Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Review of "King Philip's War: The History and Legacy of America's Forgotten Conflict" by Eric B. Schultz and Michael J. Tougias

The Battle of Bloody Brook, September 18th, 1675

In the late 1990s historians became re-interested in writing about seventeenth century New England's bloodiest conflict: King Philip's War (1675-1676). In 1999 alone the following books were published: Jill Lepore's The Name of War, James D. Drake's King Philip's War: Civil War in New England 1675-1676, and finally, the subject of this article, Schultz and Tougias' King Philip's War: The History and Legacy of America's Forgotten Conflict

All of these books emphasized different aspects of the war. Lepore analyzed seventeenth and eighteenth century literature on King Philip's War to show that English colonizers wrote of it in a way that exonerated themselves of the violence they committed against Native Americans. Drake looked to the decades prior to the war, arguing that colonizers and Indians built a shared society that King Philip's War dismantled. 

Schultz and Tougias wrote a more granular analysis of the war itself. Part one of the book provides a chronological account of the war's individual battles, part two performs something akin to microhistory in more deeply investigating sites and battlefields important to the war (and grappling with locals' flawed understanding of the history), and part three provides some primary sources used to create the book.  

Thursday, October 7, 2021

The Problem With YouTube Educators

Let me begin by saying that I am a fan of educational videos on YouTube. From Isaac Arthur, which explores outer space, to The Corridor Crew, which informs us about the art of visual effects, to the hundreds of thousands of how-to videos uploaded by countless thousands of users, YouTube channels do a great job of presenting us with a wealth knowledge.

However, it's important to remember that YouTube is, first and foremost, about entertainment and not about education. You can glean a lot of surface-level knowledge from its videos, but I wouldn't trust it if I wanted to acquire a deeper understanding of a given subject. (Some may chime in here to say that you can teach yourself a skill like programming based off YouTube videos, but even in that case I'd argue it's probably not the best solution beyond learning the basics.)

I found YouTube educational videos claiming to teach history to be especially dubious. For example, I once watched a video on a popular history YouTube channel about Christopher Columbus, in which the presenter attempted to explain Columbus' intentions towards Native Americans. In it, the presenter, in traditional YouTube style, spoke confidently over expertly cut and edited graphics to argue that, because Columbus stated he simply wanted to convert Indians to Christianity, he didn't really bear any ill-will towards them.

Sunday, October 3, 2021

Playing New World on a 1050 Ti

Over the past week hundreds of thousands of people have begun playing Amazon's new massively multiplayer online roleplaying game New World. As someone interested in the genre, I decided to give it a try myself. I won't dedicate much time in this article to reviewing the game other than to say that it's pretty good and is worth the $40 price. It reminds me somewhat of Valheim combined with Runescape mixed with an active combat system a la Dark Souls. It has a deep and satisfying gathering and crafting system that reminds me of the hours I wasted chopping Yew trees in Runescape back in 2003.

But on to the point of this article: performance. If you are like me then you don't have lots of money to spend on the hardware needed to play videogames on PC. Combined with the price gouging and shortages in the GPU market, it's difficult to get your hands on the latest and greatest in PC gaming. 

Saturday, January 2, 2021

Vicious by V.E. Schwab Review

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Note: This review has some spoilers, but most of the important details are left vague.

Vicious by V.E. Schwab is a superhero story about Victor Vale and Eli Cardale, two people who ostensibly have it all—both are handsome, financially secure, white, geniuses who have garnered enough intellectual respect that their professors draw on their expertise. In reality, however, they are tortured by their desire to test the limits of reality. As Cardale and Vale discover as part of an undergraduate thesis, superpowers do exist, and the key to unlocking them is to die, albeit not permanently. They of course succeed in their quest to attain powers for themselves, but things go drastically wrong, and former friends Victor and Eli become mortal enemies who seek to exact vengeance on the other. 

About The Author

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Nicholas Garcia (M.A.) is a PhD Candidate at the University of California, Davis. He is also a Co-Founder of the Bulosan Center for Filipino Studies. Previously, he contributed to and the Davis Humanities Institute.