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The Gathering

As I’m writing this, more than 4000 nerds, geeks, and freaks are attending The Gathering. It’s a good time for an aging nerd to take a quick trip down memory line.

The Gathering, or TG for short, is the world’s second largest LAN party. Computer enthusiast meet to play games, flex their creative muscles, show off their custom rigs, get new games1, make new friends, and generally have a good time. The very first TG was organized during Easter back in 1992. All the schools are closed for 5 days during Easter, it was a perfect time to gather the core audience. More than 1200 people attended the first TG, and in 1993 an additional 200 people visited the party.

The Gathering soon outgrew its original venue, and in 1996 TG moved to The Viking Ship just outside Hamar. The indoor sports arena was built for the 1994 Winter Olympics. With modern infrastructure and prime geographical location, The Viking Ship contributed further to The Gathering’s success. In 1996 the party was visited by a record breaking 2500 people.

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WTF Happened To The Superbook?

The Superbook promised to be a technological masterpiece that would turn your smartphone into a laptop. But WTF happened to it?

The Superbook was revealed back in 2016. In a very successful Kickstarter campaign, creator Andromium Inc. showed a device that could turn your Android smartphone into a laptop for as low as $85. The idea was simple: Install Andromium’s custom launcher on your smartphone, connect it to the physical Superbook shell via USB and voila! Your phone is now a fully working laptop.

Despite renowned tech manufacturer ASUS’ repeated failed attempts to achieve the same1, people obviously have bad short-term memory. When the campaign ended on August 20, 2016, 16,732 backers had pledged $2,952,508 to Andromium Inc.

Then, in classic Kickstarter fashion, the waiting started.

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Carbon Offsetting

Carbon offsetting used to be a thing. Then it was not a thing. Now it’s a thing again. But what is carbon offsetting, and does it have any effect at all?

Let’s start with the “what”. A carbon offset is a reduction in emissions of greenhouse gases made in order to compensate for emissions made elsewhere. There are currently two different carbon offsetting schemes: The EU compliance market, and the UN Clean Development Mechanism.

In the EU mandatory compliance market, governments and industries in the union have to buy carbon offsets to comply with the caps on the total amount of CO2 they are allowed to emit. The market has a fixed number of carbon offsets available. To reduce the total EU greenhouse gas emission, that number is gradually decreased every year. Less carbon offsets means that those available for purchase will become more expensive. In turn, this means that it will be increasingly more expensive to pollute within the EU. At some point it will then be sensible, not just from an environmentally friendly point of view, but also from an economical perspective, to replace polluting industrial processes with greener ones.

The other carbon offset market, the UN Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) is voluntary. Using the CDM, individuals, companies, and governments can purchase carbon offsets to mitigate their own greenhouse gas emissions. The money raised from the sale of carbon offsets is used to fund environmentally friendly projects around the world. As an example, if a German citizen purchases carbon offsets to compensate for greenhouse gas emissions caused by personal air travel, that money can potentially be used to build a solar power plant in India.

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Review: “Frontlines” series by Marko Kloos

Over the last year, I’ve read the Frontlines series by Marko Kloos. Here’s my review of how the entire collection of military science-fiction novels stacks up.

The year is 2108. A young Andrew Grayson is a welfare rat living in one of the North American Commonwealth’s many Public Relations Clusters, PRCs. It’s a overcrowded, crime-ridden, community where day-to-day survival is the main focus for most people. There are only two ways out. You can hope to win the lottery and draw a ticket on a colony ship settling off-world, or you can join the service in the war against the Sino-Russian Alliance.

Andrew decides to enlist in the armed forces for a shot at real food, a retirement bonus, and maybe a ticket off Earth. This decision puts him on a decade long path from welfare rat to experienced military officer. Crushing welfare riots as a foot solider in the Territorial Army, or battling the SRA for off-world real estate is a tough and grueling job. But it’s a walk in the park compared to the dangers Andrew faces when blood thirsty aliens suddenly show up on humanity’s doorstep.

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April One-Liners

Spring has really started to beak through winter, at least in the Northern hemisphere. Let’s celebrate with some of new funny one-liners.

  • “We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down.” — Kurt Vonnegut
  • “Facts are stubborn, but statistics are more pliable.” — Mark Twain
  • “I don’t try to describe the future. I try to prevent it.” — Ray Bradbury
  • “People who throw kisses are hopelessly lazy.” — Bob Hope
  • Your secrets are safe with me, because there’s a good chance I wasn’t listening.
  • I considered being a stay-at-home mom until I realized the kids would be there.
  • Karma means I can rest easy at night knowing all the people I treated badly had it coming.
  • I was going to start my diet next week, but I’ve got too much on my plate.
  • The hardest part of dating a blind woman is getting her husband’s voice right.
  • Everyone has a right to be stupid. Politicians just abuse the privilege.
  • Don’t you wish your life was as interesting as you let on it is on Facebook?
  • Drinking alcoholic beverages before pregnancy can lead to pregnancy.
  • It’s not whether you win or lose, but how you place the blame.
  • The best thing about the good old days is I wasn’t good and I wasn’t old.
  • The ladder of success is difficult to climb with your hands in your pockets.

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