nurture talent

Happy International Women’s Day!

Today we celebrate International Women’s Day, a day in which we honor and recognize the contributions of women…both on Earth and in space.

Since the beginning, women have been essential to the progression and success of America’s space program.

Throughout history, women have had to overcome struggles in the workplace. The victories for gender rights were not achieved easily or quickly, and our work is not done.

Today, we strive to make sure that our legacy of inclusion and excellence lives on.

We have a long-standing cultural commitment to excellence that is largely driven by data, including data about our people. And our data shows progress is driven by questioning our assumptions and cultural prejudices – by embracing and nurturing all talent we have available, regardless of gender, race or other protected status, to build a workforce as diverse as our mission. This is how we, as a nation, will take the next giant leap in exploration.

As a world leader in science, aeronautics, space exploration and technology, we have a diverse mission that demands talent from every corner of America, and every walk of life.

So, join us today, and every day, as we continue our legacy of inclusion and excellence.

Happy International Women’s Day!

Learn more about the inspiring woman at NASA here:


#Blackout Featured Artist: Sloane Siobhan

The Artist Behind “Lollipop Girl” featured on the #Blackout’s Shorty Awards Page.

Sloane Siobhan is a visual artist specializing in oil painting. Nurturing her talents at the age of 4, she enrolled in MonArt and was trained by Jillian Goldberg and later attended high school at NorthWest School of the Arts to concentrate in visual arts. She graduated from Appalachian State University in December 2016 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts, and painting concentration.

Sloane has worked on various projects including but not limited to client commissions, t-shirt designs & banners for the student run club Black Student Association, and silent auctions for the Heart Association. She was published in the Charlotte Observer in an article showcasing her talents to help spread awareness about the plight of women in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The article highlighted her successful solo exhibition at Providence Gallery in Charlotte, NC in 2010 in which all proceeds from the exhibit went to the foundation, Women for Women.

She was accepted into a year-long group exhibition at Appalachian State’s Chancellor’s House and exhibited her work in the 2016 group summer show, Visual Jungle in Charlotte, NC. She was commissioned by Appalachian State’s chancellor to create a piece for the university, that was also featured in the Bachelor of Fine Arts group exhibition, Calico, in December of 2016.

Sloane currently resides in Charlotte, NC and travels to do shows along the East coast.

Artwork and Bio reposted with permission. Do not remove credits.

Long Live Octopus Pie

Three cheers!

I check the webpage out of habit, but Meredith Gran’s comic work Octopus Pie is over.  I feel like this is how sports fans feel when a jersey is retired and lifted to the rafters, forever in its untouchable place, time divided between when it was active and whatever comes after.  

That might sound grandiose, but in my mind, nothing tops the ten year run of Octopus Pie.  And in the lifespan of what we call Webcomics, 2007-2017 is a granddaddy of a run, worthy of names like “pioneering,” “influential” and “groundbreaking” because in the space of those years, in this new medium, there was room to be those things without any hyperbole.  The comics landscape of the past decade needed filling out and Meredith carved her space out with precision, showing a polish and drive and a talent from the beginning that set a high standard.  

I’m guessing that I started Hark a Vagrant about six months after Octopus Pie began, but Meredith’s was already a name to be reckoned with, due to the solid reputation of her previous comic Skirting Danger and because she was an honest to god trained animator in a sea of stickmen comics or two-dudes-on-a-couch comics (RIP forever *kisses fingers, holds them to the sky*). I was intimidated by her sheer capability.  But inspired too.  I did not need to be intimidated, she was one of the first people I met in comics, and easily one of the best.

Meredith and I briefly shared an apartment and a studio, and I can tell you, she can draw circles around everyone you know.  I later shared a studio with Mike Holmes, who could also draw circles around everyone, and now the two of them are married in some sort of talent supernova.  I am happy for them, even though I feel like I make grade three crayon pictures next to them.  But the other thing that being friends with Meredith for a long time has shown is the cutting wit, the care for stories done right, the love for a medium that will take you through highs and lows that come with comics, and lately through her job as a comics professor, the nurturing of upcoming talent.  I see all of this in Octopus Pie, a comic where character was paramount, where plots were expertly moved, a fine balance was found between the messiness of people and the fun you can have with stories, where subtle emotional movements where rendered with room to breathe, where I felt like I could reach deep into the hearts and minds of the characters on the page because they had been fleshed out so well over the years that they seemed as real people, people that I loved.

I don’t really like that phrase “comics will break your heart,” commonly attributed to Schultz, or Kirby, it doesn’t really matter.  You see it all the time, mostly when people are reckoning with the fact that they work in an unforgiving medium.  I don’t even know what it is about the saying that I don’t like.  Maybe it’s because we all know that comics are hard work, we all know that you might put your life and blood and heart into something and you might get nothing back.  There are no surprises to be found there - it’s not a bad day you had, it’s a life you’re well aware of living, if you do.  But we love the perserverers in comics.  The people who live the phrase are the ones who inspire us the most.

I’m saying all this, and pardon the segue, because I have seen Octopus Pie, some of the finest story work of my generation, passed for recognition time and again and it confuses the hell out of me, truly.  I don’t want to turn a tribute to a work I hold dear into sour grapes, that’s not the intention here, but lord above, if I can’t point this out now, then when can I?  We all know that there are no guarantees in this life (comics will break your heart) but I’ll say this once and then leave it: this is a comic of quality that was miles ahead of so many of its peers, and it deserved better, industry wise.  To wrap up the earlier point, maybe I don’t like CWBYH because it implies that you should shrug your shoulders and not ask for better every time, that a short end of some kind of stick is expected even.  That’s easy when it’s yourself, but speaking as a fan now, I say to heck with shrugging, I want to put Meredith on my shoulders and parade her around and dump her into a Scrooge McDuck thing full of awards.  

Actually that sounds pointy and bad and the Ignatz awards are bricks to begin with so maybe forget that analogy but you get the idea.

I hope you read Octopus Pie, I hope you buy the books.  I hope the legacy of it is long and full, because it always will be for me.  And I think readers will agree, because I know this devoted fan base pretty well.  I read the comments, I’ve sat next to Mer at comic shows, I’ve listened to some of the emails that touched her.  I know this is a comic that meant a lot, to a lot of us.  In this world of work we put our hearts and souls into to begin with, that is a wonderfully worthy thing.

I do not know what Meredith will do next, but whatever it is, I am here for it, seat pulled close to the stage.  The retired jersey is in the rafters, the game is still being played by the people who dreamed better because it was there.  Aw what can I say, I’m sentimental!

 Thanks, Meredith. <3


Major Aspects


Energy flow: Neutral

Conjunction is usually a harmonious aspect for both planets unless the planets are not considered harmonious with each other. This aspect brings the planets involved very close together and it is important to factor in the distance between them. They key word associated with this aspect is blending, the planets involved work together, this may create a blind spot for the person, the planets involved may create a trait in this person that others see but they don’t.


Energy flow: Stressful/Neutral

The reason this aspect’s energy is seen as both negative and neutral is because this aspect creates motivational tension between the planets involved that usually produces a positive outcome or progression in the person. It is a character building aspect that gives the person strength in the long run


Energy flow: Harmonious/neutral 

This aspect is a very easy one, it creates harmony and comfort between the planets involved meaning there won’t be conflict between those aspects of your personality. The only problem with this aspect is that there may be a lack of productivity with these specific placements because there is no tension to create motivation, there’s not much room to grow.


Energy flow: Stressful

The square aspect creates a lot of tension and may be seen as the most stressful aspect. It creates a sort of block on the planets involved, the problematic energies that arises from the square seems to pop up a lot. This is an aspect that makes us learn our lesson the hard way.


Energy flow: Harmonious

Trine is naturally a very accepting and supportive aspect, planets involved with this aspect support and nurture each other. The talents and qualities given to the person as a result of a trine are taken for granted or overlooked, therefore it’s not often that they’re developed further, this isn’t so bad anyway because these things will already come as a second nature. Transitting planets usually kick start them and gives the planets room to be expressed.


Energy flow: Stressful/Neutral

These energies find it hard to blend with one another, this is an aspect of learning. Planets involved in this aspects don’t seem to understand each other, they need to learn to work in harmony

Minor Aspects


Energy flow: Stressful/neutral

Semi-sextile brings the planets involved into a union, however there is no natural relationship there, meaning the energies of these planets culd either work well together, or not, or both!


Energy flow: Stressful

Semi-square is the less intense version of the square aspect.


Energy flow: Neutral

Usually indicates a rare talent or strike of genius


Energy flow: Stressful

Very like square and semi-square


Energy flow: Harmonius

A harmonious but weak aspect.

Thoughts Regarding “Natural Talent”

Friendly reminder that natural talent ≠ effortless progression. There seems to be some confusion about this in the general occult community, particularly among beginners. I can only assume it stems from watching experienced practitioners go about their business seemingly without any effort.

Look, if someone tells you, “Wow, you have a lot of potential as an artist,” that’s great and you should be proud, but it does not mean you’re ready to display your work at a big New York gallery. If hearing that ruffles your feathers, you need to ask yourself why. It’s not a bad thing to nurture your seedling talents and emerge as a beautiful tree grown tall and leafy over many years.

For some reason, this concept ruffles a lot of feathers when it’s said that picking up your first tarot deck a month ago does not a professional diviner make. This doesn’t mean “don’t do readings.” By all means, please do.

The problem begins when someone presents themselves as an expert in a field they dipped a toe into last week, at the expense of those who earned their title. “Hah! It comes naturally to me,” they say smugly. “I don’t even know why people say this is hard work.”

As lovely as those five minutes of superiority may feel, you will be left empty if you skip over the hard work, the patience, and the determination that shapes an expert out of a witch, diviner, spirit worker, or any other like them over years of quiet trial and error; over countless nights of frustration and failure; over countless hours of try, try again until finally you taste success.

There is no shame in beginning. We all start somewhere. Just do yourself a favor and let yourself be a beginner. Make the journey. Be patient when things get hard. Never, never forget that natural talent ≠ effortless progression.

And finally, know this: the journey doesn’t end. Not unless you wish to grow stagnant in a pool of your own arrogance. Trust me, no matter who you are or what you’re doing, there’s always room for improvement. Always.

Defense Mechanism

Summary: Everyone deals with life in their own way, sometimes you’re smiling through the pain, other times you’re an ass. Park Jimin is far better at the latter.

This is for the request that my lovesly @g-d0818 sent in to me so long ago!!




Part Two

Jimin couldn’t help but stare at you as you practiced up on stage; it wasn’t because you were beautiful–you were average, flawed–and it wasn’t because you had amazing talent–he’d often told you that you were talentless–and it definitely wasn’t because he thought you were worthy of attending the same prestigious university for the arts as him. Rather, Jimin stared at you because he was an artist who strove for perfection and you had a run in your tights.

How the hell was he supposed to sketch what was happening on stage if the subject matter itself wasn’t already perfect?

He was an artist, someone who strived for perfect technical abilities–someone who never once created something that wasn’t admired by all professors and students for its formal qualities, even if few (practically everyone) thought that his subject matter was boring and lacked originality/ purpose. So, when looking at you, the OCD running through his brain could only focus on that stupid run in your tights, and now he was noticing even more things about you that he hated. It always started like this, he would be doing something and you would be loud even if you never spoke–you would walk into a room and he would feel the compelling desire to point out all your faults. You irritated him in a way that he didn’t know was possible.

He ran his pencil across the paper, one of the few from his advanced III painting class that had decided to go to the auditorium during the interpretive dance class in order to sketch out poses and ideas for compositions and models. Once again he was distracted by your lack of care–you weren’t even wearing shoes and now your tight-clad feet were blackened because of it. He hated those tights. So much. You would have to toss them, though he knew you wouldn’t. You had once told him that it seemed pointless to get rid of something for one small flaw, as if he was a monster for suggesting that you better yourself and your appearance. You’re a dancer, how could you be so careless? How are you supposed to create a work of art without an already perfect canvas?

Keep reading

I would like to thank queen UEE (After School) for always being so kind to Nu’est and giving Baekho his stage name “white tiger”- You did the right thing in leaving Pledis, although Im sure the AS members will miss you dearly. Hope you go to a company that will nurture your acting talent and treats you right. Love You UEE <33
What your expensive post secondary education will not teach you

The best advice I can give to anyone going through the college/university experience is to enjoy it for what it is and to keep a fair balance between school and the rest of your life. It’s easy to get lost in the stress of it all, between classes and readings and assignments and midterms and papers and finals. But at the end of it, one day it will all stop and you’ll realize that all that worrying and stress don’t really accumulate to much.

You’ll have your piece of paper and some superficial designation, maybe some or no debt, a handful of good friends and a shit load of bad ones. But once you cross that threshold you’re in the real world with real world problems. You’re joining a pool of people with the same credentials as you and you’ll soon realize that “doing well” in school doesn’t account for much when you’re pitted against peers who pretty much look the same as you on paper.

So that’s what I mean when I say to keep a balance between school and life. The other parts of your life will mark you different in a world where so many of us look the exact same to potential employers. Nurture your hobbies and talents and don’t sacrifice them because you don’t have time. The fact that you do something else besides your chosen field of study, whether it’s music or film or whatever, will make you stand out of the crowd.

We’re each coming into the same mess and inheriting a world of issues and conflicts that we have little choice but to shoulder. Nurture and embrace all the factors that make you who you are and encourage others to do the same for themselves. In a world that requires experience for everything but refuses to provide any, you must be confident in presenting and defending any and every talent and skill you posses. This is something our expensive education fails to teach us completely.

anonymous asked:

*curtsies* Dear Duke, do you believe in talent? Is there such a thing in writing as talent at all? Because I think that anyone can write it's all the question of practice and motivation while in art, painting. and drawing talent is necessary and it used to sadden me because I mostly write but I can't draw so in conclusion I don't have any talents.

*Curtsies* First thing: I absolutely think you need talent to be a good writer. And I think writing is art, and that to suggest it’s just a matter of practice in a way that visual arts aren’t is insulting to writers. But I also believe that all the talent in the world won’t make a difference if you’re not willing to work at it, and that sometimes people assume that talent and hard work are mutually exclusive. Newsflash: Nope. You think painters and sculptors and cartoonists spend any less time learning and working and failing than writers do? You think a concert pianist spends any less time practicing? Nope. Writing, like every other art form, requires a combination of talent and hard work. You’re not going to magically be great at anything without both. (Artists and musicians or anyone else who feels inclined, feel free to back me up.)

Second thing: Concluding that you “don’t have any talents” because there’s one thing you don’t happen to be good at is melodramatic, and it’s something you should try to work through because dude, nobody is going to feel sorry for you. We all want to be good at stuff and just aren’t. I love music. Have since I was a kid. I want so desperately to have some kind of musical talent and you know what? I just don’t. Did I learn to passably play the piano? Yes. Did I learn a little guitar? Yes. Can I carry a tune? Yes. Am I ever going to be a rock star? Hell no. That’s life. I spent fifteen years trying to be an actor. Turns out I’m really not good enough. Does it suck? You bet. Any use crying about it? Nope. Nobody’s good at everything they want to be good at, and in the long run, you’ll be a lot better off nurturing the talents you do have than moping about the ones you don’t, or acting like a talent you have isn’t actually a talent and feeling sorry for yourself. Because guess what? There are ten thousand people out there who desperately want to be writers but can’t string ten words together no matter how hard they try (kind of like how you can’t draw a picture you’re happy with even though you desperately want to). My guess is they’d be pretty be pissed if you tried to tell them writing doesn’t take talent. It does take talent. You’re just taking that talent for granted because you have it. And people who can write? They will also be pissed. I don’t mind telling you, I’m pissed. You think anyone can write? That’s insulting. Tell that to thirteen years of hard work, weeks and months of struggling to get a narrative just right, five drawer novels, dozens of rejections, 45 drafts of my first book, and the meticulous attention I’ve lavished on each one of 110,000 thousand words in each of eight different manuscripts. The implication that just anybody could do what I do if they felt like it fucking sucks. 

I’m sorry if this seems a little salty. That’s because it’s honest. You have talent. Cultivate it. Don’t waste it or belittle it wishing it were different, or make people who share your talent or wish they did feel like it’s worthless.

Seventeen Reaction (Vocal Unit): You’re an amazing artist

Request:  Hi!! I wanted to start off by saying I love your blog a lot <3333 and then my request is the vocal unit’s reaction to you being a pretty amazing artist and liking to come by the studio/practice room and draw them along with the other members for practice. Much love and thank you <33

A/N: Hello lovely anon, thank you so so much for your lovely request, you seem like such a sweetheart! I hope you like it! xx


Originally posted by visual-17

Jeonghan would absolutely love your talent and would relish being your muse. However, in being your biggest supporter he’d also be your biggest critic, making sure you get all the right angles on his face and making sure you get his hair just right. It was all for the best though, because of him your practice work always came out just right.


Originally posted by performanceunit

He’d love it when you came to draw and paint him and the other members, he was truly flattered that you’d even want to. Most of all he would be so into helping you nurture your talent so he would help you in any way he can. He would be the type to randomly come home one day with that new set of acrylic paints you wanted just because he loved you and wanted the best for you and your talent.


Originally posted by mountean

You would never cease to astound Woozi with your works of art, the way your brush strokes filled a page and how you could translate real life images to a canvas. Yet when you asked him to model for him along with the other members he’d be a little flustered, not quite knowing what to do with himself but he’d do it just for you.


Originally posted by hanwooz

DK would always be the one to try and get the other members to help you out with your art, rallying up all the guys so they could pose for you to get you as much practise as possible. ‘HEY UGLY PEOPLE Y/N NEEDS YOUR FACES TO PAINT!!’. When you were done he’d make sure everyone and their mum had a copy to circulate your amazing art as much as possible.


Originally posted by seungkvvan

Seungkwan would definitely have the most fun modelling for you to paint him, pulling all sorts of goofy poses and actions to try and make you laugh while you were painting. He’d change position every 20 seconds each time going ‘like this?’ ‘ooh how about this?’ ‘Paint me like your french girls Y/N’ leaving you both a giggling mess on the floor by the end of it.

No but nobody seems to appreciate the fact that Gazzy is at an age where children begin to develop the fine motor skills and cognitive ability to comprehend and fully appreciate music. What I’m saying is in So-F he attended classes with peers similar in size, intellect, and social development to himself at a private school that strived to nurture the facilities and talents of each and all of its students.

Tl;dr: somebody thought it was a good idea to give Gazzy a recorder.

anonymous asked:

I literally LOVE all of your stories and to me you just can't do wrong. I also love how you're an OG in writing yet encourage and support other writers. Stay beautiful. Stay humble. And please never stop writing. :)

Awww thank you, Anon. That is very kind of you to say; you really flatter me. I’m glad to have been able to produce writing you’ve enjoyed. Thank you for your continued support. With other writers, I like to help out where I can. Richonne writers are my people, and I love my people! I think it’s important to nurture talent in fandom, whether it’s through recommending someone’s fic or leaving a review on their story. We’ve all had to start somewhere, and I know I wouldn’t be here now if it wasn’t for fellow writers and wonderful readers who supported me over the years. A little encouragement goes a long way. Well, that’s how I look at it. Thanks again! This lovely message made me smile 😊😊😊

Also, I know we were all spoiled by Jupp, but we have to remember what came before. The Van Gaal era was a failed experiment in its own right (though a welcome reprieve from whatever the fuck Klinsmann was doing), but it introduced elements that Jupp simply built upon and worked with. That’s how legendary seasons happen. One manager acclimates the team to a new playing style. Another nurtures young talent, brings in crucial new players, and helps players define themselves. When it all comes together under a capable manager who refines all these things, that’s when the big seasons happen.

2013 was fantastic, but it was the zenith of all the positives from 2009 onward, a period that looked decent to completely disastrous depending on the day. This is just the pattern of the sport.

Walls are meant to keep you out (VIXX!Mafia AU) [Chapter 1]

 ‘He had taken forever to get through her walls and now that they had finally crumbled, so had she’ 

You let out a breath and set down your pen, cracking your knuckles and stretching freely in your seat and pulling yourself towards the table once it had swiveled by itself. You clicked the cap back onto the pen, making sure to clean any leftover ink on the pen.

Admiring your work, your eyes swept over your 5 page piece, the perfect cursive script captured in sapphire ink. You had always had a knack for righting and you had taken pride in nurturing those talents. Trying not to break the silence of your room, you gingerly pulled open the drawer and grabbed a piece of roll of violet ribbon. There was just enough to tie the pages together. Another roll you had finished this week.

Carefully stringing the ribbon through the pre-punched holes you had tied it into a neat bow before locking it away in your drawer. You tossed the your pen in it’s holder and stood up, pushing the chair away from you.

You stood in front of a mirror and took in the view of yourself. A black dress had adorned your figure and your shoulders were covered with a black blazer. One look at your tear-stained face and people would realize that you were headed to a funeral. You brushed off any hair strands from your shoulders and walked out of the room.

When you got to the dining room, it was already filled with the girls, shedding tears. The few days had been such a blur when you had come to know that one of your comrades had passed. All you remember was barely eating meals and writing until you dropped.

You kept your eyes down but looked up when your leader’s voice had echoed throughout the hall.

“Girls, please make your ways to the limousines.” You didn’t even have to look at her to know there was a white flower crown holding her hair together. Everyone was wearing one including you, it was tradition. The girls quietly exited, the only sound was their sniffles mixed with your own.

The car ride was dreary, stormy clouds were covering the sun, not letting any sunlight through them, casting the world in a sorrowful shade. Your heart mirrored the weather, feeling equally sorrowful and dull.

The eulogy had passed with your zoning in and out of the speech, no matter how much you tried to concentrate, all you could feel was a sick feeling crawling up your throat at the thought of Yura being gone. Finally the tradition of your group had begun. It was the part that was solely for your group. Once anyone had joined the group, they wrote a letter that stated their life secrets and they had continued it every time a new event took place in their lifespan.

CL, the leader, took her place behind the podium and began ,”Kim Ah-young’s –” That was Yura’s real name, all members, except for a select few used fake names, so that they couldn’t be traced back to their family, it was an exception to those who had no family. ‘Crystal’ was the name you used to conceal your identity even though all your family was a long line of mafia members as well, you stilled preferred it. And after the member passes we never refer to her using her fake name again.

“ – will was revealed to me this morning and I shall now deliver it to all of you.”

Delicately, CL unfolded the letter and began reading, “I joined the team nowing full well what I was about to do, the guilt and the treachery but what I never would have expected was the warmth and love I had received, I never thought that doing something so criminal, would lead to something so admirable. The cut-throat business within was just a stereotype.

There were 3 other girl’s that had joined around the time I had too; Sojin, Minah and Hyeri. Including me, the four of us had formed a sub-group called Girl’s Day and since then I went on every mission with them, they had my back, that was comforting and the only reason I would have ever gone for one.

Outside from Girl’s Day, I had made friends as well, they welcomed me with open arms and when we were not underground we joked and laughed.

I know the reason I am writing this, it’s for if something unfortunate ever happens during a mission then this piece of paper would tell you what I honestly thought, but I didn’t have to write because you already knew.

Recently something really astonishing happened to me, while I was on a solo mission at a casino, I was there to seduce a man for secrets and it was pretty effective until another one held him at gun-point and demanded them from him. I was just as shocked as he was but I had gotten the information regardless. He asked me to have a drink with him and I knew immediately what his ploy was; he was trying to get me drunk enough to forget this had ever happened but instead the both of us hit it off so perfectly you could almost see the sparks. I was in love.”

A few gasps had erupted but no one dared to interrupt CL, this was still a funeral.

“He treated me with care when he dropped me off a mile away from my home and I had to walk in heels all the way back but it was the best night of my life.

Coincidentally we met again at a mission but it was different this time. When both had our guns pointed at each other, afraid to do our job. Then he told me in a strained, pained voice ‘I don’t want to shoot you.’ I knew then he felt the same about me as I did him. The gun fell from my hands and we both confessed to each other.

Since then we pretended to be a normal couple and went on dates and shared kisses but the most meaningful moments were the ones that no one could ever know like, cleaning the other one up after a fight or comforting each other when a mission when oh, so terribly wrong. 

We were leaning on each other and if one of us fell the other did too, that is why after 4 months of dating I was afraid of death and leaving him. It hurt me, just the thought, of leaving him alone but I never wanted to bring it up so I wrote down all the thoughts in letters and kept them in my drawer so if anything ever did happen, he’d know how much I loved him.

But even if I was in his arms I always came back to my girls and the gratitude I had in my heart brought tears to my eyes every time I think of how much all of you have done for me; taking me in, welcoming me and making me part of a family I love more than my life.”

The girls were crying now, tears falling quickly and indefinitely. You too struggled to control them but they flowed against your will.

“His name is Hong Jong Hyun from the main group Bang Tan.”

You couldn’t believe your ears. Jong Hyun was a member of the group that was coincidentally led by none other than your brother Kim Nam Joon.

anonymous asked:

What attributes does Ame have that would make it strong economically and what could they do to improve it? Like with how FTGOG!Kagome is doing with Suna and all those new businesses and jobs opening up. Only Ame doesn't have a Magical Miko by the name of Higurashi Kagome.

To be perfectly frank with you, we don’t actually know enough about Ame to make a solid hypothesis. What are the confirmed facts for Amegakure as a land?

1/ It’s poor and its population consists mostly of war refugees from other countries. 

2/ It’s sandwiched in between the three great nations: Fire, Wind, and Earth. This led to its being used as battleground when the hidden villages went to war in the past, decimating the country and its people every time such wars happened.  

3/ It rains a lot. This is apparently a combination of the nation’s natural weather patterns (it is named the land of Rain and all of its depictions in canon, barred one when Konan battled Tobi, featured heavy rain) and ninjutsu (there are several mentions of Pain and Hanzo using surveillance ninjutsu that made use of the rain). This probably also leads to poor soil condition due to the constant water washing away the top soil and eroding everything else, and thriving conditions for all sorts of diseases due to the constant humidity (e.g. malaria, etc…) 

Outside of that, we don’t know much else about this country. We don’t know what sort of resources they have, nor their policy on trade (especially after Hanzo, Pain, Konan), nor their main industries. 

From what I can see, they are in a poor position. Too many weak points, not enough strong points. 

1/ The population is not only poor but is also not unified due to their background as war refugees from different countries. Rain people have little cultural cohesion nor shared national identity. This will lead to difficult in administration and organizing a coherent government (unless we are going full dictator mode… which… while it will work in this scenario, is also a ticking time bomb in itself) 

2/ The constant rains make for poor agriculture base (waterlogged soil with poor top soil conditions, lack of sun, etc…), low public health (due to thriving conditions for all sorts of diseases), difficult conditions for public welfare (possible floods due to constant water backup), poor and costly infrastructure and public transportation (rain making it difficult for constructions and making everything that much more high-maintenance)  

3/ Sandwiched in between hostile nations which necessitates high military/security expenditure. This is a massive drain on the country’s economy and preventing development in other area. That’s not counting when wars do break out, Rain is in an even shittier place, what with bearing the splash damage from the fighting. 

The only solid strong point I can see is that its location, with proper management and development, holds the potential to become a trade zone with all the biggest trade routes going between the three great nations all going through it. But then again, do remember that Rain is not the only nation sharing this geo-location in Naruto verse (Gem is another contender in FtGoG AU). That’s why I said with proper management and development. 

From where I’m sitting, Rain is prime materials for a poverty trap nation. It has too many cons that holds it in place as a poor, divided, disaster-ridden, potentially lacking in natural resource country. It has one pro that needs solid work put into it before the rewards can be reaped. If it has other strong points, canon has not enlightened us to those points. If it has some special resources that all the other countries want (e.g. oil analog for example), then it’s much easier, but canon doesn’t say anything on this. 

So… really… I don’t have a lot of ideas on how to make Rain thrive as a nation. I have some, but they are the vague, applicable to most nations in this category type of ideas rather than actual, custom-tailored plan for that one specific country. I would say, to make Rain work, we need to model it off of real world nations with similar statistic (e.g. poor resources, limited land, fractured population), specifically Singapore (limited land, no natural resources whatsoever aside for fishing, but has prime location that required management and development) and post world war 2 Japan (fractured population. Post World War 2 Japan suffered a massive cultural shock. For much of the war, the government told their people that they would win, that they were in the just, that expansion and conquer were theirs by birthright, that they had to do this for the shake of the emperor, that defeat was as impossible as the sun rising from the West. They sent their people off to suicide against the enemy lines. And these people went willingly, joyfully. Such is the strength of their self-inflicted massively scoped brainwashing. And then what was the result? They were the first victim of the atomic bombs. They lost the war. Their government and emperor came out to admit defeat, to admit that they were in the wrong, and now they had to make nice with the enemy. Really, if you have the time, you should read literature studying the public psyche of Japan in the immediate post world war 2 era. There’s a whole lot of nihilism, suicide glorifying, and Nietzsche wannabe to go around. In some ways, it’s kinda sad. They did it to themselves. The scars linger to this day). To make their nation work, Rain has to:

1/ invest in diplomacy. Security and army is needed for them to survive and maintain stability, but long term, it’s too costly that it effectively cripples their development. They need solid diplomacy with surrounding nations to lessen the pressure on security spending. 

2/ Invest in trade. This also requires that first step of diplomacy. They need to weave themselves into the economy of other nations in such a way that if they are hurt, other nations also feel it in their pockets. A textbook economic golden straitjacket scenario (search it up if you don’t know it. Its mere existence is the reason why I call bull on the Naruto-verse claims that alliances cannot last between ninja nations and that treaties are not even wort the papers they are written. News flash, ninjas are not the only kind of humans who break treatises if it serves them. We as a species have worked past that particular trust issue / double handcuff scenario centuries ago). Not only will this create more stability and lessen security spending, it will serve to enrich Rain and make it incredibly difficult / painful for surrounding nations to attack Rain or wage wars in its territory (golden straitjacket and double handcuff) 

3/ Assuming they are poor in natural resources, then the only resources left to them is the human ones. They need to invest in growing local talents and nurturing future intellects in their young generations. Poor resources mean that heavy industries and agriculture give insignificant yield to them as a nation. So they need the talents to start high-tech industries and service sectors. They need scientists, engineers (more software and high tech kinds rather than heavy industrial kind), doctors, financiers, bankers, so on, so forth. Basically the Singaporean model. 

4/ If they have any sort of heavy industries, agriculture at all, they should be heavily automated as their human resources should be pushed to industries with better yield. They need to make maximum use out of their labor force. Not only are they working against several crippling weakness (poor resources, conditions, general stability), their starting population is unlikely to be large due to war and diseases (humidity part leading to lots of diseases above)

5/ Eventually, they need to steer away from traditional military and move their security sector to the more espionage side. In other words, prevention before treatment, and smart prevention at that (and not the crude, brute force way they did in canon. Sure erecting a war and running stringent security measures at the ground level work, but they are also costly and crude, and unlikely to prevent large scale warfare or more sophisticated hostile attempts on their nation. They should be a last resort and not the de-facto mode of operation). Due to the general climate of the Naruto verse, conflict is unavoidable. However, instead of going all Krogan/Turian in their neighbor’s face, they should take a page out of the Salarian’s books. Not only is espionage and aggressive intelligence actions cheaper as defense measure, they are also more effective for a country like Rain (which will always lose if a big war breaks out in their general proximity. So the only way they win is not by winning that war, but by making sure that war either doesn’t happen in the first place, or if it has to happen, then it happens somewhere far away from them, in someone else’s backyard preferably), and their fallouts easier to contain.