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The Oil Fund: How Norway’s Dirty Money Should be Used

Let me tell you how Norway should use it’s big pile of dirty Oil Fund money.

Norway was traditionally a land of farmers, fishermen, loggers, and miners. Our industry was mostly based on processing these natural resources, and towards the end of the 1960’s Norway’s GDP was comparable to that of Greece.

Today, Norway is one of the wealthiest countries in the world per capita. We also score consistently well in the World Happiness Report, and in general, Norwegians live a carefree, good life.

There are many reasons this change happened. First and foremost, Norway is located in a relatively quiet and stable part of the world. The population of Northern Europe is for the most part of the same ethnicity. We’re also on the same frequency in terms of political and religious views. The wealth is relatively evenly spread among the population, and our part of the globe is usually spared of the most devastating natural disasters. Without armed conflicts fueled by ethnic violence or religious nonsense, and without the need to rebuild the country every time it’s ruined by a natural disaster, we’ve been able to focus is economic growth.

In 1969, Norway got a major boost on it’s way to the top of the prosperity food chain. The Ekofisk oil field was discovered in the North Sea, and Norway joined an exclusive club of oil producers. The country went from an economy mainly based on processing renewable resources, to one exploiting non-renewable oil and gas resources. I’m not saying Norway wouldn’t have been were we are today without the Ekofisk discovery. Our Scandinavian neighbors are proof of that. Sweden, Denmark, and Finland all have a generally happy population, and a high GDP.

But the black gold sure helped.

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Early Access: UNDER The SAND

UNDER the SAND takes you on a beautiful, low-poly, 1980’s post-apocalyptic desert road trip in search of the sea.

I usually don’t throw myself at Steam Early Access titles. While many turn into finished games, there are piles of examples of titles that never made it out of Early Access. For various reasons, the developers abandon their half-finished projects, leaving the players – who paid for the game – behind.

But with IndieMaxUNDER the SAND, I’ve made an exception, and shelled out for an Early Access title. Global warming has turned the whole world into an endless desert. In the post-apocalyptic, alternative 1980’s world, you set out on a road trip. The goal is to fulfill the last request of your late father: To find the sea. The developer describe UNDER the SAND as a “post-apocalyptic road trip game, look like Jalopy and Overland“.

The game is in an early stage of development, with an estimated 3 to 5 months left before it will leave Early Access. But UNDER the SAND is already very much playable. You have access to a car, a garage, and the first map areas. On your trip through the desert, your car will deteriorate, and you’ll have to find parts by scavenging roadside car wrecks, and searching through abandoned buildings. The items you find can be used to keep your car running, or sold at saloons along the road.

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The Rise of Springwood

Whether you like it or not, I’m continuing my narrative let’s play Cities: Skylines series.

On the 21st of May, your favorite Finnish game developer Colossal Order will continue their effort to suck the wallets of every single Cities: Skylines player dry. Yet another DLC will be released, Cities: Skylines – Campus. In this DLC, university life abounds with new area types for any sort of student – Trade School, Liberal Arts, and University. As always, there will be new buildings to plop down in your city, new policies, and, of course, new Chriper hats!

Last year, we learned of Springwood, a thriving city just North of the valley. Before Campus is released, Springwood needs to grow. You can’t just build a campus in any city. Let’s consult the mayor’s journal to see how things are progressing in Springwood.

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“The Three-Body Problem” by Liu Cixin

When was the last time you read a Chinese science-fiction novel? Probably never. I just did. Here’s my The Three-Body Problem Review.

It’s 1967, and China is in the early stages of the Cultural Revolution. Physics professor Ye Zhetai is publicly killed after he refuses to denounce the theory of relativity. His daughter, Ye Wenjie, witnesses his gruesome death.

Shortly after, sheโ€™s sent to a work camp. There, she’s falsely charged with sedition for promoting the works of environmentalist Rachel Carson. Ye is told she can avoid punishment by working at a defense research facility involved in government radio wave research.

More than 40 years later, Yeโ€™s work becomes linked to a string of scientist suicides, and a complex online role-playing game involving the classic three-body problem.

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The Rebirth of the Personal Website

The personal website didn’t really die. It just went into hibernation while people tried out social media sites that eventually screwed them over.

When the World Wide Web first saw the light of day, it was basically just a collection of information that people couldn’t interact with. This gradually changed as colleges, universities, and ISPs began to allow students and customers to have personal web pages on their servers. Some nerds, like myself, took it a step further, and started self-hosted personal websites, not relying on our place of study or ISP. After a while, users running personal webpages added ways for their readers to interact with them. Many of you probably remember the lovely guestbook.

With the launch of YouTube and Facebook came the creation of the Web 2.0, and a torrent of user-generated content. Instead of hosting content they had made themselves, Web 2.0 companies mainly focused on hosting content generated by their users. They also made it so easy for people to upload content that everyone and their granny could create something and put it online. The internet was no longer a place for nerds only, and the web became social.

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