Category Archives: Politics

Worldbuilding is an essential part of any work of fiction. But especially for science fiction or fantasy, it’s the lifeblood of storytelling. But when worldbuilding fails, it can wreck your whole story, and leave your characters feeling pointless. Here are seven deadly sins of worldbuilding.

1. Not thinking about basic infrastructure. How do they eat? What do they eat? Who takes away the garbage? Who deals with their bodily wastes? How do they get around? What do the majority of people do to survive? You’re not just constructing a society, you’re creating an economy. People don’t oppress each other for fun — usually, systems of hierarchy and oppression have an economic component to them. Maybe you need a lot of peasants to grow labor-intensive crops, or maybe you need lots of cannon fodder in your space war. Maybe your only source of protein is a weird fungus that needs to be tended by specially trained people. Maybe everybody’s eating algae. In any case, there’s nothing worse than a fictional world where there are elaborate social structures, which seem completely separated from the realities of food, shelter and clothing.

Continues at: 7 Deadly Sins of Worldbuilding

Did you know that Finland has a Brand Book? I haven’t made it through this 365-page monster yet, but once you get past the cringe-worthy hyperbole of the first few pages, it actually turns pretty interesting. And insanely granular: there’s even a mission for grandparents.

http://www.demoshelsinki.fi/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/TS_Report_EN.pdf

 
Roman Mars is obsessed with flags — and after you watch this talk, you might be, too. These ubiquitous symbols of civic pride are often designed, well, pretty terribly. But they don’t have to be. In this surprising and hilarious talk about vexillology — the study of flags — Mars reveals the five basic principles of flag design and shows why he believes they can be applied to just about anything.

Spoilers:

1. Keep it Simple. So simple that a child can draw it from memory.
2. Use meaningful symbolism. The flag’s images, color or patterns should relate to what it symbolizes.
3. Use two to three basic colors.
4. No lettering or seals. Never use writing of any kind.
5. Be distinctive (or related)

Some tropes are so ingrained in Medieval-inspired fantasy stories that it’s tempting to think that they represent real aspects of Medieval life. But often these stories are just reinforcing myths and misconceptions about life in the Middle Ages.

One thing that it’s important to remember when talking about the Medieval period is that it spans a long time — from the 5th century CE to the 15th century CE — and involves a great number of European countries. You’ll notice that a great deal of the debunkery here involves 14th century England, thanks to works like The Time Traveler’s Guide to Medieval England by Ian Mortimer and the works of Joseph Gies and Frances Gies (although another source, Misconceptions About the Middle Ages, covers a bit more ground). But the point here is that the Middle Ages were, in fact, far richer than the Medieval-like settings of many swords and sorcery stories would lead you to believe.

Via io9: 10 Worst Misconceptions About Medieval Life You'd Get From Fantasy Books.

Professor Renata Salecl explores the paralysing anxiety and dissatisfaction surrounding limitless choice. Does the freedom to be the architects of our own lives actually hinder rather than help us? Does our preoccupation with choosing and consuming actually obstruct social change?

View the full lecture here: http://www.thersa.org/events/video/archive/renata-salecl-the-paradox-of-choice

Verka Serduchka – Dancing Lasha Tumbai (Ukraine) 2007 Eurovision (2nd Place Winner)

New York to Los Angeles in 45 minutes.
Washington DC to Beijing in 2 hours.
350mph local, up to 4000mph international.

More info at: http://et3.com/

“There are plenty of reasons to be discomforted by the recent NSA PRISM scandal, chief among them the total obliteration of any remaining notion of privacy we might have had. But there’s another less pressing, yes, but still confidence-shattering concern that has echoed around our internet’s hallowed halls this past week: the fact that this massive, top-secret, data-mining government enterprise allowed a drunk eight-year-old to design their PowerPoint slides.”

via The Best and Worst Redesigns of PRISM’s Atrocious PowerPoint.

Actipedia is a user-generated collection of the best projects that combine the political with the artistic, from revolutionary ice cream trucks to anti-McDonald’s computer games.

McDonald's Game

link: http://actipedia.org/

1 | An Archive Of Activist Art, For Protests With A Little Culture | Co.Exist: World changing ideas and innovation.

With the SEC creeping closer to making it legal for any company to crowdfund their own investments, Jessica Jackley looks at how to make a successful crowdfunding project work.

When the president signed the JOBS Act into law a year and a half ago, believers like me rejoiced. This legislation includes an exciting crowdfunding exemption that will fundamentally disrupt how start-ups and small businesses raise capital in the United States.

What will change exactly? It will no longer be illegal for an entrepreneur raising start-up capital less than $1 million to reach out to everyone she knows–from old and new friends to social networks and beyond–and even to people she doesn’t know, to invest. It won’t matter if those investors are accredited or sophisticated, and she can have as many as she wants to contribute. My ProFounder cofounder Dana Mauriello did a great job summarizing what the legislation means for entrepreneurs here.

For the last decade I have been about as pro-crowdfunding as a person can be. My first company, Kiva–which provides microloans–launched in 2005, before we called it crowdfunding. After that, I founded ProFounder, a company designed to give U.S.-based small business entrepreneurs a DIY toolkit to raise investment capital from their social networks. These projects only galvanized my confidence in the potential of this space. ProFounder fought for fairer access to both capital and investment opportunities, regardless of investors’ accreditation or sophistication, and I believe we helped push the crowdfunding conversation forward plus some other Lean In-esque conversations about parenthood/work, including helping to influence the design and passage of the JOBS Act. In the end, ProFounder was too early, and the regulations of a pre-JOBS Act world made it necessary for us to wind things down. But I’m still a believer.

via 5 Tips For Successfully Building A Business With Crowdfunding, From Kiva’s Cofounder | Co.Exist: World changing ideas and innovation.

Politifact: “You sully the reputation of anyone who cites you as an authority on factishness, let alone fact.”

Politifact: You are fired

Rachel Maddow excoriates the ostensible fact checking site Politifact for researching a claim, determining the claim to be true, and then declaring it half true for reasons that have nothing to do with the fact checked claim.

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