In 1890, Sir Thomas Lipton arrived on the island of Ceylon, now Sri Lanka, to purchase a plot of land that would become the first tea estate in his global tea empire. These days, in the Ambadandegama Valley located just a few miles from Lipton’s original estate, another experiment in tea production is unfolding.

Tucked into the side of a precipitous mountain, Amba Estate is a tea operation that shares 10 percent of its revenues with its workers. That’s a novel approach here in Sri Lanka, a country that’s one of the world’s largest exporters of tea — an industry that employs more than 1 million of its 22 million residents.

“What makes us different is our 10 percent revenue share — not profit share. We decided to do revenue share because even when we’re not making a profit, we felt it was only right that workers and management receives recognition,” says Simon Bell.

Bell purchased the 26-acre Amba Estate in 2006 with three partners – all of whom had previously worked in international development. Their goal, he says, was to create a for-profit social enterprise that could create long-term employment in the region. “It’s thanks to the hard work and innovation [of the workers] that we’ve grown revenue 20 fold over the last few years.”

The estate employs 30 full-time workers from the local village. One elderly Tamil couple resides on the property itself. They had lived in an old line house, a structure built to house tea workers during the days of British rule, since long before Bell and his partners purchased the land. “We didn’t know if they had anywhere else to go,” says Bell. “They asked to stay and we were happy to let them.”

PHOTOS: In Sri Lanka’s Tea Paradise, A Social Enterprise Is Brewing

Photos: Victoria Milko for NPR

Was  the publication of “A Series Of Unfortunate Events” nothing but a marketing scam?

The success of the series remains a mystery to this day: why would any publisher in their right mind publish and promote a book that prides itself on being terrible, let alone thirteen? There was simply no market for it. Although its sales could retroactively be explained as a collective enthralling of morbid fascination, it must have been hard for Daniel Handler to get his foot in the door. Someone, somewhere, apparently thought that an abysmal product which revels in its own filthiness was a good idea. So where was the profit? Who was originally supposed to benefit from Daniel Handler’s ill-conceived and ungodly experiment?

Other writers, that’s who.

Keep reading

you ever think about how it’s been over nine months since tumblr implemented on-blog advertisements and staff said that a revenue sharing system to let users get some of the ad revenue their blogs generate was “coming soon,” as soon as they “worked out the details”

My favorite time of year. Employee reviews. My company, Konoha Corp, approaches the higher levels of management first and then goes downward. This is my round. I’ve been stuck in this stale room for 45 minutes.

“Sasuke, sometimes you can come off as…”

Kakashi trailed off. That only annoyed me.

“As what?”

“As challenging. Demanding.”

Of course I know how I come off. And it works.

“I get results, don’t I?”

It annoys me that he has the nerve to confront me about this. Every single product release under my management has gone off without complications. In terms of revenue and increasing market share, I’ve outperformed every single one of my contemporaries by a landslide. I’ve held this role for three years as of June and have moved mountains.

“Your results are stellar. Sasuke, you are a very brilliant scientist and a shrewd businessman. But you’re breeding a workplace culture that is afraid to fail. They’re afraid to show creativity.”

“Afraid to fail.”

That phrase just sticks between my ears and goads me, because right now I’m so clearly remembering Itachi yelling at me over huge stacks of messy papers when I showed him my plans for the AI components of one of our new virtual executive assistants December of last year.

“This has all been done before. It’s good work, but it’s by the books. Why are you so afraid to fail? You’ll never make a difference that way!”

He died three months ago. Whenever I remember him, I get upset. If I’m around people, that automatically manifests as me being pissed off.

“Can we afford to fail with our brand’s reputation and the market share at stake? Why are you complaining?”

I know I’m being difficult and missing the point. I continue regardless.

“Sasuke, people respect you, but they also fear you.”

“Yes. That’s a management style.”

Kakashi sighs, clearly frustrated. I couldn’t care less, because I’m frustrated too.

Steve Jobs pulled it off. So can I.

“You need to show them a softer, more caring side. These are brilliant people.”

Most of them are bright. I have my doubts about a few, one person in particular on my mind. But I didn’t hire him, so I consider myself absolved. Itachi must’ve been smoking crack.

“They need a supportive environment to innovate. We’re a consumer technology company, Sasuke. We need to be on the edge, or we’re obsolete by definition.”

At this point, I could go on about all of the successful product launches and ballooning profits. There’s just one inconvenient aspect of the situation: he’s right. And I know damned well that people are afraid to think outside of the box because they’re afraid of what I might do if they fail.

He’s asking me to do something I don’t know how to do, but I won’t admit to it. I’m silent, which he takes as a cue.

“It doesn’t have to be anything dramatic or unnatural. Just try to be more understanding if an employee makes a mistake. If they were using their best judgment and were being diligent, then it’s enough that they tried.”

What if they have their head in the clouds and spend all day wondering, “Wouldn’t it be cool if…?” What if they squander their potential by sitting on their ass and playing class clown with coworkers? Like a certain vapid blue-eyed employee I have. Eye color generally means nothing to me, but it’s difficult not to remember such a brilliant blue.

“I agree with you that as long as something was done responsibly and with due diligence, the employee shouldn’t be reproached. What I object to is anything less than diligence.”

Kakashi looks down at my desk, and he looks back up at me with his eyes half lidded. He looks tired.

“Look. Not everyone is going to have your work ethic, Sasuke. And sometimes people do get distracted. As their manager, you use the ruler first, not the sledgehammer.”

A pause.

“You have to show you care.”

Right. The only issue is that I don’t.

I frown. Inhale. Exhale. I remind myself of what Itachi said, which is almost entirely the reason why I speak my next sentence.

“Okay, I’ll try a softer hand.”

Kakashi smiles, because he knows how big of an accomplishment it was to get me to say that. I will let him believe it’s his victory. I don’t give a damn.

“But I’m warning you in advance that we may experience some hiccups.”

I issue that disclaimer because this means relinquishing some of my control in the interest of fostering innovation. I don’t know what will happen. My team might fail. I don’t want that to be interpreted as a failure on my part.

“We’ll consider them learning experiences.”

-   -   -

He code named it CMI. Caring Manager Initiative. Apparently, even this requires an acronym. It’s like a bad joke.

This is, without a doubt, my least favorite project that I have ever been on. Ever.

I will have to update Kakashi on my progress next quarter. He’d outlined three action items for me to fulfill by the next quarter:

1.       Conducting Employee Reviews

2.       Showing Interest in Employee Activities

3.       Acknowledging Employee Achievements

I will record everything and act diligently and rationally at every step. If there is a failure, it will not be because I failed.


Phase I - Caring Manager Initiative
Conducting Employee Reviews

I can’t even express how much I hate conducting employee reviews.

I go over every detail of the person’s value to the company. I fixate on their accomplishments for about 70% of the review. They plead their case. They almost always want more money, and I can only acquiesce about half of the time. I listen to their hackneyed excuses with a seemingly empathetic nod, which Itachi once told me was actually pretty convincing.

With practiced ease, like a surgeon, I speak about “opportunities to improve,” because no one wants to be criticized. And this go around, it seems like I have to put the kiddie gloves on. God forbid I hurt anyone’s feelings.

So it’s with mixed relief and dread that I view Naruto’s name on my calendar as my next appointment.

Naruto comes into my office with a big grin.

“Alright, Bossman. Let’s get this show on the road!”

I have told him to stop calling me Bossman so many times that I’ve lost count.

“Sit down.”

Now he has to obey me. He does so without complaint, not realizing that this was a power play on my part. With employees like Naruto, establishing boundaries is key.

As annoyed as I am with him, I know that for once today, I can be honest. I never hold back with Naruto. He takes everything I could ever dish out…and throws it back in my face.

I can’t believe I haven’t fired him yet.

“Okay, Naruto. You know that your designs have, in theory, been…interesting.”

Naruto puffs up like a toad at the compliment and stares at me like he’d just triumphed over me. It makes me regret saying it.

“But when it comes to creating the prototypes and testing them, everything falls to shit. You don’t see your ideas through. That’s fatal. If a product doesn’t work, it’s useless.”

“So you’re calling my work useless?” Naruto bristles.

It is true that he hasn’t gotten a single product off the ground. He’s a dreamer.

“I’m saying that the devil’s in the detail.”

At this point, if it were anyone else, I’d be reassuring them of how valuable they are to the company and how integral they are to the team. I’d smile and talk to them about promotions and ask them to fill out company templates with their goals for the next year. But that would sound forced, because that’s not how Naruto and I talk.

Naruto puffs out his cheeks and pouts, and I feel like I’m talking to a teenager. People have probably told him he needs to be more detail-orientated, because God knows it’s true.

“There’s that, and the fact that you keep checking your cell phone during working hours and socializing with coworkers too often.”

Naruto smiles and gives an impish laugh.

“This is not funny.”

“So… I guess I’m not getting a raise, huh?” he asks sheepishly, still trying to lighten the situation.

“Now that was funny.”

“Oh, you are such a prick,” Naruto answers, amused by my attitude. He should be used to it at this point.

“Is that really what you want to say to your boss?”

“I’m in trouble, aren’t I?”

I dislike the fact that I have to bring this issue to his attention for him to resolve it. It demonstrates a lack of proactivity. In fact, in all aspects of the guy’s life… He’s so laid back and easygoing. Everything is always fine and well with him, and who cares what reality actually is. Such disregard for life’s priorities. I don’t get him, nor do I want to.

“You’ve been warned,” I answer. “I’m documenting it. Fix it, and we’ll have no problems.”

Naruto sighs, and again I feel like a parent. Naruto looks down and bites his lip, and I start thinking that maybe he’s more frustrated with himself than he is with me.


We continue the conversation. He didn’t call me Bossman again the entire meeting.

Stage II - Caring Manager Initiative
Showing Interest in Employee Activities

Konoha Corp has a club for public speaking, held every Wednesday at lunch time. As both a scientist and a businessman, I realize that scientists are not known for mixing well with the business world. Itachi always told me never to let one of my scientists talk to one of my investors.

Our employees come here for that extra polish. The moderator, Shizune, explained that today’s workshop would all be impromptu, two-minute speeches. She put everyone’s names in a bowl, and she’d draw each speaker out until the bowl emptied. Each person would have their own topic. Meanwhile, she’d videotape them on their phone.

Public speaking is one of my strengths, not that I particularly enjoy talking. I practiced for years and fancy myself an actor now.

And of course, Naruto is here. Of all the faces in the room, his was the one I expected to see the most. He thrives off of being the center of attention. Shizune now pulls a slip out of the bowl, and everyone is sweating around me. Naruto’s name is the first she pulls.

I can’t imagine how pleased he must be by this as he walks toward the lectern.

“And the topic is…”

A pause. Naruto is standing behind the lectern now.

“Your favorite food.”

No one’s looking at me, so I roll my eyes.

Clearly, he’s doing this to show off. He’s a bubbling extrovert. He’s going to crack a few jokes. People will laugh, because he’s damn good at making people laugh. I have no interest whatsoever in watching him puff up and prattle on for whatever acknowledgement his secretly insecure soul craves.

But then he starts speaking. My mind goes blank. I’m taken off guard. Shocked.

Shocked by how horrible he is at this.


He looks down at his feet, then paces a few steps.


He’s choking. I did not see this coming.

“Wow, uh…”

His body is very obviously shaking. I doubt anyone could miss it.

“Um… Give me a minute. I’m…” he stammers. “I’m off to some start, huh?”

The room gives a forced and sympathetic laugh that makes me want to cringe.

He’s a wreck.

But he’s trying. I have to say that for him. He’s earnest, and raw, and vulnerable, and… In a nutshell, everything that I’m not.

His face is bright red. I don’t know why, but my chest feels tight. This is painful to watch, yet I can’t take my eyes off of him. I find myself wishing that I could plant words on his tongue, which is ironic given that he generally never shuts the hell up.

“So, ramen…” he starts, gesturing with his arms. “It’s… It’s a hot food and… So, you know…”

Everyone is looking at him. I can’t explain it, but if anyone so much as snickers at his awkwardness, I would fire them on the spot.

If I were that shitty at public speaking, you couldn’t pay me to go up there and fumble, turn five different shades of red, and shake like a leaf. But he did, because he wants to improve. He took initiative. Still, it’s certainly not like I’m impressed by his pathetic attempt at a speech.

Well… Maybe just a little bit impressed.

He’s brave.

Braver than I gave him credit for.

I again remember Itachi telling me, “You’re afraid to fail.” It burns, and I swallow tight. It’s bad enough that he was right. Even worse that he’s dead, and now I’m thinking about it. I was not prepared to feel today. I clear my mind.

“You um… I like ramen because it’s easy to make and…”

“The time is up,” Shizune informed him with a smile.

He smiles, but his shoulders slump. I can’t blame him.

“And Mr. Uchiha, it’s so wonderful to have you join us today!”

Naruto looks at me, and his eyes widen to the size of golf balls. He is a stubborn thorn in my side, and I want to deck him every time he calls me “Bossman” in that same nauseatingly upbeat tone. Usually I’d jump at the chance to one up him, but this is very different. I hold eye contact with him for just an instant before addressing Shizune again.

“Yes, thank you, everyone. Nice work.”

Without a word, Naruto runs right out of the room, abandoning any attempt at composure and leaving his phone behind with Shizune. This isn’t like him. Was he going to… Unravel? Cry or something? Just because he now realizes I was watching?

I’ve been thinking about it for a while, trying to figure it out. This banter dialogue we’ve had going… He seems like he fixates on me. He’s…

Shit. I really hope this isn’t what I think it is.

All of this churns through my head as my face betrays nothing. I think that the power to pull an impeccable stone cold poker face in light of any situation runs in my family. Or maybe it’s learned. Whatever the case, it’s a valuable gift.

Meanwhile, people start murmuring and chatting about Naruto’s rushed exit.

“Shut up,” I say to everyone, firmly and just a little more loudly than I would in normal conversation.

In a heartbeat, the room goes so quiet you could hear a piece of paper hit the ground.


The meeting continues with my go ahead. I begrudgingly sit there and pretend to be interested. I pretend like I don’t want to leave that meeting right now and find Naruto. If I found him, what would I do? I don’t know. So why bother?

I see the meeting through to its dazzling completion and have accomplished my mission as Caring Manager for the day, though I admit that telling everyone to shut up was counterproductive. I should have known better, but it was worth it.

Stage III
Acknowledging Employee Achievements

I didn’t see Naruto again that day until the late hours of the evening. It’s ten, at which time the office is generally a ghost town. I could hear someone typing from the opposite side of the floor. We both had our respective deadlines to meet for the next morning, though me pulling all-nighters was nothing out of the norm.

I’m trying to eat my turkey sandwich and mark up my prototypes at the same time. I hear footsteps outside of my office and look to see Naruto trying to sneak past my door. He’s all too conspicuous in his attempts to avoid eye contact with me.

“Good job,” I say loudly enough for him to hear.

I thought he deserved it.

“Very funny, jackass.”

He knows what I’m referring to, naturally. He’s stopped outside of my office now.

“I’m not joking,” I answer.

He looks up at me, and there’s indecision in his eyes. He’s trying to read me, which he’s always been horrible at.

“Is that…an actual compliment?”

Naruto grins. It looks like gloating.

“It was pity.”


I have no idea why I just said that; it was a knee jerk reaction. I feel like I kicked a puppy in the face.

“No… It wasn’t pity.”

I’m frustrated with myself, because I can’t seem to pull this off without ruining it somehow.

“Look… If you haven’t noticed, sincerely complimenting people is not my strong suit. I thought I’d take your example and try something I suck at today.”

That was downright painful.

“You’ve got guts, Uzumaki.”

Naruto lights up like the sun and smiles at me, and if I’m going to follow that analogy, I feel like the rays have warmed me.

“Well…” Naruto pauses and then looks into my eyes again. “Good job, Bossman.”

He continues to smile at me, and the atmosphere grows stale. There’s an adage: always leave them wanting more.

“Have a good one. See you tomorrow.”

I give him a nod, and he issues that dramatic, almost frantic wave that he’s known for with a beaming grin. As he leaves my office and approaches the exit, I hear him hum under his breath. Why am I sad to hear him go?

I sigh and resist the temptation to insult him. CMI will be difficult; there’s no denying that. And of all of CMI’s challenges, Naruto will likely be the greatest. At the very least, today Naruto gave me a crash course on how to fail. As sick as it makes me to admit this, I should be learning from him.


How fantastic to see the questions rolling in, and great ones at that.

I will be heading off to meditation now, but before I go, I would like to answer two of the frequently pointed out comments.

“Dark, you have ads turned on on your blog.”

Indeed I do. Tumblr is promising a share in revenue to those who have the ads showing on their blog. Although it is not currently happening as the process is still underway, it is stated that the earlier the ads are turned on, the sooner you will begin receiving revenue. Strike me down for being greedy, but I am one who would much appreciate a few dollar bills for my answers and work. I hope the ads are not too horribly distracting, as they will be remaining. I’m sure lovelies of mine can manage.

“Dark, your question box is disabled.”

If this ever occurs when you are attempting to send in a question, I am also very aware of its occurrence. I am the one who must turn it off in the first place. When this happens, it is due to a high saturation of questions that I would like to answer at my own leisure. If you cannot send in questions through the normal ask box, that means I will not be accepting questions in any fashion. Submitting a question to me will be deleted. Messaging me a question through the private messaging will be ignored. I may sound harsh, but there must be boundaries set to ensure that I am not bombarded with a fiasco of questions every time I check in.

With that, I bid you all a farewell until I return.

Sleep with Nightmares of me.


Our bold vision for the future of Creativerse

Yesterday we announced that Creativerse will launch on May 8, 2017. Today our game director shares our vision for what comes next…

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In Creativerse, we have a blueprint system for building. When you place a block, hints for the adjacent blocks are revealed.

At first it doesn’t look like much, but the more progress you make, the more it takes shape until eventually you end up with something amazing. With our bigger blueprints, you might be surprised by hidden depths and unexpected twists.

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In some ways, it’s an apt metaphor for developing Creativerse. We set out more than 4 years ago to build the ultimate sandbox game. It didn’t look like much at first. Seriously, the early version of our mobs were spooky, and not in a good way. But each day we made progress, and as we did, more steps along that path revealed themselves.

One of the best decisions we made was to open up our development process by participating in Early Access on Steam.

Again, there are parallels to blueprints, especially ones you build with friends. People start working near each other and branch out. Eventually you look up and see someone in a completely unexpected location, but then it clicks and a whole new perspective for what you’re building takes shape.

Without your feedback, the game would be a shadow of what it is today

While we had a basic plan for what we wanted Creativerse to become, I can’t state enough how important our players have been in helping us expand on that plan, in revealing to us the nuances of the game’s destiny, in teaching us just what it means to be the ultimate sandbox game. By far, the biggest twists in our journey have come from players helping us continually see the game in new, fresh ways — players veering off in unexpected directions that helped us define and refine the “blueprint” of Creativerse. It’s safe to say that without your feedback, the game would be merely a shadow of what it is today.

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Not an end, but a new beginning

Next week, Creativerse will officially launch on Steam.

The game has come so far since it first launched, with forty-one updates, more than 2.6 million players, and a great many features and content added, including player-published adventures, blueprints, machines and wireless circuitry, public worlds, land claims, the arc glider, a world map, block rotation, world simulation systems, new biomes and mobs, farming, taming, block phasers and mob spawners, a steady stream of blocks and items. The list goes on and on.

But for every feature we shipped, there are at least 10 we still want to add. We’ve barely scratched the surface of realizing our vision for the game. So why launch now?

A lot of reasons went into picking this specific time (and here’s a fun fact — we initially planned to launch a year ago!), but they all boil down to one overarching theme: vision. In recent months,

We’ve barely scratched the surface of realizing our vision for the game

we’ve taken a good look at the blueprint of the game, including all the essential nooks and crannies our players helped us see more clearly, and we feel like we’re finally starting to see its “shape”. We think we know what Creativerse wants to be when it grows up.

And yet, at the same time, the game feels polished enough, fun enough, and, in many ways, complete enough that we are ready to shine a bigger light on it. We’re ready to invite the world to join our journey and become Creatifriends with the rest of us.

What Creativerse wants to be when it grows up

Creativerse was not the original title of the game. In fact, for a long time leading up to our Early Access debut, the game was called “Thereafter.” We had a logo and everything. The change to Creativerse happened at the last minute and was somewhat controversial among the team.

More on that in a minute. But first, let me tease some of the ideas we’ve been talking about recently…

Creativerse is not our story. It’s your story.

Imagine joining a multiplayer adventure where the goal could be anything from being the last person alive to scoring the winning goal in a round of Pigsy Soccer. Imagine finally getting your hands on creative tools that allow you to build something almost as fast as you can think of it. Imagine one day joining someone’s customized world and having no idea what kind of creatures you’ll meet, what recipes you’ll find, how long the days will last or even what color the sky will be. Imagine not just being able to share your creations with the world, but having the option to publish them to a marketplace where your hard work and creativity could be rewarded with real money.

While it’s too early for us to elaborate further on the specifics of these ideas, they all point to one universal theme: Creativerse is not our story. It’s your story.

Because if there’s one thing we’ve had reinforced again and again, it’s that the imaginations and creativity of our players are as vast as the universe. The best thing our small, scrappy team at Playful can do is continue giving you more and more tools to unleash and empower your creativity.

And this is why I’m so glad we ended up choosing the name Creativerse. Whether or not we were fully aware of it at the time, the choice was prescient. It contained the seedling of the idea that the collective creativity of our community would always far exceed our own, and that no creation or lore or adventure we came up with would ever be more compelling than what our players can dream up.

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Final thoughts

At a high level, here are the major milestones on our long term roadmap…

  • Improved (and multiplayer) published adventures.
  • Tools to help you build faster and better.
  • Entirely new ways to customize your world and even the gameplay.
  • More ways to share your creations with the world, including some kind of revenue-sharing marketplace.

Thank you for teaming up with us on this thrilling journey!

There will be lots of additional stuff mixed in along the way. For example, we’ll continue regularly adding new blocks and cool content. We also plan to keep polishing the overall game and furiously squash bugs along the way. And we’ll always leave room to refine our plans based on your feedback.

This is the next frontier for Creativerse. It’s our chance to welcome a new wave of enthusiastic Creativerse players into our wonderful community with open arms. It’s our plan to build and grow Creativerse into a household name. And it’s your opportunity to continue to shape the “blueprint” of Creativerse for years to come. Thank you for teaming up with us on this thrilling journey!

Daniel Havens (aka Thor)

P.S. We might just have a little something up our sleeves for you guys on launch day…
Amazon Releases Its Own Game Engine For Free
By András Neltz

“Amazon’s releasing their very own game engine. Lumberyard, as they call it, is based on Crytek’s famous CryEngine, and can be used to develop games for both PC and consoles. It’s also free to download, and comes with ‘no seat fees, subscription fees, or requirements to share revenue.’

Fees come in only, as Lumberyard’s official page notes, if the game takes advantage of the engine’s integration with Amazon Web Services for multiplayer. Besides AWS, the engine has specific features which target Twitch.

While the engine is based on Crytek’s CryEngine, which Amazon licensed last year, Lumberyard will, as general manager Eric Schenk put it (via Gamasutra), 'go in [its] own direction.’ He added that at launch, the engine already has components that are not based on CryEngine, including low-latency networking code and 'an entirely new asset pipeline and processor.’”

zahnkritzelei  asked:

Being an independent artist of all, which websites or social media gives you the most feedback? Tumblr, deviantart, facebook or twitter? And which site is the best for artists to get noticed the most?

This is my personal experience, but I’ve heard different things from different people.

Deviantart: My home base. I get the most feedback here, but it’s also casual. Mainly for building a solid fanbase. (Took me a decade though.) 
•diverse crowd
•all ages

Tumblr: Impossible to communicate with people outside of asks and ‘fanmail’, both being less than ideal. pros: clean online presence, if you pick a decent customised profile. Image sizing is terrible. 
•crowd: mainly women
•teens to mid twenties

: Vast majority of german fanbase resides here. Not ideal for art though. Image sizing is terrible.
•mid teens and up
•casual viewer

Twitter: Majority of my Japanese fanbase. I enjoy this as a silly casual thing, not great for art either, but good for mobile/tablet users. 
•huge asian userbase (artists)
•casual viewer
•mainly mobile

Instagram: good if you use your phone a lot to photograph your traditional art. con: you cannot upload from your PC. you must use your phone. I use it mostly for personal snapshots mixed with art because posting my digital work is too much of a hassle.
•artsy, somewhat hipster crowd

Artstation: great if you want to get into game art, and be professional. More geared towards western game art than anything though. (mostly blizzard and LoL style, occasional Disney.)
•job oriented
•game- and film industry crowd

Drawcrowd: Asian-centric site similar to artstation. High quality game art in anime style for the most part.
•mainly asian styles

Paigeeworld: Casual, young. not professional.
•manga style 

Pixiv: Japanese site. hard to navigate, amazing for great art and resources.
•anime/asian styles
•mainly japanese crowd 

Tapastic: Great for webcomics. They have a support program for creators and also share ad revenue. 
•US and western oriented
•clean design and presentation

Patreon: Great once you have a fanbase and want to fund a project or bridge the gap between freelance work. Not good for unknown artists or beginners.
•great safety net for freelancers IF it works
•hard work to maintain
•clunky website
•lots of unfinished features

My most active platforms currently are: Deviantart (base), Patreon (income), Twitter (casual).
Professionally I would recomment Artstation, but only if you plan on going into movies, games and concept art.

It really depends who you want to be noticed by. 

Hope this helps! 

Why Won’t Artists Accept Revenue-Share/Royalties?!

The straight-forward answer is: they will, under the right circumstances.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Let’s talk about you, the developer, first.
Imagine you’re walking down the street, you’ve just received your paycheck of the week, and you’re going down to the bank to pay a couple of bills.
Just as you’re rounding the corner, someone you’ve never seen before stops you and says:
“Hey, so, I’m planning to start this detox juice store- this place just became available for renting and it’s a steal. I love juice and fruits, and me and my friends subscribe to Diet Now magazine so we know a lot about nutrition. Also, when we had a lemonade stand back in elementary school, we sold like 300 lemonades in a week. So, here’s the plan: you give me your paycheck and your next four paychecks, and then when our store becomes super famous, you’ll be rich.”
Now, I’m going to take a wild guess here and imagine your answer would be ‘no’.
First of all, who the hell is this kid?
Second, what do you care about Detox Juice?
Third, if you were going to spend your precious paycheck on anything other than your bills, it’d be to help your wife start that lovely coffee shop she’s wanted to open for years.
And fourth, why don’t they get a loan at the bank???
You see where I’m going with this?
But you don’t understand! My game is really good and-
You know what extremely successful games and extremely unsuccessful games all have in common? The person creating them thought it would be the next League of Legends. Or, you know, that it’d at least pay for itself.
Sad truth is: most games will never even see the light of day, let alone become a success even when they are good!
So you’re saying I shouldn’t approach an artist with a rev-share idea?
What I’m saying is, if you are going to approach an artist with a rev share idea, you need to be aware of what you’re actually asking them.
While you think you’re asking “Hey, want to work on a really awesome game and then get a lot of money???”
What you’re really asking is “Hi, can I borrow $5000 dollars?”
Let’s go back to our Detox Juice scenario, but now we’re going to look at it from an artist’s perspective.
1) Who the hell is this kid this developer?
Why would a professional artist ever work on an extremely risky project with a person they have never met?
Why would an artist give their time to someone who just proved, by approaching them with such an offer in the first place, that they are actually quite naïve and are just starting out in the industry?
Seasoned developers know what they’re doing: they know how much art cost, they know how contracts work, and they know there is no such thing as a guaranteed hit.
2) What do you care about Detox Juice someone else’s personal project? If you were going to spend your precious paycheck time on anything other than your regular paid work, it’d be to help your wife start that lovely coffee shop she’s work on that graphic novel you’ve wanted to create for years.
I’ll take a shot in the dark here: 99,99% of artists are creative people. Creative people create stuff.
Most artists have their own comic, novel, game, art book, film, even music that they would kill to have time to work on.
No matter how strange it sounds: a lot of artists cannot afford to buy their own time.
So why, why in the name of all things holy would they take that precious, almost non-existent free time to work on someone else’s idea? (spoiler: they would not)
3) Why don’t they get a loan at the bank???
Now, if you’ve made it this far into the article, good for you! Because here’s where the tough love stops, and the helpful advice begins. (ok, there’s still a bit of tough love coming, but bear with me).
This is the single most important point in this whole text: Why should an artist, who has never met you, who does not have any personal investment in your project, be the one to get a loan to make your game happen?
If anyone should be taking any financial risk here, that person is you.
If you’re so sure your game is going to make the cut, that your film will be the next Avatar, that your comic will make Marvel and DC want to cry, then put your money where your mouth is.
And here’s how to make that happen even if you’re a teenager living in your mother’s basement:
-Get crowdfunded:
These days, you don’t even need to reach into your actual pocket! You can pitch your project to your audience, show them how awesome your IP is and get them to fund the entire production process.
This is also an awesome tool to simulate the success your future project will have: are people actually interested in it? Are people willing to pay for it? Is this product unique enough to stand out? Are you actually organized enough to do this? Do you have a realistic plan? Do you know the logistics behind what you’re attempting to do?
-Get a personal loan:
You know the different between an artist and a Bank? Banks are there to lend you money.
-Get a really, really personal loan:
Can’t get a bank to help you? Aren’t old enough for that? Pitch your idea to your family, to your friends, to people who love you and care about you and your projects. They’re a thousand times more likely to reach into their pockets than a stranger on the internet is.
-Work and save up:
Is this really important to you? Then make a realistic plan out of it and commit to creating a fund for your project.
But I just wanted a team/I’m a student/I’m just starting out/I’m doing this on my free time:
Here’s the good news: so are a lot of other people.
There are 4398753452948796709347 forums on this internet dedicated exclusively to indie development. Go out there and find your indie team, be awesome, take over the world, etc etc.

-Find other hobbyists/students who want to be in a team for free
-Be honest and upfront about your rev-share intentions
-Tag your post according to whatever forum/board rules you’re posting on
-Join indie forums and appropriate communities
-If you still decide to approach a strange artist on the net: do it with the same attitude and grace you would use when asking a stranger to lend you money. Because that is what you are doing.

Do not:
-Offer “exposure”. This means the same thing as “monopoly money”
-Ignore forum rules and post in the wrong places. By most job forums rules, rev-share/royalty posts are not considered job offers. Respect that.
-Approach artists that have clearly stated they do not work with rev-share/royalties
-Withhold information and/or try to pass off your rev-share/royalty project as anything other than what it is.
-Prey on the naïve. That’s just sad, bro.

That said, good luck and don’t give up ;)

At the time of the release of Chicken Little, the co-production deal between Disney and Pixar Animation Studios was set to expire with the release of Cars in 2006. The end result of the contentious negotiations between Disney and Pixar was viewed to depend heavily on how Chicken Little performed at the box office. If successful, the film would have given Disney leverage in its negotiations for a new contract to distribute Pixar’s films. A failure would have allowed Pixar to argue that Disney could not produce CGI films without aid from Pixar. Discussions to renew the deal in 2005 were held off until both sides could assess Chicken Little’s performance at the box office.

It is not known how the two sides regarded Chicken Little’s modest success. While it underperformed compared to Pixar’s product, it was more successful than Disney’s recent output and was much more profitable for the company, since they did not need to share the revenue. Regardless, both sides decided that they were better off with each other than separate. However, instead of negotiating a new contract, on January 24, 2006, Disney announced their intent to purchase Pixar in an all-stock transaction worth $7.4 billion. The purchase was completed on May 5, 2006.

anonymous asked:

I used to be a big fan, but now it seems like everything you do is a vehicle to sell more shit to teenagers and young people. Just like every other capitalistic pursuit that started with good intentions. Enjoy your greater share of the wealth and you're increasingly conservative politics.

This is something I think about a lot…having an audience means having an opportunity (and also maybe a responsibility) to do interesting things with and for that audience. However, there are lots of things that are difficult or impossible to do without money. 

When I think about what to do with the audience we have, part of that equation always has to be money, because I have no more free moments in the day (though I suppose you could say this is a free moment, since I’m spending it answering an ask on Tumblr, but I consider that to be an important part of my job.)

So I have to hire people if I want to do something new, whether that’s Crash Course, VidCon, or Dear Hank and John. Those things have very different budgets, but all of them need to pay for themselves or else I would need to do all of the work myself. 

When I’m having an idea, I definitely think about whether it will be able to make money both because money is nice to have and because I would literally not be able to do it otherwise. Now I’m not going to say that I haven’t gotten richer in the last ten years, but I will say two things.

1. All ad revenue from Vlogbrothers is shared between the Foundation to Decrease Worldsuck and a grant program that we use to distribute money to give a leg-up to smaller content creators.

2. The merch we sell through the Project for Awesome raises more money than we make in merch sales for the entire rest of the year. 

3. I have said “no” to more money in the last year than I have made in my entire life. 

4. John doesn’t make any money from video stuff at all. He doesn’t even take a salary. I do, but our financial situations are…a little different :-). 

Here are some reasons why we do it this way:

1. Because we don’t really need money at the moment.

2. Because it’s more rewarding to do interesting things with money than to have money.

3. Because the most valuable thing in our lives is our relationship with this community. Diminishing that in exchange for money would probably cost us a lot more value than we’d be receiving in dollars.

And, yes, I am more moderate than I used to be. You’re absolutely right that I benefit from the status quo and thus am biased to be in favor of relative stability. But that there are some people with the perception that the work we do exists purely as a way to make money off of teenagers (though to be clear, most of our audience is over 20) does indeed frustrate me. Hence the spending of time on this lovely morning writing about the financial philosophy of my bizarre media empire.


Hello to all members of Tumblraccountants!

Like what other admins Kharla and Cedric did in the October 2013 and July 2014 board exams, I who took the CPA board exam last October 2014 will share to you my insights and previews about the exam. Para ito sa mga susunod na mga mageexam na gusting malaman kung ano ang mga nagaganap sa actual board examinations. Mahaba haba ito, so sana di kayo tamarin magbasa. :)

(Disclaimer: It might be different from what will be given in the next board exams tentatively to be held on May 2015. And it is my own observation, it might have different interpretations from others who took it. Also, I cannot post the complete actual questions, as I signed a non-disclosure agreement to the PRC not divulging the content of the exams, still it is an overview. I did this post hours after each day of the CPA board examinations.)


THEORY OF ACCOUNTS: Sabi ng ibang ka-dorm ko, galing sa ReSA preweek saka handouts yun karamihan mga tanong, consistent sa trend noong last July 2014 exams. (Taga CPAR ako kaya di ko masyadong nabasa yun sa ReSA, huhu.) Pero, I felt na sa TOA, labanan lang tlaga ng concepts. So I suggest na sapat na yun materials sa review center niyo. Mas marami pa rin kayo matatandaan kung makikinig kayo sa reviewer niyo. Maraming lumabas about the framework, financial instruments, shareholders equity, mga ilang tanong rin yun about sa EPS, preference shares saka retained earnings. May lumabas rin about service concessions (IFRIC 13) na noong preweek at actual board exam ko lang nalaman, so aside from review materials, try to read the standards and interpretations themselves kahit yun summarized lang. May konting government accounting pero ang simple lang. At walang employee benefits sa board exam ngayon.

AUDITING THEORY: Also known as “Auditing Theory and ENGLISH 1”. Paano ba naman, the Auditing Theory grammar questions introduced last July are again in this board exam. Limang tanong na proper use ng capitalization, pronouns, apostrophe saka paggamit ng active and passive voice ang lumabas. May tanong pa nga na yun other three choices are JEJEMON TEXTS. (That “K b der, 9am @ ofc, thx” choice for example.), na kung tutuusin ay bonus questions. Back to the main subject, maraming IT audit at audit sampling questions na lumabas. The rest are usual questions about audit reports and substantive procedures. For the reference, most of the questions reportedly came from Wiley. But, I think yung Salosagcol + CRC-ACE handouts sapat na rin sakin. So again, it’s all about concepts. Another tip: choose both the BEST and CORRECT answer. May tanong kasi doon na anong opinion ang ibibigay kapag may material misstatement ang FS. Di ba qualified or adverse opinion ang sagot depending on pervasiveness? Pero napilitan akong isagot ang qualified only kasi yun isa sa choices, “qualified and ADVISE opinion”. Kasi it may be the best answer, but NOT the correct one, kasi may error sa choice. Pwede kang magassume na typo error siya pero sabi nga “never assume unless otherwise stated”. Always think that your exam is correct, so if there are errors in the exams, choose the next best alternative, or if a worse error, call the attention of the watcher.


MANAGEMENT SERVICES: For me, it is one of the easiest examination in this board examination, pero DON’T be complacent because marami ring tricky questions doon. Maraming lumabas about financial statement analysis especially related to equity (EPS, dividend payout and yield, P/E ratio). May capital budgeting rin, pero ingat sa net annual cash inflows. Net income ang given, iba yun sa cash flow ah, dahil pag di mo naadd yun depreciation, damay damay yun NPV, payback period at simple rate of return mo. May budgeting rin: may computation ng budgeted production, at may collections from quarterly sales. May isang contested situational problem rin doon, about sa feasibility study budget proposal. Bumalik rin yun cost concepts, which some are theories. There were more problems this time compared to last July, albeit theories still dominated the exams. Lastly, there is one only question about economic concepts, about demand and supply. As for the reference, MAS Theories are reportedly lifted from Cabrera while the problems, CPAR handouts would be enough. May grammar question rin pala ang MAS, proper capitalization, kaya dapat talagang title nun “Management Services and ENGLISH 2”

PRACTICAL ACCOUNTING 1: Also known as “AUDITING PROBLEMS PART 1”. Bakit? Around 5 situational problems with five questions each ba naman ang binigay sa board exams. Di ba madalas pag P1, one-situation, one-problem lang, or at most dalawa? In short, mala AP talaga ang level ng questions sa P1. Actually pinaclarify ni Sir Valix of CPAR yun mga questions na iyon. Anyway, most of them are about cash flow statement, financial statement presentation, accrual to cash basis (not cash to accrual, kasi cash basis net income ang tinanong), inventory at accounts receivable. Wala dun yun “favorite topics” dun like employee benefits, at simple ang leases doon (as in operating lease lang). Another tip, tignan muna ang required bago yun situational problem. Bakit? May isang tanong dun na sobrang haba, almost one page yun may investment in equity securities + investment in associate + trademark + patent… tapos pagbuklat ko ng next page ang tanong lang pala simpleng dividend revenue. Badtrip di ba? Nasayang tuloy oras ko noon kakabasa. Lastly, don’t be careless in reading, may time kasi na computable lahat ng choice pero dahil sa isang additional information lang, nababago ang mga sagot. Ayun, kung next board exam ganun ang trend, after reviewing P1 handouts in your review center, isunod agad ang AP kasi magkarelate talaga sila. I would still recommend Valix books, dahil masasabi mo sa libro na yun na: “nasayo na ang lahat~” pero if gusto niyo ng AP level P1 questions, try Empleo’s FA books.


AUDITING PROBLEMS: “…PART 2”. One of the problems (about cash recieipts, disbursements and shortages) are very familiar with me dahil inexam ko siya dati noog undergrad ako, with the same amounts. That was lifted from the reviewer of Ocampo. (So may sure 5 points na ako. Hihi.) Pero beware, pwedeng baguhin yun tanong, so wag magkabisado ng sagot. For example, sa problem na yun, may lalabas na sagot if gross profit on cost ginamit mo at may lalabas rin pag gross profit on sales ginamit mo. So, INGAT, kasi pag nagkamali ka ng gamit, domino effect yun sa ibang related questions. Sabi naman ng isa kong classmate, may kinuha raw kay Roque. So, I would really suggest, like what I did in the review, that reading both of them are effective.  May lumabas na problems about shareholders’ equity (mainly issuance of shares), revenue cut off tests, and collections and payments. May isa lang na problem na medyo nanibago ako, about investment in joint venture and operations, kung paano mo hahatiin yun assets, liabilities and equity between sa mga venturers. Lastly, may THEORIES ulit ang auditing problems, like last October 2013 board exams. Mga walo or siyam yata. Related naman ito sa substantive procedures to be taken sa different transactions like in payables and receivables, at saka sa subsequent events. WALANG PROOF OF CASH. Kaya compared raw sa July 2014, mas madali ang AP ngayon.

PRACTICAL ACCOUNTING 2: Also known as “AUDITING PROBLEMS PART 3” dahil may 4 situational problems ulit with 5 questions each. It is this board examination’s KILLER SUBJECT. It was the subject that made me cry after finishing it dahil sobrang hirap niya, at paguwi ko sa dorm binalibag ko sa sahig yun mga materials ko sa P2 sa inis. :( May isang tanong doon about business combination na aakalain mo na 3-step acquisition siya dahil akala mo magkakapangalan sila. (I am talking about Kitty Kat, Kit Kat and Kitty Kit, I know makakarelate yun iba dito). Yun pala, tatlong companies pala ang nagacquire sa iisang company. (Yun dalawa ay investment in associate, at yun isa doon subsidiary) May lumabas ulit na about joint operations or assets yata about sa yachts na akala ko hindi pagtutuunan ng pansin: this time, pinacompute sa amin yun revenue, net income at share sa kada venturer. Naiinis talaga ako kasi sobrang gulo kung ilang araw talaga yun sail-days nila, pati yun costing nila. May isang problem naman doon about partnership operations na feeling alam ng marami ang gagawin pero nakakainis kasi sobrang haba ng kailangang solution dahil dalawang taon + ang hatian pa nila average capital balances + nag-admit pa ng bagong partner.  Naghahanap ako ng medyo madadaling topics sa P2 like Franchising, LTCC, Home Office & Branch, Corporate Liquidation, NPOs, Government Accounting, etc., pero WALA. Habang maraming Forex Transactions saka Forward Contract questions, Process Costing na nasa isang situational problem at dalawang Joint Costs problems. May theories na naman sa Practical Accounting 2. Doon ako nagulat, may about sa Activity Based Costing na ang alam ko part na siya ng MAS. Overall, even yung topnotchers nahirapan sa exam na yun dahil mahahaba na, nakakalito pa at habang nag eexam ako, malapit ng magtime pero walang labasan. Di tulad noong MAS, AT at TOA may nagpapasa na ng 1 1/2 hours pa lamang. Kung saan galing yun tanong, sorry, I do not know, dahil mas mahirap siya compared sa problems nina Dayag at Guerrero, na kung Level 1 yun sa libro, level 100 yun nasa exam na yun. Feeling ko self-constructed ang mga tanong kasi until now walang makapagturo ng source. Consolation na lang siguro dun yung mapaggamit nilang mga company names tulad ng Raikage at Temari ng Naruto, cast ng series na Suits, at sina June Mar (Fajardo), Andray (Blatche) at Jimmy (Alapag) + Paul (Lee) na players ng Gilas. Sabi nga ng isa kong classmate sa problem ni June Mar, sana raw sinama na nila si James Yap, PJ Simon at Marc Pingris.


BUSINESS LAW & TAXATION: The former killer subject last July 2014 doesn’t have its sting anymore, pero hindi pa rin siya gaanong kadali. Actually, may contested situational problem doon about community tax certificates or cedula dahil wala raw siya sa syllabus ng CPA board examinations. On the Tax part, may situational problem about income tax payable per quarter, dividend income, donors’ tax, pati na VAT. Theoretical lang ang Estate Taxation doon, at more focused rin ang exam sa assessments. Sa BL naman, may hustisya dahil well distributed ang mga tanong sa mga topics: may obligation, contracts, pledge, partnership, corporation at negotiable instruments. Although may mga tanong doon na medyo nakakalito. Example is kung ano ang promissory note na order to the bearer. May ilang Latin law terms na never heard sakin, tulad ng “pactum reservati dominii” or contractual reservation of title. Napa-“ano iyon” ako doon, so I suggest na dapat may legal dictionary kayo pag nagrereview. May isa pang situational problem sa BL, about sa appraisal right ng isang corporation, na kung nakinig ka noon sa lectures ng reviewer niyo, masasagot mo talaga siya. Naging sapat na sakin yun CPAR handouts at preweek on BL at Quick Notes ni Jack De Vera para makasurvive sa subject na ito. Pero dahil alam naming killer subject ang BLT last time, marami rin kaming binasa na libro doon, like ReSA handouts ni Tamayo, Soriano, etc.                       

—- ooo —-

Nakakawalandyo *with matching voice of Atty. D of CPAR* yun exam di ba? Dahil inexpect na namin na mahirap ang CPA board examinations tulad noong July dahil sa change ng composition of BOA, pinaghandaan talaga ng karamihan ito. Pero ang nangyari, parang standard costing: ang standard ay mahirap, pero ang actual MAS MAHIRAP pa, kaya naging UNFAVORABLE sa amin. Masasabi mo talaga na ACCOUNTING ang tunay na MAHIRAP. ACCOUNTING ang tunay na PURO PASAKIT. </3 Sabi nga ng ilan, pati ng iCPA, it was one of the toughest CPA board exams ever. (Di kasama yun time na hindi pa multiple choice ang board exam ah, mas mahirap naman yun.)

Sa lahat ng nagdasal at sumuporta, maraming maraming salamat! Sa lahat ng CPAs na, congratulations and see you sa oathtaking, testimonial dinner or baka sa work na rin. Sa mga hindi naman pinalad, di pa tapos ang laban! Balang araw, susunod na rin kayo na matutupad ang mga pangarap bilang CPA. At sa lahat ng magtatake this coming May 2015, I am wishing you all the best. Tiwala lang kay Lord plus efforts, magiging CPA ka rin.


To God be all the glory!     

- P.M.G. Clamor, CPA

What’s fair is fair!

Tumblr has been a great source for amateur and aspiring artists to share their work with a robust community that admires and shares original content. This however comes with its own set of problems.  Tumblr makes its money through ad revenues enabled by all the great content original photographers post.  These original photographers do not get a dime from Tumblr. Instead, Tumblr has done very little to protect the original content by allowing unscrupulous bloggers to  remove captions without any regard for the content creator.  At the least, Tumblr should provide better protection in this regard but in all fairness, look to Google and Youtube and implement a revenue sharing formula. That will encourage even better content on Tumblr and establish trust with Tumblr community.  What’s fair is fair!!

Please reblog if you agree. Spread the word!

qinez  asked:

What is bill C-51 exactly?

Here are some concerning aspects of the bill quoted from this article (BC Civil Liberties Association):


When you think of being secure, you likely think of being safe from physical danger. But Bill C-51 defines security as not only safeguarding public safety, but also preventing interference with various aspects of public life or ‘the economic or financial stability of Canada’. With this definition, a demonstration in favour of Quebec separatism that fails to procure the proper permit, environmentalists obstructing a pipeline route or a peaceful blockade of a logging road by an Indigenous community could all be seen as threats to national security.


Bill C-51 gives the government the ability to designate an extraordinarily broad range of activities as potential security threats. They claim that they will use good judgment when deciding which individuals and groups constitute ‘true’ threats. But this discretionary power just means that whether or not a particular group is seen as a threat may turn on whether their cause is politically popular and in line with the views of the government of the day.


The Criminal Code already makes it illegal to counsel anyone to commit a terrorism offence and to instruct or facilitate terrorist acts. But Bill C-51 wants to create an additional offence called ‘advocating or promoting terrorism.’ It would criminalize speech in support of ‘terrorism offences in general,’ and includes no requirement that the speaker actually intends for a terrorism offence to be committed. Indeed, there’s no requirement that a terrorism offence even take place.


It’s unclear even to experts exactly what kinds of speech and protest activity may be considered threats to national security if the bill passes; the average Canadian has little hope of feeling confident that their legitimate political activity hasn’t inadvertently crossed the line. Bill C-51’s expansive language means that Canadians will likely choose not to express themselves even in completely legal ways rather than risk prosecution. Legitimate speech will be chilled, and our democracy will be worse off for it.


Canada’s Passenger Protect Program – better known as the no-fly list – is already riddled with problems; Bill C-51 would make it even worse. It would make it illegal for the government or an airline to confirm or deny that an individual is on the list, even to the affected individual. Someone who believes that they may have been listed would not be entitled to access any of the evidence on which their suspected listing was based. If they were successful in initiating a judicial review of the listing decision, the hearings may happen in secret.


The proposed Security of Canada Information Sharing Act (part of Bill C-51) would allow government institutions – including non-security-related institutions like Health Canada and the CRA – to share information amongst themselves without a warrant if they believe that the information may be relevant to national security. Given that no one wants to be seen as responsible in case of a security breach, the default will be to share as much information as possible. Massive information sharing does not mean better security. Not only does this jeopardize the privacy of the individuals whose information is being shared, but it may actually make it harder for investigators to detect real security threats: when looking for a needle in a haystack, it hardly helps to add more hay.


Currently the Criminal Code permits the police to arrest, detain and impose restrictions (such as a curfew or travel ban) on someone who has never been (and may never be) charged with a crime if they have good reasons to believe that a terrorist activity will be carried out if these actions aren’t taken. Bill C-51 would lower the threshold for these actions to situations where the police believe that a terrorist activity might be carried out. It also doubles the amount of time an individual can be detained without charge. Innocent people could be arrested and detained on mere suspicion of futuredangerousness.


Bill C-51 would radically redefine the role of CSIS to include the ability to act on – rather than merely to collect – security intelligence. This ignores the lessons of history. The 1960s and 1970s saw serious rights abuses undertaken by the RCMP under its ‘security intelligence’ mandate. CSIS was created in the 1980s for the express purpose of separating Canada’s intelligence agency from its police force. As an intelligence agency, CSIS is permitted to conduct much of its work in secret, and the details of most of its activities are never revealed publically. But that’s precisely why CSIS should not be permitted to also operate as a police force: this secrecy means that rights violations by CSIS are more difficult to detect – and once detected, more difficult to remedy – than if they were the result of actions undertaken by law enforcement agencies.


Not all yellow traffic lights are not created equal, it seems. Especially in Chicago.

Earlier this year, the city began issuing tickets to motorists who drove through yellow lights that turned red fractions of a second shorter than the three-second city minimum. The change was slight, but the effect for the cash-starved city was real: nearly $8 million from an additional 77,000 tickets, according to the city’s inspector general.

All of those $100 tickets were issued after cameras installed at intersections caught the drivers as they passed through. These systems, known as red light cameras, are an increasingly controversial tactic for policing roadways. Established in the name of public safety, critics contend the cameras have become little more than a way for municipalities to funnel money into their coffers.

“If the machine is set to catch more people and generate more revenue, then it does not really seem to be about safety but about revenue,” says Joseph Schofer, a professor of transportation at Northwestern University.

Chicago isn’t the first municipality to benefit from shorter yellow traffic lights. In 2011, the Florida Department of Transportation secretly reduced its policy on the length of yellow lights, likely bringing millions of dollars in additional revenue to the state.

There is no federal rule for how long a yellow light should be illuminated, but the U.S. Department of Transportation recommends three to six seconds. Nationwide, a minimum of three seconds is generally considered standard. John Bowman, a spokesperson for the National Motorists Association, which opposes the cameras, says the organization routinely gets calls from people saying they received a red light camera ticket, believing the yellow light was too short.

“I don’t think you’re ever going to get a public official on the record saying, ‘We shortened them to make more money,’” Bowman says. “But I think that clearly goes on.”

Red light cameras gained popularity in the 1990s after New York became the first U.S. city to install a network. The initial motivation was safety, says Hani Mahmassani, the director of the Northwestern University Transportation Center. The hope was that cameras would deter drivers from running red lights if they knew it would lead to a ticket. But in the 2000s, as the popularity of the cameras grew, cities and the companies that manufactured, installed and helped operate the cameras adopted a revenue-sharing model. The more violations caught by the cameras, the more money the city and the businesses stood to make.

“That’s when it became a greed thing,” Mahmassani says.

By the end of the decade, red light camera networks were in hundreds of municipalities. Today, 499 towns and cities have adopted them, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

While the potential for profit is clear, the public safety value of red light cameras is fuzzy.