Wizards of the Coast has launched a new online community for strategy gamers. According to Wizards' press release: "Gleemax will be built on three pillars – community, games, and editorial content – each representing the essence of what WotC has been providing strategy gamers for more than 15 years."
And it's called Gleemax. Gleemax.
Articles like this one piss me off. Men have been hammered for years about not taking an active role in their families, about putting job above family, and all the standard guilt trips that could take you to the Moon and back if only you could clock the frequent flyer miles.
The thing is, guilt trips aren't needed -- in my experience, Gen X dads generally want to spend time with their families, and make job decisions that reflect that. Unsurprisingly, those choices effect their yearly income. So when this story -- which is about the decline in median male income from $40,000 in 1974 to $35,000 in 2004, I just to scream.
Now doesn't this just instill you with confidence in our new fangled voting system?. Kind of makes me long for the days of the hanging chad. Wired had it right a few years ago when they published a back page "relics of the future" shot that had a validated voting receipt indicating when, where and who you voted for. Any system without a paper trail is setting itself up for disaster; any system that lacks a paper trail and transparency in its operation (as is the case with Diebold) is looking at a voting apocalypse.
Listening to my various geek and gaming podcasts has confirmed a curious fact that I've noticed among my own circle of friends: geeks love good beer. While not all of my friends drink, those who do drink tend to choose microbrews over mainstream beer, and even if they choose a mainstream beer it tends to be something other than the Big Three (Bud, Miller, Coors) like Samuel Adams or Yuengling.
With that in mind, I offer this bit of insight into the rise of mass market beer, the subsequent collapse of American breweries, and the resurgence orchestrated by the microbrew market: "The Longneck Tail: A revolution in American beer".
A while back, there was talk on certain libertarian-leaning web sites, like Reason and Tech Central Station, about the rise of the curious creatures known as South Park Republicans, of which South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone were the poster children. South Park Republicans were the younger, hipper Republicans -- ones who grokked the importance of small goverment and free markets, but also valued free minds and social liberalism.
In a post-WorldCon entry on his blog Contrary Brin, science fiction author David Brin worries that the grey hairs that dominated the convention are yet another sign that science fiction fandom is aging ... and that this does not bode well for the future of the genre.
Reason science correspondent Ronald Bailey crunches the numbers and finds what deep down we already know: the chances of getting killed in a terrorist attack are exceedingly slim -- to quote from the story:
"your risk of dying in a plausible terrorist attack is much lower than your risk of dying in a car accident, by walking across the street, by drowning, in a fire, by falling, or by being murdered."
And yet, many people are willing to give up libertiy after liberty in a vain effort to feel safer ... and in the process fail to notice that onrushing garbage truck that just blew through the light on Broad Street.
Geeks are supposed to be the loners. The outcasts. The freaks with no friends, and no desire to make them. We live on the fringe, and in a world with 24/7 high speed internet and online pizza ordering, we need never see the light of day, let alone another human being. And yet, for all of our alleged social awkwardness, we're the ones with the largest circles of friends.
Over at Uncle Bear we've had many a conversation about long-tail fandom, the idea that there's so much good stuff out there -- science fiction novels, games, movies -- that you don't really need be current to satisfy your geeky desires. I tend to stay a little closer to the wave front then Berin -- I've read two or three novels that were written in the last year, and I've got my monthly subscription to Analog -- but at least half of what I read or watch is more than few years old (or, in the case of Conan, the repackaging there of).
Science fiction writer Cory Doctorow turns the conventional wisdom that pirated SF novels are bad for the industry in his Locus Magazine column "Science Fiction is the Only Literature People Care Enough About to Steal on the Internet".
He raises two major points: 1) that the economy, as it has in the past, is changing and that the publishing industry must adjust to those changes and 2) that giving books away for free can actually help sales.