Ten Second News

Social Science and Fiction Part 0: Invitation

Social Science and Fiction Part 6: It’s Time For Some Game Theory

Something interesting happens in most high fantasy and science fiction settings. Capital-F Faith in an absentee God who may or may not exist is absent. In Dungeons and Dragons, the gods exist. If you want proof, watch a paladin lay on hands. Science fiction settings can be a little looser with divine intervention tropes, but a sufficiently advanced AI is a reasonable substitute for a supernatural entity, and for ordinary NPC plebes, even modest mutant, cybernetic, or technological abilities are sufficiently advanced to provide a reasonable stand-in.

Social Science and Fiction Part 0: Invitation

Social Science and Fiction Part 4: Of Constitutions

Having trouble finding the soul of your fictional society? Have you considered their fundamental rule-making process? Why not take a little time to suss the foundations of your make-believe culture by drafting their constitution? You might find that specific laws, mores, and cultural habits are easier to develop when you have a framework for decision-making and conflict resolution.

Social Science and Fiction Part 0: Invitation

Social Science and Fiction Part 3: Politics at the Gaming Table

Many Americans consider it boorish to bring up politics or religion outside of sanctioned times and places. One simply does not talk politics at the dinner table. It won’t do.
But the gaming table is not the dinner table. Ideally, you play games with friends. Or if your close friends don’t share your hobbies, then at least your regular group is acquainted well enough that political differences of opinion are unimportant enough to keep you from playing together. Or if that isn’t the case, then at the very least you all retain enough courtesy to stow your partisan inclinations while the game is underway.

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Social Science and Fiction Part 0: Invitation

Social Science and Fiction Part 1: Why Bother?

You can create reasonably immersive, fairly convincing setting by remembering a simple five-letter acronym.

MERPS: Social, Political, Economic, Religious, and Military.

From tiny little subsistence bands to mighty intergalactic empires, from sword-and-sorcery barbarian epics to swashbuckling adventure on the high seas, these five dimensions allow you to cover every major aspect required to create conflict and a memorable story.

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Education and Making a Good Living

Education and Making a Good Living

How necessary is to go to college in order to make a good living? Are we getting what we are paying for? Who doesn’t need to go to college in order to make a good living, indeed, even to get rich? Those are the issues I explore here while reflecting on Bryan Caplan’s new book that argues for austerity in education and how a friend of mine is doing quite well in business without a college degree.