Monday, June 30, 2008

Border Raids 2008

This was actually my first trip to Border Raids. It actually wouldn’t have been a bad drive if it hadn’t taken me over an hour just to get through Nashville. Going to and from work I generally have the luxury of taking the most recently expanded freeways, but heading up to Kentucky I wasn’t so lucky.

Friday night was trying. Getting to site and setting up my tent was easy enough, but we had some nasty thunderstorms over night, and I spent a good bit of it awake making sure I didn’t get too much water pooling on top of the tent. There were predictions of similar storms for Saturday, but fortunately they never materialized and the weather was excellent all day and all night.

Theoretically the fencing activities were to start at 10am, and I actually did get my armor and equipment inspected then, but because some of the heavy fighters on both sides intended to switch equipment and play in the fencing battles, too, we actually delayed the fencing activities until the heavy battles were over. We Meridiens spent the time bearing water for the heavy field.

Things could have gone better on the heavy field. Our kingdom has plenty of great fighters, but not many great fighting units. Our heavies tend to fight as a bunch of individuals seeking to win the battle with personal heroics, while the Midrealm fields more of an organized army with a coherent plan. Consequently, we didn’t do well in the field battles, while our fighters did well in the Champions tournament that was held later.

On the fencing field, the situation was much different. We had a lot of experienced fencers on the field, and most of us have fought as a unit in field battles at Gulf Wars. The Midrealm side, on the other hand, had a lot of pretty new fighters, although they did have a unit that practiced together. All the same, we dominated the fencing field and won our two out of three rounds in quick succession to secure the war point. Lord Feodor also won his fight in the Champions Tournament.

Following the war point activities, we had a charity tournament for the Sarah Cannon Cancer Center. Together the light and heavy tourneys raised $590. Lord Tristram won the fencing prize (a spiffy baldric made by Feodor).

Their Majesties and Highnesses of both the Midrealm and Meridies held a combined court Saturday evening, and King Lutr of the Midrealm has a rather pleasant custom for his courts; he has an intermission in which food and drinks are served (including brats and beer at this event).

Taddea and I held an improvised dance that night. Not a huge turnout, but not bad for something that was never on the schedule.

I’ll see about posting some of my pictures from the event. I didn’t take them myself, but a lovely young lady at the fencing field was kind enough to put my camera to some use for me.

Edit: Pictures added. Alas, all of them are from the fencing field, since the camera's battery ran out there.

Monday, June 23, 2008

To the Pain

Silly, silly, silly...

I like silly.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Some Overdue Pictures

These are from Kingdom A&S and War College.

Laws and Theories

There’s a misconception among people who are not scientists or science enthusiasts that a scientific law is somehow superior to a scientific theory, as if a law is “proven” while a theory is just an educated guess. Apparently people confuse a theory with a hypothesis, which really is a guess based on the available facts (it doesn’t help that “theory” has the same meaning as “hypothesis” in common use). Hypotheses that withstand rigorous testing can go on to become theories, but there is no equivalent “upgrade” from theory to law. There is no such thing as a theory or law that is “proven true”; there are only theories and laws that are consistent with the evidence.

A theory, then, is an explanation for some observed phenomenon that fits all the known facts. It is quite possible for more than one theory to explain a particular phenomenon; that’s where the principle of parsimony or “Occam’s Razor” comes into play. Basically, this principle says that any component of the theory that isn’t absolutely necessary to explain the phenomenon doesn’t belong in the theory.

The most blatant example of how laws are not superior to theories is Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity, which supersedes Newton’s Laws of Motion. Einstein’s Theory or Newton’s Laws both describe the motion of matter, and either can do the job well most of the time, but Newton’s Laws are usually easier to use: the math is just simpler to do. However, Einstein’s Theory is actually more accurate, especially in unusual situations, such as when an object is moving extremely quickly (as in “approaching the speed of light” quickly).

Keep this in mind the next time you hear someone try to dismiss a scientific theory as “only a theory” (a very popular phrase among pseudo-scientists and anti-scientists).

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Brief K A&S Update

Kingdom A&S was hot. Really hot. Cooking in your own juices hot. We elected to drive home in the wee hours rather than endure sleeping another night in the heat. Fate approved of our choice, since the power went out at the event site, causing the evening ball to be canceled.

Villanella scored 17/20. Not bad for its first time out. There were video recorders on the scene, so I will link to video when it becomes available. Once I manage to get the right USB cable, I will also upload my own pictures.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Kingdom Arts & Sciences

Gotta post something, even if I haven't got pictures from last event up yet (I appear to have thr wrong USB cable for my camera).

So, I'll be at Kingdom A&S this weekend. I have a performing arts entry, which is a collaboration with Lady Juliana Eileen ingen David, who has researched and arranged the music for the dance I'll be performing, Villanella. She will also be performing the music live for us on her harp. Having practiced to some of her playing, I'm not-so-gently nudging her to record an album of dance music.

KA&S is going to be a busy time for me. I generally don't plan on doing any fencing at major A&S events, but this time I have the Iron Ring of Meridies, and I think I would be remiss to go to a big event and not give some people a shot at it, so I'm planning to armor up early to provide those opportunities. I'll have to leave the field by about 11:00, though, so I can get cleaned up and go to my first-ever Order of the Velvet Owl meeting. After that, there's the Saltare Guild meeting, followed by a few hours of practice before the performing arts competition, in which I'm lucky enough to have Lady Ginevra Brembati as my dance partner.

It'll be hectic day.