News Review Sci/Tech

Friday Finds – Jumping the Shark

Solid week, things are easy at the office.  Here are the week’s posts:

Other links worth your time:

Do Science Fiction and Fantasy Short Story Markets have gender bias?  From the ever so awesome Geekachicas multi-blog.

I don’t do any tabletop gaming, but these maps look badass.

The first transatlantic communications cable took years to successfully install…and three weeks to get destroyed.  This dude may not have been the sole cause of the cable failure, but maybe you should think through tripling the voltage on something like that.

The M101 ‘Pinwheel’ galaxy is awesome to photograph with any camera.

Stop.  Hammertime.  Obligatory xkcd link.

And finally, I give you the story of a man jumping a shark.  Literally jumping ON it.  The money quote:

“We circled around it a couple times, realized it was a basking shark, got comfortable, came up next to it and thought, ‘You know? I need to feel this fish,'” Jacobs said. “I need to swim with him and be part of this.”

Oh man.  Great way to lead up to Shark Week.

PC Games

Old Game Tuesday – Heroes of Might and Magic

We will be focusing on the first few games in the series, as that’s mostly what I’ve played, but things aren’t too different even now.  Heroes of Might and Magic holds a special place for me, if only for the fact that it’s one of the games my wife consistently beats me in.  When we first met, she had HoMM I on her computer, but I probably played III the most.  Didn’t matter which we played, though, she soundly destroyed me every time, to the point she would suggest playing co-operatively instead.  Just a touch humbling. ;)

If you’ve never played HoMM, the most basic form of the game has you starting with one of several types of castles, with each type producing different creature themes (there’s one that has classic medieval troops, a woodland themed one with wood elves and centaurs, etc.).  You have to improve your town to get new creatures, and you have a hero character (you can recruit more than one) to explore the land to find resources that you need for that building.

Combat takes place when opposing heroes meet in the field, or when a hero attacks a town.  The heroes do not typically act in the battles directly, until I think HoMM IV and up, but bestow bonuses and cast spells.  Most games in the series have a rudimentary XP point system for heroes to improve their skills and bonuses with a tech tree.  There are also items they can be equipped with for boosts which are won from enemy heroes or found on the map.

The nice thing about the HoMM series is that they could run on just about any PC (and some Macs and even Linux on occasion).  That made it easy to play against someone else without enduring hotseat play.  We still fire this up once in a while, usually when I need to be humbled.  :)