Monthly Archives: December 2016

This is a Fantastic Time to be Alive

Right. If you think everything in the world is awful and getting worse, it is very important that you see these graphs.
 
Right now, a higher proportion of the world’s population is outside extreme poverty than ever before. Extreme poverty is falling in both absolute and relative terms.
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Right now, there are more literate people worldwide than ever before. That number is set to rise in both relative and absolute terms.
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Right now, the global child mortality rate is lower than it has ever been.
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Right now, representative democracy of some kind is the most common form of government in the world. Most people in the world today live in democracies. This has only been true since the mid-1990s.
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Global fertility (births per women), has fallen by more than half in the past 50 years.
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The younger cohort today is better educated than every cohort its age in history.
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Why is this important? Well, we need to recognise that politics is not the beginning and end of everything. It may be the case that the current crop of leaders are worse at their job or more morally dubious than those that came before them. But that has been the case before. Sometimes, some forces of improvement have their own momentum.
 
Merry Christmas!
Mungo
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Notes:

Dammit Janet! You were supposed to text him when HE was drunk.

Every newspaper-based opinion writer: “My aim is to save the world, or at least console myself that it’s going in the wrong direction.”

I don’t want to sound arrogant but I am the best being of any species that has ever existed or will exist or can be imagined or can’t be imagined.

If the advertising directed at me is anything to go by, the most innovative part of our economy is currently the mattress sector.

If the journalists at Spiked Online are such freedom-loving individualists, why do they all say exactly the same thing?

I’m going to let you in on a secret. I’m quite flirtatious. But only around sexy people like you.

Is irrationality ever rational?

“Keep up the comedy”
“I try but people keep laughing at me.”

“Nobody else has the same anxieties as me” thought everyone.

“Guess who just joined the mile-high masturbation club!”
“I’m not going to high-five you.”

“The terrorist left a message – ‘If I see anything about my evil plot on Twitter I’ll turn North Carolina into a smoking crater.'”
“We must make sure the president does not know this.”

Remember, if a woman says she’s bisexual, then she’s really attracted to men. If a man says he’s bisexual, he’s really attracted to men.

There’s a theme in politics that meritocracy means scientists, innovators and other highly qualified individuals being on top, but what if far bigger drivers of economic growth are bullshitters and bastards? Would that make them the real meritocrats?

“We live in a ratings-obsessed culture” said Mungo, in a desperate attempt to remain relevant.

When I die can I pass on my Steam library?

“You know who I can’t stand? Vegans. They always go on about how vegan they are” said the man who goes on about vegans.

Discover more of my words in an interactive form by downloading Marketforce! It’s great, honest!

Groovy New Elements in Evil Badguy Fantasy RPG

Specific features I have implemented lately:

Colour-coded health bars

Colour-coded health bars.png

Enemy health bars indicate their type (i.e. earth, dark, air etc). This makes it easier to pinpoint enemy strengths and weaknesses.

More interesting and reactive final boss battle

interesting-boss

I’m not going to spoil this for you, but Fishsticks and his protective wizards have a larger arsenal of spells and will require a bit more thought to take down.

More varied battle backdrops

battle backdrops.png

The battle backdrops now match the levels more accurately, and change depending on where in each area they take place.

If you want to check out a HUMUNGO Games title right now, why not check out Marketforce!?

Ground Troops Alone Don’t Win Elections – We Need Values and Vision

Some have said that Labour’s half a million members will somehow make up for our lack of a clear values or vision for the country. How much did Clinton’s far more sophisticated ground game help in her campaign against “The Donald”?

Hillary Clinton had the united support of her party and lost. Trump had the revulsion of his party and won.

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Trump letting rip.

Trump is criticised for lying and being a bad speaker, and for supporting policies that are both cruel and ineffective. But these criticisms miss a deeper strength of Trump. Politicians are not judged when campaigning on the details of their policies. Politicians are judged mainly on two bases – firstly on their values, and second on the broad vision they are putting forward.

What are Trump’s values? It may be tempting to reflexively say “racism”, “dishonesty” or just “being a nasty piece of work” but that is incorrect. These are not his values. Yes, he said a judge was biased against his plan to build a wall between the US and Mexico because “he’s Mexican”. Yes, he insulted the parents of a war veteran, insinuating that the soldier’s mother was forbidden from speaking due to her Islamic faith. Yes, fact checkers during the campaign found him saying upwards of 20 lies a day. Yes to all these things. But these are not how he defines his purpose in politics.

If we listen to Trump’s speeches, and those who voted for Trump, his appealing values can be approximated to something like the following:

  • Standing up for America in foreign affairs
  • Saying what you think, when you think it
  • Supporting American workers (no, seriously)
  • Protecting America against foreign influence and dominance

And what is his broad vision?

  • Make America’s allies pay more for the support they get from America
  • No bowing to any conventions – Trump says what Trump wants
  • Renegotiate trading relationships to help the American economy

 

These, not his acidic personality, are what voters listened to. In fact, they’re not just appealing to right-wingers. People from across the political spectrum could plausibly get behind the Trump proposition when framed this way. (Except possibly when it comes to “saying what you think”, and “Trump says what Trump wants” – that’s just being a blabbermouth.)

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Listening to Trump may be like eating a lemon, but that didn’t stop him becoming president.

Now, please note, I’m NOT saying that Trump is likely to achieve his goals. I think he is the wrong person going about this in the wrong way. But very little of the national debate was focused on whether Trump’s vision was actually plausible. His opponents either needed to express values that trumped Trumps, or express a vision that followed through on those values better.

For all his endless missteps and distractions, Trump was better at staying on point with values and vision than Clinton.

What were Clinton’s values?

  • Not Trump
  • Ermm…
  • Here’s a list of Trump’s flaws
  • Trump is a racist/sexist/homophobe

Obviously I’m exaggerating for effect, but not by much.

And what was Clinton’s broad vision?

  • Gun background checks
  • Healthcare reform
  • Tax cuts for the middle class
  • Basically the standard Democratic platform

It’s worth noting that the outcome wasn’t a million times worse for Clinton than Trump. Trump is such a brash, distractible man, so unconcerned about the truth, that even though Clinton’s moral, value-based appeal was unclear, she managed to win in numerical, popular-vote terms.

But Clinton’s vision had less impact than it could because it wasn’t justified by any values. Her only answer to the “why” question was “I’m not Trump”.

And this brings us back to Labour in the UK.

I believe that Labour is not just doing badly, but will pull off a historic loss at the next general election. Let’s have a look at our values and vision as perceived by the general public.

Values:

  • Opposing the Tories
  • Not New Labour
  • Closed borders
  • Open borders
  • I mean closed borders
  • Opposing foreign wars

Broad vision:

  • Leave the EU quickly
  • ????????
forward-confusing-sign-back-backward-go-left-right-straight-north-south-east-west-unclear-strange-weird-5-lane-five-traffic-jam-accident

Labour’s pitch to the voters at the next election.

Again, I’m exaggerating for effect, but not by much.

Most of these half a million new members will not do a huge amount for the Labour Party, but even if they did knock on hundreds of doors each, it would be futile, as they would have nothing persuasive to say.

What do you think? I’d be keen to get your views!

P.S. If you want to experience something fun and engaging, that has nothing to do with depressing political home-truths, you might like my latest game.

Marketforce! is free – download it from this page.

The Left May Be Out of Power For a Long Time

It is sometimes tempting to believe that politics is like a metronome that sings from left to right and back again. The left is going through a tough time right now, but it will recover as people naturally tire of the extremes of right wing government. After all, after every previous government of the right, there has been a government of the left, and vice versa.

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However, the metronome model misses crucial variations. Consider these facts:

During the 20th century, the Conservative Party was in power for more years than the Soviet Union.

Tony Blair is the only Labour Prime Minister ever to win more than one term in a row.

Margaret Thatcher’s election marked the start of 18 years of uninterrupted Conservative rule.

Apart from Tony Blair, the public has not elected a Labour Prime Minister in the past 42 years.

I’ll repeat that. Apart from Tony Blair, the public has not elected a Labour Prime Minister in the past 42 years. The last time a Labour Prime Minister apart from Blair was elected was closer to the Second World War than the present day.

I’m not saying that the Conservatives will win every single election in the next 100 years. At some point things like leaders dying in office become an issue. But it is entirely possible that the Conservatives are the government for, say, 70 out of the next 100 years. Not much of a metronome in that case.

As an example of the metronome not pulling things back to some hypothetical centre, it is highly plausible that Labour will score a historic loss at the next election, despite having been out of power for nearly ten years by that point. We are currently 11 points behind where Ed Milliband was at this part of the electoral cycle, and our favourability on every issue is worse than it was five years ago.

Ed Miliband Delivers Education Speech

So, I implore my fellow lefties, let’s not assume that just because times are bad that they must get better soon.

Happy Christmas!

 

P.S. If you want something that will actually bring joy to your heart, why not play my latest game, Marketforce!? It’s free, it’s funny, and it’s more enjoyable than sex*

marketforce-intro

*with me

 

Evil Badguy Fantasy RPG – progress update

“How’s the game-making?” I hear you ask.

It’s enjoyable, thanks. Progressing. How are you?

“Yeah, I’m well. Just saw Fantastic Beasts, which I would give three stars.”

Cool. Yeah, I hear you can read Rowling’s writing as a justification for authoritarianism.

“I don’t know about that…”

*awkward pause*

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“…Evil Badguy Fantasy RPG is your main project, right?”

Yep. Here’s a little precis:

Evil Badguy Fantasy RPG is currently in a complete but improvable state.

Story & characters are totally done.

myth

Not game image.

Mechanics are almost entirely up to spec, but will be improved slightly.

Elderberry fishy bastard screenshot.png

Actual game image.

A very small amount of the game’s art will be improved upon.

8c8723184-tdy-130823-museum-of-bad-art-tease

Not game image. Or is it? No.

The game is close to being fully balanced.

entrevo-keypersonofinfluence-balanced-lifestyle

Not game image.

The music needs a lot of work.

composing

This and all the below are not game images.

I’m still doing regular (about monthly) one-on-one tests to inform further edits and direction.

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Nope.

Very little marketing has been done.

Modern Keyboard With Colored Social Network Buttons.

Not. In. Game. Image.

I have not started working towards publishing/sale.

waiting

Cute cat. Not in-game image.

That’s about it! Keep watching this space – I’ll let you know groovy game specifics soon.

Also there will be new articles and fiction too!

Three star films are the hardest to talk about because there’s the least to say.

“Not necessarily. Some elements are really good and some are really bad. The music was great, but nothing was at stake for the first fifty minutes or so.”

Was it better than Arrival?

“No.”