Casters Against the Multiverse On Sale at The Game Crafter

Alas, the Kickstarter for Cards Against The Multiverse Casters Against Humility Casters Against The Multiverse did not fund.

All this really means is that I cannot, at this time, produce them in bulk to sell. So instead, they are back up on The Game Crafter for sale! I’ve lowered the price a bit to hopefully make it more attractive.

Please, check it out and buy my game!

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Day Three of Cards Against the Multiverse and it has become Casters Against Humility!

At the time of this post, Cards Against the Multiverse has become Casters Against Humility! I decided to rename it heeding concerns from some helpful individuals, and also gave the cards a bit of a redesign. The backs now blend better with the original game, while the faces make the expansion more distinct so that there are fewer legal concerns. Take a look:

Answers on the Storm Scale

Backs

Play Black for Answers

Set Symbol

Backers also now have access to the original PDF (update 2) so they can see the cards!

Keep sharing around the internet and in real life, this only happens if we hit $7000!

Kickstarter Link

“Hold onto your butts…”

Kickstarter Image

We’re live!

So that game I talked about? Yeah, now I’ve got a kickstarter up for it.

Kickstarter Link

I’ve gotten a few printer quotes and found one that is very reasonable. The Game Crafter should be sending me my prototype in about a week so I can give people real pictures. I photoshopped up a nice graphic of cards on a table.

Most importantly, however, this means that instead of asking you guys to drop $20 on a deck of 100 cards, I can offer them at a more reasonable $15 over the $20 that I need to do with The Game Crafter to make any profit, and if this project funds I can print out decks to sell after and actually begin making a living as an actual professional no-shit game designer.

That would be HUGELY important to me, guys, as I’ve wanted to be a professional game designer for… oh… 15 years? It’d be longer if I were older and 15 years ago didn’t put me at 13 and not yet really thinking about careers.

Look, I know that this is an expansion, and not my own full game.

But everyone starts somewhere and I’m proud of this, damnit.

So please, go check out my Kickstarter, and consider supporting it, because if this is successful I have so much more coming in the future.

Basic Income and the Boon of Socialism

I originally wrote this for my Argumentation and Debate class this past semester. It’s an argument in favor of instating a Basic Income that would put people just below the poverty threshold, and I chose that number because I felt that’s what I could support with the data I had. I personally think we should do more, maybe a $20K/yr basic income, or even $30k/yr, which would be roughly $5k more and twice the poverty threshold respectively, but Basic Income is already a pretty radical idea and I knew I’d be going in trying to convince people who had likely never even heard of the idea. I thought people might find this interesting


Claim: The US Government should instate a Basic Income of $150/wk ($7.8K/yr) paid to all residents of 18 years of age or older and $50/wk ($2600/yr) for those 15 to 17 years of age, with reductions for those who are employed.

First, it is important to outline the specifics of the proposal, and what it is hoped will be accomplished. A Basic Income of $7,800 a year would not put a person above the poverty line in and of itself. The 2015 Poverty Threshold is $11,770 for a single adult household (US Department of Health and Human Services). Below this amount, a person is considered to be living in poverty. Thus the proposed Basic Income is not an instant cure. To be above the poverty line, an adult living by themselves would require a further $4000 a year, or nearly half again the amount of their Basic Income. Based on the Dauphin, Manitoba Mincome experiment, a reduction of 50 cents per dollar earned working seems reasonable (Langley). This would mean that an individual adult living on their own would need to make, essentially, $6000 from working, which amounts to working roughly 16 hours a week at the current federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour (Department of Labor), or 13 hours a week at the current California minimum wage of $9 an hour (Department of Industrial Relations). If two adults lived together, as a couple or roommates, they would be only $400 below the Poverty Threshold of $15,930 for a two person household. If only one worked, they would need work only 83 hours in the entire year at the current federal minimum wage to raise their household over the Poverty Threshold. Due to the fact that this Basic Income alone will not keep one out of poverty, it is actually a “Partial Basic Income,” but even so, its benefit to the unemployed and underemployed is obvious.

There are several benefits to instituting such a program. First, the increase in socioeconomic status across the board would lower crime rates and alleviate the effects of unemployment on criminality. Second, the increased socioeconomic status of Americans would promote more healthy lifestyles. Third, more citizens would contribute to society as their financial security allows them to devote time to their communities. Finally, a Basic Income would be an effective contingency in the near future as increasing numbers of jobs are lost to machinery and computer programs. The cost of such a program would be easily covered if Basic Income replaced existing social programs.

To begin, according to the Handbook of Crime Correlates, high socioeconomic status correlates to lower crime rates, while higher unemployment correlates to higher criminality (Ellis). Basic Income may not in and of itself lower unemployment, but it would ameliorate the effects of unemployment as the unemployed are provided with a a guaranteed income of a given amount which will not run out. The unemployed will be less likely to turn to crime out of desperation. FBI studies show such correlation and suggest this cause (Raphael and Winter-Ebmer), and further state that the fall of unemployment can also decrease crime by up to 30% across the board. While Basic Income may not be quite as good as employment, Basic Income studies in Namibia show a decrease in crime of 42% (Bergman). There is, therefore, ample evidence to suggest that not only would a Basic Income decrease poverty, it would also decrease crime, and by extension what our society spends on it. If the Basic Income also required that individuals lack a criminal record, as suggested by Charles Murray (Longley), the potential loss of Basic Income could further dissuade individuals from breaking the law.

As well, a Basic Income could provide considerable benefits to society through improving the health of individuals. There exists an inverse correlation between socioeconomic status and “unhealthy behaviors such as tobacco use, physical inactivity, and poor nutrition” (Pampel). Under the Affordable Healthcare Act, the individual cost of such unhealthy behavior can be seen as a communal cost. Therefore, the general and widespread rise in socioeconomic status of individuals due to the institution of Basic Income, causing the fall in unhealthy behaviors, can be seen as reducing communal costs. This can be seen more concretely by looking at the Manitoba and Namibia Basic Income experiments. In Namibia, malnourishment, a seldom acknowledged but very real problem in America (Egger), fell by 25%. In Manitoba, hospital visits were reduced by 8.5%, and improvement was seen in the domestic violence and mental health rates (Bergman). US studies which preceded the Manitoba experiment also saw positive affects on nutrition and health data, such as an increase in the birth weights of newborns. People who are provided money for which they don’t have to rely on a job are statistically healthier and this increased health trickles down to younger generations too.

Crime and Health are not the only things improved by a Basic Income. The economy itself is improved as well. When one is struggling to feed themselves and their family, it can be truly difficult to have the money, energy or even opportunity to contribute to one’s society. A person struggling to buy groceries, for example, may not be able to afford the transportation costs to give their time to their church or people in need of support, even if they have the time due to unemployment. Indeed, they probably need such support themselves. The ability to help others, or even be of much functional value to one’s community is a luxury bought by the lack of worry for food and shelter security. However, Basic Income experiments in Kenya and the US show that if people are given money, they often invest it back into the community and economy which gave it to them. A man who had been given a year’s salary with no strings led to people in his village repairing their homes and starting their own businesses as that one man stimulated his village economy. In the US, recipients of Basic Income returned to school for acting classes and psychology degrees, or started composing, becoming researchers and “self-sufficient, income-earning artists.” (Bergman)

One final reason to instate a Basic Income is the inevitable progress of technology. More and more jobs that were traditionally done by humans are being performed by machines and programs. These machines and programs are often cheaper, more reliable, and do not require breaks as humans do. Baxter is a “general purpose robot” which can be adapted to perform virtually any job, and can “learn” how to perform tasks by being shown, rather than programmed. Baxter costs $20,000 (Grey), but a typical factory worker would cost $24,252 in wages alone over the course of a year (Assembly Line Worker Salary). Whereas the factory worker requires breaks and insurance, Baxter can be run 24 hours and will not cause expensive lawsuits or settlements if damaged while working. Driver-less cars are already in use, and the change of the transportation industry from human drivers to driver-less vehicles is eminent. When it happens, it will put 3 million people out of work across the country at least (Grey). Programs which can perform complex calculations and logic algorithms faster and with greater fidelity than humans are already in use, and their take over of human brain labor began before we’d even reached the moon. In the 60s, Nasa’s computers were humans who would use adding machines to compute long equations. Computer is no longer a job title, however, it is a physical object at our command. Instating a Basic Income would combat the inevitable unemployment and allow people to eschew their now-computer-performed job for their passion, regardless of just how profitable that passion may or may not be.

There are two primary arguments against Basic Income, however. The first is cost, and the second is an objection to laziness. However, neither sufficiently demonstrates why Basic Income should not become the law of the land.

First of all, government spending on Family and Children welfare support, Unemployment spending and housing subsidies amount to $200 billion a year (Chantrill). Secondly, looking at the costs imposed by society (McCollister) and the number of murders and non-negligent manslaughter reports in the US in 2012 (U.S. Homocide), we find that in 2012, murders and non-negligent manslaughters cost the people of the US a total of $133 billion alone. Looking at the results of the Namibia Basic Income experiment, Basic Income could reduce the societal cost of murder by $53.28 billion. In 2013, Bergman projected the savings of Basic Income’s reduction of hospital visits to be $200 billion all on it’s own. Together, these effects amount to nearly $500 billion that could be saved were Basic Income instated in the US, and they are only a portion of the effects. The average societal cost of a crime is $290,569, and when crime is potentially reduced by as much as 40%, if we were as lucky as Namibia, that $290.5 thousand adds up. Further, if an individual’s Basic Income is reduced by $.50 per dollar they earn working, the average American would not receive Basic Income, due to making an average yearly salary of $44,888–far more than the $15,600 which would reduce Basic Income payments to $0 (SSA.gov). If it is assumed that 50% of employed Americans qualify for half of the Basic Income payment of $7,800, on average, the cost of supplying employed adults with Basic Income would be $447 billion. The cost of providing Basic Income to the unemployed (Forbes) would be $104 billion. Totaled, Basic Income would cost at most $551 billion. Easily paid by savings gained in replacing current government cash assistance programs with Basic Income, the reduction of the crime rate, and the fall of hospital visit and their associated costs.

This leaves the concern of laziness. The idea being that if people are given free money, they will stop working to live on the modest government dole. However, historical Basic Income experiments show that hours work typically fall by less than 15%. In Manitoba, total work hours fell by only 13% (Bergman), with breadwinners barely decreasing hours worked, while women took off a couple of months of work for maternity leave and students took more time for their studies. The Denver experiment showed an even lower decrease in total hours worked, only 9%, a drop caused by nearly identical factors. To the amount that people changed their approach to work at all in response to a Basic Income, it was generally to pursue work they enjoyed better.

In conclusion, Basic Income is a good without condition or provisos. It can lower crime, promote greater community engagement and communal health, lead to greater fulfillment as people use it to invest and support themselves through the growing pains of new careers, and give us a place to turn in the face of greater and greater rates of automation. It neither costs more than what we currently spend inefficiently, nor promotes laziness, and most of all, it provides security and livelihood for the most vulnerable and disadvantaged members of our society that they may grow to provide a greater portion of their security and that of society.

Works Cited

Bergman, Rutger. “Why We Should Give Free Money to Everyone.” De Correspondent. The Correspondant, 24 Dec. 2013. Web. 11 May 2015.

Chantrill, Christopher. “Government Spending Details.” : Federal State Local for 2015. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 May 2015.

Department of Industry Relations. “Minimum Wage.” Minimum Wage. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 May 2015.

Egger, Robert. “5 Myths about Hunger in America.” Washington Post. The Washington Post, 21 Nov. 2010. Web. 11 May 2015.

Ellis, Lee, Kevin M. Beaver, and John Paul. Wright. Handbook of Crime Correlates. Amsterdam: Elsevier/Academic, 2009. Google. Web. 4 May 2015. <http://books.google.com/books?id=eD0ttBXoMvQC&gt;

Grey, C.G.P. “Humans Need Not Apply.” YouTube. YouTube, 13 Aug. 2014. Web. 04 May 2015.

Longley, Robert. “Mincome: A Guaranteed Income for All Americans.” About.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 May 2015.

McCollister, Kathryn E., Michael T. French, and Hai Fang. “The Cost of Crime to Society: New Crime-Specific Estimates for Policy and Program Evaluation.” Drug and Alcohol Dependence. U.S. National Library of Medicine, n.d. Web. 11 May 2015.

Pampel, Fred C., Patrick M. Krueger, and Justin T. Denney. “Socioeconomic Disparities in Health Behaviors.” Annual Review of Sociology. U.S. National Library of Medicine, n.d. Web. 04 May 2015.

Payscale.com. “Assembly Line Worker Salary (United States).” Assembly Line Worker Salary (United States). N.p., n.d. Web. 11 May 2015.

Raphael, Steven, and Rudolf Winter€-Ebmer. “Identifying the Effect of Unemployment on Crime*.” JSTOR. The University of Chicago Press, n.d. Web. 11 May 2015.

SSA.gov. “Social Security.” National Average Wage Index. Social Security, n.d. Web. 8 May 2015.

Statista. “U.S. Homicide: Number of Murders by State 2013 | Statistic.” Statista. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 May 2015.

US Department of Health and Human Services. “2015 Poverty Guidelines.” 2015 Poverty Guidelines. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 May 2015.

Hey, so I made a game!

Ok, it’s an expansion to an existing game which was published under Creative Commons.

I created an expansion to the call-and-response party game Cards Against Humanity based on the collectible card game Magic the Gathering.

Answers on the Storm Scale

As an expansion, it works exactly like Cards Against Humanity, and was designed to be similar in appearance, though distinct so as to not infringe upon CAH’s copyright. The set contains 100 new cards- 70 white response cards and 30 black call cards- the backs are printed with Cards Against the Multiverse, so while they will blend into the deck, they will be distinct. If this matters, CAH and CAtM cards will fit in standard card sleeves.

You can buy the deck professionally printed at The Game Crafter for $20 or as a pdf you can print out and cut up at Gumroad for Pay What You Want.

 

Play Black for Answers

YawgmothsAswersDesignElement

Sword of Answers and Responses

Accept Unfriended’s Friend Request

The last ten years have seen the medium of information consumption and socialization change perhaps more vastly than ever before in the history of film and television.

There are works which keep up with this change, and find a way to weave texting and social media into the diegesis of the work seemlessly–or at least intriguingly and in a way which enriches rather than distracts–such as the BBC Sherlock series. There are also works which fumble with the new mediums, thinking they can convey a text in much the same way they might a phone call, simply showing the screen for a frame, such as virtually every other work. Unfriended is the former by way of extended use of the latter.

I’m not sure what I expected going in, but the focus on a single computer screen for an hour and twenty three minutes, showing us the Skype-focused POV of the main character, worked beautifully. Part of the beauty is in keeping the movie to a fairly tight hour and twenty three minutes–any longer and it probably would have gotten tiresome. Instead, you are fully engaged as teenagers fight and bicker and are forced to confess their transgressions against one another all across a single computer screen as windows are opened, closed, minimized and moved. It’s not precisely the way I would have filmed the movie, but it is a wonderful way to tell the story.

Unfriended comes off as a bit of a vengeful ghost flick, and that, coupled with its modern trappings, gives it a Japanese-horror-flick vibe. But it’s true DNA is much more Slasher–teenagers drink and fuck and bicker and desert one another, and are picked off, one by one, by a revenant they have wronged even more than each other.

I would be lying if I said Unfriended was really new, but while the path is old he conveyance is sleek and reasonably modern, and that makes it quite enjoyable.

The Ambition to Fight Back

More Tumblr-spiration.

One of my biggest peeves about Harry Potter was the scene in Deathly Hollows where all of Slytherin was thrown under the bus because of one loud-mouthed turn-coat. It was the conclusion of the paper-thin, transparent archetype houses that Rowling had wrote for seven books, where all of Gryffindor was good and righteous and main character material (except Pettigrew, who hadn’t been a Gryffindor for decades) and all of Slytherin was evil and cowardly and conniving and antagonist material (except Regulus Black, except he just happened to turn good at the last second of his life), and all of Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff were background characters more akin to props than people.

Apparently Rowling justifies Slytherins’ objection to fighting by saying that they would have been fighting their family. That… ok, maybe this is an american thing, what with the war of brothers in our history, but that’s just not good enough to me. That seems like all the more reason for them to fight.

“Potter’s right there, let’s just give him to Lord Voldemort!”

Pansy Parkinson was pointing to the boy who lived, who’d sought a brief refuge in the long final night of conflict between him and the would-be tyrannical facist, and he froze. The Gryffindors stood and whirled around to face the Slytherins, wands drawn as they turned.

Each and every Slytherin had already stepped back twice, save the loud-mouthed young woman who was ready to sell Potter out, leaving her standing alone in the center of four houses of wizards and witches.

“Does anyone else believe we should hand over our own student to the wizard who wishes to finish the murder he could not accomplish 17 years ago?” McGonagal asked, a brow arched.

Pansy looked around to find the rest of her house staring intently at their shoes and the cobbles beneath them. “But- but it’s him or us!” she cried in a strangled voice.

A single Slytherin pushed through the crowd and put a hand on her shoulder- turning her around to face them, a queer magic user who used the terms witch and wizard for themselves on a whim, who’d been found in several parts of the castle and dungeons entangled with both witches and wizards over the years, who was widely considered an embarrassment in Slytherin, not so much for their predilections but more for their libertine attitudes about Muggles and mixed blood magic-folk. “Pansy,” they hissed, “I can assure you that there will be death this night. But it will not be a matter of Potter or us. It will be a matter of Voldemort or us. After seven years, do you really think that Voldemort and the Deatheaters can prevail when they could not kill Potter and his friends in the chamber of prophecies? In a graveyard with no one aware of his whereabouts and no assistance? Potter will live this night, and even if that were not the case, I am sick of being part of this racist, despicable house. I am sick of the people out there in grim masks spouting all sorts of anti-muggle, homophobic, sexist bullshit, assuming not only that I agree with them, but that they are right.”

The witch-wizard released the quivering woman’s shoulder, and she slumped to the ground.

“Alright, you den of serpents,” they said, turning to address the bigots and aspirants they’d dormed with for seven years. “The fuckers out there believe that lineage, or sex, or blood dictate magical power, and they’ve been a blight on our proud house, changing our reputation from ‘those who aspire’ to ‘those who hate.’ Meanwhile, we’ve just spent seven years trying to outdo a muggleborn woman who was born to dentists and is regularly called ‘The Brightest Witch of Her Age.’ I don’t care if you like it, we have empirical proof that magical talent is about intellect and cleverness, not blood or parts.” They whipped their long, ebony wand from a sleeve, “and I for one am tired of being held to such an archaic, offensive standard that would deny my mind and attribute everything I am to what is in my veins or between my legs! So I’m fighting those fuckers!”

The crowd of Slytherins murmured to one another, and looked to them doubtfully.

McGonagal peered at the foul-mouthed agitator, and stepped up to join them, “Are any other Slytherins going to join us in the fight?” she asked imperiously.

The murmured amongst themselves again, but this time one stepped forward, a young fourth year, one eye concealed by her hair, a voice that faltered unaccustomed to being raise, “Professor,” she beseeched, “those are family members out there,” she said. “A lot of us… we can’t go into that. But… we know our potions. Some of us are pretty decent with healing, especially those who often patched up the… trouble makers of our house. Let us see to wounded, we can see what we can do inside, but it’s just… not in  a lot of us to level a wand at our parents. …or sisters.”

The woman nodded, “very well,” she turned to Filch, “Escort Ms. Parkinson to the Dungeons, Filch.” She turned back to the assembled Slytherins as the crooked man put a hand on Pansy’s shoulder and steered her to the stairs. “The rest of you, make yourselves useful. We will triage wounded here. Get what will be needed from the potions room, Snape kept more supplies in his office. Those with the stomachs to fight come with me.”

McGonagal strode out of the Great Hall with three houses, and more than a few Slytherins falling in behind her, the queer-witch pushing through the crowd level with McGonagal and Potter, but addressing neither. The older witch placed a hand on their shoulder, though, “While the sentiment is appreciated, as is the convincing of your house mates to aid us, the language…”

“I got ya,” the young wizard-witch nodded, “Sorry, my passions got away from me.”

“Well, such is the liberty of youth,” McGonagal replied, “I wouldn’t say that such a speech would not have come from me at your age…”

The young wizh smiled and doubled their speed as the army neared the bridge, crossing it eagerly as Deatheaters began to ready themselves for the battle to be rejoined.

They can’t remember which side cast first in the second stage of the war, but they remembered every familiar voice, every seen-before boot, every cloak-clad body she’d seen elsewhere. The witchard shouted in gleeful fury as they spun and dodged and threw spells. They, being a Slytherin and famously under-trained in it, were never skilled at the Patronus charm, but they found themselves making a new memory, a memory of standing up to every hateful wretch she’d had to take tea with, had to listen to as they were lectured about the inadequacies of half-bloods, had to bite their tongue to keep from raging against the homophobic slurs of, of blasting handsy “uncles” in the fork for every pinch of their ass, and in the heat let loose an explosive cry of EXPECTO PATRONUM! and marveled as an immense basilisk of silver light, crowned with crest and horns and a wide hood rimmed with spines spreading from it’s neck slithered from the end of their wand, hissing and rasping and sending Deatheaters flying with deft swipes of it’s luminous tail, the King of Snakes sending the servants of the pretender to the throne sprawling.

Inside the Great Hall, Slytherins mixed potions and worked with Madam Pomfrey to administer aid. They rubbed salves in, coaxed people into drinking bitter brews, and bandaged wounds. At first, wounded students could only remember every cup of pumpkin juice they’d drank that’d been hexed by a Slytherin, and hesitate. But little by little, whether due to pain, or shock, or horror, they trusted in the new leaves turning over, and every sip redeemed the house’s reputation that little bit.

The Slytherins, for their part, kept their heads down and focused on the matter at hand, trying to block out the shouts outside the walls. Everyone of them could hear the cries of family and friends all too clearly, even if it was imagined, and shut their eyes as they stirred and cut and poured. Some pleaded that their family be brought in to be healed too, others told the fighters that the people who birthed them could be left to rot like the refuse they’d decided to be.

As the queer-witch fought, they also thought about those vast halls that would lie empty and filled with all sorts of magical goods–not everyone in Slytherin had trust funds, some had ambitions to acquire wealth as well as power.

But most of all, they aspired to topple the hateful upper echelons of Wizarding Society, and repay every injustice they’d ever given.