Links for 31st May 2009

Fresh from the clogged tubes of teh intarwubs…

  1. Pure as the driven slush

    "the hard work doesn't stop there. Once the novel is written, the next phase of hard work begins. The first of which is to find an agent to represent you and/or a publisher to get your magnum opus out into the wild (or at least the bookshops, which are often mistaken for the same thing).

    Here, then, are a few tips to help you on your way. To those of you who read the following and think "Well, that's obvious", you're right. Unfortunately, the obvious is all-too-often overlooked in favour of the optimistic, or the downright foolhardy." Lee 'Angry Robot' Harris.

    Tagged with: writingfictionqueryagentspublisherspitchingadvicetips

  2. RPG Vault: Jeff Vogel’s View From the Bottom #12

    "It's a tricky thing to define, but I'll take a crack at it. A design is addiction-based to the degree that it encourages players to experience the same content again and again (often referred to as grinding) in return to obtain a series of rewards. These can be simple labels with no tangible effect (like an in-game title or some achievements), or they can be character improvements that give the ability to move on to a new location with a slightly different sort of grinding. I call this the grind/reward cycle, and it can keep players coming back to one game for years."

    Tagged with: gamemarketingpsychologydesignanalysisaddiction

  3. Managing Transparency

    "The last strategy, deception, boils down to this: we may be able to watch each other, but that doesn't mean what we show is real.

    Call it "polluting the datastream": introducing false and misleading bits of personal information (about location, about one's history, about interests and work) into the body of public data about you. It could be as targeted as adding lies to your Wikipedia entry (should you have one) or other public bios; it could be as random as putting enough junk info about yourself onto Google-indexed websites and message boards. Many of us do this already, at least to a minor degree: at a recent conference, I asked the audience how many give false date-of-birth info on website sign-ups; over half the audience raised their hands."

    Tagged with: technologyinternetsurveillancesousveillancetransparencylifeloggingprivacyfuturismJamais-Cascio

  4. To Survive Cancer, Live With It

    "How people treat invasive species can provide an analogy for thinking about cancer therapy. In treating a field for a pest, for example, you might treat three-quarters of it with a pesticide, and leave the other quarter untreated. Pesticide-sensitive pests remain there, and they spread out into the field after treatment, preventing pesticide resistance from becoming dominant.

    Using pesticides on an entire field is like what we’re doing with cancer now. And we all agree that we’d rather get rid of the pests altogether, but if you can’t do it, if every time you have an infestation you treat it and get resistance, then you try a different strategy. The alternative is to try to reduce the pest population so that it doesn’t damage your crop, and accept the fact that they’re going to be there. That’s what I’m talking about with cancer."

    Tagged with: biologymedicinehealthcanceralternativetreatmentcompromise

  5. Religions owe their success to suffering martyrs

    "When religious leaders make costly sacrifices for their beliefs, the argument goes, these acts add credibility to their professions of faith and help their beliefs to spread. If, on the other hand, no one is willing to make a significant sacrifice for a belief then observers – even young children – quickly pick up on this and withhold their own commitment.[…] The more costly the behaviour, the more likely it is to be sincere: few would willingly give their life for an ideal they did not believe in, and devotees who take vows of poverty or chastity are clearly putting their money where their mouth is. Such credibility-enhancing displays are even more effective if performed by a high-status individual such as a priest or other leader, says Henrich."

    Tagged with: culturereligionfaithmartyrdomsacrificesincerityideologypropagation

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