There's a lot going on in the world today: Two civil wars in the Middle East, gas prices skyrocketing, the Supreme Court telling us that suspending habeas corpus is unconstitutional, the bees dying, the Celts stuck with the 5th pick and the prospect of giving up Big Al Jefferson, I thought Id include some lighter items.
Mining for Gold in a Chinese Warcraft Sweatshop: An article in the NYTimes Mag this past Sunday exposed an interesting phenomenon of the burgeoning virtual economy. Young men work 12 hr shifts, 7 days a week playing massively multiplayer online games, earning points and then selling them to Western gamers. It’s an industry that is estimated to employ about 100,000 people and be worth almost $1.8 billion dollars worldwide. And fascinatingly, it demonstrates the economics of 21st century globalization to an almost textbook effect. When the game manufacturers cracked down on the sale of credits through eBay the exchange rates jumped sharply.
The Mundanity of Modernity: One of my favorite recent finds on YouTube is “Tales of Mere Existence.” The brilliantly simple animation and crisp, realistic internal dialogue is at once witty, lugubrious, and all too familiar.