Category Archives: Politics

7 Deadly Sins of Worldbuilding

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

Finland has a Brand Book?

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: Why city flags may be the worst-designed thing you’ve never noticed

 
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)

10 Worst Misconceptions About Medieval Life You’d Get From Fantasy Books

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.

RSA Animate – The Paradox of Choice

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

Don’t you miss Ukraine of 2007?

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

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