The Null Device
Australia's federal government has backed a proposal to add an 18+ rating for video games, legalising games not suitable for 15-year-olds. Currently, such games are illegal to sell in or import into Australia. This has led to some anomalies: games are banned because the classification board considers that they might encourage illegal activity, however tenuously (one shooter was banned because medical kits one could pick up to boost one's life force looked like syringes which could encourage intravenous drug use), while elsewhere, the censorship board gives games which would get 18+ ratings elsewhere MA15 ratings (after all, you don't want to ban everything this side of Little Big Planet, do you?)
Of course, it's not a done deal yet; any change would need unanimous support from state attorneys-general, and until recently, South Australia's AG, a right-wing Christian authoritarian (and Labor Party member), has been vetoing it.
The government's hand was possibly forced by its tenuous coalition with the Greens, who are far more progressive on these issues than the major parties; the Labor Party who lead the coalition still officially support a national internet censorship firewall, after all. The conservative opposition coalition have not made any statements on an 18+ rating for video games.
The latest from the people behind Smoke: a London Peculiar, a periodic zine inspired by the city: Soho: A Most Peculiar Game, a board game set in the Soho area of London and inspired by two things: its pubs and its one-way system:
Each player is the editor of a small literary magazine. Before the next issue can be printed, six pieces of rashly commissioned copy need to be retrieved from a somewhat motley bunch of recalcitrant writers:
Travel blogger and author of "Leicester: City of Crisps", Toby D’Azure.
Girl-about-town and sparkly-heeled chick-lit tyro Sophie Blush.
Postmodern goremeister and connoisseur of noir Justin Slick.
Aga-endorsing barbour-clad romantic novelist Lavinia Snowe.
Former Para turned lad-mag agony uncle David “Dave” Green.
Otherworldly and oddly androgynous sci-fi bod CT Vermillion.
And, being writers, all six are currently holed up in six Soho pubs, cadging free drinks, chatting up people half their age (but with, oddly, twice their looks), and complaining vociferously about their agents, about dumbing down in the publishing industry, and about how they didn’t want that Eastenders gig anyway as it would have compromised their artistic integrity and also possibly involved buying a TV licence.
The noble editors’ thankless task is to contact all six writers and extricate their beer/sauvignon-stained prose from whichever unwholesome pocket or handbag it’s been stuffed in. The first to do so scores a small moral victory or, to borrow a phrase from Monopoly, wins.
Charles Bronson in "Killing Hipsters"; or, if you saw someone today who looked like a mugger or back-alley lowlife from 1970s New York, they'd probably be a trust fund kid who runs a DJ night and makes video projections for bands.
Also killing hipsters: Jhonen Vasquez, the author of the 1990s comic Johnny The Homicidal Maniac (the one underground comic broadly associated with the goth subculture which wasn't cringeworthy). Now he has turned his murderous attention from the darklings to those of the American Apparel persuasion, in this music video for a band named The Left Rights. It starts off pretty stereotypically, but keep watching.
Satoshi Kanazawa, evolutionary psychology researcher at the London School of Economics, has published a list of ten controversial assertions about human nature; they vary from well-trodden ones (men being naturally sexually promiscuous/drawn to younger partners and such; there are several points drawn from the asymmetry of sexual selection) to more contentious ones; Kanazawa contends that most suicide bombers are Muslims because polygyny, and the sexual frustration of a society where powerful men monopolise the pool of women, serves as powerful motivation, which sounds a bit reductionistic, and would suggest that suicide bombers would predominantly be of low status or prospects, which has not been the case. Meanwhile, liberals are more intelligent than conservatives (as measured by IQ scores) because conservatism is a no-brainer:
"The ability to think and reason endowed our ancestors with advantages in solving evolutionarily novel problems for which they did not have innate solutions. As a result, more intelligent people are more likely to recognise and understand such novel entities and situations than less intelligent people, and some of these entities and situations are preferences, values, and lifestyles," Dr Kanazawa said.
Humans are evolutionarily designed to be conservative, caring mostly about their family and friends. Being liberal and caring about an indefinite number of genetically unrelated strangers is evolutionarily novel. So more intelligent children may be more likely to grow up to be liberals.Also, both creativity and criminality have a common basis in costly peacock-tail behaviour:
The tendency to commit crimes peaks in adolescence and then rapidly declines. But this curve is not limited to crime – it is also evident in every quantifiable human behaviour that is seen by potential mates and costly (not affordable by all sexual competitors). In the competition for mates men may act violently or they may express their competitiveness through their creative activities.