neonvincent: Detroit where the weak are killed and eaten T-shirt design (Default)
And now, an entry from Crazy Eddie's Motie News that I can't believe I didn't cross post over to DW and LJ. It's exactly the kind of thing I used to post over here regularly. Seven months later, here it is, Finally, a Ringworld movie!

I've been a huge fan of Larry Niven's Known Space ever since I watched The Slaver Weapon. I thought the Kzinti were really cool and promptly checked out a copy of Ringworld from the library. I read through all the Known Space stories I could lay my hands on during the years since, right up to Ringworld Engineers and The Patchwork Girl. After those books, no new Known Space stories appeared for a decade.

All was not lost, as Chaosium Games, the publishers of Runequest and Call of Cthulhu, purchased the game rights to Ringworld. I convinced Chaosium that I knew enough about Known Space and tabletop role-playing games to let me develop a scenario for an adventure module. I wrote the scenario, playtested it, submitted it, and was about to revise it when Chaosium told me to stop. It wasn't because what I wrote was bad; in fact, it had nothing to do with me. It turns out that Niven had sold the movie rights to Ringworld and the movie company asserted that it now held the game rights, not Chaosium. Chaosium was too small to take on the movie company and its lawyers, so it gave up.

I was pissed. Not only did it stop publication of a game that I really believed in, it meant that all my effort, about $300 worth in 1984 dollars, went right down the drain. I decided to never buy another Niven book new ever again. To add insult to injury, Niven used the game guide as source material for the Man-Kzin Wars series. Worst of all, there never was any movie. All that loss was for nothing.

That may all change, as Entertainment Weekly reports.

Ringworld' miniseries in the works at Syfy -- EXCLUSIVE
Michael Perry (The River, Paranormal Activity 2) is adapting Ringworld as a four-hour miniseries. The story follows a team of explorers that travel to the farthest reaches of space to investigate an alien artifact called Ringworld – an artificial habitat the size of one million Earths. As they crash land on this enormous structure, they discover the remnants of ancient civilizations, technology beyond their wildest dreams, mysteries that shed light on the very origins of man and, most importantly, a possible salvation for a doomed Earth.

For Ringworld fans, this news might cause some deja vu. Syfy previously considered making a Ringworld miniseries under a different production team nine years ago.
I might finally get a movie--30 years later. Maybe I can get some comfort from that.

neonvincent: For posts about Wisconsin and related activism (Solidarity Wisconsin)
Yes, she did. )
neonvincent: For general posts about politics not covered by other icons (Uncle V wants you)

One of the favorite anti-tax memes that conservatives use is that "the government thinks it knows better how to spend money than individuals/the people do." I think that meme has it exactly backwards. First, the government in a democratically elected government is the people. Second, what government is doing when it spends is paying salaries of people and contracts to businesses, who then pay it to people. Those people now have more money to spend than they did before. As a result, government spending gives most people more power to make decisions over how they spend their money that they got from the government.

There is one exception to the above. Progressive taxation in support of government spending shows that the government thinks it knows better how to invest money than the wealthiest Americans for the greater good. The justification for keeping the tax rates low on the wealthiest Americans is that they will use that money to create jobs. They generally don't. Instead of hiring people for their own businesses, they use that money to blow speculative bubbles, whether in stocks, bonds, commodities, or real estate. Yes, those bubbles may create jobs while they're inflating, but they destroy jobs when they pop.

The last pair of bubbles was especially pernicious, as it first inflated people's home values then, as they started to collapse, leaving Americans owing more than their assets were worth, inflated commodities, making food and energy cost more just when Americans could no longer withdraw money from the "home ATM." Both of those bubbles harmed people financially even before the panic in the stock market and contraction of the economy threw people out of work. Now we're left with vacant houses, people who can't sell their houses to move to where there are jobs, and a government that has to borrow a trillion dollars a year to maintain the spending it's already doing to pay people the money they need to make more decisions with what is now their own income.

So, I think raising taxes, particularly on the wealthiest 2%, is a good idea. They're not doing much useful with that money other than trying to increase their own wealth by blowing asset bubbles. What the economy needs is demand, and the other 98% of Americans will gladly provide that demand if they have money to spend. Paying them that money shows that the government has faith that individuals do know how to spend their own money!

/rant

Originally posted to Crazy Eddie's Motie News.

neonvincent: Detroit where the weak are killed and eaten T-shirt design (Detroit)
Suburbia: What a Concept
By ALLISON ARIEFF

There is no more iconic suburb than Levittown, the postwar planned community built by the developer William Levitt in the late 1940s, so it is understandable that in launching Open House, a collaborative project to imagine a “future suburbia,” the Dutch design collective Droog in collaboration with Diller Scofidio + Renfro architects would make it the focus of their inquiry.
"Future Suburbia"--now, that looks promising, especially if it can solve the issues facing a car-centered way of living during a time when being car-centered is likely to be more of a liability than an asset. It would be nice if the designers came up with something that actually solved some of the real problems with suburban living during a time of resource shortage and economic contraction that was more uplifting than Kunstler's dismal vision of them being "the slums of the future" with "two or more families living in a McMansion" and "crops growing where the front lawn used to be." Unfortunately, they didn't.

But in approaching a real place as a perfect blank canvas on which to execute distinctly urban interventions, the Open House project conveniently excused itself from substantively engaging with the real issues facing suburbia’s future. Which is a pity. Because it would have been interesting to see what they’d come up with if they had.
What a wasted opportunity!

[T]he suburban existence is as exotic to them as say, Dubai, the site of Droog Lab’s first project where, says co-founder Renny Ramakers, they’d made a deliberate decision not to explore it as “a spending society — people felt we weren’t being critical enough; they couldn’t understand why. In this project I don’t want to be critical, I want to look for inspiration because in every part of the world, people are creating their own society, their own community.”

But that’s not really valid. Can we discuss the future of suburbia (or the future of anything, really) without being critical? Without talking about developing accessible transit or increasing walkability (and community) through mixed-use development, for example? This alas, is not uncommon. Addressing suburban ills requires massive change to systems, to finance, to transportation and infrastructure, and perhaps most challenging, to a culture deeply wedded to suburbia as emblematic of the American Dream.


Above originally posted to Crazy Eddie's Motie News.
neonvincent: Detroit where the weak are killed and eaten T-shirt design (Default)
About.com: Mercury Retrograde Dates for 2011

March 30th to April 23rd: Mercury in cardinal Aries. Refresh old ideas in time for Spring. A time to be brave, and confront others, if this is a loose end. Universe creates serendipity, via opportunities to speak courageously. Here we face the fear of expressing what might rouse others to anger.

It's a break from agreeing, or saying everything is fine, when its not. It's risking being authentic, when you know it's provocative. It's feeling lit up with passion, and allowing that to be a force that works on others. It's dealing with blowback from being forceful about your opinion. It's daring to face those who have been in positions of authority. It's being excited about new ideas, some that might have been threads of inspiration for you all along.

Rx periods can cause delays, frustrations, mix-ups. Watch out for hair-trigger tempers, raging and ranting, blowing a fuse. Deep breathing and physical activity helps blow off pent up intensity.
It's only one day in, and this Mercury retrograde is already living down to its reputation.

First, LiveJournal was misbehaving. True, it had a perfectly good explanation--LJ was the subject of a DDos attack--but so did the disruption of transatlantic flights last year because of an eruption in Iceland. That also happened during a Mercury retrograde.

Second, I got lost twice today. The first time was when I was trying to get to my car to retrieve some papers. I ended up at the opposite corner of the parking structure and had to figure out where I really was. I ended up being late to introduce the speaker. As for the papers I pulled out, one of them was for the wrong time, which means I didn't pull it out at the right time, either. That's two miscommunications in addition to being lost and late. The second happened when I took the speaker back to his hotel. Because of a misunderstanding of directions, I ended up taking the wrong offramp and going around in circles before I delivered him to his destination.

Then, I couldn't call home. My home phone would ring, but when my wife picked it up, she would get a dial tone instead of hearing me. We had to reset the modem and wait an hour for phone service to come back.

On top of all this, I'm having trouble getting access to a Google document.

Yeah, I'm a scientist and I know that's entirely likely that it's all a coincidence or self-fulfilling prophesy, or I was just having a bad day, but it is weird. On the other hand, Mercury retrograde makes for a convenient excuse. As I tell my students, my official position is that astrology is bunk, but it's fun bunk and generally harmless besides.

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