’t know if that’s a nod to A Nightmare on Elm Street or not, but I’ll appreciate it as such anyway.

Defining “Game”

For class, I had to define a “game” and discuss the definition. I’ve worked on it the past couple days.

Games are structured social activities found across human cultures that involve rules and challenges which may be mental, physical, or a combination of both. Games elicit emotions in players, observers, or both.

This is the definition I wrote. I’m not going to post the entire discussion. I mostly focused on the social and cultural implications of games, and why it is that humans spend so much time and energy on games. Is there an evolutionary advantage to this sort of behavior? Potentially, yes, I think that an argument can be made. I also addressed why I think that even single-player games are inherently social in nature.

Daily Thoughts 32

Author's selfieI took today as a vacation day. Mostly to have time to run errands. Yesterday the libraries observed the holiday. I’m usually off Monday anyway, so I just took today off instead. It’s funny how I have ideas about what I’ll accomplish on my days off and how differently it works out.

The Last Witch Hunter

We watched The Last Witch Hunter tonight. It wasn’t Pitch Black. There were elements that I liked and things that I thought could have worked better. I tend to focus on positive elements. I think the witch world had potential. And it would have been nice to develop the immortal aspect more.

Semester Approaching

Three weeks, basically, until the semester starts. I have textbooks and other books that I want work on over the next three weeks. And I want to focus on drawing more. It’s time to get busy!

Daily Thoughts

Self-Portrait of the authorMy focus today has mostly been on the semester’s final assignments. I did come across this post at BoingBoing People really, really suck at using computers, which reports on The Distribution of Users’ Computer Skills: Worse Than You Think over at NN/g. The summary makes the overall point of the article clear, “Across 33 rich countries, only 5% of the population has high computer-related abilities, and only a third of people can complete medium-complexity tasks.”

Every day librarians help users with computer-related tasks, and we’re starting to do much more. The article makes another crucial point not included in the summary, “In total, across the OECD countries, 26% of adults were unable to use a computer.” A quarter of adults are unable to use a computer.

Librarians provide a key resource to help the 95% of users that lack high computer-related skills. This next week I’m planning to share a plan to provide more opportunities in our libraries.

Planet of the Apes

I’ve always enjoyed the Planet of the Apes movies (except for the terrible ending of the Tim Burton version). I’ve enjoyed the recent series of movies and was excited to see the trailer for War for the Planet of the Apes.

I plan to be in the theater to see this one! The new Spiderman: Homecoming trailer looked like a lot of fun too. We don’t tend to go to the theater often. With the improvements to our local theater’s seating and operation, it’s much more enjoyable to go see a movie than it used to be. I’d like to get over to see Fantastic Beasts, and we’ve got to see Rogue One (of course)!


No, not the video game. The quakes in Oklahoma that I’m studying as part of my final for this data analysis class. I thought I’d share this quick visualization graphing the magnitude and depth of earthquakes each year. It’s pretty boring until 2010—and then watch out! One more tiny piece in this final project.


Daily Thoughts

The Conjuring

I took a break from data analysis this evening to watch The Conjuring again. I enjoy this sort of spooky film. When it comes to horror, I usually prefer spooky, ghosts, hauntings, etc., to non-supernatural horror.

Shaking Up Data

Graph of earthquakes

I spent a good part of the day working on a final project for my Big Data Analytics class. I’m looking at the last 10 years of earthquake data. This visualization shows quakes with a magnitude of 3.0+ in 2006. The larger circles represent the correspondingly greater energy release in larger quakes. I also like how mapping the data traces the plate boundaries. It makes it really clear just how active our world is, and how many earthquakes happen in a single year.

I still need to finish my report and a demonstration of the project. In addition to the data, I’m also looking at media responses, and data gathered which shows the reactions to—or lack of reactions to—earthquakes. Why is it that so many of us are unprepared for a major incident?