Crowd Sourcing Human Survival: Why Civilization Requires Constant Technological Progress

Every major technological achievement reconstructs our civilizational foundation into a new one better able to sustain the increasingly large population building on top. Why is this important? As a civilization changes, it loses the ideas and infrastructure that supported previous technological eras and if it runs out of the resources that maintain the current level, the collapse will lead to immeasurable death. The perilous situation is best stated by philosopher Ayn Rand (1999) in Return of the Primitive & The Anti-Industrial Revolution: “In real life, there is no such thing as a gradual descent from civilization to savagery. There is a crash-and no recovery, only the long, drawn out agony of chaos, helplessness and random death, on a mass scale” (Rand, p. 273). Technological progress has set humanity down a path it can’t turn back from without suffering catastrophic consequences, but history has proven that the very mechanisms that built up civilization also improved its sustainability and we have no other option than to take full and immediate advantage of all our material, labor, and human resources if we hope to survive long term.

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The High Cost Of A Minimum Wage Future

Every day, workers compete in an ever growing labor pool for the same limited number of jobs, jobs they need to be able to survive in a time when the standard of living is going up. The competition only gets more intense when jobs can be exported to other countries or be outright replaced by automation that swaps cashiers with kiosks. In such an economic climate, people need more bargaining power to give themselves an edge up against the competition and sell themselves based on their individual needs and qualifications. While minimum wage policies sound appealing at first, minimum wage hurts people at all stages of their career and ultimately helps the wealthy and large corporations, which is why politicians push for it.

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The Bebop Sessions 03: Ballad of Fallen Angels

I would have given up on Bebop if it weren’t for Ballad of Fallen Angels. I changed my mind the moment the church organ blared across the purple sunset above a crumbling gothic cathedral. The beginning of the third act finds Spike, hands stuffed in his large overcoats pockets, walking up the cobblestone street to the lyrics of Yoko Kanno’s ‘Rain’. A woman sings.

I don’t feel a thing
and I stopped remembering.
The days are just like moments turned to hours.

Rain’s vocals are provided by Kanno-collaborator Mai Yamane. Yamane’s voice fills the air over a scene intercut with the silhouette of a silver-haired figure resting on one of the cathedrals broken stone pillars, a katana leaning against his shoulder. Continue reading “The Bebop Sessions 03: Ballad of Fallen Angels”

The Priceless Canvas Called Fujiko Mine

When Fujiko Mine first stepped onto the scene in Lupin III’s ‘Mystery Woman’, she knocked the master thief on his ass. She used her wits to best his plans, see through his disguises and utilized her ample feminine virtues to charm the arrogant womanizer into giving her everything she wanted. To celebrate the anniversary of Monkey Punch’s manga, ‘Lupin the Third: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine’ reimagines and updates the classic from her violent, sexy perspective, adding life to the series in ways unseen since the original hand drawn pages. Like the machine gun blonde beauty, the show is a healthy, vibrant form on a 40 year old body.

Cease what you are doing and gaze at me. Stop everything save for the throwing of your heart.

Much has happened in the decades since Lupin was first put into print and after hundreds of stories, numerous series and dozens of theatrical films, our rogue’s red coat was starting to fray at the hem. Many of Lupin’s adventures featured the unabashed nudity found in M. Punch’s work but few could capture its tawdry, dirty sexuality and Lupin’s borderline sexual predator proclivities. Part of that can be chalked up to the changing of The Times. What was passable in the seventies wasn’t in the nineties and is even more dangerous now. So the tiger was defanged, and turned into a kitten batting at string. The solution was to come at it from a different angle. Continue reading “The Priceless Canvas Called Fujiko Mine”

The Bebop Sessions 02: Freestylin’

Know what the key fictional difference between a bounty hunter and a private detective is? A bounty hunter hunts, a detective solves mysteries. One moves forward, the other looks back. Yeah, there are similarities- both live somewhat laterally to the law and use leads to track criminals for profit- but the bounty hunters open-ended lifestyle doesn’t accommodate sitting in an office and waiting for a client. Time’s money and he’s got a fistful to make.

Understanding that a story’s potential starts with its character archetypes is crucial to identifying why Cowboy Bebop was able to tell 26 wonderful stories. By laying its foundations on space bounty hunters, Bebop gave itself the tools to create a wide range of rich stories and build a series whose every episode exists independent from each other.

The second part of the Bebop Sessions is about those characters and the storytelling opportunities they provide, so we’re gonna start with two that are integral: Punch and Judy. Continue reading “The Bebop Sessions 02: Freestylin’”