Sunday Morning Reading Material Fourth Sunday in February 2012- Middle class livelihood Edition

It’s Sunday Morning. Sundays are for loving the one you’re with. Sundays are for nerding out and watching video games on TV. Sundays are for working your Monday-Friday job. Sundays are for waiting patiently for the IRS to give you some money for a change.

This week, a judge ruled that former Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi hid his corruption long enough that he wouldn’t have to face punishment for it. This week, Playstation released a new piece of hardware. This week the IMF told the world that the global economy is really not in the best of shape right now. And this week Iran begged the world to stop attacking them.

The internet is fantastic. It has allowed more people access to more data than ever before seen in human history. A device that fits in my pocket can answer and factual question that humankind has discovered. Not everyone has access to the internet. Access requires a skill set that must be learned. And in this age of austerity, American society is removing the tools which can help people learn those skills. This is how austerity creates poverty.

Because it needs saying, saying again, and repeating: Obama (and the Democratic party) saved the US economy. Had Republicans not enacted austerity measures, the economy would probably be doing even better by now.

It has now been long enough since Loving Vs. Virginia that those first (legal) interracial couples can have great grand children. So naturally in Austin Texas, the police get called out when a white man is talking a walk with his black granddaughter. And naturally, in 2012, the police respond to every situation with overwhelming force. These two things together point out how American racism is upheld and reinforced by the society which would like very much to destroy it. It’s ugly, pernicious, and needs to change.

The other day my dad was asking me how many readers I’d need in order to make money from this blog. Some quick math tells me that if I had a readership of 100,000 people, and could get $1 a year from about a third of them, I’d be doing ok. I don’t have nearly that level of readership, though I know some people do. One way to monetize readership is to sell ads. Another way is to sell Tshirts. A third is though pledge drives. I’m not sure how future-media will pay for itself. I’m fairly sure that this blog won’t ever get big enough to worry about it.

It is certainly true that a bad attitude doesn’t help solve major problems. It is much more true that being able to buy a new pair of legs requires money. And since disabilities tend to be concentrated among the least-well off, society creates a circular problem– and then tells the disabled that it’s their own fault. Helen Keller recognized this. That’s why she spent her life working for the communist party.

How the fuck do fashion designers have enough clout to tell Hollywood women they’re too fat?! Relatedly: how can fashion designers believe that Hollywood women are too fat, yet not be institutionalized as being too crazy to function in the real world?

this is adorably terrifying.

This winter, California weather has been frighteningly perfect. I mean that literally: I have been frightened at our lack of rain, lack of cold weather, lack of everything that our ecosystem depends on to reset itself. This summer will probably not be very pleasant at all. Global Climate Change. If Earth truly is becoming more like Venus, might it be worth the collapse of civilization in order to save our species? Or maybe we ought to let Iran build nukes- if they promise to stop exporting oil. Or maybe it’s not that bad. Maybe.

Or maybe the sky will fall and save us all.

My goal for 2012 is to become self sufficient once more. I’ve said before that January 2011 saw me at the very bottom of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, looking up at everything. It’s a terrifying place to be. I think this terror helps answer C.S. Lewis’ question about debt: Debt undermines every part of the hierarchy. A person in debt literally cannot use their own resources to take care of all their needs, and thus must begin to decide which of the fundamental things they must give up on, or which of several needs they must cut back on.

Sleep is weird. If we humans don’t get enough of it, we will literally go mad. Too much will leave us feeling sluggish and stupid. Is it possible that we modern people sleep wrong? It would make some evolutionary sense for us to have a two hour nighttime wake-period– the better to keep an eye out for predators. And perhaps that’s why hot-weather cultures are able to have siesta– they’re shifting their sleep from night to day. And perhaps it’s all BS.

At the very least, read the first few paragraphs of this review of the game Oil Rush. I’m not really sure how game designers can create a game around 4th generation warfare, but it’s useful to have a conversation around it’s existence.

I’ve never been sure why Reagan was neither tried for treason nor impeached. It would be awesome for Republicans to realize they’ve been making a huge mistake about him.

The business model of Intellectual Property rental depends on artificial scarcity. IP owners are terrified about piracy because it creates extra product outside their control. The obvious solution would seem to be allowing consumers easy and free access to IP within a framework controlled by the IP owners. instead they’re making it difficult for consumers to become a customers.

Side note to the previous: when you buy an Mp3, the music industry likes to pretend that you’re merely licensing it from them. When they pay royalties to the people who made that music, they pretend that they sold it to you. The music industry is full of lying scumbags. This is what happens when the side the has the money also controls the information.

The author of the No Child Left in Ballsack Act is Yasmin Neal, a Democrat from Riverdale.

Setting aside special parking spaces for people who have physical difficulty walking is one of those nice things that society does. Which is exactly why we must shame, condemn, and punish people who abuse that system. The sense of entitlement people have about “perfect” parking is sort of outrageous. This is just one of many social ills that would be solved with better mass transit.

There is something awesome about watching a competition between people who have mastered their craft. Whether that’s football, cooking, or Street Fighter. Watch the one minute video, read the description, then watch it again.

Price might be the single biggest barrier to entry for entertainment. I think this sort of thing will come to define the future of games, movies, and books. There are enough entry points to- and price points within- the ecosystem they’ve set up that it becomes up to the consumer if they’re willing to spend more. Since the product is well designed, the consumer never feels like they’ve been ripped off.

If you click just one link:

Tip your server.

I love you, Hollywood style.

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2 Responses to “Sunday Morning Reading Material Fourth Sunday in February 2012- Middle class livelihood Edition”

  1. Monetize away, man! I would pay more than a dollar a year to support your blog!

    What do you think of the idea of starting a social website (or adding a feature to Linkedin or Facebook) where people maintain lists of the publications they are proud to support with their yearly contributions? As you say, the contributions wouldn’t need to be very much… $5-$25, probably. You could even create a website where people start by inputting $25, and then choose which 5 online news sites/blogs to support. It would appeal to “base” motives as well as exalted ones, because people would enjoy bragging rights when their top pics went big. (Here’s me: “Dude, I was TOTALLY a first-year IDB contributor before A. tired of the unflagging adoration and deleted his Twitter account!”) If you wanted to be really pragmatic, you could even have a “fantasy football”-like gambling component… whattaya say, wanna help me start one?

  2. One of my favorite quotes of all time is by Hunter Thompson, “When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro”. Well, the going gone blog. Might as well be the first one on your block…:)

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