Ah, beer — the great civiliser. As noted in the New York Times: Current theory has it that grain was first domesticated for food. But since the 1950s, many scholars have found circumstantial evidence that supports the idea that some early humans grew and stored grain for beer, even before they cultivated it for bread. Brian Hayden and colleagues at Simon Fraser University in Canada provide new support for this theory in an article published this month (and online last year) in the Journal of Archeological Method and Theory. Examining potential beer-brewing tools in archaeological remains from the Natufian culture in the Eastern Mediterranean, the team concludes that “brewing of beer was an important aspect of feasting and society in […]

Bug Out

A bug-out bag is a bag that contains food, tools, and other things for use in a disaster or other type of emergency.  Often times when a disaster occurs, the infrastructure that we normally take for granted becomes bogged down or completely unavailable.  Electricity may be out for days or even weeks, the supermarkets we buy our food and water from may be low or out of stock, hospitals may be extremely over capacity, and even the roads we use everyday may be closed. — from ultimatebugoutbaglist I’m not at all convinced that there will be an infrastructure-destroying calamity anytime soon, but I do like the idea of a grab-bag (or three) for a weekend away — whether at a […]

Commonplace Book

Commonplace books (from Latin locus communis, in turn from Greek tópos koinós) are a personal repository of thoughts, knowledge and insight; they are essentially scrapbooks filled with information of every kind (recipes, quotes, letters, poems, tables of weights and measures, proverbs, prayers, legal formulas – Wikipedia). Each is unique to its creator’s particular interests, and may be organised and cross-referenced in various ways. They became significant in Early Modern Europe. (Compare to R. Buckmister Fuller’s chronofiles, which consist of a time-series record of his life from 1920 through to 1983.) In a lot of ways, this lexicon is my commonplace book. I should probably put more effort into it, as always, but I’m just one man.

Games we play

I like playing all sorts of games, even if I don’t seem to find much time for playing them at the moment: board games, cards, table-top war games and “video games” alike. (Of course, once we move into the Hack Street office I will have access to the Ultimate Arcade Machine.) Games I consider “good” often combine different aspects, such as intellectual or coordination challenges, imagination and escapism. This page attempts to list the games I like playing, or would like to try, and serves as a mental reminder in case I find myself at a loss on a Friday or Saturday night. electronic games PC Strategy games First-person shooters Role-playing games Simulators  PC Savage 2 X-Plane (flight simulation) Saitek […]


I’m terrible at making time for non-directed research, play and practise — aka “hobbies”. There are a bunch of things I’d like to try, however: games we play electronics robotics music writing/creating playing running events London marathon Edinburgh marathon triathlon Ironman Kokoda trail cycling activities family tour adventure triathlon get bike shipped from Bendigo ham radio astronomy minatures (hobby modelling and painting) Maybe?


This is one of those hobbies (things I’d like to try). I’ve just bought the Dead Zone box and a couple of basic tools, so I can actually start doing some of this. Creating small figurines from base model pieces and modelling putty, then painting them.  I have an idea for a cool chess set: daemonic Nazis versus cybernetic Soviets. Apart from that, it would be nice to try to create a couple of WH40K armies for “family games night”.


(Inter)National Novel Writing Month is a global challenge where participants attempt to write a 50,000 word novel in the 30 days of November. It’s something I’ve attempted a couple of times, and even (technically) succeeded once or twice, but I’m yet to write anything like a coherent tale from start to finish. The Rules Of Nanowrimo Don’t talk about Nanowrimo. Never edit as you go. If you get caught up with editing, your story will never meet your expectations and you’ll get bored. You don’t want to get bored. Fall in love with your story! – Sean Patrick G. Don’t quit if you get behind. You’ll still feel happy if you finish a book in December. – Marie M. Remember you are […]

Strategy games

RTS Real-time strategy. These often come down to resource-management (or micro-management) and knowing a bunch of keyboard shortcuts. Real-time strategy (RTS) Anomaly Earth Darwinia / Multiwinia Defcon Spring RTS Balanced Annihilation (Total Annihilation remake) Starwars Gundam Conflict Terra Evolution RTS Syndicate Total Annihilation Uplink TBS Turn-based strategy games include the table-top war games (Warhammer, WH40K) and some computer games. Turn-based strategy Civilization / FreeCiv Colonization / FreeCol Frozen Synapse UFO:AI Space Hulk WH40K Tactics

Table-top war games

War games are a good way to develop strategic thinking, something which I need some practise at (I believe). I’ve tried a few computer war simulations (both RTS and TBS) and would like to play more; there are also “table-top” war games played with little plastic models called “minatures”, or cards and maps (e.g. Risk).

Things I like doing

(See also: Five Lists) motorcycles hobbies camping cycling rock-climbing coding meditation martial arts reading writing ideas playing music