He was one of the most brilliant scientists of the 20th and 21st Centuries – a genius who helped us unlock the secrets of the universe – he was also an inspiration to anyone who struggled with disability, having with diagnosed with motor neurone disease at the age of 22, given only a few years to live, then ultimately confined to a wheelchair, unable to move or speak. Sir Stephen Hawking never let his doctors’ pronouncements stop him, instead he would go on to change the world.

Allow me to preface this post by pointing out that I am well aware there are millions of responsible gun owners out there. Sadly, there don’t appear to be many on Twitter, as the following demonstrate:

First up…

I have lost track of the number of times I’ve dealt with this argument. Yes, other things can be used as murder weapons – but guns are designed for this purpose.

Straight from the source as it were – gun control tends to fail when it’s non-existent, but it’s working in the UK, Canada, Australia, France, Germany and Japan, to name but a few places.

Again with the false equivalence. Yes, people will always (sadly) seek to kill other people – it’s a lot easier with a weapon specifically designed to do so – hence why two thirds of US homicides involve firearms.

A gun is not like an axe or a shovel – that’s simply moronic.


Oddly enough, none of this has come to pass here in the UK, or France, or Japan, or in numerous other countries that have introduced gun control measures. It’s also a wild conflation (yet again) that control somehow = ban. It doesn’t.

But unusual this one, but I dislike seeing something I love being misappropriated to support the foolish notion of unfettered access to deadly weapons as somehow being a good thing.

Shall we take a look at Exhibit A?

Yes, Lily had access to a submachine gun. In a post-nuclear war, virtually lawless society. It’s hardly a valid comparison to the present day situation.

Exhibit B:

Guinan was also extremely old and would have had ample opportunity to learn how to use weapons. This doesn’t go to prove that access to firearms is unregulated, as it currently is in the USA. Guns are available in Canada, France, Germany and the UK – there are regulations in place in all these nations but its typical of anti-regulation activists to assume otherwise.

Exhibit C:

See above. Having unrestricted access to virtually any type of firearm is not the same thing as regulations and controls.

There’s more (a lot more), but I grow weary of having to point out the obvious every time someone puts up these false dichotomies about guns and regulations, whilst it annoys me greatly that people would take Star Trek and twist it to suit such an agenda.


Well, it’s been a year since I was finally able to get my grubby meerkat paws upon the Nintendo Switch (thank you Mum!). It’s therefore also been a year since I got my mitts on The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. One year on, how do I feel about the Switch, Breath of the Wild and for that matter, Super Mario Odyssey?

Breath of the Wild was the catalyst for desiring Nintendo’s latest hardware. If the Switch were not on the horizon, I might have instead gone for the Wii U, which also received the latest Zelda title. Given the nature of the Switch and the promise it held, it became inevitable that it would be what I’d go for, whilst Breath of the Wild was a certainty either way. The Switch itself has proven to be a sturdy and entertaining console, with the unique ability to treat it as a hand-held providing versatility. To switch (heh) from TV mode to hand-held mode it is a pretty seamless exercise and the console’s performance is pretty good in either state. An X-Box or PlayStation it’s not, but it’s not aiming to be a powerhouse.

With Breath of the Wild, a long-awaited new chapter in the Zelda franchise began. Originally the game was planned for release in 2015 as a Wii U title, however the game was delayed a couple of times whilst Nintendo ironed out a few kinks. By the time they’d perfected the title, the Wii U was clearly waning and the Switch was on its way, however Nintendo had promised Wii U owners a new Zelda game, so Breath of the Wild proved the final Nintendo game for the Wii U, as well as a Switch launch title. Prior to Breath of the Wild, my previous experience of Zelda had been the 2011 title Skyward Sword for the Wii, a game that had left me with mixed feelings. Nintendo had promised something very different for their new game. The trailers, chat and tidbits all leaned that way, but would it prove true?

As I started up my adventure, I was nervous and excited. There had been so much hype, so much talk of the potential and nature of this new game. A glorious open world had been promised – and it would prove true. The Zelda franchise had drawn inspiration from its origins, returning to its roots to deliver a wonderful experience. My adventure, my journey, was truly mine. My path across Hyrule was unique to me. My solutions to problems were unique to me.

On the course of my travels, I would discover so many wonderful and challenging moments and quests. Take, for example, the above scene. From memory, I’d glanced at the map, spotted a weird arrangement of shapes and made my way to it. The shapes were in fact statues; each had a specific orb that had to be placed into a certain pedestal. It wasn’t signposted, it was simply sitting there, waiting to be noticed.

This structure was a huge maze – one of three in fact – that again, I more or less stumbled upon. I had been looking for something else when I wound up at this labyrinth, but as I was there I decided to check it out.

This haunting scene (spot the active Guardian among the dead ones) first greeted me as I made my way to Hateno village (the first village I travelled to). Here was the site of a huge battle – you just knew something very serious had gone down here.

Breath of the Wild has proven very good at tying into previous games in the series. The screenshot above is one such moment. I’m not telling you what game – you’ll have to guess!

The Lost Woods often tend to be quite eerie and this is one of the best executions of this idea yet. The atmosphere is incredible. This was easily one of the best parts of my adventure.

The Forgotten Temple – and it’s filled with Guardians. Once again, this was more or less a case of ‘what’s that on the map?’ Timing was quite crucial here!

Th Master Sword. The Deku Tree. Need I say more?

There’s a lot more. Above, I had finally completed the final part of the robust Trial of the Sword, part of Breath of the Wild’s download content. The trial was made to test the player and it certainly succeeded!

Another element to the download content was the Ballad of the Champions. This added several new, very difficult Shrines and filled out a bit more of the story.

What’s Next?

Even as I look over the past year of amazing adventure, it’s inevitable for thoughts to drift of what’s going to happen next. Breath of the Wild won Game of the Year, deservedly so, which raised the question of how Nintendo can possibly improve upon it. On top of that, what else is coming for the Switch? Super Mario Odyssey proved to be a really good, fun game, but Nintendo need to follow this up strongly. A mainstream Pokemon RPG is on the way, hopefully Super Mario Maker will appear at some point, so the future can be bright. I certainly hope it is.

Welcome to a revolution. The 18th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (yes, eighteen and still going) is a cultural tour de force, a reckoning for how African cultures are portrayed, as well as providing a platform for black people that’s been sorely needed. Beyond that, the film is very good, throwing up some interesting moral questions and giving us what is, so far, the most serious MCU film yet, without delving into territory of the ultra-bleak films of the DCEU.

Chadwick Boseman is the titular Black Panther, though perhaps more importantly, he is King T’Challa, recently crowned ruler of the reclusive African nation Wakanda. From what I can gather, Black Panther is set very soon after the events of Civil War, though I could be wrong about this. It makes sense though, with T’Challa being crowned, as opposed to already being King. Without giving away the plot, the film seamlessly merges traditional African culture with advanced technology, whilst also presenting an interesting and challenging quandary, which comes to the fore in the shape of Michael B. Jordan’s Erik Stevens, also known as N’Jadaka, also known as Killmonger. Stevens’ life is shaped by his experiences as a child and as a soldier, leading him to be embittered about the world and especially about the Wakandan refusal to get involved in international affairs. Once more, without giving too much away, there is the question of how to help one’s people, as well as the question of who exactly qualifies as ‘one’s people’, not to mention what the best means of help actually is. There are no easy answers presented here, with Stevens continuing to present his own, determined beliefs, right up to the very end.

There are black women in this film who are given vital roles of spies, warriors and scientists. Lupita Nyong’o is a name Star Wars will recognise – here she is T’Challa’s former lover and Wakandan spy Nakia, who is not pushed into the trope of love interest, but instead front and centre because of her skills. Letitia Wright is Shuri, T’Challa’s younger sister and outright genius. She is responsible for developing the technology that keeps Wakanda ticking over.

Another name that will be very familiar is Danai Gurira, who is in The Walking Dead, but here is the leader of the Dora Milaje, an all-female special forces unit dedicated to defending Wakanda. One thing is very clear – she is utterly loyal to her country and more than capable of defending it!

So, Black Panther provides role models for black boys and girls and to be honest, roles models in general. Anyone can watch this film and take something away. With the power to do good, not through waging war or fighting, but through reaching out and providing help, we can make this world a better place for everyone. 9/10.

I don’t often cross-post between here and The Coalition of the Brave, but this post, by one Riverdaughter, is an excellent argument against putting yet more guns into a place of learning. If you’re somehow in favour of the idea and you’re reading this, check out the link and engage in some meaningful reflection upon what guns are, what they do and where you desire more of them to be. Whilst you’re doing that, please also check out this link, by one Civileitanna.