And, as for gaming…

I am slowly making my way through the Waterloo battle in the Le Retour de l’Empereur package from Pratzen. The action is fast at the start, but inevitably slows down as more of the forces come to blows. That, plus I am trying to do my best for each side, so leaving a bit of time between the turn for each side. I am also taking care to try and avoid any major rule mistakes, while noting the little events that don’t seem quite right. However, I certainly do not want to give any negative impression about the game as I am enjoying it enormously. It was recently announced that there is to be a Vassal set, and that the next release in the series – from Legion Wargames (see here) – may be out sooner than expected.

Beyond that, we played a couple of sessions of R-Eco over Sukkot. Tomer won one, and Lori won one. Definitely one of the family’s favorites. Plus the waiter at the hotel was intrigued, though he was starting from a better position than most, being knowledgeable about games in general.

Games are taking a bit of a back seat, understandably, to family matters this holiday. They will be waiting for me when I am ready to return.

A BDS quote

After the recent BDS non event in South Africa, it’s worth reading this post (at Divest This!) to remind yourself the repetitive trend of that poisonous movement. I particularly liked this:

The mechanism leading to such behavior is remarkably familiar to long-time BDS trackers. First, an SJP-type group gets off the ground, usually by presenting enough of a moderate face to be able to attract new members whose empathy for a suffering “other” far outweighs their knowledge of the region, its history and current events.

Indeed, you may recognize the scene from several videos out there, interviewing BDS protesters and discovering that – to put it politely – they do not have a clue. And if they have a clue, it is often wrapped up in some antisemitic nonsense. That’s why, getting the right message out there is so important. Every one of us can make a contribution.

Cook gets roasted

Tim Cook of Apple is not happy about the films being made about Steve Jobs and Apple. But, given the opportunity to turn back time, he might have expressed himself differently – or even avoided comment. For Aaron Sorkin has well and truly roasted Mr Cook, as the Register reports:

Academy Award-winning screenwriter Aaron Sorkin has issued a verbal blast to Apple CEO Tim Cook over his criticism of the forthcoming film biopic of dead Steve Jobs.

Earlier this month, Cook was interviewed by Stephen Colbert on The Late Show, and discussed the succession of films (and even an opera) that have been made about Jobs in the wake of his death. Cook declared that he hadn’t taken the time to watch any of them, and that he disapproved of them being made.

“I think that a lot of people are trying to be opportunistic, and I hate this; it’s not a great part of our world,” he told Colbert.

Cook’s comments were raised on Friday at a press conference to promote the forthcoming film Steve Jobs, in which Michael Fassbender portrays the late Apple cofounder in the early years of the company’s history. The film was written by Sorkin and, when asked about Cook’s comments, the writer didn’t hold back.

“Nobody did this movie to get rich,” Sorkin said, The Hollywood Reporter recounts.

“Secondly, Tim Cook should really see the movie before he decides what it is.

Third, if you’ve got a factory full of children in China assembling phones for 17 cents an hour, you’ve got a lot of nerve calling someone else opportunistic.


You can read it all – including links to the Register‘s coverage of the child labor angle – here.

Five for Friday

OK, it’s lame, but boy did this week go fast…Ahem. There was also the small matter of Sarah-Lee getting engaged, so a somewhat memorable week all round, and a great start to the year. (Mazel tov to the happy couple!) Long may the good news continue. Blogging may be postponed for a bit, but before any potential break, here are this week’s selection of links.

Shabbat Shalom to one and all.


Heard of the BLOODHOUND Project?

The BLOODHOUND Project is a global Engineering Adventure, using a 1000 mph world land speed record attempt to inspire the next generation to enjoy, explore and get involved in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Check out this video:

Click here for the YouTube channel, and here for the project website.

This is a wonderful engineering project that deserves to succeed. I will be keeping one eye on progress towards the ultimate, incredible, almost unbelievable 1,000 MPH goal. And I know someone looking down from on high, who will also be keeping a close watch. In fact, by now, I expect he’s gathered quite a few fellows and enthused them about the whole endea(I miss you, Marcus.)

[Thanks to Roxanne for pointing me in the right direction.]

Hey Volkswagen! This is how you reduce exhaust emissions.

In the light of Volkswagen’s woes, maybe some of their (new?) senior management might like to invest time in reading a snippet from the Jerusalem Post:

As traffic rolled to a stop for the duration of Yom Kippur, so too did levels of nitrogen oxides – contaminants prominent in vehicular emissions.

Similar to each year, as child bicyclists and pedestrians take over the country’s major arteries, Israel’s urban centers experienced much more breathable air for the duration of the holiday. The dramatic improvement is indicative of transportation’s role as the major source of pollution in cities, the Environmental Protection Ministry said on Wednesday night.

In the Gush Dan region, nitrogen oxide levels decreased to about 50 times lower than those prior to Yom Kippur – from 139 parts per billion to just 2.8 parts per billion, according to the ministry. Jerusalem’s nitrogen oxide levels plunged to about 64 times lower than pre-holiday values – from 179 parts billion also to 2.8 parts per billion – while those in Haifa fell to about 82 times lower – from 229 parts per billion to 2.8 parts per billion as well, the ministry said.

That’s quite some difference. You can read the whole thing here.  And no cheating was involved!

Incidentally, I am interested to see the full details of how Volkswagen cocked up in such a dramatic (and stupid) fashion. Who, in their right mind, ever thought the fiddle would stay secret?

Video from an Egyptian: “Why do you hate Israel?”

This*, from Sherif Gaber, will stop you in your tracks:

According to Wikipedia:

Sherif Gaber (full name Sherif Gaber Abdelzim Bakr), born c. 1993 (Arabic: شريف جابر عبد العظيم بكر) is an Egyptian political activist and blogger who was arrested on October 27, 2013 for professing atheism, contempt of religion relating to activities on campus and atheist statements online, and spreading immoral values “defending homosexuality”.

It appears he is now in hiding, but is proving somewhat of a thorn in the side of the authorities by continuing to post videos (pro science and pro human rights) on YouTube.

A brave young man. I hope he keeps safe.

[*First seen at the Elder of Ziyon.]



Courtesy of roving reporter and photographer Sarah-Lee, a reminder of the simple beauty of the world around us:

Picture by Sarah-Lee

Picture by Sarah-Lee

A great way to start the day after Yom Kippur.