specularium

Rebel Physics

Peter J. Carroll

Latest Blog Post

  • Keep Calm and Carry On.

    On what we will remember as Independence Day I voted very early, cast my final spells, and later adjourned to my cabin in cyberpurdah in Wales for a long weekend, hence my lack of early response to the amazing result.

    So much of what I heard on the radio sounded like hysteria, sour grapes, denial, or triumphalism, none of it helpful. Politicians and financial markets all stand guilty of over-reaction, but this will pass.

    Enough of the British People came forward and simply put Democracy itself before their short term economic interests.

    And this despite the frenzied predictions of Project Fear and hollow threats from the EU.

    Britain taught the world Democracy, Britain had the first revolution, it put a king’s ‘divine right’ to the axe and invested sovereignty not in a sovereign but in a Parliamentary Democracy, and as a result it has never fallen under Dictatorship.

    Thus it seems fitting that Britain should have struck the first serious blow against Synarchy, the continental European delusion that we should hand over government to a largely unelected self-selected clique of people who think they know best.

    To the younger people of Britain the Remain campaign made a strong pitch to conflate European culture with European politics. This seemed basically dishonest, whilst European cultures contain much to delight us all, European politics has become disfigured with a Synarchist agenda that plainly doesn’t work and has The Totalitarianism of the Centre as its final federal objective.

    Hopefully the EU will now start to disintegrate and become replaced by a limited number of sensible agreements between sovereign democratic nations, each pursuing their own unique contribution to European culture(s), rather than striving for some ghastly vision of Synarchist Monoculture.

    To the Scots the SNP made the basically dishonest pitch of ‘The Auld Alliance’ once again, siding with continental European power against the English & Welsh merely to increase its regional bargaining power. This didn’t work in the Scottish referendum, most Scots realised that divorcing from the UK and getting fully into bed with the EU and adopting the euro didn’t actually look like a very attractive proposition at all.

    Britain now needs to show Europe what a free democratic nation can do.

    So Keep Calm and Carry On.

    The only thing worse than Democracy is every other system ever tried – Winston Churchill.  

    Written on Tuesday, 28 June 2016 18:33 in Blog Read 736 times

Latest Games Post

  • Favorite Games

    Herewith a list of games that have particularly intrigued me over the years, some remain in print, some you can find easily on the net, others remain personal creations or in development. Games have made a considerable contribution to my thinking since an early age, not perhaps as much as books, yet interesting games function a bit like a books, and not only do they have a stories to tell in their structures but you can evolve stories as you play them or adapt them.

    Careers. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Careers_(board_game) I came across this at about age 12. I knew little about the world in those unsophisticated times and attended a grammar school where the English Master (a wily and provocative old cove) would occasionally announce ‘You are here to be educated as clerks, like your fathers’. Fortunately the school also had a science department, although nobody had a clue what you could do with a science education except become a science teacher. The school gave no career advice, it assumed you would either take one of the plentiful clerical jobs available at the time, or go to university and think of something whilst there. The game of Careers thus seemed an astonishing eye opener. Choose Wealth, Happiness, or Fame, join a whole series of professions, buy a yacht, in short; choose an Identity! All this seemed to sit in my subconscious till the mid-1970s, an era of plenty when career-anxiety seemed to give way to the search for personal identity in my peer group. I guess that I have always looked at life as a sort of board game. A lot of the assumptions built into the Careers game now seem simplistic but eventually it would perhaps have some influence over what I wrote in EPOCH, but more of that in a following article.

    The Game of Nations. This came out in the 1970’s to model the then current oil crisis. Players control abstract Middle –Eastern oil producing territories and vie to get wealth that they can spend on oil extraction, tankers, and pipelines, or on taking over adjoining territories. The game system does not involve dice but it does have uncertainties built in with event cards. Players can buy Politicians, Secret Agents, Monarchs, Dictators, and Guerrillas in an attempt to subvert or conquer additional territories. Today we should perhaps consider adding Theocrats as well, and making the map less abstract and updating the events cards.

    The Russians currently seem to play a strong hand in Syria. The West has perhaps made a mistake in supporting the ‘moderate’ rebels. Both sides need Iranian cooperation and support but if the Iranians come out of this on top then all hell may break loose if they go head to head with the Saudis.

     Diplomacy. This classic game of early 20th Century European alliances represents one of the few games which model WW1 in an interesting way. Apart from the naval battle of Jutland the battles of WW1 mainly got settled by terrible attrition rather than by interesting tactics and manoeuvres. In Diplomacy we see the bigger picture as nations make secret alliances and agreements off board and then simultaneously reveal their strategies to see what results. Historians argue constantly about the causes of WW1, but in this model scenario, war seems virtually inevitable if the game represents the actual diplomatic system of the time. The game however does really need 5 or more players, but you can play it over many days with perhaps a move a day, and with secret diplomatic notes passed around at tea and lunch breaks.

    Axis & Allies. The basic Axis & Allies game models WW2 from after it has started and Japan has attacked Hawaii and the Germans have attacked Russia. It can accommodate five players but it works well with just two. Basically it works a bit like the simple strategy game of ‘Risk!’ where you get extra forces for conquering more territory, however the forces consist of various types of land, sea, and air units which makes it far more detailed and engaging. Subsequent versions have striven for yet more detail and realism. The initial game suffered from the structural quirk that Japanese commanders with any sense should disengage quickly from the pacific and attack Russia in the east, thus virtually ensuring an Axis economic victory. However for historical reasons, notably the Nomonhan Incident, the Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact and an Oil Embargo, they adopted a Pacific strategy. The critical role of oil supply in WW2 does not seem well reflected in the basic rules.

    Buck Rogers – Battle for the 25th Century. This quirky game never became very popular but you can get second-hand versions quite easily. It has an Axis and Allies type strategic structure but set in the inner solar system with spaceships and spacefaring troops disputing the control of Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, the Asteroids and various orbital facilities. It has the extraordinary feature of a variable geometry board. The Planets move around the Sun and you need to plan spacecraft trips accordingly. The basic game has some complications that I don’t find worthwhile; I have preferred to adapt the rules to make it more like Axis & Allies and also to use the Risk 2210 sci-fi pieces to provide more choices of troop type. 

    Discworld. Ankh-Morepork. Something extraordinary happened here and then a tragedy occurred. Perhaps by some happy chance a really good game got cobbled together in Ankh-Morepork, (two attempts to make sequels to it fell badly flat) but then after the death of Sir Terry Pratchett something went wrong with the rights and the publishers had to stop making it. Sets can now fetch several hundred pounds. The game has a bit of everything, it seems a bit like turbo-monopoly with assassination and magic, although amassing property may not necessarily win you the game because you don’t know which characters your opponents play. It works best with four players and it contains enough randomness and pageantry from the books to make it surprising and enjoyable for aficionados and beginners.

    Space Raid.  Interstellar board game design presents two major problems, firstly how to represent 3D space on a 2D board, and secondly how to allow for the vast distances and speeds involved. The designer needs to invoke or invent some reasonably credible but as yet undiscovered physics.

    In designing Space Raid, I opted for sheets of black board with numbered or named stars on them joined by pale green lines representing possible jump routes between them of lengths of up to a few parsecs, to produce a sort of spider web or network of jump routes with the stars at the nodes and with most stars connected to between 2 and 4 others by jump routes. On the board the jump routes have different apparent lengths to represent the reality of the stars not all lying in exactly the same plane, but perhaps lying in the thickness of the plane of a spiral galaxy.

    The starships move using (hypothetical) gravity focussing devices. By focussing the gravity drive exclusively on a nearby star, a ship accelerates towards it and achieve an immense velocity fairly quickly.  It then performs a slingshot manoeuvre around the star and as it hurtles away it uses the gravity focussing drive to brake against the star to eventually bring itself more or less to rest around another nearby star. Thus each time a ship makes a jump it leaves one star system, hurtles through another without stopping, and ends up in a third. Two further quirks of relativistically dubious speculative physics also occur in this scenario, initiating a jump sends out a non-local gravitational hyperwake through the system so all ships know when another has jumped, but not to where, plus all jumps take a very similar amount of time, irrespective of differing distances.

    Rather conveniently this leads to the situation where all ships on both sides can jump simultaneously but commanders don’t know the destinations of their opponent’s ships. So both sides secretly write down the next destinations of their ships and then both reveal them and move their ships and see if any have arrived at the same star systems, in which case combat begins. Plus ships passing through a star system in the middle part of their two star jump have such an enormous velocity that interception and combat remain impossible, however they can deploy kinetic energy weapons in passing, basically dropping rocks on very large targets like planets to create massive devastation. No defence exists against this except to intercept them well before they get within jump range of a star system with a base or colony on one of its planets. This does not seem unreasonable, the capacity for flight soon brought with it the capacity to wreck entire cities; the capacity of interstellar travel would probably bring with it the capacity to wreck entire planets. Players may agree to a treaty forbidding such tactics, or a severe loss of victory points if they break it.

    When opposing starships end up in the same system they can attempt to engage or evade each other using a variety of sensors, cloaking devices, and evasive tactics, force shields, particle beam weapons, and missiles. Each ship has a variety of factors for these and duelling proceeds through the use of asymmetric combat polygons. Ships can also exchange fire with orbital bases or with planetary bases.

    Written on Monday, 22 February 2016 14:34 in Games Read 907 times

Featured Articles...

  • Default
  • Title
  • Date
  • Random
  • Elements.

    I recall an old cartoon joke which depicts a pair of ancient Greeks standing before a Doric column on which one had just carved

    Read More
  • Semester 4 of our 7th glorious year begins TODAY on Arcanorium College. www.arcanoriumcollege.com  You can join up for it anytime this week.

    Semester 4, 11th

    Read More
  • Having recieved initiation into the most august of western esotericism's linneages on my birthday at full moon in the year of my second saturn return,

    Read More
  • Firstly a number of interesting items from some of my friends and colleagues: -

    Dave Lee’s new novel, The Road to Thule. A rollicking tale of

    Read More
  • Arcanorium College announces its program for Semsters 6 and 7. www.arcanoriumcollege.com

    Semester 6. Jun 15th - Jul 28th
    Pete, Elder Gods
    Hyperritual, Measuring Magic

    Semester 7.

    Read More
  • Herewith the Necronomicom Wand and Pentachoron instruments used to earth the forthcoming Chaos Necronomicon section of EPOCH, the Esotericon and Portals of Chaos.

    The Wand

    Read More
  • The theory and practice of magic seems to have undergone two major periods of revolution and revival in the last couple of centuries, the first

    Read More
  • The two courses of Semester 6 start on  http://www.arcanoriumcollege.com/ very soon, members can commence participation anytime during the first weeks.

    Semester 6, Jun 6th -Jul 16th

    Sorror

    Read More
  • Smokin

    Having campaigned so ferociously for punitive taxation on tobacco, anti-smoking propaganda, and legal bans on its public use, the British Medical Association should express

    Read More
  • I've been asked for a few more words about the Apophenia course just beginning on www.arcanoriumcollege.com which you can join anytime this week, so here

    Read More
  • The EU has taken its first Political Prisoners, elected Greek politicians from the Golden Dawn party.

    (Incidentally there seems no connection whatever between the Greek

    Read More
  • Saturday and off to Glastonbury for the Book of Baphomet book launch. Decided to go a bit early and inspect glasto itself, it has rather

    Read More
  • Liber Pactionis, my original founding document of the Pact lies in the public domain as does its sucessor document 'The Book'. Thus I place this document in

    Read More
  • Apophenia’s Official Birthday.

    On this little rock circling a nondescript star in an unfashionable spiral arm of our galaxy Apophenia’s Official Birthday happens tomorrow, Thursday

    Read More
  • Gnostic Marathon.

    Friday evening and I arrive at a secret location and meet people whose identities I have oathed not to reveal, for a semi-surprise

    Read More
  • Organised Chaos

    Imagine that you wished to establish a magical order so that people could come together to practise and explore a new type of

    Read More
  • Judgement Day, a review, but first its Frogmass!

    Spring officially began this last weekend by Chaoist reckoning, for that’s when the pond at Chateaux Chaos

    Read More
  • Following some email exchanges I present some further thoughts on the Hyperspin Eight Dimensional hypothesis of fundamental particles. Fundamental particle physics strikes me as important

    Read More
  • The Perfect Cosmological Principle.

    Copernicus overturned the Ptolemaic astronomical assumption that the earth lay at the centre of the universe, and did, like the other

    Read More
  • Ah, first 3 surfs of the year down in the Gower over easter, some nice big ones up to 6 foot on Monday, water still rather

    Read More
  • After a hard days slaving over esoteric and scientific texts in search of the secrets and equations of the universe I sometimes like to do

    Read More
  • A weekend in Scotland.

    Firstly we go to Inverness for a Kilt fitting for the impending wedding of my eldest.

    ‘Take the Flower of Scotland

    Read More
  • Arcanorium College, the world's foremost Cyber-Academy for the magical arts, begins its eighth glorious year on September 30th, 2013.

    Semester 1 will include:

    Chaos Monasticism

    Read More
  •  

    I note with great joy the enormously deserved death of the News of the World 'newspaper'.

    Gerald Suster (he was a friend and colleague)

    Read More
  • Animageos - the visual equivalent of anonymous, pronounced An-imar-gus , and meaning not having your image in the public domain, rather like Banksy.

    In these times of

    Read More
  • Reviews by Shade Oroboros

    The Apophenion: A Chaos Magic Paradigm by Peter J. Carroll,
    Mandrake 2008, 160 pages, illustrated,
    footnoted and indexed.


     In the wide

    Read More
  • So Peter Higgs (along with Belgian Francois Englert) gets a Nobel Prize for predicting the Higgs Boson. At least dear old Peter Higgs will probably

    Read More
  • Firstly, Hail Dave!

    Prime Minister UK, David Cameron, who has always seemed like a decent sort of chap and done nothing stupid so far, displays

    Read More
  • http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-205_162-57494899/the-suns-strange-shape-revealed/

    'the sun is slightly too round to agree with our understanding of its rotation'
    The above article covers recent space based observations of the
    Read More
  • Following a number of heated debates with my eldest who has gone native after marrying a fine Scot, I've taken a lot more notice of

    Read More
  • I remain unconvinced by the possible sniff of the Higgs at Cern. If they have found that they can make something fleeting which decays into a

    Read More
  • Screw the EU

    UKIP have made a good showing at the local council elections in the UK. Nobody really wants UKIP local councillors as such;

    Read More
  • Please say NO to AV in the UK on May 5th.

    It will result in the Libdems getting more seats as everyone understands. The UK

    Read More
  • With the completion of the latest Knights of Chaos campaign all qualifying survivors have started to place their armorial crests in the Knight's Hall at Arcanorium

    Read More
  • Seasonal Greetings for the Mayan end of the world on 21/12/12, and for the festive season thereafter on 25 th December to mark the birthdays

    Read More
load more hold SHIFT key to load all load all