Friday, November 30, 2012

Study Break: War and Profit

Those familiar with my end-of-semester study habits are aware that I enjoy experimenting with a wide variety of study techniques. One which tends to show up about this time of year is study-by-blogging, a process by which I take something I'm trying to learn and turn it into a post for all to see. Sure, it's added pressure if my professors happen to follow me online, but it embeds the information in my brain in a way that flashcards can't compete with. This time, I'm not designing inspirational philosophy posters or personifying historical characters in mock-Facebook chats, nor will I be applying new-found vocabulary to Restaurant City. For this term's study break, I will take a closer look at the board game "Settlers of Catan." Well, three closer looks, to be precise.

Monday, November 26, 2012

I Have a Little Playlist

Christmas is December 25th this year (and every year). But sure enough, as soon as no more holidays stand in the way between the present day and nativity celebration, Christmas music is sure to be played on radios and laptops everywhere. With no Thanksgiving here in the U.K., that means we've been listening to it for weeks. Well, Hanukkah is December 8th this year (the 25th of Kislev, just like every year, my Dad reminds me), which means I say it's about high time we start blasting the Hanukkah music. And I'm not just talking about Hebrew prayers; there's a whole world of Hanukkah pop out there. Presenting: Peacelight's Favorite Hanukkah Tunes, 2012.

When Hanukkah comes early, are Christmas plans foiled?

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Back to Binary

With my Facebook page flooded by classmates posting their schedules, I figured it was only appropriate to reveal mine here. Despite having stayed up past 5am to watch the US presidential election, I was up by 8am Eastern (okay, you caught me; that's like the middle of the afternoon here) to register for courses at Tufts. Whereas in Edinburgh I tell people I'm a "politics" student, my return to Boston will be marked by a fairly dramatic shift back to my other major: computer science. In part to compensate for this semester, and in part to compensate for a late overall start in the field, I'm loading up on a schedule that's 75% informatics, 25% government, and, of course, 95% Tufts Mock Trial. Can you tell I haven't taken math in a few months?

Halligan: Home of Computer Science (and me, most days next semester...)

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

UK Take on US Election

I walked into my politics lecture at 11am, set my bag down beside me, and began to take out a notebook. "Hello everyone," began the professor, "Thank you all for coming out this morning, taking a break from your essays and the US election." Only, this wasn't an American professor, and I wasn't sitting in an American Politics class. I wasn't even in America. This was all taking place at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom. Whether we realize or not, the American election is big news worldwide. So, on the suggestion of my American colleagues, I've set up shop here in Edinburgh to provide live coverage of the US election... as seen by the UK. This will be my first live-blogging experience (I'm a more versed live-tweeter), so get your finger on the refresh button (starting perhaps 6pm EST) and let's see what happens.

Today's BBC homepage is overflowing with US election material

Monday, November 5, 2012

B for Bonfire

You're walking the halls of English Parliament. Little do you realize that under your feet sits 36 barrels of gunpowder, guarded by a man named Guy Fawkes. And he's prepared to blow the place. Such was the case in 1605, on the eve of the Gunpowder Plot, midnight, the fifth of November. But the plot was foiled, Fawkes hanged, and a British celebration born. But was is really so clever for me to be walking through Scottish Parliament on the anniversary of the plot?

Debating Chambers, Scottish Parliament

Thursday, November 1, 2012

It's Bananas

Here's the problem with sharing a kitchen with four other flat-mates, having no minutes on your foreign phone plan, and passing a supermarket on the way home from class every day: Bananas. Last week, my flat-mate and I each independently realized the flat needed more bananas; so we each bought them. The result? One week later, we were staring at 11 over-ripening bananas. What does one do when faced with such fearsome fruit? Rather than go bananas, we came up with a few creative solutions.