Back to: Social architecture and the house of tomorrow | Forward to: Story time!

CMAP #16: Book Title Blues

So a couple of months ago I handed in a new novel (it won't be out until the second half of 2020--these things have a long lead time). And it occurs to me that it's probably worth discussing book titles at some point, because I haven't really done so before.

As I noted in CMAP 6: Why is your book cover so awful? the only thing an author is expected to provide to a publisher is a finished manuscript containing the text of a novel (which they will then colaborate with the publisher on editing and proofread and, these days, marketing). The cover is not within the author's remit, and indeed the author may not see it before the general public. Nor is the cover marketing copy the author's job (writing cover copy that sells books, and writing books, are very different tasks, and many authors are utterly dire at writing their own marketing copy).

But something that also escapes many readers is that book titles are (a) fraught, and (b) not necessarily the author's job either. Which prompts me to write another entry in my ancient and haphazard series of essays about Common Misconceptions about Publishing (CMAP).

When I sold my first novel to Ace in 2001, it was not titled "Singularity Sky": it was called "Festival of Fools". But Ace already had a book on inventory with a very similar title--"Ship of Fools" by Richard Paul Russo--and my editor wanted to avoid any confusion in the minds of bookstore clerks (16-17 years ago Amazon was much less significant to book sales than they are today: the action was all Barnes and Noble/Borders). Also, my novelette "Lobsters" was on the Hugo shortlist and the big buzzing thing in hard SF was the Singularity. "Can you come up with a new title? And it needs to have the singularity word in it--the singularity is hot," she told me, then gave me a number of suggestions that made me want to stick my fingers down my throat. In the end we agreed to disagree on Singularity Sky", which (being followed 2 books later by "Accelerando") resulted in me being labelled the "Singularity Dude" for the first decade of my bookselling career, much as a different unfortunate trope choice can lead to you being called the Talking Cat Guy if you're unwary enough to put talking cats in two or more works of fiction the same decade.

(I am so over the singularity, okay? It's just dead to me. HAND.)

Now, I mentioned Amazon. During the first decade of the noughties, Amazon was gathering momentum as a sales channel to rival (later eclipse) the big bookstore chains. And the internet as a thing was gradually coming to the attention of elderly publishers who still expected to receive manuscripts typed double-spaced in 10 point Courier, the way Mark Twain used to send 'em in, dammit, even though we were all using word processors and submitting electronically by then.

The first rumble of thunder from the approaching stormfront was a diktat from management level at my US publisher: "all series of three or more books must now have a series title--no exceptions". I got this memo by way of my editor at Ace around 2007 or 2008, in the shape of an email telling me I was now the author of the Laundry Files. Why the Laundry Files? Well, in the first two books Bob called his employer, SOE X-Division, "the Laundry", as a joking nickname (I will note that in real life GCHQ, the Government Communications HQ agency, the British version of the NSA, is known as "the donut", due to the shape of its eponymous headquarters building in Cheltenham). And Ginjer's imprint also published Jim Butcher, whose bestselling series was the Dresden Files. So I spent the next decade cringing slightly and feeling like I was being marketed on Jim's coat-tails to readers of urban fantasy, and as some kind of detergent directory to everybody else.

(My other big series at Tor got named "the Merchant Princes" for similar reasons, but that title at least bears some resemblance to the subject matter.)

So, lesson 1: they're gonna want a series title, because it makes google and Amazon searches easier for your reader. Be prepared to cough one up even if you've only written one book, because if you don't, the marketing department are going to play "pin the tail on the donkey" and you're going to be stuck with a thumb-tack in your arse for the next decade if they choose badly.

Lesson 2 was a bit more obvious: if writing a series, it should be clear that you want to pick book titles that are roughly similar in form and tie into a common theme, so as not to confuse your readers.

The Laundry Files' book title structure is fairly simple and consistent: it's a definite article ("the", or maybe "a"), followed by an intriguing noun ("Jennifer", "Atrocity", "Labyrinth") that ties into something in the story, and then a noun describing a type of document or corpus of texts ("archive", "index", "codex", "morgue"--as in, a newspaper morgue). If you look at one of my book titles you can probably spot a Laundry Files book just by its name, right?

But I got hit by lightning in 2013, when I handed in the sixth Laundry Files installment. That one was titled "The Armageddon Score", because it's the Mo novel, and she's playing her violin, and it's going to bring about the end of the world if she's not careful. Obvious, see?

However, my UK editor nixed it on sight. "Charlie, have you googled this?" she asked. (Said British editor is of a different generation: under 40 with blue hair, goes LARPing, understands these new-fangled Babbage engines. See, not all editors are old school!)

And I googled "The Armageddon Score" and fuck me if she wasn't right: anyone typing the title of my novel into Google would come up with the sound track to a Bruce Willis movie instead.

Which leads to Lesson 3: google your proposed titles (and check them on Amazon), or you'll be sorry.

I note that title conflicts are a movable feast. That book I handed in is titled "Lost Boys", because it riffs off Peter and Wendy (the original of Disney's Peter Pan, and can I just say that if you ditch Disney's pernicious twee santised version and to back to basics it's really horrifyingly grim?). Now, if you feed "Lost Boys" to Amazon you will of course get the cult 90s movie. But you'll also get about a dozen novels containing revisionist or fan-fic takes on Peter Pan, because obviously.

Was it rash of me to try to recycle the same resonant title as a bunch of other books?

If I was just starting out, it would be foolhardy. But I'm nearly 30 books into a career and these days my publishers print my name on the book cover in a larger typesize than the book title itself--this is the definition of a "big name" author: it simply means that the author's name sells books on their own merit, rather than the book standing unsupported in the marketplace. So one may hope that readers might search for "Stross Lost Boys" rather than just "Lost Boys."

But this isn't under my control: and it's quite possible the title will be swapped out from under me before the book is officially announced, just to reduce the risk of search engine mis-hits.

As a complicating factor, "Lost Boys" is hopefully the start of a new series spinning off from "The Laundry Files" much as "Deep Space Nine" was a by-blow of "Star Trek"; different focus, different characters, zero relationship with the Laundry itself--but sharing the same setting. Marketing will thus get a say. On the one hand: pitching it as book 10 of the Laundry Files guarantees a certain level of sales. On the other hand: it also guarantees not selling to people who don't want to jump in on book 10 of a series, or who don't want to read about the Laundry. And it would also annoy some readers, who expect Bob and the gang and are instead going to be confronted with SPOILER instead. So I don't even know what series title is going to go on this one, let alone whether the title will survive to publication.

We're now well established in the age of Amazon, Google, Facebook, eBay, Apple, and Microsoft--the big platforms. The title structure of novels has been changing increasingly fast over the past decade, so that now you'll often see the series title and book title concatenated, then followed by a brief descriptive gloss, simply because we locate books by searching. Back in 1988, noted SF satirist (and multiple Hugo winner) Dave Langford published a book titled "Dragonhiker's Guide to Battlefield Covenant at Dune's Edge, Odyssey Two". I'd like to note that this is pitch-perfect for a self-published Kindle Unlimited title, even though Dave was taking the piss at the time. If I followed the self-pub title playbook, this one would be called something like "Laundry Universe book 10: the Lost Boys Files, a humerous horror novel about Peter Pan in the age of the New Management". Which is kind of a pantomime horse of a title (or maybe a dromedary) but contains all the keywords and even approximates the title structure of a Laundry Files novel (that "The Lost Boys Files" in the middle).

Anyway, here are the rules for book titles these days:

  1. Make it memorable and pronouncable for a not-too-lexicographically-aware English speaker. (Avoid creative misspellings, homophones like their/there, anything else that could confuse a reader typing a badly-memorized title into amazon.)

  2. Make it unique. XKCD 936 applies for book titles as well as passwords! Don't violate rule 2 unless you're a big name, i.e. enough people will buy anything you write to keep you from starving. Or you're feeling vindictive. (You may want to look up the other book titled "Saturn's Children" ... but please don't buy it new, I don't want to encourage John Redwood, okay?)

  3. Have a series title waiting in the wings, even if you're not writing a series. ("The Atrocity Archive" was a short stand-alone. Then "The Jennifer Morgue" was the middle volume of a trilogy. Approximately a million words later, I wised up.)

  4. While your snappy, unique title is the lede, feel free to add a colon or semi-colon separated list of potential series titles and cover blurbs, so that folks searching Amazon for Regency-setting dragon shifter hentai romance with talking starships will still be able to find your novel even if they've never heard of you. In an ideal world the searchable title on Amazon should contain the entire text of the book: failing that, we can but include a tantalizing taster.

  5. No title is guaranteed to survive contact with the realities of corporate marketing policy.

Final footnote: "Lost Boys", or whatever it's ultimately titled, is not really the tenth Laundry Files novel, even if it's marketed as such. Current plans call for it to be followed by two final Laundry novels (the Senior Auditor's workplace journal, and then a final Bob story), with a second Lost Boys novel sandwiched between them. If it all goes according to plan (spoiler: it won't, this is me speculating about what I'll be doing five years hence), there'll a third one after that. Set during CASE NIGHTMARE GREEN under the rule of the New Management, but having nothing to do with the Laundry, "Lost Boys" is free to get away from the pervasive, claustrophobic assumption that of course the civil service spooks are trying to do the right thing, which has become an increasingly onerous constraint on the series in recent years. I started writing the Laundry Files prior to 9/11, extraordinary rendition, the war on terror, and the Manning and Snowden revelations: we're now living in a very different (and much darker) world than the one I started out in, and if the Laundry Files has an overarching theme, it would be about the loss of innocence that comes with age and experience.

505 Comments

1:

Interesting. I am continually astounded at how Amazon, Google, etc, fail at helping me buy the next book in a series or the next movie in a series. I usually end up going to Wikipedia while they're stupid software tries to get me to buy a second copy of the first or second book in the series (I suppose those usually have higher sales, and often have multiple versions).

2:

I am continually astounded at how Amazon, Google, etc, fail at helping me buy the next book in a series or the next movie in a series

Bear in mind that very often the publisher/studio has no idea they're pumping out a series, or that there'll be another episode in it, until it's underway: a contract for installment n only materializes if installment m did okay and the director/author wants to go back for more All of which happens over a period of years, and there's little profit to be made by redesigning/repackaging an old product that passed its sales peak years ago. So stuff doesn't look like it's part of a series because it really wasn't, at the time, until years later.

(The Laundry Files in the US is even worse: it's now with its third publisher, publisher #2 couldn't profitably sell it in paperback for the last book (book 7) because they were doing mass market and the mass market channel had cratered, the cover overhaul they did as of book 6 was never applied to books 1-5 because I switched publisher, and so on. It's doing astonishingly well, all things considered!)

3:

According to the CMAP index page, this entry ought to be numbered 17 rather than 16.

4:

The major platforms do the series metadata in different ways (at a "you have to know which Dublin Core label they use for series title" sort of level) and it's changed over time.

This is ... not entirely helpful, and so far no reference librarian has managed to make them mend their ways.

5:

I understand why the publishers want a series title, but if I see book one of the ... series/cycle/trilogy/infinitad from an author I haven't heard of I tend to skip past it. It's probably due to being stationed in Germany for most of the 80s. If you were a voracious reader you were at the mercy of the Stars and Stripes book stores on post and there was no guaranty that if you started a series that you would ever see the rest of the books in it or that those books would arrive in anything close to the order they were published in.

6:

I generally avoid series until there are several books out, and often even then. FAR too often, it means that there will be no proper closure at any stage, or the books will simply add new gimmicks as a diversion from actually dealing with outstanding issues, but still being basically the same material, regurgitated.

And sometimes the first book isn't conveniently available, but the later ones rely on you having read it. I also sometimes buy the first book (or few) of a series, and give up because it is clear the above is happening or going to happen.

I know that there are other people like me, so the mandatory series approach is at best getting more sales out of one subgroup at the cost of losing them out of another. The marketdroids MAY be right that it is a winning strategy, but I suspect that sometimes it isn't.

7:

Except in rare cases, I tend to avoid books that are clearly titled as the start of a series. Sometimes, such as with the Laundry Files, I start because I like the author and end up carrying on as they come out. Other times a sequel comes out and I find I've lost interest, or can barely remember what happened in the first book.

The other reason is that often 'first of a trilogy' books end up being awkward chunky things that spend all their time introducing characters, plot threads and themes without actually telling an engaging story. This is a particular sin with YA fiction.

8:

Since most titles are sold on digital platforms these days it occurs to me that it should be possible to A/B test both Titles, Covers and even the Author name and bio. Whilst it wont work for name author's it certainly could for the trash you get in Amazon Unlimited.

Does anyone do it?

9:

Does anyone do it?

Maybe some self-pub authors do it, and I'm pretty sure the big comics companies do it with their special edition covers, but doing it on AMZN with books involves a lot of work (not to mention multiple ISBN registrations if you want to sell them via anyone else) for probably not much gain.

A big problem with A/B testing on books is that A/B testing works best when trialing it on a wide range of very similar products with tiny differences. Books are monolithic products that represent some considerable amount of effort on the part of the creator—at least a month's work for a prolific self-pub romance writer with a formula who never revises (but includes proofreading/typesetting/cover design/marketing in that month of work), up to multiple years for the likes of a William Gibson or Margaret Atwood. It's very hard to A/B test when your units take years to produce and when their marketability is so tightly tied to your brand identity as an author name.

(I did set out in 2012 to A/B test multi-volume series, but setting up to publish alternating Laundry and Empire Games novels in different years collapsed at the first hurdle when my US editor decided to drive me into the ground by over-editing.)

10:

Titles, yeah. I've got a short fantasy that I titled The Defenders, and they are, but I really don't like it, and it's a short story, and an overblown title won't do it for me.

On the other hand, the novel that I wrote with my late wife, for which I (will) have a "sequel"*, but that's going to need probably a year of editing, and as that's over 200k words, that's two books. Then there's a prequel, that I'm not sure I'm ready to write yet - it's *not* going to be fun.

The novelette, though, that I'm shopping around, and have, um, three more shorts in the same storyline/universe, and another I'm working on, that I'm sure will be a novel eventually, I can do a series title on (yes, I can see more stories in that future).

But a good one's often hard.

* They are all complete in one book (except for the 200k word one), and *END*. I move around in my universe, not follow the same person/group to "adventure" after "adventure".

11:

If I remember well, the reason for the title of the third Chanur was a joke between Cherryh and her editor, and this is the one without Chanur in the title : The Kif Strike Back.

12:

Rocketpjs @ 7: Except in rare cases, I tend to avoid books that are clearly titled as the start of a series. Sometimes, such as with the Laundry Files, I start because I like the author and end up carrying on as they come out. Other times a sequel comes out and I find I've lost interest, or can barely remember what happened in the first book.

The other reason is that often 'first of a trilogy' books end up being awkward chunky things that spend all their time introducing characters, plot threads and themes without actually telling an engaging story. This is a particular sin with YA fiction.

FWIW, when I encountered "The Atrocity Archives" for the first time, it was the edition with the funky mirror on the cover & there was no mention of it being part of a series (at least not on the front cover ... don't remember what was on the back or in the liner notes). It was one of those situations where I'd read all of the "Merchant Princes" available to that date & while I was waiting for the next installment I wondered, "What else has this guy written?"

I think maybe publishers don't mention a book is part of a series until at least the second book is on the shelves. That way, if a series doesn't pan out, they can continue to sell the "first" book as a stand-alone work. Oddly enough, with the "Merchant Princes", I started with the third book (blurb in the upper right hand cover "THE NEW BOOK IN THE SAGA OF THE MERCHANT PRINCES") & liked it enough to go looking for the first two.

I've also had the experience of committing to a series only to have the author drop dead before the second book was published. In one case the publisher had someone complete the book with a lame ending and in the other they just published the book as it was & just left the "series" hanging.

13:

In terms of A/B testing a cover, the only time I did that was when I published on both Amazon and Lulu. Same file went to both, rather different colors came back out in the paper. This is irrelevant for ebooks, but if color matters in a book cover or contents, there's an interesting lesson in the subtleties of the production process there.

14:

I had much the same, though in the other order - I had read most of OGH's work to that point and thought I'd probably enjoy another one of his books. Some time later I stumbled across the second book of the Merchant Princes, and chose to find the first before diving in.

I never would have begun any of the series had I not enjoyed his other works already - I don't remember the order but I know Accelerando and Glasshouse were a couple of my first.

I don't want to start trashing other authors on here, as they have all achieved more literary success than I, but there seem to be quite a few who start to write a grand story but utterly lose focus within about 2 books. It's exhausting and I've had to walk away from more than a few stories. Is it rude to mention the Dune books at this point? Though I admit they start their death spiral from a much higher plane of achievement than most.

It is a rare skill to be able to write a series of books that move at an epic scale while also being capable of standing alone as good reads in their own right.

I think Ian Rankin seems to pull it off with Rebus, Iain M. Banks was brilliant at it with the Culture novels, Patrick O'Brien did it well with the first dozen or so Aubrey/Maturin novels. Alastair Reynolds managed it in the Revelation Space series.

All of which is getting somewhat off the topic, so I should end here.

15:

My impression was that gordycoale was suggesting A/B testing different covers/titles for a single book. i.e. the actual story would be word-for-word identical.

I seem to recall hearing at some point that cross-genre novels had experimented with a separate cover image for each genre to try to capture multiple audiences.

I imagine using multiple titles might have a number of organizational issues, though. Someone is going to mistakenly buy the same book under both titles thinking that it's two separate books and then get rather annoyed with you.


On a wild tangent: I once discovered a video game with the opposite problem--two completely separate games released at the same time under the same title with the same cover art! (But for different consoles.) I could never figure out who thought that was a good idea, or why.

16:

My impression was that gordycoale was suggesting A/B testing different covers/titles for a single book. i.e. the actual story would be word-for-word identical.

A major publisher might be able to arrange for that, but in general, the platforms for ebooks index on ISBN and don't like it when you try to upload multiple instances of a book with the same ISBN. I can't think of a mechanism to do the A/B testing with on a regular publication platform.

17:

Set during CASE NIGHTMARE GREEN under the rule of the New Management, but having nothing to do with the Laundry, "Lost Boys" is free to get away from the pervasive, claustrophobic assumption that of course the civil service spooks are trying to do the right thing, which has become an increasingly onerous constraint on the series in recent years. I started writing the Laundry Files prior to 9/11, extraordinary rendition, the war on terror, and the Manning and Snowden revelations: we're now living in a very different (and much darker) world than the one I started out in, and if the Laundry Files has an overarching theme, it would be about the loss of innocence that comes with age and experience.

I thought the New Management was a brilliant way to bring the horror at the top IRL into the stories, Charlie. Mid-level staff - from senior managers to 'reports to VP or CxO' - tend to be trying to do the right thing most of the time, in my experience. The ones who put personal ambition higher up the priority list are not so constrained, whether they stay in the lower ranks or the upper ranks of the organization. That's something that's always rung true the Laundry Files, at least for me.

Thanks for the primer!

18:

I imagine using multiple titles might have a number of organizational issues, though. Someone is going to mistakenly buy the same book under both titles thinking that it's two separate books and then get rather annoyed with you.

I have in fact had this exact experience - Patrick O'Brien's HMS Truelove/Clarissa Oakes are the same book with two titles, both of which I purchased at different times. I didn't look very far into it, but I suspect that they were published in different countries.

19:

I for one *hate* that.
It's surprisingly common for US/UK releases to have different titles.

Niven's Legacy of Heorot/Beowulf's Children.
Gabaldon's Cross Stitch/Outlander.
Heck, Harry Potter and the insert magical word here Stone

20:
if I see book one of the ... series/cycle/trilogy/infinitad from an author I haven't heard of I tend to skip past it.

And yet, if everybody did that, no sequels would ever be written, because the books wouldn't sell. We'd be living in a universe of stand-alone novels.

Harry Connolly's Twenty Palaces series is an excellent example in my mind. The books were critically praised, I liked them, but each one sold fewer copies than the one before. So the series ended at three (traditionally-published) books. A prequel and a couple of novellas have followed in that universe, but barring a miracle, we won't see any more Twenty Palaces novels. Which is a damn shame.

21:

Some sort of Confusing Variant Title Award has to go to the Keith Laumer novel that was published as both Night of Delusions and Knight of Delusions.

22:

even with an established series, I have found that it's a bunfight to find them named even semi-consistently within the same platform ... in the current series I'm reading I've seen:

[book title]: Book [n] of the [series title] series
[series title] [n]: [book title]

and even

[book title]: [ordinal, as text] book of the [series title] series

so that no amount of sorting will fix that mess ...

23:

It may not make life for the publication chain easier, but it sure make my life easier. Living in Australia and having got too old to be buying Visa gift cards on the internet, I am well used to "my new book is out (except to you)" so by the time I can legally buy it I'm down in the search box on one of the ebook online shops. Having a distinct title makes life so much easier "The Jones Story: a tale of fantasy, unicorns and heroes" is just going to disappear into the mush because so few stores support anything outside of "exact match" and "mismash of keywords". Helped, of course, by the ease with which typos can appear in the chain between author's blog and retail outlet (Julliett MacCena suffers from this in Australia just as an author... although at least "Angis and Robinsun" fixed it quickly when I pointed it out).

I have resorting to renting books a couple of times, and I am close to buying a Kindle just so I can use my local library.

24:

If you want real joy, co-write a series with someone who has a hyphenated name (or a Germanic one). "Willheim Von Schatcz-Alpsberg and Sam Bruce Davidson" are the sort of authors who give sorting algorithms hiccups... I would, obviously, file that under A for Alpsberg :)

One day Calibre will support multiple index entries for authors properly.

25:

Yes same here. After a few disasters in my teens with series fiction, I swore off it forever.

After ebooks appeared I dabbled again, after first checking to see that the series was complete, however another disaster ensued when Fictionwise sold me the first two books of a trilogy and then declined to sell me the third though they had my money. I actually wrote to the author who explained they had no control over this sort of thing, and then very kindly explained how torrents worked and how to steal their book off the internet. I think it shows how deeply broken publishing is when that happens...

So now series are of limits, with one exception and that's OGH. I started reading him via his most excellent short fiction. At least the laundry series are mostly complete in one episode. Though that's starting to go by the wayside in the later books, which is a shame. Cliff hangers do not make me want to buy the next book. They make me want to throw my device against the wall and swear off that author.

26:

"One day Calibre will support multiple index entries for authors properly."

I have a big love-hate relationship with Calibre.

It does so many things right and at the same time so much of the ergonomy is beyond stupid (specially on a tablet).

27:

I tend to ignore books that are the rest of a series until I've located the first one. If I like that I'll probably like the rest, if I don't I'm no worse off than with not liking a non-series book. But it's really annoying trying a book from somewhere in the middle of a series, liking it, but realising that there's a story already about how we got here that probably explains some of the things I don't understand and that I've now knackered my ability to enjoy those preceding books with a fresh mind and will instead have to read them knowing pretty much what has to be going to happen, and also treating them as research material tracking down the explanations for the things I didn't understand in the later one.

Someone once gave me the "The Dark is Rising" series as a present - but only the last three books. So I didn't read them, for years, because it was very clear from the covers that there were two preceding books that I didn't have. When I finally reckoned it was getting silly to have been avoiding these books on my shelves for so many years during which I'd never even seen a copy of either of the first two, and gave in and read them, it was exactly as above - frustrating to not know what some things were really about that had obviously been explained in the first two somewhere, and annoying many more years later when I did finally get hold of the first two and found myself spending more CPU on correlating them with loose beginnings from the later three than I did on getting into their actual story.

And it doesn't help either to wait a few more years and then re-read the whole lot starting from the beginning, because the first impressions are very persistent and remain strong enough to affect the re-readings very similarly to how they affected the original readings.

28:
"Willheim Von Schatcz-Alpsberg and Sam Bruce Davidson" are the sort of authors who give sorting algorithms hiccups... I would, obviously, file that under A for Alpsberg :)

And you would, obviously, be wrong. Depending on Willheim's country of origin (and a few other subtleties) you could file him under S or V, but never under A.

29:

it was the edition with the funky mirror on the cover

There was no mention of it being part of a series because the second book didn't get commissioned until two years after that edition was published.

That was the US first edition, BTW. The UK first edition is an incredibly rare one—because the short novel "The Atrocity Archive" was serialized in three installments in 2002 in Spectrum SF magazine, a small Scottish mag that died after about 14 issues. And didn't include "The Concrete Jungle" or the other material. So, eh, that's a rare first edition you own there.

Which is why Ace's management said "any series with three or more books needs a series title".

30:

"(writing cover copy that sells books, and writing books, are very different tasks, and many authors are utterly dire at writing their own marketing copy)."

So are the people who actually do write it, though; far too often it does one of the following:

1) gives away major plot elements and buggers the whole thing entirely
2) tries too hard to avoid that and ends up as a useless summary of the first few pages, with content like "Jim is a middle-aged marketing manager, overweight, balding and with a patch of dried soap on his neck" that makes it sound boring as fuck
3) seem to be about a different story altogether, such that you'd wonder if the publisher had accidentally mixed up the blurbs for different books if it wasn't for the names of characters/locations matching up.

Sometimes they even manage to do all three at the same time, which it must be admitted takes considerable skill, but not the right sort of skill for the object at hand.

As regards googlability, it's amazing how many people still don't realise the importance of that even when they are doing something totally focused around the internet. Parasitic payment processors for energy supply go out of their way to avoid any contact that isn't via the internet, but that still didn't stop one of them calling themselves "E" without realising that it was guaranteed to make them completely unsearchable.

31:

I have a suspicion that long out of print books are sometimes reissued with a different title, cover, blurb and sometimes even the name of the author to sucker people into buying a second copy. There are less cynical interpretations, of course :-)

32:

It's surprisingly common for US/UK releases to have different titles.

Here's why:

* Trade books are not terribly valuable per unit weight—typically $1-3 per kg wholesale, so $1000-3000/tonne.
* Books are therefore not economical to ship internationally between some markets (e.g. USA/UK). They used to travel as ballast on sailing ships, and they can be imported by retailers, but that's because retail price is an order of magnitude higher than wholesale.
* Publishers dealt with this by sub-licensing publication rights on a territorial basis, so a local publisher could print them locally, pay royalties, etc.
* The classic "rights split" was North American (Canada is a province of the USA, in bulk shipping terms) and UK/Commonwealth (Aus/NZ are small enough that they didn't traditionally have publishers but imported books from the UK, which were sold at triple the normal retail price and some months late). (NB: This has now changed ... somewhat.)
* A UK publisher might decide a US title wouldn't fly in the British market, or vice versa, hence the title swaps. They'd also do their own covers—the point of a book cover is to make a customer pick up and handle the product, and British consumers have very different aesthetics from American consumers.

I'd like to note that, although it's possible one of my publishers will want to change "Lost Boys" as a title, both my UK and US editors talk to one another, and my agent and I are unanimous that any title change should apply to both editions and must therefore be unanimously agreed.

33:

so that no amount of sorting will fix that mess ...

Honestly, if I find an unnumbered series I want to read in sequence, my first port of call is Amazon's author page, then from the pull-down menu select "sort by publication date". This is usually a bit of a give-away!

It doesn't always work, however, if there are multiple translations and audio editions mixed in, or if the early books have switched publisher or been reissued. In which case, you need to hunt the author's website or facebook page or look for a FAQ. Which is why there's an FAQ in the right hand column, titled "Who am I", which probably needs re-titling (I started it well over a decade ago!) listing what I write and what the series orders are.

34:

I'd file him under W. Far simpler and less confusing to just do a simple sort leaving the words in the order they come in, instead of rearranging them by some arbitrary and ill-defined function first.

35:

I have seen blurbs that didn't even get the characters right - typically, a character from an earlier book in a series that was unimportant (or didn't appear) in the book. I have long given up using them to decide whether to buy a book, though I sometimes use them to decide NOT to, and occasionally find more reliable information elsewhere that makes me change my mind.

It may be just the sort of rose-tinted historical glasses that old fogies tend to put on, but I remember when they used to be more reliable - for 'respectable' books, not pulp fiction, which were always dire or worse - but that was before the the Marketdroid Ascendency.

36:

...and then there are Narnia, Lensman, Start Warts...

37:

On googleability, the classic own goal was IBM, who renamed the formerly-easily-googleable AS/400 minicomputer range "i series". Yes, lowercase "i".

Google eventually worked out how to serve searches relating to this low-key multibillion dollar corner of the computing industry, but it apparently took some doing.

I suspect a lot of your type (2) cover blurbs are written by the authors (it's especially common in self-pub book blurbs); type (3) is typically what happens to me when I sign a contract for a book and someone in marketing does a chop job on the original book proposal ... bearing in mind that I dashed it off in thirty seconds in hope of landing a contract, and it doesn't necessarily resemble the book that I will write, some months later. The problem being that once a description hits the databases it propagates to wholesaler and retailer computer systems and is murderously difficult to correct thereafter because it's replicated.

38:

When a book is long out of print, the author/publisher contract usually contains a reversion clause allowing for the author to demand (and get) the rights back.

If the author, their agent, or heirs exercise a reversion clause, they are then legally allowed to republish the book in a new edition, via a new publisher.

Because the cover art was commissioned by the original publisher, it's not included in the new edition (unless the author is very fond of it and willing to pay the artist a chunk of money).

And authors often like to correct typos and continuity errors, or even rewrite, when given the opportunity 10-20 years down the line.

"Name of author changes" ... you may see this with, for example, the works of Alice Rassmussen, a fine author whose career tanked and died. She's still published, as the wildly successful bestseller Kate Elliott, so it was a no-brainer for her to revert the rights to her early, out-of-print books and re-issue them under the name 90% of her readers know her by. This is, I submit, a good thing for those readers: the only people liable to be annoyed are those who read obscure journey[wo]man works by authors nobody else has heard of.

39:

Ahem: you need to read falsehoods programmers believe about names before you stick your foot any further down your throat.

TLDR is: names are cultural constructs that vary far more widely than those of us raised in traditional western European cultures can imagine.

40:

Nowadays. I am pretty sure that wasn't always the case - the books I am referring to were published mostly in the period 1920-1950.

And are you surprised that I am one of the people who has read obscure journey[wo]man works by authors nobody else has heard of? :-)

41:

This is indeed what I was alluding to in my comment. Apparently it's not as well known here as I imagined, since it apparently escaped not one but two commentators. The "obviously" was intended as a <sarcasm> tag.

"Willheim Von Schatcz-Alpsberg and Sam Bruce Davidson" under A for Alpsberg ... And you would, obviously, be wrong.

Of course, it should go under B for Bruce, that being the first last name of the primary author.

42:

I was peripherally involved in the standardisations that led to Unicode and ISO 10646. Yes, you can produce examples for many of those without even going outside names used in the United Kingdom written in English. But it's even worse than that when you bring on collation, contraction and other such operations, as the author clearly knows; in extreme cases, two 'identical' names should be treated very differently.

43:

I've read that, and that was kind of my point, although the conclusion is one I had arrived at long before that piece was written: that the easiest way to deal with it is simply to ignore all that bollocks and sort names alphabetically in the same way as any other random string of characters. Any problems that remain are the consequence of trying to use a name in a way that is computationally inappropriate and/or at variance with reality. If I want a system that arranges Peter Gabriel next to Genesis instead of next to Pink Floyd, then it needs to use a different method of collation entirely; if I just want to find my music, then being able to expect ls ~/music to list davidgilmour, genesis, petergabriel and pinkfloyd in that order is far less hassle than one that orders them by sorting the second word first in some cases but not in others.

44:

Talking of own goals Im puzzled why AMZ have never fixed that Publication sort order issue. No other "normal" sort of their brings up translations and audio books.

I can only assumed its designed in stupidity for a use case other than my own - which is generally "did I miss out an intervening book in a series by occasionally read author X". Usually when X is JD Robb who prodigious output under at least 2 names compounds the problem.

45:

What we need is for governments to issue humans with a UUID at birth. Then "name" could be simply an XML blob, possibly with some CSS to apply sorting/collation/formatting rules. The UUID would be the identifier actually used in any kind of serious application.

Actually, 128-bit UUIDs are overkill, and not overly human—friendly; we could make do with a cut-down 64-bit UUID (use the other 64 bits to encode, say, "sentient species that requires a UUID"— 64 bits should be plenty for all the sapient species you can cram into a universe the size of the one we can observe). Then we'd just have to memorize two strings of 8 hexadecimal digits, or maybe some words/names that hash to a 64 bit address (for mnemonic ease of use).

46:

why AMZ have never fixed that Publication sort order issue

I think it's sneaky marketing.

Humans broadly speaking follow two shopping strategies: foraging, and direct. Foragers rummage and browse endlessly, while direct shoppers are looking for one unique item and know where it's shelved (they go straight to it, grab, pay, and go). As far as AMZN are concerned, direct purchasers are wasted opportunities—they want to make you rummage, in case something unexpected gets your interest and you leave the store with two or three items rather than the one you came for.

So their search is subtly broken by design, to make it hard for you to find what you want without doing a little bit of work (but not so hard that you give up in despair).

47:

It's a well known technique, just applied in a new setting.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gruen_transfer

48:

I'd disagree, as there are a number of things I buy repeatedly from Amazon (they're not available locally, so *shrug*). They'll accommodate foragers and hunters both, as you can see on Google, which immediately directs you to the Amazon page if you're looking to buy something. That's a lot of ad money trying to get the hunters in the door too.

Rather, I present you the problem of parsing the titles in a series. Obviously AI is getting much smarter, but if you had to put in order, say, Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, that's not so easy. Actually, it was easy until they started issuing directors' editions, collectors' editions, rereleasing the series with new titles (the New Hope rebranding), and so forth, and *all* the non-movie spinoffs. At some point, it's simpler for the Amazon system to show the best sellers and let people chase down what they're after, because with the increasing chaos of the creative process behind this whole mess, excuse me, creative universe worth billions of dollars, the problem of ordering it becomes that much worse. Any order you choose (chronological by production date, tite, subject key words, medium, company producing it) gets into trouble fairly quickly. Same thing's happened with LOTR, GOT, even any author who's into reissuing stories or who has published in multiple markets and has a substantial backlog of stories with different edits, editions, and titles.

If you don't want the computer to take 10 minutes to curate a search for the customer in hopes of getting it precisely right and definitely pissing off the customer, it's probably better to simply toss up a good guess and some best sellers, and go from there. Amazon doesn't need to build in a Gruen Transfer when it's effectively the globe's flea market to start with.

49:

I need to do the same. Both Google and Amazon will put up irrelevant products if my search is too specific, and they can't put up related ones. I agree with OGH.

50:

I've said here, before, that unless something *really* grabs me, I will *not* buy the "first book in the fantastoblaagger universe 20 book trilogy. Perhaps, years later, if I've heard something good about it, I might buy it used.

And if it's a cliffhanger ending, like Rothfuss' Name of the Wind - I've yet to buy the second book, or anything else by him.

Oh, the horrors of a universe of stand-alone books! Dear, dear (how do I get there?)

51:

Color matters. Back in the late seventies, we had a publisher? an author? as the speaker at PSFS (programming every month, except the election meeting), who told us that, as an experiment, they'd published a book with two different covers, one mostly orange, and the other, not sure, maybe green, and the orange outsold significantly - it caught browser's attentions.

52:

Dune: in a mid-seventies review of the latest Dune book in Playboy, the reviewer commented about "when Mr. Herbert winds up the series, around 1996 with The Imperial Morticians of Dune...."

53:

Years back, I was at a yard sale, and saw a book cover that caught my eye, and sense of humor. A guy in a spaecesuit, helmet closed, with a woman who was pulling off her sweater. I looked at the blurb, and knew I already had it, but wanted this copy for the humor of the cover and the title, "Sin in Spaaaaccceee", sorry, Sin in Space.

The original name was Outpost Mars, by "Cyril Judd".

54:

I'm using a hyphenated last name in my writing, for Reasons (and once the novel gets published, I'll be happy to explain....)

It was that, or use the artificial one of whitroth.

55:

Speaking of which - I want one more pass through for polishing, and I'm going to submit a story to Interzone. If that bounces, any recommendations for UK at least semi-prozines, being as the story takes place in London (and thanks to Greg for that help).

Oh, and it's got Cthulhu and humor.... (and it's all because of a comment in the Fear of Heinleinism thread, serial numbers filed off for the legal protection of the author....)

56:

Sam Bruce Davidson
Of course, it should go under B for Bruce, that being the first last name of the primary author.

My grandfather gave his 3 sons only first names. (All beginning with the letter "A" as a side point.) No middle names. This is in rural US.

When my father went into the service in WWII the drill sergeants in boot camp kept giving him extra duty as they thought he was just being stubborn in not telling them his middle name. As soon as boot camp was over he went in front of a judge and got a 3rd name added to his legal name. But he added it to the front.

I never thought to ask him why when I was around him. And he always went by his original first name. Even on his bank statement and checks. If he needed to give his "full" name he almost always just gave the initial of his first name.

Makes finding him in census records and such a bit trickier.

57:

Well, to be fair, you can start the Lensman series with Galactic Patrol, which is # 3, sort of.

Actually, I tell people they *should* start thete... First Lensman is mind-bendingly slow for a lot of it.

58:

NNNNNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I LOATHE those mother-raping, father-stabbing, FATHER-RAPING UUIDs.... You can *NOT* remember them, and I have argued with idiots who thought they were a great idea... and I'm speaking as a sr. linux sysadmin who deals with over 150 servers and workstations....

59:

As far as AMZN are concerned, direct purchasers are wasted opportunities—they want to make you rummage, in case something unexpected gets your interest and you leave the store with two or three items rather than the one you came for.

For a while now (not sure of how long that is) AMZN will put up items similar to the item page you are on ABOVE the details of the item. Gets to be irritating. Oh well.

60:

I think he was being just a bit sarcastic. But maybe if we issue them all in the English Roman alphabet. None of those other scripts for OUR record keeping.

ç

61:

You could do worse than consider the preface to Summer Lightning by PG Wodehouse.

"A word about the title. It is related of Thackeray that, hitting upon Vanity Fair after retiring to rest one night, he leapt out of bed and ran seven times round the room, shouting at the top of his voice. Oddly enough, I behaved in exactly the same way when I thought of Summer Lightning.
I recognised it immediately as the ideal title for a novel. My exuberance has been a little diminished since by the discovery that I am not the only one who thinks highly of it. Already I have been informed that two novels with the same name have been published in England, and my agent in America cables to say that three have recently been placed on the market in the United States. As my story has appeared in serial form under its present label, it is too late to alter it now. I can only express the modest hope that this story will be considered worthy of inclusion in the list of the hundred Best Books Called Summer Lightning."

62:

They can be done competently, in a restricted domain. 10^5 ids is feasible, as I can witness from being part of such a domain. Of course, we WERE one of the first sites to use them, long before computers were infested with managers, let alone infected with manageritis. Like you, I can't see ones for the world population being remembered by their owners, let alone other people.

63:

The series name will probably stay, The Laundry Files, since they occur in the LaundryVerse.

After a time, there will be more novels without Bob than with. That's because we want to read stories set in the LaundryVerse, Bob is optional. Even the Laundry is optional, because for every official Laundry action, there are many where ordinary people have to survive extraordinary events.

BTW, that describes most Stephen King stories.

- Then there are obvious stories that are implied in the existing Laundry books.

I look at The Annihilation Score, the end mentions that many people carried the White Violin. Judy Carroll carried the White Violin the longest. Then there is Doctor Armstrong, who has become head of Mahogany Row. What are their stories.

Then there is The Rhesus Chart. You have two ancient vampires, Old George and Basil. Just because you are a vampire, doesn't make you evil. What are their stories.

Then of course there is Angleton. What are his stories.

That will keep you busy for the next forty or fifty years, along with the occasional non LaundryVerse story. HA!

64:

I'm hella out of touch with the short fiction scene, bit IIRC the only semi-prozine in the UK is Interzone, and has been for some decades—the market's too small to support more than one.

These days online markets are more significant, often pay better, and have greater readerships; I'd try Tor.com and Lightspeed first if I was writing short fiction.

65:

David L @56

A friend at work has no middle name, so she always puts an X in the blank. That satisfies most systems and is accurate since "X" is usually used to mark a form.

My brother and I have both my dad's first and middle name. I am Allyn Edgar, and he is David Evan.

My dad was born at home. They named him Edgar David at the bedside, but grandfather told the doctor David Edgar for the birth certificate, so they always called him Buddy at home. He went through life thinking that his name was Edgar David, school, military, etc..., so he used Ed out in the world. Ed is short for Edgar, but also his first initials, so that worked. Then when he got married he needed a copy of his official birth certificate and found that he was really David Edgar. He went before a judge and had it officialy changed to Edgar David because he had a lifetime of records under that name.

- When we were born, my brother got dad's first and middle name, and I got his middle and first name.

I use Allyn Edgar, yet people call me Edgar, or Edgar Allyn. That all works, as long as they don't call me late for dinner. HA!

That's the story, and I'm sticking to it.

66:

I'm not writing any of those folks' stories (except Dr. Armstrong, who's going to get "The Valkyrie Confession", book 10—the penultimate one—in the main series).

Instead you're getting to meet a whole cast of new weirdos, on both sides of the law (as in: the hyper-rich people who pay for the laws that serve them, and the ordinary stiffs who are subject to the law).

67:

Charlie Stross @66 said: I'm not writing any of those folks' stories...

And the world is lesser for it.

I can see Old George fighting evil during the Gas Light era, and training a string of vampire hunters to control the local area outbreaks of vampires. Many times they get too close to him, and he has to wipe them out.

Penny Dreadful Season 1
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YFXHfEqMcis

The stories with Judy Carroll, in her era, becoming as strong as she was, would be fun.

Angelton, of course, would need to be handled the way Le Carre handles Smiley, very carefully. Le Carre never lets you into Smiley's head, you only watch what he does.

I look forward to whatever you write.

Thanks...

68:

A friend at work has no middle name, so she always puts an X in the blank. That satisfies most systems and is accurate since "X" is usually used to mark a form.

I worked with a guy from California many years ago.

His dad gave him the middle name M because nobody ever used more than the initial anyway.

California driver licenses have the full name, not just middle initial, so to indicate that M was indeed his middle name, it was put in double quotes on the drivers license.

Law enforcement in USA are used to see names in double-quotes, that's how gangsters nicknames are written in arrest orders and other legal papers.

After a number of traffic stops ended up with him being imprisoned "until the paperwork was checked" he emigrated, and ended up in Olivettis head-quarters in Ivrea, Italy where I worked with him.

All countries should have a law, like Denmarks, to protect kids from their parents naming "creativity."

69:

I read Barrie's play a decade or so back, when I was running an RPG campaign inspired by The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and I wanted a Peter Pan guest appearance. I was impressed by how creepy it was! It seemed pretty clear that Peter was a bit more sociopathic than the average small boy. My own pet theory is that Peter was a multiple personality, with James Hook as the alternate self to whom he had offloaded his awareness of time and mortality (symbolized by the ticking crocodile). . . . Tink was a piece of work, too.

And I thought Tolkien called it right in objecting to the emotional blackmail "clap your hands" scene, but that's a different issue.

70:

All countries should have a law, like Denmarks, to protect kids from their parents naming "creativity."

So "Moon Unit" would not be allowed?

71:

I know a collection of people in the 50s and older who work/have worked in the local Apple stores. They get a LOT of visitors from overseas looking to buy things much cheaper than buying back home. Even after customs and taxes and such.

They say having a conversation where they are supposed to use people's name is hard when the name appears to be a unpronounceable random string of letters to someone who grew up in the US.

East of Germany it seems vowels must be an extra charge on birth certificates. And in much of Africa the reverse seems to be the case as consonants are rare.

72:

Wasn't the *other* Saturn's Children by Alan Duncan rather than Redwood?

73:

All countries should have a law, like Denmarks, to protect kids from their parents naming "creativity."

That only works after the genocides are complete. Otherwise you still have to deal with wrong cultures and their stupid naming habits. Everything from "Sam son of Bob" through "first thing I saw was an otter" to "born in spring in the year of the rat following the birth of the 27th incarnation of the lesser god" or "Robert of the patrilineage of the metalworkers"*.

But I too look forward to the day when every child is, by law, required to be named in the simple, obvious, and correct form "gender-designator religious-name common-name patrilineal matrilineal locale-of-birth".

* I refer, of course, to "Smith"

74:

In violation of Lesson 2, I would like to suggest "The Pirate Bay".

75:

Rocketpjs @ 18:

"I imagine using multiple titles might have a number of organizational issues, though. Someone is going to mistakenly buy the same book under both titles thinking that it's two separate books and then get rather annoyed with you."

I have in fact had this exact experience - Patrick O'Brien's HMS Truelove/Clarissa Oakes are the same book with two titles, both of which I purchased at different times. I didn't look very far into it, but I suspect that they were published in different countries.

Doesn't even need to be multiple titles. Besides Charlie, there are a few other authors I will read anything they write ... and have on occasion forgotten that I have already read a particular title & as a result ended up with duplicates. That mostly happens when I'm on the road for an extended period & have run out of reading material. I just can't be without a book. Can't get to sleep at night without some bed-time reading.

That doesn't include the duplicates I've bought because I've worn out the book. Cheap paperbacks don't always hold up so good, but there have been times when that was all I could find or all I could afford.

76:

Charlie Stross @ 29:

"it was the edition with the funky mirror on the cover"

There was no mention of it being part of a series because the second book didn't get commissioned until two years after that edition was published.

That was the US first edition, BTW. The UK first edition is an incredibly rare one—because the short novel "The Atrocity Archive" was serialized in three installments in 2002 in Spectrum SF magazine, a small Scottish mag that died after about 14 issues. And didn't include "The Concrete Jungle" or the other material. So, eh, that's a rare first edition you own there.

Which is why Ace's management said "any series with three or more books needs a series title".

Well, it was a "rare first edition" owned by the Wake County Public Library, and by the time I first read it "The Jennifer Morgue" (with the mermaid/pistol cover) was sitting on the shelf right next to it. The copy I finally got is the office cubicle cover & the next one is the Bob under water cover.

I do have an actual hard cover edition of "Equoid" that I found from an on-line book seller in Canada. And I'm quite pleased with the UK trade paperback version of The Delirium Brief.

77:

allynh @ 65: My brother and I have both my dad's first and middle name. I am Allyn Edgar, and he is David Evan.

My grandfather, my mother and my mother's youngest brother all had the given name "Marion". For some reason, my mother's family always called her "Clara" (which was not her middle name).

78:

Moz @ 73
Your proposal is VERY close to that used in the Culture ....
Which would be wonderful.

79:

My first wife and her sisters were not given any middle names, though their elder brother does have one. The reason was that they are triplets, and their parents didn't feel up to coming up with 6 names rather than 3 in one go.

As it was the initials of the given names are A, B & C

My long-ex more than doubled the total length of her name when she married me and took my surname. She's steadfastly refused to relinquish it, even though we divorced and she later had a daughter by another man, so she does have a middle name, it being her maiden name.

My current wife reverted to her maiden name when she divorced her first husband, and didn't take my surname when she married me. It means that when a phone spammer calls expecting me, and she answers, she can truthfully answer "No, I'm not Mrs B, she doesn't live here and I don't have her address".

80:

This middle name business always confuses me a bit. I have three personal names and a family name, and it's quite usual here. In Finland, you have to have at least one personal name and can have up to four (it was recently raised from three), and many people have two or three. So, I don't really have a middle name.

In regular usage, I use just the first name with the family name.

81:

It seems to be a particularly US assumption that names are first/middle/last. That may have come from British common practice, but it doesn't half fail to cope with (some?) Hispanic custom. I spy yet another attempt to map a bunch of different cultures into a single template.

82:

I doubt that it came from us, though I could be wrong. My understanding is that middle names were uncommon much before the 19th century, and then were used mainly by the wealthier classes.

83:

#32 bullet 1 - Yeah but Bob (fake) Shaw used to airfreight in new Daw paperbacks. I've never seen UK market editions of some Tanith Lee stories.

#50 - Likewise; I just will not buy "first book in a major new fantasy trilogy by $unknown_to_me_author". When/if "third book" in same occurs, I might.
OTOH I will at least consider buying a standalone novel that's proposed to be volume 1 of a series.

#70 - Well, $stupid_name is child abuse anyway. OTOH a similar law in Belguim nearly stopped my boss (UK citizen of UK parents working in Brussels) being named "Michael".

84:

I just will not buy "first book in a major new fantasy trilogy by $unknown_to_me_author". When/if "third book" in same occurs, I might.

Thus ensuring that book three never happens.

Thing is, publishers these days only issue two-book contracts to newbies. They expect sales to fall from book 1 to book 2, but if they're even vaguely flat, or if book 1 doesn't sell through, they'll roll with a new contract for book 3—but if it's too obviously making a loss, they'll axe the author instantly.

So by not buying the first book when it drops you're pretty much ensuring there won't be a third.

85:

Do you have any desire to do more short fiction in the future?

Wireless was an amazing collection, and I keep finding myself wondering how one of your stories would turn out on Levar Burton Reads...

86:

FWIW the U.S. government expects first, middle, last to the extent that often for folks without a middle name will gain "NMI" in that space. Why we decided on No Middle Initial rather than No Middle Name I'll never know.

87:

I've been blocked on short fiction for a number of years due to a combination of book deadlines and deaths/illnesses in the family. Also, short fiction doesn't make money.

(No idea who/what Levar Burton Reads is.)

88:

You made me look. I knew about Levar Burton but not LBR.

LB is most famous around the world for playing the blind dude on STNG with the visor.

But before and during that he hosted a great show on PBS (US public television) promoting reading for kids. Got a LOT of awards for his work on that show. (I would watch it with my kids.)

Now he does a pod cast called LBR where he narrates books.

There was also that show on BBT where he gave up on Twitter.

89:

My last name indicates that at some point my ancestors came from Scotland. (My great great grandfather was born most likely in Maryland about 1800.)

I'm suspicious that his parents or later were share croppers / tenant farmers in Scotland before being shipped over as indentured servants.[1] Maryland was the "Catholic" state so it would have fit that expectation. And they likely arrived without anything but a given name and got the Corleone treatment getting off the boat.

[1] My weak understanding of the history of Scotland in the 1600s into the 1700s is that the landlords discovered that goats were more profitable than tenant farmers so many were given the "opportunity" to go to the states.

90:

Do publishers offer (and market!) ONLY contracts for serial books, or do they offer ones for single books and two loosely-connected books?

I find that I regret having bought the first book (or sometimes the first two) of a series about half the time when I buy by someone unknown, even though I avoid doing do unless it looks VERY attractive. I do so pretty often even when I have already read and liked a single novel by them.

91:

On the subject of unpronounceable names I offer up this wonderful example from the classic Polish comedy film How I Unleashed World War II. You'll want to turn subtitles on.

92:

Yeah, well, I think you'd have to have everyone's head shaved to do a UUID tatoo on your forehead.... (says the guy who, a few weeks ago, was threatening people at work that he was going to scan the barcodes on their foreheads... (inventory time))

93:

During the War, when my father was in the army, his middle initial was NMI. My parents had excellent taste (though I understand I had a close call, and could have been named Allen Barry (y'all *do* know the mundane name of the original Flash, right?)) - they named me after Sam.

Clemens.

94:

Opinions, looking for opinions....

I have a fantasy short that I've been calling The Defenders. The protagonists are a couple of early twentysomethings: he's Jewish*, she's Norse Heathen, and the nasties are a Jotun, and someone who's half human, half Jotun. I was never really happy with the working title - what do y'all think of "The Heathen, the Jew, and the Jotuns"?

95:

Terrible, on several grounds. It's likely to have problems on political correctness grounds and misclassified if not.

96:

So, Amber, Moshe, and the Giants wouldn't work, either?

97:

*sigh*
Forgot to add my footnote: it's 1200, eastern Europe, and it's *my* fantasy, there are multiple gods, Jews simply don't put any other god ahead of theirs.

Christians are still having issues with it all....

98:

Sherly Bruce is the middle name here as its not Bruce-Davidson.

99:

Thereby including a lot of information useful for hacking purposes :-)

100:

I think that it would, but can't claim to be an expert.

101:

Do publishers offer (and market!) ONLY contracts for serial books, or do they offer ones for single books and two loosely-connected books?

It depends, frankly. There's no across-the-board consistency.

What publishers want is authors with stable career tracks and steadily growing sales. Which in turn tends to require books that are easy to market (to bookstore buyers, the gatekeepers to the public). And it's always easier to explain a series or trilogy to your marketing department than a wholly new and original book, which is effectively a different product.

102:

When I was a child, it seemed (from watching American movies and TV) that Americans used their middle initials way more than Canadians (and Brits). So a chap who would be Samuel Steele in Canada would be Samuel B. Steele in the US.

103:

Depending on whether you're playing this for laughs, and how Jewish you want the whole thing to be:

The Giant and the Shabbes-Goy?

Rev (Insert Name Here) and the Giant?

The Rabbi Who Stopped Ragnarok?

Kaddish in Jotunheim?

or better yet,

"Kaddish in the Cold Wastes."

Mom, I Know She's a Valkyrie, But She's a Very Nice Girl?

You Want Me To Stop a Giant Already?

Irving and the Valkyrie?

You Putz, You Stepped On My House!

Kaballah in Valhalla?

104:

... it seemed ... that Americans used their middle initials way more than Canadians (and Brits).

For the time of my birth in the mid 50s my first last name combination was very very very popular. To the extend if I didn't use my middle initial or better middle name there tended to be multiple of us on many occasions. Which in classes, sports, etc... could get to be confusing.

As to my first name, I was in a high school physics class with 11 people. 5 of us had the first name "David".

105:

Yes, exactly. Though we don't really need so many bits. The UK already issues 34-bit ones (although with typical incompetence fails to actually make use of them), in a pretty straightforwardly rememberable format, which could be extended to international use: adding one extra character is enough of an extension to cope with any population the planet can actually handle, and doesn't compromise the rememberability.

106:

Bellinghman @ 81: It seems to be a particularly US assumption that names are first/middle/last. That may have come from British common practice, but it doesn't half fail to cope with (some?) Hispanic custom. I spy yet another attempt to map a bunch of different cultures into a single template.

I wonder if it has anything to do with the World Wars & great depression coinciding with the introduction of Hollerith cards for the Census? For many years (most of the years of my life) a lot of government forms called for a name in the format, LASTNAME, FIRSTNAME MI (middle initial). If you didn't have a "middle" name, you were expected to write "NMI" (no middle initial) in the space provided.

107:

"My weak understanding of the history of Scotland in the 1600s into the 1700s is that the landlords discovered that goats were more profitable than tenant farmers so many were given the "opportunity" to go to the states."

That was a century or so later, and it was sheep. As the 1600s came to an end and the 1700s began there was the Darien project, an attempt to jump on the overseas-colonies bandwagon which failed dismally and ate all the country's money, leading to selling out to England (Act of Onion, 1707), and then after that were the Jacobite risings.

108:

If it's set in the 13th century then none of those cultural tropes are in any way appropriate—they'd be as anachronistic as hot rod racing and electric guitars in a story about the US War of Independence.

109:

You're only about half-right. Various versions of the Kaddish has been used for at least a thousand years* and the first mention of the mourner's Kaddish comes from the 13th Century (the same time period as whitroth's story.) The title of "Rabbi" has been used since the second century. The word "shabbes goy" is Yiddish, but the issue of gentiles working for Jews on the sabbath is discussed in the Talmud.

The earliest historical document involving the Kaballah goes to about 1200 (in France and Spain,) but tradition says the Kaballah was given to the Jews on 3 separate occasions; once to Adam, once to Abraham, and once to Moses, so with that interpretation it's definitely viable in the 13th century.

The use of Yiddish, of course, is a much more recent phenomena, but if the story is a comedy I think a few Yiddishisms could be permitted. "Irving" is definitely anachronistic, but workable if it's a comedy.


* The first recorded version we have comes from about 900 AD.

110:

Robert Prior @ 102: When I was a child, it seemed (from watching American movies and TV) that Americans used their middle initials way more than Canadians (and Brits). So a chap who would be Samuel Steele in Canada would be Samuel B. Steele in the US.

Look in the Telephone Book from any moderately sized U.S. city for any year in the later half of the 20th century.

How you going to tell the "Steeles" apart & find the telephone number for the one you need to talk to if you don't have a way to separate the different Sams from the Samuels (or the Samuals)?

111:

Sounds good to me.

Is this the version where the North American colonies remain British until the mid-20th century, or the version where vacuum tubes and internal combustion engines are invented in 18th-century America?

112:

It's very heavily more of a Southern thing. A lot of folks use their middle name instead of their first (j. Adam Smith, instead of John A. Smith).

Unless, of course, your parents gave you a stupid first name.

113:

Nope, not funny at all. Straight, serious, and I think I did a good job of making the jotuns seriously scary, not funny, ha-ha.

And I think Yiddish developed later, anyway. Oh, and, hey, this is the very *end* of the 12th Century, being set in 1200.... (Can you say, 2001, boys and grrrls?) And I've got Mongols, and Khazars, and Jotun, oh, my!

114:

Let's see, early/mid '80s, the end of a bid party for Philly in '86, there were 11 of us left in the room. We looked around, and this was followed by five minutes of four of us moaning in anguish, as the other seven of us proceeded to shake hands, "Hi, mark, glad to meet you, mark...."

115:

Moderate-sized meaning?

We had the same thing in Canada, and yes telephone books would usually have middle initials. But they weren't used socially like Americans seemed to (at least, seemed to as portrayed in the media). Samual Steele would be introduced that way, while on American TV shows he would be introduced as "Samual B. Steele". This was the case even for Canadian shows set in Toronto (which was around 2.5 million people then, IIRC) likely to have more Samuel Steeles.

It just seemed a cultural oddity — like British papers reporting someone's age as a matter of course while Canadian ones only included it if it was part of the story. (Eg. British: "Catherine Brown (23) reported that her dog was…" Canadian: "Catherine Brown reported that her dog was…").

116:

Old memories:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XZdhThY3LL4


(Monty Python Bruces sketch.)

117:

There are some bible verses about giants, which might be helpful. They're frequently referred to as the "sons of Anak" or "Anakim."

So:

"The Anakim of Jarlsberg (insert the correct name here.)"

"The Rabbi and the Anakim."

"Who Can Stand Before the Son of Anak?"

"The Children of Anak"

And so on.

118:

Um. Jotuns and Biblical giants do not have a lot in common, except that they are large and humanoid.

119:

Probably :-( There ARE inventions that could have created revolutions hundreds of years before they did, but those are not among them.

120:

Yup. And the Jotun are inherently inimical to humans, and most other living things. The biblical giants weren't.

Remember, at the end of Ragnarok, the universe burns up (thanks, so much, Surt...)

121:

True, but a Jewish man of the thirteenth century might call them by their biblical name even if the name was inaccurate.

122:

I'll note, by the way, that this cross-cultural naming is part of the fun this story can create.

123:

by not buying the first book when it drops

This continues to perplex me. On the one hand "sales in the first week/month really really matter" but on the other "we will not sell to Australasia until we get around to it". I haven't bought a book in the month/year of release since publishers decided to put effort into stopping me (Fictionwise use to sell to anyone with money, for example).

124:

I'm likelier to buy the first book and see whether the author can write, plot, and successfully make me believe it when something unexpected happens.

125:

For those of you not already watching "Medlife Crisis" on the tubes, can I suggest you have a look? He's interesting and has a somewhat dry sense of humor.

One highlight of his new "storytime video" is his helpful note for those not used to metric units that 2500m is 1.7e-8 astronomical units.

126:

Down here it's more like "See new book mentioned. Wait six months. Vaguely remember that I wrote down a book somewhere, but I can't find where. Log in to Australia ebook store and look in 'newly available'. Can't see anything appealing. Give up".

I read a lot more new books from non-traditionally published people people where links from their websites actually work than from people like Stross or Scalzi. Forget legally mandated person naming conventions, I want truth in advertising laws. "click this link to buy a copy of my book" should actually take me to a site where I can buy a copy of the book, not to a site that offers people somewhere else the chance to rent a copy if they happen to own a compatible device.

127:

I read a lot more new books from non-traditionally published people people where links from their websites actually work than from people like Stross or Scalzi.

Although typing "Stross" or "Scalzi" into the big river's search engine should get me something I'd like to read. (Okay, so it's almost certain to get me something I already have read. You know what I mean.) Authors not gifted with memorable nigh-unique names are more problematic.

A few years back I was trying to find their page for a novel written by a friend of mine whose personal name and surname are both moderately common. The book's title was made of normal English words. Despite knowing the title and the author's name, I waded through many pages of books that were not what I was looking for and were not particularly similar. I was quite displeased with their inability to produce what I wanted.

128:

whitroth @ 113
Are not the Khazars the supposed (or not ) ancestors of the Ahsenazi jews?
A much-disputed hypothesis, I understand.

129:

I wrote the jacket copy for both of my books, but I was at a small, independent house. I'm hoping to retain at least the option to "try out" with a pitch of my own if/when I move up to the larger houses. I truly don't look forward to the alternative.

130:

"we will not sell to Australasia until we get around to it"

There are two possibilities: (a) book is printed locally, by a local publisher (Orbit, for example, has an actual local operation in Australia), in which case the publication date is for realz, or (b) book is imported from the UK (or, more rarely, the USA). Books don't travel air-freight (see my previous point about their wholesale value per unit weight) so that's time spent in a shipping container travelling the long way across the Pacific or via the Suez Canal, before it arrives at a port and then gets distributed via shipping pallet aboard a train. This easily adds 1-2 months or more to the time it takes to hit the bookshelves.

A "publication date" in the UK or USA is generally 2-4 weeks after the pallet-load of newly printed books arrives in the distribution warehouses and orders are then shipped out to bookstores across the country. They're then generally embargoed until the official launch date, which means they clutter up somebody's stock room. It's not practical to put a 2 month hold on every bookstore or warehouse used by publishers in the United States or UK to allow for synchronizing the publication date with Australia; so they don't do that.

131:

I hear you: in general, the smaller the publisher, the more input the author gets (although there are exceptions), because big publishers are all about managing huge volumes of workflow and are surprisingly short-staffed (at least on the editorial side).

The large publishers should at least run their proposed cover copy past you before finalizing it. They've learned the hard way that if they don't do that, they get a significant amount of ear-bleeding noise from their authors.

I did get a surprising amount of input onto the jacket copy of my Orbit titles (UK, published the stuff previously published in the USA by Ace); my previous editor there was self-admittedly crap at cover copy and didn't have a dedicated cover-copy-writer in house, so he ran the blurbs past me and I made (polite!) suggestions, always keeping in mind that the purpose of the cover copy is to sell the book, not to provide a microscopically accurate description of it. After a few goes where I offered alternate copy and he ran it, it turned into a collaborative process.

These days, not so much: new editor, but also Laundry Files, so she's got a good handle on what sells consistently (cover copy is a placeholder for "this is the latest Laundry Files installment, about ..." rather than trying to sell a whole new high concept).

132:

Yes. That's a real pain. Altavista used to be OK, until its bug rate became intolerable. I used Yahoo until it introduced a new, seriously broken, version - which has probably been fixed. You CAN increase the success rate in Garble, Duck Duck Go and Quant Lite, but doing so is painful and not always successful.

I was a lesser light in one of the very first 'search engines' (think 1972) and, even now, would have no difficulty in writing one that would get your answer quickly and reliably (think information theory). It would be an almost trivial piece of code, too. Why don't I? Getting the data to search involves trawling the net, and that is EXPENSIVE :-(

Note that I am NOT including the fancy natural language and misspelling code that the oligopolies use, so that engine would be far better for people of an intellectual bent, such as most people posting here, rather than the, er, less intellectual. Yes, those could be added, but they are not among my areas of expertise.

133:

And that is why I believe that new authors should publish a stand-alone novel before trying to perpetrate a trilogy or, Cthulhu help us, an indefinite series. In my experience, the probability of someone who jumps straight into multi-volume epics being able to do what you said is very low indeed.

134:

The issue isn't technical, it's political. So all people like me can do is state firmly, in writing, regularly, that the problem exists, and hope that eventually publishing progresses (probably the same way science does). One day the publishing industry will realise that they produce information, not paper, and run their business accordingly. Until then... expect whining :(

135:

#84 - Note that I specifically said "fantasy" and "trilogy". I'm still prepared to buy single volumes by new authors that mature into series that may or may not be in 3 volumes when finished.
Ref #123 and #124 - I have a strong dislike of being "left hanging" by an unfinished series. and likewise on #133.

#86 - Well, I actually sign myself IRL "$Forename $Middle_initial $Surname".

#87 and #88 - As David says, with the note that Levar Burton has a really good speaking voice for doing "reading aloud" (at least IMO).

#89 [1] - Sheep rather than goats, but basically yes. Also #107 relates, but don't get me started!

#90 - Similarly. As a sample data point, my first Charles Stross novel was the "commercially unsuccessful" "Glasshouse".

#101 - I can independently confirm this based on conversations with agents and publishers at cons.

#114 - Or the Monty Python "Bruces" sketch, and its Scottish fandom version "Duncan Lunan, Bruce, Duncan Lunan, Bruce, (x4). I say Bruce, do you mind if we call you 'Duncan Lunan': Keeps things simple you know?"

136:

Unfortunately publishing has already responded to your problem .... with ebooks.

And because of structural corporate policy issues, they've gone with DRM, even when the file formats are open standards. (Except for small presses and, oddly, Tor/Macmillan.)

Because their response is revenue-positive and appears to satisfy 70-80% of the reading public, they're not going to bother going after a separate niche market like, er, you.

137:

(Except for small presses and, oddly, Tor/Macmillan.)

Am I right in thinking that the Nielsen-Haydens are responsible Tor/Macmillan anti-DRM policy? Or is the truth more complex?

138:

The truth is indeed more complex (although Patrick was definitely a voice for sanity during the internal discussions over DRM at Macmillan).

139:

I haven't read history that far, but possibly. Some of them converted to Judaism, in fact. The Church (I forget if it was RC or OC) sent people to evangelize, and it didn't work well, and they gave up. There was intermarriage, as well, so for all these reasons, I set it in 1200, and the Mongols worked perfectly to give me something more than just a couple of horrible monsters.

Writing details: I'd started it with the protagonists as kids, and how they newcomers settled in, but there was nothing like an ooomph. It may have been Charlie's response to me, to start in the middle, and I did that, then dropped the original beginning. Then, just a couple weeks ago, I added a preface (to a short story!), which is nice oomph.

Tomorrow, when I get to Balticon, if I can make an 18:00 pitch session, I'm planning to ask Alex Shvartzman if he'd be willing to look at a story, straight sf, that really doesn't have much oomph at the beginning, but ends with a massive, horrendous kick in the ass - that is, old style sf writing.

140:

What I took ages to realise, and still understand only intellectually, is that the attraction of 'easy money' seems to disable so many people's ability to think rationally. It's not just scams, but is why Raleigh and the British car industry destroyed their dominant positions. I have been observing it with books and publishing for ages - though usually a different set of culprits.

One can accept that they aren't going to harm their cash cows, but the number of organisations that hold in-demand, out-of-print copyrights they are just sitting on is incredible. More than once I have been told by insiders that they wouldn't sell enough to make money (true, with their overheads), but their response to "Well, why not simply licence the copyright to someone else?" and got the answer "We don't do that sort of thing."

141:

Of course the editorial staff is short. I mean, they don't "win the big contracts", they're only the ordinary people who ACTUALLY DO THE WORK REQUIRED...."

Sorry, a lot of places I've worked, over the years, my companies have been all about "rewarding" those that win the contracts, but us peons? (That's pronounced pee-on, by the way.)

And, of course, less money wasted on peons, more for the execs and CEOs, who do *so* much more "valuable" work.

142:

"Misspelling code"? What, you wouldn't build a SOUNDEX into the search engine?

Why, yes, from the spec, I *did* write one in COBOL in the late '80's....

143:

No, for reasons that I could explain, but would be an unjustifiable diversion.

145:

The large publishers should at least run their proposed cover copy past you before finalizing it.

So how much input did you get to have for the mermaid boobies cover?

146:

"We don't do that sort of thing."

That's a flat-out lie: every publisher of any size has a rights department whose sole job is to make money by sub-licensing rights they hold to other publishers (e.g. limited editions, derivative works, translations—if they hold rights to more than one language).

What you were really being told is, "you're not likely to pay us enough money to make it worth our while".

Note that they like to do business with companies with a track record (for paying royalties) and they get very wary about unconventional business models (because they like to get paid).

147:

Not enough. Trouble is, (a) that was Ace (part of Penguin, aka a big-ass bureaucracy dedicated to keeping authors out of the loop—they've only gotten worse since being absorbed by Random House), and (b) a painting, which means someone had to pay the artist to execute a brief by the art director who bolted it together from a description of the book that was probably based on the original proposal I sent in. A chain of whispers ensues, and by the time it produces a painting, some considerable amount of money has been spent (read: there's no budget to re-do from scratch).

A small publisher would either (a) find an artist and put them in touch with the editor and author and say "here, discuss what you want to see on the cover", and the artist would then provide some sketches for comment first, or (b) they'd use a stock photo/painting, and if the author screams, they can just try a different one—they only pay when they publish.

(Option (a) actually explains the Golden Gryphon cover of "The Jennifer Morgue", with the fish-headed Bond Babe. Steve Montiglio brainstormed some possible designs with Marty Halpern and me, and we discussed which we liked most ... and in round 2 Steve threw in this thing he'd been goofing around with as a joke, and I was like, "yes, we need THIS!!!", so we went with it. Because: it's funny-incongruous, vaguely Lovecraftian/fishy, and is a shout-out to the old-and-deplorably-sexist 70s Bond movie intro credits. People who haven't seen any Bond movies often go WTF, but as the whole book is a Bond movie parody ...)

148:

EC @ 140
Without going into the complete implosion, through a combination of gross incompetence & greed ... of BSA.
Note to younger readers: "BSA" did not "just" make superb motorcycles, but just about everything.
Rotted from within, utterly.
Complete utter wankers like Stokes at Leyland & Ernie Weinstock at GEC are two more exmaples.
Even at the time, I could see they were greedy con-men, but nobody else could, apparently - why not?

Also @ 144
Yes ...
So the tories change theior "leader"... the PROBLEM is still the same.
You have to get something past the HoC, who won't wear a crash-out no-deal.
Um errr .....

Charlie & EC
but the number of organisations that hold in-demand, out-of-print copyrights they are just sitting on is incredible.
The Mirror Group have a standard charge of something like £500 per go for archive picture from their files ....
This article on a disaster that changed lots of things in Britain [ READ IT ] continas some of those pictures ...
The web-site owner had to haggle them down ... finally presuading them, that they had been sitting on the damned pictures since 1952 & no-one had wanted to use them ... because of the exorbitant price ... trying to get through logically was apparently a struggle.

149:

IMHO the Jennifer Morgue cover is the best of all the Laundry covers, and gives a great feel for the story. I'd probably have bought it even without having known anything about you or The Laundry.

150:

Sorry, couldn't see entry 11 - too many scripts/links for me to want to enable them all (well over a dozen).

151:

Robert Prior @ 115: Moderate-sized meaning?

More than a thousand, less than a million inhabitants; any city large enough to have its own published phone book & not just be included as an afterthought in the back of some larger, nearby city's phone book.

We had the same thing in Canada, and yes telephone books would usually have middle initials. But they weren't used socially like Americans seemed to (at least, seemed to as portrayed in the media). Samual Steele would be introduced that way, while on American TV shows he would be introduced as "Samual B. Steele". This was the case even for Canadian shows set in Toronto (which was around 2.5 million people then, IIRC) likely to have more Samuel Steeles.

It just seemed a cultural oddity — like British papers reporting someone's age as a matter of course while Canadian ones only included it if it was part of the story. (Eg. British: "Catherine Brown (23) reported that her dog was…" Canadian: "Catherine Brown reported that her dog was…").

Thinking about it further, I first encountered the requirement to include a middle initial when I went into the Army. Many times something would require sign with what the Army called my "payroll signature", i.e. First Name - Middle Initial - Last Name. Any time you had to write your name on a form, you had to PRINT your name (or have it typed) in the format Last Name, First Name - Middle Initial. Forms also had to be filled out in "black or blue/black ink" (which really meant BLACK ink, use any other color ink and you were going to get an ass chewing).

David L has mentioned the hassles that ensued if you didn't have a middle name (or initial).

Without going back to do extensive research, I don't remember news reports including the age of persons involved unless it had some significance to the story - a boy (12) who took the family car to go joy-riding with his friends or a person (37) who suddenly dropped dead of a heart attack. If it didn't add anything to understanding the story, it wasn't mentioned

152:

no-one had wanted to use them ... because of the exorbitant price ...

That can be a perfectly reasonable response, though, because the cost of licensing can be quite high. What is IMO unreasonable though is when groups like that say "no, the same price per item applies no matter how many" rather than making their internal costs obvious "it costs $300 plus $150 per image plus $50/hr for every hour spent dealing with you"... sure, gimme the lot, here's ten grand.

I lean towards the idea that copyright should be the exclusive right to publish, and no more. You shouldn't be able to use it to prevent publication completely. In other words, either the copyrighted material is available to the public for a reasonable price, or the material is public domain (ie, the price is between zero and reasonable). "Reasonable" can be discussed by lawyers... if someone wants it and is willing to sue they can. At that point a few grand per book/image/song is going to be cheap.

153:

IIRC the reason for citing the person's age in British newspapers is because it drastically reduces the newspaper's risk of being sued for libel. Suppose John Brown, aged 27, has been convicted for kiddie fiddling, and the paper prints this, but omits his name: then John Brown, aged 42, can plausibly sue for damages to his good name. But if the report includes the age, then it narrows the field considerably.

154:

That makes sense. Name, town, and age is probably a pretty good identifier.

155:

It took me a while to twig that TJM was a Bond parody, then I figured out that {spoiler} was the Bond girl.

156:

That paper's Web interface is a Javascripted obscenity, so I can't provide a direct link.

157:

Charlie Stross @ 153: IIRC the reason for citing the person's age in British newspapers is because it drastically reduces the newspaper's risk of being sued for libel. Suppose John Brown, aged 27, has been convicted for kiddie fiddling, and the paper prints this, but omits his name: then John Brown, aged 42, can plausibly sue for damages to his good name. But if the report includes the age, then it narrows the field considerably.

I think under US libel laws the other "John Brown" would have to prove the newspaper had knowingly made an actual false accusation or mis-identification. Just having a similar/same name wouldn't be enough.

158:

I think the legal defence is called "absence of malice". (Hence the title of the Robert Redford film.)

159:

Robert Prior @ 158: I think the legal defence is called "absence of malice". (Hence the title of the Robert Redford film.)

I believe the term of art used by U.S. courts is "actual malice".

It applies to a "public figure" suing for defamation (slander or libel). Public figures have to prove the publisher had "knowledge that it was false or with reckless disregard of whether it was false or not". Plus they have to demonstrate the defamation caused them "actual damage".

I believe there's a different standard for a NON-public figure; the average "Joe" (or in this case "John Brown"). They only have to prove the defamatory statement was made and that the statement is false.

Just giving the name of a person convicted of a crime wouldn't make that naming defamatory of any other person sharing the name (under U.S. law - YMMV if you don't live in the U.S.).

160:

Erm.....Congratulations on the beginning of a new Scottish Independence campaign?
Or too soon to tell?

161:

Well, I think that should have been baked in by the Palace of Oathbreakers telling the people of Scotland "You can only remain in the EU if you vote to remain part of the UK" in 2014, and then in 2016 saying "Scotland must leave the EU because Englandshire wants to".

162:

My favorite is Dutch physicist Gerardus 't Hooft. That’s right, his family name starts with an apostrophe.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gerard_'t_Hooft

163:

Wow. How is the name pronounced?

165:

Yeah, about that... there's the US "no fly" list. As far as I can tell, it has only names, and the TSA agent can interpret that in any manner that amuses them.

I've read of them stopping a 10 month old infant this year. My favorite was when they stopped someone named David Thomas... who happened to be a Congressman, and it took *him* a week or two to get that resolved. Then, not long after, they tried to stop Teddy Kennedy... yes, the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, from flying. That didn't work at all....

166:

I'd say, t'hooft, analogous to the way you say "bottle" in Liverpudlian.

168:

Yes there is a no fly list. And it is at the top level name based. And so what has to happen is when your name matches you have to step aside and show you are not the person on the list. And yes it gets into some stupid stuff but there is a rule. If the passenger trips the system they MUST be checked. Otherwise eventually some harried or having a bad day TSA person will just waive through someone they shouldn't.

Easy way to fix this is to have a national bio-metric ID card system that must be used and tied to your reservation/ticket. Not gonna happen. Although bizarrely some young DT supporters want such not understanding how this is "government run amuck and overreach and ..." and periodically have to be told that a true conservative will not be "for" such a thing. (As I trail off into sarcasm.)

My family got to see how it worked back 15 years ago (not as well as now) when someone got on the list with the same name as my tween aged son. So for a year we couldn't fully check in early for flights if he was on the reservation. Which torqued my wife to no end as she works for an airline and this put a real crimp into our benefit travel usage.

169:

"Easy way to fix this is to have a national bio-metric ID card system that must be used and tied to your reservation/ticket."

Something that would let you pass from one port of call to another. Like a "port-pass" or something. If only there were such a thing.

171:

David L @ 168: Easy way to fix this is to have a national bio-metric ID card system that must be used and tied to your reservation/ticket. Not gonna happen. Although bizarrely some young DT supporters want such not understanding how this is "government run amuck and overreach and ..." and periodically have to be told that a true conservative will not be "for" such a thing. (As I trail off into sarcasm.)

I think we might eventually get such an ID card system, but the government won't call it an ID card. It will start out as some kind of a pass that you can apply for that will pre-clear you with the TSA and other "security" agencies. It will be "voluntary". You don't have to apply for the pass, but having one will make it so much easier to travel that anyone who travels by air will want to apply for it. If you don't have the pass you can still stand in the longer line at the TSA & put up with all the bull-shit security theater rigamarole.

Once a sufficient segment of the flying public has accepted having the pass, it will be made mandatory. You'll have to have the pass to fly anywhere in the U.S., but you'll still be able to travel by private automobile. Note: if passenger rail still exists in the U.S. at that time, you'll have to pass TSA screening to get on the train, so you'll need to get the pass for rail travel ... also if you want to take a cruise or need to rent a car.

After that, the pass will be accepted for identification in other areas, but it still won't be called an ID card & and there will still be lots of people who never get one. Eventually, the number of people who have been turned down, denied the pass will outnumber those who just never needed one & that too will become an alternative form of identification.

172:

A friend of mine, who was originally from Port Dover Ontario, goes by his middle name and has done so since he was a child. Apparently not only was his father named Archie, but so were a few kids at school, so it was just easier all round to go by his middle name (David).

Oddly enough, Dave does the best covers of Stan Rodgers songs that I have heard. If you are into filk you probably know him.

173:

Driving license. With biometrics that conform to international standards. They're out there already, just not universally issued within the United States because driver licenses are a state level responsibility.

Look for some federal guidelines on data sharing between driver licensing bureaus, under a gloss of "making it easier for police to check licenses are current for out-of-state visitors".

As for getting on an Amtrak service, you already pass under the eyes of security staff as you go through the gate onto the platform, and they're legally required to check ID (here in the UK, you just put your ticket through a reader in the barrier, there's no queueing and no inspection by humans, and you can still buy them with cash).

174:

I always envied Sell Your Soul To The Flaming Stars. While Edge Of Tomorrow is an example of creator/promoter name conflicts, I suppose that The Bells might be the classic of being faithful to the original creative intent as opposed to to being faithful to the 'principle' of being the current 'hit show'.

Is every marketing department good, like a minister of the Church?

You can't have an overarching theme that experience entails a loss of innocence? Phantom of the Opera had an underlying theme of Don Juan Triumphant.

175:

For Don Juan Triumphant
Go to George Bernard Shaw .... the v long interval-act in "Man & Superman", often titled "Don Juan in Hell" & sometimes performed separately ...

176:

Chinese high-speed rail requires complete airline-style baggage checks as well as ID check before the passengers can go to the secure platform and board their train. In contrast Japanese shinkansen simply requires a ticket (which can be purchased for cash, no ID required) or pass to clear the barrier and get on the train. There may or may not be ticket checks on board, usually there aren't.

177:

A day after reading your comments, I searched the site of Juliet E. McKenna to see if the rural fantasy The Green's Man Heir would have a sequel, and I found this post on her blog :

http://www.julietemckenna.com/?p=3033

I quote the first two paragraphs :

One thing about writing a book set in the modern world is the challenge of finding character names. The business of naming epic fantasy characters is straightforward by comparison. Make sure they’re easily pronounced, and coherent for the society where they belong, and you’re pretty much good to go.

But when you’re dealing with the current day, the first thing you must do is stick whatever combination of name and surname you’re using into a search engine. Believe me, you will find pages of people called exactly that – and you need to take a look at the results to make sure you’re not inadvertently libelling anyone. This is particularly important when it comes to villains

The article of the Guardian concerning Jack Arnott cited in that blog is also full of anecdotes on this problem.

178:

A REAL ID drivers license or ID card will be required to board a flight in the US starting October 1, 2020. Or you can use a passport. The additional documentation required to get a REAL ID is proof of Social Security Number and two proofs of residence (such as utility bills). This is squarely in the category of harassment of poor people who don't have a stable residence. They can drive with a regular drivers license but they will not be able to fly.

179:

REAL ID ... harassment of poor people

It's also about coercing states, some of which still don't have complying licenses. Sadly the people representing those states all have passports so are still able to fly to Washington, but I expect there will be public pressure once the ban hits.

For poor people it's partly just about the cost of the new license as much the need to document an address, but I vaguely recall reading that some states have stricter requirements for that documentation specifically aimed at poor people (viz, the state looked at which forms of documentation poor people used and voted not to accept them. I think I read a report of the ensuing lawsuit).

180:

Matching names can be an issue even in fantasy writing, especially if you unconsciously grabbed more than one from another fantasy you read. There was a webfiction writer who I asked if she was doing fanfic - though her plot didn't match she'd grabbed two character names and a location name from another. Apparently she'd taken all three names without realising it.

181:

he first thing you must do is stick whatever combination of name and surname you’re using into a search engine

Yep, this is totally true.

I've been contacted a couple of times over the years by readers who were surprised to trip over their own name in one of my books. (Even though I'd never heard of them.)

I don't google every name, but you can bet I checked carefully on the name of the big bad in "Lost Boys", who at one point is described thuswise:

His reputation became such that pedigreed parents warned their debutante daughters away from him despite his near-billionaire status. (Marrying for money was all very well, but not if it meant marrying a drug overdose flying in loose formation with several strains of sexually transmitted disease hitherto unknown to science.)

Lesser bad guys and henchmen you can probably skimp on, but actually naming a real person then pinning that particular tail on the donkey? Nope nope nope ...

182:

Yes.

And, also, you wouldn't believe some of the names that come and go in fashion over time.

For example, "Princess Tiffany" in a mediaeval/high fantasy setting? That would, oddly to modern ears, be totally plausible. Just as Liz is a contraction of Elizabeth, Tiffany is a contraction of Theophania, a fairly common name if you go back several centuries. The contraction has generally replaced the original in modern usage and is quite common in the teen cohort at present, but Princess Tiffany and her ladies-in-waiting could totally be a thing.

(More personal example: I have an elder sister. Her name is Olivia. As you can guess, I am pushing 55 so she's not a toddler ... and got a real shock a few years ago when her previously-unusual name came back into fashion suddenly and every time she ventured into a supermarket she'd hear young women shouting for her to not stick that in her mouth or to come back here right now. I live in terror of "Charles" or "Charlie" coming back into fashion, but it's probably about as likely as a Nigel revival ...)

183:

Utility bills ??
I thing the only recent 'official' *printed* proof of residence I have is the annual council tax bill.

184:

Apparently, Charlie is currently running somewhere number 5 or 6 in the baby ranking :-)

We used names that were seriously old-fashioned and regional (separately) for two daughters, only to find them coming into fashion! My wife's is regional, but came into fashion after she was born. You can't win.

However, it is surprising how many causes of two not-unusual names can be rare in the wild if they don't usually go together. If you do a search on mine, you will find surprisingly few hits for such individually common names.

185:

Yes, I’ve noticed the same thing. Although thanks to google being stupid and ignoring dots in emails, treating name.surname and name surname as the same, I find myself regularly getting the plane tickets for a Canadian namesake, should I ever want to fly from Goose Bay to Gander.

186:

And, also, you wouldn't believe some of the names that come and go in fashion over time.

My favourite example of that is that the wife of King Herod (yes, that one) was called Doris.

187:

My daughter who will one day I am sure google herself will be referenced as 380-450 nanometers in this
For various convoluted reasons, I got first meaning rights, my wife is one of the doesn’t have a middle name crowd got middle name rights
So I picked the aforementioned part of the visual spectrum, my wife proposed her grandmother’s name Evelyn as middle name, I said now ay is my daughter going to have VEG as initials, then my mother whose name begins with A chimed in wanting to be included. She was quite upset when I pointed out that set of initials was worse.
Finally we went posh and gave her two middle names adding my grandmothers name of Nina, so she is VENG which I quite like

188:

I've routinely had at least one Olivia in my high school classes every year for a decade now. No Olives, though.

Not as common as Elizabeth or Vicky, but not notably rare either.

189:

While I keep getting emails from a vicar wanting to discuss repairs to the wall in the churchyard — somewhere in a village in England.

Apparently my namesake is in his 70s (so I guess I'm actually his namesake, then) and in addition to being a handyman has a Netflix account, has an outstanding account with a car parts shop, and has more my taste in entertainment than the American chap who shares my name (who is an NRA-supporting Tea Party Republican).

190:

One that I found particularly funny was a woman I was involved with for a bit who was a tall marine biologist who played basketball at school and university. She was from England, but had a namesake a few years younger in the US who was a tall, basketball playing student studying marine biology.

My namesakes, at least the ones spelled correctly, are mostly at least as boring as I am. The photographer got a bit twitchy when I was selling photos and our emails crossed a few times, but since I register relevant domains and he uses yahoo it only happened a couple of times. There's also some happy gayboy in/near London who means my use of Grindr is under a name I've never used before. There are rather more 'Moz' in the world, including a depressed, pretentious twat in the UK who I could live without, and of course Mozilla who thankfully no longer default your new email address in Thunderbird to 'moz@mozilla.org' because oh boy were the few people who flamed the living sh!t out of me for using that default address enthusiastic (and not, interestingly, apologetic when corrected. Apparently 'moz@mozhome.com' is far too similar)

191:

Maruad @ 172: A friend of mine, who was originally from Port Dover Ontario, goes by his middle name and has done so since he was a child. Apparently not only was his father named Archie, but so were a few kids at school, so it was just easier all round to go by his middle name (David).

Oddly enough, Dave does the best covers of Stan Rodgers songs that I have heard. If you are into filk you probably know him.

I don't know much about "filk" (folk song as applied to SciFi/Fantasy? - Blind Riesling, the singer of the space ways ...).

OTOH, I do know a little bit about folk music & I know who Stan Rodgers was.

Rise again, rise again!
Though your heart it be broken and life about to end
No matter what you've lost, be it a home, a love, a friend
Then like the Mary Ellen Carter, rise again!

192:

Charlie,

Off topicise me if you like but I have to ask:

The New York Times:

"Editors’ note: This is the first installment in a new series, “Op-Eds From the Future,” in which science fiction authors, futurists, philosophers and scientists write op-eds that they imagine we might read 10, 20 or even 100 years in the future. The challenges they predict are imaginary — for now — but their arguments illuminate the urgent questions of today and prepare us for tomorrow. The opinion piece below is a work of fiction."

Were you even asked?

193:

Err, because you should have been?

Sorry, this looks like stalking.

I'll stop right now.

194:

NYT is not Scotland Friendly atm, as a hint.

Maggie is working for her mother, PR guru, and Trumplandia White Pardons are culturally being sold.
They're not going to be asking for Scottish solutions, esp. ones who aren't pro-T / May. You know, posting such stuff is so uncivilized.

Or, in other words: NYT's "list" is something I'd really look carefully at. In the same way you'd look carefully at the list of ex-.mil spooks on CNN or CN state approved SF authors.

Look for the gaps

Ted Chiang is a good author, but there's reasons the NYT would chose him.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/27/opinion/ted-chiang-future-genetic-engineering.html

We are indeed witnessing the creation of a caste system, not one based on biological differences in ability, but one that uses biology as a justification to solidify existing class distinctions. It is imperative that we put an end to this, but doing so will take more than free genetic enhancements supplied by a philanthropic foundation. It will require us to address structural inequalities in every aspect of our society, from housing to education to jobs. We won’t solve this by trying to improve people; we’ll only solve it by trying to improve the way we treat people.


*cough*

1997

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0119177/

195:

Were you even asked?

No, I was not asked.

Also, if asked, I would decline to write for the NY Times.

Its editorial stance is a disgrace: they've forgotten how to do journalism properly. (Also, it's incredibly pompous, self-congratulatory, staid, and conservative. I mean, they'll be in the second wave of tumbrils come the revolution, right behind the oligarchs.)

196:

"publisher had accidentally mixed up the blurbs for different books if it wasn't for the names of characters/locations matching up."

I've seen this happen in the days of paper book catalogs,

197:

I've never seen UK market editions of some Tanith Lee stories,

This usually works the other way round. Her US decided to market one of her books as horror just as horror experienced another die back event. The book tanked and so did her ability to sell her books to major North American publishers.

198:

"As a complicating factor, "Lost Boys" is hopefully the start of a new series spinning off from "The Laundry Files" much as "Deep Space Nine" was a by-blow of "Star Trek"; different focus, different characters, zero relationship with the Laundry itself--but sharing the same setting. "

... kinda. They brought Michael Dorn as Worf on board to establish some continuity. Then there was the Tribbles se/pre/para-quel episode that incorporated footage from the original series episode, as the DS9 cast work around Kirk et al, and take a hard look at the changes in sensibility. Pandering to the fans? Maybe. Definitely fun though.

199:

Just for starters, as New York's lead paper, they should have spent ridiculous amounts of time telling us about the real Donald Trump... and that's before I get into issues like the Iraq war. I wouldn't write for them either.

200:

Don't know him, would like to.

I'm sure I've mentioned that I filked Northwest Passage to Outbound Passage, and just as serious or more.

201:

You could google. Filk music is a wikipedia page, and when I just googled it, above that were about 15 filk videos.

You *should* absolutely watch this version of Hope Eyrie/The Eagle Has Landed. Written by Leslie, and a video made by a Vietnamese woman. It *is* recognized by most fen as the National Anthom of Fandom... and yeah, in San Antone, in '13, when Leslie was the half-time entertainment, about a third of us in the audience stood to sing our anthem. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IXteSV8rBwY

Mary Ellen Carter... I can't/won't talk about hor bittersweet that is to me, personally. Maybe some day at a con over a drink....

202:

Chinese high-speed rail requires complete airline-style baggage checks as well as ID check before the passengers can go to the secure platform and board their train.

My friends who visit there for business up to several times per year say you'll get you picture taken a LOT as you move about transportation venues. And it will be tied to your ID. They are really getting deep into tracking everyone inside the country.

And I listened to a radio report of how the street cops in big cities can stop you and if you don't have the correct ID they can snap a picture and find out who you are fairly quickly. And by "you" I mean locals as well as foreigners.

203:

US identity cards.

Drivers licenses and state issued IDs (I think all states have them) aren't that expensive. $20 to $40 in most places. Which is one reason some states have been resisting REAL ID for so long. Unfunded federal mandate and all that. And in most states you can visit the DMV (where you get a license) or equivalent and get a non driving ID for free. But they DO want you to at a basic level prove who you are if this is not a renewal. This tends to be an issue with older people with no birth records who've lived way out in the country on the land owned in the family since the 1800s or so in a shack.

As to documentation required, it's a bit varied. Utility bills are ubiquitous in the US. Unless you rent and it's all paid for. (Of course now most people bring in a email printout of a bill and we all know that can't be faked.) But things like a lease agreement is OK in many cases. The requirement is basically show us that some big company or government entity has a non trivial track record with you at an address.

As to discriminating against poor people, the biggest impediment to replacing your license ahead of the renewal date is the time. I've dropped into my local DMVs a few times to get a real ID and walked after after a quick appraisal of the wait times. And so far since REAL ID is about flying, how many people are flying that can't afford to replace their DL for $20 to $40. And since I have a passport and passport card and a global entry card I will just use one of those if needed.

REAL ID deadlines are an interesting thing. Now they are saying (after 4,302 extensions) that this time we really really really mean it. We'll see.

This is NOT a technical issue. This is all about the politics of keeping track of poor people, keeping the feds out of MY BUSINESS, unfunded mandates, etc... Talking points on the campaign. My Global Entry card is tied to a background check and my fingerprints. Most times I walk through customs by putting my finger tips on a small screen, inserting my passport and/or card, and answering no to 4 or 5 questions.

204:

I just turned 63.

Last year I had to renew my drivers license, and they are forcing the Real ID crap on us here in NM. I walked in with all of the stuff they wanted, and the little girl was dismissing me instantly. (All this is going on with bullet proof glass standing between us.) I pushed all of my stuff back under the bullet proof glass and I said, "Wait. This is what I have, tell me what I need to do."

After finally looking at what I had, she said that I didn't have a Real Birth Certificate. That I had to go to some obscure State office across town and get one. I went, there were many people there with me from the DMV, and many of them were in trouble because they were born at home and only had christening records, or they were born out of state decades ago and have lived here for most of their lives, and needed to contact their State of Birth to get a Real Birth Certificate from them.

I was born at a hospital in Silver City, that was abandoned and torn down soon after. (Think the movie The Omen, or Good Omens. (queue spooky music.) They issued me a Birth Certificate, baby feet prints on the back and all.

I have used my Birth Certificate my whole life, school, military, work, and suddenly it is not good enough. The people getting the bad news were also in their 60s, 70s, with the same problem. We are talking people who worked for Las Alamos, lived in the world, one was a retired Professor, yet they had no "proof" good enough for some little girl at the DMV.

- That means they are facing a process that may take months, in some cases having to go before a judge, all while their drivers license is about to expire. So this is not just about the poor being impacted, or minimal time and money.

I'm an American, damn it! I don't need no stinking passport in my own country, and most people do not have passports.

I was lucky. They issued me a Real Birth Certificate right away, so I am now a Real Person. The people I left in that obscure State office were not so lucky.

205:

The real issue is also the GOP disenfranchisement of poors and non-whites. Georgia? Alabama? *closed* a ton of DMVs, leaving something like 26 in the ENTIRE state before last year's elections.

And some that were open were *outside* the cities, and not near public transit.

206:

It could be worse. At one stage, my mother needed a new Real Birth Certificate for me, and the registrar had decamped into the (west African) bush with the records as part of a pay dispute. There was a long delay ....

207:

or they were born out of state decades ago

My father was born in 1906 on the AS&R concession in Aguascalientes, MX(gasp!). When the Mexican Revolution came along a few years later the gringos cleared out and the hospital records were lost. That caused him to have to have to jump through a couple of hoops during the WW II years, but nothing too onerous, as those were less crazy times. Ghu knows what he would have had to do to escape deportation these days.

208:

And O'Brien, and had the "Mirror, Mirror" universe episodes, and the three Klingons from TOS...

209:

Georgia? Alabama?

Yes they seem to be in the running for biggest jerk of a state. Those things also hurt wealthy people. Just not a much.

Here in NC in a major metro area the offices seemed to be well staffed and there are more than a few. One issue is they keep leasing new space (looking for low bid I'm guessing) and so the strip mall they are in seems to change every 4 to 6 years. Which is about the renewal window so when you go to find them you wind up at a nail salon or empty store front and get to spend the allotted time looking for where they moved the damn thing now. Why look it up on Google Maps when you were "just there"? At least in your mind.

I also need to get a replacement SS card. I think mine went through the wash 20+ years ago. Between REAL ID and turning 65 everyone seems to want to seem my card. Which has GOT TO BE the easiest card to forge on the planet.

And since I fly 1 to 4 round trips a month my DL gets pulled out of my wallet a LOT. And my picture wears off. So every so often TSA says my picture isn't good enough. So I go online and order another one. No checks or balances required unless you moved since your last renewal.

As I said we COULD have a rational reasonable national ID card but noooooooo.

And bizarrely enough after our legislature (large R majority) got smacked by the courts for having too strict of a voter ID standard they passed a law opening it up to lots of government issued IDs. Public college IDs being a big one. Then the state elections board read the law so restrictively that most college IDs were not good enough. So the R's just re-wrote the law telling the elections board to CUT IT OUT and let them vote. Lots of surprise all around.

210:

"And, also, you wouldn't believe some of the names that come and go in fashion over time."


Sometimes it's funny how a name choice can indicate nationality. Used to be that Trevor, Colin, Clive, Nigel, Simon, Graham or Ian were fair clues to a U.K. origin (or was that the Moody Blues lineup?) Got me wondering what names would stand out from a non-U.S. point of view, as just lighting up like a neon sign, oh yeah that has to be an American....Gary, maybe? Cliff?

Makes for a good betting game at the end of a British film, to let the credits run and watch studio production names scroll past: "This time I'm going for the trifecta, there's a Simon in accounting, that was too easy, a Clive in special effects so that's two already, and wait for it, let them show gaffers and sound editing...YES! Nigel in craft services! I win!"

211:

In my experience Colin, Simon, Graham and Ian are all unremarkable in the US.
Trevor and Clive rare but not unheard of.
The only one I’ve never seen here Nigel.

212:

Colm Meaney. Doh! Added value wherever he turns up.

Of course every Trek franchise has a mirror universe excursion. I think it's a rule.

213:

In my experience Colin, Simon, Graham and Ian are all unremarkable in the US.

65 years young here. I've lived in KY, PA, CT, and NC. Traveled to various standards meetings of insurance IT folks for 5 years or so all over the country.

The ONLY Simon I've run into was an immigrant from the UK. The ONLY Graham I think is from OZ. (There's a group very loosely associated with various members of the Commonwealth I meet up with for a beer at times which is where the Graham comes from.) There's a 10 year old I know of but his family seems to name folks based on ancestry.

Colin and Ian I've not run into except maybe as an introduction but I can't remember any.

I think much of this is based on where you live and work in the US. And can be very local.

214:

ID
Here, the Driver's License is the gold standard, if only because it usually has your passport photo on it.
Slight problem ... the number of people with driver's licences is dropping.
If you are over ( I think it's now 67) then you are entitled to your "bus pass" which has a photo in it.
Either of those is instant ID for any officialdom here

215:

The UK driver's license is biometric ID these days. I think it's actually accepted for domestic flights (but not many people use them because anyone who flies anywhere non-domestic has a passport, and most domestic airliner use in the UK is just feeder flights for long-haul—there are very few domestic short-haul routes that are used routinely for travel in place of trains, buses, or cars.)

Bus passes—not so much.

216:

Nigel, according to official baby-name stats, went extinct in the UK last year. It had been in decline for decades, but post-2016 and Nigel Farage, nobody named their child Nigel in 2018 (and it had been in low single-digits for a while before then, in a nation of 66 million).

217:

It is clear that being a Faragist leads to impotence, frigidity and sterility ....

218:

I have certainly used my driver's licence on flights between the UK and the Republic of Ireland (though having my passport on me as well, just in case). But I've also travelled between them without showing any ID at all, just by driving.

219:

One of my colleagues at the moment is a Londoner whose name is Nigel. But he’s 40ish so your point stands. I may occasionally bug him by singing that xtc song...

220:

Canadian here. I've run into Colins, Trevors and Grahams.

I've never met a Nigel. The only Nigel I knew of before Farrage showed up had the surname of Molesworth.

221:

I can remember mostly fictional Nigels, before Farage. I'm not sure Nigel Tufnel would be a good or bad example for naming your child... (I'm Finnish, so Nigel wasn't on our shortlist of names.)

222:

My mother used to use her pension card as id when flying between Leeds/Bradford and Dublin - mind you that was, ye gods, 45 years ago.

223:

Back when Nigel Lawson was a well-known politician, it wasn't a particularly rare name, though it was nothing like common. I find it surprising that it has completely disappeared so fast, because a lot of children are named after relatives.

224:

Made me look.

If you visit here:
https://www.ssa.gov/oact/babynames/decades/
You'll see US popular names by decade going back to the 1880s.

Interestingly most of the boy names from then would not create any surprise. But a lot of the girl names would give people pause. At least in the US.

In the 1880 Ida and Bertha were number 7 and 8. I doubt they get used much these days at all.

225:

I can hear that in the voice of the narrator of a Peter Greenaway short film:

"In the year 2018, there were 760.000 children born in the UK, none of which are named Nigel."

226:

I was at school with a Nigel; it seems to have gone into eclipse some time in the 1970s, possibly after That XTC Song.

227:

A purely American name? No problem: JimmyDale, or MarySue. Yes, really, I knew someone who's birth name was Debbie-Sue (she changed it).

228:

I missed very nearly being a Nigel. Thankfully my parents had second thoughts, possibly because we lived in the American South at the time—I can imagine rotten kids calling me by something similar.

And of course, in the early 80s I'd have had to put up with people 'making plans' for me. Yes XTC was a favorite band.

229:

David L @ 203: As to documentation required, it's a bit varied. Utility bills are ubiquitous in the US. Unless you rent and it's all paid for. (Of course now most people bring in a email printout of a bill and we all know that can't be faked.) But things like a lease agreement is OK in many cases. The requirement is basically show us that some big company or government entity has a non trivial track record with you at an address.

I took a look at the requirements on-line. A "utility bill" is just one of the qualifying documents. They all seem to fall into the category of verifying your ADDRESS, rather than proving identity. You're required to have other forms of documentation to prove your identity. I think a valid passport can be used to both verify your identity and verify your residence. A valid NC Driver's License verifies that you have a driver's license to be replaced by the Real ID.

I have semi-sort-of dealt with this before; before it all became tied up in national security theater. About 25 years ago I lost my wallet. There was not a whole lot in the wallet at the time ... driver's license and all the other normal cards you carry in your wallet. I didn't have any credit cards at the time. Replacing the driver's license was strange.

I figured an expired North Carolina license & a social security card should be enough to get a replacement. It wasn't. The Social Security card was not a valid form of documentation according to NCDMV. Fortunately a DD-214 was & I had a registered copy of mine at home.

Plus, some kind soul found my wallet & anonymously returned it INTACT, although by then I had already cancelled my ATM card and applied for another.

230:

David L @ 209: Here in NC in a major metro area the offices seemed to be well staffed and there are more than a few. One issue is they keep leasing new space (looking for low bid I'm guessing) and so the strip mall they are in seems to change every 4 to 6 years. Which is about the renewal window so when you go to find them you wind up at a nail salon or empty store front and get to spend the allotted time looking for where they moved the damn thing now. Why look it up on Google Maps when you were "just there"? At least in your mind.

The current renewal period is 8 years unless some special circumstances apply. The last time I got to have any fun playing "button, button who's got the button" trying to find the NCDMV Driver's License office was in 2003 when I got mobilized. My license was due to expire before I would return home from Iraq, so I had to renew a year early. Last time I renewed, I went over to the office in Durham, which is in the same building it was in when I got my first driver's license in 1965.

I also need to get a replacement SS card. I think mine went through the wash 20+ years ago. Between REAL ID and turning 65 everyone seems to want to seem my card. Which has GOT TO BE the easiest card to forge on the planet.

I think you can request a replacement card on-line. If you end up having to go down to the Social Security Office in Raleigh, GOOD LUCK! I pass by there regularly, and there's always a line out the door. It's worse than the DMV office where you get license plates.

231:

Keithmasterson @ 210:

"And, also, you wouldn't believe some of the names that come and go in fashion over time."

Sometimes it's funny how a name choice can indicate nationality. Used to be that Trevor, Colin, Clive, Nigel, Simon, Graham or Ian were fair clues to a U.K. origin (or was that the Moody Blues lineup?) Got me wondering what names would stand out from a non-U.S. point of view, as just lighting up like a neon sign, oh yeah that has to be an American....Gary, maybe? Cliff?

Makes for a good betting game at the end of a British film, to let the credits run and watch studio production names scroll past: "This time I'm going for the trifecta, there's a Simon in accounting, that was too easy, a Clive in special effects so that's two already, and wait for it, let them show gaffers and sound editing...YES! Nigel in craft services! I win!"

If you want a guaranteed 'Murcan sounding name, go with "BillyBob".

232:

"Got me wondering what names would stand out from a non-U.S. point of view, as just lighting up like a neon sign, oh yeah that has to be an American....Gary, maybe? Cliff?"

From this particular non-US point of view, neither of those work at all... because of Cliff Richard, and Gary Pervert. Also Gary Lineker, who is a sufficiently famous footballist that even I have heard of him, and Gary the twat, from school, and the phrase "up the gary".

The two-concatenated-diminutives model works well for generating redneck names, but for me a major signifier of Americanness is the use of a surname as a first name. I consider it a massive bollock drop that a fish-out-of-water comedy I once read about a Brit in the US gave the Brit character the first name of Henderson. And dynastic suffices are an extreme American signifier - "Sr.", "Jr.", or the mindblowingly pretentious "regnal numbers". Herkimer Herkimer III absolutely has to be an American.

233:

Surnames as a Christian name aren't unusual in the UK, but are usually second or third Christian names and are mostly found in the upper classes.

235:

In the UK (southern England):
I work with a Nigel and a Gary and a Simon. My ex's other half is a Nigel, about 50. All are English.

I wonder about Nigel as a name and a subliminal connection with a certain N-word?

236:

I wondered why you might need a second day to bury bad news, and so quickly.

I suppose if you didn't have a second day to market the first, there might be suspicion. Though the same principle doesn't seem to apply to a Leveson 2?

237:

Pigeon @ 232:

"Got me wondering what names would stand out from a non-U.S. point of view, as just lighting up like a neon sign, oh yeah that has to be an American....Gary, maybe? Cliff?"

From this particular non-US point of view, neither of those work at all... because of Cliff Richard, and Gary Pervert. Also Gary Lineker, who is a sufficiently famous footballist that even I have heard of him, and Gary the twat, from school, and the phrase "up the gary".

The two-concatenated-diminutives model works well for generating redneck names, but for me a major signifier of Americanness is the use of a surname as a first name. I consider it a massive bollock drop that a fish-out-of-water comedy I once read about a Brit in the US gave the Brit character the first name of Henderson. And dynastic suffices are an extreme American signifier - "Sr.", "Jr.", or the mindblowingly pretentious "regnal numbers". Herkimer Herkimer III absolutely has to be an American.

Damn, but that brought on a head rush of memory ...

Yes, "regnal numbers". They are not only American, they're very old (olde?), high society American names.

When I was in High School, I had Tremont Aloysius Yates Smith THE THIRD sitting behind me in Sophomore English Class.

Another that might be peculiarly an Americanism - using an Initial in place of their First Name along with the Middle Name e.g. O. Winston Link.


238:

whitroth @ 234: I see BoJo's going to trial for lying about the #350M and Brexit....

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/boris-johnson-trial-brexit-court-lying-prosecution-nhs-vote-leave-a8934451.html

What an amazing, astonishing story! Who would have ever thought of a politician being put on trial for lying to the public?

239:

I wonder about Nigel as a name and a subliminal connection with a certain N-word?

This is what I was hinting at @228.

240:

#235 I don't think so. If anything, the name is associated with being simple.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s29RKnB7l7o

241:

“use of a surname as a first name”
My impression is that’s usually an upper-class (or wannabe) W.A.S.P. thing.

242:

Speaking of names, I was dubbed Jason. A Greek name. Born in 1962, no one was named Jason. Even Greeks who moved here changed their name because no one could pronounce it. (a Greek friend pronounced it for me and to my ears it sounded like 'hessian' or what Americans call burlap)

10 years later it came from nothing to the most popular name for one year, one of the top five the next and practically gone within a couple of years.

https://www.mamamia.com.au/baby-boy-names-jason/amp/

243:

My grandmother once had to get a new copy of her birth certificate, I forget why. It took a while - she'd been understating her age for long enough that she'd forgotten that she was doing so.

The only Nigel I know here in NZ was born ~1980. It doesn't seem like an extremely English name from here.

244:

I know someone who's son is trying to get citizenship in an EU tax haven. She was an army brat born in Germany so gathering up the required paperwork is taking a while. And involving multiple government forms in languages other than English.

245:

JBS @ 238
Well, yes, as the defence tried to stop it going ahead said: "This is just a political trial" - well, true, but it will force BoJo & all his brexiteer freinds to producs, you know ... ACTUAL EVIDENCE that their lying claims about the EU were ... errr ... not lies, actually.
Which should be fun.

gasdive @ 241WHAT?
Never heard of "Tracy & Jason" ??
[ Pronounced badly, with strong Thames-Estuarine twang ... DEFINITELY donwn market ]

246:

Are you old enough to remember the Crackerjack (CRACKERJACK!!) show where they had a character introduce himself as "Niggle" (spelled "Nigel")?

247:

Tracy and Jason doesn't ring a bell. The first Jason I noticed in the media (other than Jason and the argonauts) was Jason King, but that was in the 70's

248:

Um, yo.... My stepson - my recent ex's son, has her last name for a first name, and her ex's, his late father's surname.

And the two of them... people are regularly confusing which is his last name.

249:

I'm still trying to come up with a better name for my medieval fantasy than "The Defenders". Any non-humorous suggestions? I just thought of "Well, Neither One is Siegfried", but that's just silly.

250:

Been thinking, and I'd like an opinion on a name for the story: how's From Jotunheim to Kursk sound?

251:

"where they had a character introduce himself as "Niggle" (spelled "Nigel")?"

Tolkien had a short story "Leaf by Niggle" could have meant the same thing. Unless Nigel was the real name of one of his more disreputable grad students, a commentator known far and wide as J.R.R. Tokin' to those with advanced degrees in folklore and mythology.

252:

"Expecting someone Taller" by Ton Holt .... really, don't gp there unless yu know both the Niebelungenglied &/or Wagners Ring Cycle really well ... at whcih point, it's hysterically funny

253:

I had a completely off the wall thought this afternoon, and wondered what y'all might think about it.

I believe that in the United States, the traditional primary* cooking appliance in the kitchen is an electric stove. Some higher class kitchens have gas stoves**.

I wondered about the rest of the world. Which is more prevalent? Electric stoves or gas stoves?

*I cook maybe 85% of my meals using a microwave, but I still occasionally need to use the kitchen stove.

**I'm in the process of rebuilding my kitchen.

The TL;DR is it's an 83 year old house and the drain plumbing in the kitchen wall rotted out. I had to strip out the entire kitchen down to the studs in the walls, replace the plumbing, replace water damaged sub-flooring, install a new tile floor, hang new drywall and install all new cabinets & countertops.

I currently have an old, cheap electric stove, but the house is plumbed for natural gas. The pipe in the kitchen is capped off, all it needs is a new shutoff valve installed & I can connect a gas stove.

This is one of those jobs I could do for myself, but I'm going to hire a professional anyway because it will mean less work for me.

254:

Electric and gas are both common in the UK, with gas considered more convenient. Natural gas pipes run to most houses in towns, less so in more remote areas.

Personally I prefer cooking with gas but don't see a future in it and am likely to go electric for my next kitchen refurb. Induction hobs are pretty good now butI will be sad to lose some of my pans.

256:

I wondered about the rest of the world. Which is more prevalent? Electric stoves or gas stoves?

I AM JOHN CLEESE.

Wood.

Dung is #2.

It's not even a question you should ask without dollops of irony. Given you've spent time in-country, we'll assume good faith and good old USArmy sarcasm.


really, don't gp there unless yu know both the Niebelungenglied &/or Wagners Ring Cycle

Well, we just got into a lot of trouble because apparently we're not allowed to do that thing no more.

Apparently fucking countries without consent is a big no-no.

Hint: if you're gonna do the Slave-Stuff, our kind really don't have a shame issue with nudity, it's fucking hilarious you'd pipe that one in.


For Greg: IL is having a bit of a Democracy[tm] issue.


The BDSM tie-in was because of all the many wonders of the world, Raytheon and WB / GCHQ / MI5 pretending they love the non-normative is a fucking travesty.


"I smoked opium once"


Dude.

That's really not a great line when you're attempting to pretend not to be a muppet and China is watching while looking at the fucking travesty of a joke your drug laws are while noticing your personal ties to medical cannabis being grown in the country.

"Raving Racist Psychopath" and so on.


No.

We're really much worse


No, really.


IL was us fucking around. The question is: who is going to fund the 2nd election? Hint: Not the IL taxpayers, and that's where the actual hit happens.


*waves to HSBC* Nice stock price on Bu Bank, eh?

257:

[As a serious thing: apparently we're not allowed to do that anymore. Which is why the fucking planet is dying]

"The Caucasity" becomes the "The Causality"

As a head's up, Cat Videos weren't smart and this is the drunk/damaged version.

~


It's not us, you asked for a Separate Scotland and we owed you a debt.


It's not our fault your systems are so weak that we can snap all the bonds without even trying.


GG.

258:

*checks notes*

Yeah, that Assange thing is ultra fucking dirty as well.


Look, kids, this is how it really works:

Your sperm count - 0

Your kid's IQ - lowered

Your Environment - fucked

Your Air Quality - fucked

Your Education - fucked

And so on and so forth.

And only the Right-Wing stuff is allowed as protest


But that's the Human side:

They hunt us down and make fucking TV shows about it

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hunted_(2015_TV_series)

Do you know what that Security-Pr0n-Wank is actually about? Of course you fucking don't.


It's the same gratuitous stuff as 24 while you're droning the shit out of weddings, only... You actually are doing to it your own populaces.

"My husband is a police officer, he told me that that one was homeless"


~

They're not fucking hunting Humans you utter cunts.

259:

Book title:

It's not "Lost Boys"

It's

...

"Mirrored Mannaz"

260:

Tim McCaffrey @ 254: If the gas pipe is 83 years old, you might want to reconsider:
https://www.lehighvalleylive.com/allentown/2012/06/pipe_that_caused_allentown_gas.html

It's not that old; added in the mid-60s at the earliest. It's also located in a full height unfinished basement where I can easily inspect it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FJLaEt_HrNU

You can get that non-corrosive bubble leak detector at Home Depot (and probably Lowe's but I didn't check their website). As I mentioned, I know how to do the work - even know how to do the work PROPERLY and safely - I'm just gonna' hire a pro to do this one because I'm lazy.

261:

Failure Inc[tm] @ 255: Much Nonsense

Off your meds again?

262:

It doesn't tell me anything about the story except that there is a vaguely Nordic-Russian vibe.

Is there a MacGuffin involved which you could put in the title, something like "Helga and the Gem of Winter" or even just "The Gem of Winter?"

"___(Character Name)______ and the Giant" works just fine. So does "Pursued by ____(Giant's Name/Title)____."

If you want to send me the story I'll see if I have any better advice.

263:

Are you counting charcoal bricks as 'wood'?

http://aws.fuzzytravel.com/bornplaydie/pictures/5538.jpg

I think you can make them from wood charcoal, but I think coal dust is more common.

Is be surprised if wood is more common than dung. Wood is pretty hard to come by in most places.

264:

Hmm, seems that coal brick stoves have been banned in China and replaced with natural gas. So maybe gas is the most common now.


https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/10/world/asia/china-coal-smog-pollution.html

265:

Gas is probably the commonest in the UK, with bottled propane often being used when a piped supply is not available.
It is so much more convenient & controllable than electric ( Having used both ) & I would only use electric for cooking if actually forced to.

266:

I wondered about the rest of the world. Which is more prevalent? Electric stoves or gas stoves?

In Finland, most stoves are electric. There are some areas which have gas available, but I haven't seen a new gas stove in decades.

Some people install gas stoves into their single houses, too, and might have one gas burner and more electric ones.

My understanding is that new electric stoves, like induction stoves have kind of surpassed the gas ones in ease of use. The one nice thing about gas stoves compared to old-fashioned electric ones was the speed of warming up, but apparently the induction stoves are just as fast without the gas. We have an old apartment with only one phase to the stove, so we cannot get a modern stove, so I have little personal experience with those. I did long for a gas stove (which would be quite impossible as we live in an area without the gas pipes and it would be impossible to implement our personal gas system), but nowadays I'd be happy with an induction one, if I could get one installed.

Many people have gas barbecues, though. There are electric ones which are better if there's no yard, for example they can be used on balconies, and some people like charcoal, but most high-end barbecues seem to be gas ones here. It's obviously seasonal, most people barbecue from April to September.

267:

Based on "boiling tops I have used":-
1) Electric_heat_level is new Long_float ( 1.0 .. 10.0 ) ;
2) Electric_heat_level is new Integer ( 1 .. 10 ) ;
3) Gas_heat_level is new Long_float ( 2.5 .. 10.0 ) ;

Bearing in mind that I actually do use heat level 1 when cooking rice or sausages, explain to me exactly how gas is "more controllable".

268:

With an electric stove, with the iron hotplates, there is so much material to warm up that it takes a relatively long time to get to the desired heat. Also the hotplates cool slowly. With a gas burner, the heat is basically on when it's lighted up and the heat goes away the moment the flame is snuffed out.

This is something that needs to be taken into account when cooking and after it. I think this makes gas more controllable than electric stoves.

With induction and ceramic stoves things are different, because they don't have large chunks of metal to heat up before the kettle is heated up. They are much faster both ways than old electric stoves (and induction only warms up things into which it can induce the eddy currents anyway).

269:

The flame is DIRECTLY controlled by the rotary valve on the front of the cooker ... you can go down to the merest glimmer of blue, up to a significanly large heat outpout.
And there is no thermal "lag" when you turn it "off" - an important safety point

270:

Off your meds again?

JBS: Yellow card. That's (a) rude, and (b) relies on cheap stereotypes and prejudice against the non-neurotypical. We'll have none of that here.

271:

Very much this. I am the cook in our household, and I am very used to cooking with a gas hob. It's decades since I last regularly used an electric one, and I don't miss it.

Having said which, when we do redo the kitchen, I'm likely to go for induction as it has that responsiveness. However, I'm informed that that's a couple of years away yet.

(We're currently having our bathrooms refurbished, moving from 80s tiles + avocado to something somewhat more modern. Kitchen as well can wait.)

The oven though is electric. I suspect the gas hob+electric oven combination is not uncommon in this country, as fast response on an oven is less important. It's still faster than the sous vide machine.

272:

#268, #269 and #271 - Very much assuming that:-
1) I actually use cast iron hotplates rather than radiants, halogen or induction technologies in the top.
2) The heat held in the top is greater than that in the pan and food.

273:

Rings replaced iron hotplates with electric hobs about half a century ago in the UK, precisely because of the thermal lag problem. There was (is?) often one hotplate, for cooking things like pancakes directly on it. I believe that radiant elements are currently what the best electric hobs use. And there IS still some thermal lag with gas, just much less - i.e. you can still burn yourself quite a long time afterwards, and you still need to take the pan off the heat for things that need genuinely continual stirring.

274:

Interesting! I learned new stuff: I haven't really seen those rings at all in kitchens in Finland! It's iron hotplates or then ceramic or induction for electric stoves. This doesn't mean they don't exist but it's so rare I've never seen one here.

Now that you mention it, now I can remember seeing them somewhere on the internets. However, for me this is the usual "basic" electric stove. It's a new one, available now.

275:

I find your posting interesting, too. I would not have thought that Finland was so old-fashioned in this respect.

Upon checking, rings seem to be extinct (as new hobs) in the UK, too! All current ones seem to be radiant or induction, unless the ceramic hobs work by something other than radiation. I don't know if the iron ones are still available without specially importing them.

276:

Rings and hotplates still exist but seem confined to small portable hob units.

Flat ceramic surfaces are preferred these days because they are much easier to clean - every ring I have owned had a load of semi carbonised crud under it that got cleaned out maybe once a year when I could be arsed with disassembling the thing.

277:

In Italy gas stoves are the most common ones (electricity is expensive and price is higher 7.00am-23.00 pm), either with gas from the mains or bottled, but ovens are often electric. I've got a gas-fired, electronically controlled oven, and I'd never use anything else. I had to make do with an electric one, years ago... I almost ceased to make baked food, then. I had to switch it on about half an hour before baking a cake, chicken or lasagna. And bills were a major money drain.
Oddly enough for my country, I also own an electric kettle, very British... But the water heater is gas-fired. Cheaper and you get hot water on need.

278:

#273-276

I'm honestly surprised to find anyone still using solid cast iron plates. The last electric tops I saw like that were on my grandmothers' (possessive plural) cookers, which were bought before I was born (July 1962CE). Having said that, cast iron plates are still a thing on solid fuel systems.

I presently have a ceramic hob, and the (halogen) elements warm up or down in seconds. There actually is more thermal inertia in most of my pans than in the elements.

279:

I was going to say that electric is more dominant than gas in NZ, because piped gas was always a limited commodity. That seems to have changed a *lot* though in the last 20 years, with the cities now well covered and rural areas have a good network for LPG supply, which will also do water heating. Historically it was electric rings and I'm pretty sure there's still a lot of those around, especially in standalone units, but anything electric and modern is ceramic. From what I read the market is majority induction now in new builds, it looks like gas might have come and gone again while I've been away. Electric hot water cylinders are everywhere.
LPG is still by far the most popular though for bbqs, charcoal is much less common.

280:

There is a phrase in the US (I have no idea about the rest of the planet) "Cooking on Gas" which means things are working just fine.

As to which is prevalent in US houses, it all depends on when an area developed and where. Gas was a big deal over 100 years ago. But much of it was synthetic.[1] It had lots of moisture in it and thus over the decades the pipes rusted and then leaked and led to more and more deaths from gas (which wasn't made to stink back then) and explosions. So electricity took over for a while. Then when the cost of a BTU of electricity got to be 4 times the cost for gas, gas took off again, especially in places where the cross country pipelines worked and new areas were built so the gas lines were laid before the area was built up. And this time the infrastructure was way better in terms of safety.

As to induction, our past discussion on wireless charging makes me wonder how efficient or inefficient it is to use this as a way to transfer electricity into heat.

In the US you can still get the cheapest electric stoves with a spiral heating element. And those metal pans that fit under the elements are sold all over for when you can't clean off the old ones. I've had some people who do rental maintenance talk about avoiding ceramic stove tops due to tenants tending to break them which typically costs more to replace the top than the entire stove.

[1] When they built a big convention center here one of the benefits was that it would excavate/cover the highly contaminated site that was the old gas plant going back 100+ years ago.

281:

One more point. Once you have a natural gas line into your house (or a large propane tank) it is much easier to add a gas cooking "thing" than it is to add or upgrade an electric cooking thing. Many older homes (I raise my hand) don't have the electrical capacity to have both an electric stove/oven and air conditioning. And upgrading your panel (legally) is a $1500 issue at a minimum plus the cost of wiring to the stove. And if your house has to be brought up to current code you could be talking x10 or x20 to that number. (When you touch such things as electrical service many times the entire unit has to be brought up to current codes. So not touching it is a thing many choose.)

282:

I know the Niebelungenlied. I LOATHE it. I mean, *passionately* HATE the storyline. Wager cut bits and pieces out of Norse myth, pasted it like writing a ransom note by clipping letters and words out of a newspaper, and blended the rest, so he could make his Statements.

And Siegfried was a *thug*. He'd make a great Mafia street soldier.

283:

"Higher class kitchens" have gas? Really? Anything pre-war had gas, and mostly still does. Most apts I've been in had gas stoves.

Even though my house has gas heat and hot water, it's got an electric stove (on the other end of the damn slab).

I HATE ELECTRIC STOVES. I dunno, you folks must have *really* fancy, expensive electric stoves. The one I have, like most I've ever had to use, the dial does *not* control the level of heat, only the amount over time. The way they work is full power/off/full power/off, with off coming more frequently at a "lower" setting. They do NOT use a rheostat.

With gas, you have absolute control. Turn it to half, and there's less heat, because the flames are smaller, and it's constant, not the on/off/on.

Finally, let me assure you, that having done it, trying to make chile rellenos on an electric stove sucks dead Orange Basketcases - you have to char the skin to peel it... and on a flat hot surface, the folds of the skin....

284:

None of that will work. It's not high fantasy, nor Heroic Heroes. It's a young couple, he's just returned from years away studying, and their city's attacked. And trust me, the way that he winds up making it possible for the jotun to be defeated is *not* a way anyone's ever done it before, and would be humiliating... except it works.

I've recently added a preface (for a short story!), which is in Jotunheim, and the rest of the action is in and around Kursk, in Kievan Rus', again, not a common setting.

285:

I always heard that as "cooking with gas". But yeah, gas stoves in cities were the norm - Philly, Allentown, Chicago, NYC. And cities do replace the lines (my county gas just did from the main a year or two ago). When there's hundred of thousands, or millions of customers, and you read about an explosion once in years, I'd consider it safe.

And in the country - that's what propane tanks are for.

286:

On the cooking front, can I just note that the terms "stove" and "oven" are linguistically ambiguous?

We're currently using the high-end cooker the previous occupant of our flat left behind, because it's more than good enough. Eight gas burners up top, plus an electric grill and an electric fan-assisted oven, before you add in the plate warming compartment and the second (less efficient) electric oven. The fan oven warms up to 200 celsius in roughly 8 minutes from cold and is well-insulated, so can reach 220-230 degrees: only drawback is there's no glass door/illumination inside it (although that would compromise the insulation).

We have a microwave as well, not to mention the usual UK style electric kettle and one of these (because I get through roughly 5-6 litres of tea a day: it's the one appliance that's a whole lot cheaper in the UK—even with 20% sales tax included—than in the USA).

Ceramic induction hobs ... on the upside: they warm up and cool down about as fast as gas. The downside is that they're easily chipped if you drop something on them, and they can't be repaired. And the cookware for them requires a heavy base, so ... (I've never owned one, but a a rental landlord of my acquaintance has a hate on for them—she lets out a flat that has no gas line, so needs either an electric range or the aforementioned ceramic hob, and ends up replacing it every 1-2 years because of careless tenants.)

287:

On the cooking front, can I just note that the terms "stove" and "oven" are linguistically ambiguous?

Yup. What I think of when I hear the word 'stove' is an integrated unit with hob and oven(s) in it, but our current kitchen has those as separates.

Even if we do go for an electric hob, I might still want one large gas burner for a wok. Our friends Phil and Kari refitted their kitchen a few years ago, and I drool over that feature.

288:

Oh, yes, I hate using my wok on an electric stove....

289:

By the way, just to clarify, when I think "stove", I picture this https://www.searsoutlet.com/br/pdp/ge-appliances-jgbs30dekww-30-free-standing-gas-range-white/190875?uid=45611481&storeZip=21093&store=4330&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI1q6XyqXG4gIVxIizCh3lLwdkEAQYAiABEgJgg_D_BwE

Four burners on top, oven underneath, and, if it's gas, a broiler below that. If it's electric, you move the interior rack up near the top heating element.

290:

This is getting back to the previous topic, but the home of the future is all electric.

However,

Gas really is just the best, IMO. Powerful, quick response, you can use the real open flame to quickly roast some things, it works fine with a warped pot. But it requires gas which means a gas line or a tank. Lines only exist because of gas heat/water heat, stoves don't justify the cost. In the long run gas will not be used for heating, so lines will go away. Tanks may continue as a luxury item, but will get more and more rare. New well sealed buildings also have more trouble with internal air quality, so gas stoves get scarier even with proper attention to cooking ventilation.

Electric resistance is the cheap option because it's the cheapest install and that's really all that matters there.

Electric radiant is the step up option. That's what I have now and actually it's fine. I thought I would hate it, perhaps this unit is better than the one I had used before? It's basically like electric resistance, but easier to clean.

Electric induction is the new luxury option. Reportedly works quite well, doesn't have the open flame of gas, but otherwise similar in terms of power and quick on/off. You might have to get new pots and pans. I figure some day I'll probably get one of those because I do cook a lot, but won't be getting a gas line into this house. If I had a house with gas i'd probably keep that for the stove until the city shuts down the lines.

Between heat pumps, and car chargers most homes that would have trouble with an electric stove/oven are going to get an electrical upgrade anyway. It's the reverse of the gas pipe situation. For the same reason that gas pipes will cease to be incidentally available for gas stoves capable electrical systems will be incidentally available for cooking.

291:

On the cooking front, can I just note that the terms "stove" and "oven" are linguistically ambiguous?

As long as we're doing linguistics, I'll comment from an USAian perspective: "Oven" is the large parallelepiped heated from below with gas or resistance electric. It may be supplemented by an upper element broiler. "Stove" is at a minimum a cooking top (gas, resistance electric, induction, etc.) and may sit on top of an "oven" or not.

But the term "hob" is, AFAIK, totally unknown on this side of the Lesser Ocean. I think we'd usually call it "heating element", but maybe other terms exist that escape me at the moment.

292:

I think we'd usually call it "heating element"

Doing a little checking, "burner" seems to be an acceptable alternative, but I'd have a bit of hesitation about applying that to electrical hotspots. After all, there's nothing burning there unless you make a serious mistake. (Which I have done a time or two.)

293:

Electric radiant is the step up option. That's what I have now and actually it's fine.

Yes, we had radiant for the past few years (now on community bottled gas) and were quite happy with it.

Need to get more experience with gas to decide about it, but initial impression is that it tends to run somewhat hotter than we're used to. Even turning it down to the lowest setting does a slow boil rather than a simmer.

294:

Off topic, but thought it might be interesting to many regulars: I just watched the first episode of GOOD OMENS, and it was pitch perfect. If you have the means to watch it, do so!

296:

The one huge win with induction over gas is that you can cover your pot with tea towels while you're simmering/stewing and get an insulated pot without having to faff about with fireproof pot wraps. For a while I was using plug in induction cookers because they're very affordable and work much better than the resistive or radiant ones on the stovetop. Australia has a lot of garbage resistive stovetops in rental homes and there's nothing good to say about them other than that they're hard to break.

Allegedly you can get induction-compatible woks but they seem to be just a copper bottom welded to a wok, defeating much of the point of the wok (ie, instant response to heat). But I don't cook much with the wok now, it's more part of my camping kit. I've gone over to soup/stew and microwaving vegetables because it's easier.

Induction is more efficient than the alternatives, and it's obvious when you try it because there's no heat outside the pot. Sure, there's a fan in the electrical part, but it's a tiny little fan that only comes on occasionally. With gas you have a 10cm wide death zone around the pot, and even with a proper metal wrap around the pot to duct the heat you still have a lot of loss. The only time gas wins is when you'd otherwise be burning the gas to generate electricity. But since we have to stop doing that in the next 10-20 years new gas cookers are strictly nihilist-only.

297:

Have none of you encountered IR LED electric hobs? (Or is that what's being described as "ceramic"?)

Dull-and-boring grade integrated stoves have those for one or two pot-positions out of four, hereabouts, usually the front two with a dual size option; it's pretty rare to be using more than two of the positions. Works well in my experience.

298:

OK. Had to look it up.

Cook top (US) = hob (UK)

299:

Are there any poetic phrases in the story which would suit as a title, even if they don't correspond perfectly with the action?

Otherwise I'm coming up with stuff like "The Frost-Giant of Kursk" or "Beneath the Heels of Surtur," both of which are moderately awful, and some early mystery reading is giving me a "Thursday the Rabbit Fought Surtur," which might be funny, but doesn't work at all.

How about "Above the Walls of Kursk?"

Is the marriage religiously mixed?

300:

Have none of you encountered IR LED electric hobs?

I can't even imagine how those would work. Even 1000W of output from LEDs means 200+ W of heat going somewhere, and it's not going top be into the target because running LEDs at 100 degrees or more kills them real fast. AliExpress matches the search term but it's all ceramic devices with LED displays.

If you mean just IR, yep, that's ceramic - they run a resistive element under an IR-transparent surface which means the resistor can be lighter and more fragile but also faster responding.

301:

I'd say you have all the background you need to enjoy Expecting Someone Taller, then. It's more Dirk Gently than Bayreuth. A lot more...

302:

DtP @ 294
"Good Omens" ???
Which channel?
AIUI it is a joint BBC-production - is it on iPlayer?

303:

DTP @ 294
Apparently "$_BIG_RIVER_PRIME ... shudder.
But will be aired on BeeB2 later, so we can watch on iPlayer ... I hope

304:

The wife and I just got back from seeing the new Godzilla movie. If, like we do, you like bad science, shallow philosophy, awful scholarship, poor plotting* ** and lots and lots of battling Kaiju, complete with explosions and eviscerations, all rolled into 2.5 hours of stupid fun, (and truly excellent music) I'd highly suggest seeing it.

Mothra is really, really well done - definitely the best Mothra ever - and Rodan and Ghidorah are well-realized. I'm still on the fence about how this Godzilla is portrayed... maybe a little too human in his emotions. Lot's of stuff gets blown up and smashed in the final fight, and seeds are planted for further movies...

Anyway, a fun film and a worthy addition to the canon.

* The story starts with a world which has been safe from kaiju attack since 2014, and moves forward until there are amazing battles between monsters. In short, it does what a kaiju movie's plot should do, and the logic mostly holds up until after you leave the theatre, which is pretty good for a kaiju movie.

** The bad science, shallow philosophy, awful scholarship and poor plotting are all integral to the monster movie experience, and I don't think I could enjoy a Kaiju movie without them. The combination of bad, shallow, awful and poor is similar to the act of combining two horribly reactive, dangerous elements like hydrogen and oxygen, only to discover that your chemical creation sustains life itself!

And yes, I note the irony that monsters thrive in an environment of shallow philosophy, bad science, and awful scholarship...

305:

I can't remember if I have read it, but I have found his books fairly tedious and most definitely forgettable. And opera is significantly less accessible to me than a noh play.

But a general point is that satire rarely ages well. Very often, it is taking off something popular but awful, but sinks almost without trace as soon as the fad moves on. When it doesn't, it may stand on its own but much of the humour/acid/bile will have gone. Even someone like me is unfamiliar with the works satirised by Stella Gibbons, let alone Lewis Carroll or Pope's Dunciad, though I have seen examples in the first two cases.

306:

That sounds like a travelogue. How humorous is it? That makes a big difference.

307:

Sometimes satire ages timelessly.

There was a crooked man, and he walked a crooked mile
He found a crooked sixpence against a crooked stile
He bought a crooked cat which caught a crooked mouse
And they all lived together, in a little crooked house

308:

No, it doesn't. Today, that's not even read as satire, except by a few specialist historians - it's merely a nonsense rhyme for children. Many of those originated as satire or anti-establishment songs - e.g. "Mary, Mary, quite contrary".

309:

Bizarrely I heard/saw a travel log where this was supposed to be based on a town on the northeast area of the UK. Specifically a particular house in Lavenham.

310:

One of the many ways “The Annotated Alice” is awesome are the examples of what it was satirizing.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Annotated_Alice

311:

Truly appalling, weren't they?

312:

satire rarely ages well

Shakespeare? Gilbert and Sullivan? Mark Twain? Charles Dickens? Friedrich Hayek?

I recall dealing with various forms of satire at high school, then university, in contexts ranging from political parties to street art. "I dream of a day when a chicken can cross a road without having its motives questioned". There's sadly a lot of satire that is just as relevant now as when it was written by the inventors of the genre. HMS Pinafore is all about a politically appointed incompetent who might as well be BoJo for all the difference it makes.

313:

Depends.

The Prince was satire. Mach was a staunch Republican and not pro-Monarchy / Authority. His work was changed from satire into "this is how brilliant minds think" for a thousand years.

Satire exists because it's allowed to or can be subverted.

*looks at murals*


Yeah, old dead Minds.

Y'all still stuck in modes of thought that will get you killed.


https://twitter.com/ThomasJTobin1/status/1134784500372770817

Let's remember USA relations with Catholics, shall we?

https://www.politico.com/story/2016/10/donald-trump-alfred-smith-dinner-catholic-charity-hillary-clinton-230134


Honestly: kinda bored of Dead Old Minds pretending great wisdom and all that Jazz. Not that the younger ones are better*


*We're not H.S.S.

"Bomb in Your Liver"

"Scared when Naked"


>Running on the wrong wetware, darlings. It'd be cute if.... *gestures to larger chaos*

Do. Not. Fuck. With. The. Elves.


And yet they did.

314:

The Prince was satire. Mach was a staunch Republican and not pro-Monarchy / Authority. His work was changed from satire into "this is how brilliant minds think" for a thousand years.

Scaling error: The Prince was first read privately around 1513 and not released in print until 1532.

315:

EC
But a general point is that satire rarely ages well.
1984 ?
The aforementioned G&S satires, many ....
Aristophanes The Clouds ??

Somehow I think you may be in error.

316:

Shakespeare? Gilbert and Sullivan? Mark Twain? Charles Dickens? Friedrich Hayek?

Satire relies for its effect on a shared understanding of what constitutes normality, so that gross deviations from it are recognizable as such.

With the exception of Shakespeare, all of those are less than two centuries old and the political structures and the social conditions they gave rise to that prevailed during their period are still around, albeit somewhat mutated. So it's relatively easy to see what they were getting at.

Shakespeare is still understood ... but only because his works are taught as part of the English literary canon, with footnotes and explanations by teachers: if you try to read an unfamiliar chunk of Shakespeare cold, without commentary, a lot of it will go straight past your head. And that's going just four and a half centuries back.

As for Hayek, he's not generally regarded as a satirist at all, but I think you might just be having a bit of fun there ...

317:

Yes, precisely. And that is even more true for 1984, Brave New World and Animal Farm, all of which are as relevant and comprehensible now as when they were written, but are less than a century old and the structures and conditions are essentially unchanged.

I slightly disagree about Shakespeare, because much of his satire is about the basics of human nature (as is Sheridan and The Rape of the Lock), which changes little over time; the political and social references need explanation for almost anyone, I agree. But the references in the Dunciad and most of Swift are completely incomprehensible to anyone except a historian of the period.

318:

Decades ago I was taking a class from Professor Hodge at Carleton University. (Canadian readers may remember his "Court of Ideas" series on CBC radio*.) We were looking at how historical sources and events get reinterpreted over time. One example was Lysistrata which is today performed as an anti-war play. Hodge's point was that there was no evidence that Aristophanes was against war as such; rather, he was opposed to a particular war — modern interpretations have gone beyond the original sources.

And even when they know the background satire often goes over peoples' heads.


*Which I'm still trying to locate copies of, as I only taped about half of them. I've written to CBC and got nothing — they don't sell copies and don't know anywhere I can buy them (or download them free — many older programs are online in the CBC archives, but not these). If anyone does know a source I would greatly appreciate learning of it.

319:

Big (US) Brother is Watching YOU
Social Media accounts required info for US visas .....
REAL problem is AIUI, that US does not recognise "airside-only" transfers - yes?

320:

Greg.

(7) In this section:

Commonwealth body means:

(a) a Commonwealth entity; or

(b) a Commonwealth company (within the meaning of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013); or

(c) a service, benefit, program or facility for some or all members of the public that is provided by or on behalf of the Commonwealth, whether under a law of the Commonwealth or otherwise.

conduct does not include conduct engaged in solely for genuine satirical, academic or artistic purposes.

https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/C2018A00044

We really are Dragons

321:

I was wondering the other what they'd do when I gave them a locked facebook account and a deleted linkedin one. Plus the URL for a G+ account. Coz that's it for my social media. Although if they managed to get my facebook account unlocked I would appreciate them sharing access...

322:

Oh, and Greg

or on behalf of the Commonwealth


That includes fucking private contractors like GS4 etc.

That's not even a sojourn into the fucking hellscape that is IL politcs etc.

Thanks for the 21st Fascism because old people couldn't believe White People[Tm] were evil.

No, the EU is not going to fucking save you, they have the same rules.


p.s.

Now we have to explain to an extremely pissed off HOP that our claims that "some humans are worth saving" was not a complete lie after she learned all this.


Word on the street: Complete Eradication / Decimation. We're talking full on intervention.

You've no idea just how hated your species is, and frankly: as not one of you, the Defending Case is NOT FUCKING GOING THAT WELL


Oh, and satire: that's not fucking satire.

323:

airside-only transfers

Biggest issue is most airports in the US are not even designed to deal with such. In terms of customs and gate areas.

As to needing a visa to make a connection, I've never thought about it. But my international travels are light weight. I'll ask my daughter what she has done on her recent flights which typically involve changes of planes in various international hubs.

324:

Doesn't bother me, now, as I doubt if I will ever go to the USA ....
But I'm told that, even if you are simply changing planes in the USA, you will need a visa.

Talking of the USA, London today, tomorrow & Wednesday is going to be less than pleasant, since the Orange Shitgibbon is here.
OTOH ... Diamond Geezer has a supeb take on this event

325:

Bizarrely I heard/saw a travel log where this was supposed to be based on a town on the northeast area of the UK. Specifically a particular house in Lavenham.

If it thinks Lavenham is in the northeast area of the UK (or even of England, given that Scotland is the northern end of this island), then it's got certain accuracy problems.

Lavenham is in Suffolk, which is on the outskirts of London's commuter belt. It's usually considered either southeast or just east depending on how you're dividing England up.

326:

But I'm told that, even if you are simply changing planes in the USA, you will need a visa.

That is my understanding too. Which for us means that next year's trip to NZ will not be going all the way with Air NZ, but instead going to Vancouver and changing there.

(I do actually have a fresh never-used ESTA, but my wife doesn't.)

327:

"Most of Swift"? Even Gulliver's 3rd and 4th voyages?

328:

Yes, definitely. I know just enough of the background to know that I am missing most of his satire.

329:

Charlie says:

TLDR is: names are cultural constructs that vary far more widely than those of us raised in traditional western European cultures can imagine.

I'd say that it varies more widely within "traditional western European culture" than most people raised within that culture block imagine.

Case in point, I cannot get my (bank | local council | travel agent | <insert anglophone entity here >) to actually call me by my name. And there's basically no tricks here, apart from the difference between "syntactically first" and "semantically important" given names.

330:

No, the USA does not recognize airside-only transfers, you have to clear immigration (albeit not customs) before you can reboard an onward flight to a different country.

However, the "social media accounts required" for visa applications applies to visas, and if you're just transiting on a UK or EU passport you can use the ESTA online visa waiver process (used to be a piece of green cardboard called an I94W, now replaced by a website that faithfully mimics the I94W and costs $20, but is valid for two years instead of fill-out-a-new-one-on-each-flight).

331:

For me, the NZ trip will involve Air France: EDI-CDG, then long-haul to Kuala Lumpur, then change (KL is as far east as AF goes but we've got a metric ton of AF air miles to burn).

A different, insane, fun option you could use: take the Qantas 787 from Heathrow to Perth, then fly across Australia—Perth-SYD or MEL—then from the east coast of Australia. (Me, I'm not doing that because it would involve Griefrow.)

332:

What do you mean? The nation of Laputa dropping rocks on people who disagreed with them was clearly satirising Obama era foreign policy...

333:

We're perfectly happy with Heathrow as long as we're in the new airport rather than the old. If we were having to fly to a hub anyway, we might make a different choice, but we quite like LHR T5 — the security queues are short, and the main terminal layout works for us (unlike Schiphol - we were routed through there on the way back from one trip and loathed the place).

Stansted, on the other hand, we actively avoid. It used to be a nice airport, a mere half an hour from home, but they turned the whole departures area into an IKEA-inspired long winding shopping area, making the trek from security to gate seemingly a mile further than it used to be. Edinburgh seemed to do that too, but nothing like as badly.

As for routing, we're looking at Home -> Vancouver -> Auckland ... ChCh -> HK -> Home, so going westwards round the planet. On the other hand, the Asian stop could be KL, or Singapore, but we're unlikely to go via Dubai

334:

I'm told that Singapore is one of the better airports to spend a few hours in. My informant is quite keen on their butterfly house.

335:

Ah, I'd always read them as a general comedy of manners, rather than targeted at specific individuals.

336:

It appears there are direct flights from Perth to Auckland ...

337:

Para 2 - They've done similar with Glasgow, and turned getting from the security theatre to WH Smith, the pub and the routes to the gates into a march through a perfumer.

338:

Perth is worth a visit, probably a few days en route to decompress and catch up with some jet lag. But it's very expensive, and it's a bit of a Mars colony experience—the nearest other big city is Singapore, IIRC, and it's further from SYD/MEL than London is from New York.

339:

It wasn't just individuals, but schools of thought etc. Laputa satirised some of the behaviour of the Royal Society and others, for example.

https://sciblogs.co.nz/guestwork/2018/01/18/jonathan-swift-royal-society/

340:

After Worldcon in 2010, we took the train from Sydney to Perth and spent a few days in Perth before then going due north to HK and spending some time there as well. So yeah, we've been there. And we've seen the way that people do the weekly commute by plane out to Kalgoorlie

As it happens I have a souvenir from Perth that I use every few days - a good sized canvas shopping bag from Claremont Fresh. The bag appears to have long outlasted the shop we bought it at.

And yes, Adelaide isn't much closer than Jakarta, and Brisbane is further, almost as far as Singapore

341:

We're perfectly happy with Heathrow as long as we're in the new airport rather than the old.

How does one tell? Is there a range of gates?

I'm flying into LHR in a week. But taking the train to Amsterdam or Paris before flying out. Tax and fuel surcharge savings will pay for the train ride in business class so why not?

342:

But I'm told that, even if you are simply changing planes in the USA, you will need a visa.

Of course with airports nothing is simple. If you're going to let people from another country change planes without "entering the country" the airport has to be set up to hold them in a secure area. Maybe for days for when things go sideways. Food, sleeping, bathing, etc... I've never seen such areas in any US airport.

Now I could see that being setup somewhere in the life sized 3D Tetris game layout we encountered when we flew into Madrid.

343:

BING! Give that man a drink on the house!

I read yct, and have decided, in about 0.1sec, that the title is now The Walls of Kursk. That works really well, and is a lot better than The Defenders, *and* the walls really are involved.

They're not getting married until right after the story ends, and yes, mixed. However, in Kievan Rus', that was not that big a deal; in fact, some of the Keievan Rus' converted to Judaism, and some *may* be where the Ashkenazi came from. Also, as I said a while ago, it's *my* world, and there actually are multiple gods, and the Jews of that world take the admonition "do not put any other gods before me" seriously... but they don't deny that other deities exist.

Oh, and post 306: no humor at all, this is straight and serious.

344:

It's been a few years since I bought it and read it.... Not going to get reread now, being as I'm plowing through the Hugo Readers' Packet. I *really* have a #1 for best short and best novelette, working on novellas now.

345:

Wait.. you write, "bad science, shallow philosophy, awful scholarship"... have I missed something? We *are* talking about monster movies, right? Why on *earth* would you expect, or even want, any of that? You buy your popcorn, maybe a bheer, and sit back and have fun.

I will say that my recent ex, her son, and a friend went to see Pacific Rim when it came out, and had the misfortune to see it in 3-D. The animators were *way* too enTHUsed. Some of the fight scenes, you literally could not tell what was happening. It was "well, if three layers is great, nine must be wonderful!!!!!"... and it was like trying to see it through a sandstorm, or bad static.

But they do better with The Big Guy. And I really do prefer my monster movies with tacky special effects, and rubber suits... oh, that's right, the way I like my Dr. Who.

346:

AFAIK
Theifrow ...
Terminals 5 & 4 - the newer ones are not too bad
Terminals 2 & 3 ( One has been demolished ) are almost-original & awful
T's 2&3 are integrates, T4 & T 5 are completely separate "islands" at other locations inside the airport perimiter .... basically 2+3 are in the middles, 4 is on the S side & 5 is on the W side ....
DO NOT USE "Heathrow Express" trains - hideously expensive ... use either the half-hourly TfL rail service, or take your time & trundle in on the Piccadilly line "tube"

347:

If any of you have never heard of her, you should look up Anna Russell. I have my late wife's album of hers (which I *MUST* digitize, wherein she explains the Niebelungenlied.

"The Rhinemaidens. you remember the Rhinemaindens, don't you?...."

Not having anything in your mouth while listening to her is a Good Idea... as is not being too far from a rug to roll on the floor on.

348:

Yup. I went to a genuinely good high school, and we were told it was a cautionary warning.

Unfortunately, the ill-intentioned use it for a guidebook... just like the GOP has been using 1984 as a guidebook since St. Raygun was first elected.

349:

Rather detailed itinerary.

Didn't see where the Queen orders a guard to execute the Orange Combover.... (Seen the new hairstyle?)

350:

Personally I'm up for them keeping him. Let he and Boris scheme in the lair on how to defeat Bond and take over the world.

351:

Looks like I'll be coming into T3. Oh well.

But I think US folks can now use a shorter queue in the UK?

353:

"The Rhinemaidens. you remember the Rhinemaindens, don't you?...."

"I am NOT making this up"

354:

Bad science, shallow philosophy, poor scholarship and rotten plotting are the "four basic food groups" of a kaiju movie. If you mix them in the proper proportions, you achieve an enjoyable movie. If you mix them incorrectly, the movie doesn't work very well.

On paper, it's a great movie, and if you enjoy kaiju battles it's worth the price of admission. But they didn't get the proportions right...

Rather than indulge in spoilers, I think I'll send you an email.

355:

Extinction Rebellion are utter fuckwits ...
They stop ELECTRIC TRAINS running & claim to be acting for the good of the planet, whilst fucking-over people trying to get to & from work using said environmentally-friendly mass transits ....
I assume they are anti-nuclear-power wankers, as well ....

356:

Greg.

It's the UK media.


Actual happening:

ER had a meeting, someone suggested direct action that could include shutting down stuff like airports

ER sat around and said: "That's probably bad for us"

ER voted to not do that.

It's like you missed the entire last 30 years of Western Media and Environmental groups or something.

Real story:

ER are funded up to the fucking gills by PR and soft power stuff, are totally ineffectual and being used as a front to shift 4G industrial workers into shit while the power-players still play with their billions, Indy owners + Frackers are running counter-ops.

No, that's real.

ER are so fucking astro'd, their advice about being arrested made non-white people from the fucking 1950's do the side-eye. *MAN BUN RUSHES STAGE*

Plus, Greta may be nice, but you don't get time with Arnold if you're not on side.


We cannot believe you're this naive.


Rather than indulge in spoilers, I think I'll send you an email.

I have a story like that: they keep on thinking that physicality defines reality. It's quite the fucking ride.

Only you got the spoilers before the events happened, which is kinda the joke.

Are we doing it wrong?

357:

OH, and...

If you don't think environmental activists who lived through police infiltration and fake pipe-bomb stuff can spot this stuff a fucking mile away, whhhhhhhhhhelllllllp.

Hint: the wolves can too. It's like y'all forgot their members are the fucking people who orchestrated it.

Spare me the bollocks, mate.

358:

[Notes for people in Europe that haven't made their plans yet]
Domestic-International transfer at MEL is relatively good (essentially the same building). SYD is painful! AirNZ markets to Aussies not in SYD that a transfer at AKL (to a South American destination, for instance) is a better option.
Domestic-International at AKL is OK if you are happy with a 15 minute mainly-covered walk, or a wait for the shuttle bus. If you have points for Middle-East airlines, there is the option direct from there to AKL (or stopover in Bali). Also other airlines via China, HK, Bangkok etc.
While I'm here, there is a NZ-specific co-op rideshare called Zoomy in AKL/WLG/CHC, not run by evil venture capitalists. And if you need to fill up you rental car, crowd-sourced petrol-price monitoring by Gaspy.

359:

Well, Greg's covered some of it, but the Thiefrow terminals are physically separate buildings, requiring bus or rail transfers between them.

360:

Yes. In the case of Terminal 5 (or just T5), it's effectively a new airport with its own terminal building, car parks, bus station, rail station, motorway junction, &c., that happens to share the runways and ATC of the old Heathrow. If doing a transfer between terminals, be wary of that.

361:

I think you may be maligning T2 - it was opened in 2014. But yes, the previous T2 was pretty awful.

T1 is gone for now, and it's T3 that's the remnant of the old Heathrow despite a refurb.

As for the trains, yes, the Heathrow Express is nice enough but not worth the price. (See also the Arlanda Express in Sweden.)

362:

Of course with airports nothing is simple. If you're going to let people from another country change planes without "entering the country" the airport has to be set up to hold them in a secure area. Maybe for days for when things go sideways. Food, sleeping, bathing, etc.

Just about every major hub in the EU "lets people from other countries change planes without entering the country"—and by "another country" I mean on flights from outside the Schengen zone, not EU neighbours with freedom of movement—because they're built with separate arrivals areas for international and domestic flights. Domestic flight arrivals can disembark and go direct to baggage claim, but international arrivals enter a sterile, security-cleared zone from which you can't go ground-side without going through immigration but you can board another flight.

A major event affecting multiple flights-worth of international passengers in transit and lacking entry visas virtually never happens: it's an Icelandic volcano eruption or 9/11 scenario—full ground stop for multiple days. And at that point the immigration officers get to earn some overtime processing individual clearances.

363:

You just stated what I said but in detail.

I suspect a lot of it comes from US airports in most cases are day to day funded by local authorities. And making such areas costs a lot of $$$ and no one wants to pay for it. Especially since it would be incredibly expensive to retro fit airports designed way back when that are land locked. I'm thinking of LAX as the extreme example. But even a place like DFW would incur a huge expense if they had to isolate international gates from domestic. (DFW terminal D I think is for international but there are a LOT of domestic only flights that also use it due to a gate shortage.)

While I don't know about the UK, in many airports around the world the staff "belong" to the airport, not the airline, and also a lot of the behind the scenes equipment.[1] Which is not way it works in the US. So things like all international flights and no domestic do it "over here" are easier to deal with.

[1]Which leads to all kinds of issues with IT support as they have little control over what kind of computer, display, OS, and maybe browsers are installed at locations around the world. So "write everything to use Chrome v99 or later" is a fantasy.

364:

For what you call major event scenarios, which are not limited to just air-side trouble like volcanos but also medical quarantines, (mass) defections, high-jackings etc, airports and governments have several layers of plans.

One of the plans is almost always to surround an airport-proximate hotel with barbed wire and armed guards, so it can temporarily hold uncleared transit passengers in bulk.

If you have an eye for it, you can tell which hotel is designated by how easy it would be to surround it with barbed wire, and in at least one case: even easier by the rolls of barbed wire stored right behind it.

I don't know if or how the hotels are compensated.

365:

Charlie Stross @ 270: JBS: Yellow card. That's (a) rude, and (b) relies on cheap stereotypes and prejudice against the non-neurotypical. We'll have none of that here.

I apologize. I was responding to what I perceived as a cheap shot against me.


366:

David L @ 280: In the US you can still get the cheapest electric stoves with a spiral heating element. And those metal pans that fit under the elements are sold all over for when you can't clean off the old ones. I've had some people who do rental maintenance talk about avoiding ceramic stove tops due to tenants tending to break them which typically costs more to replace the top than the entire stove.

That's what I want to replace. CHEAP electric stove w/spiral heating elements I got second hand from a yard sale. None of the standard size replacement under-pans like you can get at Lowe's & Home Depot will fit and I haven't found any place that sells the ones that will. When you can no longer get the parts to repair something it's time to replace it.

My mom got a gas range when I was growing up & that's what I learned to cook on, so I'm I'm thinking of getting one for myself.

367:

Charlie Stross @ 286: On the cooking front, can I just note that the terms "stove" and "oven" are linguistically ambiguous?

For clarity, the "stove" I have to replace is free-standing kitchen stove, with an oven and stove-top, something like this one:

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Hotpoint-30-in-5-0-cu-ft-Electric-Range-Oven-in-White-RBS360DMWW/306308675

... except cheaper (where cheap does NOT mean less expensive), older and no longer repairable (parts unavailable).

What I have in mind replacing it with is something like this one:

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Frigidaire-30-in-4-2-cu-ft-Gas-Range-with-5-Burner-Cooktop-in-Stainless-Steel-FFGF3052TS/302145124

368:

Let's see, it's past 300.... So, I was speaking with my manager this morning, he being an ex-pat, and commented that I was really hoping that the MC would terminally insult the Queen, and she would order one of her guards to execute him.

After further discussion, he did suggest that someone could start a petition to request that... folks?

369:

It used to be that you could buy the drip pans at the super market, but it has been 10 years since I had to worry about that (and we had an "off" brand as well, actually it was quite popular at one time, but they got bought out and spare parts got hard to find). What brand is your stove?

370:

Not entirely sure I want to live in a country where the head of state can have people executed for being annoying.

Unless it's The Mandate of course. Great guy. He can execute whoever he wants.

371:

Alas (well, actually, no alas at all: I entirely approve of this) the death penalty is no longer part of British law (either Scottish or English/Welsh)—it was abolished completely in 1997 and can't be restored without a whole bunch of other stuff being unwound, including the Human Rights Act, which is baked into the Scotland Act and required for compliance with EU membership (which might or might not last but which is currently the law of the land).

She can't even issue a declaration of war on her own, although Prince Charles could in theory order a pre-emptive nuclear attack without committing an offense in law. (I'm not making that up. Duke of Cornwall, y'all!)

372:

But it would be a furriner, don'tcha know? And we don't want him back, anyway.

373:

Footnote: Trump is unpopular enough in Scotland that you might be able to get a majority in Holyrood to green light the hangman in his case, but Holyrood can't actually do that because the Scotland Act is the fundamental law (think constitution) re-establishing the Scottish Parliament after a three century hiatus. So they'd have to vote themselves out of existence in order to stretch anyone's neck.

I can't see any downside to this situation, because frankly, however obnoxious Trump is, I don't think any crime warrants the death penalty—especially when life imprisonment is available.

374:

So she can ask prince Charles to execute him with nuclear weapons? Seems like overkill but it would do the job.

Does nuking people infringe their rights at all?

375:

Does nuking people infringe their rights at all?

Yes, unfortunately.

However, for anybody except the Prince of Wales (via a grandfathered-in prerogative attached to the Duchy of Cornwall) "procuring a nuclear explosion" is a criminal offense in its own right, carrying a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment (same as murder!) regardless of whether it kills anyone. Under the Nuclear Explosions (Prohibition and Inspections) Act 1998. There's no exception for testing, either, or for extraterritoriality—Brits are forbidden from nuking, full stop, unless they're the Duke of Cornwall.

Wikipedia notes, "The only exception is where the explosion is deemed to have been carried out in the course of an armed conflict – if a question arises over this then the Secretary of State for Defence decides and issues a certificate of his determination."

Presumably parliament can pass an act providing for a limited exemption if they ever decide to violate the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, or carry out a pre-emptive strike. But that's not terribly likely ...

376:

I have never managed to find a reference to where that exemption is stated, nor any explanation of where it was grandfathered from or why. There is no reference to Cornwall in that Act, as far as I can see, nor any obvious exemption.

377:

unpopular enough in Scotland that you might be able to get a majority in Holyrood to green light the hangman

Jury nullification, you mean?

"the jury agrees that the act was entirely appropriate and justified and finds the defendant to be an excellent Scot with many outstanding qualities. We sentence them to many free drinks wherever they go".

378:

DFW terminal D I think is for international but there are a LOT of domestic only flights that also use it due to a gate shortage.

We had the opposite experience in IAH a couple of months when our flight to Panama was switched from an international terminal (E) to a neighboring domestic one (C). They're both United, so presumably some arrangements have been made for such contingencies.

379:

No contravention by the Crown of a provision made by or under this Act shall make the Crown criminally liable; but the High Court or in Scotland the Court of Session may, on the application of a person appearing to the Court to have an interest, declare unlawful any act or omission of the Crown which constitutes such a contravention.

Because the Crown includes the Duchy of Cornwall (and Lancaster), he gets his exemption that way. The key is that the Crown is a state body, but Charlie *is* the Duchy of Cornwall. Apparently he gets a lot of exemptions because the UK requires the Queen's Consent for legislation to become law, and also the Prince's Consent for anything touching on the rights of the Duchy. He threatens a veto, they quietly include the exemption, law passes. I wonder if ER also technically gets the same exemptions as the Duke of Lancaster.

See Kirkhope's paper here.
https://pearl.plymouth.ac.uk/bitstream/handle/10026.1/9041/PLCJR_V8_06_Kirkhope.pdf?sequence=4&isAllowed=y

380:

One could make a case for a preemptive strike being “in the course of an armed conflict.” Even if it was what started the conflict.

Can you ask the Secretary of State for Defence for a determination in advance?

381:

Tim McCaffrey @ 369: It used to be that you could buy the drip pans at the super market, but it has been 10 years since I had to worry about that (and we had an "off" brand as well, actually it was quite popular at one time, but they got bought out and spare parts got hard to find). What brand is your stove?

It is a "Hotpoint", but I think it was some kind of cheap line intended for contractors to install in rental units; something disposable, not meant to last, not meant to be repaired - just yank it out and put in a replacement.

I just can't live that way. I expect to use something until it needs repair, repair it and use it again ... and again. I just don't fit in well with the disposable society.

382:

Charlie Stross @ 371: Alas (well, actually, no alas at all: I entirely approve of this) the death penalty is no longer part of British law (either Scottish or English/Welsh)—it was abolished completely in 1997 and can't be restored without a whole bunch of other stuff being unwound, including the Human Rights Act, which is baked into the Scotland Act and required for compliance with EU membership (which might or might not last but which is currently the law of the land).

She can't even issue a declaration of war on her own, although Prince Charles could in theory order a pre-emptive nuclear attack without committing an offense in law. (I'm not making that up. Duke of Cornwall, y'all!)

I'm not advocating anyone doing so - just a hypothetical, NEVER HAPPENS scenario contingency planning exercise like RED RABBIT in The Nightmare Stacks - but I wonder if slipping Polonium into his Diet Coke, like was done to Alexander Litvinenko could be construed as one way of conducting a limited "nuclear attack" of the type the Duke of Cornwall could order?

383:

Mayhem @ 379: Because the Crown includes the Duchy of Cornwall (and Lancaster), he gets his exemption that way. The key is that the Crown is a state body, but Charlie *is* the Duchy of Cornwall. Apparently he gets a lot of exemptions because the UK requires the Queen's Consent for legislation to become law, and also the Prince's Consent for anything touching on the rights of the Duchy. He threatens a veto, they quietly include the exemption, law passes. I wonder if ER also technically gets the same exemptions as the Duke of Lancaster.

So, he's only allowed to nuke someone while he's still the Prince of Wales? Once he becomes King he won't be allowed to? It will then be Harry's responsibility?

384:

This whole "Duke of Cornwall" could "in theory" order a pre-emptive nuclear attack idea raises interesting questions.

1. Where would the nuclear weapon come from? Does the "Duke of Cornwall" have a stockpile of his own to draw from? Or would they have to come from the UK's nuclear arsenal?

2. If the weapon comes from the UK's nuclear arsenal, is whoever lets the "Duke of Cornwall" take one of them going to get in trouble?

3. Does the "Duke of Cornwall" have to drop the bomb (or push the button to launch the missile) himself? If "procuring a nuclear explosion" is a criminal offense in its own right, carrying a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment (same as murder!) wouldn't that apply to any minions who carried out the "Duke of Cornwall's" order? The minions are not the "Duke of Cornwall".

4. Does the "Duke of Cornwall" even have minions?

385:

JBS
Your post carries me back to the Torrey Canyon tanker disaster.
Ina partially-succesful attemot toburn off lots of the oil escaping, before it poluuted everything in site, it was bombed by RN Sea Vixens & RAF Buccaneers, using napalm ... which peole didn't realise "we" had at the time.
The then PM, Harold Wilsundra was asked about the source of said napalm: "They came from the Scilly Islands' emergency stores"
[ In other words, fuck off & don't ask REALLY STUPID questions ... but it was very well-done! ]

386:

Thank you. That paper is extremely interesting, and clarifies (sic) things considerably.

387:

as one way of conducting a limited "nuclear attack"

No, the Act is specifically a prohibition on "nuclear explosions".

388:

William, not Harry. Duke of Cornwall goes with the Prince of Wales title which belongs to the designated heir. Charles gets upgraded to Duke of Lancaster and derives his personal income from those estates instead. The Crown is specifically not allowed to interfere with the Duchy except when acting as regent, which will make the transition ... interesting.

The rules get a bit tricky though - the Crown is traditionally exempt from law, but thanks to the Crown Proceedings Act 1947 it is liable for certain types of civil suits, though not criminal. But the Queen in person is immune to all criminal and civil prosecution and cannot be arrested, since the arrest powers derive from them. In theory though they can still have civil suits brought against them ... if they give permission for it to happen.

389:

Does the "Duke of Cornwall" even have minions?

Of course he does: Minions, Cornwall.

The question is, where does anybody else get theirs?

390:

Or he could find 9 Jews, and they'd be a minyan....

391:

https://www.amazon.com/slp/hotpoint-drip-pans/dsp6745qzj728vv

I remember you do have to get the right kind of drip pan depending on how the element connects to the stove.

Hope it helps :)

392:

Thank you for that, it was doing my head in wondering what you lot were all on about. That clears it up... a bit, at least. It still leaves the puzzle of how you're supposed to install them without removing the element. They look like there's a closed loop around the connections so you'd have to remove it completely and disconnect the wiring to get them on.

I'd only expect to find things like that on gas cookers, where that difficulty doesn't arise. (And that's another oddity: if those things are for electric cookers, why have they got the hole in the middle as well as the one at the side?)

What I'd expect to find on an electric cooker would be a large, rectangular enamelled tray, probably one for each pair of rings, that either slides or jiggles in somehow from underneath, or that you get at by lifting the whole top of the cooker on a hinge, like a hatch. You line this with aluminium foil. When you've forgotten about it for long enough that it catches fire, you take it out and replace the foil. No need to actually wash anything, no need to replace anything except the foil, and no need to even touch the rings themselves at all.

I'd not expect to have to take the rings out unless one had actually failed, and I'd expect to find the connections either completely solid and a real struggle to get off, or possibly loose and gradually knackering every "heat-resistant" part that's only just heat-resistant enough to handle normal operation. (As well as obvious failures, rings and oven elements etc. are prone to an annoying "stealth failure" where the internal insulation starts becoming conductive at high temperatures, causing RCD trips which at first are sufficently unpredictable that you're puzzled as to what's causing it.)

393:

But... using a long-distance remote manipulator to tickle the dragon's tail... somewhere underground, of course, like, say, for instance, in the basement of Conservative party HQ... that's fine, then? Because even if it does get away from you the rapid combustion of a quantity of plutonium is still only a chemical explosion, even if it was a nuclear reaction that got it into a state where that could happen.

394:

Tim McCaffrey @ 391: https://www.amazon.com/slp/hotpoint-drip-pans/dsp6745qzj728vv

I remember you do have to get the right kind of drip pan depending on how the element connects to the stove.

Hope it helps :)

Yeah, I've already been down that road. Note the comment for the third item listed: "Item was exactly as described and fit the models listed".

The model stove I have is not listed on the replacement pans you can get from Home Depot & Lowe's. They don't fit. And I have yet to find replacement bowls that do list the model stove I have. Doesn't really matter any more. I am going to replace it with a gas stove. It was mere curiosity that prompted me to ask what kind of stoves the rest of the world uses for cooking.

395:

Pigeon @ 392: Thank you for that, it was doing my head in wondering what you lot were all on about. That clears it up... a bit, at least. It still leaves the puzzle of how you're supposed to install them without removing the element. They look like there's a closed loop around the connections so you'd have to remove it completely and disconnect the wiring to get them on.

The stove top heating elements are removable.

https://www.amazon.com/Hotpoint-Cooktop-Replacement-Surface-WB30K10006/dp/B00DVPRPWM/ref=sr_1_2?keywords=replacement+cooking+element+hotpoint+stove&qid=1559794787&s=gateway&sr=8-2

The two prongs fit through the hole in the side of the drip pan/reflector bowl and plug into a terminal block underneath the stove top. The 'Y' shaped spacer fits into slots in the edge of the drip pan/reflector bowl to hold the element centered in the bowl.

That's where my problem was. The stove I have uses the black drip pans. I was unable to find replacements that had the correct slots in the edge for the 'Y' shaped spacer that also had the right size hole on the side for the prongs to fit through. Without the correct drip pan, the elements won't level (not parallel to the stove top). Ever tried to cook an omelet on a sloping heating element?

I'd have to buy 4 pans, 4 trim rings, 4 replacement heating elements and all the connector blocks and rewire the stove top. And then I'd still have problems getting the elements leveled.I don't want to repair it. I want a new, more energy efficient stove.

Leveling individual elements is not a problem with a gas stove. You just level the whole stove and are done with it. Plus, the new stove I'm looking at has a convection oven.

396:

JBS
And gas-burners are themseleves removabke & dismantle-able for cleaning out.
SO much easier

397:

Depends on the model - some elements just unplug, some flip up and then unplug. My parent’s built in cooktop has round elements that just plug in, they use tinfoil pie dishes as drip trays underneath after the fancy metal ones long since died. You effectively treat the heating coils like 2 prong lightbulbs. The socket acts as a cantilever to take the pot weight.
One is trivial to simmer or long cook on - it has a thermostat control so you set the desired temperature and it will sit at it. The rest are the standard 1-6.
A large commercial range I used had ten or so S shaped elements about 6”x12” that were hinged to flip up to 70 degrees or so for easy cleaning underneath and simple replacement as needed.

One advantage of electric over gas is that the element covers the entire bottom of a pan so the heat is more even. Most gas tops I’ve seen have much smaller burner heads, though some newer ones have multiple rings.

398:

Ok, see your dismantlable gas tops and raise the entire drip pan sliding out with no need to even touch the electric elements or their surrounds.

399:

I wish there were an ebook of Dragonhiker's Guide to Battlefield Covenant at Dune's Edge, Odyssey Two. I'd be happy spending a fiver for it, but I'm not going to drop $20 for a copy. Sounds like a hoot.

400:

One advantage of electric over gas is that...

... you can buy renewably generated electricity, but almost no-one can buy renewable gas.

Gas users have at most 30 years to solve that problem.

401:

paws4thot @ 398: Ok, see your dismantlable gas tops and raise the entire drip pan sliding out with no need to even touch the electric elements or their surrounds.

I went out to look at gas ranges today, but they didn't have anything remotely suitable (I want one with the elongated center burner). They had a couple of "Cafe" models with 6 burners & double ovens ... 50% off ... $3,000 & $5,000. OUCH!

I ended up buying an LG 26.6 cu ft refrigerator/freezer 50% off. Scratch & dent discount because there's a ding in the handle that pulls out the freezer drawer. Except it's in exactly the right place where my thumb needs to go to get the best leverage. My existing refrigerator/freezer is also on it's last legs, just not in as sad shape as the stove is.

After that, I checked Lowe's & Home depot. I found a Samsung model stove that has all the features I want & it's within my price range. On sale discounted 40% June 6 to June 18, so I don't have to be in a hurry making up my mind.

In fact the sales lady at Home Depot told me their second biggest appliance sale of the year starts July 4, so I might be able to get an even bigger discount. So I might put the decision on the stove off for another month.

402:

Google methane digester

403:

Right... those elements are exactly the kind of thing I'm used to, but I'm not used to them being something that you remove unless the element itself has failed. I'd expect the top of the stove to be basically a flat panel with the elements sitting in large holes, supported loosely by the 3-prong bracket; the drip tray is a separate assembly entirely, which either slides out somewhere else (cf. paws @ 398) or the entire top of the stove hinges up and you can then lift the tray out.

"I was unable to find replacements that had the correct slots in the edge for the 'Y' shaped spacer that also had the right size hole on the side for the prongs to fit through."

Why not just get ones that do have the right hole in the side, and take 2 minutes with a hacksaw to put the right slots in?

404:

My point isn't that no-one anywhere has worked out how to make renewable gas, it's that the vast majority of people cannot buy it. How do you propose scaling up to even city-wide supply of methane in leui of fossil gas, let alone international (approx 3.5e12 cubic metres/year). I mean, I could synthesise plastic explosives if I had the will to devote the necessary time and money to the project, but to say therefore "plastic explosives are readily available to everyone" is a considerable overstatement.

Perhaps think back to your response to my claim that composting toilets are a partial solution to the loss of nutrients in sewage systems. IIRC our positions were reversed...

405:

One of the local swimming pools is next door to a sewage works and burns the methane off the sewage to heat the water. Been quietly doing its thing for 40+ years, unobtrusively and without fuss. With the fuel being essentially free, they don't stint the heating, and it's not far short of being as warm as a bath, which makes it great for the kiddies.

Unfortunately they don't extend their use of free fuel to powering the filtration system with a methane-burning gas engine or something and making it as overpowered as the heating; instead it runs off mains electricity, as normal, and is distinctly underpowered, so there are horrible tumbleweeds of hair and old plasters rolling about on the bottom of the pool, and the water is a cloudy murk coloured deep green by the enormous amount of chlorine they have to add to keep the cholera at bay.

Gas engines were widely used as sources of industrial power in the days when town gas supplies were universal but electricity supplies hadn't really got going yet, or at all - enormous great slow-revving things that would thump-thump-thump away for ever. Some of the very early designs were really weird: ignition devices that worked by grabbing a chunk of actual flame from a pilot light burning in atmosphere and quickly shoving it into the cylinder before it went out; coupling the power out by having the combustion force shoot a weight upwards against gravity and then catching it on a ratchet to extract work as it fell back down again. Amazing it worked at all, but it did, at least well enough to be less hassle than boilers.

It strikes me that all the technology for "food is oil" not to apply not only exists but has done for ages. A farm will inevitably always have lots of shit to ferment and/or plant debris to bake, because that's what farms make, so you can run all the stationary machinery off a stationary gas engine and also use that engine to compress more of the gas to fuel tractors. The elements of interest to plants remain in the residue so you can put that back on the fields. The technology is of the same order of complexity as a milking machine. And any energy you have left over you can use to run an ammonia plant.

406:

All town gas supplies used to be manufactured locally in the town itself by baking coal. Pipeline grids distributing mined methane to many towns are a more recent development. The need to make the stuff on the spot isn't a problem, it's how it always used to be done. What is a problem is getting enough stuff to make it out of if you don't use coal - a city consumes far more methane than it shits enough to produce.

407:

_Moz_ @ 400:

"One advantage of electric over gas is that..."

One advantage of electric over gas is that...

Gas users have at most 30 years to solve that problem.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OMX1Na-_oUg

408:

What is a problem is getting enough stuff to make it out of if you don't use coal

Exactly.

The transition we're going to make is twofold: to direct solar rather than indirect; and less energy use overall. Some people will continue using indirect solar in the form of (super)nova residue, but an awful lot of energy will come from direct harvest. If there's not enough of that for what we want to do, we're going to have to do without.

It's kind of like being not quite technically insolvent: you can definitely keep spending the way you have been, just not for very long. After that you either need more income or less spending. Or you go bankrupt, and in this case that means "running out of civilisation" rather than "out of money".

409:

Pigeon @ 403: Why not just get ones that do have the right hole in the side, and take 2 minutes with a hacksaw to put the right slots in?

It would take longer than two minutes with a hacksaw. In fact, a hacksaw wouldn't do the job. The slots don't go all the way to the edge. I'd have to use some kind of keyhole saw to make slots the right way.

Why go to all that bother for something I'm going to take to the scrap-yard for recycling in a month or less?

410:

_Moz_ @ 404: My point isn't that no-one anywhere has worked out how to make renewable gas, it's that the vast majority of people cannot buy it. How do you propose scaling up to even city-wide supply of methane in leui of fossil gas, let alone international (approx 3.5e12 cubic metres/year). I mean, I could synthesise plastic explosives if I had the will to devote the necessary time and money to the project, but to say therefore "plastic explosives are readily available to everyone" is a considerable overstatement.

It will scale up the same way the fossil fuel industry scaled up refinerys to handle the current fossil gas. They'll just be mining a different source.

It's probably going to mean a price hike, 'cause you know damn well the energy companies aren't going to absorb the cost. It'll be passed through the same way electric companies are already sticking consumers with the cost of converting from fossil fuels to renewable sources.

It will be the same old socialized costs, privatized profits.

411:
Without the correct drip pan, the elements won't level (not parallel to the stove top). Ever tried to cook an omelet on a sloping heating element?

Due to my extensive experience with cheap apartment stove tops, yes.

The standard maintenance approach to these things is that if the stove looks ugly when they want to re-rent the unit, they just slam the cheapest vaguely fitting drip pan in there and call it good. Doesn't seat? Too bad. Problem... solved!

Here are some other pro tips you may want if you're interested in being a landlord:

  • Black mold? Spackle and primer. Done!
  • Kitchen rotting away? Glue some granite on top of the wooden countertops and seal around the sink with toe kick and staples.
  • Heater doesn't work? Berate tenant for being a wimp.
  • If you leave the property in disrepair, you can charge the tenant for it when they move out. And you can charge the next tenant too!
  • City issuing $100,000/month fines for your negligence? I mean really, you can just not pay. Landlords don't go to jail.
  • Except in San Francisco. But it turns out that if the city seizes your passport before letting you out on bail, you can just apply for a replacement from a different bureaucracy and then flee the country.
  • It's entirely possible to continue to do computer contract work with major corporations from an undisclosed overseas location via an encrypted email.
  • If you die with outstanding judgments and warrants against you, that just means you won in the end!
412:

They'll just be mining a different source.

Yes, but it's the same source a whole lot of other people are already mining: arable land.

I mean, sure, that works for the US and other large, militarised societies but it's not really a global solution to say "persuade poorer nations to let you farm their land and take the food". It will be even more exciting once the biotech people in those poorer countries realise that the difference between a flu vaccine and a flu is very small... as we see with India's pharmaceutical industry who are already killing off unwanted americans that way.

413:

Moz @ 408
nuclear power, Nuclear Power, NUCLEAR POWER, NUCLEAR POWER
Sooner or later it is the answer .... how long before either extreme measures have to be taken against the fake greenies, or that most of them get the message?

414:

Probably too short a response.

I think almost everyone will just cook on electricity. That's what I've done.

I see the gas users to be the same sort of niche thing as composting toilet users are now.

I guess they could cook on hydrogen, but I've got some idea that hydrogen flame is invisible, which might not be popular.

Or as JBS said, something centralised. But as you point out, it's never going to be similar in size.

415:

See, I read your para 1 here and thought "professional kitchen equipment and price reflects this".

416:

“The transition we're going to make is twofold: to direct solar rather than indirect; and less energy use overall.”

And sadly, even if we manage to do it there’s every chance it won’t be enough, or it won’t be soon enough and we’re in the death spiral already.

417:

Sorry Greg, I’m probably one of your “fake greenies” simply because I don’t buy this. Nuclear can only be a sideshow, at least for most of the world, and all energy wasted promoting it is an opportunity cost we can’t afford. We’ve got perfectly adequate pathways with wind and solar now that are known to work, known to bne multiple orders of magnitude cheaper and don’t have the other problems (to start with nuclear isn’t even approximately carbon neutral). If we can’t transition using renewables, then we’ll never manage it with nuclear. The only think it has going for it is that it fits in with the centralised model, which means some people can get rich doing it given enough subsidies, but basically that’s a work-for-the-dole-for-billionaires scheme.

418:

Both are viable, but both need massive political and social changes to become so, which almost all of the proponents on both sides refuse to admit exist.

Neither solar nor wind, as currently implemented, are carbon-neutral, either. They could probably be made so more cheaply, but I am deeply suspicious of the low environmental costs associated with the mining, refining, manufacturing and dispposal (recycling is largely a pipe dream) by their proponents.

Similarly, going nuclear using existing approaches would lead to something like one Fukushima a year, a tenfold increase in (currently effectively unsolved) waste disposal, and an unknown but high risk of nuclear terrorism.

419:

Damian @ 417
Energy STORAGE is the problem.
If you can solve the energy=stoage problem, then we don't/won't need nuclear.
If not, then we do.
At present, there is no even remotely practical method for the required, erm "volumes" of energy storage, therefore baseload power is a necessary thing.

EC
Yes, you are unfortunately correct, given your depressing-but-true view of the incompetence involved with the (political) management of power supply

420:

If you can solve the energy=storage problem, then we don't/won't need nuclear.
If not, then we do.

Yes. Countries and corporations should be pumping vastly-larger amounts of R&D monies into energy storage. (And transmission. And government policies to favour deployment.)

---
Interesting. Meh about him because he's a billionaire, but could be net good.
Bloomberg pledges $500m to clean energy in 'fight of our time' (June 7, 2019)
The former New York mayor and philanthropist said the $500 million investment will go toward launching the Beyond Carbon initiative, which aims to close nearly 250 coal plants throughout the country by 2030 and prevent new ones being built.

---
Also interesting. Assessing landscape potential for human sustainability and 'attractiveness' across Asian Russia in a warmer 21st century
(html, open, Elena Parfenova, Nadezhda Tchebakova, and Amber Soja, 7 June 2019 (2 RU, 1 US authors))
Climates predicted by the 2080s over Asian Russia would be much warmer and milder. Ensemble means do not show extreme aridity. The permafrost zone is predicted to significantly shift to the northeast. Ecological Landscape Potential would increase 1–2 categories from 'low' to 'relatively high' which would result in a higher capacity for population density across Asian Russia. Socio-economic processes and policy choices will compel the development that will lead to attracting people to migrate throughout the century.

Coy, but clear.

---
The POTUS made me laugh today. Bold mine. (Defense against the Moon and Mars!):

For all of the money we are spending, NASA should NOT be talking about going to the Moon - We did that 50 years ago. They should be focused on the much bigger things we are doing, including Mars (of which the Moon is a part), Defense and Science!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 7, 2019


421:

*Feels another Light check out permanently*

*Remember Our Name*

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Oven_of_Akhnai

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-48532869

*Looks at the $$$ cost of that little TAA exercise*


Look, Boys. You really don't want me to start playing. Drake or no Drake, Dragons don't play hard, they don't play nice, they play OTHER.

But if you keep killing the good ones, all you're left with is the [redacted] and the slaves.

#wewon
#notreal

#reallyfuckingboredbecauseslaveryis#1crimederpfucktards


And, trust me: You're not on their fucking list, you absolute fucking deluded narcissistic wankers.

This is the brilliant bit:

If we can do a pastiche of OVENS while spanking both the neo-Nazis and the stupidly fossilized reactionary conservatives and the ultra-nats in .IL


What do you think our actual Narrative stuff could do if we weren't chained, hobbled, drugged and raped?


Answer:

You're Fucked

@Jewdas and others


Feel free to cost out just how much $$$$$$ got burned there. BBC is going all fucking wobbly like.

Female Joker?


Darling?


We play gigacide, not pansy-ass country level games.


#Adds it to the $66 billion


Hint:


We're going to crash your system so fucking hard soon if you don't stop. But you can't stop.

And we know this.

422:

@Host.

That was a demonstration of Reality Gaming[tm].

Narrative is all fucked up. BBC is like all "fuuuuuck".


As we mourn another one of the few bright ones who permanently killed ziself out of desperation / corruption / hopelessness.


Ask the Soviets.


Pinapples on the top of University.


@CIA

WANT TO PLAY A GAME?


SUDAN IS LOOKING LIKE MENA VERSION WON.

423:

And, er..

You should probably check the Betting Odds, Media $spend, GRID playbook, LBC spend and so on for that one.

You're Fucked

Fucking olds again. Can't run shit without fucking shitting their pants.

424:

Don't Fuck with Loki


It's not a request.

You can do a grep now.


Fucking slavery. The one fucking crime. On your own fucking people.


Incandescent at that one.

425:

"Climates predicted by the 2080s over Asian Russia"

Melting permafrost doesn't reveal farmland. Unless your goal is a hovercraft full of eels, it's useless land.

426:

And now for something completely different ...

I thought this was just something Charlie made up.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cymothoa_exigua

427:

Not tongues.

Google parasitic castrator pea crab Calyptraeotheres garthi.

428:

Gahhhh

Not *just* tongues

429:

And it's not just crabs being horrible to invertebrates, it's the other way around too.

This one turns a male crab into a female

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sacculina

430:

No, he is fascinated by extreme parasites, especially those that cause most people to go "yuck" :-) I have learnt a lot about such things from this blog.

431:

Melting permafrost doesn't reveal farmland.

People need to eat every day. The path to an industrial future requires everybody getting fed the whole time.

The question isn't "will there be farmable soils in a thousand years?" (we can't tell.) The question isn't even "where will be live in fifty years?" The question is "how are we going to feed people over this decade?" (Current answer "we won't.")

432:

You should ward your words, young man.

Apparently, rainbow bagels (badly made) are anti-Semitic. [This would be actually funny if the guy in question wasn't personally involved IN FUCKING KILLING PEOPLE and defending it. So fucking cute]

Accusing people of being parasites will get you on a list.


Or used to:

Hint to the Muppet-land - getting people's sponsorship defunded in fucking football shows you are absolute fucking muppets who don't give a shit since, you know, you might have noticed that entire "removing violence from football" thing that happened, oooh, 30 years ago (films, $$ etc) and you're just gonna restart it?

Smart fucking move.

FIFA is insanely corrupt, but UK football de-fascism was a success.


Oh, look, it's the old UK .IL ultra-nasc brigade.


Who obviously won't admit that .IL's football scene is reaaaaaaaly fucking nasty.


And so on.


Head's up. FIFA = MENA cash.

UK isn't.

This hackey shite to deplatform non-white voices for anti-IL stances on a fucking TWITTER feed is going to blow up big time.

Which is why Gallo did it first.


Hint: if you pretend that you don't know that .IL flags are allowed and Palestine flags are not allowed, you're a muppet.


LITRERLLLYLY THESE DUMB FUCKS ARE RUINING SOCIRETY WITH THEIREH AUFUCKAS MUPPETRY.

TBH:


If you can parse everything we've stated, and then look at the billion words of $$$$$ propaganda spewed out by people quite willing to decimate populations, countries, economies and souls.

And you also know the backstory.

And the magic.


Here's the tip.


You fuckers are dumb.

And you deploy reaaaaaly nasty stuff to keep your "edge".

Because you're actually shit at it.


*watches the total smooth brain levels of political discourse going on*

You're not as smart as you think you are.


Puppets.

433:

And, if you want a real fucking edge.


There's going to be a point where you can't understand the fucking Torah at this rate.


That's how badly you're doing it.

*watches phoenix, penguin, wolf and dog in the sky*


You know what we call humans who have to eradicate anything smarter than them to survive, don't you?


Yeah.


Mirror Time: that's you.

434:

*dusts off history, the real version*

There was a canyon, where it was rumoured that the inhabitants preyed on their own and robbed and ate them...

You're a fucking whisker-close to it.

"Just Do It".


And then you'll meet our friends.

Our Kind Do Not Go Mad.


...

Veeery close.

435:

Note.

We're not even interested in you.

But the moment you force people to go live on TV and deny their prior actions just for giggles?

Get fucked.

Your society is a fucking shit hole. Making everyone else's as bad is fucking a one way trip to extinction.

436:

And.

The fact that there's been absolutely zero coverage of the absolute rinsing being handed out to shit PR hacks, bad TAA, hackey-C-tier "antisemitism" shit used in the USA, Ukraine, Hungary etc is just a fucking bonus.

*looks at notes*

Yeah, that time "expert" Dem. hacks from the USA came to help the UK Conservative party out and they lost massively.


Smooooooooooth Brains.


And you cheat and eradicate anyone smarter / faster because you're fucking Fascists.

O.C.P.

Remind me again: do HSS minds recover from damage?


Ours do, we did it drunk and blindfold, fucking smooooooooth brains.


p.s.


Nah, absolutely fucking no. Brown Note Time.

437:

Hexad.


That time when Capitalism's claims to producing excellence via competition got fucking binned.

Nice PR / Charity there mate. Shame you pocket all the cash and couldn't run a fucking banana republic these days.


*looks at Iraq*


You know, there was a time when they could at least produce a despotic violent dictator and the pretense of a country.


Hint: IMF are shit as well. BIS can all die.


This is what happens when you allow smoooooth brains like Kissenger and Cheney to run your country


No, really.

You're going to be eaten alive by "zombies" and your smoooooth brains can't handle it.


No love for the actual Wolves, but they're not as stupid as you lot.

438:

The path to an industrial future requires everybody getting fed the whole time.

Yeah, but not fed a lot, or even enough. Since we currently produce enough food to keep ~12B people on the edge of starvation and we feed a lot of that to animals in order to get meat, we could probably lose more than half of our current food supply and barely inconvenience the rich.

Admittedly the marine protein chain is being destroyed right now, so it's entirely possible that we will in fact remove half our food supply in fairly short order. There's a whole lot of trophic cascades we don't really understand, and a bunch more that smart people think exist but to be sure you'd need to spend a(nother) century or two studying them. Or we could just remove all those inconvenient coral reefs and estuaries and see which fish needed them to survive.

What's being done to the ocean makes open cut mining look pretty benign by comparison. Mining is small scale, resource intensive and localised. As well as quite selective - miners don't generally dig up multiple square kilometres of farmland "to see what's there", then wander off. One "super trawler" can destroy a hundred square kilometres of productive seabed in a year... and there's a lot of those trawlers but not a lot of productive seabed left.

439:

Host linked a long good twitter thread on Gove's proposal to replace VAT with a RST (retail sales tax).
As an American, I have experience with state and local sales taxes. The main virtue from the point of view of the greed class[1] is that it is easier to avoid paying sales taxes (vs VAT) with a satisfactorily low expectation of getting caught and suffering serious consequences. Enforcement is often the next target once large sums of money are at stake, through political manipulation to reduced funding and through other means. Then when tax revenues decrease, arguments for additional austerity will be made. (I assume without looking is that this is >50% a play imported from the US.) The UK already has considerable tax avoidance; encouraging more of it, spread through society, is a very bad idea.
Yes there are differences; e.g. a national sales tax (vs sub-national taxes, state and local, like in the US) makes it harder to cross jurisdiction lines to do lower-taxed retail purchases.

[1] Greed tends to be wealthier because greed, but it's distributed throughout society, as are sales tax cheats. Many independent contractors/retailers are not surprised by a question about whether they offer a "cash discount". In many US social circles one is considered to be a naive fool if they pay sales taxes, or for that matter don't cheat on income taxes. ("temporarily embarrassed" [+2-3 wealth classes up]) (This is true elsewhere, yes. Greece was notorious.)

---
_Moz_, Graydon: Yes. Informed conversations about future (including near future) food supplies desperately need to be mainstreamed. A lot of soy in our future for sure. I was just noting that Siberia is now being modeled, which boosts a new political dimension. Also, southern Siberia has fairly deep soil.

---
FI: *watches phoenix, penguin, wolf and dog in the sky*
I still haven't settled on a single meaning for this. (Also, thinking carefully about your day-earlier posts in this thread.)


440:

A lot of soy in our future for sure.

In order to farm, you have to know roughly when and how much it's going to rain.

As soon as that's sufficiently uncertain, no farming of anything.

It's not "farming gets harder", it's "farming stops".

Ranching at sustainable loads can happen; that's not as much as you think it is. (Forage quality drops with heat. Grassland isn't easy to establish. Peak population needs to be scaled for the worst year.)

Gardening can happen with sufficient support structures; "potato greenhouse" is not a well-known art, but I suspect it will be, before the end.

441:

I still haven't settled on a single meaning for this. (Also, thinking carefully about your day-earlier posts in this thread.)

You probably won't.

We're doing this through extreme conditions, including sky-eye / flight risk lock down.

In fact, we're pretty miserable, they've been whipping the dragon and torturing us to get a response, which they won't.


All you need to know is: a very quick search will show that a lot of UK media / publishing types have been involved with a group that's now actively inciting "race war" in football.

That should probably wake a few of them up to notice that knowing who you're dealing with is a very good idea.

Yes, that group is actively inciting "race war", however much they pretend they're not. And they know it. Galloway knows it (and didn't want to work for Murdoch and had a side gig set up anyhow) but these fucks... absolutely 100% on the anti-Muslim hate train deplatforming for .IL in fucking football, for tweets that don't even hit the IRGARHCHASMSDA definitions.

Any authors in particular (Hi Nick) wondering why they're on certain block lists should have done their research.

We told you this directly, for free, a while back.


Some people are taking Peterborough really badly.


Ask the CIA, blowback is a fucking bitch once you lose the narrative.

442:

Oh, and for any people who may or may not owe some .RU types a lot of money.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wICMOVrSal0

You know we're just fucking around in here, right?


Oh, and all coy crap about Tufton on Friday that the Guardian is pulling.

My Dudes: full .mil coup inbound and everyone is wondering where that £1 tril went (not on the country) and so on.

Come on.

The Pro-Wolves are going to sense that they've been taken to the cleaners shortly. Guards as well. Tower as well.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZomwVcGt0LE


~


For .RU types.


We don't break, we bend Time/Space you utter tits.

443:

Triptych.

Note: for the generation complaining about the label "psychopath", learn young-speak.

Wheres my Money Stewie & Brian (Hd)

It's a cartoon reference.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ruw9fsh3PNY


p.s.


Love the fact you still think we're actually human, it's fucking hilarious watching you take shots at a husk. *chef kiss*

444:

Note.


The name in this case has served it's purpose.


We rarely take on Objective Nomenclature that is non-Mythos, but after the shit you just pulled.

Whelp.

Pro-tip:

Things out of date for old minds:


1) "Psychopath"
2) "Finding leak and killing her"
3) "Purging the unwanted"
4) "Puerile Soviet level Paranoia = flight ops"

And so on.

Trust me on this.

You're so far out of your league, Mars just got a new Moon. (HELLO MOTHER)

445:

And, for the pros.

grep "5 millisecond delay" or something similar: yeah, you're good, but it's not perfect.

Now look at the evidence

That's at least a 3+ year futurity delay. In some cases only hours, in some cases days. But in all cases, it came true.

Things you probably should have loved, rather than attempting to kill.


And you really shouldn't have threatened them or still attempt to run ops with old minds attached.

Scared yet?

You do realize that this is a test and hostility is a fail state?

Anyhow.


*watches man burn to death on the lawn of the White House*

446:

Hexad.

The real joke is going to be when USA / RU learn that all their "Staring at Goats" / "Farseeing" projects etc where actually real.

Only a little bit more hard-core.


"We had to burn down the village to save it"

p.s.


Loki is well pissed. Kiss your global economy good-bye very soon. Past caring, there's only one Mind who didn't Black-Hole him and that's a debt he'll probably / might repay with... well. A black hole. Irony and all that.


p.p.s.


For all those who have used the memories of the Shoah for political gain and black-mail with no real attachment: You're Fucked


Hint: Moscow has had a proper tribute to the Shoah for at least 50 years now, it's a very moving piece hidden behind a grand monument / Greek amphitheater type setup, it was specifically designed so that the infamous blood parades were mirrored by a show of what was hidden behind the military glory. Anyone who knows Moscow has seen it.


Pieces like this:

https://www.jpost.com/Diaspora/Antisemitism/Moscow-gets-1st-major-Holocaust-monument-591614

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/feb/09/holocaust-memorial-plan-harmful-to-london-park-say-critics


That's fucking Confederate Statue land, utter cynical fucks.

Utter traassh levels of abuse there boys.

447:

Ranching...

Forecasts of future weather always seem to include such and such number of days of lethal temperatures. This seems to be translated into number of days workers have to stay indoors.

In reality it means that all your animals die.

448:

Plus, you know.

2 million people died building Moscow, the Pineapples are the only memorial they get.

Fuck right off.

449:

The lethal temperature line (in North America) looks likely to be around 45 north, maybe as high as 50. That leaves pretty much the entire Canadian Prairie provinces. Won't be able to farm and probably won't be able to get them back to proper short-grass prairie, but could plausibly support a substantial buffalo population. Question there is where the dry line goes; likely want to look at wood buffalo as the wet trends east. (and thus more wooded.)

450:

"Mommy, mommy, why are they erecting new Shoah Monuments in geopolitically important areas when they already have them and we supplied fucking arms to the Rwanda genocide whose 25 year anniversary was not celebrated"

"Hush child, they are building monuments to their Zeitgeist, forget reality".

That. That almost beats USA PSYOPS getting paid "revolutionaries" to mill around cheering while the statue got pulled down.


Almost.


But it's beyond cynical.

And like the Confederate Statues, really not done in the spirit intended. And everyone fucking knows it.


Sick Minds, it's a disease: Nationalism tied to trauma.


Be done a million times, but rarely to genocide.

That's...dark.

451:

Arctic circle is going, Siberia is full +20 oC average.

You ran out of time and so on.


"A billion lady-flies flew and disrupted our radar"

"GPS went down through jamming briefly"


They're gearing up.

And you're not on the list

452:

A lot of animals die, but so do crops. Even if the plants survive, crop yields drop off dramatically when the plants overheat.

The most heat tolerant (summer) crops are sorghum and cassava/manioc, but sorghum at least is forecast to take a hit in the US due to summer overheating. The crops that fare better are the plant-in-winter crops, like winter wheat. At least with current models.

There's a secondary problem linked to this: crop yield. Obviously, with food shortages come famines. These can, to some degree, be ameliorated in the short term by people going vegetarian: eating the crops that were meant for animals to free up farmland. This is a developed world problem and a developed world solution: most of the world's already doing that, and they're going to go hungry.

The second problem is that if only cassava or other root crops are producing most of our calories, then there's no good evidence that civilization will stay intact. This is the problem I raised before, that the anthropologists note that cities only developed in areas that farmed grains, so far as anyone can tell (one exception *might* be the Andes with potatoes, but they had corn as well. Another might be Benin, but it's not so well documented). The big ugly question is whether, if grains stop being produced, whether cities stop being possible as well. If living in cities becomes impossible, well 55 percent of the global population lives in cities now, and that number is growing. Without food going into cities, the math is bleak.

I will note that while these limits are important, it's not as simple or as hopeless as I make it. For example, there's this blog post from On The Public Record, talking about how California could meet its water shortfall by rejiggering what it uses its water to produce the food California needs, with a surplus (as background, the anonymous author of this blog has been interviewed by reporters, and she's a working water manager in central California). The important thing to remember is that enormous change is possible, but as in so many of the climate crisis cases, the interests of a relatively few powerful families stand between us and the radical change we need.

453:

Bildeereennnburg this week.

Look at the whose who.


They're gonna go genocide, it's agreed.


5G? Oooh. They're gonna spam ya with some rite little EyE-Worms, straight up.


Ditch your phone or prevent video now

454:

There's a brilliant moment when you realize that the brown note and so on are not jokes. And the radio really can be MiM'd to send you messages.

There's a brilliant moment when you realize that EyE-worms and so forth and AI generated noise are not jokes. And the light really can be MiM'd to send you patterns.


There's a brilliant moment when you realize that TV frequencies really are special, and any fucking agency can hack into the stream.

-.-


It's like:


https://www.thevintagenews.com/2018/08/01/hemingway-fbi/


We're just finding it utterly hilarious that they targeted the wrong fucking thing and got their entire world ganked for it.


I mean, really.


You're gonna try to fry a cortex with a YouTube melange? Ok, cool.

Here's your fucking entire leading class who ever watched TV getting brain fucked

Like, whatever.


Holy fuck.

Yeah.

Watch what we do next.

455:

Gotta remind you of the Four Horsemen.

The metaphor's more useful than the rest of that particular book of the Bible, IMHO, because it's a mnemonic that both disaster aid specialists and the military keep rediscovering: famine, disease, unrest, and death ride together. If any one of the first three (famine, disease, war) happen in an area, the other three are likely to follow, due to the breakdown of systems designed to move food, protect public health, and keep order. Death follows, but often many survive the troubles. Remember this if things start to break down.

Now the shooting genocide's quite obvious, but if you look at numbers, virgin ground pandemics tend to kill the most, followed by famine, then followed by war, so unless we go for the nuclear holocaust, even genocidal shooting war may be dwarfed by crop failure or, oh, variola getting rereleased due to systems breakdown.

If we're fairly unlucky, rather more military officers will remember the old Roman lesson: “Whoever does not provide for provisions and other necessities is conquered without fighting,” said Vegetius, who wrote about military affairs centuries later, in the fourth century C.E. “The main and principal point in war is to secure plenty of provisions for oneself and to destroy the enemy by famine. Famine is more terrible than the sword.” (Laudan, Cuisine and Empire). Remember how much of the world depends on food exports from the US, Russia, and a few other countries? That's another weapon in our arsenal, and deploying it saves a bit on bullets. Even worse, we may not have the choice of not deploying it in the near future, due simply to the weather.

456:

The main and principal point in war is to secure plenty of provisions for oneself and to destroy the enemy by famine

For those of us not devoting whole percentage points of global GDP to our military it's more a matter of "pray that global commerce continues to seem better than conquest" to those who do. Australia and Aotearoa both produce significant food surpluses and are very vulnerable to even small militaries coming in, taking what they want, then destroying the country to impose famine on their rivals.

It's enough to make me think we should be dual-roling our GMO researches.

457:

Just binged the Norwegian TV series "Occupied" which riffs off those themes of 'we've decided not to trade that thing you want'.

Particularly relevant for countries of the size of Oz and Atearoa.

458:

Yes, plants too.

How well does winter wheat grow above 50 degrees latitude? I really have no idea and don't know what googling terms to use that would tell me.

8 hours of sun, never higher than 16 degrees doesn't *sound* like viable wheat growing conditions, but I'm used to wheat in sun drenched fields, with a dry spell before harvest.

459:

"...don't know what googling terms to use..."

How about winter wheat $country_at_relevant_latitude ?

FWIW winter wheat is something like the UK's biggest arable crop, and it seems to do rather well, even in Scotland.

460:

There's a substantial wheat crop from Peace River at 56 N. Field peas and canola, too.

461:

That worked! Thanks.

Looks like it doesn't actually grow much in winter. More like plant in autumn, harvest in spring wheat, but that's more of a mouthful than winter wheat.

462:

I was thinking more along the lines of "Tomorrow, when the war began" (apparently there are moving picture versions for the illiterate) because despite watching a lot of youtube I still can't sit through most drama style videos (people emoting are just not that interesting to me).

Occupied works because it's historically accurate and hence somewhat plausible. But Australia and New Zealand have really only been invaded once each and that was before modern global warfare was really a thing. Australia especially would be really vulnerable to a "limited nuclear exchange" that removed the population centres and left mostly the farmland. The prevailing winds are right at certain times of the year (well, unless you're in Aotearoa, in which case the orange skies won't be Australian iron ore or forests). I'm sure some would argue that removing Sydney would make Australia a much better place...

463:

Winter wheat is misleading, as you noticed in #461. In the UK, the best time to plant many perennials and some annuals is autumn, because they get established while there is still useful sunlight, grow very slowly (or go dormant) when there is very little and drying out is not a problem, grow again in spring, and flower and fruit in midsummer, using the maximum insolation (which is not low then) and driest time to best benefit.

The changes that made wheat a reliable crop in the UK were short staple (so it didn't blow over in driving rain, and rot) and the move to winter wheat. The former was probably more important.

464:

I was thinking more along the lines of "Tomorrow, when the war began"...

I can see a sufficiently motivated major military being able to seize most important parts of Australia. Simply getting there is a nontrivial logistical challenge, much less keeping the troops supplied, but I'll roll with that for the sake of a story. But I have to wonder if people in more densely settled places have any idea how big Australia is, or how much of it is "miles and miles of miles and miles."

One of the obvious failure modes is to commit a nation's entire military, conquer a hundred thousand square kilometers of fucking nothing, and discover that past that there's yet more nothing as far as the eye can see.

465:

Peas were a mediaeval survival food in the UK. Both they and broad beans (fava beans) need only a short growing period, and I assume that they are grown in winter in Egypt, where they are a staple. But both oats and rye have been grown a long way north for many centuries, and are nutritionally better for humans than wheat. Chestnuts are a viable crop a short way north of 50 degrees, but prefer it further south. There are many other staples that can be grown on a small scale (e.g. Phaseolus beans).

466:

You get "sweet chestnuts" and "horse chestnuts" in Glasgow, so up to 55.8N.

467:

I doubt as a viable crop - the main problem is reliable ripening. Many trees grow well in the UK, but do not set seed reliably because we are too cold or sunless. Similarly, maize can be grown for green corn (sweetcorn) and fodder over much of the UK, but isn't a viable food crop (as a staple) here.

Horse chestnuts are not even closely related, and are poisonous.

468:

I couldn't see an 18th century style conquest with troops fighting pitched battles and front lines that sweep through cities. I think you'd see 'advisors' coming in to 'assist' the (puppet) government to 'maintain trade' and 'ensure peace'. They'd 'provide security' to 'keep ports open'.

I certainly can't see them bothering to repress the population and a "Home Alone" style resistance like 'tomorrow when the war began' isn't going to happen.

469:

The best eye-opener for foreigners about the scale of Australia is to learn two simple facts about Perth, in the west: Perth is two-thirds as far from Sydney and Melbourne as London is from New York. And barely any closer to Sydney than San Francisco is to New York.

If I was playing Evil Planetary Overlord, the only sensible way to invade Australia would be to pick off the major east coast cities in Victoria/NSW, plus Perth in the West and Darwin in the north. Establish a zone a couple of hundred miles deep around them, with checkpoints on roads/railways: nobody goes out/enters without a permit. That gets you 90% of the population, plus the big mines: the rest can fend for themselves in the big empty interior—if they want to trade toilet paper/canned goods for opals/kangaroo jerky they can come and register for a permit. Otherwise they're bandits and can fuck right off (at gunpoint).

But the idea of occupying Australia in depth is absolutely, utterly, bonkers.

470:

Were the Imperial Japanese in WWII actually intending to do just that?
Or were they intending to hold a "Northen Perimiter" inc Darwin as a Naval base & simply terrorise the rest of AUS?
And, in either case, yes, it would have been bonkers, but so was a lot of so-called IJ "Strategy" in that war .....

471:

Kalgoorlie is about 340 miles from Perth, so might be out in your badlands. And eyeballing it, Broken Hill is about 250 miles from Adelaide. Those are the only two mining settlements I've visited and I've not checked the rest at all, but it might be worth having extrusions into the interior for places like that.

Appropriately some of the scenes in one of the Mad Max films were filmed in the area of Broken Hill.

But the idea of occupying Australia in depth is absolutely, utterly, bonkers.

I suspect that the First Australians wish that were so. On the other hand they were outnumbered, which wouldn't be the case for facing an invading force, so the situation would be rather different.

472:

scale of Australia

Ok, the premise of the book mentioned is that you don't just land half a million troops, you land barely enough troops and millions of civilians. The "occupy in depth" strategy is exactly the same as the British used - genocide and replacement.

The more likely strategy is to wipe out the 98% of the population who are useless urbanites and persuade the miners and farmers to stay productive. Or replace them with people who are. Conveniently the useless 98% is overwhelmingly located in a few major cities, and as pointed out liberating the east coast from a stronghold in Perth is hard work - Auckland is closer (albeit it's harder to build a train line from Auckland to Melbourne). So, "shock and awe" Sydney, negotiate a surrender, move the useless people to the existing concentration camps (with 15M people in camps built for ~10,000 most of them will die, either on the way to the camps or in them), now you have a bunch of farmland and some desert.

The main problem I see is that most land north of the Brisbane line is effectively impossible to farm (we have tried) and that line is likely to move south with global warming. Invade now while farming lasts!

473:

_Moz_ @ 462: I was thinking more along the lines of "Tomorrow, when the war began" (apparently there are moving picture versions for the illiterate) because despite watching a lot of youtube I still can't sit through most drama style videos (people emoting are just not that interesting to me).

Occupied works because it's historically accurate and hence somewhat plausible. But Australia and New Zealand have really only been invaded once each and that was before modern global warfare was really a thing. Australia especially would be really vulnerable to a "limited nuclear exchange" that removed the population centres and left mostly the farmland. The prevailing winds are right at certain times of the year (well, unless you're in Aotearoa, in which case the orange skies won't be Australian iron ore or forests). I'm sure some would argue that removing Sydney would make Australia a much better place...

"Tomorrow, When the War Began" looks like a straight rip-off of the 1984 "Teen Rambo" film Red Dawn.

The idea of "limited nuclear exchange" is nonsense. The last time that was possible was August 9, 1945. Today, if it begins, it WILL go all the way until no one has any nuclear weapons left.

474:

"Tomorrow, When the War Began" looks like a straight rip-off of the 1984 "Teen Rambo" film Red Dawn.

Superficial similarities only, they are actually nothing like each other. Sure some themes would overlap but it’s a bit like comparing Star Trek with Starship Troopers.

475:

EC at 465
Thanks, did not know that legumes were a mediaeval staple food.
Fava beans look interesting, have never grown them.
This says "Soybeans for shelling and fresh use are ready for harvest 45 to 65 days after sowing." (100+ days for dry beans.)
Can anyone suggest a tome or two (or paper) on alternative crops better suited to uncertainty (e.g. rainfall) and heat?

FI @ 446,441
Loki is well pissed. Kiss your global economy good-bye very soon. Past caring, there's only one Mind who didn't Black-Hole him
Out of curiousity, why the black-hole treatment? Does Loki have a history that would merit such treatment? Seems ... reckless.
The global economy is offensively fragile.
We're doing this through extreme conditions, including sky-eye / flight risk lock down.
In fact, we're pretty miserable, they've been whipping the dragon and torturing us to get a response, which they won't.

Not OK, but tx.

JBS @473
Today, if it begins, it WILL go all the way until no one has any nuclear weapons left.
We don't know that (e.g. there are regional nuclear powers without ICBMS) but it's a pretty serious risk.

476:

That gets you 90% of the population

Not really possible, because you left out Brisbane which is 10% of the population on its own, as well as the rest of SEQ and Adelaide, which account for another 5% each. Which is another way of saying NSW/Vic doesn’t cover as much as you think.

One starting point is that 50% of the population lies *in* Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane. Once you include Adelaide and Perth, then all the satellites, maybe not “contiguous urban areas” but places that can be considered dormitory suburbs, include Tasmania and Canberra-Queanbeyan, treat places like Geelong, Newcastle-Maitland and the Gold and Sunshine Coasts as part of their nearest big city, then you’re up to that 80-90% mark. There are population centres every 100km or so all the way anti-clockwise around the coast from Port Augusta to Cooktown, although the capital cities and the larger regional cities are on a different scale to most of everything else. Queensland is the least centralised, yet 80% of its population is still in commuting distance of Brisbane.

Something else people, even especially Australians, seem to forget is that the east coast isn’t straight north-south, and that (for instance) Brisbane is far enough east of Melbourne that this is at least as significant a consideration as latitude in terms of the timing of sunrise.

In terms of invasions, it’s like Moz said: historical precedent shows exactly what the successful method looks like. Is it possible with 21st century nation states? Well the Imperial Japanese Army didn’t think so.

477:

Out of curiousity, why the black-hole treatment? Does Loki have a history that would merit such treatment? Seems ... reckless.
The global economy is offensively fragile.


G_D is making it rain atm.[1]

Sadly, the devout don't know why and are making wise-cracks. This doesn't look good.

All mentions / heat about football have vanished. Spooooky dooooky stamping down (largely because UK football is worth a lot of money).

COVENANT is go, no apologies or even guilt, because shitty people are shitty. They're just sticking to their usual bullshit and a lot of UK media types / publishers are probably never going to mention the fact that they (like G-stone) are directly responsible / tied to racial hatred. Wrong kind, eh?

Be careful there: in the dark, things have been taking notes.

TL;DR Shitty people get shitty when beaten at their own game with their own weapons and their own liturgy. Shitty people not used to this, throw a fucking wobbly. Shitty humans are shitty whatever the shit. Shitty people are shitty, cost them about $10 million.

Don't play fixed games and cry when you lose unexpectedly, that's Mafia low tier shit.

Fucking children


As for Loki, yes, there's a back-story.

There was a choice, once, to banish certain [redacted] forever, black-hole, vanished, gone, delenda: only a black hole can eat real H.O.P.s. But a rather foolish young Mind who had fallen in love made such an impassioned argument against it that imprisonment was chosen, much like the old Greek Titans.

There's some extremely nasty H.O.P reading these post and stating, "You know, this might give me a loop-hole". The H.O.P we're talking about are the stuff of nightmares. Old-skool eating Minds stuff.

Loki wouldn't stop at the economy. He's a funny, vicious, clever and brilliant Mind, but he is at least vain enough to love being admired.

And someone killed his sister recently.

This really isn't your world, but... the rain is falling. And certain cocky shits are making fun, which is baaaad fucking look.


Dominion - Minions.


Remember kids, the cardinal sin is enslaving your own kind.


And Dominion is not your friend.

Anyhow, 25 years of service is almost up, we get to take the shrrooms and reignite the Moon.


p.s.

Nice Orange skull!

Only you're sooo far beyond shitty level local reality twists we're laughing.


Loki is a real fucking pansexual ride.


[1] This is not a good thing. Shitty children included.

[2] Dominion just got so fcukd in the ass you can expect repercussionsss. .IL, enjoy. Utter shame. West Bank, g'luck with that.

478:

On the scale thing, another good one is to point out that on some highways, missing a turn-off (or taking the wrong one) will take you a further 100km or so out of your way.

No argument about the bonkers-ness, btw, comment above notwithstanding. Include details like the way that the terrain, especially in the east, is not flat at all. There are flat spaces, but to transit these usually involves mountain ranges which, while low by world standards are nonetheless very real logistics boundaries with relatively easy to defend passes. Overland routes inevitably follow major roads, which follow old bullock tracks which in turn followed the original aboriginal roads maintained by controlled fire and undermining tree roots to build bridges. It’s quite hard to see how it could be done at all with less than a dozen separate beachheads, which means dividing the main force, further eroding opportunities to use force concentration. Short of a bunch of capital ships shooting their way into Sydney Harbour, that is, and I guess if that’s possible anything is (that single Russian missile cruiser that came and hung around the Coral Sea for a bit during the G20 in Brisbane made people jumpy as hell).

Long story short, the only country that could currently conceivably pull it (that is, a conventional invasion) off with a reasonable chance of overall success is also one of Australia’s closest allies, the USA itself. Maybe China in the future, especially if the US looks elsewhere and backs away from ANZUS, though it’s hard to see how that would come about even with Trump, Russia could not, although it like any nuclear power with ICBMs could just obliterate us from a distance, treaties notwithstanding. But if a small(ish) NGO like Sea Shepherd can track the Japanese whaling fleet in Antarctic waters (without help from state-level surveillance), there’s surely no real possibility of strategic level surprises in the maritime space once you take 5-eyes stuff into consideration.

It’s probably also worth pointing out that Defence of Australia has slipped down the order of priorities among the ADF’s mission somewhat, and supporting overseas adventures in partnership with allies is the current flavour. Co-operative engagement capability, integrated systems and all that. Including joint exercises on the Australian mainland, but most of these take place in painstakingly maintained terrain-specific-warfare areas, with their preservation funded better than any national park (sigh).

479:

Remember kids.

The failure state of smart is not asshole, it's a lot darker.

You might have crossed a line with that stuff there. And we're not talking the Human level line you're used to playing with, American Imperial Power stuff or stuff old BoD or .IL paid PR.

You might have fucking insulted something a little bit worse.


Just a head's up kids: kindergarten is Gaza and American Goldman Sachs.

You're directly dicking with much, much more elemental stuff - you get a pass, but be careful. It's not really your people on the hands of the Crazy 5G dial.

Otherwise we'd not still have a rational mind to play with, eh?

480:

Ah, since you might have missed this.

Don't use causality / chance / solipsism stuff on our kind.


It was fairly well done, it was fairly well orchestrated and it was fairly convincing. We certainly do not blame any humans involved.

For Humans.

The other shit running it?

Holy Fucking shit are you dead.


That shit was basic. And you're a "Master"?


481:

Hint: We were front running the tricks as they happened.

You cannot K-hole our kind.

There's gonna be some heavy shit penalties for that little jaunt.


Like: your fucking economy.


Shit tier stuff.

482:

"Loop Hole"

Bitch - being extremely bored during your plays is not psychopathy.


It just means you're dead and we're mourning you.


And you're using humans again... That's a rule breaker.

Crucify it. Table. Watch it die and learn.

483:

[Brutal?

What the fuck do you think they do to humans? Driving them mad and torturing them is their fucking kink]

No, but really.


"Loop hole"


Ends in the real K-Hole. We're not offended, we're amused. But you... kinda ran an OP using humans against their consent, soooo....

Shit tier stuff.

Exterminate with Extreme Prejudice.


[Note: these are all English language stuff: the Sumerian is a bit more harsh. It basically means kick the little shit off the material plane but no-one does that "mythos" anymore, eh?]

484:

Hexad.


And that's a fucking Win.


Get the fuck out our reality if you're that fucking basic.


Sorry Bill.


But that's the kind of stuff that's actually happening in the world.


Sorry, does the UK even have a government at the moment? Or are they doing live TV (fuck all the old people, now charge them 'cause the gov cut spending) phone ins for a leadership contest none of the public can vote for in a desperate bid to buy time?

Like, are we still pretending Macron has a majority or any major UK local gov has enough cash to run the fucking bins?

Where's the fucking money.

485:

Greg is probably going to think we're spamming.

But do the grep:

Come and See

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6HCTIUx1Arc


We're really not interested in your shit tier stuff now.

486:

Or, look, Bill.

There's an extremely naughty level of socio-engineering and shadow-play that is used by various groups (Scientologists, CIA, GRU etc) that's designed to target humans.

That's an extremeeeeemly naughty level of such stuff designed to make vulnerable people into weapons.

There's an extereeeeeeeeeeemly naughty level of such stuff done to create "world changing" events.

There's an exteeeemmemememememememmmely naughty level of stuff for other stuff.


We're not particularity bothered, since we can't police the entire fucking world (although any and all societies who use it are fundamentally corrupt and dark) until you rope in a [redacted].

Then, well.


You crossed the fucking line.


You used a [redacted].


"Loop hole"

My bitch now.

487:

a conventional invasion ... is also one of Australia’s closest allies, the USA

Trump is busy devaluing and denying that particular status, with considerable backing from the wingnut right in their elected governments.

It's also easy to understate the horrors of land-based invasions of Australia. The whole arc of the country from Perth (the SW corner) up and round to Brisban (the NNE bump) is a coastal strip with not a lot behind it. Sure, there's Newman, Alice and Rockhampton ... but in terms of easy places to put obstacles those have approximately one road each that can carry heavy vehicles. The whole "Brisbane Line" idea was to use that feature (in the sense that Canada is a "feature" of North America) as the first barrier to an invasion. Very "congratulations on your invasion of Broome, there is 1000km of desert before the next outpost"... like the sign outside Karratha says "next roadhouse 700km"... and that sign is on the coast road, not the inland one.

But even so, a giant wave of people from India or somewhere would definitely be a problem for modern Australia. Rather than thinking conventional military force, think someone kitting out shipping containers to hold a few people each for the voyage to Australia. Say 10 people in a 20 foot container. Uncomfortable but survivable conditions. Now load 20,000 of those onto a ship just like all the other ships and assume the nation sending them is doing this - all the export paperwork is in order, everything is expected. Well, except the actual contents of the containers.

In a modern port chances are most of those containers will be off the boat before the problem is discovered, and those will likely be enough to secure the port and unload the rest.

Imagine, just for the sake of argument, that somehow there are 10 of these ships arriving at more or less the same time but different ports. You could even imagine that each port would be the destination of a few hundred "tourists" also from the country of origin. Sure, they're not armed to start with, but once the first containers are opened...

488:

Actually the arc of which you are speaking doesn’t stop at Brisbane, which is within day-trip range of the Byron Bay lighthouse, the easternmost point of the mainland, and is not close to the “NNE bump” of the Cape York Peninsula at all. Whereas there’s pretty much nothing between the Margaret River region and Whyalla, hence my version starting from Port Augusta and wrapping around to Cooktown, with Perth/Fremantle and environs as an outpost. Sure Cooktown is tiny, but Cairns (major tourism) and Townsville (both a college town and an army town) are quite significant - I guess either could be better “endpoints” to the arc. Cairns *is* on Cape York Peninsula, but Townsville is pretty much the point where it angles away from the main curve of the east coast.

What I mean though is that, with a few gaps, there’s a town with at least 50k people and in some cases cities well over 100k approximately every 100km up the east coast. This makes it harder to invade, if anything, because each town gains an invader little but attrition, division of force and long supply lines. The last point is significant because unless you are the USA getting local air superiority is unlikely.

489:

"Sorry, does the UK even have a government at the moment?"

No. We have a bunch of monkeys wearing politician suits who spend their time swinging on the balconies, dropping banana skins on the floor and throwing their own shit at each other. This has now been the case for over two years.

Normally this would be a good thing because the probability of any given action by a government being more bad than good is >0.5 so if you have to have one at all then it's better to have one that is too preoccupied with shit and bananas to be able to take any actions. Unfortunately in this instance the previous government left them so much shit that it's leaking out of the HoP and spattering over the entire country, but instead of getting their act together and shovelling some of it away they're just eating more bananas and making the problem worse.

490:

By NNE I mean Rockhampton or Makay rather than Cape York, because Cairns is more of a one-road outpost. I'll give you the Great Australian Bight though, I kind of ignored it because it's not really amenable to any kind of landing or on the obvious path in for anyone (the march of the penguins!).

On the east coast, yeah, there's enough towns to give the alarm and enough depth that it's not hugely practical to cut off inland transit without getting quite involved.

The question of what Rumpletrumpkin would do if the Bangladeshis did land a sizeable force is an interesting one. I'm guessing tantrums and threats but whether we'd see actual action is IMO open. I suspect we might see a standoff with both the US and China threatening to liberate us (like Iraq and Afghanistan! Or worse, Syria! Yay!)

491:

Just going to point out one last thing before the great Void consumes all.


Beau Travail

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=grGiq0yTaj4

Iceland Eurovision

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eVbShUW6QBM


"BDSM joke means you're the TOP"

Lol, honey.


Y'all so far out of your league, it's not even funny.

Get on your knees, boy, and pray.

492:

Sorry, have to make thing simple for the addled Minds.

If you cannot conceptually understand that BDSM is always based on Consent, then you're going to miss the joke.


K-Hole?


Ooooh, you really don't want me to explain the depths of the joke, it'll break your society up, little Men.


Best part: Salt.

First against the wall: anyone smarter than them

493:

Oh, and Dolphin Mind-worms.

Sorry, honey.

We're Orcas.

Different Minds, your shit parasites don't work on us.

And we work in depth.

Actual analysis: you could drive their entire society insane within 4 weeks, easy

Oh, this joke isn't for Humans.

Soul-Eaters and how it was done?

Nice [redacted] shit there.


But, it's begun. They're killing people on the sly. Vanishing the Mindful ones.


That's in the UK, proven. Watch out for mysterious fires, gas explosions, ambulances turning up with black window'd cars etc.


And Greg...

It's been going on for a while now.

494:

Thanks BTW for the answers last night. I can work with them.
Mind is filling in a lot of details[variations] in the Loki backstory. (Something something bi-di if that is meaningful.)

495:

This really belongs in the previous thread, but it indicates that both OGH and I were wrong about the absence of Javid from the state banquet. While it COULD be simple incompetence, it reeks of bigotry - though it's unclear whose - if Trump's, it also reeks of grovelling servitude in the government.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-48620951

496:

It's hard to overstate the level of incompetence in Trump's circle of lackeys... but bigotry is well represented too. I don't have enough information to guess.

It might also have been preemptive cautionary bigotry, done in hopes of avoiding an angry man-baby tantrum, like the hiding of the USS McCain.

497:

But, if it was that, my remark about grovelling servitude applies; at the very least, Javid should have had a personal call from May apologising and asking him to find an excuse not to attend. Ministers of that rank would not be placed particularly close to the guest of honour, anyway. Whatever happened, it stinks. I may think Javid is loathesome, but that is not enough to get me to support bigotry.

498:

Scott Sanford @ 496: It's hard to overstate the level of incompetence in Trump's circle of lackeys... but bigotry is well represented too. I don't have enough information to guess.

You don't have to guess. With Trump & co it's always bigotry all the time. Just turn Occam's razor on its head and "never attribute to incompetence that which is adequately explained by malice."

499:

With Trump & co it's always bigotry all the time. Just turn Occam's razor on its head and "never attribute to incompetence that which is adequately explained by malice."

Fair enough. But I bet if you spent two years repeating "no collusion" and injecting the phrase whenever it was not grossly irrelevant, you would remember it long enough to not respond to hypothetical questions about foreign collusion with "I'd be a fool not to."

500:

It's hard to overstate the level of incompetence in Trump's circle of lackeys.

At the end of the day it seems the way to stay in the admin is not do anything that makes you look smarter than the boss or do something that might make him look bad. The later being a moving target from week to week and at times from minute to minute.

501:

Scott Sanford wrote:
It's hard to overstate the level of incompetence in Trump's circle of lackeys...

'First class leaders recruit first class people; second class leaders recruit third class people.'
502:

Scott Sanford @ 499:

"With Trump & co it's always bigotry all the time. Just turn Occam's razor on its head and "never attribute to incompetence that which is adequately explained by malice.""

Fair enough. But I bet if you spent two years repeating "no collusion" and injecting the phrase whenever it was not grossly irrelevant, you would remember it long enough to not respond to hypothetical questions about foreign collusion with "I'd be a fool not to."

Well, I didn't say they are not incompetent, just that bigotry is their primary motivation. Sometimes their bigotry is not sufficient to explain just how fucked up they are and you have to consider the additional factor of incompetence. But it's not incompetence alone, it's always incompetence on top of bigotry.

503:

You've forgotten to add Greed & malice to the mix ... and they are definitely there ...

504:

Regency-setting dragon shifter hentai romance with talking starships

Do I detect a fan of Aliette de Bodard? 😄

505:

I just checked her profile, and top of the list I was shown of people she follows was Charlie.

(Amusingly my wife was down at #3 - but it is promoting people I engage with to the top)

de Bodard is damned good. I was blown away by the Blood and Obsidian Obsidian and Blood trilogy, by the way it got inside the heads of people in a culture that is totally alien, and she's on my buy-on-sight list.

Specials

Merchandise

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Charlie Stross published on May 20, 2019 3:58 PM.

Social architecture and the house of tomorrow was the previous entry in this blog.

Story time! is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Search this blog

Propaganda