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October 31, 2005

Free lecture on terrorism and U.S. desperation - Kwantlen Chronicle

International politics is about to become a lot more clear for students at Kwantlen University College.

Gwynne Dyer, journalist and military annalist, is returning to Kwantlen to deliver a free lecture titled Back to the Great Game.

Dyer will speak about an overblown fear of terrorism since 9/11, how – in reaction to China’s booming economy – the neo-conservatives running the United States of America are desperate to preserve its superpower status and of what this means for the United Nations and international law.

Seldom is there an event that can fill the conference centres at Kwantlen, but Dyer, who holds a Ph.D. in war studies from the University of London, does just that.

Students and non-students alike packed the hall at Kwantlen’s Richmond campus last year to hear Dyer lecture about the state of international politics.

Last year’s lecture was held just around the time Dyer released Future: Tense, his book telling of the coming world order. This year, Dyer has released a new book, With Every Mistake, which looks at the post-9/11 world and how media owners are moulding the agenda of the press.

Born in Newfoundland in 1943, Dyer entered the Canadian navy at age 17, later serving in both the American and British navies. He has taught war studies at both the Canadian Forces College in Toronto and at the Royal Military Academy in Sandhurst, England, and worked as a broadcast and freelance journalist.

With a syndicated column appearing regularly in nearly 200 newspapers, published in a dozen languages in more than 40 countries, Dyer is a world renowned personality.

To give an example of the acclaim Dyer has received, an episode from his 1980, seven-part television series, War – made in collaboration with fellow writer/producer Tina Viljoen – was nominated for an Academy Award.

Dyer’s articles on international affairs, dating back to 1997, are available on his website, GwynneDyer.net.

The lecture is being held on Monday, Nov. 21, in the conference centres at the Richmond and Surrey campuses, from 10:30 a.m. to noon and from 2 to 4 p.m., respectively. Anyone wanting to attend can book seats by sending an email, specifying one campus or the other, to Sue Doucette at Sue.Doucette@Kwantlen.ca.

Gaming relief for stressing students - Kwantlen Chronicle

Day in and day out, some Kwantlen students force themselves to carry an academic load that is far too heavy for their own well-being, crushing morale and squashing even the strongest resolve, eventually leading to a not-so-scholarly burial, in a grade-point-average sort of way.

If this sounds like you, stop and be glad, for I have an answer that may help you to decompress from the mass of homework stacking up around your grave: online video games.

I’ve been an addicted gamer for years, so trust me, I have some expertise in this field that can help you.

I’m not suggesting for you to follow in my footsteps and develop your own gaming addiction – I nearly missed deadline for this article because of my own – so letting it come to that might not be in your best interests. I don’t want to get you addicted; I want to use my problem to help you with yours.

First, in attempt to practice responsible journalism, I offer you this advice: If you think you’re succumbing to a gamerism problem, check out some of the online addiction resources at the Canadian government webpage www.healthservices.gov.bc.ca/mhd.

With my disclaimer out of the way, I can tell you how to find some mind-numbing cyber games that’ll help you lessen the pain of your studies.

If you want the real good stuff it’s best to pay the big bucks, but if you’re not too picky you can find what you’ll need for free.

It’s not always as easy as clicking a link. You might need to install a plug-in for your web browser or even download an application to use as the game’s interface. Don’t worry too much about this, though; the game’s website should guide you through the process easily enough. Once you’ve gotten passed this little hurdle it’s smooth, sweet gaming.

Perhaps the most addictive online game I’ve come across is poker.

There are many websites specializing in poker. Virtually all of them have real-money games, limited free games and require a download of some sort or another. Choosing one from the bunch can be time-consuming, considering all the installing and uninstalling of software. What we’re really after is a game that isn’t going to limit us to only a few thousand practice dollars for all time, otherwise, when the play bucks run out, the temptation to pull out the credit card and charge into the real thing might be more than we can bear, and that probably wouldn’t end in a happy, decompressing experience.

Go straight to www.interpoker.net. There are limits to the amount of practice money you can get per hour, but at least you won’t have to go and recreate a user account each time your bank roll runs out. Download the software, sign up as a user and play to your heart’s content.

Poker aside, all some people will need is a simple classic like Pac Man, first released by Midway Games about 25 years ago. It doesn’t take much to set up, it’s not complex and it’s a quick cure for the shakes when a big craving hits unexpectedly. Best of all, it can be played on almost any computer and it’s found all over the net. One of the easiest ways to play the game is via the Java applet launched at www.pacman.freeonlinegames.com.

If you remember playing Pac Man when it first stormed the video-game scene in 1980, you’ll probably get a thrill out of revisiting Q*bert, developed by Gottlieb.

Q*bert is an orange, alien-looking head with skinny little legs and a sucker for a nose. It bounces around a three-dimensional game board avoiding falling objects and springing snakes. For a quick fix visit the online-game portal at www.yahoo.com.

Game portals are a great place to look when trying to get an easy, cheap fix, so long as you can stand the advertisements. Other than the two mentioned above, Yahoo and Free Online Games, one of the best portals I’ve found is the Electronic Arts site www.pogo.com.

Pogo has a variety of live multiplayer games, such as chess or billiards, and single player ones, such as Word Womp, where you have to unscramble letters to form words. Pogo can even help you ease any building tension with its Knock Out Kings Web Boxing.

Those who like the strategy of chess will probably also take an interest in a couple other games. There’s Klaus Teuber’s Settlers of Catan, at www.catan.jsettlers.com. In this one you play live with other players in a race to dominate an island by trading resources to set up towns and roads.

A similar game of expansion, and my personal favourite, is the online adaptation of the strategy game Risk. There may be no better free online game in existence. You’ll need to download the small program from the stockade at www.missionrisk.com. Once you have this baby set up you’ll be hooked and pulling late nights far too often.

If downloading isn’t too big a hassle for you, try to get a couple of the more popular games available at www.pcworld.com, such as DopeWars 2.2 or the Quake III demo.

DopeWars is an addictive simulation of the drug trade. Through what is mostly a static, graphic interface, you can buy low and sell high on the road to making millions, just like a stock trader.

If you need more action buzzing across your screen, take the plunge and download Quake. It’s a first-person shooter where you blast through a three-dimensional world, doing away with your opponents using futuristic weapons.

If you’re more like me and love reading fat fantasy novels, go download a multi-user-dimension client like MudMagic (www.mudmagic.com) and get right into the world of fantasy, text-based style.

Once you’ve downloaded it, you can create a character with different magical and warring abilities at any of a number of MUDs. Two of the more popular ones are found at www.achaea.com and www.lusternia.com.

Careful though, you may never leave your computer again.