George of Thrones

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The Game of Thrones television series concluded this past Sunday, but I won’t be talking about the finale or its quality. (No spoilers follow) Instead, I want to talk about the mastermind behind the entire Game of Thrones phenomenon. Not the actors or showrunners, but the author of the books upon which the show is based, George R.R. Martin. Continue reading

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The Power of Journaling

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Journaling has been one of the most beneficial practices for my mental health. It’s a powerful and freeing method to clear your mind. Writing about everything in your head—all your deepest and darkest and most private thoughts—gets those thoughts out of your head and onto paper. For this to work, the journal must remain private. You need the complete freedom to know that no one else will ever see it so you can write with complete inhibition. Once the thoughts get out of your head and onto paper, you can detach from the thoughts and view them from a distance. Continue reading

Recommendation Algorithms Rule Your Life

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Cultural critics used to be essential curators of music, movies, books, and art. When there were only a couple of newspapers or radio stations or TV stations, the select few professional critics had enormous power in telling the public which art they should pay attention to. Then came the internet and everything changed. With blogs, message boards, and podcasts, anybody could become a critic. Both the creation and critique of art became more democratic. Traditional critics became less important. People preferred to take recommendations from like-minded people in their specific cultural niche. This gave real cultural power to bloggers and amateur critics on the internet who developed a following. Continue reading

The Power of Science Fiction

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There are essentially two types of science fiction: hard and soft. Soft science fiction is more like fantasy, not obeying the laws of physics (Star Wars) while hard science fiction aims to be scientifically accurate (2001: A Space Odyssey). I love Star Wars, but my real favorite genre is near-future hard science fiction such as Blade RunnerInterstellar, The Martian, Ex Machina, and Her. I think those kinds of stories—built around accurate science and technological innovations that can conceivably happen in the near future—are perhaps the most important form of fiction. Continue reading