best when viewed in low light


Mooning about

Nice touch

#4: Once upon a time there was ___. Every day, ___. One day ___. Because of that, ___. Because of that, ___. Until finally ___.
#5: Simplify. Focus. Combine characters. Hop over detours. You’ll feel like you’re losing valuable stuff but it sets you free.
#6: What is your character good at, comfortable with? Throw the polar opposite at them. Challenge them. How do they deal?
#7: Come up with your ending before you figure out your middle. Seriously. Endings are hard, get yours working up front.
#8: Finish your story, let go even if it’s not perfect. In an ideal world you have both, but move on. Do better next time.
#9: When you’re stuck, make a list of what WOULDN’T happen next. Lots of times the material to get you unstuck will show up.
#10: Pull apart the stories you like. What you like in them is a part of you; you’ve got to recognize it before you can use it.
#11: Putting it on paper lets you start fixing it. If it stays in your head, a perfect idea, you’ll never share it with anyone.
#12: Discount the 1st thing that comes to mind. And the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th – get the obvious out of the way. Surprise yourself.
#13: Give your characters opinions. Passive/malleable might seem likable to you as you write, but it’s poison to the audience.
#14: Why must you tell THIS story? What’s the belief burning within you that your story feeds off of? That’s the heart of it.
#15: If you were your character, in this situation, how would you feel? Honesty lends credibility to unbelievable situations.
#16: What are the stakes? Give us reason to root for the character. What happens if they don’t succeed? Stack the odds against.
#17: No work is ever wasted. If it’s not working, let go and move on - it’ll come back around to be useful later.
#18: You have to know yourself: the difference between doing your best & fussing. Story is testing, not refining.
#19: Coincidences to get characters into trouble are great; coincidences to get them out of it are cheating.


Water is life

Mild drought killed Maya civilisation - study
2012-02-24 09:32 Washington -
The collapse of the Mayan civilisation was likely due to a relatively mild drought, much like the drier conditions expected in the coming years due to climate change, scientists said. Scholars have long believed that a major drought brought on severe dry conditions killed off the ancient culture known for its mastery of language, mathematics and astronomy.
 But researchers from the Yucatan Centre for Scientific Research in Mexico and the University of Southampton in Britain said their analysis shows the drought only caused reductions of 25% to 40% less annual rain. The smaller amounts of rain meant that open water sources in pools and lakes evaporated faster than could be replaced by more precipitation, said the study in the journal Science. 
"The data suggest that the main cause was a decrease in summer storm activity," said co-author Eelco Rohling of the University of Southampton.
Water shortages
 The study is the first of its kind to attempt to assess exactly how much rainfall decreased between 800 and 950 AD when Mayan civilisation went into decline, and bases its modelling data on records of past rainfall changes from stalagmites and shallow lakes. The analysis showed that modest dry spells could have sparked major water shortages in an area with no rivers, and no source of water other than rain. 
"Summer was the main season for cultivation and replenishment of Mayan freshwater storage systems and there are no rivers in the Yucatan lowlands," added Rohling. "Societal disruptions and abandonment of cities are likely consequences of critical water shortages, especially because there seems to have been a rapid repetition of multi-year droughts."
International experts have predicted that similar dry spells in the Yucatan region are on the way due to climate change. While modern societies are expected to be better equipped to handle drought, risks remain, said lead author Martin Medina-Elizalde of the Yucatan Centre for Scientific Research in Mexico.
"What seems like a minor reduction in water availability may lead to important, long-lasting problems. This problem is not unique to the Yucatan Peninsula, but applies to all regions in similar settings where evaporation is high."
[It doesn't take much to bring down a civilization. Assumptions and expectations of consistency are fatal.]


all pink and cuddly inside

this episode is better than any other, and the nugget is this: it may take ten years or more, but eventually the us military will respectfully reward people for time served with effort and honor. be nice if the rest of society could do that.

In the past...