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Nerd Culture

Nerdarchy > Nerd Culture (Page 9)

He Said, She Said: My Boyfriend is a Nerd … No, I’m Not!

Back in October, I posted the following to Facebook:

Me: Yeah, I have some nerd and geek tendencies, but I don't let it rule my life.
Friend: Don't you write fantasy for a living?
Me: Yeah, but ...
Friend: And don't you go to longsword classes?
Me: True, but ...
Friend: And you play D&D at least twice a week, right?
Me: Oh, shut up.
(and this was while at a Renaissance fest)

Why We Game: D&D, online gaming and real life

World of WarcraftIt’s crazy how many people I know who would be so freaking fun and amazing at playing D&D and they don’t even know it. There is always the usual self-doubt about not knowing or fully understanding a game, and there is the matter of time and space away from everything, ie. phones, family, work, chores, etc. Most of the people I know who would be great at it and don’t even know are usually self-doubters much like I was before I started playing. The idea of starting a new game can be quite an uncomfortable situation and one that often leads many to fleeing the hobby altogether.

Nerdarchy at Philcon 2016 – Panel Synopsis – Artificial Intelligence: Should We Fear The Rise Of The Machines?

   Panel Date – November 19, 2016

Attendance – Approximately 30 Convention Goers

Convention Detail Philcon is a small Science Writer and Reader Convention that occurs in Cherry Hill, New Jersey in November each year. In recent years, the convention has expanded to include a robust anime track and a cosplay track.

Panel Premise – From Philcon Program “What would it take for a real Terminator threat? Come for a discussion of what is being proposed as the five components required for humans to make themselves obsolete – and how close we are to each.”

HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE PANEL (Synopsis of the Content the Presenter Covered)

philcon artificial intelligence conventionBob Hranek (Moderator, Intelligence Analyst and Systems Engineer and Program Analyst) – For Real functioning AI to emerge these are needed; infrastructure where machines can make machines, automated weapon systems, automated sensing system, practical integration of all of these You cannot make Isaac Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics work as robots will always act to satisfy their programming Artificial Intelligence is being worked out right now with driverless car.

We have automated weapons systems with automated sensing systems and human interaction in that loop only because we are still choosing to keep it there; the work it would take to entirely remove humans from that loop would take one month Google is on the forefront of Artificial Intelligence research. 

If an Artificial Intelligence actually became a threat to Humanity, it is likely that it would not be because of malice on the part of the Artificial Intelligence but how it was programmed (e.g. a system that was programmed to make as many paper clips as it could and destroyed resources and land we needed to live by accomplishing that set goal) Yes, there is reason to fear the rise of the machines

Studs: Fashionably Useless Studded Leather Armor VS Brigadine

We, as a race, tend to have a bad habit of believing what we are told. In the days before the internet this studded leather armor brigadine armor   was especially true since fact checking often involved going down to the local library and pouring over texts. It is no surprise then that Gygax and company made a few errors in their initial attempts at something as extensive as what Dungeons and Dragons would become.

This doubly true when at the time sometimes the scholarly text they were basing their information on was what was incorrect! Which brings us to the biker punk fantasy that is studded leather armor.

Studded leather armor, as you might realize at this point, did not exist. The most commonly accepted reason this misconception came to be is probably misidentified brigandine.  Many pieces of brigandine look a ton like studded leather armor from the outside. The armor is essentially a leather outer layer with studs holding oblong metal plates under the armor. This is all well and good but one thing to bear in mind is that armor, especially organic armor, is almost never found in a state that looks as it did when a medieval person was using it.

Carolina Renaissance Festival keeps alive history and fun

Carolina Renaissance Festival

Nobles and royals gather above the heads of the rabble at the opening of jousting for the Carolina Renaissance Festival. (all photos by Ty Johnston)

Carolina Renaissance Festival

A pair of Scottish soldiers are upbraided by their officer (he’s the fancy-looking fellow at left) at the Carolina Renaissance Festival.

This past Saturday the Carolina Renaissance Festival kicked off the opening weekend of its twenty-third season, all with 12 theater stages, more than 100 shops, and 25 acres of fun. Located in Huntersville, North Carolina, just north of Charlotte, the festival offers music, games, rides, comedy, costumes, and food. There’s even a falconry show, and what would a renaissance festival be without jousting tournaments.

This is a perfect venue for those of you who like to sashay about in public in your favorite historic costume, but if you should forget your costume or don’t have one, there is a rental office that can provide any look you want. If your costume tastes tend toward the more speculative, the festival offers a Time Travelers Weekend Nov. 12 and 13 where you can dress as your favorite comic book hero, wear that steampunk outfit, appear as a movie monster, or what have you.

The Time Travelers Weekend isn’t the only special event, either, as a Pirates’ Christmas is scheduled as well as a special Halloween weekend, a brewfest, and more.

painting miniatures

Painting Miniatures and Modding Miniatures – The Basics.

Many of you out there might be like myself and have an addiction to plastic.  You collect Dice and painting miniaturesMinifigures.  It can be a consuming hobby that lands in FB groups and Forums looking for the one mini to complete your collection.  You might spend loads of time on Ebay looking for deals and steals just to boost up the extras bin or that one exclusive piece you just found out about.

Well if you are like that, then you are like me, Nerdarchist Ted.  I cannot fathom a guess as to how many hours I have spent searching for deals on Amazon or Ebay because of my habit/addiction.  I have it under control based off of the argument my wallet had with me some years ago.  Enough was enough.

As I sat and looked at the hundreds if not thousands of little pre-painted plastic miniatures It begged to question what was I going to do with it all.  My friends and I spent years playing Mage Knight.  I have loads of them.  I spent years playing Heroscape and I had loads of them.  I bought loads and loads of D&D minis as well as they were perfectly sized for our Table Top role playing game.

Mage knight there was variety and you had lots of uses for them.  With Heroscape unless you were planning to play a 10 player game, not recommended by the way, and everyone wanted the same pieces there was no need to have that many copies of the miniatures. 

Dating Sites for Nerds: Because We’re Lookin’ for Love, Too

romeo

Romeo and Juliet, painting by Frank Dicksee

Card games, tabletop games, role playing games, they’re all group activities. Even video games often nowadays are played with others, either online or on the couch. Still, for some, gaming of all sorts can be a lonely business if they don’t have that special someone to share it with.

You hear about those online dating sites, but they don’t seem right for you. You check them out and they’re full of beautiful people. Or creeps. And everyone seems to enjoy the same things. Walking on the beach. Walking in the park. Walking the dog. There’s usually lots of walking. And then there are the people who have their who life planned out, or the people who have a laundry list a mile long of all the things their prospective significant other absolutely must have.

Brrp!: Getting your beer on with tabletop RPGs

wychwood

Dwarfs are always chugging away at a pint of sturdy stout. Halflings and half-orcs aren’t far behind. Even elves have been known to sip a light ale from time to time. Then there are the adventuring parties, the ones who always seem to gather at … you guessed it … the tavern.

Beer seems to flow in tabletop role playing games. From skill checks involving brewing to rules pertaining to how alcohol affects characters’ abilities, it seems some kind of alcoholic drink, quite often a form of beer, is just under the surface, around the corner, or stuffed inside a backpack.

Stairway to Heaven: Fantasy, D&D and rock music

weezerIn 1994 the (then) new rock band Weezer released its first album with the eighth track title being a little song called “In the Garage.” The very first line of the song mentions the Dungeon Master’s Guide. The second line brings up a 12-sided die.

That same year a silly movie called “Airheads” hit the theaters. It’s about three stoner rockers who take over a radio station in an attempt to have their song make the airwaves. Towards the end of the movie, Dungeons & Dragons is mentioned.

Nerds throughout the world applauded.

Okay, yeah, such a little thing as bringing up D&D in a pop/rock song or movie might seem hardly worthy of note today, but you’ve got to remember that nerd and geek culture were far less accessible back in the day, and until then about the only time Hollywood had admitted D&D existed was during a scene in Spielberg’s E.T. Comic books, role playing games, even fantasy and science fiction literature, had not become accepted so much by the larger, overall culture, and often seemed shunted off to dark, little stores surrounding college campuses. Fantasy and the other speculative genres were often considered the stuff of children, worthy only of Saturday morning cartoons.

Ty’s Gaming Resolutions for the 2016 New Year

In a matter of days it’s going to be a new year, and like the beginning of every new year, many of us make resolutions. Some of us will try to lose weight or quit smoking. Others will try to be nicer to people or maybe promise to put money into savings. Me? This year I’m going to try to be a better tabletop role-player. How do I hope to accomplish this? By following my resolutions below.

Expanding my horizons in the new year, Part I

ball drop

Are you going to watch the ball drop to kick in the new year?

I have a tendency to find a role-playing game I like, then stick with it and nothing else for months, even years. Right now I’m enjoying Fifth Edition D&D, so I’ve been playing lots of it. See, I’ve been gaming for 35 years, off and on, and I’ve played all kinds of systems, some good, some bad, and I guess now in my forties I’ve grown a bit … maybe “lazy” would be the right word, though I prefer “skeptical.” I’m usually not interested in learning yet another system, especially if it’s one which I know I won’t be playing more than maybe once or twice. I need to break this habit. There are lots of great games out there which I’ve yet to experience, and a few which I’ve only experienced once or twice. So, one of my gaming resolutions is to play more games that are new to me, to enjoy the experience of different game systems. I’m especially interested in trying out some zombie survival games.

Expanding my horizons, Part II

2015 gamer gift suggestions for the holidays

By the time you read this, Hanukkah will have passed, but Christmas and Kwanzaa and other holidays are still more than a week away, which means there is still time to purchase presents for your favorite tabletop role players and other gamers. But what to get your friends? Rulebooks and dice are the easy answer, but likely your pals will already have those. If you want to get them a different type of present, check out some possibilities below.

dice candies

Something chocolate this way rolls

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