Optimistic Borlok

Sunday, August 24th 2014

Optimistic Borlok


Saturday, August 23rd 2014



Friday, August 22nd 2014


The Page 45 Problem & How to Write Story Outlines

Thursday, August 21st 2014

Ok, you've got a cool idea for story.

You start writing.

You end up with a mass of details; descriptions, dialogue, characters, and so on. As the details accumulate, your story develops its own torturous internal logic. Sure, the logic serves the details you have accumulated. But apart from that, its directionless. The actual story has gone missing. Or, perhaps, there was never really a story to begin with ... just a cool idea.

By about page 30-45, you forget what the whole point of the story was. Even the characters in the story start wandering around aimlessly. "So," they say, "... what next?" Some sections serve no purpose at all. As for the middle section or the ending ... well, they'll come Iater, right? You keep adding new things in the hope that they will get the story going again.

But no. The story grinds to a halt. Inspiration fades. You're left with a cool idea, a premise and a load of extraneous details :-).

Workfare, the Circular Chain of Superfluousness, Signals, the Rationing Problem, Skueomorphic Work Part 1

Wednesday, August 20th 2014

The Australian government plans to make "work for the dole" compulsory. For six months of every year everybody receiving income support will have to do community work.

  • If you're unemployed and under 40 you'll be working for 25 hours at around $10.20 per hour;
  • If you're 40 or over, you'll be working for 15 hours at about $17.00.

It's obvious why "workfare" schemes are government policy.

They're popular.

Here are some posts I collected. They're from the comments sections of various mainstream news web sites (the Australian, Courier Mail, Herald Sun, The Age and others):

Why should I work fulltime and pay tax only to fund those lazy individuals who have no desire to work - any job is better than none - and then in time with experience move on to something better

Somepeople think that we OWE them.

Or another:

People are like water: they move along the path of least resistance.

On any given day there are tens of thousands of jobs being done in regional and remote areas by foreign nationals who pay their own coin to travel thousands of kilometres to Australia for the chance at a reasonable job. On the same day there are tens of thousands of Australians sitting around in our capital cities and major regional centres collecting various kinds of welfare.

Why is this happening? Because our welfare industry makes it easier for Australians to sit around allowing the work to be done by foreigners. That is the path of least resistance.

Are these views representative? Probably. Essential Research's polling from 5 August 2014 reveals the notion's popularity:

Q. Do you approve or disapprove of the Government’s proposal to require people receiving unemployment benefits to carry out up to 25 hours a week of community service?

Essential Stats

Their summary:

68% approve of the Government’s proposal to require people receiving unemployment benefits to carry out up to 25 hours a week of community service and 25% disapprove.

Those most likely to approve were aged 55+ (81%) and Liberal/National voters (85%).

Those most likely to disapprove were aged under 25 (35%), Labor voters (40%) and incomes under $600pw (39%).

Even taking into account the poll's margin of error, lack of true random sampling, etc, this still shows a preference for work for the dole and schemes like it.

The idea that appeals to so many people is simple: everybody should do something in return for what they get from others. That's fair. Otherwise the lazy (dole bludgers) are exploiting hard workers (taxpayers).


Tuesday, August 19th 2014


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