Link Roundup 12/17/2014

Career

Economics

 

- Steven Savage

Steven Savage is a Geek 2.0 writer, speaker, blogger, and job coach.  He blogs on careers at http://www.musehack.com/, publishes books on career and culture at http://www.informotron.com/, and does a site of creative tools at http://www.seventhsanctum.com/. He can be reached at http://www.stevensavage.com/.

Cindy Alvarez Talks The “Little Things Project” and Women In Tech

I met Cindy Alvarez essentially at random, finding her as I was surfing news stories. She’s got a project to collect 365 positive stories of women in tech – to find out what made a difference. She’s planning to publish one every day for each day in 2015.

We all know there’s problems with bias towards women in tech. So let’s talk to this woman making a difference and her goals and plans. Continue reading

Make It So: Let’s Make An STC

Paper And Stars

Some time ago I’d mentioned the Lantern and the Outernet. The Lantern was designed to be a wireless, convenient, regularly updated library that would give people access to useful documents. The Outernet would support it, and involve a satellite-based internet system. Idealistic, yes, but I plunked down my cash on the Lantern Kickstarter because, like the Ouya, the idea is almost more important than the implementation.

Around the same time I encountered the Survival Library. This was a site that was rather “Doomstay Prepperish,” a viewpoint I don’t subscribe to (because preparing for Doomsday too often results in one looking forward to it or not preventing it). However the idea of the site was brilliant – collect a large variety of books online that would basically let you rebuild society and technology from scratch, from basic survival up to vehicles.

Philosophical differences aside, I love the idea. As of late, as may seem obvious, I’ve become more aware of our responsibility to curate and preserve documents as citizens. This definitely fits my (developing) philosophy on the idea, and may be one I can explore more.

These ideas began to combine in my head, building on my thoughts about how Dicks Encyclopedia provides a good template we could follow as geeks recording knowledge.

Then in struck me, these ideas (easily accessible information, practical guides, and curated, integrated information) brought together could produce something amazing and useful and needed.

An STC. A Standard Template Construct.

However to explain this, I’m going to have to talk Warhammer 40K, which is a setting (originally for a wargame but now for others) of a dark far future.

. . . hang in there. This may take a little work. Continue reading

Civic Geek Catalog Update

And here we go, an update – sorry I didn’t do one last week, life got kind of wild.  But now if the Holiday Of Your Choice Spirit has got you looking to do good, here’s more ways to do so at the Civic Geek Catalog!

And as always, it’s sorted by Geeky Interest and Focus!

This time I focused completely on writing subjects and literacy as there’s a lot of programs out there (and a lot more for me to list)

Writing

  • Literacy
    • Behind The Book – New York Based organization that focuses on literacy programs and access to authors for underserved schooles
    • Believe In Books – Supports literacy programs, scholarships, grants, and book distributions in northern New Hampshire and western Mane.
    • Books Through Bars – A multi-state effort, located in Philadelphia, to provide educational books to people in the prison system
    • First Book – Collects and distribute books to programs and schools that serve children in low-income families in the US and Canada.
    • Florida Literacy Coalition – Florida-focused group that supports adult education, adult literacy, and family literacy throughout the state. Many opportunities to get involved
    • Literacy Kansas City – A Kansas community-based literacy effort that uses research to ensure their programs are maximally effective.
    • Lullalee – Lullalee promotes reading, literacy, and social change, including the use of e-learning and technology.
    • Raising Readers in Wyoming – A wyoming-based organization that provides children with books, and parents with ‘prescriptions’ for reading, to promote literacy.
    • Read Indeed – A nonprofit literacy organization, inspired by Maria Keller, that collects and distributes books to children.
    • Reading Partners – Promotes literacy via one-on-one coaching and a structured curriculum

- Steven Savage

Steven Savage is a Geek 2.0 writer, speaker, blogger, and job coach.  He blogs on careers at http://www.musehack.com/, publishes books on career and culture at http://www.informotron.com/, and does a site of creative tools at http://www.seventhsanctum.com/. He can be reached at http://www.stevensavage.com/.

Lost in Translation 120 – The Adaptation Fix-It Shop

Over the course of writing Lost in Translation, I’ve seen movies that caught the core of works perfectly and I’ve seen movies that missed the target to the degree of not even being in the same ballpark.  It’s easy enough in the latter case to point out just what went so horribly wrong.  Is it possible to redeem those movies, to take what went wrong and put it right?  With some movies, it is, and the Fix-It Shop will explore those possibilities.  With this inaugural entry, I will go back to the 1998 Godzilla.

The 1998 Godzilla had many problems, but only really went off the rails when Zilla reached New York City.  Prior to that point, the movie played out as the original Gojira had, with the monster being hinted at instead of shown.  When Zilla appears, then problems start.  The obvious fixes were done in the 2014 Godzilla, keeping the focus on Godzilla.  Even with the human element being front and centre, Godzilla’s battle with the MUTOs were still the central conflict.  With that fixed, what can be done with the rest of the 1998 film?

The core problem with the latter half of the ’98 Godzilla was the shift in tone and genre.  The first half was a kaiju movie.  The second half added action and comedy, taking focus away from Zilla.  Yet, that element could work in its own movie, away from Godzilla.  Having the most famous kaiju off the poster frees up expectations.  The entire subplot involving the Direction génèral de la sécurité extérieure* is now available on its own.  Jean Reno is too good to waste.

In Godzilla, the French Directorate had a division set up for the research and containment of kaiju and was more prepared for Zilla than either the Japanese or the Americans.  The agent in charge, Philippe Roaché, played by Reno, managed to protray himself as an insurance investigator and as an American soldier**.  Let’s take him and his team and change their approach just a little.  After the events in New York, the existance of giant monsters is no longer a secret.  When a major American metropolis with several media headquarters, from television to print, gets trashed and evacuated, it’s news.  Even in 1998, the twenty-four hour news cycle existed, with CNN being the major outlet.  Roaché needs a new way to research while keeping his connections to the Directorate hidden.  Anyone who sees him or his team may remember him from New York.

The solution?  A front company, funded by the Directorate, that investigates kaiju sightings.  The company can’t be Fortune 500; monster hunting has never been portrayed as profitable in TV or movies.  Sam and Dean of Supernatural make money through credit card scams.  The Ghostbusters put all their earnings into maintenance and paying fines.  Roaché’s company, thus, is a small one, using grants for the most part as it develops anti-kaiju weaponry and hunts giant monsters.  Having no official government status means the team must get into sites under attack through subterfuge, allowing Roaché to be an insurance investigator, a military officer, a university researcher, and anything else needed.

Tone will be key.  As mentioned above, the latter half of Godzilla changed genre without a clutch, becoming an action comedy.  The change was dissonant in the ’98 film, but if the new movie – let’s give it the working title Kaiju Hunters – starts as such, with the team in action against a lawyer-friendly version of a known giant monster, then the audience won’t have a problem with the approach.  Ideally, the tone of Kaiju Hunters should be along the lines of Ghostbusters, Arachnophobia, and Tremors; a bit of horror, a bit of comedy, a bit of action, and monsters.

Casting will be important.  Matthew Broderick was an odd choice and looked out of place in the 1998 film.  Broderick is better known for comedies, not action.  Given the change in tone above, he might fit in better, the field researcher brought into the company at the end thanks to the events during Kaiju Hunters.  This will give the audience the outsider viewpoint to follow to learn about the company and its secrets.  The rest of the cast are company employees, either hired on as staff or assigned by the Directorate.

Will Kaiju Hunters be successful?  The ultimate question, with no easy answer.  There’s no real built-in draw, unlike Godzilla of any year.  Reno and Broderick aren’t household names.  It may come down to budget.  Is Kaiju Hunters blockbuster material?  No.  A lower budget may make the movie profitable, though.  It will be a balancing act, finding a way to draw in audiences without needing an Avengers-sized number of people watching.  What do you think?  What would you do to fix the 98 Godzilla?

Next week, the December news round up.

* The French intelligence service, literally, the General Directorate for External Security
** Albeit, based on Elvis Presley.

Way With Worlds: The Game – Positives

chessboard chess

(Way With Worlds is a weekly column on the art of worldbuilding published at Seventh Sanctum, Muse Hack, and Ongoing Worlds).

A lot of people who wolrdbuild get into roleplaying games. I feel I can make this statement clearly; its true in my experience, and of course I’m not quoting any numbers so I have deniability. I’m covered here!

But seriously, it seems like people get ideas from, put ideas into, or think of ideas in forms of RPGs. I’m not just talking the freeform collective storytelling style of RPGs – I’m talking about the rules-and-dice type RPGs that we’re all familiar with.

We wonder what class a character would be in a given game.

We try and build a character we made in a given game.

We think of game rules as writing guidelines.

We get ideas looking over game rules.

And more . . . Continue reading