In defence of the annoying mature age student

I was one of these students when I returned to study theology in my early 30s. Was probably both a joy and a pain to my lecturers 🙂

See: In defence of the annoying mature age student | Stephen Owen | Comment is free | The Guardian

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Transhuman Films

The blog’s been pretty quiet while I’ve been concentrating on other things. One of those other things is a research project looking at post- and transhumanism in popular culture, and particularly in film.

One of those projects has been the development of a couple of blogs to track that. The first of these is underway now and can be found at:

Screenshot 2015-09-11 21.38.44

So far I’ve added two films in the last couple of days, but will be adding to that as write up films I’ve already watched, and get around to watching some more.

Posted in AI/Robotics, Bioethics/Biotech, Cyberspace, Cyborg, Ethics, Nanotech, Science & Technology, Transhumanism, Virtual Reality | Leave a comment

Laidlaw College – National Principal/CEO

Applications for the National Principal position at Laidlaw College close this Friday 31 July (NZST). Still time to get an application in if you’re interested.

Source: National Principal/CEO

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Science and Christianity in the U. S.

Some helpful links from James McGrath.

Source: Science and Christianity in the U. S.

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If you’re interested in seeing where Laidlaw College is going, and what’s available for study in Semester 2 2015 (and in 2016), then come along to this on Thursday evening. Past the RSVP point now, so just turn up if you’re interested.


Thursday 21 May (Henderson) | 7 pm

You are warmly invited to celebrate with us as we officially launch Laidlaw College’s School of Social Practice (an amalgamation of our Counselling and Education Schools), as well as the newly named School of Theology.

As many of you know, Laidlaw has undergone some significant changes over the course of the last six months, and we would like to take the time to inform you of these changes, including the challenges and the opportunities they bring with them. We truly value your support and your connection to the College and would welcome your presence, your insight and your questions.

This event will also be functioning as one of our Open Nights for potential students, and will include some great “taster talks” by some of our faculty – addressing topical issues in “Ted Talk” style. After the talks, there will be plenty of time for those who are interested, to talk to lecturers, find out about our programmes and have questions answered.


Date: Thursday 21 May 2015
Time: 7 pm
Place: Laidlaw College Henderson campus, 80 Central Park Drive, Henderson
RSVP: For catering purposes, please email by Monday 18 May

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The Omm of Scrivener

I use Scrivener to write with. I love most things about it, but there are a few things that I either don’t like or haven’t been able to figure out yet. This blog looks like it will be helpful for the latter.

Here’s an example about creating distraction free writing space: The Omm of Scrivener.

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Boardgame(s) – Phase 10 and Rummikub

I grew up playing versions of the card game Rummy, mainly a variant of Shanghai Rummy (with the buys, but no jokers) and Canadian Rummy (which may be a form of Continental Rummy). We still play lots of it as an extended family (on my side), and it led on to games like Canasta, Bolivia, Samba, and others which required you to ‘meld’ certain combinations of cards to play a round. Ironically, I have never played Gin Rummy, which seems to be more an American game than British one.

(I have just consulted my copy of “The New Complete Hoyle: The Authoritative Guide to the Official Rules of All Popular Games of Skill and Chance, Revised Edition” (Albert H. Morehead, Richard L. Frey, Geoffrey Mott-Smith) and can find no mention of Canadian Rummy, so it must be some kind of variation that my grandparents picked up on their travels somewhere).

Anywhere, where this is leading is to the two games for today, which are both based on a Rummy/Canasta (with a touch of Mahjong) style of playing with melds, required sequences and sets, and a number of ‘suits’ – albeit represented by colours.

Phase 10 is the first game off the shelf – which is a card game where you progress through a series of different levels or ‘phases’ that you have to complete in turn to get to the end of the game. There is nothing so frustrating as getting stuck on a phase for turn after turn as everyone else progresses forward. A good game, relatively easy to learn, but can be frustrating for younger players (and me), and can take much longer than you think leading to game fatigue by the end. If you can play a Rummy variant you can play this almost with no extra effort – once again the idea is to have the lowest score and the highest phase.

IMG_2772.jpg Phase_10.jpg

Rummikub is a board game which is effectively a card game in disguise. Yes, there are tiles instead of cards, but you have four ‘suits’ – red, gold, blue, and black – and you used the tile like cards to meld a certain number of points to start, you have ‘joker’ tiles, and you want to get the lowest point score at the end of the game. But, in terms of a tactile sense it is easier to manipulate by smaller hands, there’s a solidity to rearranging sets and sequences of tiles on the table, and has a stand for your pieces. And the turns are relatively quick, so less game fatigue than Phase 10, or even a Rummy card game. We played the other day and it was fun to come back to it after a year or two.

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All in all, both are good games, but for a real challenge learn to play Canasta which is a real challenge and pleasure to play.

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Melbourne for a bit

Currently visiting family in Melbourne for a few days. A few snaps (from different locations) of the cricket/footy ground right outside my folk’s place. Nice to see and hear the cricket game yesterday afternoon.

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Boardgames – San Juan, Six and Oceania

The next game of the bookshelf in the lounge is San Juan from Rio Grande Games. This is a good game in terms of compact size, quick set up, relatively quick gameplay and scoring, and reasonably easy to learn rule. This game is the card game version of Puerto Rico, also from Rio Grande, set during the Spanish colonisation of the Caribbean. In the game you have to produce resources (e.g. coffee, silver, tobacco), as well as develop properties (which also convey certain advantages to the player). A round of the game, comprising a turn from each player, has the players selecting a particular activity (e.g. trading, building, producing etc.) and there’s an element of randomness governing the pricing of goods for sale. Overall, it’s a fun game to play – though as one commentator has noted, in a post-colonial context is might fall into the Best game with a morally repugnant premise: San Juan – 11 board games you should be playing as an adult – Vox category.

See also: San Juan | Board Game | BoardGameGeek

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Next off the shelf (and a game I played tonight with one of my children) is Six from Dr Wood/Foxmind. Basically it’s like two-player Connect Four played with hexagons on a flat surface, with the idea of creating six adjacent tiles in a straight line, a loop or a triangle. Very simple to learn, but you have to keep focused the whole time. Really good for introducting children to boardgames, while still challenging for adults.


More details at: Six | Board Game | BoardGameGeek

Video review at:

Another video review at:

The final game is Oceania from Mayfair Games. It’s a game my two older boys played for a while, and I’ve included it here because it’s one of the few games that is genuinely created for two players.


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TEC – 2013 Tertiary Education Performance Report

The Tertiary Education Commission’s 2013 Tertiary Education Report is now available on their website, along with a set of interesting info graphic summaries of

As well as overall information and analysis of the NZ tertiary education sector (according to TEC’s criteria) it also highlights details for major players such as universities, polytechnics and wānanga. The information in the PTE section is of particular interest to me in my role.

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