New Study: Extinct Animals Were Mostly Bad At Capitalism

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A new government study reveals a correlation between animal species which have gone extinct in the last few centuries, and their lack of participation in the free market system. To put it bluntly, the species which no longer survive were lousy capitalists.

At best some of these breeds had attained a rudimentary comprehension of bartering. But most animals packs or other social orders do usually border on socialism or communism. Even the bees, whose own numbers have recently been on the decline. Despite living in a system of monarchy, essentially a dictatorship, bees have proven to be beneficial to the planet and to mankind. Unfortunately they have been unable to protect their assets, and are known to invest widely and foolishly.

Experts now place some of the blame on the animals themselves, for not adapting and embracing the simplest of financial concepts or even a common currency.

extinctMany say this is one aspect of a larger problem. Wildlife in general is unwilling to adapt to modern ways of life.

Even to this day, most animals refuse to cooperate in any established social norms. Governments around the world have invested money, time, and effort. They have installed ‘Animal Crossing’ signs on roads where automobiles and animals often intersect. To this day though, you would be hard pressed to find any animals actually crossing at the signs. They refuse to use them or indeed obey any traffic regulations. You would think they couldn’t even read them. Everyday, animals still haphazardly cross the busy roads and highways whenever and where ever they please.

New on Eat Sleep Write dot net

Entries from my weekly writing blog on Eat, Sleep, Write:

6.14 RULES & STANDARDS
http://eatsleepwrite.net/rulesandstandards

6.06 DISCIPLINE
http://eatsleepwrite.net/discipline
The line between a hobbiest and professional writer

5.27 THE WRITER’S RIGHTS #2
http://eatsleepwrite.net/writersrights2
Second installment in a series of bite-sized lessons on copyright law.

5.21 Serendipity
http://eatsleepwrite.net/serendipity
Happy accidents, preparing for them, allowing them to happen.

5.17 Observations
http://eatsleepwrite.net/observations
Thoughts on character development and people-watching.

5.13 The Daily Grind
‘The Daily Grind.’  http://eatsleepwrite.net/dailygrind
Why the best time to write is when you don’t feel like writing.

5.09 The Writer’s Rights
A bite sized introduction to copyright law.
http://eatsleepwrite.net/writersrights

5.07 Humor Me
Writing comedy and how to do it.
http://eatsleepwrite.net/humorme

5.03 All Experience Required
Write what you know. Get out and live.
http://eatsleepwrite.net/allexperience

4.30 Ready or Not
Your light is green, you have the right of way.
http://eatsleepwrite.net/readyornot

4.25 Dangerous Learning
Self taught or educated. Keeping learning.
http://eatsleepwrite.net/dangerouslearning

4.23 Self Doubt
Examining the Impostor Syndrome
http://eatsleepwrite.net/selfdoubts

4.18 The First Draft
Shut up and write.
http://eatsleepwrite.net/firstdraft

Word of the Nerd: Radio Free Albemuth – June 27th

RFA-fromthemindI have a new article this morning on The Word Of The Nerd Online. Radio Free Albemuth, the lastest Philip K. Dick film adaptation, is set to hit theaters June 27th. Discovery Films has released a new extended trailer which gives a pretty decent glimpse at the movie. I’m really looking forward to this one. It could be the one that finally gets PKD right.

The film’s writer, producer and director, John Alan Simon, was kind enough to sit down and chat with me. We talk about the film, his approach to writing, and all points in between. It was a great conversation and only bolstered my excitement for the film. Look for the interview soon. It will be coming to The Word Of The Nerd Online as we get a little closer to go time.

http://www.wordofthenerdonline.com/radio-free-alb…27-new-trailer/

 

 

Humor Me — Eat, Sleep, Write

The Wednesday edition of my regular blog over at Eat, Sleep Write.
http://eatsleepwrite.net/humorme

Self Doubt on Eat Sleep Write

Today’s installment of my writing blog on Eat, Sleep, Write. Today we talk about self doubt, sometimes called ‘Impostor Syndrome,’ an all-too-common trait in creative people.  
http://eatsleepwrite.net/selfdoubts

NSA Falls Victim to Nigerian Prince Scam

Dateline, Washington DC.

fliptopthumbThe Department of Justice reported Monday that it is investigating whether the federal government has fallen victim to an international scam. Since they began intercepting and reading all our email, the NSA has sent over $63 Billion to members of the Nigerian royal family. The Agencies defends these actions, saying they seemed to be sure-fire, safe investments.

To this date, none of the investments have returned any money. Many of the alleged Nigerian royals who orchestrated these exchanges have gone missing.

Officials state they became suspicious when someone from the State Department read a Wikipedia entry on Nigeria. It informed him that Nigeria has a democratic government and not a monarchy. Indeed, there is no Nigerian royal family at all.

Federal officials are blaming the overwhelming amount of information they have to sift through and the speed it requires to read “every… damn… email…” They cite the fact that the average American reads .5% (zero point five percent) of the emails they receive, while the Government reads it all. This often leaves individual agents in a torpid, trance-like state. They become vulnerable to predators and susceptible to suggestion.

As the DOJ digs to the bottom of this case, other departments are starting to take notice and look for evidence of fraud. The General Accounting Office announced they may launch an investigation of their own. They admitted there is a chance one or several of the three dozen Golden Gate Bridges the Federal Government recently purchased may in fact be forgeries.

The Law of More

The Elimination of Middlemen

The Elimination of Middlemen

Moore’s law, put simply, states that computing power will double every eighteen months. This was predicted back in 1965 at the dawn of modern computing and has so far held true. What used to be a precious and costly commodity is now being produced at an exponentially faster rate. Some find this humorous, in a sardonic way. To others it is overwhelming.

The Commodore 64 when it was introduced boasted sixty-four kilobytes of RAM, all within that ‘little’ box. There is the famous quote from one of the pioneers in the industry where he can’t ever foresee anyone needing more than 64k. Only a decade earlier such an extravagant amount of memory would require an entire building. Nowadays memory is so cheap you can easily afford to store a well-stocked bookstore on the phone in your pocket.

It’s amazing how far we have come. When Moses came down from Mount Sinai it took two tablets to hold ten short paragraphs. Nowadays even the most basic tablet or ereader can store dozens, even hundreds, of books in their entirety.

New Word: Zudswackxomnebplight

Get out a fresh circle of paper and a sliver of chalk, add this to your parents dictionary, here is today’s new word.

Zudswackxomnebplight /(no pronunciation)/ onomatopoeia v. unable to speak,
having no words. As in “I don’t know what to say, that film left me zudswackxomnebplighted.”
The key to pronouncing this word is remembering that all the letters are
silent; z from zoetrope, rendezous; u from colleague, guess; d from Wednesday,
sandwich; s from island, debris; w from sword, answer; a from artistically,
logically; c from muscle, scissors; k from knife, knight; x from faux pas; o
from colonel; b from crumbs, debt; m from mnemonic; n from autumn, column;
p from coup, psychology; l from would, should; e from breathe, psyche;
i from business; g from gnaw, high; h from honest, ghost; and t from castle,
gourmet. So if you pronounce it properly the listener will think
you have trailed off…

See the rest of my new additions to the English language!dyslexicon2prog

How to Draw a Mirror

mirrorWords are magic. I mean this in a very literal sense, not as a metaphor. Words have changed the world, some would say the world was created with a word, as was life. When I write I am casting a spell, or attempting to.

If I do it right, there is a sequence, a certain combination of words arranged in a very particular order which will effectively transform the page, turn it into a mirror.

I think as much introspection and soul-searching and self discovery you indulge in, if you never attempt to put it down on paper where it can reflect back up to your eyes, you still have much to learn about yourself.

When I moved away from learning the fundamentals and experimenting with every aspect I encountered and really started to write, a window opened up through which I was finally able to see myself and face myself.

I think to some extent this is what all art attempts to do, to draw a mirror, to allow the world to witness its reflection and possibly learn, become wiser because of it. But the combinations change and do vary from person to person, so the job is never complete.

We must continue to cast our spells, find the new and ever altering patterns which unlock our perspective, and allow us to see ourselves and the entirety of existence hanging just out of sight behind the black ink structures we have laid upon the page.

© Robert Emmett McWhorter

Judging books by their cover

catacombsI think it’s one of the most used metaphors in existence, ‘You can’t judge a book by its cover.’ And while I agree with the sentiment, in general it’s not wise to judge people or things on appearances, the truth is — at least as far as the world of book publishing — this rule just does not apply anymore.

I think the saying comes from the not too distant past, when all books had hardcovers, and the most decorative thing you could manage was splurging for the good leather.

These days the cover seems like a vitally important part of the book, I would say they are as important as cover art for albums back in the day when albums mattered.

I have seen many authors lately sharing some of their cover ideas. Some are better than others. Many authors still just do not recognize the importance of this step.

We spend countless hours writing and rewriting and then editing and re-editing, I think it is important to give the book cover the same degree of time and devotion. These are the containers we use to package our product, and they are so much a part of the product themselves. A good cover can persuade sales, and likewise a bad cover can keep a great book from being read.

I learned a lot putting together Meowing on the Answering Machine. I am glad Kat Mellon jumped in when she did, otherwise I would be on the other side of this article and probably simmering.

There was a time when book reviews in newspapers or magazines were not accompanied by a picture of the cover, because at the time it wasn’t considered important or relevant. These days are gone. It’s probably the internet to blame once again, the market is cluttered with publishers and independents fighting for a sliver of attention for their work and will use any means they have to hook a potential reader. And these days so much of our retail world and social lives are online, the chances are good that a majority of people will first encounter your book as a thumbnail.

This is important to keep in mind when you design your cover. Besides looking at how it will look when printed at say 6 by 9 in paperback format, you want to also make sure it looks good, the title and your name are legible when the image is reduced to 110 x 75 pixels.

I believe it’s important to recognize what the cover is and what its purpose is. It is meant as a representation of your product, if you are writing horror your cover should convey this. If the image and feel doesn’t complement the story, you run a risk of frustrating your readers.

When we get down to basics, your cover is the packaging of your product. Every detail should be aimed toward describing the product, as well as attracting attention and persuading people to take a chance. Your blurb should be short, direct and intriguing. Give them some mystery, a struggle or a contradiction, something to make them want to investigate further.

It was a dark and stormy night,‘ and almost any talk about the weather or the atmosphere or the ‘tension in the air’ probably should be snipped out of your sixty thousand word manuscript, descriptions such as these have absolutely no place in your two-hundred-words-or-less blurb, where they will stick out like a sore, but boring, thumb. Show us conflict and intrigue, make us want to crack the book open.

Get professional help if you can. I generally believe in the ‘you get what you pay for’ adage. But there are a ton of cover artists on the internet with a variety of different skills and a wide range of prices. Some of them are authors themselves and may be willing to help out a fellow writer, especially if they believe in your work.

But even if you do it yourself, take the time and do it right. If possible, don’t do it with the cover creator programs that createspace and lulu offer. These are functional and ‘okay,’ but do not give you many options and make it difficult to get a really professional look. I believe even using free software like GIMP, or even Paint, will let you make a more professional looking product.

But recognize what your cover is, it will be the first impression many people have of your work, and in some cases it will be the factor between tossing it in the cart or putting it back on the shelf. Make sure you honestly represent your work, and take this opportunity to hook a new reader, make it impossible for them to put that book back down.

Expanding Vocabulary

ThreateningSnowWe Chicagoans share many similarities with the Eskimos, besides our subarctic climates. The Eskimo language, they say, has sixty-two different words for snow. I would venture to bet we Chicagoans have sixty-two words for snow as well. Very few of them, however, are appropriate for use in polite company.

A Nation Comes Together Against SPOILERS

fliptopthumbIn light of some television networks and news agencies publishing Olympic
updates from Sochi before they have been officially aired in prime time, The
President, Congress and the FCC are dropping all other matters to address the national outrage over ‘Spoilers.’

Most citizens agree there should be a Standard National Spoiler Disclosure
Protocol in place, regulated by the FCC, which would force broadcasters to use a ‘SPOILER’ tag or similar disclaimer when revealing sensitive information, or face fines and penalties and possibly have their license revoked for repeated infractions.

Americans are outraged, not only for the irresponsible handling of medal counts
at the Olympics, but for other recent infractions including the Game of Thrones
season ending cliff-hanger, the Breaking Bad finale, and the almost instant
reporting of ‘more trite nonsense’ that accompanies any new Twilight movie
release.

After years of being splintered by national debates on political matters such as
the economy, national security, employee rights, voter rights, civil rights,
entitlements and government spending, it seems the American people finally have
an issue we can all come together on, and rally as one voice for some real,
substantial change.

The Director of the NSA, Gen. Keith Alexander, addressed the press today, saying, “After reading countless personal emails and private messages, we are aware that the Spoiler issue is the number one priority in the agenda of the average American household, and it should be ours as well.”

Congress announced it is pulling manpower and money away from immigration, the
drug war, maintaining Guantanamo bay with an eye toward its decommission, and
the crumbling infrastructure of the nation, to focus our minds and our finances
on how to properly identify and warn about Spoilers, and other related
matters such as how long is the statute of spoiler limitations? Is giving away
the plot-lines of Firefly, now ten years in the public eye, still a
prosecutable offense? How soon is too soon?

The President, Congress, Senate and other government VIPs are said to be forming
an expert committee to deal with this emergency, and promises to put all other
matters aside until this is dealt with to mutual satisfaction.

Joe Krumpnall, an out of work auto mechanic and ex-vet we interviewed today
seemed to reflect the Government’s and the people’s beliefs. “I have no job and
no money and I’m sick but I can’t go to the doctor because I have no insurance.
And I’m currently playing a sort of roulette game; will my electricity be cut
off before my television and phone service, or will my landlord beat them both with his
ten-day notice to evict? I tell you what, the only thing that keeps me sane recently after a long day of hunting for work and begging for
help is to come home and watch some young girls sliding a rock across the ice
and sweeping it home. Now that’s ruined, since they announced all the curling results and medal winners already on the five o’clock news.”

American officials are consulting with the British Government and the BBC. They specifically want to find out how the Doctor Who Fiftieth Anniversary Special was handled so adeptly. For the better part of a year secrets were kept under lock and key, even from cast and crew. There were denials and rumors and denial of rumors, but in the end it was kept mostly a secret on a level with most matters of National
Security, until Tom Baker made his return to the show for the first time since
the 1980s.

Oh, have I said too much? There’s a helicopter overhead and a black van in the
driveway. Someone is pounding on the door. I’ll be right back…