It’s practically mid-December, and no one warned me. Something ought to be done.

I built a number of primitive computer games back in digital antiquity, I’m a gamer now, I’m an Anglican theologian, and was brought up in a Shakespehearean household. I would have given an eyetooth or two to be part of Edward Castronova’s Arden experiment, so you can chalk up some of what I’m about to say as sour grapes. But when (as it turns out) he was obliged to suspend development of the experiment because the game he produced “is no fun,” I think I am somewhat justified in saying, “Duh!” Castronova is a good guy and an acute economist, but from what I gather (“Arden” relies on a software engine I don’t have, and it’s not clear whether it runs on Macs at all), he seems to have built a world that’s functional and accurate, but offers players no persistent motivation for playing. Oh, well, what’s $240,000 among friends?

At the same time, Yale has used a grant from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation to put put together seven complete online courses — one-upping MIT’s Open Courseware by heightening production values and rolling the whole course into the package. You can chew gum and stare down at your notebook in your own home (not for credit, of course), while prominent Yale faculty lecture through several popular courses. Props to Yale — it looks as though they’re doing this very right, and I’d advise anyone who’s thinking of going to seminary, or any seminarian who hasn’t already taken Old Testament intro, or anyone who’s in OT Intro now or needs a refresher, to check out Christine Hayes’s course. And bonus points to Yale because the course materials are all minty-fresh Creative Commons licensed!

Plus, Margaret flies home this afternoon! What could make the day better?

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