A few more of these, from a wide period of time:

British SF and the Class System: Science Fiction Is Here, It’s Just Not Evenly Distributed – Very interesting post on SF as an expression of middle-class dreams of the future.
Oh my god. I just witnessed the single greatest moment in human history – The effortless cool we all wish we could display in certain situations.
I hate to disagree with Bradley Wiggins, but mandatory cycle helmets would be a terrible idea – Tom Chivers succinctly sums up the arguments and evidence for and against mandatory cycle helmets.
Thanks (but no thanks) – A couple of weeks old, but a great post from British Olympic weightlifter Zoe Smith about some of the unwanted attention and comment she receives.
It’s a rich man’s world – American democracy, bought and paid for.

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Or, how liquid democracy gets you the sack in the end.

How The German Pirate Party’s Liquid Democracy Works – Sounds like an interesting way for members of an organisation to discuss things. And no need to get pre-approved for discussions by the police.
SF, big ideas, ideology: What is to be done? – Charles Stross on whether SF is a genre of ‘big ideas’.
The Fandom Issue: Marvelous – “At what point is the triumph of comic-book culture sufficient?” Some interesting parallels between geek culture and the Tea Party.
How a stranger carrying a rucksack got within 10 feet of Nick Clegg – Why, it’s almost like security theatre isn’t necessary!
Sacking people is easy to do – Not that I recommend you should, but John Band points out that people complaining about red tape preventing them doing it don’t have much of a leg to stand on.

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And a majority that aren’t election-related.

Electoral Services: I know they’re only doing their job, but… – Jennie Rigg on the last-minute rush to get nomination papers in, which many people who’ve been candidate and/or agents will read with a few knowing nods.
How to write a generic SF novel - Paul McAuley provides some useful advice: “No matter how technologically advanced your future society might be, its sociology and economics are basically those of the seventeenth century. Also its battle tactics.”
BNP Candidates 2011 – Lancaster Unity has discovered there’s a dramatic fall in the number of candidates the BNP are standing in local elections this year, though there is a rise in former BNP candidates standing for other nationalist parties.
Russian bloggers accuse authorities of cyberwar – Twenty years ago, which of these things would have seemed the most weird: the existence of sites like LiveJournal, Russian democracy or DDOS attacks?
72 mandatory pitstops per race – Duncan Stephen has a sneak preview of the latest plans to improve Formula 1

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Here we go again…

Future U.S. History Students: ‘It’s Pretty Embarrassing How Long You Guys Took To Legalize Gay Marriage’ – I’m surprised I took this long to link to something from The Onion, but maybe that’s because it’s not as funny as it used to be. Which, of course, they’ll also be stating as true in the 2080s.
What the EU Did Next – Interesting blog collecting a number of essays on the EU
The literature of ideas; or, please stop laughing at me – Very interesting post from Pornokitsch on the description of SF as the literature of ideas – “The phrase is made more pathetically self-congratulatory by its grandiosity”
Del Boy And The Shale Sale – Zelo Street puts the boot into the increasingly ridiculous James Delingpole
Android marriage, gay pirates, and other ways to poke fun at anti-gay activists – Towleroad on some of the more bizarre theories being proposed, such as how gay marriage will lead to people marrying androids, and how men dressed as pirates are abducting strangers. Sometimes, bigotry just satirises itself(via)

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Today’s writing tip

Ken MacLeod explains how SFnal ideas are germinated:

taking the usual SF approach to such humane, beneficial developments (how could this advance be grossly misused, and what are the military applications?)

(Note: with minor tweaks, such as the addition of the phrase ‘and won’t someone think of the children?’ this also works as a Labour Party policy generation tool.)

When It Changed does sound like a rather good collection, though.

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Greenpunk

A couple of weeks ago, Matt Staggs suggested a new SF movement which he dubbed Greenpunk (it was also discussed on IO9) which would be:

a technophilic spec-fic movement centered on characters using and being affected by the use of DIY renewable resources, recycling and repurposing. GreenPunk would emphasize the ability of the individual – and his or her responsibility – for positive ecological and social change.

It’s an interesting idea, though one I doubt will achieve much success beyond a niche, partly because genres tend not to be very successful when someone defines them, then waits for the stories to come along and fill in the gap. Cyberpunk and Steampunk were both terms coined to describe already existing trends within SF, rather than Gibson, Sterling or whoever declaring they were creating a whole new movement before putting pen to paper.

Besides that, for me the proposed ‘greenpunk’ has a problem in its definition – and not just a silly-sounding name – in that it’s presupposing that anyone who wishes to write something within the nascent genre has already chosen their side in the ideological debate. While SF can occasionally work as ideological polemic, I find the idea of a genre that demands writers ‘emphasize the ability of the individual – and his or her responsibility – for positive ecological and social change’ oddly didactic, even if it is assuming that everyone agrees what that ‘positive ecological and social change’ might be. After all, for some SF authors replacing the Earth with an equivalent mass of computronium nanobots while humans become solely electronic patterns in information space is a very positive change, though there may just be some debate as to how green that outcome might be.

Of course, the interesting thing is that while no actual greenpunk stories appear to exist as yet, you could argue that novels critical of the genre already do exist. Ken MacLeod‘s The Sky Road, for instance, is almost a satire on some of Staggs’ suggestions, especially as it depicts a society where those who would be the most avid proclaimers of support for greenpunk being the Elite who run it.

But maybe I’m wrong, and greenpunk will sweep the world of SF before it, replacing what came before with its True Knowledge. And then, as Michael Moorcock notes, like dominant waves before it, it will likely collapse on itself and die:

These days, you can barely pick up a speculative fantasy without finding a zeppelin or a steam-robot on the cover. Containing few punks and a good many posh ladies and gents, most of these stories are better described as steam operas.

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