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My Week That Was, 16 Dec 2016

Well, it’s been quite some time since I’ve done one of these. Given that all my other writing is either schoolwork or a commission on which I’m working, I’ll get this out there to break the radio silence and offer proof of life.

For my course, we were reading about Pearl Harbor and 9/11, which was interesting, but I think more interesting was the previous week’s reading about the warnings offered in advance of Hurricane Katrina which were ignored. It points to the failure of Hurricane Katrina as a failure of response rather than warning – which is not uncommon and links back to Pearl Harbor and 9/11, both of which were failures of response rather than warning. On Hurricane Katrina, Tom David’s contribution to the Select Bipartisan Committee on Hurricane Katrina is good to get a sense of the amount of information available in advance of Hurricane Katrina’s landfall. As a bonus, Stephen Marrin provides a really good third-party dissection of the findings of the 9/11 Commission – which considered 9/11 a failure of warning – in his 2011 article “The 9/11 Terrorist Attacks: A Failure of Policy Not Strategic Intelligence Analysis” in Intelligence and National Security vol 26 no 2-3. It’s definitely worth a read if you can get access to it through ResearchGate or Taylor-Francis Online.

I have finished both Count Zero and Mona Lisa Overdrive (the inspiration for the title of Nefertiti Overdrive, though not the content of the game). I feel that both suffer in comparison to Neuromancer, but Mona Lisa Overdrive especially is still great reading. I’m going to continue with my Gibson reading. I believe I’ve read Pattern Recognition, but don’t remember much about it, but that’s next on the list.

This past week I continued with the game I’m calling “Nor’Westers” which is a campaign using Western tropes in the setting of Canada’s fur trade in 1810. One of my players pointed to the TV series Frontier as something that really scratches that same itch, so this is something I need to find.

I’m always praising’s Political Gabfest, which was especially awesome this week because it included a segment with Ta-Nehisi Coates, who I love listening to (and reading). I would strongly suggest giving the Political Gabfest a listen, but I’d also like to recommend Emperors of Rome, which is a fantastic podcast, but which has been hit and miss recently – for me – as it has interspersed its discussions of Roman emperors with other personages. The last one in that vein was Cleopatra, which was a fantastic episode as it hit on both my love of Rome and interest in Egypt, but the most recent episode is especially fun as they discuss the movie Gladiator. The enjoyment of but pain induced by the movie for Dr. Rhiannon Evans, one of the two hosts, mirrors so much my relationship with Braveheart, it was great to hear.

I haven’t really had the chance to play much in the last week, but I did try a bit of Medieval Total War, which was fun. I played the Picts during the Viking Invasion, and was doing good, until the Vikings showed up. Huh. Probably should have seen that coming.

I hope you had a great week!