Happy New Year, everyone. May the next New Year see us in better places and more prosperous.
Chuck Wendig with 25 resolutions for writers. Lately I've been thinking about a great many of these. I might have to read this list a few more times.
John Scalzi shares a little more of the story of how he sold Old Man's War on the tenth anniversary of having made the sale.
"Instead we have a million [science] magazines [and] sit around the table and talk about how people came up with their ideas and what we would do differently." Just in case you ever wondered how those kids you hear about develop industry changing technology and excel at school. That's from an article about Jack Andraka, who at 15 developed a new, less expensive and more sensitive enzyme test which can detect pancreatic cancer before it becomes invasive. Most kids probably don't need parents with advanced degree (although it doesn't hurt), but mostly parents who encourage, feed and excite their curiosity. (Grokked from Jay Lake)
Vince shares an excellent quote for GRR Martin that explains some of what is wrong with us. It's very much like Madonna's rebuttal over having one of her videos banned on MTV.
"The suggestion that online piracy may not be all that bad for the box office is in line with two recent academic studies. The first showed that the US box office is not suffering from movie piracy at all, and another one came to the counter-intuitive conclusion that the Megaupload shutdown negatively impacted ticket sales… The challenge for the movie industry is to make legal offerings more appealing than their pirated counterparts." You know, like what happened with the music industry. What this means for the book publishing industry remains to be seen. Part of that would be to remove DRM (which is fortunately happening). I'm not sure the less than $10 ebook price is a part of that, but it could be. I think what we're seeing is that easy access to quality digital content is the key.
Math is hard, let's go to Bible study. (Grokked from Jay Lake)
"The entire opposition to the UN treaty existed for no other reason than to create a cottage industry of opposing the UN treaty. And given their increasing dependence on the media machine, the GOP had no choice but to acquiesce and put the profitability of that machine above its own political and policy interests." In case you don't think there is a vast right-wing conspiracy, but their motive isn't so much to advance their ideals as it is to generate money. I'm not sure if I linked to it before, but there was an article that had the money line of "there's money in making people angry." Also a little perspective of why the Fiscal Cliff avoiding deal couldn't be made in time (because "solving" issues doesn't bring in enough money as letting us fall over the cliff would). (Grokked from the Slactivist)
"After weighing the evidence on both risks and benefits, the study proved that the risks of having a gun in the home greatly outweighed the benefits or perceived benefits." Actually, as the research shows, guns in the home aren't used to stop crimes or anything else the NRA likes to get their membership to believe. Guns in the home are most often used to kill spouses and children and a to a lesser extent, parents. (Grokked from Jay Lake)
"An Indiana man convicted of setting fire to a mosque in Ohio told a judge on Wednesday that he committed the crimes because Fox News and conservative talk radio had convinced him that 'most Muslims are terrorists.'" While I think it has more to do with the 45 beers he consumed in the 6 hours before driving to Toledo and setting fire to the Mosque, but given his statement to police when he was arrested, I'm not so sure this was just a ploy to get a reduced sentence. (Grokked from the Slactivist)
Just in case you still think the rich are just like the rest of us. That a story about Dick Army's exit from Freedom Works. After all, he "couldn’t leave with empty pockets."(Grokked from Jay Lake)
And, apparently the rich can change when they die to avoid higher estate taxes, the so called "death elasticity" factor. This is what happens when statistics goes bad. (Grokked from the Slactivist)
So just how rich are the rich today? Well, according to this paper the rich are more rich when compared to the rest of us than the Tzar was to his peasants. You know, that Tzar whose economic policies brought forth the dream of the Communist movement. (Grokked from Jay Lake)