New animals discovered in Borneo, an economist's analysis of digital content as a public good, a professor of digital media's thoughts about avatars for characters of color in computer games, and a really hilarious journal post.
New Animals Discovered in Borneo -- I think my favorite is the stick insect, like a walking stick only a bit over half a meter long, pictured walking up the side of a guy's head. Oh, and props to the guy, too, for having guts. :) The flame-colored snake is gorgeous, and the lungless frog makes me think about aliens for an SF story.
Why Content Is a Public Good -- this is a guest post by Milena Popova on Charlie Stross's blog. She talks about public and private goods, and rival and excludable goods, and the various combinations and how the market works (or doesn't) to distribute or control the distribution of the various types. I've never seen the subject (primarily e-books and music, but also applies to movies and such) discussed from this point of view before. She starts at the beginning and explains the vocabulary for people who don't have econ degrees. Definitely worth a read.
Chimerical Avatars and Other Identity Experiments from Prof. Fox Harrell -- Prof. Harrell talks about avatars in computer games and the lack of variety available in avatar types, particularly for players of color who'd like their avatar to represent them as they are, particularly if they want a decent range of options beyond skin color. This is a familiar issue in gaming, but it also applies to books.
How often can a reader of color find a character who's like them in mainstream genre fiction? Or a female reader in an adventure-oriented genre? Sure, we can appreciate and empathize with characters who aren't like us, but white readers don't have to do that very often, and never at all if they don't want to. A series of characters who are all basically alike can give readers who are different the impression that this author or series or genre isn't for them, and can give a writer who is different the impression that a genre doesn't welcome their viewpoint. It benefits all of us to encourage a variety of character types in the media we consume, which (for those of us who are creators) means including a variety of character types in the media we create.
I Has a Sweet Potato by Littera-Abactor on LJ -- I'm pretty sure I haven't linked this here before, but it's hilarious so even if I have, there's no harm done. :D
Dog: I am starving.
Me: Actually, no. You aren't starving. You get two very good meals a day. And treats. And Best Beloved fed you extra food while I was gone.
Me: I saw you get fed not four hours ago! You are not starving.
Dog: Pity me, a sad and tragic creature, for I can barely walk, I am so starving. WOE.
Me: I am now ignoring you.
Dog: Did you hear me? I am starving.
Dog: Are you seriously ignoring me? Fine.
[There is a pause, during which the dog exits the room in a pointed manner.]
[From the kitchen, there comes a noise like someone is eating a baseball bat.]
Me, yelling: What the hell are you doing?
Me: *makes haste for the kitchen and finds dog there*
Dog: *picks up entire raw sweet potato, which is what was causing the baseball bat noise, and flees for the bedroom*
Me: *chases dog, retrieves most of sweet potato, less the portion which has disappeared into dog's gullet*
Dog: See? STARVING.
Me: ...That can't be good for you. It's a RAW SWEET POTATO.
Dog: I had to do it. I haven't been fed. Ever.
Me: You realize you aren't normal. Normal dogs don't steal raw sweet potatoes.
Dog, sadly: I was badly brought up.
Me: Yes. Yes, you were.
Dog: By people who starved me.
Me: Oh, no. I am not doing this again.
Me: *exits the room, bearing sweet potato*
There's more. Definitely more. :D Click through and read the whole thing.
Oh, and I got an acceptance on a story called "Unfinished Business," which is a sequel to A Hidden Magic, yay! :D It's short and funny and is basically erotica, picking up on something a couple of supporting characters were doing about two-thirds of the way through the book. It's scheduled for release on 26 June, just a month after HM, which is great timing.