What’s the purpose of a car that can drive for us, or artificial intelligence that can shoulder 60% of our workload? Is it to allow us to work more hours for even less pay? Or is it to enable us to choose how we work, and to decline any pay/hours we deem insufficient because we’re already earning the incomes that machines aren’t?

I offer it’s that jobs are for machines, and life is for people.

(If you’d have told 20-year-old me that 45-year-old me would be in support of Universal Basic Income, 20-year-old me would have laughed and laughed.)

h/t Chris Carpenter 

View story at Medium.com

We’re delighted to be able to reveal a new project we’ve kept under wraps – Erebor™ – The Lonely Mountain for The One Ring Roleplaying Game™. The gorgeous and spectacular cover is by internationally renowned Tolkien artist John Howe. We’re certain you’ll agree it’s brilliant.

Erebor details the mountain home of the Dwarves in Wilderland, along with a closer look at the rebuilt town of Dale, and the surrounding countryside. We’ll have more details about this fascinating supplement in the coming weeks.

http://cubicle7.co.uk/the-one-ring-roleplaying-game-erebor-the-lonely-mountain/

The One Ring Roleplaying Game: Erebor – The Lonely Mountain

Returning to Known Space

Inspired by the old Ringworld RPG from Chaosium that has been sitting, unplayed, on my game shelf since 1984, I decided to take a deep dive into Larry Niven’s “Known Space” stories. Last night I finished Neutron Star, a collection of early short stories and novellas in the setting. Now I’m a few chapters into Ringworld, the crown jewel of the corpus.

I was a huge Niven fan back in the day. I think it started with Ringworld — possibly spurred on by the RPG, but maybe I’d come across it a little earlier — and then Dream Park which, as a young gamer, was mind-blowing. Then came The Ringworld Engineers, a copy of Convergent Series that I stumbled upon at a bed-and-breakfast while attending my sister’s wedding, and then The Mote in God’s Eye. (I also had a SF book club copy of The Integral Trees, but never managed to read it.)

The point here is that while I was aware of Known Space, I never really focused on it as a Niven fan. Plus, back in the pre-Internet days, scouting out titles in a given author’s oeuvre was a PITA; I just grabbed what was readily available. So, this time around, whether I manage to run the RPG or not, I wanted to focus upon Known Space.

Neutron Star is one of the few (maybe only) collections of early KS stories in Kindle format, so I grabbed that. Luckily, according to one site, it’s the ideal starting point for reading your way through Niven’s setting.

http://news.larryniven.net/concordance/content.asp?page=Reading%20Order

The stories are good reads, though not Niven’s best, IMO. The bulk of the collection are the Beowulf Shaeffer stories, which are pretty typical “heroic engineer” tales about an ace pilot who gets himself into and out of deep-space jams using science. Beyond that, we are taken on tours of different corners of Known Space and introduced to important species like the Kzin (holy shit do I love the Kzin) and the Puppeteers.

I’m glad I stumbled on the reading guide linked above. I was going to go deeper down the rabbit hole of early KS tales, but I followed the site’s advice and went straight on to Ringworld. So far, it’s paying off, and even in the first few chapters there are all kinds of off-hand references to the old stories in Neutron Star, ones I totally missed the first two times I’d read the book (once as a pre-teen, a second time in my thirties, IIRC). 

It’s also impressive to see how much Niven advanced as a writer in just the four or so years between those early stories and this novel. In the early stories, characters like Beowulf Shaeffer feel mostly like cyphers — mere devices to facilitate the science and world-building. But Louis Wu, otoh, is a much more well-rounded character. E.g., while we learn a lot about the state of earth and the functionality of transfer booths as he flits from time zone to time zone in the first chapter, we learn even more about Wu as a person — where he’s at in his long life and why he’s going to be receptive to the offer soon to come his way.

I look forward to continuing my journey through Known Space, especially digging in to later works Niven has proceed int he decades that I haven’t been paying attention. Not to mention eventually moving on to re-reading Dream Park and its sequels, as well as all of the The Magic Goes Away stories. There’s just something about Niven that grabs me more than other “classic” SF authors.

Aside: This journey is evidence of my “project plan” attitude towards a lot of my media consumption these days. I can’t just re-read RIngworld again; I have to research Known Space and essentially come up with a lesson plan. I seem to do this a lot. And it’s part of there reason why I’ve managed to, yet again, distract myself from my “RuneQuest and Glorantha”, “Pendragon and Arthuriana”, and “Tolkien and The One Ring” lesson plans that have been on the back-burner for years now. I guess I’m a completist, and I approach everything from that perspective. It’s probably something I need to get over, honestly, because some of these “projects” are just too wide in scope.

Returning to Known Space Inspired by the old Ringworld RPG from Chaosium that has been sitting, unplayed, on my game shelf since 1984, I decided to take a deep dive into Larry Niven’s “Known Space” stories. Last night I finished Neutron Star, a collection of early short stories and novellas in the setting. Now I’m a few chapters into Ringworld, the crown jewel of the corpus. I was a huge Niven fan back in the day. I think it started with Ringworld — possibly spurred on by the RPG, but maybe I’d come across it a little earlier — and then Dream Park which, as a young gamer, was mind-blowing. Then came The Ringworld Engineers, a copy of Convergent Series that I stumbled upon at a bed-and-breakfast while attending my sister’s wedding, and then The Mote in God’s Eye. (I also had a SF book club copy of The Integral Trees, but never managed to read it.) The point here is that while I was aware of Known Space, I never really focused on it as a Niven fan. Plus, back in the pre-Internet days, scouting out titles in a given author’s oeuvre was a PITA; I just grabbed what was readily available. So, this time around, whether I manage to run the RPG or not, I wanted to focus upon Known Space. Neutron Star is one of the few (maybe only) collections of early KS stories in Kindle format, so I grabbed that. Luckily, according to one site, it’s the ideal starting point for reading your way through Niven’s setting. http://news.larryniven.net/concordance/content.asp?page=Reading%20Order The stories are good reads, though not Niven’s best, IMO. The bulk of the collection are the Beowulf Shaeffer stories, which are pretty typical “heroic engineer” tales about an ace pilot who gets himself into and out of deep-space jams using science. Beyond that, we are taken on tours of different corners of Known Space and introduced to important species like the Kzin (holy shit do I love the Kzin) and the Puppeteers. I’m glad I stumbled on the reading guide linked above. I was going to go deeper down the rabbit hole of early KS tales, but I followed the site’s advice and went straight on to Ringworld. So far, it’s paying off, and even in the first few chapters there are all kinds of off-hand references to the old stories in Neutron Star, ones I totally missed the first two times I’d read the book (once as a pre-teen, a second time in my thirties, IIRC).  It’s also impressive to see how much Niven advanced as a writer in just the four or so years between those early stories and this novel. In the early stories, characters like Beowulf Shaeffer feel mostly like cyphers — mere devices to facilitate the science and world-building. But Louis Wu, otoh, is a much more well-rounded character. E.g., while we learn a lot about the state of earth and the functionality of transfer booths as he flits from time zone to time zone in the first chapter, we learn even more about Wu as a person — where he’s at in his long life and why he’s going to be receptive to the offer soon to come his way. I look forward to continuing my journey through Known Space, especially digging in to later works Niven has proceed int he decades that I haven’t been paying attention. Not to mention eventually moving on to re-reading Dream Park and its sequels, as well as all of the The Magic Goes Away stories. There’s just something about Niven that grabs me more than other “classic” SF authors. Aside: This journey is evidence of my “project plan” attitude towards a lot of my media consumption these days. I can’t just re-read RIngworld again; I have to research Known Space and essentially come up with a lesson plan. I seem to do this a lot. And it’s part of there reason why I’ve managed to, yet again, distract myself from my “RuneQuest and Glorantha”, “Pendragon and Arthuriana”, and “Tolkien and The One Ring” lesson plans that have been on the back-burner for years now. I guess I’m a completist, and I approach everything from that perspective. It’s probably something I need to get over, honestly, because some of these “projects” are just too wide in scope.]]>

Journeys and Maps is a set of four, double sided, large format maps covering the greater part of Middle-earth: Eriador, Wilderland, Rohan and Gondor/Mordor. With Players maps and hexed Lore Master maps, these provide an invaluable play aid for planning your One Ring journeys.

Also included is a 32-page supplement, with rules for water travel by sea and river, an index to all locations covered in The One Ring Roleplaying Game supplements to date, a system for detailing ruins found along the road, a useful collection of terrain-specific hazards, and a section detailing natural wonders, lodgings, and fellow travellers your Company might find along the way.

Journeys and Maps is a must-have accessory for The One Ring. Pre-orders are coming soon, and as usual we will offer a complementary PDF version with all pre-orders, and the PDF version will be made available at the same time.

Cover and contents page: http://cubicle7.co.uk/the-one-ring-journeys-and-maps-coming-soon/

The One Ring: Journeys and Maps – Coming Soon

“Well,” I told the former president. “It took a while, but you finally got it right.”

Yes we did, but not enough. The government kept encryption legal, but benignly neglected it, while our infrastructure, our business plans, and our personal secrets lay exposed to thieves, vandals and foreign powers. Security flaws were a pain to users, but a useful tool for law enforcement and intelligence agencies. Now, post-Snowden, our tech companies are finally taking steps to implement strong-encryption-by-default, the best way to insure security and privacy. The FBI’s response? Clipper Chip redux.

And we’re back at square one.

https://backchannel.com/why-are-we-fighting-the-crypto-wars-again-b5310a423295#.bwjua09ns

We cannot ignore the fact that the populist sensation of this election hasn’t been Bernie Sanders. It’s been a racist, nationalist demagogue-for-hire with no sincere ideology beyond his own vanity. Mr. Trump is a cipher; his voters love him because he does nothing but hold up a mirror to their basest prejudices and bask in the feedback loop of narcissism. They’re not “afraid”; they’re leading Mr. Trump as much as following him. They called him into being, not the other way around.

http://mobile.nytimes.com/2016/03/11/opinion/campaign-stops/what-are-trump-fans-really-afraid-to-say.html?_r=1

Mike Winkelmann, also known as Beeple has been doing that everyday for the past 8 years. He has been creating an artwork every single day and the result is nothing short of amazing.

I think there maybe needs to be an RPG design competition where everyone has to use one of these illustrations as an inspiration/component.

http://abduzeedo.com/incredible-illustrations-beeple