September 7th, 2009

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Writing News: Outbound Stories

Today I received contest results from the Robert A. Heinlein Centennial Short Story Contest. None of mine won. So my three best science fiction stories are back on the market, scheduled to go out in Wednesday's mail:
"Pebbles from the River Lethe" -> Analog
"To Know Sorrow" -> Interzone
"June Dreams" -> Asimov's SF


As a special donor perk, I have posted excerpts from all three stories. If you aren't yet a donor but you want to read the excerpts, just use the permanent "Donate" button on my Profile page to send me a buck or few (including a note like "fiction excerpt" so I'll know what it's for, and your LJ handle so I'll know who to put on the Donors list). I'll probably leave these up for a week or two and then take them down.

I use Duotrope's Digest as a favorite online market guide/search engine/database. They could use donations too, to help keep this service free. So if you make a donation to Duotrope's Digest, let me know and that will also qualify you for my Donors list.
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An Illustration of Debt

This cartoon makes a disturbing comment on the American way of life.

I'm not comfortable with the way that debt has become a ubiquitous, almost obligatory part of American life. Debt is prone to causing problems; when almost everyone is in debt for most or all of their adult life, and the government is also in debt, the potential and actual problems snowball disastrously. We are seeing some examples in the economy now.

I would be much happier if we could design the economy so that it does not run on debt. That's not to say that borrowing money is never useful, just that too much is more trouble than it's worth. We need some more sustainable and financially responsible alternatives. A good start would be creating financial institutions that behave like symbiotes instead of parasites.
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This Week on Hypatia's Hoard of Reviews...

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Most Popular Topics 9-7-09

According to the "Manage Tags" feature, the topics most often appearing in this journal are:

Networking -- 654 posts
Writing -- 632
News -- 449
Poetry -- 407
Reading -- 416
Politics -- 415
Science Fiction -- 365
Cyberfunded Creativity -- 347
Economics -- 287
Blogging -- 260

Networking has climbed ahead of Writing. News has climbed ahead of Poetry.
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Fraternal Society Health Insurance

Here is a fascinating piece about the history of American health care, which was once a service of many fraternal societies. From what I've seen, fraternal societies tend to be stuffy and insular groups, although not all of them are; I don't think I'd want to go back to this system. But it does suggest strongly that non-government, non-corporate entities can assemble a way to provide health care to people. That's promising.

If we could come up with something similar, but hopefully more inclusive and widespread ... I'd be interested in that. The challenge would be to prevent the too-powerful American Medical Association from destroying it again. (This is not the first time they've stamped out something beneficial for their own profit or aggrandizement, or the second, or the fifth.) Those of you who are not fans of government health care might want to look into this.
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Length of Unemployment Grows

This cogent post illustrates how unemployment is getting worse and the length of time people remain unemployed is lengthening. This is a problem because unemployed people have little or no money to live on, which means the longer that continues, the less chance they will ever be able to re-enter the workforce (due to becoming homeless, becoming ill because they lost their health care, etc.).

Now remember that the government crops its data, among other ways by not counting people who have been unemployed for more than a certain length because they "aren't really part of the workforce anymore," young people seeking a first job but unable to find anything, etc. So the effective unemployment rate is close to double the reported rate, in terms of people who are willing and able to work but not permitted to do so. This is a disgrace. It's also severely dysfunctional.