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Sunday, October 24, 2010

Games, Books, and Mandelbrot

What a great weekend, even though my beloved Carnegie Mellon Tartans lost in heartbreaking fashion I find myself having a great day.  Weather was wonderful in Pittsburgh and great times were had.  So I have decided to keep weekends a little less serious.  In the future you will probably see music, video game, and music post with some cool tech links just so that you can still get your tech/science fix!

Just to give you an idea of what I was jamming to while I was writing this up.

Current Games:
League of Legends
Current Champion of Choice: Olaf(The Techno Viking, or Brolaf)

More on League of legends and the rest of the post after the jump!
So a lot of people do not care for League of Legends.  Quite frankly I would have never picked it up except for the fact that it is COMPLETELY FREE.  O yeah and the fact that all of my college friends play so it is how we stay in close contact.  Essentially, LoL is just a DotA clone, which was the game that essentially defined champion based real time strategy games.  The fact is that LoL is winning a lot of awards this year and they are hiring, which is something not to be scoffed at in this current video game world.  I would recommend it to anyone who is between games or wants to get their friends playing a game that requires no investment!  As for my tips for getting into it... play practice matches.  You will only get frustrated if you go straight into normal play as a lot of good players will make "twink or scrub" accounts when they are just playing with friends.  Also make sure to check out build guides on mobafire.

Civilization V

Another thing my group of comrades would do during our 3 hrs of free time a week was try and get some CIV IV lan parties going.  Needless to say because a game with 4-8 people could take 10 hrs this didn't happen often, however this was one of my favorite games as an undergrad.  Thus, once CIV V came out we all rushed out and bought it!  Only to realize that we can't invest 10 hours in a match when all of us are working/studying.  So the multi player aspect of this game is something of which I feel I can't review.  However, the single player is just as addictive (if not more so) than the previous versions.  They have streamlined a lot.  The game is still deep but you don't have to manage the individual cities like you used to.  It is you civilization you care about, however you still control worker allocations and all the key strategy items that made the game so deep.  Also as a cool feature I think steam is offering a demo version, no idea how complete that version is but you can't say I didn't offer.  

******Note that this game is a memory hog****** through the map to huge and wait til the more modern eras.... depending on your system this could affect your enjoyment.

Now being that I am a grad student, I really am expected to do more scholarly things like read.  Which I partake of, especially at the expense of my sleep time.

I am currently rereading the entire The Wheel of Time series.  On book 10, the crossroads of twilight, right now.  Just to give you an idea of how much of a commitment this was, the current time for the abridged audio books  will take you nearly 16 days to listen to, with 2 more books still on the way.  You might ask yourself, why would someone who is so busy take the time to read 3.7+million words (and counting) of a book series while reading all sorts of other actually intellectually enriching material?  Quite frankly, it is better than Lord of the Rings, Sword of Truth, Song of Ice and Fire, and any other fantasy series I have ever heard of or read.  Book for book it might not match up.  Tolkien certainly had more impact, I mean Stephen King wrote the Dark Tower series specifically as his LoTR. G.R.R. Martin certainly weaves a more gripping tale although quite frankly taking a 4 year break from a series that he supposedly already had a book finished for kind of ruined my outlook.  Quite frankly, it is a book series so there is a very individual based experience that occurs so I know not everyone will agree.  But I have been around the block with epic fantasy and this series is certainly the first I'd recommend.

Now in terms of academic books the last I finished was an interesting book about rethinking design to not reduce waste, but eliminate it.  Cradle to Cradle is essentially a book describing methods to design cradle to cradle products, not cradle to grave.  The book itself was waterproof, aka tub material so I found this to be interesting but it also had case studies which validated it much more than a lot of other comparable material that I have been encouraged to read.  If you have a true interest in green design as a part of better engineering practices then this is worth the read.

Now I feel that this is probably a good place to end my post with a rather serious twist.  Recently, Benoit Mandelbrot sadly passed away.  Now who is this man with the amazing name you may ask?  Well Dr. Mandelbrot was so cool that his name even passes spell checkers.  Basically the polish born mathematician was the guy who invented fractals, yeah those fractals.  Now fractals, besides being really cool to look at, are also a very useful tool for estimating the true surface area of an object.  Basically this allows anyone who studies tribology or finite material analysis a way of quickly getting valuable information that scales.  Also apparently fractals have uses in signals, economics, and other fields.  So if I were you I'd take a gander around the internet to learn a little bit about how Mr. Mandelbrot might have affected your field of interest!

And as always folks, keep the moment positive

Also note, I'll probably be editing this post throughout the day, so please leave comments so that way I can address them!


  1. Great post dude..very interesting

  2. glad you had a good weekend. wish the weather was nicer here in cali.

  3. The Civilization screenshot looks great.

  4. Never played any of the civ games, but it does look like you need a lot of time to play them, and I don't have so much :(

  5. thats true, mrmobilegamer. civilisation is a real time consumer!!!

  6. Never played this game, will have to give it a go though!!

  7. I've not played a single version of Civ. I've yet to decide if I'm really missing anything, though.

  8. looks awesome! thanks for posting!

  9. For some reason I really can't get into the DOTA games.

  10. I heard many good things about the Wheel of Time series. Maybe I should read it.

  11. Great game choices. I think I might get down with those later today.

  12. I prefer Civilation V. Its the beast.

  13. Havent actually played any of the civ games but I might have to give it a go after reading this!

  14. Civ 5 has to be really fun, thinking about picking it up.

  15. Oh wow... Benoit passed? How sad. I just saw him speak at a TED conference not too long ago. Man changed the face of computer graphics - especially in gaming. The man is a genuis and will never be forgotten.

  16. i just downloaded league of legends yesterday, probably gonna play it today. also, your profile pic is the same as my desktop. chernobyl rocks.