All Female X-men

All Female X-Men

In April a new X-Men comic will be released that features an all female cast. This has been claimed by some to be a step in the right direction with regards to the way women are portrayed in comics. Having this all female team is meant to be progressive and show that the superheroes are not just for boys. I don’t think this is the case, both in terms of it being a step in the right direction and that the comic genre is somehow lacking enough in terms of strong female presences to warrant a team of nothing but women.

I can think of two ways you could arrive at a team of only women. You can ether set out from the start with that in mind or it can arise naturally during the construction process. For me there is a world of difference between setting out to make a team of only A and setting out to make a team that ends up being made of only A.

Without reading the issue I can’t say which camp this falls into, but it seems like the former case, and people are certainly talking about it as if that were the situation. What I’ve found that I don’t agree with is that some people are talking about it being constructed purposefully to be female only as if that were a good thing. Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on February 4, 2013 in Blog, Comics


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Why The Universe Isn’t Soup

My friend Pete Hague recently answered a question on his blog regarding whether you can touch dark matter. He gave a good, basic explanation using coulomb’s law and then directed people towards me for a fuller solution. So here it is.

As Pete quite rightly explained, the coulomb repulsion of electrons stops atoms from getting too close to each other thus giving the feeling of solidness to objects, but before you even consider bringing atoms together you run into a problem bringing their constituents together.


If you want to build hydrogen you need a proton and an electron. The negative electron orbits the positive proton and you have an atom. The problem is that everyday experience tells us that the positive-negative attraction would just pull them together until they were touching, leaving no stable structure to the universe. But the experience we have turn out to be just a large scale effect, and at the quantum level things work differently.

In the quantum mechanics of atoms the energies that the bound electrons can have can only take certain values in an analogous way to the strings in a piano only being able to play certain notes. Theses energies in a basic atom are given roughly by

E_{n} = \frac{-Z^{2}e^{4}m_{e}}{32\pi^{2}\epsilon_{0}^{2}\hbar^{2}n^{2}} = -13.6\frac{Z^{2}}{n^{2}} \text{ eV},

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Posted by on January 8, 2013 in Blog


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2012 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 8,800 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 15 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Posted by on December 31, 2012 in Blog


Setting up a TF2 server

After the launch of the Mann vs. Machine game mode in TF2 (that I blogged about here) I decided to try and set up my on TF2 server in the hope of being able to play without having to wait in line with everyone else. I eventually got a server running and was able to play with a few of my friends, but it wasn’t an easy process as all the information to do it was either badly written, fragmented over multiple different websites or seemed to require a lot of prior knowledge.

After getting it to work I decided to write my own guide here for people who want to do the same thing but who, like me, had never really messed around with servers and IP’s and ports before. So detailed below are the steps I took to get a TF2 server running on Windows 7.

Be warned: What I describe here is what I did to get my server working, I make no guarantees and take no responsibility for things going wrong or breaking due to the steps given here. However feel free to comment or ask questions if you are unsure about anything and I’ll do my best to answer them or alter the guide accordingly.

1. Creating a Static IP

2. Port Forwarding

3. Getting the Server Software

4. Setting up a Config File & Running the Server

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Posted by on August 19, 2012 in Blog


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Mann vs. Machine

Team Fortress 2’s new co-op mode Mann vs. Machine is aptly named, however it’s not the hordes of robots that people have been having the most trouble with but rather the Valve servers.

The new game mode pits a team of up to 6 people against waves of robots based off the 9 classes, and from what little I’ve managed to play of it so far it seems like a really fun new match. Having 6 players works well, it’s enough that you can play around with lots of different tactics and configurations, and small enough that you really feel like a team; more so that in the usual team matches. The 6 player limit is also the new modes major downfall.

For the past couple of day people have been trying desperately to get into matches and have had most of their efforts met with failure. My friend Pete has a TF2 server which he updated for us to play the new game mode in. He tweeted at me as soon as the server was running the new maps and by the time I’d joined it was already full. Trying to join using the new team queuing system puts you in a list behind a few hundred to a thousand other people who are all waiting for a space to open up somewhere and gives you a depressing countdown till you’re likely to be in a match. Last night it barely dipped below 70 minutes. The best way in seems to be to just keep refreshing the server list and frantically clicking on any MvM games with less than 6 people, but this doesn’t lend itself to playing with people you know as the odds of you both making it into the same match without the using the team queuing system are slim. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on August 16, 2012 in Blog


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Still Not Found My Perfect Film Batman

Warning: Here Be Spoilers

I’ve recently seen The Dark Knight Rises (TDKR) and I thought it was a great film and a good continuation of the current run of Batman films. Most of the characters and story were brilliant and Bane stole the show as one of the most imposing and threatening villains I can think of.

Most comic book fans will know that the film version of Bane is different from the comic one; he’s been adapted for the Nolanverse. The core ideals of the character are still there though, he’s strong, he’s smart and he broke the bat [1]. I have no problems with the changes they made to Bane, but the film did bring to light some changes to characters that I do have a problem with, namely Batman and Alfred. Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on July 25, 2012 in Films, Review


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MMOs Part 1

I’ve always been interested by MMOs, but every time one had come along that looked amazing enough to get me to saddle up ready for an adventure I was always stopped by the first unreasonably large boss, and its name was always Price. But now, armed with my free-to-play sword and my shield of micro-transactions I’ve been able to finally slay the Price demon and begin my quest proper [1].

Champions Online ★★★★☆

Champions Online was the first MMO I played and I got into it because its transition from subscription to free-to-play was advertised heavily on Steam. The main theme of the game is superheroes, and being a huge comic book fan I thought it’d be a good way to get into MMOs and so I gave it a go, and 50+ hours later I’ve not looked back. Rather than having different races like other MMOs, Champions has 10 different classes of powers you can specialise in (with another 12 available for paying members) and along with your costume there is an insane amount of customisation that you can get lost in before you’ve even started playing. You can really go to town on your character and give them the exact look and feel you want. The game itself has a unique visual style that works very well with the comic book inspired theme and the different regions of the game world are detailed and unique. There are lots of missions to do and lots of areas to explore (although some are only available to higher level players), however I have heard that there are only just enough missions to progress, so that eventually you have to do all of them. So far I’ve always had a good surplus of missions but maybe when I get towards the higher levels I’ll find that they start to run out. The only downside to the game is that it can feel quite grindy at times, but I think that’s something you just have to accept with most MMOs. If you’re a fan of comic book superheroes then Champions Online is well worth a try. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on July 6, 2012 in Games, Review


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