Ramblings

Why I blog

Writing makes you better at thinking, learning and communicating.

I enjoy writing. I know I write fairly well and that some people enjoy reading what I write. But getting read isn’t the most critical aspect for me. The three main reasons I blog are reflection, communication, and learning.

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Tech

Technical details about my new blog

Some edits I made to the Wordpress theme and plugins I’m using

When you’re into web design, of course you can’t simply install WordPress and be done with it. The current default WordPress theme, Twenty Sixteen, is nice and clean, but a few tweaks here and there made it look a bit better and even less noisy.

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Reflections

Escapism is negatively charged. Let’s change that.

By spending time doing what you enjoy, it becomes easier dealing with what you don’t enjoy.

The spending of time and money on hobbies and other leisure activities is an important ethical consideration. How much is too much when your time (and money) could be spent in “better” ways? Here I argue that escapism can be healthy and make life better for you and those around you.

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Gaming

A killer is born: On ludonarrative dissonance in Tomb Raider

Lara Croft’s origin story ends up being appropriate, just not the way the developers had envisioned.

Lara Croft’s origin story is supposedly one of survival. The introduction shows an innocent female archaeologist and her friends heading for adventure and fame. Circumstances quickly deteriorate, and the first Lara does in the game is to set herself on fire, fall several meters down onto a metal pin, and brutally pull it out from her side. The sequence is emotional and well executed, the subtext being that this hurts Lara as much mentally as physically. Before the credits roll, the screen fades to white and the text a survivor is born appears in bold, rough letters. And it might have worked. She has undoubtedly become tougher and more experienced. But she has also become a cold-blooded, psychopathic killer.

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Books

Summary and review of “No Place to Hide” by Glenn Greenwald

Some books are simply too important not to read.

Every now and again there comes a work – whether a book, a movie or something else – that is of such societal significance that it cannot and must not be overlooked. Glenn Greenwald’s No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State is just such a work.

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Reflections

Physics and uncertainty: A slightly poetic view

In its hunt for the Truths of nature, physics uncovered the Eternally Unknowable; the Forever Uncertain.

The Book of Nature is written in the language of Mathematics”, Galileo famously said. The language of mathematics is clean, precise and absolute, with no regard for the concept of uncertainty. But Uncertainty, this frowned-upon offspring of Mother Earth and Father Science, of theory and practice, which we’d rather throw to the wolves on a cold winter’s night, is central to all science. In physics, uncertainty is particularly special, because physics has always been concerned with the hunt for certainty – the hunt for the capital Truths of nature.

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Ramblings

My PhD project in 570 words

I usually say I study the aurora. That’s a convenient lie.

masterdegreeNormally, when people ask what I do, I just say I study the aurora. That’s not strictly correct. Yes, the aurora is involved in my studies, but it’s not the actual topic. It’s just that when people ask me what I do, it’s way better than saying “I study plasma irregularities in the high-latitude ionosphere and their effects on trans-ionospheric signal links” because, well, the image explains it all. But let me try to explain, in understandable terms, what I actually study.

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