2019/09/19

The Real Jobs Crisis

It's not the overall employment numbers. It's the work force participation rate, particularly among men.

FRED male workforce participation

While the administration touts low unemployment, American men are being forced out--and are increasingly opting out--of the job market.

Though the continued importation of unskilled laborers from south of the border and H1Bs from the subcontinent represents a betrayal of the American people by our rulers, immigration alone doesn't explain why men are dropping out of the workforce.

For the real answer, we must refer to this graph:

FRED workforce participation by sex

It's no coincidence that the massive influx of women into the workplace mirrors the mass exodus of men.

Not even self-proclaimed TradCons will admit it, but men as a whole are averse to taking part in goal-oriented group activities with women.

The reason shouldn't surprise any honest student of human nature. The sexes are different and have different innate strengths and preferences.

Men form associations to pursue those organizations' stated goals.They thrive on competition.

Women join male-created organizations to socialize and gain male attention. They are generally risk-averse and anti-competitive--except when it comes to gaining male attention.

The results of introducing women into the workplace en masse should be obvious. What do you think will happen to a company when a majority of their labor force is socially motivated rather than outcome-motivated?

Now imagine if your company had no HR department.

This is why feminist propaganda deceiving women into thinking that eschewing family and pursuing careers will bring them fulfillment.

Instead it pressures women into a competitive environment, which makes them miserable and makes displaced men feel useless, which makes them miserable.

All the while, the family and the workplace continue to degrade.

The universal vocation of all human beings is to perfect the virtues necessary for living out their divinely ordained state in life. Succeeding in this endeavor is the only way to find happiness. Failure guarantees misery.

The Death Cult's propaganda is designed to make you miserable. Don't take advice from people who hate you.

2019/09/18

An Irresistible Force

Mortuary Basement

My uncle epitomizes the freewheeling postwar American spirit. When he came of age, he rebuilt a beat-up motorcycle in my grandfather's backyard and hit the open highway. He rode from the Midwest to the West Coast, hopped a boat to Hawaii, and spent some time living in a tree house.

In time he returned to the mainland, made his fortune, and settled down with a wife and family around him. The spiritual disease that claimed many of his generation spared him. He worked for every cent he earned, and I'll have no man begrudge the fruits of his labor.

I heard the tale of his coming-of-age journey to paradise many times. Only the last time did he disclose a dark turn taken along the way.

My uncle arrived in Los Angeles in the late 60s. Soon after he rolled into town, he did a stint working odd jobs  to pay for passage to the islands.

Covering room and board while trying to sock away enough money for a ticket proved difficult, so it came as a relief when a local contractor hired him on for a relatively lucrative one-time piece of work.

My uncle was told to show up at a certain downtown address at a certain time. There he'd be filled in on the details.

Arriving at the specified time and place, he found that the site was a rather nondescript boxy building much like the others on the block, most of which dated back to the 20s. All signage had been stripped from the outside.

The contractor met my uncle in the alley out back and explained the nature of the work. The client wanted the building, which he'd recently purchased, totally gutted. No trace was to be left of the business that had formerly occupied the property. My uncle was to strip the basement down to the bare walls and floor, including tossing out a bunch of stuff the previous own had left behind. He'd get his pay when he was done.

My uncle headed down to the basement, crowbar in hand, sure he had it made. The pay on offer for such straightforward work promised to make this job well worth his time. As he descended the creaking steps into a basement redolent of mildew, he banished the gloom by imagining the tropical beach where he'd soon be resting from his labors.

The stairs led down to a narrow hallway. An open doorway gave on a large, long room beyond. The only light seeped in through narrow basement windows, but my uncle could make out some junk clustered throughout the room, including a few long boxes set against the white-paneled walls.

He stepped from the last stair and into the hall. It was the last forward step he'd take on that excursion.

Not because he saw or heard something that made him turn back. My uncle remained fully intent on reporting to his work site and doing his job.

He simply couldn't.

Some invisible, irresistible force kept my uncle from taking another step down that hallway. He described the feeling as trying to walk through a vertical wall of sand.

My uncle returned upstairs and tried to make sense of what he'd experienced. In the final analysis, he decided he had a job of work to do that needed doing.

He marched back downstairs. Again the phantom force stopped him. More annoyed than afraid, my uncle--a lapsed cradle Catholic--invoked the intercession of higher powers.

And went lurching forward as if a rope tethering him to the stairs had been cut.

The unseen obstacle--whatever it was--removed, my uncle set to work. He finished the job set out for him and presented himself to his employer.

The contractor looked impressed as his bent fingers counted out my uncle's pay. Neither of the two previous men he'd hired to clear out the basement had lasted an hour. Both had quit with hardly a word and fled the property as if chased by wild dogs.

My uncle mentioned the difficulty he'd had at the start and reported the constant feeling of being watched, but otherwise, he said, things had gone smoothly.

The contractor took my uncle aside, swore him to secrecy, and confided what he didn't dare tell the other men working on site.

The old building had been a mortuary notorious for its owners' less-than-ethical practices. Those shady owners had finally been forced to close up shop following scandalous goings-on that had been hushed up at considerable expense.

That basement room guarded by the unseen force had been a private viewing room reserved for funerals involving closed caskets, corpses produced under questionable circumstances whose families wanted no-questions-asked services, and mourners with reason to hide the proceedings from the press.

"Well," my uncle said, "that explains all the coffins I hauled out of there."


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Combat Frame XSeed: CY 40 Second Coming - Brian Niemeier

2019/09/17

Between Scylla and Charybdis

Partisans in both conservative and liberal circles are agonizing over why dissident politics is growing despite their best efforts to play gatekeeper and censor, respectively.

One major reason is that normal people are sick and tired of being smeared as Nazis by both sides for holding positions their Christian grandfathers wouldn't have batted an eye at.

A perfect example of a professing Christian finding himself running the gauntlet between the neoliberal Scylla and Charybdis followed author Jon Del Arroz's launch of his #1 best seller. Justified.

One of the screencaps below originated from an online movement originally started in response to the blacklisting of Conservatives.

The other was occasioned by the news that a former Kickstarter executive had been fired for starting a union. The prevailing political sympathies of the parties involved should go without saying.

Read the excerpts below, and see if you can tell which came from the Conservative group and which came from the Liberal group.

bud

Jingoistic Pig

This is why more and more people are getting fed up with both sides of the bipartite ruling cabal. If Ben Shapiro and John Oliver are both going to call you a racist for expressing the mildest illiberal opinions, even normies eventually realize they're both on the same team.

Add in the threat of exile for transgressing the least of our overlords' ever-expanding list of secular pieties, and the growing ranks of men backed into increasingly crowded corners become more and more likely to hoist the black flag.

Which in Clown World, means raising the banner of Jesus Christ, and Him Crucified.


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Combat Frame XSeed: CY 40 Second Coming - Brian Niemeier

2019/09/16

Death of the Publisher

closed

If you've been reading this blog for a while, you know I like to keep my finger on the pulse of the publishing industry. Staying abreast of developments in your field comes with the territory when you're a professional author.

I started out like most aspiring writers thinking I had to land a book deal with a Big Five publisher to make a living. Objectively studying the data soon convinced me otherwise. Love it or hate it, the paradigm shift ushered in by Amazon shook up the publishing biz forever.

The writing has been on the wall for at least five years now, but oldpub authors have muddled on, insisting everything's fine as their royalty checks shrink. I'm always amazed to meet new authors who are still querying agents and getting excited at the prospect of signing oldpub book deals.

In fairness, it was possible to make an ad hoc case for working with a publisher--until now.

Leftover hippie academics have been babbling for years about the death of the author. Now we're actually witnessing the death of the publisher.

What does that mean? It means that publishers now add zero value. There is no service they provide that you can't perform or commission yourself at equal or higher quality and at much lower costs.

You can hire the same artists the big boys use for under a grand per cover.

Need an editor? Skilled freelancers--like yours truly--have you covered for a reasonable one-time fee.

Formatting is so easy to do yourself, you could outsource it, but there's no need to.

Marketing? This old canard just won't die. The days of publishers' PR departments handling all the marketing so their authors are free to just write are long gone--if they ever existed at all. Whether they go with oldpub or go indie, all authors need to do their own marketing.

And we're much better at it.

"But I can't afford to front a grand in production costs!"

Here's a thought experiment. The average new eBook, oldpub or newpub, earns about $2000 in royalties over its launch window.

Imagine we sit down at your kitchen table, I stack two grand in cash in the middle, and I give you two choices.
  1. I divide the stack in half. A thousand goes to production costs, and you get to keep the other $1000, plus all royalties earned from then on.
  2.  I divide the stack in half. This is a 50/50 royalty split between you and the publisher. Except the publisher keeps taking 50% of all royalties from then on.
My question to you is, do you spend a little time and money now for more money later, or do you keep paying a percentage of your royalties forever in exchange for some one-time work?

Low time preference folks take option one every time. And low time preference is essential to success in any field.

"But oldpub pays advances!"

Again, it's a question of time preference. The standard oldpub advance is also $2000. This is not a gift. It is a no-interest loan against future royalties. Largely because oldpub pays shit royalties, half of traditionally published books don't earn out, so that two grand is the only money half of oldpub authors ever see for their work. Don't earn out? No second book for you. 

Care to bet your career on a coin toss?

If you're offered an oldpub book deal, sit down and ask yourself how long it will take you to beat the contract if you go it alone. On average, the answer will be, "not long."

All of my books have earned out their production costs.

The majority of them have beaten standard oldpub contract terms. My three most recent books beat the standard oldpub contract before launch.

And I'm near the middle of the scale. I could show you a dozen newpub authors who've broken out bigger than me in the past couple of years.

I'm not talking Galaxy's Edge outliers, either. The indie author group 20 Books to 50K put their heads together and figured out a reproducible method for earning a living at writing.

Can't afford the up-front costs? Crowdfunding has emerged as a viable way for authors to raise money for editing and cover art. I can personally vouch for book crowdfunding on Indiegogo.

TL; DR: Authors, ditch the gatekeepers, take control of your careers, reach more readers, and earn more money. The future of publishing is DIY.


XSEED CROWDFUNDING UPDATE: Thanks to you maniacs, we've left our third stretch goal in the dust! As promised, seats are now available at my virtual gaming table for the Combat Frame XSeed pen and paper RPG playtest.

Seats are limited, so claim yours now!

Combat Frame XSeed: CY 40 Second Coming - Brian Niemeier

2019/09/13

Combat Frame Data: XCD-106 Reaper

XCD-106 Reaper
XCD-105 Reaper

Technical Data

Model number: XCD-106
Code name: Reaper
Nickname: N/A
Classification: close-mid range attack combat frame
Manufacturer: Ivan Eckhart and Togi
Operator: HALO/Wehrbund Bavaria
First deployment: CY 40
Crew: 1 pilot in cockpit in chest
Height: 18 meters, 19.5 meters with wings
Weight: Dry weight 86 metric tons, full weight 96 metric tons
Armor type: “1D” carbyne laminar armor
Powerplant: cold fusion reactor, max output 2966 KW
Propulsion: rocket thrusters: 4x 37,650 kg, 4x 20,450 kg, 2x 33,800 kg; top speed 3360 kph; booster rockets: 4x 36,200 kg; top speed 6606 kph; maneuvering thrusters: 23, 180° turn time 0.66 seconds; legs: top ground speed 200 kph
Sensors: radar, thermal, optical array; main binocular cameras and targeting laser mounted in head
Fixed armaments: Plasma drone scythe output rated at 2 MW, stored on charging rack on back, hand-carried or rocket-propelled in use; x2 plasma drone sickle, output rated at 0.66 MW, stored in charging racks in skirt armor, hand-carried or rocket-propelled in use; x2 EM/flash grenade launcher, mounted in forearm bracers, ammo capacity 6 each
Optional hand armaments: Modified Grand Dolph rifle, 100 graphene-tungsten rounds per magazine, mounts high-explosive anti-armor grenade launcher under barrel, ammo capacity 6
Special equipment: Inertial damper, A.I. operating system



General Notes

Near the close of CY 40's HALO Conflict, the rapidly escalating arms race confronted Ivan Eckhart with the limits of his versatile but rather lightly armed XCD-102 Emancipator. The Wehrbund Bavaria and HALO ace set out to design a new personal combat frame adapted to the quickly evolving battlefield. To that end, he sought help from a most unlikely source.

Starting with replacement parts stored on Browning's Black Zone proving ground asteroid, Ivan and Togi assembled a new One-Series XSeed enhanced with technology the Secta had gleaned on their travels. Ivan initially planned to produce an attack XSeed capable of dominating opponents up close while boasting considerable mid-range combat ability. The results of his collaboration surpassed even these lofty ambitions.

Ivan and his collaborator built their basic design around the XCD-104 Eschaton's frame. They eschewed the extra set of arms to save weight and opted to forgo the unit's dynamic camouflage. Instead of the dual three-section heat staves, they designed a novel set of plasma weapons embodying Ivan's close-mid range attack profile and utilizing borrowed graviton-generating technology.

This combination yielded a plasma scythe mounting dual curved blades more powerful than any prior CF melee weapon and a pair of plasma sickle sidearms. In a masterstroke, the pair incorporated elements of the XCD-101 Ezekiel's remote system. Rockets mounted on the scythe and sickles allowed them to be thrown and guided across the battlefield by either the pilot or the onboard A.I. In a nod to the venerable YCF-00 Type 0, the scythe's rockets could be fired in melee to add extra force to a swing. Ivan duly christened his terrifying creation the XCD-106 Reaper to signal the SOC's final reckoning.

Overshadowing its stunning array of weapons, the Reaper's most impressive innovation was the inertial damper system added to supplement its powerful drives. Based on little-understood gravity wave and TC/D concepts, the damper could cancel g-forces below a certain threshold, allowing the pilot to withstand normally lethal acceleration. That acceleration was provided by a set of booster rockets hearkening back to the formidable CCF-017K Kurf├╝rst. When activated, the inertial dampers produced a dual warping effect behind the Reaper which, though normally invisible, left a set of afterimages burned into an observer's retinas shaped like a pair of demonic wings. The Reaper could then make a blinding burst of speed, closing to mid-range targets so quickly as to mimic teleportation.

Though a trio of rocket-propelled plasma weapons capable of acting as A.I.-guided circular saw blades promised widespread destruction and terror, Ivan deemed his creation's mid-range attack capabilities insufficient. Taking another page from the Type 0 and the Kurf├╝rst, he installed a pair of EM/flash grenade launchers in the unit's forearms to facilitate quick exits. As a finishing touch, Ivan scavenged a Grand Dolph machine rifle and added an under-barrel grenade launcher loaded with high-explosive anti-armor rounds. This eclectic weapons loadout enabled the Reaper to rapidly apply and maintain pressure up close while fending off medium-range threats and leaving escape options open. In live combat the XCD-106 unleashed devastation akin to a CF-sized wrecking ball hurled into enemy formations.

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