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Anthony Gurr VancouverOn Saturday, May 23rd, the Vancouver Sun newspaper published an opinion piece written by Andrew Cohen called “Should We Adopt the Danish Way of Life?”. He wrote about how their society provides free tuition for students who decide to study  at university. Graduate students are also given a  salary if they study for a Master’s or a Doctoral degree. I almost dropped my coffee mug when I read those facts! What an enlightened approach to provide a university education to everyone that wants one! I have always believed that people who want to attend college or university to further themselves should not have to carry massive loads of debt in the process.  As a graduate student, you commit yourself to several years of specialized coursework and training about how to conduct research and engage in academic writing. The research thesis is the final test. It’s a demanding, rigourous assignment that isn’t for the faint hearted. Paying graduate students a salary is not only generous, it shows an appreciation and understanding of the commitment they’re making to their course of studies. Educated people are a society’s most valuable resource.

I was moved to write a letter to the editor about Cohen’s op-ed piece. Imagine my surprise to see it published in today’s edition of the Sun. You can read my letter here:

Canada Could do More for its Graduate Students

I think this passage from Chaucer’s literary masterpiece The Canterbury Tales sums up my thoughts about being a graduate student:

Yet, and for all he was philosopher,
He had but little gold within his coffer;
But all that he might borrow from a friend
On books and learning he would swiftly spend,
And then he’d pray right busily for the souls
Of those who gave him wherewithal for schools.
Of study took he utmost care and heed.
Not one word spoke he more than was his need;
And that was said in fullest reverence
And short and quick and full of high good sense.

Doctor ArkanoidDoctor Arkanoid


<Tweet> Sitting at my PC!

<Tweet tweet> Logging into my WordPress blog!

<Tweet tweet tweet> Reading some comments about how cool my blog is!

< SQUUAAWWCCKK> Ashton Kutcher is a ding dong! Brittany Spears eats twinkies!

If you read my March post To the Twittersphere! And Beyond!, then you know that I originally pleaded ‘mea culpa’ as the evil mastermind who brainwashed the minds of Twitter’s creators with my evil Super Nintendo games when they just kids.

Well, I think I went too far and unleashed a monster! A social media Frankenstein!

Oh the horror! Oh the humanity! Oh the….<Tweet! Tweet!>

Doctor ArkanoidDoctor Arkanoid

Disclaimer – one or two of the following videos contains language and suggestive scenes that may or may not cause your hair to fall out, your  eyes to pop out of their sockets, or generally offend your sensibilities 🙂

Doctor Arkanoid is back in the lab and he’s ready to party!

Pac ManI just completed a BIG step yesterday in the continuing quest to finish my M.A. thesis in Educational Technology at SFU by submitting a final draft of the research proposal to my graduate supervisor who is currently in China either jet skiing on the Yangtze River, or bungee jumping off the Three Gorges Dam. You never can tell with these tenured professors! It’s fair to say that I’ve spent months researching and writing this proposal, so I feel like celebrating.

(Takes out a 1981 Buckner & Garcia album and inserts it into the jukebox)

So come on everyone! I’ve got Pac Man Fever and it’s driving me crazy!

Hey! This party is just getting started! It’s time to Do The Donkey Kong!

Yo Yo Yo! Wassssuuuuppppp? Video Game Song in dah Howz! Break it down!

Alright then! Time for some theatre sports! Here’s a wickedly funny parody about the Nintendo Wii from the Los Angeles based improvisational group Fries on the Side.

Doctor ArkanoidDoctor Arkanoid

AllianceThis week the good doctor observed that not one – but two – stories about video games caught the attention of national news media in Canada and the United States. The media frequently reports about video games and the the game development industry. Seeing two titles make the national news on the same day is a bit unusual and deserves special mention.

On Thursday morning, May 7th,  CBC Newsworld aired a two minute video segment on their website that discussed medical researchers studying the Corrupted Blood incident in World of Warcraft to learn about human behaviour in a simulated pandemic (Note: Could it be they listened to Doctor Arkanoid this past Monday on CBC Radio in Vancouver? Hmmm…)

CBC Newsworld Corrupted Blood

Six Days in FallujahIf you visit this blog regularly, then you’ll know that in Power Up 4! and Power Up 7!, I wrote about Konami Digital Entertainment cancelling the development of their upcoming video game Six Days in Fallujah, developed by Atomic Games in North Carolina. The title is based on the battle for this Iraqi town that happened in 2004.  Veterans who served in the Iraq War from the United Kingdom and the United States voiced their concerns about making a game based on this recent military event. The story was originally reported in Japan by the Asahi Shimbun newspaper. On Thursday evening, May 7th, ABC World News broadcast a feature about the game and the controversy surrounding it.

ABC News Six Days in Fallujah

I find it interesting to see how one story presents a video game as being helpful to medical research; the other game is presented as insensitive to the emotions and experiences of veterans from the Iraq War. I don’t think the game review editor from IGN was a particularly good choice for that interview, but I’ll cover that in a future article.

Doctor ArkanoidDoctor Arkanoid

HakkarYesterday afternoon (May 4th), the CBC Radio program ‘On the Coast‘ aired a ten minute segment about virtual pandemics in video games and how they’re being studied by epidemiologists to learn about how people behave (or misbehave) during a large scale viral outbreak. The segment focused on the infamous Corrupted Blood incident  in World of Warcraft that took place September, 2005, when the troll city of Zul’Gurub was opened up and players faced off against the winged primal serpent god Hakkar. Thanks to a programming bug with animal pets used by the hunter class, players returned to their home cities infected with Hakkar’s Corrupted Blood spell. The result was a rampaging plague that killed millions of players across many servers. Blizzard Entertainment tried to set up quarantine zones; however, many players ignored them and deliberately infected others. This event provided an extraordinary opportunity for medical researchers to study how people behaved during an unexpected virtual pandemic.

CBC Radio invited the good doctor to join the discussion and share his extensive knowledge of Azeroth’s diseases. You can listen to the segment here:

CBC Radio Digital Flu

Doctor ArkanoidDoctor Arkanoid

Disclaimer: If you play World of Warcraft and are in league with the Horde, then don’t read this story. Of course, who said the Horde could read?

If you’re a PROUD member of the GLORIOUS and NOBLE ALLIANCE, then you know Azeroth isn’t exactly the healthiest place to live. It’s bad enough that the goblin and gnome engineers are constantly trying to one up each other in the “Who can build the biggest, baddest explosive devices” department. And don’t get me started about the deathknights and warlocks tossing about disease afflictions and summoning creatures that leave bits and pieces of themselves on the streets of Stormwind trade square! But when it comes to filth and pestilence, no one beats the HORDE for living in wretched squalor and unhygienic conditions! So it won’t surprise anyone that a SWINE FLU EPIDEMIC is running rampant outside the Warsong Hold in the Borean Tundra of Northrend!

Swine Flu!

This particular strain of Swine Flu first appeared approximately one year ago during the beta test for the Wrath of the Lich King expansion released last November. It’s carried by Undead Living Swine. Once infected, the player is susceptible to ‘Outbreak’ – it lowers player health and temporarily slows you down by 30%. It’s an annoying, but not terribly dangerous condition, unless you’re suffering from low health during the fight.


News of this plague quickly spread from the virtual world to the real world. Game Politics mentioned it. A member of the Vancouver media also heard about this flu and called me to learn more about Azeroth’s wonderful pathology of disease and plague. Of course, it’s all the Horde’s fault!

Here’s a brilliantly funny piece of comedy from Craig Ferguson last week that nicely sums up the media hysteria about Swine Flu.

Doctor ArkanoidDoctor Arkanoid

The TyeeIt’s May Day! Time to dance around the maypole and celebrate Doctor Arkanoid being included in The Tyee’s BC Blog List!

If you’re interested in all things West Coast happening in ‘Lotusland’, then be sure to visit The Tyee.

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Anthony Gurr and Doctor Arkanoid - Revelations From the Inner Sanctum!, 2009. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Anthony Gurr and Doctor Arkanoid - Revelations From the Inner Sanctum! with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.