July 8th, 2009

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Market Speculation

I found this article today:

Regulators Aim to Curb Speculators' Influence on Oil Prices
Kevin G. Hall, McClatchy Newspapers: "The Commodity Futures Trading Commission on Tuesday will announce that it'll begin publishing how much hedge funds and other big financial firms are trading in oil and other commodities, with an eye toward curbing what critics say is speculation that pushes prices up."


I generally disapprove of speculation. At best, it is a way of making money that creates no value; it simply shuffles things around and makes them more expensive. At worst, it is a devastating example of the rich getting richer by directly making the poor poorer -- forcing people to pay more than they can afford for things they need -- which can destroy individual lives or whole economies. Housing speculation, for example, contributed to the current economic collapse driving the cost of housing, a basic need, above what many people can afford on the jobs available to them. Speculation on major food crops, such as corn, has driven the price beyond what poor people can afford in many countries, causing riots and fatalities. Speculation on fossil fuels is obviously a problem in countries where people have foolishing designed all the infrastructure to require it.

I believe that people have a right to make a reasonable living. I do not believe that people have a right to enrich themselves by harming others.
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Cyberfund_creat changed to Crowdfunding

You've probably seen me refer to the community "cyberfund_creat" before. It has now been renamed to crowdfunding. LJ should forward links using the old name; for future links, please use the new name.

This community is a place for creators and donors to talk about communal funding of creative projects. You can post about projects you're working on, cool things that your friends are doing, questions about how crowdfunding works, and so forth. Our Links list features many projects for you to explore.

Also, this week is Icon Week. We're encouraging creative folks to post icons that say things like "Crowdfunding" or "Crowdfunded Project." Afterwards we'll nominate favorite icons and choose one as the community default.
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Poem: "The Last of the Ancients"

This poem was very loosely inspired by prompts from mtrose2, ellenmillion, and wyld_dandelyon plus the shared-world setting Torn World. (It is a Torn World poem, but it has not yet been judged for canon status.) It was sponsored by ellenmillion. The layout of the poem is very scattered, so I hope it shows up well in LJ.


The Last of the Ancients
– a Torn World poem


It was a grand life we lived
and our civilization was mighty.
We poured the hours
through our hands like so much sand.
Because we did not count them,
we forgot that each was infinitely precious –
and the universe, in the end,
was not immune to our brutality.

Time shattered around us

and
        we
               fell

through memories

       as

bro
    ken

as

       glass

that sliced

       our souls

                  from

       our bodies.

Air burned.
Stone boiled.
Animals writhed and died.

Existence frothed and bent,

       too much pressure

released all at once

fizz
       spit
              foam

bubbles everywhere
paralyzing the joints
of eternity.

Agonized stillness.

We huddled together

                     lost souls
                            on the shore
                     of the afterlife

pitifully grateful

that we were
already dead.
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Poem: "I Have a Sprocket in My Pocket"

This poem came from the July 7, 2009 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired and prompted by janetmiles, and is somewhat a parody of the works of Dr. Seuss (which I love).


I Have a Sprocket in My Pocket



There’s a telly
In my belly
And a sprocket
In my pocket.

I have a wristwatch in my wrist
That also saves my shopping list.
I have a hairbrush in my hair
To keep things neat and tidy there.

I have a lantern in my eye
So I can see what I can spy.
I have a mike in my right ear
That tells me what I cannot hear.

There are folders
In my shoulders,
Nanocaches
In my lashes.

I have a blender in one knee;
The other has a pot for tea.
I have a cellphone in my thumb
(Which I confess is going numb).

Yet still I covet each new tool,
Although I know that I’m a fool.
A cyborg’s troubles never end,
And let me tell you why, my friend:

Static lingers
In my fingers
And my ankles –
How it rankles!
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Poem: "Soulwidth"

This poem came from the July 7, 2009 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by prompts from haikujaguar and wyld_dandelyon, then sponsored by janetmiles.


Soulwidth


Technology is only a tool,
they say,
but oh what a tool it is!

This is what
gives our minds leverage
over matter.

It cannot change
who we are,
but it can give us a chance
to become
more truly ourselves.

Bodies are only so big,
and souls
are ineffably vast,
too much data to download
all into one little brain.

Imagine,
if you will,
that we could increase
our soulwidth.

Imagine that we could
access the part of ourselves
that is always in contact
with a Higher Power,
that we could tap into
that power
not indirectly
through the dim relay
of prayer,
but directly –
plugging embodied souls
into the cosmic core.

Believe that the chains of the past,
once understood,
can be shortened
so they no longer reach the present.

Believe that the future is yet fluid,
that it is not carved in stone,
that it can be changed
even by something as insubstantial
as a dream.

Believe that all things are possible,
that our young ones
could cast off their jaded coats
to become
laughing activists,
humming along
to the music of the spheres
as they repair,
one by one,
the problems that plagued us.

Freedom is
what you make of it
and when the soulwidth
is wide enough
there is room
for angel wings to open
all the way down to Earth.
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Poetry Fishbowl Report for Tuesday, July 7, 2009

This fishbowl's prompts trickled in slowly throughout the day. I started at 11:30 AM and worked until 10:00 PM, when the net connection crashed. Allowing for lunch and supper breaks, that's about 9 1/2 hours. I wrote a total of 15 poems, mostly medium and long, one short and two epics. Some were free verse, but I also got two sonnets, another rhymed rhythmic poem, and a couple that were unrhymed and unmetered but had other structural features. Some came from single prompts, some from combinations. They were about evenly split between the dystopic tone of classic cyberpunk and the more optimistic (or silly) tone of post-cyberpunk.

This month, 11 people sent prompts (2 of them outside the main thread). There were 2 first-time prompters: welcome, siliconshaman and robertlyon. There were 28 comments including mine.

The following fishbowl poems have already been posted:
EDIT 7/8/09: Added poems.
"Applejack"
"I Have a Sprocket in My Pocket"
"I, Schrodinger"
"The Invocation Protocol"
"The Last of the Ancients"
"Miss Turing Passes the Test"
"Soulwidth"

There will be a generally sponsored poetry poll shortly. Also, remember that "The Sky-Eyes and the Earth-Hearts" is still in the process of being funded and posted verse-by-verse; if you have a few dollars, but not enough for a whole poem, consider sponsoring a verse there.

This month's donors include: ellenmillion, marina_bonomi, and janetmiles. Special thanks to first-time donor marina_bonomi. You folks will get to see a donor perk-post later.
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Generally Sponsored Poetry for July 7, 2009 Fishbowl

Here is the poll for the July 7, 2009 Poetry Fishbowl.

Poll #1427142 Generally Sponsored Poetry for July 7, 2009

Which of the following would you most like to see published?

"The Gray Trade"
1(9.1%)
"The Myth of Galatea"
1(9.1%)
"Extra Sensory Inception" AND "Miss Turing Passes the Test"
4(36.4%)
"I, Schrodinger" AND "Miss Turing Passes the Test"
5(45.5%)