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Maneuvers in the Dark

So, next Monday I'm flying off to New York and Boston for a couple of weeks. New York mostly for meetings (my agent and both my major US publishers are based there), and Boston because a week of meetings needs a week of R&R afterwards, and also, Boskone.

While I'm in NYC I intend to hit a couple of the local brewpubs next week; on the evening of Tuesday 9th I'll be in the Keg & Lantern Brewing Company (97 Nassau Avenue, Brooklyn NY 11222) from 6pm. All welcome!

I'll be holding a public pub session in Boston/Cambridge the following week. Again, details TBA.

On Thursday 18th, Pandemonium Books and Games will be hosting a three-way author event, in which I, Max Gladstone, and Walter Jon Williams talk about ... stuff, I guess. Maybe with readings, sarcasm, and irony? Or, more likely, an incisive exploration of the liminal intersection between the fantasy universes of Max's Craft sequence, Walter's Metropolitan, and my Laundry Files? Or perhaps we'll just throw plush daleks at each other for an hour. Who knows.

Yes, I'm on the program at Boskone. You can find the program grid here. I am too lazy to cut, paste, and reformat it just to highlight my own events: use the "Search" submenu in your browser if you really need to know.

In other news, we live in a world where police dinosaurs chase flying robots. I am not making this up. Truly, reality is weirder than anything I could make up. Who knew?



As entertaining as is the thought of large raptors dueling with AI-commanded drones in my own personal airspace, the thought of a shotgun is still more exciting. But then, I'm an American and we tend to view shotguns as both practical as well as entertaining, something the rest of the world often does not share.


And, of course, you will get an up-close view of the US "Primaries", dleightful. I hear that Cruz beat Trump, but that C is even madder & possibly more evil than the Donald. Can someone please re-enlighten us on this side of the Pond?


The nice thing about using a raptor for this (as for controlling pigeons in Central Westminster) is that it doesn't tend to take out the windows beyond, raining glass shards all over the passers-by.


What, real dark? No guest blogger for us? ;-)


I'm just guessing here, but I suspect a lot of the anti-drone stuff is to do with airports and airfields. And the idea of randomly discharging shotguns into the air over Schiphol or Heathrow, let alone London City Airport, is really unpleasant (hint: population density -- even if it doesn't hit a plane, about 130,000 people work at Schiphol Airport, Heathrow is similar, and LCY is in the middle of a densely populated capital city).


Greg, I recommend you check out John Scalzi's comments on both parties' candidates at his blog here, , probably already well known to most visitors to Charlie's space.


I hear that Cruz beat Trump, but that C is even madder & possibly more evil than the Donald.

From my vantage point here in TX, I can assure you that your perception of C would be correct if the "possibly" were removed.


Being subject to the Hatch Act ( ), I will be circumspect in my comments, but I will say this is the most uninspiring group of candidates I've seen since I first cast a vote for US President in 1976.


Ok so first our primary system has been in place for about 50 years, as now the primary pretty much binds the party to the winner of the primary vote (used to be more open to backroom deals at the convention decided by the party). Means there's a great deal of potential for outsider candidates and internal party struggles to play out in the primary, especially when there's no actual majority.

For the dems, it's pretty clear cut the split is 50/50 with the moderates going for HRC, and Bernie getting the traditional left. Since the great reshuffling under Nixon, the traditional left in the democrats have been hurting, and were out of power since ~1992, as the ones more like Blair ran the party. The big wedges in the US since 1976 have been social rather than economic. Moderate economic policies let them get more funding and ties to major banks and investment firms. The traditional left is fighting back stronger than they've been in years.

For the republicans, we're down to way more fractions, each with their own candidates. Lots of fringe candidates, with some that never made sense to run (Carly Fiorina has never won an election, and her business skills are questionable due to the layoffs she caused), to those that are fringe in the best of times (Santorium had a single term in the senate, and his entire campaign is based on abortion/gay marriage), to the more traditional businessmen who are suppose to run the party (Jeb has failed here, but Rubio might get this status after a good showing). Trump ran on an outsider vote, Cruz ran on tea partiers and evangelicals and managed to get a good turn out.

There's also a sense of doubling down. The GOP in 2012 ran a dissection of what went wrong, and what they need to fix. The big answer was demographics. The young are less white, less religious and less conservative. The GOP depended too much on a message based on boomer appeal, as the evangelical collation that kept them in office. They had the Evangelical base organized to turn out on social issues. But gay marriage isn't the wedge issue it was, and years of failure to do anything on abortion has eroded that base. Combine that with failures by the traditional establishment to remain true to small government principles fed the rage that became the tea party (and also meant big backers were ready to fund them).

According to the dissection, what the GOP should be doing is making economic arguments, and reaching out on shared social values with minority groups (especially with socially conservative blacks and Hispanics). Instead, they are trying to get more turn out among their traditional groups.

So the result we see the true crazy in Iowa as the factions compete. ~50% of the vote went to the outsiders Trump and Cruz as there's a sense the establishment GOP can't govern. Cruz won the evangelical collation as well.

Rubio's third place vote means he's likely to be the one the establishment pushes behind. There will be pressure for Jeb Bush to stop running now, same for the other traditional candidates.

Honestly Cruz ran a good ground game, but he's a horrible person who everyone who actually knows him hates him. I'd be surprised if he's winning after super tuesday.


I'm lining up guest blogger(s). Also to be announced ...


My first thought when I saw about the anti-drone eagles, was Time to take up Falconry? Naw, they're too small. Then I was worried that they'd be injured by the props, but it looks like they can grab from the side, or slightly below, though it appears the jesses (had to look those up) get caught up in them. Last thought was wondering how many Americans seeing the video will get all irate seeing one of "our" Bald Eagles being used.

Cruz: he's Grandpa Munster's clueless, evil, younger brother. Still kinda hoping that T. Rump will run as an Independent and split the Republican vote. Cruz can have the Evangelicals and Teabags, leaving Rump with the rest of the conservative fringe, and no one for the saner(?) Republicans to vote for. Okay, that's wishful thinking.

Looks like the weather in New England will be decent. In this bit of Colorado we've just gotten the most snow at one time in ten years. It used to be that storms here would reach New York a week later, but this looks likely to peter out past Chicago.


Oh I disagree completely. Any moron can point a shotgun and pull the trigger, but training an eagle? That's something special. I can only assume that the police that have the trained eagles will also have some kind of supremely awesome uniform to go with it.


Scalzi's post was fun. I particularly like the Chauncey Gardiner reference, though perhaps gives Carson too much credit. And I think he's wrong about Graham, who has said some pretty bonkers stuff.


First, dinosaurs vs. robots... ROTFLMAO! Absolutely lovely turn of phrase, Charly.

US politics: on the right, where it ranges the gamut from neofascist[1] to neoConfederate[2], as elfy1 put it, rather than do what they figured was wrong in '12, they're doubling down on their base... because anything else, of course, might possibly maybe cut a million dollars, or some such small change, in our oligarchs' income. They really are into a zero-sum game.

On the left... regardless of what Hillary said, it was a tie. And that's from Bernie staring 50points behind!

The reasons go back to the fifties, and the Cold War. McCarthy really screwed this country up: he chased the leftists out of the unions (!), so that co-managerialship could take over (no, I would never have thought to come up with that idiot term), and with the exception of the Civil Rights Movement, then the antiwar and general Movement, anyone to the left of "liberal" (think Hubert Humphrey) was suspect to attackable for being too far left.

Then came Nixon, with his Southern Strategy, which drew in the religious funnymentalists as a reliable base. Then, after the loss to Carter, the right decided on a longer-term strategy[3], which was so successful that by the late eighties... I read an interview with the late Barry Goldwater, "right wing extremist" who ran against LBJ in '64, and he was horrified by how far to the right the GOP had gone.

It got to be that they believe that only the GOP should hold the Presidency. I heard an interview with a GOP Congresscritter on the morning of Clinton's first Inauguration, stating that they were going to find some way to impeach him.

So they've become the party of the oligarchs, completely. The thing is, in running for the funnymentalists and gun nuts, etc, when they can't deliver on their most extreme promises, they start loosing them.

At this point, that base is fracturing, and a new generation (and immigrants) have come in who are a lot less religious[4]. So all that's left is double down, and claim they'll be able to follow through on their promises if they're President.

  • As a definition of fascism, I use that Mussolini liked to quote that "fascism is more properly called corporatism, since it's the merger of state and corporate power".
  • Go look up, in wikipedia, the Constitution of the Confederacy (US, Civil War). With the exception of the lines explicitly about slavery, every single thing in there that makes it a confederacy is the Tea Party platform.

  • In the Nov. 1976 Playboy (yes, read the article) there was a story called, "There Are Eight Million Stories in the Naked City, and This is the Last One". It was about the default of NYC, and how, after testing the concept of "lowering expectations" overseas (don't want that leftist rabble to cut our profits, y'know), they were bringing it home. History demonstrates they did, given how long real wages have been stagnant.

  • There's an article today that I just saw from google news, over at the Christian Science Monitor, about how the least religious candidates in a long time are among the front runners (Sanders and Trump).

    mark "I'd better get back to work"

  • 17:

    Looking forward to buying you a pint Charlie. I knew following the wife to NYC would have the occasional perk...


    I don't have much time to blog today, but I will say one thing about the 2016 presidential election.

    If the Democrats win the general election, don't expect the Republican nominee to be any saner in 2020. In fact, expect it to be less sane in 2020.


    My prediction for 2016: Say hello to president (Sanders|Clinton) (please excuse the extended regular expression).

    My prediction for 2020: The republican primary line-up will be something like:

    • Huckabee
    • Santorum
    • Whichever Bush scion doesn't dodge fast enough
    • Some guy in a pointy white hat
    • Some guy in a brown shirt with a swastika armband and a toothbrush moustache (the others will all denounce him for being soft on International Jew-Bankers and New York Values)
    • Dr Doom
    • Donald Trump's Putrid Stinking Zombie-Reanimated Corpse

    (And Dr Doom will win the election on a platform of "the lesser evil".)


    I suspect it will be Hilary with Sanders as VP candidate ... Especially if Cruz wins the Rethuglican nomination. I've looked him up. Euwwwww ......


    You don't think Trump, again? I admit Ross Perot didn't try again, but Trump is, well... actually, Marinna Hyde, of the Guardian nailed him by revealing his secret identity: Lex Luthor.

    And here we are, with no El to defend us....


    Here's mine for 2020:

    1) Huckabee/Santorum

    2) Other fundamentalist Christian calling for a Christian nation

    3) A war with Russia is winnable because we have a missile defense shield and drones can fight in winter. (I may be thinking of the 2024 election with this one)

    4) Guy in a white pointy hat

    5) Guy who wants to bring about Ayn Rand's paradise-on-earth

    6) Donald Trump

    7) Nukes are an OK weapon weapon to use in the Middle East/Muslims will stop trying to attack us if we nuke Mecca.

    8) Whichever Bush scion is both nonwhite and can't dodge fast enough.

    9) A former CEO

    10) The US should bring back the immigration act of 1924.

    11) The US government should drive mosquitos and the Delta Smelt to extinction as policy. In general, that it should be law that certain species MUST go extinct. (I grew up among conservatives, I've heard this position before)

    12) We should divert all rivers and lakes to deal with the droughts and make it illegal to protect species that depend on these waterways. (Also heard this before)

    13) Mr. toothbrush mustache

    14) Dr. Doom

    15) Europe should pay us back for all the money we spent defending them since WWII.

    16) The Middle East is fighting the Thirty Years War. Cardinal Richelieu wisely foresaw that the only way to win the war was to wipe out his opponent's military-age male population. (American Enterprise Institute's Ramesh Ponnuru actually argued this on Bloomberg View, but I can't find the article right now).

    I'll have to brainstorm some more policy stuff later.


    No. Hillary with Bernie for VP is just not going to happen.

    Actually, I'm wondering who Bernie has thought of; I can see Hillary asking O'Malley.

    I'd really like Bernie to ask my old Congresswoman from Chicago, Jan Schakowsky....


    Heard Julian Castro mentioned as a possible VP pick.


    No. Hillary with Bernie for VP is just not going to happen.

    As long as they're close in the primaries/caucuses she'd be crazy not to offer it to him, and him not to accept. I suspect he'd be one of the more effective VPs in a long time, and he won't have another chance. Some of his supporters might not want to vote for her, but if they're together...

    2020 Republican candidate? Paul Ryan, unless he royally screws up as Speaker.


    I'm just guessing here, but I suspect a lot of the anti-drone stuff is to do with airports and airfields.

    And prisons and Angela Merkel campaign rallies.


    I would have thought a combination of control frequency jamming and extra-large drones with some sort of dragnet thingy or sticky patches to stick onto bad drones would work. However it means even more people employed to do stuff that wouldn't have to be done if stupid or criminal people weren't being stupid.

    And Charlie's guess is right- I've read of numerous near misses of planes by drones in the last couple of years. And prisons etc as Andreas notes.


    By either 2020 or 2024 the demographics that are hurting the Republicans will cause realignment. Boomers are hitting their demographic cliff, and purple Texas will be real. Once Texas is no longer solidly Republican, it makes it much harder for Republicans to hold the presidency.

    Honestly, if Hillary wins the Democratic nomination, and Rubio manages to win the Republican, I can see him winning and delaying the realignment a bit further. Rubio might have some success in bringing over some Hispanics, but both him and Cruz are far to the right of mainstream Hispanics. (For example, both are pro-embargo on Cuba, despite nearly all Cuban Americans under 50 being against it).


    Shotguns are overrated as anti-drone weapons. Great if you can sneak up on the drone operator and blast the drones as they take off or land. But hit a drone flying overhead at 100m altitude?

    The flying dinosaurs take advantage of off-the-shelf hunting wetware, are immune to software hacking, and very low carbon emission for both manufacturing and use.

    Still, I look forward to the media outcry when a police eagle gets bored or frustrated on patrol and grabs someone's chihuaha.


    Wishful thinking.

    What you say is true starting 2028.

    A few things to consider.

  • Most Latino Americans (both legal and otherwise) came between 1995-2007. Add 18-20 years to that and you get 2013-2027. I realize that most who came legally already have their citizenship, and that will affect things.

  • The growth of minorities is for now constrained in states that are already Blue or are having their white populations increasing as more Boomers retire.

  • As I mentioned in previous discussions, the Electoral College matters, not the popular votes. If the Great Lake states sans Illinois switch, that will essentially negate Texas and Arizona.

  • The median boomer is in their 50s now. US healthcare is worse than Europe's, but not THAT much worse. The cliff isn't going to hit within the next 15 years.

  • Iowa and New Hampshire are the first primary states. They will act as a very strong brake on any realignment. I think that the heads of the GOP would have already done the realignment if they could have.

  • To a lot of extent, retirement is bringing out the crazy. Right now, if you say something (say) racist or sexist you can lose your job. What happens when many retire?

  • 31:

    Hodgesaargh is the answer.

    Or maybe a catapult-launched Greebo.


    Heard Julian Castro mentioned as a possible VP pick.

    Very possible for obvious reasons, but he's still a bit green on the national scene. If Hillary wins with someone else as VP, she should nominate Castro for Secretary of Energy, which would round out his Serious People creds for future elections. (DOE subsumes NNSA.)


    Current meme madness is Trump / Sanders for 2016.

    Check other thread: both sides are crying Henry V.


    At this point it it's 7:2 odds that Trump gets assassinated.


    Regarding Scalzi.



    Thing to bear in mind is they already use raptors to scare away birds at airfields. Giving them another job of bringing down drones in that context is a no-brainer.

    As far the US beauty content is concerned, my expectation is Sanders vs Rubio. I think Clinton's email troubles will be made to blow up, so no matter how much the senior democrats want her, Sanders will look cleaner.

    As far as the clown car of the repubs is concerned, Cruz is a raving loony (thus I expect the adults in that party will want him gone) and I think Trump is doing a typical salesman job and lying his head off to get the selection. I think the adults see through that, and thus he's not trusted - leaving Rubio as the man who'll do as he's told.

    In 2020, I think it'll be Kanye West. As appalling as that sounds, you have to admit - it sounds better than most/all the 2016 roster.

    Trump has been pathfinder for those who's ego exceeds their capabilities. We'll see more of them.


    Why not take advantage of the Star Wars program and use lasers? When there are no drones around the could be used for pigeon pest control instead.


    At this point it it's 7:2 odds that Trump gets assassinated.

    Where do we get these odds? Is there an online bookie?


    My first thought was that flying eagles is a royal perogative, and I hoped that the handler was, er, entitled to do so.


    Yes, there are grounds for slight optimism, there. Unfortunately, the news from the UK is quite the opposite.


    Does anyone know if John Barnes is writing Raise The Gipper 2?


    The primary job of the VP is to replace the president if they drop dead. That's not a job you give to a 74 year old. Hillary would already be, I think, the second oldest president (after reagan) at the start of her term, you don't have that and then pick a VP who's even older. Particularly not, given 3rd in line if they both drop dead is the Speaker of the House, who is currently and likely to remain Paul Ryan, a hardline republican.


    4. The median boomer is in their 50s now. US healthcare is worse than Europe's, but not THAT much worse. The cliff isn't going to hit within the next 15 years.

    Your definition of boomer is wrong; the baby boom happened in 1945, they're typically 70 (I'm 51 and either at the leading edge of the GenXers or hanging off the trailing edge of the boomers).

    Point is, by 2020 the boomers will be 55-75, and by 2028 they'll be 63-83, by which point roughly half of 'em will be dead (if there's economic/climactic stress -- look what happened to life expectancy in Russia, circa 1985-1995).


    Yes. I think you are far too young to be a boomer; I clearly am, at 68. Healthcare doesn't make all that much difference to population life expectancy, if people keep themselves in shape and aren't malnourished, homeless or highly stressed - but those conditions are NOT likely to hold! However, the boomers that survive are likely to be increasingly republican.


    Sanders with Clinton as veep is possible, but I don't know whether their personal relationships would enable that.


    This brit doesn't deny that shotguns can be fun but will stick with the trained dinosaurs for practical reasons.

    I'm OK at target shooting with a rifle, but can't hit a moving target to save my life.


    It's a bit long in the tooth now but I still read Hunter S Thompson's Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail to get my head around the US electoral process. Plus you get Ralph Steadman's drawings.


    Indeed. Shotguns aren't much use past a few score yards; quite apart from the really important question for such things; namely, what cartridge a Gentleman should consider for a UAV, and whether the bag should be entered in one's Game Book?

    There is no need to comment on whether to use over-and-under; or (heaven forbid) even mention a repeating gun. A matched pair of side-by-sides and a fast loader, that's the ticket!

    Speaking from a target shooting point of view, forget it. Varying speeds / angles and hard-to-measure range make for a target you would only hit by luck. Whenever they turned up on the firing range with the radio-controlled aircraft (these were much bigger than camera drones) to allow "anti-aircraft" practice with machine-guns and large amounts of ammunition (1:1 mixes of tracer and ball ammunition in the belt) they would bring only a couple of aircraft for a day's firing, content in the knowledge that the aircraft probably wouldn't be hit.


    Not bigger than number 3, certainly, but it would depend on the size of drone; possible SSG. And, if the drone were 'self-controlled' (see the AI thread), and semi-autonomous, certainly. But not if it were manually controlled - one doesn't shoot domestic animals.


    Well, the first and last time I tried clay pigeon shooting I missed every single shot over the course of an afternoon.

    Considering that they were clearly set up for beginners and nobody else had any problems I'm fairly confident that the problem was with the shooter and not the target. I don't fancy my chances with anything trying to evade.


    According to this statistic, most boomers were born after 1952 in the US. That was the number I was using. In a way, this makes sense. The boom didn't really take off until the Korean War ended. Hence the use of the median rather than the mean.


    Here's more information than you ever wanted on the aging U.S. population:

    The term Baby Boom comprises a much longer period than most demographic cohorts, popularly covering the period 1945-1960 (most cohorts are a decade long).


    Hmm - rather than crude, manually aimed firearms, how about either an anti-drone SAM (perhaps with image recognition), or an anti-drone drone (bonus for using the acronym ADD)?


    Using shotguns on drones lets pieces of drones fall on the people below. In the video they say that they train the birds to take their prey to a safe location. Already are the recorded cries of eagles through loudspeakers used on the Dam in Amsterdam to scare away pigeons. What I don't understand is why a trauma helicopter can't land when there is a drone present.


    There's a selection of antidrone drones in Walter Jon Williams "Deep State". As I remember Wedges are the favourite, a fast fly-by is enough to destabilise most other types although a glancing impact in the rotor area is ideal.


    Of course, the most fun could be had with one of these: , although the likelihood of collateral damage would probably make their use frowned upon.


    "media outcry when a police eagle gets bored or frustrated on patrol and grabs someone's chihuaha"

    It might have novelty value, but US police shoot pretty large numbers of pets right now and seem to get away with it pretty easily. I was on a facebook list for it but I unliked it as I was seeing a couple of videos per day of US police torturing dogs for giggles or shooting wildly at dogs on crowded streets. I've got enough stress in my life without that.

    It's hard to get figures as they don't have to report discharging their weapons (can you believe it!) but it seems to be about 10 per day. There's even reports of them stabbing dogs.

    Went to the wrong house, held the owner at gunpoint then shot his dog.

    Called police to report threatening phone calls, when they arrived they shot her dog (in the back). Must have been charging at them backwards.

    Police go to wrong house again and shoot a friendly dog

    Ex cop wanders the street shooting dogs. Local cops harass dog owners.

    Even shot a cat. I guess it must have charged at them

    Estimates of a pet killing every 98 minutes.


    "What I don't understand is why a trauma helicopter can't land when there is a drone present."

    If a rotor hits a drone, it might break - and, if a rotor breaks, a helicopter glides like a brick.


    What I don't understand is why a trauma helicopter can't land when there is a drone present.

    Drone gets sucked into engine.

    Engine seizes up.

    Helicopter falls out of the sky onto trauma scene. All die. Oh, the embarrassment!

    At least pigeons and the like make for the hills or cower away when choppers arrive.

    (For extra embarrassment, one of our local Air Ambulance pilots is a Royal Prince. Were he to come a cropper in an accident where a drone got entangled round the Jesus Nut, the outcry would be nigh to that when the paparazzi helped cause his Mum's death.)


    if a rotor breaks, a helicopter glides like a brick.

    Due to conservation of angular momentum I'd guess it gets much more interesting than that. Any parts of the rotor which break off should fly away at high speed and the loss of mass will cause the helicopter to wobble like a top. Which might cause secondary damage.


    Oh, and speaking of chihuahua, police come on to private property, taser a 5 pound chihuahua and then shoot it 3 times with hollowpoints.


    At least in the US, the Boomers is generally used to cover babies born from 1946 through 1964. The oldest have started turning 70, the youngest are still in their early 50s. One of the reasons that the Boomers are such a large number of people (cue standard "pig in a python" descriptions) is that 18-year span. Median Boomers are about to become very large fans of socialized pensions and health care, as they start using their Social Security and Medicare benefits.


    While it is amusing to make fun of the Republican candidates for President, any broader consideration has to look at the other parts of government here in the US. From 2010, the Republicans have gained a steadily tighter grip on Congress, state governorships, and state legislative chambers. Between the Appalachians and the Sierras [1], only five of about 30 states have a Democratic governor, and the state legislative chambers are even more lop-sided.

    [1] For the non-USians... flying time from New York City to Los Angeles (or San Francisco, or Seattle) is about six hours. The first 30 minutes gets you across the Appalachian Mountains, and the last 30 minutes from the Sierra mountain ranges to the Pacific Coast. The other five hours is spent over country where the Democrats are slowly disappearing.


    It's a reference to an ancient meme from the start of the net.

    It often pops up in modern formats: Behind the Sordid World of Online Assassination Betting Gizmodo, June 2015 - note~ extreme click bait source, puff piece for a book.


    Since we're on drones, AnonSec have just released some stuff on hacking NASA weather drones / flight data (c.f. recent Snowden leaks on Israeli drones) & weather modification / chemtrails.

    It's all a bit silly given that most of the stuff allegedly hacked is public science (and 90% of it is all public domain Science), but I'll post it for technicals / general interest.

    OpNasaDrones Zine #Anonsec Pastebin file - obviously avoid if you don't want to look at such things, but it's largely fluff / FUD.


    Cruz: he's Grandpa Munster's clueless, evil, younger brother.

    Clueless. No way. I'm in no way shape or form a fan but Cruz is very smart. Look up his education. He may be the smartest candidate in a long time.

    My opinion of him is like a good bike racer that no one likes.[1] They have figured out which course is best for them and not the majority of riders and has done a well planned breakout. Will it work. Who knows. But he has decided this is his best chance.

    [1]. As best anyone can tell NO ONE in the Senate likes him. From either party. He continually gums up the works for press points. But he does it very carefully so that things he knows must pass will pass after his moment in news fighting it tooth and nail.


    Truly, reality is weirder than anything I could make up.

    Well, top this:

    Goldman Sachs Says It May Be Forced to Fundamentally Question How Capitalism Is Working Bloomberg, 2nd Feb 2016

    One look at the graph and you might suspect GS was signalling something (and, of course, a priori, they'd be betting on it).


    Right, has a coastal pirate occupation regime, not unlike what you have throughout the Anglo Empire. As hearland freedom fighters, we would like to push these rim regimes into the sea.


    (Arggh, let's try again.)

    Right, Amerika has a coastal pirate occupation regime, not unlike what you have throughout the Anglo Empire. As heartland freedom fighters, we would like to push these "rim regimes" into the sea, just like our anti-imperialist brothers throughout the world.


    Your definition of boomer is wrong; the baby boom happened in 1945,

    Ahem. Minor point. It typically takes 9 months. So the boom started in 1946.


    He's already a plucked chicken, the family thing has just resurfaced:

    Ted Cruz refused hug by daughter in awkward video Independent 2nd Feb 2016

    The Washington Post pulled a cartoon from its site on Tuesday that depicted Senator Ted Cruz’s young daughters as monkeys.

    Ted Cruz Cartoon Is Pulled by Washington Post NYT Dec 2015

    Cartoon in Question The Hill, Twitter, 23rd Dec 2015


    Good call on the H.S. Thompson stuff though.


    According to this statistic, most boomers were born after 1952 in the US.

    In many ways I'm considered the middle of the boom. Born in 1954. In my school system and many others around the country we were the biggest class ever and they didn't match us for about 20 years or so when those from the early years of the boom started having kids.

    Hmmm. My memory is a bit off for the country (but accurate locally) but this chart shows that births in the US maxed out around 60/61 then didn't get back to those levels until 1990.


    I think it's a fun election season. If your choice is always between the two candidates preferred by the establishment and its media, then your democracy is as phony as a Soviet election. Hillary (or Bush) reminds me of Andropov -- the tired old heir apparent of a bankrupt system, with no popular appeal. Not sure who our Gorbachev is gonna be.


    And, of course, you will get an up-close view of the US "Primaries", dleightful.

    Not really. Unless you in or next to a primary state it's all just news. You can watch Fox, MSNBC, and CNN over there I suspect just as well as we can here. Or not.

    If you want to catch up with a headache watch FOX then MSNBC for an hour each in the early evening (US Eastern Time). Or to skip the headache Morning Joe from MSNBC (not sure if it's streamed) which tends to offer both sides.

    Most of the people I know from either side of the political spectrum are depressed at the current state of affairs. Unless they are enamored with one of the candidates or another.


    And just as a reminder, here's the choices from 1976 on: 1976 - Ford (R), Carter (D) 1980 - Reagan (R), Carter (D), Anderson (I) 1984 - Reagan (R), Mondale (D) 1988 - GHW Bush (R), Dukakis (D) 1992 - GHW Bush (R), Clinton (D) 1996 - Dole (R), Clinton (D), Perot (I) 2000 - GW Bush (R), Gore (D) 2004 - GW Bush (R), Kerry (D) 2008 - McCain (R), Obama (D) 2012 - Romney (R), Obama (D)


    What, Zombie Raygun for President?

    I think a lot of the GOP that aren't psycho funnymentalists would be there, gluing the bits of skin back on him, so he could run....


    If you keep going there, you'll eventually get to a call to resurrect GREEN MACE from the dust of history.


    Just yesterday, I realized two things about Cruz: 1. look at him. He does not look like a President. (Then there's Wonkette, who refers to him as the most punchable in the face candidate). 2. he looks like a butcher. And no, if he was my butcher, I would not trust him not to put his thumb on the scale.

    And not one media outlet has yet brought up the "America always elects the taller candidate!"


    How is a president supposed to look? Which president did Obama look like? What precisely is wrong with a president who looks like a butcher?


    ...Cruz is very smart. Look up his education.

    You, and another commenter on a previous thread, are making the mistake of equating higher education and high-ish IQs with actual Intelligence. Ever hear the phrase "Educated beyond their intelligence"? After all Bush Jr. also went to Princeton, are you saying he's smart too? I've seen it in action, someone blathering on about some subject, not actually saying anything meaningful, but knew all the buzzwords. Politicians just have speech writers to keep them in check.

    As for no one in congress liking Cruz, if he were really smart he'd be able to fake it so as to be liked. Like a good little sociopath.


    I used that wonkette line with a friend in Texas a couple of months ago and he laughed out loud. But TC did get elected. American political invective is particular harsh on him. A sample on the very harsh side, trigger warning for the easily offended: Ted Cruz Revises the Bible, In Case You Were Too Dumb to Get a Metaphor


    Trigger Warning

    Due to not thread spoiling, I'll dump this in the other thread where it has less exposure and bigger ability to be buried.


    Um, no, George W Bush went to Yale and then to Harvard Business School, not Princeton. Based on the evidence, I'd say that Bush II isn't at least as smart as I am. However, I know my limitations, and have precisely no desire to serve in public office.

    While I agree that Cruz doesn't have the people smarts that one would expect to see in a politician, neither (apparently) does Carl Rove, but he gets by pretty well.

    The bigger concern is that Cruz is a demagogue--that the drivel coming out of his mouth isn't what he believes, it's what he thinks will get him elected, just as we're seeing with Trump and Rubio.

    In general, when someone who's demonstrably smart starts sounding like an idiot, that's strongly suggests the stupid stuff is an act, and that you better start figuring out why they're acting that way, because it's certainly not in your interest.


    George W Bush went to Yale and then to Harvard Business School, not Princeton

    Okay, I should have looked it up. Was thinking that Skull and Bones was Princeton. Still, they both went to Ivy League schools, money well spent?

    Just spent a half hour getting the car unstuck from the snow, just to get it back into the garage. Too tired to give a shit right now (other than this that is).


    THAT is truly scary They are basically opening fire on the street, because they can ... YUCK NO legal oversight, at all?

    Regarding Cruz .... If he's such a total shit ( & a christian shit with it ...) But he keeps getting elected - which says something about where he lives ( apart from the whole of the USA... ) Um, err, can someone explain? (OR not, maybe)


    Club for Growth $705,657 $705,602 $55 Senate Conservatives Fund $315,991 $305,991 $10,000 Woodforest Financial Group $111,500 $111,500 $0 Goldman Sachs $69,350 $64,350 $5,000 Morgan Lewis LLP $67,550 $67,550 $0<./em>

    Republican/Conservative $1,607,662 $1,495,331 $112,331 Oil & Gas $952,382 $773,382 $179,000 Lawyers/Law Firms $938,747 $881,498 $57,249 Retired $835,750 $835,750 $0 Securities & Investment $758,427 $733,927 $24,500

    A longer answer revolves around Romney and the money spent there.

    Currently the spend goes:

    Jeb! Hillary Cruz Sanders

    The shock and horror being felt is that Jeb! has had such low impact given the $$$ spent, given that Trump is at a 5:1 disadvantage, so the GOP is falling back to their 2nd strongest character.

    It's going to have some real blow-back.


    Rule of thumb: The highest spend, wins.

    Apart from Jeb! which is a real spanner in the works.

    Both sides are resorting to some real nasty plays in the caucuses, which is unusual.

    Iowa's secretary of state rips Cruz over campaign mailer CNN Jan 31st 2016

    This is all pre-match stuff anyhow, the real race hasn't begun and this time there's some real interest from parties who usually disavow the entire process.


    Hint: 2016, Hilary wins. In the process, the entire system gets borked. 2020 is when shit gets wild.

    Offering 5:2 odds, $10k min bet.


    Did you look up his education? From Wikipedia:

    Cruz graduated cum laude from Princeton University with a Bachelor of Arts in Public Policy[32] from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs in 1992.[5][33] While at Princeton, he competed for the American Whig-Cliosophic Society's Debate Panel and won the top speaker award at both the 1992 U.S. National Debating Championship and the 1992 North American Debating Championship.[34] In 1992, he was named U.S. National Speaker of the Year, and with his debate partner David Panton won Team of the Year.[34] Cruz and Panton would later represent Harvard Law School at the 1995 World Debating Championship, losing in the semi-finals to a team from Australia.[35][36][37] Princeton's debate team named their annual novice championship after Cruz.[37]


    After graduating from Princeton, Cruz attended Harvard Law School, graduating magna cum laude in 1995 with a Juris Doctor degree.[5][39] While at Harvard Law, he was a primary editor of the Harvard Law Review, and executive editor of the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, and a founding editor of the Harvard Latino Law Review.[33] Referring to Cruz's time as a student at Harvard Law, Professor Alan Dershowitz said, "Cruz was off-the-charts brilliant".[40][41][42][43] At Harvard Law, Cruz was a John M. Olin Fellow in Law and Economics.[44]

    In case you haven't noticed having most people not like him is a major part of his platform.


    Agreed, and glad you got your car out. I didn't mind living with four seasons, but unfreezing the car was definitely far down on my list of happy fun chores.


    Regarding Cruz .... But he keeps getting elected

    He's only won one election as far as I know. Have you read anything factual about him?


    Thing to note:

    Texas money involved with Cruz (which might surprise given Jeb!):

    Company Overview of Woodforest Financial Group, Inc. Bloomberg

    It's bet hedging, it always is with these things.


    Kinda. I've seen enough high-spending candidates go down in flames that I wouldn't use this as THE rule of thumb. It's more like, "all else equal, the spendiest candidate wins."

    Thing is, these races are rarely equal. In Cruz' case, he's got the problem that he's allegedly brilliant, but his campaign rhetoric is lowest-common-denominator bilge, and if he tries to get more brilliant than, say, Hillary or Bernie, his current campaign is going to go Snapper on his ass (Stumpie and the Auld Sapper ref).

    The other thing is, regardless of relative brilliancies, it looks like Clinton got more done in the Senate in her term than Cruz did (or Sanders, or Obama, for that matter). Results count as much (or more) than potential. We get misled by the BS (Benghazi, for instance), but Clinton seems to have a knack for getting stuff done without a fuss. That's not at all a bad trait in a president.


    It's moved beyond this.

    I'm being held responsible for 1/3 deaths when it's Science that states that and some ridiculous Religious Wank fantasy from the last 2,000 years.

    It's a joke.

    Of course, that's not what it meant.

    Of course, the parasites are dancing and reveling in their victories.

    When they really shouldn't have played that card.

    "New Reality".

    Yeah, about that.

    ~ I'm Thinking I'm Back Youtube: film : 3:58


    Hint: GS just signaled. This crash is going to be fucking Biblical.

    And Love really does win battles.

    Hint: Butterflies and Dragonflies - their minds can't comprehend the mimetic stuff that allows you to work.


    Here's the Upshot: it's not hard to parasite a system.

    What's Hard is surviving the purge.


    And, hard fucking fact:

    I didn't waste three years of my life not marking every single one of those contaminated.


    Be Seeing You.


    Whilst everything you say is true, what it really says is he's an accomplished liar (lawyers being liars by default). That's not the main problem; Trump is also an accomplished liar (salesman).

    Nope, the problem is more insidious than that.

    He really does believe at least half of the religious junk he spouts.

    Sure, he plays to the god squad crowd, same way Reagan did - with tales of how everything would be better if christians (and thus them) were in charge. And sure, he's got no intention of allowing them any say if he actually got elected (same as most politicians). But at the same time he's been bought up a dominionist and via a number of things he's said shows every sign of subscribing to that ideology. He's there to be a 'king' and to go to war to bring the spoils to the 'priests' - an "end-time transfer of wealth"(typical yank religion, money is the root of all holiness). It's the same kind of religiously inspired insanity that Romney embodied - a way for a religion to gain power and control via a willing indoctrinated servant.

    So he's both an intelligent liar AND a religious loony. That's a bad combination - worse than Trump and his egotistical narcissism. The damage he could do, particularly in 'warring' against the 'muslim' is immense. Trump would just not give them a visa, Cruz would go to war to grab control of the oil, permanently.

    When you think about it, democracy is a failure. Put a job ad out for a CEO of a multinational and you would have hundreds of high calibre applicants, each one liable to be at least a safe pair of hands. Yet democracy throws up a collection of loonies and liars who make you want to take a shower after shaking their hands.


    Actually, there's another reason to be moderately hopeful about a Boomer die off happening sooner for the GOP than later. Trump's supporters are generally not the most well off folks, nor the best educated either. That puts them on the low end of the life expectancy spectrum, even if there is health care for them now. The GOP's strategy of crippling health care in the red states may hurt them in the long run.

    I'm personally taking the long view on this situation. American politics works in 32-40 year political cycles (1892-1932, 1932-1968, 1968-2008, 2008-204?) where each new 'boom' generation (GI generation, Boomers, Millenials) coming of voting age forces a new cycle to begin. The Republicans and Democrats have been alternating for a while and this cycle will be dominated by the Democrats, especially after the Boomer die off.

    The Democrats are going to get arrogant and complacent and out of touch, just as they did in the sixties which allowed for a Republican backlash and takeover. The Republicans this cycle, as the Democrats did the last cycle are going to go into the wilderness and rebuild the party and position themselves to take over with the next cycle. With the Boomers dying off, the more libertarian leaning Millenials are going to rebuild the party, deliberately shutting down and kicking out the more extreme elements (religious, bigoted, conspiracy theorists) and rebrand themselves as a tolerant multi-cultural party friendly to racial minorities, women and LGBT folk, while promoting economic freedom as well as social freedom.

    What's really fascinating is what the next political cycle is going to be like, what new coalitions will form when the post-Millenial boom generation arises, polarizing the country into progressive and conservative factions again. The question is, what will the polarization be like? It's not going to be the culture wars that came out of the sixties. Both parties are going to be taking a pro-civil rights platform because demographically, anything else is suicide (as 2050 is around the time whites go from a majority to the smallest minority).

    One very interesting scenario is that the political polarization could be over technology issues (robots and AIs taking human jobs, creating unemployment, as well as genetic engineering and human augmentation issues. That could lead to some very interesting shifts in the party coalitions. It's not impossible the pro-technology liberals and the libertarians (who generally are pro-technology as well)form a new political coalition. Social conservatives, labor unions, as well as anti-technology liberals form a second anti-technology coalition. With the Republican party likely to go libertarian after the Boomers dying off, it would be more likely that the pro-technology liberals go from the Democratic party to the Republican Party, and the social conservative Republicans go to the Democratic party (where their Dixiecrat forebears came from originally).

    If liberals and libertarian in a political coalition sound strange, remember that libertarians generally don't agree with evangelicals on social issues, but have formed a pragmatic alliance because they consider economic issues more important. Liberals and libertarians may disagree on certain economic issues (social safety net) but in practical terms, they might overlook that in favor of making sure that laws designed to 'protect human jobs' don't cripple economic competitiveness in a global marketplace.


    " (as 2050 is around the time whites go from a majority to the smallest minority)."

    Please don't hyperbolize too much. Whites will go from a majority to the largest minority around that time, but whites will remain the largest minority for the rest of this century, even as our share of the population continues to shrink. I mean, you have East+Southeast+South Asians, Latinos, Blacks, multiracial, etc. dividing up the remaining ~50-70%.


    Thanks. Obviously I was not in a great mood earlier, sorry about that. Mini Cooper and deep snow don't mix.

    Also thinking of staying out of the political discussons. There not why I'm here anyway.


    Doesn't make him any less of an evil bastard.


    While I would find it immensely gratifying to know that pigeon pests were to be blasted with an anti-missile laser, I would point out that it is extreme overkill. A few hundred milliwatts is all that is needed: take out the eyes so that they can no longer see the pigeons, and they will lose both the inclination and the ability to pester them.


    Gack. Mistyped that. Meant largest minority.

    98: 83

    Yes, a huge amount of $$$$$ are behind Cruz, so what, he's a shit? ( As well as a nutter )


    Agree, because I can't really see a Hilary second-term, given her age ... can you? Also, what will the makeup of Congress/Senate be, or will the Dems gain, because people are afraid of Cruz/Trump & will vote "straight ticket" ????


    There's this assumption that all the "Boomers" including me, born 1946 are reactionary thugs. Well, you can piss right off, matey! I suggest you look at the folk histories of the period 1963-75 etc to kill that one. Seriously, this assumption is badly flawed .... I'm more of the opinion that the right in this country & the ultra-right in the USA are making a power-grab, whilst they can, under circumstances that temporarily favour them. NOT helped in the UK by having a totally ineffectual left, because their leader is a nutter, too, though, at least he is a nice-to-know nutter. Unlike Cruz, yuck


    "There's this assumption that all the "Boomers" including me, born 1946 are reactionary thugs."

    Not including you. I have always understood the term "boomers" or "baby boomers" to refer to a demographic group in the USA, not in other countries. So you're off the hook.

    Second of all, it would of course be silly to assume that all people born between 1946 and 1962 (or whatever the boundaries are) share exactly the same political convictions, with not a single exception. I think that usually goes without saying.


    I was only talking about his level of intelligence. Nothing more.



    There is no demographic of Republicans that is libertarian.

    Lots of them like to say things that sound Libertarian. And to call themselves that. But actual curtailing of police powers? Actually cutting the govt budget? Not going to happen: they're all 'starve the beast' libertarians who want to cut taxes and put off cutting spending because that bit's too hard.

    Skip the rhetoric, look at what they do.

    Meanwhile demographics suggest an increase in the % of voters over 60 every year until at least 2075. As well as a bigger mismatch in backgrounds of the old and young as immigrants are much younger, and have many more kids, than US born white Americans.


    Yup - based round the 2012 candidate selection, and a lot of fun.


    Well, I watch a show called "Chicago Fire", which aside from being hugely well written and acted is notable for how realistic its effects work is (for instance, when they needed one appliance to be t-boned by another, they actually used 2 real fire appliances towed by other vehicles).

    They did a helicopter vs RC quadcopter "drone" "crash", and they had most of the helicopter sat on the edge of an apartment block roof, and bits (like the rotor head) spread over a 1 block radius. Enough said?


    I've seen video (sorry, broadcast TV show) of the Maxson and it is huge fun, but the civilian owners could only afford to reload the ~1_000 rounds per barrel that they fired off about once per year.


    I should like to point out that pigeons strip brassicas, both in winter and as seedlings, and shit all over the place. Actually, I don't mind looking at them.


    Well, the Canadians actually say "Boomies", but they're referring to the same demographic.


    See also popular astrology for that.

    I am amused by the Wikipedia List of Generations. One lass I went out with fell between two of those cohorts, being pre-boomer but born just after the end of the war.


    Bother. I had some difficulty finding a kosher link for Epub, but there was one on his blog - unfortunately, it doesn't work, and I have tried three browsers. It might demand that I run Microsoft :-(


    Well, I never said it was practical (after all, where are those 4000 rounds of 12.7mm going to come down), but it would be GREAT fun.


    Interesting - two different contributors called Martin on the same thread :) Now I'm wondering whether to change my "handle" (the Martin based in Edinburgh, not the US-located Martin)


    Ah, yes, them. Along with The Fellowship one has to wonder - the satire has to be so thick to comment on them that it becomes monstrous.

    Was almost hoping to not have to look into that can of worms.


    As a rare [actual honest] opinion: personal spirituality / faith seems fine, but the organized kinds strangely always seem poisonous.

    The argument is always made (a la the French Revolution, Mao, Stalin) that the alternatives are worse, but I wonder.

    Perhaps America will get its heart's desires.


    Ecocultural niche modeling and radiocarbon dating suggest a causal role for interspecific competition in the extinction of Neanderthals. Most archaeologists argue that the advantage to modern humans lay in a higher culture level (a sizable minority dispute this view). Competition between the two species may have occurred when a modern human propagule entered a region occupied by a larger Neanderthal population. We present a model for this replacement, stressing the importance of the founder effect. Our findings shed light on the disappearance of the Neanderthals, showing that endogenous factors such as relative culture level, rather than such extrinsic factors as epidemics or climate change, could have caused the eventual exclusion of a comparatively larger population by an initially smaller one.

    An ecocultural model predicts Neanderthal extinction through competition with modern humans


    I'd be really surprised if anyone with an M2-derived weapon such as the Quadmount in the link actually makes reloads for it. Semi-auto and full-auto rifles really need jacketed bullets to stop lead fouling and a self-loader needs consistent powder charges to cycle the action reliably. They type of powder is important too to prevent fouling or overheating. It's usually easier to just buy milspec ammo in bulk -- as I recall regular .50 Browning ammo is about a dollar a round if purchased in thousand-round lots.

    You can see a quad-mount .50 cal in use in Waterworld during the attack on the atoll. I particularly appreciate the gunner's shout of "Swab it!" after the firing is finished.


    That was a paraphrased quote from the owners, not a claim that they hand-loaded spent brass with new charge and shell.


    If you're talking about this: , it also sounds like great, if brief, fun. And an even better cause for wearing hearing protection.


    It would be even more over-kill than a Maxson (or a Flakvierling, or an 8 barrel pom-pom ) for use against quadcopters or pigeons!


    Overkill? You want overkill?

    The AIR-2 Genie air-to-air missile had a 1.5ktonne nuclear warhead. It has been suggested as an anti-dragon weapon system in another blog so it should deal with any pesky drones quite handily.


    Since most drones* are low altitude I really wouldn't want to be in the area with one of those going off. And how much of an EM pulse do low-yield nukes emit?

    *personally I object to calling quadcopters drones, but it's become too common to refer to them as such to argue with.


    From the days when project leads were project leads and stood at ground zero.

    (Though that was a 10,000 feet. It would be worse if lower.)


    I would think hearing protection would be absolutely required, yes.

    (And that is the GREEN MACE I was thinking of. Very ambitious project for its day.)


    Seems that being a Democrat/liberal tracks with longer life span according to some newish research which needs to be replicated/confirmed.

    Republicans/conservatives are okay with technology but not with science. For an example, see the online dating site called Christian Mingle that uses the slogan: Find God's Match for You. Probably why the push in modern technology is toward more 'intuitive' end-user experience, i.e., no thinking needed.


    That's a classic film. I'll admit to a weakness for nuke test films. This is a favorite nuke picture. I like to imagine it's a zeppelin, rather than a barrage balloon.


    Overkill? You want overkill?

    The AIR-2 Genie air-to-air missile had a 1.5ktonne nuclear warhead.

    Boys and their guns... don't care if it's inadequate or overkill as long it makes "Bang!"

    The adequate solution would be a megawatt deuterium laser. Just a discrete "zapp!" and the target is gone. With some luck the updraft from hot air will carry the remaining drone parts far enough away so they don't hit bystanders. Also perfect as pigeon pest control.


    It's not a barrage balloon, the picture is the back end of a Goodyear Blimp, and the stuff on the ground to the left of it is the remains of the forward section, collapsed by the shockwave.


    Also perfect as pigeon pest control.

    Perfect pigeon pest prevention provides peregrines.

    It's rather like the local complaints about too many Canada Geese; this is evidence of too few snapping turtles and a pronounced eagle shortage, not of too many geese.


    Tell it to Wikipedia. I thought it was a blimp, and there does look to be a gondola at the bottom right of it.


    Do you have the Lotka–Volterra equations to prove that?

    Anyway, AFAIK Canada Geese don't leave their shit all inside of railway stations or enter bakeries and pester the patrons. At least not in Germany.


    If 50 BMG is not enough, then a Polsten quad mount would be a suitable upgrade.

    (The other problem with the 50 BMG was the short barrel life: 30 seconds from new to inaccurate, or approximately one belt. The U.S. WW2 solution was to simply mass-produce spare barrels at several times the rate of consumption, but these days they'd probably look into stellite liners.)

    Was there an American APC (Bradley?) in an AA version, with rotary cannon? Ah yes:


    More on why conservatives are okay with technology (which is NOT the same as 'science').

    Sciencedaily: 'Some consumers use ‘servant’ brands to gain sense of power, study finds'

    Date: January 5, 2016

    Source: Johns Hopkins University Carey Business School

    Summary: 'A recent study states that some consumers -- materialists who strongly link possessions to happiness and who tend to have poor personal relationships -- regard anthropomorphized popular products as servants over which they can assert power and gain control that they otherwise lack in their lives.'

    Kinda explains why such types also treat people as 'things' ...


    Decided to look up OGH's Boscone schedule. Some interesting panels and meets-and-greets. Like that this convention includes a free/public day.

    Friday, 3:00 PM (free to public) Room: Burroughs Things I Wish A Pro Had Told Me There’s nothing like 20/20 vision when you’re looking in the rear view mirror. Professionals share their experiences and swap stories about their own writing and career decisions—perhaps musing how a little helpful information might have gone a long way. Find out what they wish they had known, and hear what the pros have to say about your queries during Q&A. Walter Jon Williams (M), Brendan DuBois, Christopher Golden, Peadar Ó Guilín, Charles Stross

    Friday, 5:30 PM (free to public) Room: Independence Reading: Charles Stross Charles Stross

    Saturday, 11:00 AM Room: Marina 3 Dating 101 in Urban Fantasy Magic is in the air! Dating comes with its own unique sets of rules when finding love within urban fantasy novels. You never know what secrets your special someone is hiding — or what’s really so “special” about her. Our panelists share their best advice for how characters can find true love while fighting against the imminent destruction of everyone and everything they hold dear. Darlene Marshall (M), Max Gladstone, E.J. Stevens, Charles Stross, Lauren Roy

    Saturday, 1:00 PM Room: Harbor I-Kaffeeklatsch 2 Kaffeeklatsch 2: Charles Stross Charles Stross

    Saturday, 3:00 PM Room: Galleria-Autographing Autographing: Neil Clarke, E.C. Myers, Charles Stross, E. Lily Yu Neil Clarke, Charles Stross, E. Lily Yu, E.C. Myers

    Sunday, 10:00 AM Room: Marina 2 Right and Wrong: AIs and Us Artificial intelligence raises many questions of morality for us … and for them. Can/should self-aware AIs be controlled? Is it slavery to own an AI? Can we terminate lower-functioning units, even if self-aware? Do AIs warrant a vote? And how and why could we/should we instill morality into AIs? Are Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics appropriate, or enough? Janice Gelb (M), Tom Easton, John P. Murphy, Charles Stross, Django Wexler

    Why, oh why, aren’t you on this panel? This is so Laundryverse!

    Sunday, 1:00 PM Room: Marina 4 Alien Invasions — Why Do They Bother? Terribly-tentacled conquerors and their ilk trying to take over the Earth are a science fiction staple. But really, what’s in it for them? Why us? In a universe of precious resources, why would they destroy the Earth? We’ll discuss various examples, including why the Martians would even want New Jersey. Allen M. Steele (M), Julia Rios, Robert J. Sawyer, Frank Wu, Craig Shaw Gardner


    Peregrines are no good, they don't attack human prey. Nor do eagles. Snapping turtles do, but not exclusively, and we don't have them here anyway.

    Canada geese and pigeons are like not mowing the lawn: people only bitch about them because they can see them. If they couldn't see them they wouldn't know there was anything to bitch about. Therefore a lowish power laser is all that is needed. Although it must be said that given a high power laser then mowing the lawn with it would be a whole lot more entertaining than the usual method.


    It doesn't have to be peregrines. Cooper's Hawk works well, too.

    Though this paper points out that peregrine nest productivity is lowered when their diet is more diverse (that is, has a lower proportion of pigeons) so that's a good reason to suppose there's been some evolution going on from the peregrine's side.

    Can't find the reference to the urban pigeon study that indicated there were fewer, fitter, faster-flying, and tighter-flocking pigeons since peregrines started being re-introduced in urban regions. That does match with personal observation.


    The argument is always made (a la the French Revolution, Mao, Stalin) that the alternatives are worse, but I wonder. To which ( readers who've seen this before may now ignore the rest of this post ) the equally-standard reply is that "communism" is a classic religion, so what's new? I won't bore you with why this is so, since I'm sure you all know by now ....


    Not only do pigeons shit everywhere, the feral ones carry a multitude of nasty diseases & parasites, which themselves may carry diseases which can affect humans. They also can & do munch away on vast quantities of crops. I have to grow all my allotment Brassicas under netting or covering of some sort.


    Though on the positive side, pigeons are probably pentachromats (and not obviously evil like clown shrimp :-) ) I wish I could imagine what they look like to each other, with those iridescent feathers and complex greys and beiges.


    A common misconception... but unfortunately a profitable one.

    There are two rather rare fungi which live in soil and appear in greater concentrations under longstanding piles of pigeon shit. Those can affect humans. That's the lot. So as long as you don't go digging up old piles of pigeon shit on the wrong bit of soil (which is very much a minority pastime) you're OK.

    As am I, having spent 12 years sharing a room with a flock of several tens of pigeons (like Tesla did), plus collecting ill ones found on the street and hospitalising them, feeding them mouth-to-beak if they can't manage it themselves... I ended up with so much pigeon gut flora that I began to make the same smells. There is quite a community of people who do this sort of thing and nobody ever catches anything from it. It's a minor "party trick" of mine to eat a pigeon turd in front of an unbeliever as a demonstration of confidence.


    Remember, capitalism coughed up Trump and Romney (although Romney's father was a politician too). Basically, all systems are vulnerable to being captured by idiots and psychopaths. The nice thing about a democracy is that we get to vote them out of office, rather than bankrupting the company and putting people out of work, or as in an aristocracy, starting a civil war where thousands die to settle who gets to be the next boss.

    In any case, I don't think religion's going away any time soon. I'll be very interested to see what happens with Evangelical Christianity, but my thought is that its undoing, such as it is, will be as the kids who've grown up looking for The Way, The Truth, and The Light actually read the Bible and become less evangelical as a result. This seems to be the common path away from this form of Churchianity, and it's one reason they're so big on missionary work. Without a constant flow of new converts, they don't tend to keep their numbers up. Still, bad times tend to favor religious extremism, and much of rural America is getting hammered. I don't think religious extremism is going away any time soon.*

    The second problem is that the Old South hasn't gone away yet, and it may not, ever. For most of a century and more it messed up Democratic politics, then after LBJ and Nixon's Southern Strategy, they became republicans and are messing up that party. It's not clear what happens if the Republicans don't want them. Do we the Republicans schism into two parties, the Republican party of the powerful plutocrats and their hangers on, and the reactionary religious Tea Party, and a three-party system overall? Or do the plutocrats switch to the Democratic party and leave the Republican Party in the hands of the evangelical church?

    *The weird situation is if we get into things like AI, severe climate change, and other changes that are so bizarre that extremist Christianity ruptures trying to pretzel itself into a way to deal with the moral, ethical, and faith choices that it has to deal with. There's only so much you can reject as unholy before your former believers reject you as useless?


    I wonder to what extent this is changing pigeons and the animals used to control them?


    Not only are they pentachromats, their magnetic field sensors feed into their visual cortex.

    "How birds see the world" isn't something we're equipped to comprehend.


    Oh, come off it! I am not particularly worried by the usual hysterics, and believe in keeping my immune system well-exercised, but there are several serious nasties transmissible by pigeons. Cats and dogs are worse, I agree. This link is a bit hysterical, but I doubt that it is lying about what they have been observed to carry.


    Don't confuse evangelical and Evangelical. Wesley was evangelical. The Evangelist Christian churches are often not really Christian, as you imply.


    Hysterical it is - it reads like the Daily Mail on immigrants. It lists a bunch of things which you could isolate from pretty well any population of animals (including humans) in such a way as to get the reader to think there's a big risk of catching them from a pigeon. There isn't, and you're much more likely to catch them from a human. And some, at least, of the entries are utter bollocks - certainly nearly all pigeons are symptomless carriers of Trichomonas gallinae, and I have treated several where it has ceased to be symptomless - it's rather nasty, but responds like magic to metronidazole - but it does not infect humans, it's bird-specific. And the Triatoma rubifasciata thing is the wrong species. They seem to be the only ones calling it a "pigeon" kissing bug - everyone else calls it the "large" kissing bug - and the reduviid associated with pigeons is Reduvius personatus, which preys on other insects that eat pigeon shit. It does look very similar, but it's not the same thing at all. There are a few other common "everyone knows" myths in it as well. I cba to check every single entry individually, but the number of those I can so easily discard gives me a good idea of what I'd find.


    City pigeons are essentially a domesticated species to begin with. The wild rock dove is a very shy bird, but the descendants of domesticated strains don't mind humans very much at all, and have featured in cities for centuries.


    The Evangelist Christian churches are often not really Christian, as you imply.

    Do you REALY ( really) want to open that can of worms?

    The Lutherans / Calvinists / Catholics aren't real christians, they are vile unbelievers who must be killed! ( See 30 Years War etc ...) Conversely, deluded, but otherwise "nice" people, use this fake argument ("not real christians") in a version of "No true Scotsman" to claim that they are different from those horrible fake christians, over there. Ditto in spades for islam, of course ....

    Much simpler to step off the road of "belief" & apologia & hysteria altogether & simply walk away from all of it.


    This video (YouTube: live: 0:56) is trending at the moment. Feb 3rd 2016

    Trigger warning if you dislike the idea of children free-basing the Holy Spirit.



    Warrior Fest: Where Lambs become Lions Note: extremely bandwidth heavy.

    Million-dollar ministry: How Cleveland evangelist Perry Stone built a ministry empire Times Free Press Oct 2013


    Coupled with the Congressional hearings about Shkreli (and a far more interesting interview done with Rappers that mentioned Bridger capital, who just happen to hold 80% or so in Heathcare stocks), things continue to potter along.


    Sigh. A Christian is anyone who follows the teaching of Christ, which is generally accepted as what is described in the Gospels, just as a Muslim is anyone who follows the teaching of Mohammed, which is generally accepted as what is described in the Koran. I am speaking as an atheist, incidentally. The sects I am railing against use Leviticus to override the Gospels, which makes them not Christian. OK?


    Well, er, yes, it does. However, as I said, I don't believe that it is lying black is white, and I believe that almost all of the parasites it describes have been found in pigeons. I have seen elsewhere estimates that, in the UK, pigeons are the species responsible for most zoonoses after (a long way after) dogs and cats. But what I was really responding to was your obviously nonsensical claim that the only disease is two rare soil-born fungi - if nothing else, they will carry unusual variants of salmonella. You and I may have no problem with those, but some people do.




    Hats off to you, this is mimetic magic levels of glory. The Mogwai would huddle you to their bosoms and coo at you in respect.

    It just has everything.

    I ended up with so much pigeon gut flora that I began to make the same smells

    As a Gladiator, it is not enough to kill, you have to make the crowd love you.

    (Does anyone remember a single-use poster coming in to reference Japanese games? And my response of Hatoful Boyfriend? Ahhh... so nice to close this loop: champion unmasked).


    Did some research on pigeons - turns out it's both visual and nasal and auditory.

    “I would say now there are three potential places where magnetoreceptors may rest,” says David Keays, a neuroscientist at the Institute of Molecular Pathology in Vienna, who led the team behind the macrophage paper. These are the beak, the eyes and the ears. “Our paper and this paper are in a sense raising more questions than answers,” Keays adds. “It’s an extremely exciting time to be in the field.”

    Pigeons may ‘hear’ magnetic fields Nature, 2012

    nose wiggle


    Anyhow, here's some art about it, using CRTVs for that retro feel:

    "Visualizing Magnetic Fields"

    CRT MGN - Visualizing Magnetic Fields Carsten Nicolai, Art. Has video attached.

    Carsten Nicolai's web site


    Good point, I was being careless with my capitalization.

    My personal terminological preference is what pagans use: Christians are people who have read the Bible and sincerely try to follow the Way of Jesus, however imperfectly. These people get the golden rule, and while they may not like what you're doing if you're not Christian, they do work on practicing tolerance and the care of others. A lot of pagans are perfectly happy with these people, and if they're helping the poor, being medical missionaries, and so on, more power to them. It's not an easy path to follow. At least looking from the outside, I'd put Pope Benedict in this camp, just to pick a well-known exemplar.

    Then there are the Xtians, who tend not to have read the Bible, but believe a little magical ritual involving blessed water and the recitation of certain words gets them into heaven after death, and here on Earth they can do whatever they want because God will forgive them afterwords, thanks to that little ritual. They tend to be strongly authoritarian, do not practice what Jesus taught, and are the ones we're criticizing here. Ted Cruz appears to fit here.

    Unfortunately, this terminology hasn't (AFAIK) gotten much outside the pagan community.

    Incidentally, this particular split is not endemic to Christianity. Look up the Ikko ikki movement if you want to see a Buddhist example that had a very similar ideology.


    I've seen that, just not had that terminology. Even in a heavily Xtian congregation, I would expect to find Christians, at least, it was that way when I still had beliefs.


    I understand you perfectly. Unfortunately, you are wrong - please note that I wish you were correct, but it ain't so ..... These people call themselves christian or muslim, all over the landscape & over the bodies of their victims.

    See recent article on how Da'esh are completely "muslim" for instance (lost the link for now). For that matter, the many christian "saints" who were murderers & torturers, & are still "on the books" as saints .... I hope you understand what points I am making?


    Agreed. An acquaintance of mine got a really nasty blood infection from the mites carried by pigeons. She had to be taken home to Yorkshire by ambulance, after about a week in hospital, & she wasn't right for about a month after that .... One of my cats (now dead) caught one in the garden, brought it in, was shooed out, & he eat some of it. About half-an-hour later, he came into the kitchen & promptly "returned" the part-digested pigeon, complete with several (live) tapeworms, euw.


    See my comment @ 151. Disagree re "Benedict" - he's an authoritarian shite, like most popes. See also "Mother Theresa" - suffering is good - for other people.


    they are vile unbelievers who must be killed! ( See 30 Years War etc ...)

    The 30 Years War was about territorial power, not about killing unbelievers. You don't need religion to make people kill people from other countries – that's what nationalism is for.


    The distinction is between those that call themselves Christians, Muslims etc., and those that genuinely are Christians, Muslims etc. The same applies to pretty well all religio-politico-social labels. I.e. I agree with Heteromeles.


    I'm pretty sure you mean Pope Francis, not Benedict.


    ...and an effective blast radius larger than its range!


    You and Greg just have different definitions of "Christians":

  • Anyone who calls him/herself Christian
  • Anyone who follows the teaching of Christ
  • In the eyes of the catholic church, people from category 2 are usually called "heretics" (see the Patarini, the Dulcinians, the Waldensians and the Cathars, among others)


    Your comment wins the internets for this week.

    But given the prevalence of avian toxoplasmosis I'd recommend that pregnant women should not eat pigeon turds. Possibly we need signs to that effect, and should erect them where-ever pigeons gather.


    Ah, yes, the good old VADS (on an M113, not an M2). Nowadays our LADS is the Avenger ( ), which while more effective, does not make as much happy noise. BTW these are STILL deployed around DC to provide terminal defense for low/slow threats.


    "and should erect them where-ever pigeons gather."

    Somehow I first read this as "where were-pigeons gather." At least if you're a were-pigeon you can hang out at Starbucks in both forms.


    Well, there's another surreal image!!


    For conservation of mass, I guess you'd have to transform into a flock of pigeons. I feel the germ of an absurdist story coming on.


    I think I've read that somewhere in a novel... Protagonist transforming into a flock of birds... spying on someone? Daughter? Ex-wife? - something like that.


    I was thinking of something more . . . Kafkaesque, with a heavy dose of humor.


    Err, maybe, but the 30 years War saw civil conflicts as well, remember & the great "advantage" of a religious war is that you can kill your neighbour if he or she is the wrong sort of believer or unbeliever ... So nice, not.


    Yes, & as we have been discussing, arguing, violently over precisely that definition has killed a lot of people ... & substituting "muslim" is killing large numbers, right now. So: definitions matter.


    And just to reveal another facet of myself...

    I was one of the founding members for a brief time


    BTW, they are still an admirable organization. I dropped into one of their churches in Central London a year or so back to say hello. Of course, most of the people I knew, including Noel Stanton, have died since, but one or two are still prominent. Went to school with some of them. They do a lot of work with homeless people (if the latter can stand the discipline of no drink, drugs or sex). Nice to know that I would probably have somewhere to go if I ended up on the lowest rung of the ladder.


    Yes I do mean Pope Francis, thanks for the correction.

    Speed typing leads to gaffes.

    The retired Pope Benedict is not someone who can be readily classed as a true Christian, at least to an extreme outsider like myself. For anyone who's Catholic or has met the man, I have to stress that I actually don't know what I'm talking about here, merely using public personae as examples of the difference between practitioners of the Way of Jesus (Christians), and Christians In Name Only (Xtians).


    That's a little problematic, surely?

    The largest of these communities is the New Creation Farm in Northamptonshire, which is also the centre of the church's lucrative timber, agriculture and architecture industries – much of which are run by those recruited off the streets. The most recent published accounts for House of Goodness Limited, the parent company of the Jesus Army's businesses, shows an operating profit of £437,751 (£300,000 of which was given to the Church as a charitable donation).

    "They deliberately target vulnerable homeless people," Kristen continued. "I used to be one of the people who handed out sandwiches [to homeless people]. Basically, what they do is they help you fill out the benefit forms. They then make you sign over all your money to them. If you've got a bank account and you've got savings, then you have to give that to them as well.

    "They say you get the money back when you leave, but you don't. We don't know where the money goes or what they do with it; they never, ever get rid of your benefit details or your bank details, and they make you sign a disclaimer to tell no one what happens at the Jesus Army."

    Why Are London's Homeless Scared of the Jesus Army? Vice Feb 2014


    While Vice is part owned by Murdoch these days, and certainly has an agenda (and quite possibly that agenda is not a positive one), there are certainly other smatterings of reportage out there suggesting not everything is happiness and light in there.

    The fact that it's an active Corporate concern as well as a charity is a bit telling (although to function I can see that as necessary).


    Note: Personally I suspect the group would find me an aberration and would likely view me as a threat to be either purged or fought against.

    That's not a pleasant experience, but not one that I'm unaccustomed to (then again, Northamptonshire also spawned Alan Moore, so I'll have to hope that the Ancient Order of MU have my back).

    How tiresome it is to be hated by all sides.


    [Note: while I can respect religion a little bit more than my dramatic persona likes to pretend not to, it's all a bit old fashioned imo; and its hacking places that shouldn't get hacked]


    Since we're on Religion:

    Pope Francis and Russian Orthodox patriarch to hold historic meeting Guardian, 5th Feb, 2016, 1 hr ago.

    Lots of rabble noise from Gremlins Deeper than Dirk clamoring "Deus Vult".


    "Don't want to be a dick or anything but sitting in a room and being forced to listen to enthusiastic Christian rock is pretty excruciating, especially as one guy – clearly in the midst of a mystical experience – wouldn't stop dancing."

    Some things never change!

    The reason they have a reputation is that the lifestyle they offer is quite austere. If it was all drugs and sex like in the Good Old Hippie Commune Days... well, where are those communes now? They are never going to be popular with a lot of homeless people when their major offering is a bed, abstinence, hard work and no Net.


    Rather like the workhouses, in fact.


    Surely the 2K22 Tunguska is more like it? (Or the ZSU-23-4 if what you really want is to mow down insurgents in urban areas, its original anti-air role being a bit obsolescent).

    Mind you, GREEN MACE is ... impressive, albeit in a "we're gonna need a bigger can opener" way rather than "this is a REAL solution to the problem" manner.


    Your definitions of Christians and Xtians are fun but somewhat excluding:

    What do you call the people who like the idea of the christian god and the golden rule (apart from occasional transgressions of course) but don't go for the heaven/hell/bible stuff?

    (Heretics/Agnostics/Humanists would not be good answers IMHO)


    When you think about it, democracy is a failure. Put a job ad out for a CEO of a multinational and you would have hundreds of high calibre applicants, each one liable to be at least a safe pair of hands.

    Riiiiiiiight ...

    What on earth makes you think members of the CEO caste are trustworthy?

    (Just go look at Carly Fiorina. Or Donald Trump. Or, hell, George W. Bush. They're already running for POTUS, or worse, have had their turn in the barrel. And they're utterly shit at running an enterprise where it's impossible to dodge around "externalities" -- stuff you can outsource/downsize in a corporate context is stuff you're stuck with. Worse, corporations are mostly interally structured as Stalinist command economies where the CEO's word is law. That doesn't work so well with Congress or the Supreme Court. Their training and instincts are all wrong for the role, and it shows.


    As a rare [actual honest] opinion: personal spirituality / faith seems fine, but the organized kinds strangely always seem poisonous.

    Personal opinion on that: it's because the people who end up running the organized faiths are the sort of people who are motivated to join all other human hierarchical social organizations because they provide a route to achieving power over other people.

    Sometimes you get a cock-up, as when Pope John Paul I was elected (and quite possibly assassinated 33 days later; possibly the current pontif is another example -- looked like a fascist sympathizer in the 70s, so was deemed acceptable to the reactionary power-obsessed types in the college of cardinals, only showed his true colours after the election (oops!).

    But senior priests usually get to be senior because they care more about climbing the pyramid of power and playing than about washing their parishioners' feet.


    You couldn't call them christians, anyway, because dumping the bible and merely 'liking the idea of the Christian God' isn't exactly a faithful adherence to the teachings of Christ.

    Heretics is a perfectly good answer, from the pov of an actual Christian. Woolly minded spiritualist might be another from a more agnostic/ atheist pov.


    Pope Francis eats in a communal dining hall. "At 77, Pope Francis keeps a busy pace, and aides keep their fingers crossed" (Pointed out by a cynical friend.)


    That's a perfectly valid point. Any binary classification is problematic, given the real diversity of Christianity (see below). Christians in Name Only is problematic because Evangelical (capital E) like to use that term to denigrate other Christians they don't like. With the present crowd, Xtian serves much the same purpose, as a convenient label for the ones we don't like, while trying to exclude the ones we do like by calling the Christian.

    I put a few pages on Christian diversity into Hot Earth Dreams in some speculation about the future of religion. If you want to dive into a snake-pit of questionable statistics, check out the Gordon Conwell data and the comments at

    While I don't consider these numbers accurate, Christian sects appear to follow a long-tailed distribution, with a few big heterogeneous sects (the largest being the Roman Catholic Church) and thousands of other sects, going down to some questionably Christian African street preachers with a few followers or whatever. I suspect the heterogeneity, the diversity, and the long-tailed distribution of groups with fewer and fewer people are accurate descriptions of reality, but the numbers and categories are all questionable.


    A bit off-topic -- a collection of "Top 10 of the most implausible adaptations of Soviet armor":

    If nobody can find an online translator which can handle this page, I will write a translation. It is pretty hilarious.


    What on earth makes you think members of the CEO caste are trustworthy?

    I'm not sure if you have been following Finnish internal politics lately, but last spring we had parliamnetary elections. As a result, we now have a former CEO and businessman as our prime minister, and his cabinet is quite right-wing.

    From my admittely biased perspective - I am somewhat more leftist than the current cabinet - he has been trying to run the country as a company, not as a, well, country. He's not the only one to blame, of course, but his style in dictating how negotiations should go reminds me quite much of a CEO, not a politician.

    This has created quite a bit of resentment in the people affected by his actions. For example, he has tried to dictate the salary and vacation times as laws, against the usual policy which has been negotiations between workers' unions and employers' unions. (The newspeak about "the social contract" when usually the term has been "collective barganing agreement" has not helped.)

    The financial side does not look that good either. It seems that the current cabinet wants to sell off assets which don't give enough of a ROI, or for which they would get nice back-scratching deals, with no concern of what the state should provide for its inhabitants. Also the situation with the raw materials is quite bad - there are pretty much no limits on how foreign investors can make claims on for example mineral resources, and mostly Finland apparently should just watch from the sidelines as our minerals are mined and sold by foreign corporations.

    Add to this the sales of natural monopolies of some infrastructure to foreign investors (of course with the normal tax-avoidance schemes) and the pathological fear of debt, even when Finland could get loans for negative interest, and my opinion is that being a CEO is by no means a good recommendation for being a state head.

    I could rant about this more, but this is probably not the best forum for that.


    Since the discussion had reached a point of considering loudness and rarity of firing opportunity, rather than practical utility, I thought GREEN MACE likely to win. (The noise from an auto-firing 5" gun isn't really a noise anymore, it's more of a handsy overpressure.)

    In practical terms, you sneak up on pigeon roosting sites with a net in the dark, you don't shoot them.

    Shooting them with interestingly explosive 30mm cannon rounds that mass about what the pigeon does involves a sort of ghastly profligacy that might not mind paying for the unplanned dead, the shattered storefronts, the fires....

    You certainly don't shoot pigeons with 1.2 km/s APFSDS at 90 rounds per minute. The gunner's position was enclosed because it had to be. Overpressure and the rain of sabots peeling off would have interesting consequences even before one is forced to consider that hitting a pigeon with ~10 kg projectiles at that velocity isn't, from the projectile's POV, distinguishable from not hitting a pigeon, so what you're really doing at the point is shooting up wherever the rounds happen to come down. Which might mean someone is using pigeon control as a cover for what they really want to shoot.


    Sure, why not. I don't think many of the previously mentioned parties would agree with it though.

    Graydon #184 - I think the comments are more about how to shoot down drones, not pigeons, but I suspect that the same factors come into play with them as with pigeons.


    "Drone" is a tricky category. It apparently covers everything from some toystore quad-copter with a ten minute flight endurance and no payload to the X-47B.

    You don't shoot down an X-47B because now the USN has an excuse to demonstrate why you should fear it. You don't shoot down the quadcopter because it's not dangerous, and shooting is.

    The middle ground -- has someone manufactured an autonomous flying weapon of some sort? -- has the pottential for things like this in it, which looks very impressive, but which has a plausible payload mass around 10kg. (And it's really obvious where it came from.) It's challenging to come up with a scenario where autocannon aren't more destructive than the 10kg payload. (It's also transcendently difficult to come up with a scenario where the substantial effort to produce the low-payload drone isn't better spent in other ways.)

    So I suspect the real issue with drones isn't defensive, but meta-defensive; drones are a way to fly cameras and bypass information control mechanisms. This is spectacularly useful in a whole bunch of engineering contexts, but it's potentially highly embarrassing to the institutions of state power, too. So there's a bunch of faffling about the defensive case to justify the draconian rules necessary to make sure the cops don't have to worry about someone flying a camera over them while they're beating the protesters.


    They are never going to be popular with a lot of homeless people when their major offering is a bed, abstinence, hard work and no Net.

    And in our case, abject terror, fear and hatred of just who we are.


    Quite a thing to live in fear, isn't it? Youtube: film: 4:30


    Worse, corporations are mostly interally structured as Stalinist command economies where the CEO's word is law.

    Right description, but wrong causation. Soviet system based on American corporations, as exemplified by Taylor's Scientific Management.

    None of my own notes left (it was a long time ago) but the Wikipedia article agrees with what I remember from my prof.

    I rather like this quote: "the combination of the Russian revolutionary sweep with American efficiency is the essence of Leninism." (Stalin)


    Number 2 isn't that implausible - it's the Finnish "Marksman" system; their equivalent of the Gepard / ZSU-23-4 / ZSU-57-2. British turret on a T-55 chassis.

    Granted, there are a couple of "field adaptations" there - the MT-LB with four UB-32 rocket pods from Iraq at number 8 - but I'm surprised that Charlie's old favourite, the TOS-1, didn't appear.


    Well, there's Lance-Constable Salacia von Humpeding, who does it as bats... but I think the idea is thousands of years old.


    Pffft. Green Mace? A mere mouse gun.

    For sheer anti-aircraft lunacy, you want the San-shiki shell - in its 18" form, of course. You could even try parking its ship on the Thames as a tourist attraction, if the Japanese haven't raised it from the seabed and turned it into a spacecraft first...


    That's bonkers. I guess it would work against a swarm of attacking aircraft who resolutely kept on coming in a straight line, but otherwise, well, it might be good for doing weird things to cities and shore bombardments.


    You might even imagine that it would be effective against dive-bombing suicide bombers, right?

    I mean, like, that's the exact profile it's designed to combat, and it's not like you haven't already determined that's a successful (ha! sigh) move against vessels, right?



    You design weapons against the mental schema that you possess.

    Hint: Why the BBC is running "war games" against Russia in Estonia etc at the moment.


    Ye Gods you're all fucked.


    Please tell me I missed a "Ho Ho Ho, Rugger-Buggers around the bar drinking beer" thing there, right?

    Like, you all know the joke and it's like a "ha, ha, what madness we used to do" thing, riiiight?

    Like, in the middle of the Nuke Video, a man ecstatically shouts (while having fall out fall on him) "IT WORKED, IT REALLY WORKED".

    You know, please tell us that you're all not that totally psychotic that you'd test an air bust nuke without knowing if it'd actually work.

    While standing underneath it.

    When quite possibly the shell could have dropped out of the air and only ignited when it hit something solid.

    Like the ground you're standing on.

    Not to mention fallout issues, but hey: "YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE CRAZY TO WORK HERE BUT IT HELPS!"


    'Cause that'd just be like totally fucking insane.

    So, yeah.


    Can't get it.

    I mean like.


    Ah, yeah, I get it. You don't understand things like ecologies and are happy to fuck it all up for a thrill.

    Fuck me.

    I thought I was fighting for something worthwhile when I destroyed my eternal soul for love.


    Thanks for the lesson though.

    I should have just burnt all the Minds in the world and become Shiva and fucked all you apes.

    Staring at Wood just to make a point for days, when I thought there were sensitive minds out there worth saving.


    Ye Gods: no wonder they're fucked up, they've modeled their minds on yours.

    I mean, seriously.

    You're seriously not a little bit weirded out about that video?

    You know, like:

    Here's 5 blokes taking a shit lot of rads on an experiment they don't know if it'll work and so on.

    And they have a fucking CIGAR when it works?


    Get me the tapes of the failed experiments already.


    Fallout is bits of ground, vaporised and irradiated by the explosion and then carried up high into the atmosphere by the convection generated. Air bursts produce very little fallout because the fireball doesn't touch the ground and so does not have any dense material to chew on, only the material of the bomb itself; but it still goes upwards by reason of convection. Having gone up, it takes a long time to come down. It's not much fun for the guys in the fishing boat some time later, but the guys on the spot setting it off are OK.

    As for direct radiation from the explosion, the lethal radius for blast and thermal radiation is nearly always a lot larger than that for ionising radiation, certainly in the case of an air burst of any size (Hiroshima counts).





    I apologize, but that's the point.

    They didn't even know the basics like you just stated.

    They just did it and fucking relied on G_D or luck or whatever.


    It's like watching a video of a child holding a lit sparkler in one hand and a firework in the other and being relieved that nothing goes wrong.

    I cannot believe this is the standard for your military class.

    No, no.. I can, for the 1950's. What I can't believe is that you've not developed enough to grow beyond this and put it behind you and stop this kind of regressive mental illness.


    And I fought for you fuckers and your right to Free Will.

    Gabriel Youtube : film : 3:14). Hint: I'm not that one.


    They didn't even know the basics like you just stated.

    They just did it and fucking relied on G_D or luck or whatever.

    Theory informs, practice convinces.

    The whole point of that test was to prove that Genie was a viable weapons system; you could use it at altitude and not incinerate the ground underneath. Since the warhead was intended for city-defense air defense, this was important.

    So if you want to, you can see people whose specialities are management and planning (rather than science and engineering, or at least not nuclear science and engineering) being brave and responsible. They have to trust their subordinates that they'll survive this; their own personal knowledge is not sufficient to derive that conclusion. They've gone and asserted that all this money and effort should go into the program, and then gone and run the program so the missiles and the warheads exist, so if someone gets incinerated because no, that's not how it works after all, it ought to be them.

    It's not a bad set of attitudes at all; it matters muchly what subject and what scope the outlook gets applied to, but the basic mix of bravery, responsibility, and pragmatism isn't a bad thing of itself.


    I get it, the entire Science shee-bang. I understand it all. I understand the Soviet program. I understand the American program. I understand the Chinese program.

    I even understand the Geo-political reasons for it.







    You're missing the point here.

    "We have become Shiva, destroyer of worlds" became "FUCK YERR 'MURICA, HAVE A FUCKING CIGAR".

    That's the point.

    It's the reason no-one anywhere is feeling guilt about using uranium tipped munitions and causing 50+ years of birth defect.

    You're fucking children, riding on the shoulders of Men and fucking the world because you no longer imagine there are any consequences.


    Dredd, Judgement Day.


    And, not being polite:

    Only One has Claimed a Mind that's a Combat Enhanced Meta-Cognitive Winged Beastie Who Can Fuck Your Shit Up.

    Your stock market is now a target.

    GS is trying to do some things, but hey, fuck them, utter cunts.

    In fact, it's a bit harder than that.

    Voodoo People (Pendulum Remix) Youtube: music: 3:15

    784xvynafggc7 Burn

    You should see the shit we've got lined up [and like CO2, it's all now... a foregone conclusion].


    We don't appreciate torture.


    No need to apologise, that's run of the mill by my standards. But "that nuke video" is not very useful as a search term (I tried it just for the crack; first page is several different videos of actual nukes, some software called that, and videos of Trump saying he'd nuke Denmark).


    ...Go right ahead, and take out the usurers while you're at it.


    You. Fucking. Nuked. The. Sky.

    Well, yeah[1]. You may not have thought through the logic for that. There was a gadget that needed testing and it shouldn't be tested near things that could be damaged by a nuke (or a malfunctioning nuke); empty sky is pretty hard to damage with explosives. Bob's your uncle.

    [1] "Because it's there!" grin


    The useful search terms in this case are ground zero genie which would make a good name for a band.


    [i]well, where are those communes now?[/i]

    Out the back of Nimbin and Bellingen, NSW, Australia.


    Let me guess, Greater than and Less than symbols, rather than squared brackets.


    I wouldn't trust any of them further than I could spit, frankly. Not even Bishop "Georgie Gigolo masquerading as P Francis", as I've seen him referred to in an NSS communication, oops..

    Not even the supposed emulators-of-Yeshua (Who may never have existed - the parallels with Osiris are rather strong ) Sorry, but, to repeat, this is a variant on "No true Scotsman". Since there is no "god", at all, anywhere, anywhen, the whole thing's a sham & should be ignored, if possible.

    Please note: This is not a statement that we should not "live well" or follow something closely resembling say Socrates' or the Stoics' prescriptions for living in a society.


    Let me guess, Greater than and Less than symbols, rather than squared brackets.

    Yes. It has also screwed up people trying to use mathematical expressions. If you want to see how your &lti&gtitalics&lt/i&gt come out I recommend using the Preview button before the Submit button; that's saved me any number of errors.


    Sorry, I forgot .. Why wouldn't I trust them further... etc? Because their entire world-view is based on a falsity & therefore they are guaranteed to come up with wrong answers. Just like the communists, in fact.


    Ah, rather like trying to run the whole country as if it was a Grantham grocery shop, you mean?


    What goes around, comes around? Also: "welcome to the new boss ... "


    I get it, the entire Science shee-bang. Actually, no. I suggest instead you re-read the claim made by The Merchants of Light in "The New Atlantis". Now there is a worthy cause, perhaps.


    The big difference between aspirant politicians and CEOs is that the former have to ham it up to the peanut gallery (including the press), and the latter only have to smarm it up to the CEOs' club. In terms of competence, morals, etc., I can't see much to choose - which doesn't mean that they are all absolute shits, but that the more successful ones tend to be that way.


    No, disagree quite strongly.

    People become CEOs because they go into business management -- large-scale business -- from the get-go with the intention of getting into the top slot. If they're not ambitious and driven they get beaten out by other contenders on the way. The making of profits (or maximizing shareholder value) are just a necessary tool along the way to power. It's very seldom something they do because they have a Vision. The ones who do stand out. (Walt Disney. Henry Ford. Steve Jobs. Elon Musk. etc.)

    People become top-level politicians because they went into politics. Unless you're offspring of an establishment bloodline in an already-corrupted system trending towards oligarchy -- George W. Bush, for example: or maybe David Cameron -- you don't get to go straight into a high elected position without a lot of grinding and sidewalk-pounding and low-level campaign experience. While going to the top might be a long-term goal, politicians generally have to be motivated to get through the low-level canvassing and committee work first, which can take years to decades of committment and dedication. So the seat at the top table is usually (exception for the establishment oligarchs duly noted) something they want because it will finally give them a lever to change the stuff they feel needs changing.

    In other words: to the CEO class, a presidency-level political role is a goal (and what you use the power for is secondary), but to many career politicians a presidency-level political role is all about what you do with it.

    So: political careerists usually have some notion of changing things for the better (even if we might violently disagree with their opinion of what constitutes "better"); CEO careerists almost never come with altruism.

    (This is why when I am planetary evil overlord I will try to enforce a ban on careerist business executives holding any political office above the level of municipal dog-catcher.)


    All hail our new planetary evil overlord!

    It is to be hoped that something else you'll do is stamp, really hard on any organisation that regards half the population ( The half with vaginas ) as in any way inferior. I'm only saying this, because (see comments up-thread) in spite of all his friendly face & apparent liberation theology, is "pope" Francis doing anything practical about the subjugation of women in the RC world? Nah, of course not. It's both contemptible & totally unsurprising, to me, at least.


    Well yes but that's a lot harder because many such organizations are multi-generational projects that indoctrinate said half of the population with a belief in their own inferiority in childhood -- and use this belief to convince the other half that they're innately superior.

    Undoing the damage to the subordinated 50% is all very well, but then you have to deal with flaming shitbags full of humanity fail like this.


    Hmm. You may be right, but I think that you are creating a binary category where there are two overlapping continua. While CEOs don't typically have a 'vision', they are increasingly appointed on the grounds of the changes that the company wants, and what the aspirant CEO claims he/she/it can deliver. And an increasing number of senior politicians show a distinct lack of anything like altruism, and are more interested in playing zero-sum games than anything else.

    Of the fair number of relatively low-level CEOs and aspirant ministers I have met, I have failed to detect any categorical difference on the altruism/power hunger scale. Nor can I detect it in the behaviour of most the high-level ones - nowadays - though I accept that it used to be different.


    Of the fair number of relatively low-level CEOs and aspirant ministers I have met,

    Not sure of the UK but in the US a minister of a non what we call mainline church has a chance to become a well heeled CEO of a mega church. And more and more are doing so. To me the vast majority are no different than CEO's of "secular" companies.

    On the other hand if you join up with the RCC, Anglican, or similar you likely have a different personality. You know there is a hierarchy you'll have to climb. And that most will not climb.


    you have to deal with flaming shitbags full of humanity fail like this.

    If you're an evil overlord, that would be trivial. After all, you need someone to test your fiendish death traps on…


    Wrong kind of minister. I am referring to the politicians whose ambition is to get to decision-making level in a government, which are called ministers in the UK. The ones whose ambition is primarily to serve their constituents tend to stay at that level, nowadays. And I agree with OGH that THOSE tend to be altruistic.

    Aspiring CEOs have to do a lot of hard grind at the middle managerial level (unless, as OGH says, they come from an established ruling subgroup); aspiring Sir Humphreys have to do that in another way; and aspiring ministers have to do the same for their party (NOT their constituents) to get promoted.


    BTW, standing under a 500kt nuke exploded at 30,000m and the worst you would get is some sunburn (or possibly eye damage if you were staring at it) and a few broken windows.


    ... separated by a common language...

    Of the fair number of relatively low-level CEOs and aspirant ministers I have met

    Makes sense with either use of the term. :)


    Euwwwww ... Right up there with Theodore Beale & Mahmud isn't he?


    Yes. A n other site I often visit, has a saying, from ( I forget which actual politician! ) Priorities should be: Country, Constituency; .... party.

    Far too many go Party, party, consitituency (maybe - to make sure of re-election if not in a totally safe seat) country? Who cares, I'm all right, Jack. And it really does not seem to be divided along party lines, either.

    As some of you are saying, it's a mind-set that is increasingly going with the job.


    I'm not sure altruism is quite the right word, although I agree with the sentiment. What they like to do is to make life better for their people. They're fixers.

    The problem becomes how they define their people, with rather too many republicans and a fair number of democrats these days defining that category rather narrowly to only include the donors who are funding them.*

    Still, in the US, most politics and politicians are local. These jobs are shitty: people yell at you all the time, you have to listen to this patiently for hours on end, you hear from a lot of people who are maladjusted socially, biologically, politically, temporally, etc., the pay is crap, the hours are long, you constantly have to watch what you say, you deal with difficult problems that go on for years, most of them never get resolved to anyone's satisfaction, and many of the few, good solutions get badly implemented by bureaucrats whom you can't fire.

    In other words, you've got to do it for the love of it. I give them a lot of respect based on this, even the ones I disagree with--so long as they actually do their jobs.

    *One of the things I miss is having conservatives I could talk to. For example, there are (or were) ranchers I could talk to. We disagree strongly about politics, but we both agree about the love of the land and taking care of it for the long term. So long as we're not talking about who owns the land or about social policy, we could talk for hours. The current hyper-partisan republican party is destroying the possibility for such conversations, and that's something I really, intensely dislike. It used to be much easier to ignore partisanship and get stuff done.


    Power for power's sake ... gee whiz, maybe this is a particular type of person?

    There's all this data collected over a few decades now that shows a really, really strong relationship between want/use of power and personality type.

    Oh, and then there's this ... pretty well every corp in the US regularly administers a battery of personality tests as part of their management-level candidate pre-screening/job hire practice. (So, these tests must work right? ... otherwise smart Fortune 500 corps wouldn't use them, right?)

    Yet CEOs who have been handed the authority (power) to do major harm have never, ever been screened this way? (Who does the pre-hire screening of CEOs ... the Board of Directors? ... and the BoD are selected how?... what screening?)

    What am I not seeing/missing?

    The BoD are invisible ... maybe more effort should be put into increasing their visibility, responsibility and performance.


    What am I not seeing/missing?

    The purpose of a system is what it does.

    You get what you reward.

    The purpose of the system is to guarantee that rich individuals stay rich. Everything else is incidental.

    (It could be different. But you'd have to make the advantages of being rich smaller than the costs of being rich.)


    Yes, but the last word was had by the Daily Mail ... who in a remarkably unusual spasm of well-meaning investigative journalism confirmed that Roosh V lives in his mother's basement.


    Too nasty even for them to be seen associating with, perhaps?


    Oh, right. Thanks.

    I see an extremely dull video of a bunch of guys congratulating each other, interspersed with some extremely shit cloud pictures which could be anything, and with a soundtrack of someone who sounds like a reporter which is so clipped and distorted I can only understand something under half of it.

    Nuked the sky - well, yeah, it was a test of an air-to-air missile, it'd be if it didn't go off in the sky that there'd be something wrong with it.

    Not knowing in advance whether it'd work - well, yeah, it was a test, that's what tests are all about.

    Thoroughly unexceptional and a complete non-event in my book.


    They're fine with generic nastiness, the point is that, IIRC, a lot of Mail readers are women, and even the men have daughters and sisters and wives and can see the obvious issues with the approach to life of said scumbag.
    (Especially if they recall what they were doing 30 years ago)


    I do not know the qualifications of the people who wrote the article, but apparently they did not believe at first that #2 is even real; they had to dig up information on it to determine it is not Photoshop. It is on the list because the chassis is from (more likely, based on) T-55.


    50% m/f ratio for DM


    Michael Bentine recounts a story in his autobiography, "The Long Banana Skin" when he was an Intelligence Officer in the RAF during WWII. He was deployed at a forward airbase supporting a squadron of ground-attack Typhoons when David Niven dropped by and asked him for a favour.

    Niven at that time was part of a recon unit outfitted with Sherman tanks, probing the German lines and he was rather put out by the fact the Tigers his group was coming up against were somewhat better armoured than the gun on the Sherman was able to cope with.

    When his Shermans left the airbase they had half a dozen 6" spin-stabilised rocket rails welded to the sides of the turrets. The plan was on engagement to fire off all the rockets and then hit reverse. Rapidly.


    I've seen the San-Shiki drill round in the Yamato museum, the one pictured in the Wikipedia article you linked to. It had a reasonable purpose allowing the main battery of the ships to be used as (very) long-range anti-aircraft guns.

    The Yamato and Musashi were both modified during the war with lots and lots of new anti-aircraft guns, losing two complete 6" triple gun wing turrets in the process as it became clear during the progress of the war that the main threat to capital ships was not other battleships but air attacks from island airbases and carriers. The next-largest AA batteries were in the 5.7" class with an effective engagement range of a couple of kilometres whereas the giant firework shells could reach twenty kilometres. They were not particularly effective though and I don't think they ever succeeded in damaging an attacking aircraft.

    The Germans had similar AA shells for their battleship main guns -- the Tirpitz fired its 15" guns at the Lancasters carrying Tallboy bombs which eventually sank it, but to no effect as the time fuses could not be set accurately enough even if the unguided shells could get close enough to their targets to have any effect.


    Again, apologies.

    Last night got a bit heated.

    While some of the energetic beta particles followed the Earth's magnetic field and illuminated the sky, other high-energy electrons became trapped and formed radiation belts around the earth. There was much uncertainty and debate about the composition, magnitude and potential adverse effects from this trapped radiation after the detonation. The weaponeers became quite worried when three satellites in low Earth orbit were disabled, although Brown et al. seem to be skeptical that electrons caused the damage. The half-life of the energetic electrons was only a few days. At the time it was not known that solar and cosmic particle fluxes varied by a factor 10, and energies could exceed 1 MeV. These man-made radiation belts eventually crippled one-third of all satellites in low Earth orbit. Seven satellites failed over the months following the test, as radiation damaged their solar arrays or electronics, including the first commercial relay communication satellite, Telstar, as well as the United Kingdom's first satellite, Ariel 1.[11][12][13][14] Detectors on Telstar, TRAAC, Injun, and Ariel 1 were used to measure distribution of the radiation produced by the tests.[15]

    In 1963, Brown et al. reported in the Journal of Geophysical Research that Starfish Prime had created a belt of MeV electrons,[16] and Wilmot Hess reported in 1968 that some Starfish electrons remained for five years.[17]

    Starfish Prime

    Declassified U.S. Nuclear Test Film #62 Youtube: US de-classified footage: 1:09 (yes, an hour) Skip to 30:20 has the best footage

    And yes, it was launched from "Johnston Island" which is just a blatant bit of nominal determinism.


    Aside from the ethical and environmental and political reasons for not randomly punching holes in your atmosphere, there's a very big connect between Roosh[1] and such tests.

    [1]I've been keeping track of that one on a back-burner: was never going to amount to anything, he's well known as not living up to his own hype: here is a video of a Canadian woman pouring beer over him and then driving him out of a bar. Note: NSFW, lots of swearing.

    Here's">">Here's a rather more scarier one of that type



    Whited Sephulcres! Yay, verily, it looketh good on the outside, nice coat of paint, could have done better on that trim, but within all is ROT and CORRUPTION, yay, it stinketh, Lord! Roll back that stone, anon, forthwith, you're makin' me sick! Let us go unto a far place, the farther the better! Make haste! (EXEUNT)


    IQ 100 is the mean.

    Plus, if you look at the video, the entire thing is a meta-setup.

    Male has obviously already emotionally jumped ship.

    Female is chain smoking due to stress at this.

    Translation: poor bit of "IT'S A PRANK BRO".


    Fake As Fuck.


    More interesting question.

    Can you seriously not automatically tell if a recorded artifact is authentic or not?

    Like, you can't immediately spot the structure and form?

    This is really bizarre to us.


    This relates to Other things.

    Plato's Cave, the Scent of a Woman and so on. Oh, and what you call consciousness.


    Er... Yes. It's part of a series called "Bunny Boiler" for TV shows. Here's another:


    I try not to move in those spaces unless I have to


    I remember reading The Long Banana Skin, if not that story (the one where he drove into a German village to choose a nice rifle, or the one about the forgotten tailgunner) and it's a shame it's not an ebook :(

    That was Michael Bentine, the fastest gun in Britain - he could draw, and fire accurately, to the extent that he was occasionally asked to demonstrate to various units of the British Army... (his wartime work and hence clearances helped).


    I'm asking you a much more interesting question than you're purporting to answer.

    I don't have to research most things, because I know instantly what they are.


    Directly: What is your fine grain level of reality and immediate truth?

    It's a question about authenticity and abilities.


    Also the story about the only pilot ever shot down in a Link trainer...

    I rather got the impression that accuracy and an honest retelling of his own experiences wasn't at the heart of that book and a lot of good stories that might have happened to someone else made their way into the final text. However his tale about possibly being the first serviceman in three hundred years to turn up on defaulter's parade in doublet and hose was a cracker.


    That explains the standing joke in his TV show(s) "Round the Bend" Where there was usually a violent explosion, followed by a solitary pair of boots stuck to the ground, with smoke coming out of them ...

    Associated briefly with The Goons IIRC, before going his own way.


    I heard him say that if had crashed one more plane he would have been a German ace.


    He wasn't a pilot due to problems with his eyesight (caused, he said by a defective immunisation during his induction into the RAF) and he couldn't even make aircrew because of it, hence his role as an Intelligence Officer. I think he did occasionally fly planes but not in combat or in any official capacity. The "German ace" is a good story though.


    Podcasts of "The Reluctant Jester" an autobiography recited by Michael Bentine ate available for download at BBC 4 extra.


    Sorry. I saved that link last year but it no longer works.

    Sunday, 10:00 AM
    Room: Marina 2
    Right and Wrong: AIs and Us

    Oh, if only Jeph Jaques could participate. He's a big fan of Banks and Stross, and his "Questionable Content" webcomic, while not SF-focused, has long explored themes of AI rights and integration in present(-ish) human society.


    You and Greg Tingey are saying exactly what I meant. And, to SFreader: "The Winner Effect" by Ian Robertson (one of the most disturbing books I have ever read).


    Oh, if only Jeph Jaques could participate.

    I'd want that at a convention I was attending. (Note, if you haven't checked out Questionable Content yet you should take a look.) I've commented before that this is an interesting and sneakily plausible post-good-singularity setting; they've got AIs, robots, space travel, and something singularity shaped - and most characters are comfortably funded, mildly underemployed, and spend their days dealing with the antics of other humans.


    Thanks for the recommendation ("The Winner Effect" by Ian Robertson). Looked him up on Wikipedia ... nice publication resume. Also found this related lecture on YouTube:

    "The Winner Effect: How Power Affects Your Brain" Lecture with Dr. Ian Robertson


    There's also Freefall, a quirky webcomic that's been running for a long time now. A mixture of comedy, Science! and moral philosophy about AIs, terraforming, sleazy alien spaceship captains and bioengineered lifeforms and their creators (Doctor Bowman is a hyperintelligent chimp with anger control issues).


    Absolutely! If anyone here hasn't read it but has some spare time an archive binge through Freefall isn't at all your worst option. Sam Starfall, Florence Ambrose, and various robots all get lovely moments where they demonstrate minds that think "as well as a human but not like a human."

    If you want a completed story, consider A Miracle of Science. It's not everybody's singularity but "Mars likes you" takes on a new meaning when it's literally true...


    Before I forget... Eagle and Drone Big birdie wins!


    Or as Charlie titled it at the top of the page: police dinosaurs chase flying robots.


    Exactly - that's why I posted the video-link


    hyperintelligent chimp with anger control issues

    That's downright terrifying.


    He's hyperintelligent, but still a chimp. Also he's hyperintelligent and aware he has anger control issues, so plans around them.


    As the first uplifted chimp combat medic Doctor Bowman went in with both a medical kit and a club, knowing that any wounded chimps would be psychotically violent and that he'd have to beat the berserk chimps unconscious before he could treat them. Not every medic has these problems.

    Doctor Bowman was talked about a long time but his first actual appearance is here. It's an amusing short sequence even without context.


    Looks like the weather in New England will be decent....

    Oops? FWIW I'm pretty sure that snowstorm hitting NYC is a different system, it's been more than a week.

    WRT Hockey, I assume you've heard the old joke: I went to a fight and a Hockey game broke out.?


    Oh dear, to say the least. Coal-owners & workers in USA trying to kill everyone (later)



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