Currently viewing the tag: "consequences"

The California Gold Rush (1848–1855) began on January 24, 1848, when gold was found by James W. Marshall at Sutter’s Mill in Coloma, California. The news of gold brought some 300,000 people to California from the rest of the United States and abroad… The Gold Rush initiated the California Genocide, with 100,000 Native Californians dying between 1848 and 1868. By the time it ended, California had gone from a thinly populated ex-Mexican territory to the home state of the first nominee for the Republican Party…

The first to hear confirmed information of the gold rush were the people in Oregon, the Sandwich Islands (Hawaii), and Latin America, and they were the first to start flocking to the state in late 1848. Of the 300,000 people who came to America during the Gold Rush, approximately half arrived by sea and half came overland on the California Trail and the Gila River trail; forty-niners often faced substantial hardships on the trip. While most of the newly arrived were Americans, the Gold Rush attracted tens of thousands from Latin America, Europe, Australia, and China. Agriculture and ranching expanded throughout the state to meet the needs of the settlers. San Francisco grew from a small settlement of about 200 residents in 1846 to a boomtown of about 36,000 by 1852. Roads, churches, schools and other towns were built throughout California…

At the beginning of the Gold Rush, there was no law regarding property rights in the goldfields and a system of “staking claims” was developed. Prospectors retrieved the gold from streams and riverbeds using simple techniques, such as panning. Although the mining caused environmental harm, more sophisticated methods of gold recovery were developed and later adopted around the world. New methods of transportation developed as steamships came into regular service. By 1869 railroads were built across the country from California to the eastern United States. At its peak, technological advances reached a point where significant financing was required, increasing the proportion of gold companies to individual miners. Gold worth tens of billions of today’s dollars was recovered, which led to great wealth for a few. However, many returned home with little more than they had started with. –Wikipedia

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story set during the California Gold Rush.

Journaling Prompt: Write about the craziest thing you ever did trying to make money.

Art Prompt: California Gold Rush

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about how the California Gold Rush changed the US.

Photo Credit: Panning on the Mokelumne on Wikimedia

S. A. Andrée’s Arctic balloon expedition of 1897 was an effort to reach the North Pole in which all three expedition members perished. S. A. Andrée (1854–97), the first Swedish balloonist, proposed a voyage by hydrogen balloon from Svalbard to either Russia or Canada, which was to pass, with luck, straight over the North Pole on the way. The scheme was received with patriotic enthusiasm in Sweden, a northern nation that had fallen behind in the race for the North Pole.

Andrée ignored many early signs of the dangers associated with his balloon plan. Being able to steer the balloon to some extent was essential for a safe journey, and there was plenty of evidence that the drag-rope steering technique he had invented was ineffective; yet he staked the fate of the expedition on drag ropes. Worse, the polar balloon Örnen (The Eagle) was delivered directly to Svalbard from its manufacturer in Paris without being tested; when measurements showed it to be leaking more than expected, Andrée refused to acknowledge the alarming implications. Most modern students of the expedition see Andrée’s optimism, faith in the power of technology, and disregard for the forces of nature as the main factors in the series of events that led to his death and those of his two companions Nils Strindberg (1872–97) and Knut Frænkel (1870–97).

After Andrée, Strindberg, and Frænkel lifted off from Svalbard in July 1897, the balloon lost hydrogen quickly and crashed on the pack ice after only two days. The explorers were unhurt but faced a grueling trek back south across the drifting icescape. Inadequately clothed, equipped, and prepared, and shocked by the difficulty of the terrain, they did not make it to safety. As the Arctic winter closed in on them in October, the group ended up exhausted on the deserted Kvitøya (White Island) in Svalbard and died there. For 33 years the fate of the Andrée expedition remained one of the unsolved riddles of the Arctic. The chance discovery in 1930 of the expedition’s last camp created a media sensation in Sweden, where the dead men had been mourned and idolized. –Wikipedia

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write the story of about an adventurer who takes unnecessary risk and the consequences.

Journaling Prompt: Write about the riskiest thing you ever tried and what happened.

Art Prompt: Hot air balloon

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience the story of a doomed expedition and the lessons it teaches us.

Photo Credit: Eagle-crashed on Wikimedia

Artificial intelligence will surpass human intelligence after 2020, predicts Vernor Vinge, a world-renowned pioneer in AI, who has warned about the risks and opportunities that an electronic super-intelligence would offer to mankind. “It seems plausible that with technology we can, in the fairly near future,” says scifi legend Vernor Vinge, “create (or become) creatures who surpass humans in every intellectual and creative dimension. Events beyond such an event — such a singularity — are as unimaginable to us as opera is to a flatworm.” –Daily Galaxy

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story set in the future depicted above.

Journaling Prompt: Imagine how you would feel if suddenly, you were inferior. Write about how you would adjust to that.

Art Prompt: Artificial intelligence

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about the state of artificial intelligence today.

Photo Credit: Maziani Sabudin on Flickr

In a survey of 1,308 U.S. adult Facebook users, University of British Columbia researchers found that 24 per cent — or more than one in five — had snooped on the Facebook accounts of their friends, romantic partners or family members, using the victims’ own computers or cellphones.

“It’s clearly a widespread practice. Facebook private messages, pictures or videos are easy targets when the account owner is already logged on and has left their computer or mobile open for viewing,” said Wali Ahmed Usmani, study author and computer science master’s student.

People admitted to spying on their friends, family, and romantic partners out of simple curiosity or fun — for example, setting a victim’s status or profile picture to something humorous. But other motives were darker, such as jealousy or animosity.

“Jealous snoops generally plan their action and focus on personal messages, accessing the account for 15 minutes or longer,” said computer science professor Ivan Beschastnikh, a senior author on the paper.

“And the consequences are significant: in many cases, snooping effectively ended the relationship.” –Science Daily

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story where the conflict is driven by Facebook snooping.

Journaling Prompt: How would you feel if you found out someone you trusted was snooping through your private messages?

Art Prompt: Facebook snooping

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about the phenomenon of Facebook snooping and give them the steps to prevent it from happening to them.

Photo Credit: York VISIOn on Flickr

William Mark Felt, Sr. (August 17, 1913 – December 18, 2008[1]) was a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) special agent who served as the Bureau’s Associate Director, the FBI’s second-highest-ranking post, from May 1972 until his retirement from the FBI in June 1973. During his time as Associate Director, Felt served as an anonymous informant, nicknamed “Deep Throat”, to reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein of The Washington Post, providing them critical information about the Watergate scandal, a scandal which ultimately led to the resignation of President Richard M. Nixon in 1974. Though Felt’s identity as Deep Throat was known to some in Washington, including Nixon himself, and was speculated by others, it generally remained a secret for the next 30 years. In 2005, Felt finally acknowledged that he was Deep Throat, after being persuaded to reveal his identity by his family. –Wikipedia

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story about a government whistle blower.

Journaling Prompt: Write about a political scandal that helped form your opinion of politics.

Art Prompt: Cover Up

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about the history of political scandals and how their fallout is affecting politics today.

Photo Credit: Mark Felt on Wikimedia

I wanted to be good. I truly did.
Until the day I didn’t. –The Key to St. Medusa’s by Kat Howard

Fiction Writing Prompt: Use the prompt as the starting point for a story or a scene.

Journaling Prompt: Write about a time when you decided to stop following the rules. Do you regret it? What happened?

Art Prompt: I wanted to be good…

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience a humorous story about a time when you decided to break the rules.

Photo Credit: Donnie Nunley on Flickr

The concierge emerged from the revolving door and gave me a once-over. “Excuse me, Miss,” he said. “Are you lost? I’m most certain you don’t belong here.” –Beautiful Garbage by Jill Di Donato

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write the story of someone who is discovered somewhere he/she doesn’t belong.

Journaling Prompt: Write about a time you got caught someplace you weren’t supposed to be.

Art Prompt: The Doorman

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell a humorous story about being sneaky.

Photo Credit: Angelo Juan Ramos on Flickr

A man can go along obeying all the rules and then it don’t matter a damn anymore. –What We Talk About When We Talk About Love by Raymond Carver

Fiction Writing Prompt: Put your protagonist into a situation where the rules don’t apply anymore.

Journaling Prompt: How do you feel when the rules are suddenly changed?

Art Prompt: The rules

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience a humorous story about a time that you broke a rule.

Photo Credit: Dr. Zhivago on Flickr

The basic principle behind asset forfeiture is appealing. It enables authorities to confiscate cash or property obtained through illicit means, and, in many states, funnel the proceeds directly into the fight against crime. In Tulsa, Oklahoma, cops drive a Cadillac Escalade stencilled with the words “this used to be a drug dealer’s car, now it’s ours!” In Monroe, North Carolina, police recently proposed using forty-four thousand dollars in confiscated drug money to buy a surveillance drone, which might be deployed to catch fleeing suspects, conduct rescue missions, and, perhaps, seize more drug money. Hundreds of state and federal laws authorize forfeiture for cockfighting, drag racing, basement gambling, endangered-fish poaching, securities fraud, and countless other misdeeds.
In general, you needn’t be found guilty to have your assets claimed by law enforcement; in some states, suspicion on a par with “probable cause” is sufficient. Nor must you be charged with a crime, or even be accused of one. Unlike criminal forfeiture, which requires that a person be convicted of an offense before his or her property is confiscated, civil forfeiture amounts to a lawsuit filed directly against a possession, regardless of its owner’s guilt or innocence. –TAKEN by Sarah Stillman

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story about someone whose assets are forfeited.

Journaling Prompt: What would be the hardest thing for you to forfeit?

Art Prompt: Asset Forfeiture

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about  what happens during an asset forfeiture.

Photo Credit: xxx on Flickr

first_fleet_1788

Irish people had been settling in Australia unintentionally for decades before large-scale emigration began—Australia was Great Britain’s biggest prison, and many Irish were sentenced to life there. Their crimes often seem paltry compared to such a major punishment. For the offense of stealing clothes or threatening a landlord, an individual could be sentenced to exile on the other side of the Earth for the rest of his or her life—a sentence known as “transportation.” –Ryan Hackney and Amy Hackney Blackwell, 101 Things You Didn’t Know about Irish History: The People, Places, Culture, and Tradition of the Emerald Isle

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write the story of someone who is exiled.

Journaling Prompt: Write about the worst punishment you’ve ever suffered.

Art Prompt: Exile

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about Australia’s history as a penal colony.

Photo Credit: First Fleet 1788 (Botany Bay) on Wikimedia