Thursday, May 03, 2007

Great Reading for Fledgling Science Fiction Authors

This article was fascinating to me - the reality behind building a Halo - styled universe. A Halo is a sort of Ring World / Ring Satellite, which uses centrifugal force to create gravity, and spins rapidly. Ships wanting to land on the inner surface would, naturally, need to match this spin, but here's my favorite is catch - the atmosphere at the upper edges would be traveling at a different speed than lower atmosphere, and any ships attempting to land in it would be incinerated.

The Abdication of Parenting

Freelance writer and former Atari public relations manager W. Jayson Hill has subjected himself to six months working video game retail. He sheds some light on the topics of used game sales, the ESRB and parents, console launch windows and more.

[Source Article]
While the article is interesting for how it illustrates the "front lines" of game retail stores, what strikes me the most is the section on parents, their children, and "mature" rated games. There are three kinds of parents, Mr. Hill says:
  1. Parents who follow the letter of the law. If their twelve year-old wants a "teen" game, tough luck - wait a year. These are the rarest.
  2. The Ad-Hoc parents who make obscure value judgments such as "It's okay to buy games with violence and chop peoples head's off but it's not okay to have semi-naked bodies in the game." This makes up the vast majority.
  3. Parents who abdicate all responsibility.

The last major subspecies of game-buying parent is not quite as numerous as the ad hoc decider. However, they seem to far outnumber the parents that worship at the alter of strict ESRB adherence. But these parents are also the ones that are most insidious. They let their kids have any game he or she selects – ratings and content be damned.

The excuses vary widely on why this attitude prevails. My personal favorite was the parent who said, "Well, it's nothing he didn't see on 'CSI' last night." At this point it took a supreme effort on my part not to reach over the counter, snatch this woman up by the collar and demand to know why she was letting a 7-year-old watch a program that regularly features half-decomposing and cut up corpses. The sad thing is that she also struck me as the type of individual that would cheer on a politician in favor of putting into government hands the very responsibility she had so blithely abdicated.

That last bit sums everything up for me. I hate, with a passion, the Public School System. It sucks. It's stupid. It was formed during America's Industrial Revolution. It has changed from being a service provider (education) to a care-taker of children, of which is it more delinquent at than most parents.

The femenist movement in America, however necessary, didn't bring about equal pay for the sexes, it reduced mens' pay by 2/3rds, to the point at which now both sexes must work to keep the same family one man used to be able to. With that, comes the destruction of family, and with that, the willful abandon that parents give today where they just don't want to do the parenting thing - they have jobs, or something else they'd rather do, and with that, politicians who say schools should support kids more because they aren't supported enough. The whole cycle makes me sick.