There are a lot of people at this (and every other) election talking of voting tactically. Whether you should is an interesting ethical question – and one outside the scope of this blog post. The only thing I’ll say on the ethics is that many people voted Lib Dem at the last election to keep the Tories out. This is a guide coming from a keen amateur game designer for the would be tactical voters to making the best use of your vote under the First Past the Post system. A system designed for game playing rather than getting representative results. Continue reading
I am now convinced that the simplest approach will prove to be the most effective — the solution to poverty is to abolish it directly by a now widely discussed measure: the guaranteed income.
– Martin Luther King
This is the first Forward Thinking project I consider genuinely easy. What would I do for a safety net if I ruled the world? Simple. Single Payer Healthcare Free at Point of Delivery plus Guaranteed Income. And then look for anyone who slipped between the cracks or didn’t get the help they needed and fix that.
Sounds utopian? Possibly it is. The NHS is quite simply much more cost efficient than almost any other healthcare model out there with the possible exception of Japan. Its main problems stem from having two thirds the per capita funding of France or Germany and less per capita government funding than the US healthcare model; I’ve been into this in more detail on my blog previously. And trials of Citizen’s Income/Negative Income Tax such as Mincome (Canada) and BigNam (Namibia) have generally been spectacularly successful in terms of outcome to the recipients.
In my penultimate post in this series I mentioned Ron Edwards and the Forge. The Forge closed down in 2005, having done its job (and Ron Edwards ensuring that he was controversial by talking about bad games giving people brain damage) – and most of the community there moved to Story-Games. And they’ve been producing interesting enough games that they are worth the final post in this series. Story Games tend to have seven aspects; three which are common in the Forge-ist narrative RPGs of my previous article and almost ubiquitous in the Story-Games wave, and four that are almost distinguishing features of what are often referred to as Story Games.
The three that are common in the Forge-ist RPGs are:
- Challenge Based Resolution
- Fail Forward
- Everyone designing the universe
And the four that are almost distinguishing marks of this wave are:
- “Yes-but” resolution
- Intentional, rules-mediated inter-PC drama
- Less, or even no role for the GM
- Actions matter more than potential
I’m also going to mention four games in this category (or three and one hybrid toolkit game) and why they are awesome to illustrate this wave of games:
- WFRP 3e
Where I left things last time was with D&D and White Wolf largely dominating the market. There were good games being produced – but the market was being dominated by the two major game systems. And people were noticing that the so-called Storyteller system didn’t really bring anything to help you tell stories or make them more intense, or even help you really get into character – which wasn’t a good thing for something that was supposedly a roleplaying game. Something needed fixing. And (arguably) something was.
Like a number of my blog essays, this is a response to a Forward Thinking prompt – this one on the subject of cruelty. I also might entirely be heading off in the wrong direction here. (The blog title comes from the opening to the musical Chess).
I started out thinking of the topic of cruelty by doing the obvious – a websearch to see what people had said. Although the Psychology Today column was interesting nothing I turned up whether vanilla or kinky had much to say on why people are cruel. And searching for cruelty’s very close cousin, teasing, produced even less useful results (and a lot more kink). But I don’t think you can get to grips with cruelty without understanding teasing. I think I have an answer – but this is only what I can come up with.
Cruelty and teasing are both about security. Continue reading
To talk about the purpose of public education is to imply that public education has only one purpose – and that is to oversimplify matters drastically. Major purposes of public education include in no particular order:
- Teaching basic skills
- Allowing people to reach their potential
- Social Mobility and Cohesion
- Relieving pressure on parents
- Base Economics
- Prevention of Child Abuse
This is a sequel to my earlier post on how to write CVs and application forms. For it I assume that most people either know the basics of a job interview or can familiarise themselves with them. If not:
- Turn up on time. (Which is in practice 15 minutes early. So I allocate half an hour – and walk round the block a few times if I don’t have an unexpected delay).
- Look the part (and I am so not the person to give fashion advice. Fortunately I can just wear a suit).
- Research who you’re going to be interviewed by in advance – and show you’ve researched them.
- Ask questions throughout the interview and when they ask if you’ve any questions and don’t panic.
- Be enthusiastic.
- Above all, show you can do the job, you want to work there, and you fit with the people interviewing you.
- Finally don’t be afraid to realise half way through the interview that this isn’t a place you want to work.
Here are some less obvious pointers – and ones I wish people had told me ten years ago.
Interviewers are looking in general (there are always exceptions) for two things. Someone who can already do the job, and someone who appears to fit the workplace. You’ve made it past the first hurdle by getting to the interview, but this is the big one. There can (normally) be only one.
So other than the standard list, what should you research when preparing?
Yourself. Continue reading
Communication matters – and if you take text out of context all you have left is a pretext. Who is speaking to whom and why matters – and there are many words and phrases that mean things other than their literal meaning. Words have also changed their meaning over the course of history, and a lot of confusion can be created when different cultures meet and use the same words for different contexts. A good example here of what happens when you take away context would be the apparent anti semitism in the Gospel of John; the author was writing as a Jew mostly to fellow Jews saying “Look what we did.” Take away that context and reading it encourages people to write vile documents like Martin Luther’s On the Jews and Their Lies.
As an aside, this is one reason I write the way I do – I know that I will never meet the whole audience for this blog and likely not visit all the countries I’ve already had readers from – so I attempt to build a narrative that as many people as possible can read. It may make my writing discursive and prone to rambling so I hope you’ll all bear with me.
I’ve had the same conversation about CVs and jobhunting with two different people in the past month and a few more in the past year – so thought writing it down and putting it online might be useful – especially as most of the CV advice I’ve seen (with a single honourable exception) provides advice that will end up with yet another person with a decently presented and formatted CV that is destined for the bin. So I’m going to more or less ignore the basics here and assume that everyone can lay things out (or ask for help) and knows what basic information to put on a CV (if not follow the links above). And I’m going to do it based on the following one line summary:
Put yourself in the shoes of the person who is going to be reading your CV – and about a hundred others.