Pokemon Go is the game of the summer: the first really successful alternate reality game that mashes up crowdsourced maps, in-phone cameras, seriously addictive game mechanics, and (of course) a free-to-play/cash-to-accelerate slot machine mechanic that children wouldn't be allowed to stand near if it were in a casino -- in less than a week, it's lifted Nintendo's stock price by 10% and been implicated in any number of bizarre news stories:
* One player stumbled on a dead body while looking for a Pokestop (a refuelling station) in Wyoming (this is in addition to the plague of anecdotes about fist-fights, fender-benders, and slip-and-falls from distracted and/or obnoxious players).
* A group of armed robbers used the crowdsourcing tool for pointing players to Pokestops to drop pins in secluded corners of Missouri shopping center parking-lots, where they stuck up their Poke-playing victims.
* Boon Sheridan lives in a former church that is mistakenly flagged as a public place in geographic databases and has thus been populated by virtual Pokemons for players to catch; his quiet road is now beset by Pokemon players who linger, block traffic, and freak out his neighbors.
* Teagan snapped this photo of a Pokemon player catching their prey amidst a tense Oakland Police Department riot-squad at a demonstration.
Hoo-boy, it's getting a bit Bellwethery in here all of a sudden.
But can we harness all this Pokemon-mania for good? Comics writer Jim Zub thinks we can: "US Government should team up with Nintendo of America to make polling stations special Election Day PokeStops for a record voter turnout."
I'm in the midst of couple of weeks' worth of lectures, public events and teaching, and you can catch me in Toronto (for Word on the Street, Seeding Utopias and Resisting Dystopias and 6 Degrees); Newry, ME (Maine Library Association) and Portland, ME (in conversation with James Patrick Kelly).
Octavia Butler (previously), the brilliant Afrofuturist, McArthur Genius Grant-winning science fiction writer, died far, far too soon, leaving behind a corpus of incredible, voraciously readable novels, and a community of writers who were inspired by her example.
EFF has just posted a job listing for a development director, seeking someone to "take charge of EFF's eleven-person Development Team in their efforts to raise over $13 million each year," starting late 2019 or early 2020.
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