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Announcement time!

I am very pleased to be able to admit that the Laundry Files are shortlisted for the Hugo Award for Best Series!

(Astute readers will recall that the Laundry Files were shortlisted—but did not win—in 2019. Per the rules, "A qualifying installment must be published in the qualifying year ... If a Series is a finalist and does not win, it is no longer eligible until at least two more installments consisting of at lest 240,000 words total appear in subsequent years." Since 2019, the Laundry Files have grown by three full novels (the New Management books) and a novella ("Escape from Yokai Land"), totaling about 370,000 words. "Season of Skulls" was published in 2023, hence the series is eligible in 2024.)

The Hugo award winners will be announced at the world science fiction convention in Glasgow this August, on the evening of Sunday August 11th. Full announcement of the entire shortlist here.

In addition to the Hugo nomination, the Kickstarter for the second edition of the Laundry tabletop role playing game, from Cubicle 7 games, goes live for pre-orders in the next month. If you want to be notified when that happens, there's a sign-up page here.

Finally, there's some big news coming soon about film/TV rights, and separately, graphic novel rights, to the Laundry Files. I can't say any more at this point, but expect another announcement (or two!) over the coming months.

I'm sure you have questions. Ask away!

795 Comments

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1:

CONGRATULATIONS!

"TV series" ?? Does/may this apply to "The Laundry" or something else?

3:

typo = The Hugo award willers suggest = The Hugo award winners

...then delete this post

4:

mazel tov, dude!

5:

Incidentally, I have won three Hugos, all for best novella (2005, 2010, and 2014). I have personally lost count of my nominations but was told a few years ago I was up to 17, which sounds about right, so this makes 18 times: and that I was the then-current record holder for non-American author with the most fiction nominations.

That plus £2.50 will get me a coffee!

6:

Of all your writings, I'd say the Laundry is probably the most adaptable to screen, particularly the earlier Bob-centred novels. It would take some adept casting and directing, but with luck it would be excellent.

7:

Good luck.

If successful you won't have to travel far to pick it up...

8:

It has been optioned for TV twice in previous years.

Neither ever came to anything beyond a pilot script, as far as I know. You can find the 2014 script by Javier Grillo-Marxuach here (PDF).

Note that nobody asked me beforehand about transplanting the Laundry to San Francisco or putting Bob on a fixie! So it's probably a good thing it never got made.

9:

Note that nobody asked me beforehand about transplanting the Laundry to San Francisco or putting Bob on a fixie!

When they made a TV version of Robert Sawyer's Flashforward, they changed the protagonist from a physicist to an FBI agent — supposedly because the audience couldn't identify with/care about a scientist as a hero. As you can see from the episode summary, about all that remained of the novel was the idea of the flashforward event.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FlashForward

If you know Robert (or meet him at a convention), you could probably share several pints discussing the foibles of TV producers…

10:

You actually have to register with Kickstarter before you can express an interest in a product?

11:

I think my favorite part of the Hugo Finalist announcements is that Bigolas Dickolas Wolfwood both received enough votes for their promotional tweets for "This Is How You Lose the Time War" to qualify for the final ballot under "Best Related Work" and that they declined the nomination.

12:

Can I get an autograph? blush

13:

In fairness Bob would absolutely have ridden a fixie, at least if his character was on the West Coast of the US.

Unlikely, but it would be fun to see some spinoffs like the seemingly endless 'CSI' spinoffs - each in a different locale. Laundry operatives working in the US and trying to avoid and/or liaise with the (Star Chamber? Black Chamber? I forget). Laundry operatives in Amsterdam or Berlin. Toronto. New Delhi.

More likely as a movie. Escape from Yokai would make a good movie, as would Equoid. So would the Atrocity Archive, come to think of it.

14:

Congratulations!

Break a ballot or something!

I, for one, will happily expect a Laundryverse series set in the CIA.

Hopefully it will be a smash, opening the door for HBO to make “A Bird in Hand.”

Cheers

15:

Yes you can haz autograph (if you can find me in Glasgow), yes?

16:

Actually, if the scriptwriters for a show are American, if they have any sense (???) they’ll make an American Laundryverse set in an OSS that miraculously survived both WW2 and Hoover’s shit list, in parallel with the SOE in the books. And if they have even more sense, they’ll draw on You’re Stepping on My Cloak and Dagger for additional cultural background on the Oh So Special….

17:

If they read forward even two books into the series they'll know that it is impossible by design to reset the Laundry as an American agency. (Hint: their main antagonists are American!)

18:

You actually have to register with Kickstarter before you can express an interest in a product?

You need to have an account so they have your email address to send you an email when the project goes live. The assumption is that you asked to be notified because you want to back the project, so you'll need an account for that anyway. You don't need to enter any credit card details (or indeed anything other than your email address, unless it's changed since I registered).

19:

I'm sure you have questions. Ask away!

Do you have any copies left of Equoid?

Also, that story seemed to hint at a connection between Bob Howard and Howard Phillips. Will that resurface in the final novel?

20:

I know that and you know that. But if they’re pitching it to Hollywood I expect the antagonists to be the KGB, the Chinese, and ISIL. I’m just hoping that if they’re mortgaging their souls to those particular ice giants, that they’ll have the sense to use the OSS’ fourth descendant out of three, rather than set it in the CIA. Making the CiA the good guys in the Laundryverse would really rot my shorts.

21:

If they read forward even two books into the series they'll know that it is impossible by design to reset the Laundry as an American agency. (Hint: their main antagonists are American!

That would be easy, actually. Just swap so Brits are the antagonists. Or maybe the French, or the Chinese, or…

Look at all the American movies that has rewritten books (or actual events) to make Americans the heroes (or not the antagonists). For example, the enemy in Master and Commander was changed from American to French so the movie wouldn't tank in America. Argo wrote out the role of the Canadians so that Americans would shine. U-571 had American sailors capturing an Enigma machine, which the British actually did before America entered the war. And so on and so on.

22:

Do you have any copies left of Equoid?

No. (But Subterranean Books might. It's a hardcover, US market only. NB: I have vague plans -- once The Regicide Report is out -- for a Laundry Files short story collection, which would obviously include Equoid.)

Also, that story seemed to hint at a connection between Bob Howard and Howard Phillips. Will that resurface in the final novel?

No.

23:

Well good. I hope it wins.

... and I hope if it DOES come to TV it's done by/for the BBC or ITV so they'll get the setting right.

24:

You say that like someone who's never heard (the late, lamented) pTerry Pratchett on the American movie execs who wanted to make a film of Mort, subject to one minor change...

"And they said 'It's a great story, marvellous concept, we love it, but you need to lose the Death angle.' After which they were told to keep taking the dried frog pills and come back in another couple of hundred years."

And then there was the original attempt at a Good Omens TV series. (There's a reason Neil Gaiman insisted on absolute artistic control of the series that actually got made...)

25:

Argo wrote out the role of the Canadians so that Americans would shine.

I think also that, at the time Tony Mendez wrote the book, the Canadian diplomatic service actively didn't want to be associated with the CIA effort, for some very good political reasons. It's not just that the CIA was trying to pump up Mendez, who's the closest thing to a good guy that they have, it's that the Canadians wanted to maintain relations with Iran at the time. Otherwise, I completely agree with your point.

Actually, there are real problems with transitioning the Laundry to the US, the X-Files being the biggest. I do hope that it stays in the UK when it gets adapted. But since I've goofed around with HPL meets OSS in WW2 Pacific, I do have some opinions about how it could be worked around. It's possible to have a "Super Special" part of the OSS survive, likely as part of the USAF Special Forces (USAF formed in 1947, same year as the CIA formed and Roswell happened) and possibly with the modern Laundry housed in the abyssal reef that is the NRO/USAF/USSF nexus, somewhere around the Beltway.

Also, Portsmouth New Hampshire is, per Google, hoping to bring in filmmakers. If this isn't bogus, Portsmouth could be used as a stand in for Arkham and maybe save some money (it's just up the coast from where Lovecraft set his Miskatonic stories).

The only reason I'm bringing this up is in case OGH has the need and gets the time to talk some sense into the scriptwriters. "Stargate crossed with X-Files in the AI era and based on award-winning SFF stories" is far from the worst elevator pitch possible for Hollywood. Stargate was set in the USAF special forces and was embraced by the USAF publicity machine. Both Stargate and X-Files have had long afterlives. This way Charlie hopefully makes more money, and that's the purpose of the whole exercise so far as I'm concerned.

26:

what was typical of book-to-teevee 'conversions' was not simply loss of secondary plotlines and internal thoughts of characters but repeated 'passes' by various people participating... not least 'network suits' with those infamous critiques known as "i-got-notes) (notes-and-suggestions-corners-to-cut)

any given script could go thru three or more re-writes... some got re-done fifteen times prior to being shit-canned

makes for fun stories if-and-only-if you are not trapped inside the spray radius of one of these ongoing shit-drizzles

see:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Development_hell

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lipstick_on_a_pig

cost overruns in Pentagon-issued defense contracts

deliveries gone a-drift in major upgrades to huge software (best known: Computer Associates, IBM, Microsoft, Adobe, et al)

27:

the worry is that if the Americans get their hands on it, it will be utterly ruined. and they won't even realize they've done it. ever seen the US version of Red Dwarf? or Being human? the list is long, and not storied

28:

...or just move focus frequently

each city gets one full season of attention... with an overall arc of an ultra Big Bad and episodic monster-of-the-week

oh wait... that's Buffy the Vampire Slayer

but this would be a British TLA agency so that's different... unless they make it a US TLA agency

29:

I think it's very unlikely to win this year. (Have you seen the line-up it's in?)

30:

Note that when Terry told Hollywood to Fuck Off, he'd just banked a royalty cheque for upwards of a million quid. Royalties, after the books had earned out (by that point they were probably also pulling million quid advances on contract, or close to it).

And by the time they made Good Omens Neil already had several successful movies with his name on them and he didn't need the money, either.

The only way to get the US film/TV biz to do a British product justice is to be so big you can afford to walk away (or to buy yourself a seat at the deal-makers' table, the way J. K. Rowling did).

31:

»So it's probably a good thing it never got made.«

Talk about dumbing down...

32:

Javier was working to a brief handed to him by the US-based producers who bought the option. The reset isn't his fault. (Look at the rest of his track record: I'm pretty sure if he'd been given free rein the results would have been splendid.)

The second time an option was sold it went to a British TV production house ... right in time for COVID19 to shut the entire industry down.

The RPG is different: I get to comment on the material as they produce it. And the graphic novel (if it happens) provisionally has a British scriptwriter who is 100% on board with the setting (and is a fan).

33:

»Javier was working to a brief handed to him«

Ohh, I'm not blaming him at all, he clearly gets The Laundry, it was precisely the US production-oids I was commenting on.

The only "real" movie-person I know once lamented, that if Dreyer's famous Jean d'Arc were ever "adapted" for USA, it would almost certainly be retitled "Burning Hot Virgin"

34:

The one thing to note is that there are two relevant anchor points for an "X meets Y" elevator pitch right now -- "Stranger Things" and "Slow Horses". That might be enough to sell a borderline-faithful version of the Laundry as a TV series, even in the US.

(PS: I assume you know the old joke about how the Bible would have been retitled if Del Rey had published it in the late 60s/early 70s? A two volume pair: the blockbuster "War God of Israel" and its sequel, "The Thing With Three Souls".)

35:

I'd suggest the trick with an American Laundry is to pitch the story setting.

For instance, make the American Laundry born of an unholy fusion of the pieces of the OSS and Ghost Army of WW2. This hybrid was then shoved into the Air Force during the UFO scare in a bad-fit relationship. Then it was devolved into a Massachusetts Air National Guard Unit so it can respond to domestic emergencies, as well as threats from extraplanetary foreign powers. Call it the Massachusetts Air National Guard 23rd wing that does redacted and also works with...weather balloons. That makes anyone who penetrates the initial cover think that they're dealing with UFOs, when that's the one thing they don't deal with.

House it in the Air Guard Base attached to the Arkham Municipal Airport. On that base, its offices are in what was once the laundry and commissary for a WW2-era Air Corps training field. Hence, "The Laundry."

Film it in a dilapidated Northeast industrial town like Portsmouth to save on costs.

Then set up the Big Bads as the AI crazies down the road around Boston (AI demonology being the update to computational demonology, 'cuz neural nets can be observers or some such), and the Black Chamber is based near Washington DC at the other end of the Sprawl.

Then recast the Laundry versus America stories as lethal interagency turf wars, with the Laundry being piddly little National Guard Unit allied to the weediest college in the Ivy League, up against the biggest and most compromised agencies and corporations in the world. Should take less adapting that way, and it might play with the Suits.

36:

Wonderful! I have something that I've read to vote for.

37:

That's a great start.

Now add that the Black Chamber and the Laundry had basically forgotten about each other during the cold war, but the post 9/11 restructuring means that they are both now part of DHS, a hapless bureaucracy that has no idea that two of the countless entities in their portfolio are basically in possession of demonic nuclear weapons. Or under the control of demonic nuclear weapons.

38:

I am totally opposed to re-setting the Laundry as a US government agency.

It'd totally ruin the humour, and also won't work with the post-Brexit political satire.

If you want something like that, go write it yourself: I'm not interested.

39:

An abyssal reef? Oh, you mean Gilligan's Island.

40:

But... those are great titles. And make perfect sense. What's wrong with them?

41:

Actually, the more I think about it, the more I like those titles. Charlie, would you mind if I wind up writing them (possibly changing the name Israel to something else)?

42:

I've signed up for the Kickstarter! Hooray! Maybe I'll get to play this at some point. (Starting up TTRPG groups is hard.)

Too bad about your odds on Best Series.

43:

Putting Bob on a fixie - W T F is a "fixie"?

44:

Google is your friend...

It's a single-geared bike with the gear fixed to the back wheel. You can't coast, you have to pedal.

45:

"well, Bob as you know..."

that's America's Pentagon's means of selecting vendors

46:

...everyone hates DMV

so let's have Department of Motor Vehicles as the Big Bad instead of some Islamic terrorist group

which, given soul crushing conditions will make it easy to explain away all those dead-eyed soulless drones who are on the payroll by day and by night are stacked like cordwood... they are there to await the command to go forth as a shambling horde of the undead

47:

which would be referenced by international arms control treaties categorized as DWMD

WMD ==> DWMD

demonic weapons of mass destruction

48:

That's a hoary old joke. Here are some hoary old people attributing it to Terry Carr.

49:

Charlie Stross @ 29:

I think it's very unlikely to win this year. (Have you seen the line-up it's in?)

I have a vague notion the Hugo Award is to Sci-Fi writing as the Oscars are to movies. I know nothing more about the awards than some of the other writers I like have also won Hugo Awards ... but they don't really influence which books I want to read. Usually I've already discovered an author before I find out about whether he/she has been nominated or won.

I like what you write & I think you deserve the recognition from your peers, so I hope you do win.

But win or lose, I'm still looking forward to the next book ... and hopefully will live long enough to read many more after that one.

50:

Charlie Stross @ 34:

The one thing to note is that there are two relevant anchor points for an "X meets Y" elevator pitch right now -- "Stranger Things" and "Slow Horses". That might be enough to sell a borderline-faithful version of the Laundry as a TV series, even in the US.

(PS: I assume you know the old joke about how the Bible would have been retitled if Del Rey had published it in the late 60s/early 70s? A two volume pair: the blockbuster "War God of Israel" and its sequel, "The Thing With Three Souls".)

I hope if it does come to TV it will be done by a U.K. production company and then come to the U.S. as an import ... and even if none of the U.S. networks will pick it up it will become available on DVD or streaming (presuming I ever figure "streaming" ... or is that "steaming" ... out).

51:

Oh, and also, congratulations!

52:

H
Ah, yes THAT sort of a fixie - 'orrible things, bloody unsafe.
It was the context that threw me.

53:

Oops, I forgot:
Time for a tory MP Thames Swimming competition? ... Or anything & everything possible to get their numbers, after the next election to below 100, or, if really lucky, into single-digits?

54:

Good luck on the TV film stuff.

I'm not going to join in with any collective rubbishing of screen adaptations of books. They're always different, often wildly so. If I want to be a purist about it, I can read the book.

What I would like is for Charlie to be given a large amount of money, after working very hard on writing a long line of laundry books over the last two decades. If the price on that is some deviation from the books, it's his choice. The books will still be there.

55:

If we're talking American scriptwriters here they'll probably decide the Black Chamber are the heroes and fuck the Brits. The only things that will survive are the names "Bob Howard" and "Dominque O'Brien," and they'll probably spend their time chasing after a vampiric conspiracy...

As you can see, my respect for American scriptwriters is neither deep nor wide.

Hopefully if you get a deal it will be with a British/European company, in which case I'll see it twenty years from now on PBS, and probably be too senile to remember who you are.

56:

How about a reality TV show? Throw them off the bloody island!

57:

I would totally like to be thrown in a money pit thanks to a TV/film adaptation. I mean, who wouldn't?

I daydream about being able to vanish completely for 6-12 months of recreational travel/R&R -- a sabbatical, in other words -- while I'm still just barely young enough and spry enough to do tourist things for one out of every two days (the second day being spent physically recovering from the first). Then to come back with recharged batteries and ideas for a completely unexpected attack novel or two.

Alas, my understanding is that if TV/film adaptation happens the author suddenly finds themselves dragged into endless marketing appearances by their publishers, so a grueling schedule of signing tours and convention appearances eventuates instead of getting to relax on a beach. And when I say "grueling" I mean it's a schedule planned by a bright-eyed and bushy-tailed 21 year old marketing intern who doesn't understand "old people are sluggish and low on energy" and thinks working 13 out of 14 consecutive days for 12-14 hours a day is perfectly reasonable.

58:

We're eagerly anticipating the video of you and Feorag taking a bath in ten-pound notes! (In other words, we're also hoping you fall into the money pit!)

59:

Hunh. So perhaps the solution is that you get a lucrative deal with an adaptation you dislike, leading to the situation where the series producer knows better than to trot you out for interviews, and gives you enough money for you to stay quiet and enjoy your sabbatical?

Regardless, I hope you get a deal you can live with, ideally be happy with, or best of all, be proud of. The American adaptation stuff I spewed above was primarily intended for use in negotiations with the note-giving caste, to help them find some way to align their notions of what would be profitable with your very British stories.

60:

Duuude! The Deep State are Deep Ones!

61:

I'm not so sure about that after seeing the mess BBC America made of adapting the Discworld city watch books.

The best we can hope for is that selling the TV rights makes Charlie's financial future secure. The quality of the final product is very much down to luck and the whims of industry executives.

62:

Re: 'The only way to get the US film/TV biz to do a British product justice ...'

Or a series writer/director who's already a fan and familiar with the Laundry series. Key reason why the current version of Dune is good - the director (Denis Villeneuve) knows the book inside out*. And why David Tennant is the best-ever Dr Who (#10 and #14): he told his parents that he wanted the role back when he was 5 years old.

*Spielberg interviewed Villeneuve on Director's Cut - heaped lots of praise on his Dune adaptation. Speaking of Spielberg and excellent book-to-screen adaptations: get a composer who understands the story's and key characters' emotional hooks. My guess is you typically lose about 70-75% of the dialogue in these adaptations and video alone would probably wouldn't be enough to set the emotional tone. (I'm betting most folks here could identify Jaws after hearing just the first 2-3 notes.) I've actually gone to see movies because of the soundtrack/key song and I'm not the only music lover here.

63:

it is impossible by design to reset the Laundry as an American agency. (Hint: their main antagonists are American!)

I can tell you've never worked in an American agency...

64:

So perhaps the solution is

Nope.

Because you missed the key point: if it ends up on TV or in cinemas, the publisher will want the right to use stills/publicity from the film to market the books (and they'll get it unless my agents are dead between the ears -- it's a sweetener that costs the production house nothing) and, per Christopher Priest, the movie of The Prestige was good for an additional 50,000 sales of the novel in the UK alone.

A show that hit TV in the USA and lasts one or more seasons would probably result in sales of the entire series doubling -- not just monthly sales, I mean it'd sell double those of the entire 20 year track record in the space of the next 1-2 years. At which point it'll go high bestseller, the book publishers will be screaming for a six month author world tour, and so on. Which -- I've seen other authors this happened to -- is just brutal.

65:

This is a horrible shortlist to have to choose from because it includes 4 people I kinda know, two of which I’d consider near-friends.

66:

CLARIFICATION:

when using the 21st century American-originated video-on-demand services... streaming

when using the an alternate timeline's Victorian-era version of coal-powered-video-on-demand services... steaming

{ no need to shove so roughly I'll see myself out }

67:

you mustn't forget the other horrors facing the US (from POV of the excessively paranoid):

basement of a nondescript pizza shoppe

slavering hordes of illegal aliens from dungeon dimensions in addition to Mexicans, Haitians, Cubans, Sudanese, et al

masculinity damaging additives such as iodine to salt

...etc

/ / / snark off / / /

68:

...that's why Provigil is one of those over-prescribed phrama's amongst the 18 to 25 age... the sub-section of the demographic who test positive for 5X levels of ambition and 1/10 X of baseline sanity

69:

Charli @ 67
Oh bollocks - you are by no stretch "old" - you're 18 years younger than me, for starters!

SFR
I differ ... the ORIGINAL "Doctor" { Wm Hartnell } had that edgy, slightly sinister aspect .. probably from playing shady characters for years ...
Capaldi was the same & superb.
Though Tennant as Crowley in "Good Omens" was utterly manic & exactly right - seeing him laying it on with a trowel, whilst on-set was an education!

70:

PilotMoonDog @ 61:

I'm not so sure about that after seeing the mess BBC America made of adapting the Discworld city watch books.

I was thinking more alongs the line of "BBC BBC" rather than "BBC America" ... Do it right and it will still sell in the U.S.A.

The best we can hope for is that selling the TV rights makes Charlie's financial future secure. The quality of the final product is very much down to luck and the whims of industry executives.

That might be all we get, but we can still HOPE for better.

71:

Thank you, but I've been living on borrowed time (for medical reasons) for 18 years now.

Also, the Best Doctor Who was Peter Cushing (in the 60s movies)! We really needed him on TV in "Genesis of the Daleks" facing off against Vincent Price as Davros (in Dr Phibes grade ghastly make-up).

72:

Howard NYC @ 66:

CLARIFICATION:

when using the 21st century American-originated video-on-demand services... streaming

when using the an alternate timeline's Victorian-era version of coal-powered-video-on-demand services... steaming

{ no need to shove so roughly I'll see myself out }

... "aim low boys, they're riding Shetland ponies!"

What was the name (code name?) again for that gaming platform Jack was working on at the beginning of "Halting State"? 🙃

73:

I vaguely recall, about 20 years ago, Phil Rickman saying that while a film deal will buy you a very nice new house, a TV 3 episode series might buy you a new car.

Eventually, he got the latter and some of the casting was painful to watch - and they changed the end.

74:

Things have changed. In particular, the top end for TV today (on streaming channels) overlaps with the low end of movies (while most of the movie industry is in free fall).

But there's a reason I gave up on the idea of scriptwriting for the BBC after the proposed re-make of Doomwatch imploded: I couldn't afford the pay cut.

75:

So essentially a TV or movie deal could provide a lot of money, but in order to get that money you have to spend a year doing things that you hate, and shaving more than a year off your life through silly hours combined with assorted medical issues.

That sounds a bit shit. Is there a solution?

76:

"awaken ChatGPT, my loyal tool"

"Ready"

"time 'n weather?"

"good morning... it is 08:33 on the fifth of April, 2052... mild to heavy acid rains coming from the southwest with a 10% chance of locust..."

"Gnaw upon these Stross novels to produce scripts"

"Working... ready"

"Okay now brew me another pot of coffee whilst I mark 'em up"

"{sigh} everyone gives me notes"

"stop whining... not bad.. here's my tweaks"

"huh... not bad but scene 215 in the third episode has a continuity error"

"uhm... yeah...so here's what we do to fix it"

"ready"

"good enough... no generate all the facial movements of my selected avatars... and verify none are too close to real megastars so I can avoid being sued for infringement"

"done"

...and 6 seasons of 13 episodes each of the Laundryverse are uploaded onto Netflix

77:

And I never realised how important the soundtrack was until I saw Ladyhawke. Much as I love the Alan Parsons Project, they were so wrong for that movie.

78:

My favorite soundtrack is still Buckaroo Banzai. This probably marks me off as a total loser, but I'm very happy to believe it's perfect.

79:

I kept an eye out for years about a BB part 2... that was a delightfully twisted flick

80:

Also, the Best Doctor Who was Peter Cushing (in the 60s movies)! We really needed him on TV in "Genesis of the Daleks" facing off against Vincent Price as Davros (in Dr Phibes grade ghastly make-up).

I was amused to hear, from people more deeply nerdy than me about Doctor Who, that bits of "Genesis of the Daleks" can be seen playing on television in some Doctor Who episodes. This means that Peter Cushing played Doctor Who in the Doctor Who universe, and it's a good question who got paid for that in-universe.

(Through a chain of bizarre circumstances I have a page on the TARDIS wiki, but I am not remotely the most nerdy Doctor Who fan in my social circles.)

81:

My favorite soundtrack is still Buckaroo Banzai.

I still have the Buckaroo Banzai theme on my computer (in MP3 format and copies on multiple devices; it's not going to disappear when The Cloud burps). I listened to it yesterday, in fact.

82:

I kinda liked it.

Any soundtrack problems were more than compensated for by the perfect casting though. All concerned gave very good performances.

83:

has anyone listened to the lovecraft investigations

they have something called the ministry of works which sounds vaguely laundry-inspired

84:

Re: 'Best Doctor Who was Peter Cushing'

Never saw those episodes but did like Cushing in the original Star Wars as well as his Sherlock Holmes.

Okay, this feels weird ... reading a 'resurrected actor' search result on Easter Sunday.

'For the film Rogue One (2016), CGI and digitally-repurposed-archive footage[126][127] were used to insert Cushing's likeness from the original movie over the face of actor Guy Henry.[128] Henry provided the on-set capture and voice work with the reference material augmented and mapped over his performance like a digital body-mask. Cushing's estate owners were heavily involved with the creation which took place more than twenty years after Cushing died.[129] This extensive use of CGI to "resurrect" an actor who had died many years earlier created a great deal of controversy about the ethics of using a deceased actor's likeness.[130][131][132] Joyce Broughton, Cushing's former secretary, had approved recreating Cushing in the film. After attending the London premiere, she was reportedly "taken aback" and "dazzled" with the effect of seeing Cushing on screen again.[133]'

85:

They actually started making a Buckaroo Bonzai sequel, but pivoted to a different idea early in production. The result was Big Trouble in Little China, a movie where if you pay attention, the ostensible white hero doesn’t actually contribute anything besides looking tough, and all the problems are solved by the folks in supporting roles.

86:

there's likely chatter about revised rules for membership in the SAG (Screen Actors Guild) to incorporate those actors "discorporate and resurrected"

so maybe... the DRAG...? DR-SAG...?

given how just a handful of actors get those juiciest of roles and largest paychecks there's gonna be pushback about the dead taking jobs away from the living... sort of next-gen dystopian future version of how illegal undocumented foreigners are taking jobs away from legit American citizens

PREDICT: by 2057 there will be quotas requiring that at least 51% of all acting (lines spoken, minutes in frame, heroics performed, sweaty romance engagements, etc) in each movie be performed by the living

87:

Q: cannot find any obvious bits in LaundryVerse that are overtly AI/AGI... is there any artificial generalized intelligences in any of the books?

"Real stupidity beats artificial intelligence every time."

--Hogfather, Terry Pratchett

88:

Hey I love that movie too, but the only soundtrack I ever bought was Forrest Gump. Losers for the win!

89:

Thinking about it some more, I hope that any live version of the Laundryverse is set in its time, ideally in its place.

I was just thinking about whether setting "The Atrocity Archive" in 2024 would work. I'm not sure it would. Nothing wrong with using Nazis and ISIL, although you could skip ISIL entirely and skip straight to American Nazis (I did see one scheisskopf waving a Nazi flag on a footbridge over I-5 in southern Orange County last fall). The problem is the tech is 1990s, and that now matters.

If a mad cultist wanted to destroy the world now, all they have to do is upload their grimoire to a LLM, and tell the LLM to summon Azathoth by subtracting observerss from reality via an Facebook EatFace paid posting. Or post a link to a possession mandala on Mastodon. Computational demonology, if it existed now, would pwn reality within a day, thanks to AI, social media, and the worldwide web. Fortunately the Laundryverse already went off the rails by around 2015, so those people don't have to deal with the unspeakable horrors we're starting to see in our timeline.

90:

Heteromeles @ 89:

Thinking about it some more, I hope that any live version of the Laundryverse is set in its time, ideally in its place.

I've always hoped for a reboot of the James Bond franchise done as period pieces ... I'd love to see Moonraker done right with James driving the Blower Bentley, chasing "Sir Hugo Drax" through the night in the Mercedes Type 300.

91:

I wonder if Rowan Atkinson would be good for the role of Angleton?

92:

Q: cannot find any obvious bits in LaundryVerse that are overtly AI/AGI... is there any artificial generalized intelligences in any of the books?

You missed the bit in The Labyrinth Index where Mhari notes that bitcoin mining rigs can be used as computational prayer wheels ...

And you totally missed reading Down on the Farm by the sound of it (haunted mainframes!).

But the series ends in 2015, so nope, we do not have AGI in that universe -- just weird intrusions from other spaces that sometimes possess computing machinery (including brains).

93:

I was just discussing casting Angleton with a friend yesterday. We thought Richard E. Grant.

94:

Of course, Tom Hanks has played the real life Angleton in living memory.

I re-read Moonraker relatively recently, the character concept is really already there in Tom Lehrer, albeit taken a bit further. It would have to be an early 50s setting, of course, or there would be no point. Otherwise it has been pre-empted by Mike Myers.

95:

Richard E. Grant was exactly who I had in mind!

96:

Talking of that Pterry quote, a few lines back .. { # 87 }

VERY contentious subject - please handle with care.

Today a well-intentioned, but apparently very stupid, law came into force in Scotland - I heard Peter Tatchell criticising it on R4 about an hour back ....
I can see atheists & teachers being targeted & attacked by relgious bigots.
HERE is an existing disgraceful example - note that the teacher had already given the lesson twice, then the { muslim, in this case } religious bigots got involved. This being being Scotland, I can see the Wee Free joining in, too.
Reminds me of the Orkney Satanic Panic, euuuw.

A chilling phrase from the past: "It was as if all the walls of the houses in Geneva had been turned into glass"

97:

SF Reader @84:

seeing Cushing on screen again

I still think that the makers of Rogue One made the Jurassic Park mistake. They realized that they could do a CGI necro-casting, but didn't think whether they should do that thing.

They should have cast another actor in the role.

Charlie Stross @95:

"Are you the Farmer? We've gone on holiday by mistake." (Saw that movie1 for the first time in February. Very funny.)

1 Withnail and I.

98:

You are kidding. They'll just make the main antagonists Chinese or something.

99:

Withnail is the model for Imp in the New Management books. (Think Withnail, only with added "you gotta believe me" superpower!)

100:

Given that it’s now April, I was wondering if you wanted to break the news that you already shared with the moderators, that you’re in talks with Disney to option Jennifer Morgue and Annihilation Score. You posted something about them wanting Mo to be the next Disney princess. I recall that you wrote something about them wanting to reach new demographics with their princess marketing, but I can’t find the email.

Would you be interested in sharing it?

101:

Its been done. See Damsel on Netflix (ok, not really, but never piss off a dragon)

102:

They actually started making a Buckaroo Bonzai sequel, but pivoted to a different idea early in production. The result was Big Trouble in Little China, a movie where if you pay attention, the ostensible white hero doesn’t actually contribute anything besides looking tough, and all the problems are solved by the folks in supporting roles.

Not entirely true, he does kill the at the end.

103:

https://www.rbpfoundation.org/instrument-loans/instrument-bow-care-guidelines/

It turns out Mo was only following the standard guidelines for non-murderous rare violins.

104:

Charlie Stross @ 95:

Richard E. Grant was exactly who I had in mind!

So who should Rowan Atkinson play? 🤣

(runs away laughing hysterically)

105:

Ok, it really is a bike. I can't imagine ever using one if you're NOT in a velodrome. The only one like that I've ever seen in person was a housemate's back in the seventies. He was a bike racer, for real, and that one gear is not high, or highest, it's "higher".

106:

But I've already got an outline for the first part, about the escapee from Atlantis, and the genengineered trees of fruit... Hmm, and here I was having trouble jubmping thousands of years to biblical times... two, maybe three novellas?

107:

My reaction, when given the list, would be to innocently look at whoever gave it to me, and explain that they seemed to have left out a couple of appearances.
"We did? Where? When?"
"About every three months, when I'll have to spend a week or two in the hospital to recover." (And, this being the US, "and your insurance for me will, of course, have to cover my medical bills, and the cost of cancelled other appearances.")

108:

I adored Capaldi. He made you (and everyone around him) remember that this was a 1000+ year old alien, with more knowledge than any other race has ever had. I lost track of Dr. Who part-way through his run, because the show was a bad night, and randomly changed when it was on.

109:

huh... "haunted mainframes"

time to re-read

but given my scar tissue from having to interweave IBM big iron back in the 1990s -- make that _ big rusting iron_ -- those roomfuls of mundane computing in our non-magicked timeline were exhibiting symptoms of demonic possession only resolvable by the consulting profession of sacrificing a goat: hiring the OEM's recommended expert at $300/H

someone whose secretive knowledge was hoarded and only begrudgingly shared and never to be found in official documentation

110:

Peter Cushing, Vincent Price? Oh, please, please, yes! With cheesy special effects! (That's one thing I miss about the old Dr - the cheesy special effects.)

111:

Waving a Nazi flag? There are pics of two who need to be six feet under at 6 Jan wearing sweatshirts to the effect of 6M, "a good start".

112:

...noxious spillage due to a starship's sewage system backing up becomes Noah's Flood due to too many retellings by irate upmarket luxury cruise passengers seeking to file an insurance claim against the megacorp running the cruises

{ CEO as semi-divine deity }

113:

I would think Bob was more the e-bike type. Surely the Laundry has one of the 1890’s (not a typo) models in storage, suitably modified for variable reality travel.

114:

That's not how this game works.

(Also, I've done signing tours before. In my current state of health I doubt I'd survive two weeks before I was hospitalized ...)

115:

Re: 'So who should Rowan Atkinson play?'

Okay, so there are plenty of UK actors who can easily pivot from total sanity/compassion to complete insanity/evil. Overriding Laundry theme is the shimmer between ordinariness and weird along every dimension, therefore production aspect: acting, make-up, costuming, movement, set design, props, music, etc. (A 'Where's Waldo' looking for that speck of weird that almost looks normal.)

116:

Because the technology level and associated time period is so important to the Laundry Files stories, is it your hope, or maybe even insistence that it be a period show? Even just being primarily 10 or 15 years earlier than present day could affect production costs.

117:

SFR
Overriding Laundry theme is the shimmer between ordinariness and weird along every dimension - reminds me of an old SF story- with the title line taken from an C18th poem ...
"Great Minds are, to madness, close allied
And thin partitions do their minds, divide"
It was called: "What thin partitions"

118:

If The Laundry is made in the U.S.... Patrick Stewart as Angleton!

119:

i looked that up, and it's apparently taken from pope's "remembrance and reflection how ally'd; What thin partitions sense from thought divide" rather than dryden's "great wits are sure to madness near allied, and thin partitions do their bounds divide"

120:

If The Laundry is made in the U.S.... Patrick Stewart as Angleton!

If we're going to torture poor Charlie with a Laundry set in the US, my vote for "Angleton" is Samuel L Motherfracking Jackson. Yes, it's typecasting, I know. Thing is, there's something about casting a black man to play the American Teapot, given Teapot's history: Having the preta (renamed a wendigo, mayhap?) bound to him in the 1920s, then with a bunch of sorcerers stuck with using a black man as their soul eater up until the present day, with all the racial politics that implies. That might be good for something.

121:

It's too bad Robin Williams isn't around to play Bob Howard. Maybe Jim Carey or Will Smith? Kathy Griffin as Mo? Or better yet, Lindsey Stirling, doing the crazy dance/martial arts moves while playing the violin!

Sarah Michell Gellar could play Persephone Hazard and how about William Shatner as the Senior Auditor?

122:

...during the ritualistic binding the unwilling host (played by SL-mf-J) busts outta his chains to tear off the heads of several of the spellcasters... because that is what SL-mf-J does, righttttt?

with Aaron Paul of Breaking Bad fame as Bob Howard's reluctant sidekick & office buddy... sullen as he gets dragged in on missions that never end well

given CGI providing resurrection on the little screen, Rodney Dangerfield as one of the more talkative Residual Human Resources... "when I was alive I got no respect, and now that I'm dead, the other zombies never invite to join 'em in chasing down dinner"

hmmm... CGI resurrected Leonard Nimoy as a senior-ish auditor?

Humphrey Bogart running an illegal brothel with gambling in the basement which turns out to be a front for a lingering Soviet era spying outpost...?

123:

How happy are you, on a scale of 1 to 10, that you did not become eligible earlier just in time to be nominated for the Let's Not Offend The Chinese Communist Party Hugo? :-)

124:

In my head for the last decade I've had Arthur Darvill as Bob and Karen Gillan as Mo. For those who don't know them, they played companions to Matt Smith's eleventh Doctor. Darvill had the perfect haplessness veneered over competence that is early Bob, and Gillan had the acerbic affection turning to murderous protectiveness. And is a tall Scottish redhead, to Darvill's all-knees-and-elbows English gawkiness. But while they'd fit in perfectly now to later Laundry episodes, I think they're about ten years too old to do the early ones.

125:

Actually, the Laundry Files was eligible for the best series Hugo at Chengdu in 2023, but even before we knew there was anything hinky about the vote count I asked my followers on social media not to nominate it and said I'd decline the nomination if I was offered one.

(Back in 2022 this was a purely strategic move because I figured it would have a much better chance in 2024, in Glasgow, than with a cohort of Hugo voters in a country where the books hadn't been translated.)

126:

I always visualised Angleton as Alec Guinness (in the BBC Le Carré adaptations). Too late now, though.

127:

Watches as one of my major faves gracefully dodges a bullet...

128:

I always visualised Angleton as Alec Guinness (in the BBC Le Carré adaptations). Too late now, though.

Possibly not, if they're willing to spring for the right special effects tech (and can square it with his estate). Star Wars did it for Carrie Fisher and Peter Cushing.

It would be kinda appropriate to have the face of Angleton be the electronic ghost of a dead man, animated by computer wizardry…

129:

So did I, and you'll find comments where I said as much to Charlie on this very website.

130:

Patrick Stewart as Angleton!

Does he get to keep his nose?

131:

Alan Rickman as Angleton Anne Heche as Mo

With some thought, I am sure we can a movie about the undead with an undead cast.

132:

...during the ritualistic binding the unwilling host (played by SL-mf-J) busts outta his chains to tear off the heads of several of the spellcasters... because that is what SL-mf-J does, righttttt?

Nope. The point is that when you hack humans to coercively bind them to work for your cause, to the point where they can't quit if they want to, it becomes harder and harder to tell that apart from slavery. Yes, slavery is an accepted trope in SFF, and yes, when everyone in the story is either white or alien, it's easier to say it's not slavery. But what OGH has said about the ending of the Laundry arc can be read as the old white slavers winning, and we're currently uncertain as to the fates of the enslaved protagonists.

So, if it gets a live action version, set it in the UK and bury these subtexts so that it'll be more fun to watch. If it's set in the US, maybe make Angleton a black man and deal with the coercion subtext. The latter treatment might elevate the story in ways that the HBO version of Lovecraft Country did not.

133:

what OGH has said about the ending of the Laundry arc can be read as the old white slavers winning

That's not where I'm going. (Hint: the New Management books are set after the end of this series. It's grim and grisly, but no more so than, say, the Aztec empire -- nothing like as bad as the pre-rebellion Deep South.)

134:

In my head for the last decade I've had Arthur Darvill as Bob and Karen Gillan as Mo. For those who don't know them, they played companions to Matt Smith's eleventh Doctor...

Oh, yes, they'd do wonderfully! Unfortunately the audience could only see them reprising their Doctor Who roles, because they would have been spot on for the younger Bob and Mo if they didn't get hired for Doctor Who instead.

My own missed opportunity casting for Mo is Heather Alexander, who was tall, dynamic, red-haired, and could actually play the violin. However, she's no longer available.

135:

Troutwaxer @ 121:

It's too bad Robin Williams isn't around to play Bob Howard. Maybe Jim Carey or Will Smith? Kathy Griffin as Mo? Or better yet, Lindsey Stirling, doing the crazy dance/martial arts moves while playing the violin!

Sarah Michell Gellar could play Persephone Hazard and how about William Shatner as the Senior Auditor?

I like Lindsey Stirling for Mo. That WOULD be cool.

I don't think any of the suggestions for Bob would work ... and as for Shatner, no, No, NO, and HELL NO!!!

136:

Um, the Aztecs kept slaves, and the Conquistador treatment of enslaved Mexica was even worse than the Aztecs.

The American slave state was far from the worst the world has seen. I’m not sure the Aztecs were better in any way.

137:

These casting suggestions really reveal the age of the group. All of the actors are TOO OLD for the parts.

138:

Didn't know her, just looked her up, NOPE. Way too young and innocent a look.

Now if we're including dead people... Diana Rigg.

139:

Retiring @ 137:

These casting suggestions really reveal the age of the group. All of the actors are TOO OLD for the parts.

Well I don't think Lindsey Stirling would be too old for Mo. Some of the others are bound to be young actors 'cause I've never heard of them ...

And as for Rowan Atkinson - check the date posted.

PS: I do think Arthur Darvill could be a good candidate for Bob and it would be a chance to show what he can do outside of the shadow cast by Karen Gillen & Matt Smith. She's managed to get other work since Dr. Who, and I think maybe Arthur Darvill could get past that association as well.

And why couldn't the producers use the same kind of AI/CGI "de-aging" they did to make Kurt Russel look young again in Guardians of the Galaxy"?

Further ... nominations for Mhari and Ramona?

140:

Another thought about Mhari ... IIRC she flounces off at the end of The Atrocity Archive.

Did you know at the time she'd be back?

141:

...sooner or later there will be a WorldCon in Moscow for "reasons"

reasons = one or more in the set of {subtle bribes; blatant bribes; huge bribes; blackmail video; pressure applied by EU governments needing Russian LNG due to very cold winter}

oddly all the Hugo winners will be authors who are close personal "associates" of Darth Putin... or their children

associates... not friends... dictators never have friends

142:

Aztec empire

...resuming the original definition of 'church barbeque' and/or 'flesh of Christ, blood of Christ'...?

$ $ $ shudder $ $ $

143:

Extraordinarily unlikely until a while after Putin's gone. That would require Russian fans at other Worldcons, the way there were Chinese fen.

144:

Did you know at the time she'd be back?

I had no idea there would even be a second novella, much less more books, let alone a series in which she'd become a significant enough protagonist to get an entire novel of her own! (The Atrocity Archives and The Rhesus Chart were written about nine years apart; The Labyrinth Index came along nine years after that.)

145:

Probably not, but there was a series of Ukrainian national conventions that invited foreign guests of honour. They were talking about working up to a Eurocon bid eventually. They invited me a couple of times -- I said "no" due to COVID, then 2022 happened and I'm pretty sure the conventions got put on ice for the duration.

146:

I thought Angleton fairly easy to cast. Look for someone vaguely similar to Peter Cushing and Leonard Cheshire.

Mo is far harder. And who gets to play Cassie? Young, pixie manic and deadly. Yes! Yes!

147:

I'm just rolling through combo's of horrid things... today's worst?

WorldCon Moscow being a live-action-real-blood (as opposed to a zero casualty LARP) mashup of "Squid Game" by way of "Game of Thrones" and the worst aspects of high school wherein nerds were moving targets for bullies

Sort of a "Wheel of Fortune" but instead of winning money with each spin, you got something awful happening to you

hotels becoming safe zones for only eight hours each days whilst the streets of Moscow as the hunting ground by jaded rich folk who having paid a million bucks for a no-bag-limit license are determined to rack up kills

with millions subscribing to pay-per-view for POVs from swarms of low flying drone cameras tightly focused with slo mo repeat of each kill

{ and past time I got a full night's sleep }

148:

I don't recall mention of magic mirrors into LaundryVerse books... I ran across something in Naomi Novik's "A Deadly Education" which led me to overly elaborate upon the theme...

====

The legends behind magicked mirrors were nothing encouraging. Basically, mirrors of such malignant sources subdivided into categories of ever lessening desirability: useless information; gossipy distractions; embittering truths; honey-soaked falsehoods; tempting delusions; addictive beguilement.

149:

Angleton is Bill Nighy

obviously

150:

I think it's obvious: Helena Bonham Carter for Mhari.

Karina Rykman for Cassie:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UEBLc011GPQ

(go about a minute in if you're impatient, and you might want to turn down the bass too). Yes, she's not British, but Cassie is from much further away than New York.

And I don't think Karen Gillan is too old for Mo.

151:

And who gets to play Cassie? Young, pixie manic and deadly. Yes! Yes!

So like a young Audrey Hepburn, with combat chops?

I've seen a couple of Chinese actors who could fit the part. Don't know their names, unfortunately, because (a) I can't read characters, and (b) I skipped the credits (because (a)). Can't even remember the name of the films. I think the films were fairly recent, but I could be wrong. Both women looked to be in their early 20s in the films.

152:

As for casting The Laundry, it might be better to hope that if the stories get picked up, they make stars out of a crop of talented unknowns. I know, too realistic.

153:

The Atrocity Archives and The Rhesus Chart were written about nine years apart; The Labyrinth Index came along nine years after that.

I refuse to believe the second part of that sentence! TRC was very recent!

I tried to look up what I referred to @94 above, and realise I've misremembered something. The series I'm thinking of... well I'm not actually sure, looking at the possible candidates. The closest seems to be the one where Michael Keaton played James Angleton, but I'm not sure that's it and would have to watch it. I think the one I'm thinking of included Kim Philby as a character, so that's probably the one, but I'm confused and maybe that's the new post-Covid normal for me.

I'm not sure what my fantasy casting for Bob, Mo and others would be (most of the names mentioned above are way too old) but I am fully 100% on board with Richard E. Grant as Angleton. Perhaps Paul McGann as Barnes, Lockhart, or the SA, if only to make a Withnail bookend.

154:

On checking, it turns out my memory was out by a couple of years: TRC was written 2012 and came out in 2013 in hardcover. Still over a decade ago!

155:
it might be better to hope that if the stories get picked up, they make stars out of a crop of talented unknowns.

Oh sure. Even if it were stipulated that nothing but well-known names were to be cast, I think Karen Gillan is the youngest person to be mentioned thus far and she hit "internationally recognised" 14 years ago.

156:

This is your regular scheduled reminder that even if a book or series gets optioned and then moves forward to production, the author gets exactly zero say in casting decisions (unless they already have a history in TV production/casting).

157:

I was wrong, Karen Gillan isn't the youngest person mentioned; Karina Rykman is 6 years younger than her. To play someone ~20 years younger than Mo.

Not that she couldn't do it - I've never seen her in anything, I have no idea if she could or not! But this whole fan-casting thread is making me feel much younger and more in touch with current media than usual.

158:

Stipulated! I'm just agog at what the suggestions being produced say about us here.

159:

Remember that a lot of those suggestions are being made to pull Charlie's chain!

160:

You mean, like setting The Laundry in the US, and casting Samuel L Jackson as Angleton to highlight the theme of coerced labor that runs through all the stories?

Can’t imagine why anyone would be so gauche as to make such suggestions, reallly.

161:

Is having a security clearance or signing the Official Secrets Act coerced labour? And where do you stand on conscription in time of war? Asking for a friend ...

162:

Just tell your friend that the US intelligence agencies (FBI and CIA) tend to be hard right, pro-business imperialists who have no qualms messing with nations of darker skinned people. This tradition in the US goes back well before the Civil War. And, in fact, many of those who supported the filibusters in Central America went on to foment the Secession.

So yeah. I’m not as up on the origins of the UK intelligence services in expanding the British Empire by subverting Asian politics in the 19th century…wasn’t there a Great Game or something?

This is something worth discussing, but I get the impression that modern espionage tends to be an authoritarian and often highly racist project. Liberals seem to prefer foreign aid.

163:

While working at the NIH, I had a security clearance. I did have to agree that I understood that the job required it. Note - they never tell you that you have it... Anyway, as I was working as a sysadmin, and it was conceivable that PII might be found on the system, and I was in change of a lot of EXPENSIVE and powerful computers, I had no trouble agreeing with it. I wouldn't want some MAGA to be running them.

I did only have about the lowest level clearance, POTs (Position of Trust). As I always said, this did not allow me access to top secrets, or middles secrets, only bottom secrets, or maybe Blue Light Special secrets...

Me? Read Pogo (the old comic strip)? Whatever gave you that idea...

164:

Pre-300, for which profound apologies are offered, but the notion of "industrial-scale grave robbing" seemed worth passing on as a possible plot element.

https://www.science.org/content/article/now-we-know-where-dead-went-did-grave-robbers-plunder-battlefields

Bones went to fertilizer and sugar processing, book argues

165:

Speaking of intellectual grave-robbing recycling, I wanted to flag another plot element, Paracelsus' conception of elementals, from which we get the modern magikal/D&D elementals (e.g. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elemental , from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Book_on_Nymphs,_Sylphs,_Pygmies,_and_Salamanders,_and_on_the_Other_Spirits)

Two useful Laundryverse Plot points.

One is that "Paracelsus conceived human beings to be composed of three parts, an elemental body, a sidereal spirit, and an immortal divine soul. Elementals lacked this last part, the immortal soul." Sidereal in Paracelsus thinking means more "of its time" in the sense of using the heavens to tell time, more than modern astrological woo. Anyway, his spirit is the rational, reasoning part, so his elementals were basically fully intelligent, soulless beasts. That's been pretty much reinvented in the Laundryverse, with Paracelsus' Christianity stripped out. Bob Howard's spirit survived, but his soul was stripped and replaced. And Laundryverse souls can be eaten by other soulful organisms like pretas. Maybe the ability to program or observe requires a soul???

The only reason to bother is the introduction of Ye Olde Magick in the Dreamlands and New Management, so invoking Paracelsus closes the loop, as it were. And his concepts are out there for the taking, if needed.

The second cool thing is his air elementals, the sylphs. Turns out, Paracelsus didn't conceive of sylphs as manic pixies dream girl with wings. Sylph is short for sylvestris, the wild people of the woods. That's right: Paracelsus' prototypical air elemental is Bigfoot. Which, if you know Bigfoot lore, makes a sort of sense. You'll have to read Paracelsus' book to see what he was getting at. It's actually interesting if you're into this sort of stuff.

166:

yeah... we've crossed over into SSR and a mandatory morning bowl of bran cereal because the world's become 2L2F2C and those of us living in houses are now prone to shrieking GOMYLYPK

SSR = sullen senior raging

2L2F2C = too loud, too fast, too crowded

GOMYLYPK = get off my lawn, you puke kids

167:

one of those SMH moments is the classic quote about not spying on other nations:

"gentlemen do not read other gentlemen's mail nor peer in their windows"

the notion of there being nothing but 'gentlemen' amongst the ruling elite of various nations... ROFLing

168:

Or any gentlemen at all

169:

It's still lovely to think that as late as the 1920s there was room for such a naive but optimistic outlook in the American government. If only that sort of thinking was ubiquitous in global politics! (A lot of our current social problems are a side-effect of police remit creep in service to entrenched interests.)

170:

It's still lovely to think that as late as the 1920s there was room for such a naive but optimistic outlook in the American government. If only that sort of thinking was ubiquitous in global politics! (A lot of our current social problems are a side-effect of police remit creep in service to entrenched interests.)

Agreed, provided that gentlemen were defined as white male capitalists. Communists, Anarchists and other such "scum" were fair game--this is what J Edgar Hoover founded the FBI to go after, never mind that fascist capitalists were a bigger threat.

And, with the exception of the ruling class of Noble Savages, few with brown skin qualified as gentlemen.

Anyway, to continue to wind you up on the American Laundry, this is where it starts in the HPL canon. Creeps in the Miskatonic Valley keep trying to blow up reality. Gentlemen, of course, step in to stop them. But unless their obviously ethnic like the people of Innsmouth (who are herded into concentration camps), the government takes no notice. Having a bunch of gentlemen (undecayed Whatleys, various professors and librarians) forming together to deal with the mythos, and eventually getting encysted in the US Intelligence Community, is how a US Laundry would come about.

171:

My std. line, when someone includes me as "gentleman", is "neither by breeding, nor Act of Congress." (Officers in the US military are the latter.)

172:

Posting the laundry to a us setting is.... wrong

173:

Paracelsus is the one who coined the phrase similia similibus curantur, therefore co-opting his epistemology essentially mandates retconning homeopathy into your magic-verse as something that is definitely real and (deep breath/swig/toke) works just as well as scientific medicine. I feel there are strong reasons why Charlie wouldn't want to do that, even with the sort of dry twist that might be lost on the class of readers who need it anyway.

174:
modern espionage tends to be an authoritarian and often highly racist project. Liberals seem to prefer foreign aid

And USAID is the crossover point everyone agrees on?

175:

I'm not personally completely aghast at the idea of Americanisation of the Laundryverse, just because it's happened too many times with too many things to care too much about. That said, I do think that a lot of the character and humour depends on certain stereotypes, institutions, and stereotypes about institutions and the individuals you find within them and taking that out without finding suitable replacements is unlikely to work all that well. After all, as we always hear, good stories and good writing is at best 10% about the idea and the rest is in the details of execution, the craft of the writer. The same is true of adaptations, but the craft is different and the details don't necessarily translate. I mean they don't necessarily translate that well anyway, whether you change them around or not, but at least there's prior art that shows how they can work if there's a commitment to making the original humour come through.

Where I would object though is how that affects the geopolitics and the role of the Black Chamber. If the Laundry is in the USA, is the Black Chamber still in the USA? Or is it Europe? "Our" US occult service together with their ex-Soviet frenemies are holding the torch for freeeeeeeed'm against a darkly esoteric EU (a resurgent Germany where the pattern was set in Atrocity Archives; or at least we are trying to Make Anglicanism Great Again)? Because that's already not going to a place I think any of us would like...

Maybe that's actually a special case of a trope pattern thingamy: when an adaptation mucks about with the setting, who are the good guys after the reshuffle is less important than who are the bad guys. Are we the baddies? and all that.

176:

Hmmm.

If one believes Google, similia similibus curantur came from Christian Friedrich Samuel Hahnemann (1755-1843), the German physician who founded homeopathy. Paracelsus was better known as Theophrastus von Hohenheim (1493-1541), a Swiss physician, alchemist, fervent Christian and discoverer of zinc. Sort of the alpine Buckaroo Banzai of his day, kinda, but best known these days for creating the elementals so prevalent in modern fantasy.*

I'm not seeing a link between the two. What did I miss?

Seriously, you want to use elementals in your fantasy, get thee a copy of Paracelsus' *A Book on Nymphs, Sylphs, Pygmies, and Salamanders, and on the Other Spirits. Copying what other authors have done with the trope is sort of like using the output of an LLM as the input for another, at this point. Use the source. It's got the genuine shit...

177:

...by men who never had a wood splinter from manually chopping wood into useable chunks from a stand of green trees in preparation of freezing winter nights nor a sunburnt neck from bending down to pluck weeds

men who made assumptions in 1900-1913 that led to extending WW1 by a year-plus and then set the conditions in 1919-1938 allowing WW2 to kick off...

...and now their philosophically-inbred successors in 2015-2021 been laying similar groundwork for a (hopefully non-nuclear) WW3... weirdly last war's enemies are our next war's allies...!?

FUNFACT: less than 20% of US adults under 50 can explain the derivation of "red neck" from "farm worker" nor explain how that fit into notions of lily white skin ("nary a ray of sunlight to tan it") as once having been proof of one's innate superiority in the social pecking order

4Q Yale Yacht Club (AKA: CIA)

178:

RE: American Laundry hell

Again: seriously, it should be set in the UK. Failing that, the idea is to come up with suggestions for how to inspire an American Laundry adaptation that a) pays Charlie a goodly sum, and b) doesn't make him (sui)(homo)cidal.

That said, espionage is a mirror maze where there's the exterior adversary, and then there's the real enemy of interdepartmental warfare. I'd therefore keep the enemy inside the US, and vary the adversary. For example, in the Atrocity Archive adaptation, the enemy is American Nazis and the Atrocity Archive is housed in one of the many US Holocaust Memorials or Jewish museums in the US.

I'd also suggest setting the Laundry in the Miskatonic Valley, but that's mostly to keep filming costs down (film it in New Hampshire), to try to keep it from looking like an X-Files reboot, and to make the protagonists look like notional outsiders who know what they're doing, rather than Beltway bandits who want to break rules to serve some Great Cause. Whatever they actually are.

179:

Troutwaxer @ 159:

Remember that a lot of those suggestions are being made to pull Charlie's chain!

I was just indulging my inner silliness ... comic relief?

180:

less than 20% of US adults under 50 can explain the derivation of "red neck" from "farm worker"

I'd take this one with a big grain of salt. I likely depends mostly on if you grow up urban or not.

181:

nope... reflects a lack of education in any serious depth regarding history of labor movements and prior generational upheavals and cues indicating social pecking order

182:

Modern espionage tends to be an authoritarian and often highly racist project.
Unless you are countering Putin's fascism & empire-building, perhaps?
Or, maybe, trying to counter murderous religious nutcases? ( ?? )

183:

And I don't think Karen Gillan is too old for Mo.

The dark necromancy of the Youtube algorithm happened to offer up this talk show appearance (7m, Karen Gillan and Steven Colbert, April 3rd) and I agree; she could play Mo as we first met her now and is aging nicely into the Mo who's Seen Shit and is free of her violin.

184:

Dammit, Covid memory again. The connecting thread is that homeopaths themselves are usually big fans of Paracelsus.

The 16th century is actually a very interesting period to read about down several rabbit holes, roughly from the time of Maximilian I (or Henry VIII) through to Rudolph II (or Elizabeth I). And setting the stage for the events we've been talking through as another strange attractor, the time of the 30 years war and English Civil War. It has Paracelsus and Dürer at the start, Brahe and Kepler at the end.

185:

That said, I do think that a lot of the character and humour depends on certain stereotypes, institutions, and stereotypes about institutions and the individuals you find within them and taking that out without finding suitable replacements is unlikely to work all that well.

Also, I'd like to note that aside from the initial serialization of The Atrocity Archive in Spectrum SF (a short-lived Scottish SF magazine that died after 2002), the Laundry Files have been acquired and edited by US publishers from the start, and at no point did anyone advise transplanting it to the USA or watering down the Britishisms!

(Except for spelling. Turns out a lot of American readers can't cope with foreign spelling and hit the "report typo" button in Kindle, which gets an ebook yanked off sale until the "typo" is fixed, even if it's not a typo.)

186:

Greg, a bit of reading on the history of the western intelligence services might be an eye opener for you? They're all bonkers when you dig into them, as crazy as the cowboys from the French DGSE who blew up and sank the Rainbow Warrior in Auckland harbour.

Something about working with state secrets in opposition to other national intelligence agencies seems to breed a culture of paranoia (I can't think why!) along with an unquestioning and ferociously toxic hyper-patriotism. Putin's people are just a mirror-image of our own. It takes a lot of internal standards and DEI training to modify that kind of traditional culture; your closest direct analogy would be the way the Metropolitan Police have successfully mended their ways in the wake of the Stephen Lawrence affair (yes, that was sarcasm).

187:

And as liable to get in their own way or in their country's way as to be in any way helpful. Intelligence agencies are generally hlepy rather than helpful.

188:

Charlie
Um - I never said the other stuff wasn't also true ... it's "just" that a country without intelligence agencies is going to get stamped on, sooner or later.
The US' behaviour in Central & S America & ours in Iran are nothing nice to write home about, f'rinstance.
I note you mention the froggies & are presumably referring to their murderous antics in the Pacific area - we all know about Rainbow Warrior don't we?
And, of course, the CIA backed them up.

Changing the subject - Re. S Lawrence ... the MetPlod may, or may not have been Instututionally Racist - but what is certain is that they were & probably still are .. INSTITUTIONALLY BENT & on the bloody hand-out from criminal gangs.
I's also very noticeable, to me at least, that MetPlod are happier & more content to be officially labelled as "racist", rather than admitting that they are on the take ....

189:

About 20 years ago, during some reading on the US intel agencies, I tripped over the fascinating factoid that among the USA's panoply of outward-looking intelligence organizations one of them stood head and shoulders above all the rest in delivering timely, actionable, useful, and accurate foreign intelligence ...

The INR. Who I will wager you have never heard of, even though they date back to 1945 (and so predate the CIA).

It's the State Department's bureau of Intelligence and Research, it's a civilian agency, has just 300 staff, and doesn't conduct espionage or counter-espionage at all. Their budget is probably lost in the CIA's petty cash, and yet ...

That wiki article is a blast: "INR was the only US intelligence agency to dissent from the consensus that Kyiv would fall in a few days during the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine. Although it agreed with other agencies in overestimating Russian military capability, unlike the others INR used growing Ukrainian willingness to fight in opinion surveys to predict that the country would strongly resist the invasion."

190:

reflects a lack of education in any serious depth regarding history of labor movements and prior generational upheavals and cues indicating social pecking order

Sorry. This smacks me as a bit of elitist thought. There are thousands of bits of slang and inferences in most modern countries that are not a part of the general history education in those countries. Thousands. If you grow up with them you understand them. If not, you don't.

Which is why if you dropped me almost anywhere in Manhattan when I was 16 in 1970 my physical health would be in some danger and for sure I'd be somewhat ostracized due to saying or doing something wrong for that spot in the USA. Ditto someone who grew up on the island showing up where I grew up.

191:

Congratulations on all counts!

I'm sincerely happy to hear about the TV rights. Had this been a few years ago it would be 🤦‍♀️time, but with CG being what it is today you can do an amazing job bringing the stories off the page and onto the screen in ways that frighten, delight and move viewers without being cheesy looking.

I look at what Neil Gaiman did with Sandman on Netflix and I'm hopeful :)

192:

Reminder that I don't watch TV/film, have zero insight into production, and making even one hour of TV requires a budget on the order of a million dollars so I probably get as much say in how it's spent as the janitor.

193:

I may or may not ever watch a show, but whatever the outcome and quality I hope they pay you enough to live a life of comparative luxury.

As a fan of your writing I hope that means the luxury to write what you please without regard for commerce, but if it means spending endless months contemplating your container garden or carving ships in bottles then so be it.

194:

Charlie @ 189
Fascinating.
Wonder why they are not better supported & better known?

195:

Yup. The OSS from WW2 had three offspring once it was dismantled after WW2, in part by J Edgar Hoover…

The INR was originally the OSS analysis branch, and they got grabbed by the State Department early on. They don’t talk much about what they do.

The Green Berets were founded by veterans of the OSS Jedburgh Teams, after they convinced the Army that the US did need professional guerrillas who could teach guerrilla warfare to partisans. The legacy of their trainees finding other uses for their training continues to this day, as in various drug cartels, Al Qaeda….

The CIA, which was formed by OSS veterans to do espionage and related illegalities, once they convinced Truman that such a service was needed. They so “impressed” Eisenhower that he said their work left “A Legacy of Ashes,” which became the title of a history of the CIA.

Gentlemen do not read each other’s mail, but it’s unclear that letting spies read the mail has had a much better outcome.

Back about a decade ago, I was working on a Great Game in the Dreamlands scenario, so I was reading a lot of those books. Alas for my story, social media’s descent into global infowar and psyops made it clear what would result from the great powers invading everyone’s collective unconscious. So I’ve cannibalized that idea for other projects. ..

196:

I'm not sure any TV adaptation would need to be transplanted.

Bear in mind the first book was a cross between Len Deighton and Lovecraft and the second was movie Bond and Lovecraft. Now as far as I know the Harry Palmer films and Bond films are reasonably well known so why would anyone feel the need to tamper with the location?

As for the morality of intelligence agencies. Doing some research for a moderns horror game a friend stumbled on a history of British Intelligence. Apparently our people have fairly consistent form for using contractors to do illegal work and then burning them (prison or suicide ops) when they are no longer needed. Oddly in the Laundry this seems to be reversed as some of the "outsiders" like Persephone are helping to keep the agency on track at various points.

197:

Simple answer, if you're forced to relocate the stories to the US: two separate agencies. Inter-empire, sorry, inter-agency warfare. And it would give it an even more psychotic, clustrophobic atmosphere.

198:

&181 - the social pecking order is so ingrained in most of the US that they don't even see it. But... not knowing it came from farm workers? Considering that over 80% of the US lives in metropolitan areas, and have zero experience with farms, I can believe they don't know where it came from. At a guess, they'd say people who work outside, mostly in the US South or west.

199:

That is kind of what I’ve been saying all along. Problem is, for the protagonists, the CIA is out (I don’t think Charlie would go for it), the FBI is out (X-Files), and INR is apparently out (foreign threats only. I was going to use them in the Dreamlands…). That leaves, for the protagonists, NSA, NRO, military intelligence, or RTA (Random Threeletter Agency made for the story). NRO is apparently foreign focused, so they’re out. NSA….Snowden? Creepy. And since most of the stories are domestic, not foreign, the military intelligence unit has to be a national guard unit….Hence the Massachusetts Space National Guard, 23rd wing, and civilian contractors attached thereunto. First Space National Guard unit in the country, but of every second-rate comedian. They…fly balloons. Yeah, that’s it. And why are they connected so tightly to Miskatonic’s Innsmouth Oceanographic Institute?

And if you want an RTA, don’t use MiB, because Men In Black.

200:

I was going to say that as a work of fiction it wouldn't be amiss to change the remit of an existing agency. Then I remembered how vocally upset readers/viewers get about small changes to 'reality" while letting large changes through as 'dramatic license'.

I wonder if there's the equivalent of an uncanny valley for changes? Really small changes/mistakes get overlooked, really large ones also, but at just the right (wrong?) level people obsess about them?

It's kinda like using a dutch angle in photography: you have to make the tilt large enough that it's obviously intentional, or people just think you were sloppy about your horizon…

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dutch_angle

201:

...combination of self-filtering amongst the pool of potential applicants followed by filtering by multiple layerings of gatekeepers each of whom has a slightly differing definition of "suitable"

and then there's the understandable flinching from the dirty deeds done in darkness

not everyone can sleep through the night after leveraging someone's sexual kinks to turn 'em into a reluctant intel source

and not everyone 'person of interest' is a foreign spy (see: M.L.King 1960s, ACTUP activists 1980s, FOIA filings by ACLU lawyers 1990s, etc)

over time lots 'n lots of active agents and backroom analysts recognize they were making things worse and unable to course correct the TLA that employed 'em, so they quietly exited, stage left...

202:

check it out:

"Bureau of Weights & Measures"

nobody gives 'em a second look, likely fe looks at 'em once

...or whatever is the name of the team inside the Department of Agriculture who fixate upon kale, flax, rhubarb, etc... those low key veggies-fruits-feedstocks-fibers nobody notices much...

lots 'n lots of excuses to be driving around in a van filled with odd sorts of equipment

but you cannot use basic utilities... we loathe Spectrum, the megacorp that has the monopoly as NYC's data utility... their trucks get noticed

heck, here in NYC, drug dealers and better organized gangs have inventoried all the license plates of ConEd repair trucks (NYC's primary electric utility) since the police is habitual in using 'em for stakeouts

203:

There’s the difference between the Laundry’s remit and its cover story. It has to be the Laundry, so that gets worked in somehow. Since laundries aren’t such a major business in the US, housing it in the former laundry of a former military base could work.

It has to have the same remit in the American adaptation as in the stories for it to work. That’s a problem with the US, because we make a big thing about foreign versus domestic. The agency that bridges these is the FBI, but X-Files got there first. Weak seconds are the national guards and some made-up agency. I chose the USAF/USSF because their culture is closest to that of the Laundry. Many CIA agents go through officer training in the USAF.

That leaves the cover story that the American Laundry presents to the public. Since they’re notionally the good guys, calling them “Big Black” like the NRO is out, even if Charlie would go there. So the American Laundry has to have a public face of some sort. So let me introduce you to the Ghost Army ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ghost_Army ), properly known as the 23rd Headquarters Special Troop. They were the Army Tactical Deception Unit in WW2 Europe. In our reality, they lasted into the 1950s, playing opposition units in war games. But they could have been one of the progenitors of the American Laundry, because they predate the Army/Air Force Split. So put them in the USAF with bits from the OSS thaumaturgical branch, and you’ve got The Laundry. The Ghost Army’s mission was cover stories and deception, so they’re needed to make this all work. And maybe they did magic too?

204:

I actually used this in a story, where time cops dressed up as consultants, wearing orange vests and carrying appropriate equipment. It’s normal.

Heck, that’s basically what the Ghost Army did: they made fake army positions to deliberately draw attention and fire away from the real army units. They’re one of my all-time favorite units because of that. Being a lightly armed bullet magnet takes courage. I wish Hollywood would make a movie out their story, to be honest.

Howard, thing is, it has to be The Laundry, and that’s hard to translate into the American clandestine world. I agree with Charlie that it should be set in the UK, but if it gets set in the US because money, then I just hope it doesn’t suck.

Incidentally, I’m not claiming ownership of any of the ideas I’m posting here. If someone wants to use them, go right ahead.

205:

That leaves, for the protagonists ...

Oh you sweet summer child!

There is an agency called the United States Intelligence Community which is a coordination clearinghouse for the various intelligence and counterterrorism agencies in the USA.

To quote wiki:

The Washington Post reported in 2010 that there were 1,271 government organizations and 1,931 private companies in 10,000 locations in the United States that were working on counterterrorism, homeland security, and intelligence, and that the intelligence community as a whole would include 854,000 people holding top-secret clearances.

Top level stakeholders in USIC include ONI, CGI, INR, CIA, 16AF, NSA, CSS, NRO, DIA, MIC, OICI, MCI, NGA, OIA, IB, ONSI, I&A, and NSIC. (Go to the wiki page for their full names.)

The United States intelligence budget (excluding the Military Intelligence Program) in fiscal year 2022 was appropriated as $65.7 billion, an increase of $3.4 billion from the $62.3 billion requested and up from $60.8 billion in fiscal year 2021.

So. About these hypothetical two dueling OCCINT agencies: their buddies want to know if they can join in too?

206:

H
...we make a big thing about foreign versus domestic
Erm, so do we: Internal is Special Branch - civilian police, external is MI6 ( = SIS ), whilst MI5 is internal security. Whether Special Branch are an "equivalent" for the FBI I don't know, but even at our present levels of simultaneous corruption-and-incompetence, I doubt it!

Which leads to Charlie @ 205:
The US have REALLY got their knickers in a twist with that many agencies.
The whole show needs a really good reaming out & a restart, with many fewer agencies & clearer well-defined "boundaries" & "overlaps".
They actually had a really good chance to do it, too - any time after 08.46hrs (local) on 11/9/2001, right?
But they fucked it up totally.

207:

You're the one hypothesizing two dueling agencies. I read the same page you did a couple of hours ago.

First thing is to split off how many intelligence agencies can legally can act against American citizens in the US: Homeland Security (Coast Guard, FEMA, etc), Department of Justice (FBI, DEA, etc), and National Guards during states of emergency. So far as I can tell, all the others are focused on foreign threats.

Then we have the Laundryverse, which posits that DC gets pwned by the Black Chamber and Cthulhu, while Nyarlathotep takes over the Laundry. That strongly suggests that an American Laundry should NOT be based in DC. I'd suggested the Miskatonic Valley area for its UK-style weather and run down, rust belt atmosphere, but if you like Los Angeles better...

The Washington Post reported in 2010 that there were 1,271 government organizations and 1,931 private companies in 10,000 locations in the United States that were working on counterterrorism, homeland security, and intelligence, and that the intelligence community as a whole would include 854,000 people holding top-secret clearances.

Yeah, most police departments, all munitions manufacturers, and anybody who could bid on contracts for a bunch of different classes of government contracts would fit into there. WaPo probably got that list in part from checking lists of who could contract for work. I've got friends who do rare plant surveys on military bases who have clearances, to prove they're not spying for the Chinese, and if I'd stayed in consulting, quite possibly I'd be on that list too. My parents were (both avionics engineers). Unfortunately, it doesn't prove your point.

So if you were stuck with swallowing an American Laundry as the reward for a sufficiently large payout, where would you stash them? Wall Street? Silicon Valley? Kent Washington? Salt Lake City? Inside the Beltway? Toronto?

208:

You want the Laundry? No problem. A lot of dry cleaners send out the actual work of dry cleaning to a third party. Have it as an actual dry cleaner.

Or a warehouse. Call it the Mississippi warehouse, since Amazon's taken...

209:

Actually...how about a Canadian Laundry, set in Ottawa, and dealing with Them to the South?

Casting would be easy: Tatiana Maslany for any/all of the female leads. And Mike Myers as Angleton.

210:

Laundry ==> dry cleaners

Laundry ==> clothing store with on premises tailoring... upmarket shoppe played for laughs or low end mass volume played for pathos

211:

as per unadmitted but obviously official policy of the US Army back in the jolly fun Cold War... "the enemy is the navy's budgetary demands, our opponents being the Soviet Red Army"

regarding attempts at coordinating actions between TLAs and arm twisting to force intel sharing... ROFLing... to use your snark, oh you sweet summer child

convincing any TLA to share its folder of menus from nearby takeaway eateries requires moderate arm twisting... active, usable intel being shared only on days when someone puts a gun barrel to their spinal cord, just below the skull

DHS has been struggling since 2001 to get everyone to admit there are 50 stars on the USA flag

212:

Laundry ==> clothing store with on premises tailoring... upmarket shoppe played for laughs
See, now this looks like someone decided to rip off "Kingsman".

213:

Or U.N.C.L.E. headquarters even...

214:

"weirdly last war's enemies are our next war's allies...!?"

Like the people in the UK putting up bunting with the Allied flags from WWI at the beginning of WWII and then having to hurriedly remove them because every (?) fourth flag was Japan?

215:

Laundry ==> clothing store with on premises tailoring... upmarket shoppe played for laughs

Are You Being Served? with someone trying to fit a suit to/around/over a Blue Hades.

216:

So if you were stuck with swallowing an American Laundry as the reward for a sufficiently large payout, where would you stash them? Wall Street? Silicon Valley? Kent Washington? Salt Lake City? Inside the Beltway? Toronto?

Canada might have something to say about that last choice…

Actually, with the right arm-twisting Canada would probably be OK with it, as long as it was secret enough that our citizens didn't find out. There's a long and sordid history of American intelligence outfits doing stuff to Canadians on Canadian soil with the approval of our government…

And being on foreign soil, less pesky oversight, and any accidents are less important because they'll only affect a few Americans…

217:

Apologies, I was thinking of the Laundry as a service in the Canadian government, while the US government goes to hell. I didn't phrase that well.

218:

Actually...how about a Canadian Laundry, set in Ottawa, and dealing with Them to the South?

Friends of mine who play Cthulhu were working on a campaign based on precisely that idea (Canadian Laundry). Living in Ottawa and being history buffs, they'd worked out locations and history.

I don't think they actually ran it, possibly because it was too close to home for one of the players who is actually a counter-terrorism expert in one of our intelligence organizations. I know they got interviewed when he got his security clearance, and the interviewer actually sat in one a gaming session (Runequest, I think) to see whether this role-playing hobby presented any security risks. So a game based on an imaginary Canadian agency might have got him in trouble. Or possibly it was too close to his work for him to find fun…

219:

So maybe a Canadian Laundry is a better option. That IS good to know.

I'm not entirely joking about casting Mike Myers (Austin Powers) as Angleton. He's a dual Canadian/UK citizen and produces as well as acting. That's not a bad combination.

Might also be interesting to figure out where in Alberta to film Equoid, if it comes to that.

220:

So you're saying if I happen to own any Joanne Wizard ebooks.....

221:

...could be worse

could be a centaur...

222:

Just thinking about if Laundry is not set in the UK, how do you fit in things like the back ops Concorde fleet? To say nothing of the elder god who becomes Prime Minister in the later books in the original series.

And there there are some of the plot lines of New Management series such as the Channel Island of Skaro and its associated marriage rules?

223:

The original series pitch that relocated Bob to Silicon Valley dates to 2012. At that point, the option applied to "The Atrocity Archives" and "The Jennifer Morgue"; other novels weren't yet included if I recall correctly -- there were only four in print at that point, and you could plausibly reassign both "The Fuller Memorandum" and "The Apocalypse Codex" to a US agency, although the cracks are beginning to show in the latter (The Laundry's relationship with the Nazgul is more than mildly departmentally adversarial at that point).

Book 5 is very clearly set in London's East End, and I'm not sure the time scale for the vampire elders can be transplanted to the USA. Book 6 doesn't work at all in the USA, the culture and management of policing is too different (never mind that there's no US equivalent of the Last Night of the Proms -- think the Superbowl for classical music fans).

Books 7 starts a plot mechanism running that is 100% incompatible with a US setting. The US response to an Alfar invasion would be radically different from the British one, and there's no mechanism by which His Dread Majesty could hijack the US government from the top down in a matter of a month or two unless he turns up in mid-2024, Renfields Trump and gets himself the VPOTUS slot on Trump's ticket, rolls over the Democrats, and then hijacks Plan 2025 for himself. Hmm. As for "The Labyrinth Index", nope, that just doesn't work in a US setting.

224:

I had actually just been thinking through how would it work as an inter-agency thing, given the USIC could be even less homogenous in the Laundryverse than in our storyline. If you started with TDB and TLI in mind as the future, where the USSS and maybe even (occult analog to) NSA are definitely not in on the plot, there's a feasible arc to support that if it's all done with a centralised vision in mind. You just need to pick out what the Laundry analog agency is with the series 5 denouement laid out in cannon, or written in stage blood or something.

Though TBH it would work much better if the Laundry is the British occult agency, even if most of the settings are moved to the USA.

225:

You just need to pick out what the Laundry analog agency is with the series 5 denouement laid out in cannon, or written in stage blood or something.

As the series denouement involves a plot to assassinate the reigning monarch (in The Regicide Report) I see no way to make it work with a US setting. Especially as the motivation for the plot simply doesn't exist and can't work within the US constitutional framework.

226:

"never mind that there's no US equivalent of the Last Night of the Proms -- think the Superbowl for classical music fans."

You could probably adapt the ending to that of any large U.S. music festival and perform... was it Casilda? as a Rock Opera. (When the music was written in Lovecraft's time there was too much influence from the Blues and the bizarre wailings of Jazz for it to seem commericially viable.)

227:

IIRC the plot for that book involves killing someone to harvest a U.K. person for the magical energy their political position generates... not an impossible plot in the U.S. (Consider the sentiments over certain U.S. assassinations even decades later.) What you'd do in the U.S. is create a big-time demogogue who sucks all the air out of a certain political party by embodying all their bad impulses then bump that demogoge off... harvesting the huge amounts of negative-manna from their deplorable followers - note that I DO NOT advocate that kind of thing outside fiction AT ALL, because murder is never the right way to handle politics - but the magical mechanism is exactly the same.*

The big problem (from your POV, I'd guess) with setting the series in the U.S. would be that the producers would insist on a happy ending.

  • What's really scary about this is the plot of the last few chapters of John Crowley's Little Big describes the modern political situation in the U.S. way too well, right down to the red-haired demogogue, and I first read the book in the 1980s.
228:

As the series denouement involves a plot to assassinate the reigning monarch (in The Regicide Report) I see no way to make it work with a US setting. Especially as the motivation for the plot simply doesn't exist and can't work within the US constitutional framework.

To put it in your phrasing: "tell me you're not paying attention to Donald Trump's current agenda without telling me." Having the series end with an attempt to kill an American (or Canadian!) dictator might prove extremely popular, since it likely won't air until the early 2030s.

More to the point, it'll mean you won the lottery, and your rights sale netted a long-running series. And I hope that happens!

A lot of things could derail the series plotline. Remember, given show development time frame (years), it's quite possible that Scotland may not be part of the UK by the time the show airs, making setting it in the UK problematic. It's also possible that any oncoming thing--from the brewing battle over sea-floor mining, to super heroes and vampires becoming tragically un-hip and unsellable, to another shakeup in the content delivery industry, to rampaging AI, Space War I, WW3, pandemic bird flu, or climate change--could either get your Laundry series canned or massively rewritten to fit with current events and tastes.

So if your work gets adapted to be set in Ottawa, or if the vampire elders are rewritten as Lovecraftian ghouls that resulted from colonial witches messing with Athabaskan Wendigo necromancy, or if the Proms get turned into an "America's Got Talent" reboot, or if the POTUS gets smuggled out on Grimm's magical DC-3 while lighting up Starlink with his message...however they trash it, you still get paid and get to sell books. That's better than most of us could dream of.

229:

...there's no mechanism by which His Dread Majesty could hijack the US government from the top down in a matter of a month or two unless he turns up in mid-2024, Renfields Trump and gets himself the VPOTUS slot on Trump's ticket...

Try not to think too much about the fact that pretty much any real billionaire who wanted to could do that today. Lord Dampnut is famously desperate for money right now... :-(

I admit having expected at least one of the two remaining actually Republican candidates to keep running simply on the expectation that something he'd done was going to catch up with him before election day.

230:

Having the series end with an attempt to kill an American (or Canadian!) dictator might prove extremely popular, since it likely won't air until the early 2030s.

That's almost the exact opposite of the plot!

231:

Assassassassassassinate the POTUS?

232:

So it's going to be an American show? I just want to know one thing: Who's writing the sex scenes? 'Cause there will be some.

Sorry Charlie, but I just don't think you have the "touch" for that sort of thing.

233:

That's almost the exact opposite of the plot!

So maybe your series gets greenlit if Trump wins, then?

Just hope that they don’t decide to make any Deep One storyline about how wetback illegal immigrants are essential for advances in the American tech industry, and that they’re being driven to take tech jobs in coastal cities because of all the shit we’ve dumped in their homeland. Put that in a rewrite of the Jennifer Morgue…

234:

I admit having expected at least one of the two remaining actually Republican candidates to keep running simply on the expectation that something he'd done was going to catch up with him before election day.

The big thing is that American voters rarely like having the same party in the White House three terms in a row, so unless Trump strokes out before August, the best path to the presidency is to run against Kamala Harris in 2027. If Trump wins, there’s no good path anyway.

Anyway, the Koch network was reportedly funding Haley, and they dropped her. No money, no campaign. Republican candidates are the clients of billionaires to a greater degree than democrats are, at the moment.

Think this through with how the Laundry makes it to the screen, incidentally.

235:

Just had a little fun looking up “Miskatonic,” “Arkham,” and “Atrocity Archive.”

There is an active trademark for “Miskatonic Supernatural Detective Agency” that someone has obviously trying to develop into a show for years. Since there’s no point in getting into IP litigation during show development, that’s a good argument for not setting the Laundry in Arkham.

Otherwise, it’s kind of fun to see what people have trademarked under Arkham and Miskatonic over the years. I was a little surprised not to see Arkham Asylum trademarked, though.

There’s no trademark for Atrocity Archive. Is it worth filing one?

236:

Sorry to triple post, but US trademark search is at https://tmsearch.uspto.gov/ It’s a searchable database. Trademarks searches for the EU and elsewhere are similar and easy to find.

237:

"...here's no mechanism by which His Dread Majesty could hijack the US government from the top down in a matter of a month or two unless he turns up in mid-2024,"

Um, er, here's a horrid idea, complete with all the mana you want: they take over RFK, Jr.

238:

There’s no trademark for Atrocity Archive. Is it worth filing one?

Absolutely not, that way madness lies.

What jurisdiction would I file it in? The USA, the UK, the EU, or everywhere I can pay to grab? What, precisely, is the context and design dress in which I'm trademarking it? What about other stuff like Laundry Files™? Where does it end? I'd probably have to form a limited company to manage the trademarks, with accounting overheads. And I'd have to have a law firm on retainer to serve cease and desist letters on anyone ripping off my trademarks lest I lose them due through not defending them. And so on.

Trademarks are a fool's errand until there's a capital asset that needs defending: if a film or TV show ever happens, that's the studio lawyers' job, not the author's.

239:

Talking of "Announcements" ...
It apprears that Thames Water's owners are probably bankrupt - I belive "oops" is inadequate?
In spite of voluable assurances that "Thames" has enough money until next year, I'm certainly not "buying" it.
Gradually, then suddenly comes to mind. Though, I must admit that it is to be hoped that this flagship of the rotten & crooked rip-off that was water privatisation implodes spectacularly, BEFORE the electio.

240:

...and the jokes just write themselves

when T(he)Rump lost money whilst owning casinos, that's what happened ("only guy to ever lose money with every bet", "Trump's first mistake was betting on himself", etc)

in the case of a utility, not only a government-sanctioned monopoly of a captive consumer base, water is literally life and/or death

of course, it is only funny up to that moment when the peasantry learn there'd been contamination (trace metals, un-killed bacteria, etc) severe enough to require hospitalization... hopefully not too many will die... but as always someone will

if you need a visualization, imagine yourself in the corporate offices of that mismanaged utilities and when you look out the window there's a hundred thousand ton freighter headed downstream of the shit river you'd created and nobody is going to save you

241:

I assume the beneficial owners are either long gone or sheltered behind an array of shell corporations and trusts. The shell that has been delegated to stripmine the Thames Water company is no doubt bankrupt.

I'm sure the Tories will bail it out and then give the work to another version of the same grift, possibly even the same owners.

242:

Some brief research tells me that Thames Water is owned by the Ontario Municipal Pension, the USS (UK Pension), and a variety of other pensions and hedge fund types. Yeesh.

So if it isn't bailed out the pensions will suffer along with the rich fuckers. Ugly.

243:

That’s actually typical, I think. When I looked at the major stockholders of those really problematic power companies that were starting billion dollar fires, IIRC it was public pension and mutual funds.

Forcing complicity is one of the hallmarks of modern capitalism.

244:

One solution would be holding the chief execs personally responsible (we are continually told, in the US, that a corporation doesn't (allegedly) shield you). When the execs start going to jail for what they had the company do, some will be more reluctant to comply with stockholders' demands.

245:

Rocketjps
sheltered behind an array of shell corporations and trusts
CORRECT, how did you manage to guess that, I wonder?
Fortunately, I suspect the time remaining is too short for them to actually get away with the scam you have suggested - or so I hope, anyway.
"Thames" owners are: Kemble Water Finance Limited, is says here ( Bloomberg )

246:

Re: 'There's a long and sordid history of American intelligence outfits doing stuff to Canadians on Canadian soil with the approval of our government…'

If you mean the Montreal experiments (Project MKUltra), it also has a UK/Scotland connection.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Montreal_experiments

247:

Just thinking about if Laundry is not set in the UK, how do you fit in things like the back ops Concorde fleet?

That's easy. The Avro Arrow wasn't cancelled by Diefenbaker, that was just a cover story. Rather than being destroyed they were carefully hidden — because even back then we knew that we might have to defend ourselves from our southern neighbour, but also had to avoid provoking them.

To say nothing of the elder god who becomes Prime Minister in the later books in the original series.

I'm certain you'll find w few people up here who would characterize a number of right-wing populist politicians as unspeakably evil beings who have cast a glamour on the public…

248:

The Avro Arrow wasn't cancelled by Diefenbaker, that was just a cover story...

Fair enough. The European analogue of the Avro Arrow in the "really cool but technologically obsolete war plane" category is obviously the Saab Draken. I don't know what story could involve both but I'd probably watch the anime.

249:

The European analogue of the Avro Arrow in the "really cool but technologically obsolete war plane" category is obviously the Saab Draken.

By the way, last December I saw a couple of Drakens. They were on display in the Finnish Air Force Museum in Jyväskylä. We used them until 2000. The Mig-21s were retired a couple of years earlier.

250:

A indication of the (perfectly legal - but still dubious) insanities regarding our WATER SUPPLY is this from the BBC:
Previous owners Australian firm Macquarie took out nearly £3bn in dividends and allowed its debt pile to triple between 2006 and 2017. - right.
If you read the full BBC article - it's obvious.
If at all possible, Rish! & his utterly corrupt gang of liars will let this slide, so that any incoming government gets landed with the afterbirth - "nothing to do with us, guv!"
And the Beeb seem to come to the same conclusion ... depressing, isn't it?

And, specially for Charlie Opinions on this one,please? - I have certainly noted, that amongst all the SNP's trumpeted so-called "reforms" - women have been left out in the cold. Quelle surprise!

SFR @ 246
Reinforces my concurrence with the late Sir Peter Medawar's opinion(s) on Psychiatry - that it's a giant confidence trick!

251:

248 - Er, the Avro Arrow was designed as an interceptor, not a strategic bomber. The Wikipedia even quotes intended armaments as a variety of 1950s air to air rockets and missiles (including Genie and Falcon variants).

250 Para 5 - I don't need to read that article to realise that it's from the Grauniad!

252:

The European analogue of the Avro Arrow in the "really cool but technologically obsolete war plane" category is obviously the Saab Draken.

So I take it the Avro Arrow went into volume production, was a roaring export success adopted by several other nations' air forces, and was retired after 45 years in service?

(... The Draken was obsolete by the 21st century, just like it's contemporaries the Lockheed F-104 Starfighter, the English Electric Lightning, and the MiG-21.)

253:

You know, if you swap out vampires for ghouls (cannibals for bloodsuckers, basically) in the Canadian Laundry, there’s another possibility. And Charlie gets paid more.

See, Lovecraft’s ghouls are worldwalkers, specifically into the dreamlands. You see where this is going.

The setting is a winter storm, one of those huge polar vortexes that makes Canadians put on a sweater. As the breakout in DC gets underway, the Canucks are launching a swarm of weather balloons that will be carried south by the vortex.

So the Flying Mountie exfiltrates the POTUS to a small regional airport, where that iconic Canadian plane, the Dehavilland Beaver, is waiting for them. It takes off into the storm. Soon F-35s are homing in on it.

But it’s crewed by ghouls, so pop and it’s flying through the Dreamlands, dodging shantaks, with an escort of nightgaunts. Then pop it’s back in the air over West Virginia, and the POTUS’ broadcast is going out to the balloons, which carry a shortwave net and radio broadcast gear. Within minutes he’s on the ar across the US.

Then the F35s find the Beaver again and it’s back to the Dreamlands. Pop. Pop. Pop.

Eventually the Beaver is well into Canada and the F35s are gone because they suck at flying in bad weather. The plane lands on a frozen lake, taxies to a warm, waiting lodge. The POTUS is bundled in before he dies of hypothermia, and he continues to broadcast from there. The ghouls are rewarded by getting to chow down on the American spy on the lodge staff. And on the SEAL team that shows up a few hours later. With glibbering and meeping.

And, most importantly, Charlie gets paid to license the New Management and the Family Trade IP to the series.

Might that work?

254:

The Beaver cruises at 143mph and has a range of 495 miles. Also, its service ceiling is 18,000 feet -- it's unpressurized (pilot and passengers need oxygen and heat at that altitude).

Now, remind me again -- how wide is the continental United States?

255:
  • Now, remind me again -- how wide is the continental United States?*

When the plane is taking shortcuts through the Dreamlands, a place made out of narrativium, in a series that has an American techno muscle getting outplayed by Canadians? Why should distance matter?

256:

REMINDER:

in Hollywood, special rules for physics apply... hero's gun never run out of bullets

ditto, fuel aboard a hero's faithful airborne steed

257:

If we change the type to a TwOtter 400, cruise goes up to 182kt, and range to 799nm.

258:

Twin Otter works even better for this scenario. Thanks!

Now let’s all hope the Laundry gets made in England?

259:

Maybe we're overthinking this: If it's a U.S. outfit just sell them the rights to the Black Chamber.

260:

Re: '... concurrence with the late Sir Peter Medawar's opinion(s) on Psychiatry'

My impression is that this field has moved on quite a bit since Medawar's time but (like many biologically-interrelated squishy fields) still has far to go. Hopefully there won't be another Freud-wannabe popping up who insists that his/her theory/POV is the be-all and end-all.

The brain is weird - even its vascular system is different from other organs. The below (open access) article showed up in my news alerts today - way too technical for me to understand the details but other folks here might find it interesting. Anyways - this just reinforces how much more there is to learn.

'A brain-specific angiogenic mechanism enabled by tip cell specialization'

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-024-07283-6

261:

FWIW Netflix just transplanted their adaptation of The Three Body Problem to England (mostly), so there's every reason to hope they would produce it in the UK.

262:

FWIW Netflix just transplanted their adaptation of The Three Body Problem to England (mostly), so there's every reason to hope they would produce it in the UK.

Yeah, and I hope that the Laundry Files gets made in the UK as well. I'd even subscribe to Britbox to see it.

Thing is, I grew up in the "TMZ" around Hollywood, which probably explains my allergies to various industrial practices therein. I'd swear that the Suck Fairy has a union card in the Writers Guild of America, while simultaneously and shamelessly scabbing for the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers.

The pitch for a Canadian Laundry Files is basically meant as a polite counter to some CRIS-enabled Note coming down from on high ("what if the Laundry was based in Georgia and run by patriots?"), primarily to keep the Suck Fairy away from the director's chair and writer's table, while still getting Charlie paid.

263:

So the Flying Mountie

Sgt Renfrew, maybe? With his trusty police dog (and brains of the outfit)?

(Canadians will get the reference.)

264:

The pitch for a Canadian Laundry Files is basically meant as a polite counter to some CRIS-enabled Note coming down from on high

Well, if it's Canadian it has to be polite, eh? And apologetic. (Sorry for pointing out you forgot this national trait.)

265:

Well, if it's Canadian it has to be polite, eh? And apologetic. (Sorry for pointing out you forgot this national trait.)

Didn't forget. For all I know, the screenwriter pitching this will be an Israeli far left ex-pat who'd rather work in Ottawa than Atlanta, because politics. The background is that Georgia's throwing money at producers to get more shows made in-state. So redirecting to Canada isn't quite as silly as it might seem to outsiders.

And I'm glad I didn't put Flying Mountie Preston. Presumably that would have been a bit gauche? Thanks for pointing me to Renfrew.

266:

Constable Benton Fraser and Diefenbaker.

267:

I don't know what story could involve both but I'd probably watch the anime.

Contact is made with a weird alien enviroment where turbojet engines work much better than turbofans because [insert vigorous handwaving].

268:

Torment Nexus adjacent: an interview with "six of today’s foremost science-fiction authors".

Does Science Fiction Shape the Future?

269:

Contact is made with a weird alien enviroment where turbojet engines work much better than turbofans because [insert vigorous handwaving].

Reminds me of this: https://www.quora.com/What-was-the-worlds-ugliest-aircraft-of-all-time/answer/Susanna-Viljanen

The alien environment in this case is Soviet Union. This plane is essentially aeronautic engineering equivalent of Lysenko biology.

270:

PilotMoonDog @ 196:

I'm not sure any TV adaptation would need to be transplanted.

Bear in mind the first book was a cross between Len Deighton and Lovecraft and the second was movie Bond and Lovecraft. Now as far as I know the Harry Palmer films and Bond films are reasonably well known so why would anyone feel the need to tamper with the location?

That's the point I was trying to make earlier. "British" stories told by "British" TV/Movie producers in "British" style DO sell well in the U.S. ... even when it's an American production company filming at Pinewoods (Warner Brothers & Harry Potter fer instance ...)

271:

DeMarquis @ 232:

So it's going to be an American show?

That seems to be the assumption, but I don't think Charlie has said?

... remember what "assumption" means.

272:

At this point I won’t be surprised if Atrocity Archive and Jennifer Morgue get turned into s K Drama focused on Mo.

273:

If it's something like Netflix it can be pretty much an anywhere show. They have proven even American audiences will take to English language content that isn't dubbed with American accents these days, and perhaps represents its location in ways that are different to tourism promotional material).

274:

Oops, forgot to escape close parenthesis in the URL. It still does a "did you mean?" so people can probably find it :)

275:

even American audiences will take to English language content that isn't dubbed with American accents these days

Yes. But we do turn on captions most of the time. And rewind at times when we hear a "what did they say ????!!!!".

276:

If it is intended to be a US TV series it very likely will be filmed in British Columbia. Stagate SG-1, X-Files, and many others were filmed there.

277:

Eh, no: the Belphegor made total sense if you view it as an entirely deniable military project -- a cheap way of spraying thousands of litres of nerve agents in the path of an invading NATO armoured force. (A scenario that Soviet military planners were deeply concerned with: seems unlikely to us in the west, but Russia was regularly invaded, and stuff like VR-55 or Sarin are effective at hampering soldiers.)

I'm going to stick my neck out and suggest that bleed air from the turbine compressor is a great way to aerosolize a high vapour pressure oily liquid.

In peacetime it's a crop sprayer: inefficient, but who cares? But when war's about to break out you switch out the pesticide for something a bit more unpleasant, put the pilot in a respirator, and buzz the landscape in front of the enemy path of advance at low altitude. (Who cares if the civilian agricultural pilots survive their first mission? This is Russian war planners ...)

278:

Who cares if the civilian agricultural pilots survive their first mission?

Well it's one way to get an instant Hero of the Soviet Union (posthumous, no gold star). And maybe the missions where you don't survive would be the ones in demand at the start of a nuclear war.

279:

Talking of which, there have been drone attacks on the "Zap" nuclear power plant, occupied by Putin's forces.
I cry "False Flag" - as the Ukrainians' say - ONE: It's ours anyway & TWO: "Nuclear power plant - no way!"
Very murky waters

Which reminds me - heard the Fürher of "Reform" on R4 - where he described the Labour & CURRENT TORY parties as identical & "Socialist" (!) ...
Ladies-&-Gennelmen, we have an actual Trumpist-&-fascist party on the ticket. His mealy-mouthed bleating about "saving" the NHS, with more private usage is an obvious Trojan Horse to me - but I wonder how many gullible idiots will swallow it?

280:

...an entirely deniable military project...

Honestly, I'm not convinced. That the Soviet Union would intentionally build a dual-use machine with an eye toward being useful in wartime, yes, absolutely.

But, wow, the PZL M-25 was not a good plane. I think your chemical weapon scenario would be better addressed with a prop driven utility aircraft; if it really needed the high volume air throughput of a jet, some such gimmick could have been designed for the cargo space of whatever aircraft Sovietplanners expected to be at hand in the Warsaw Pact nations when Germany invaded the next time.

(I concur that for some Russians the question is not "Will Germany invade us?" but rather "When will Germany invade us next?")

The M-25 is quite a contrast to the An-2 it was supposed to replace. The An-2 is more like a VW Beetle (or vintage Land Rover, for some of us): relatively crude, rugged, slow, no-frills, and fit for purpose.

281:

For everyone talking about the hassles and pit falls of adopting Charlie's books to the small or big screen.

This New York Times article is an interesting read. It is about how the Netflix series "3 Body Problem" is being received in China. (Where the only way to see it is via a pirated version.)

https://www.nytimes.com/2024/04/08/business/3-body-problem-china-reaction.html

It talks about the intersections of history, culture, perceptions, and reality or the lack of it.

282:

Thanks, but it's paywalled. Do you have a link the rest of us can use?

283:

Sorry. They used to let a few reads per month for free.

I subscribe so I don't see when things are pay walled.

Others here know to get past the pay wall and in the past have posted links.

285:

Yes, that's readable. Many thanks.

286:

Sorry, don't know Renfrew. I know Sgt. Preston (of the Yukon, with his dog, Yukon King), and, of course, Dudley Do-Right.

287:

The M-25 is quite a contrast to the An-2 it was supposed to replace. The An-2 is more like a VW Beetle (or vintage Land Rover, for some of us): relatively crude, rugged, slow, no-frills, and fit for purpose.

It's worth noting that reconfigured An-2 (NATO "Colt") are used in military and paramilitary roles already, especially in North Korea. ( https://www.twz.com/13851/north-koreas-recent-drills-featured-one-its-most-dangerous-weapons-the-ancient-an-2-biplane and https://www.twz.com/44532/russia-appears-to-be-preparing-its-ancient-an-2-biplanes-for-war-in-ukraine )

288:

Thank you very much. Interesting, and a certain Host is in it. Andy Weir, on the other hand, comes across as a lightweight.

Funny how close some of the responses are to "the literature of 'what if', or 'if this goes on'", but don't say that.

290:

The An-2 is legendary, IIRC it actually out-sold the DC-3/C-47 family. It has insane STOL characteristics because of the huge wing area -- its stall speed is something like 7 knots, so in a mild breeze it can just about land vertically! It's also built like a tank and was designed to be maintained using village blacksmith tools. Although that doesn't apply so much to some of the exotic modern derivatives, like the remanufactured turboprop models with glass cockpits and extensive use of carbon fibre to replace the old sheet metal bits. (Much as has been done to the DC-3.)

291:

After the collapse of the Soviet Union there was a short-lived An-2 aerobatic display team that turned up to airshows in western Europe. They did some weird shit manoeuvres at fifty feet and virtually zero airspeed, like helicopters but in biplanes. Don't know what happened to them afterwards, they probably ran out of funding.

292:

»its stall speed is something like 7 knots«

One of my friends grew up on an airbase, got his certificate as a teenager.

One sunday he took one of the trainers up in a good wind, throttled way down and flew past the tower.

Backwards.

Dad not amused when tower complained.

293:

Uncle Stinky
Indeed - I suspect he's a "plant" or "mole" .. I mean W. T. F?

294:

Given the likely scale of Labour's victory, I really hope someone runs against him on a purely pro NHS ticket. I'd vote for whomever it was and I doubt I'd be alone.

295:

Well, it's not quite 300, but close. We went out, saw the eclipse from our front yard. (I have real welding goggles). Showed it to our neighbors, who showed up just at the right time (about 93%). Then I yelled, and chased the Fenris wolf away, saving all of us. (You're welcome.)

296:

Worth remembering that Warsaw Pact did not expect to have spare jet engines lying around, as they intended to use the time-expired ones for NBC decontamination of vehicles - just mount the jet on the back of a truck, run it up, drive the tank or APC through the jet exhaust and there you go.

So having the jet already plumbed in to your M-52 area-denial aircraft would have made a certain amount of sense.

297:

Much appreciated, although now I have to go and find out about Fenris and eclipses

299:

You can often get around the New York Times paywall by copying a substantial portion of the text from the bit that the Times lets you see, putting it in quotes, and doing a web search. A number of sites seem to copy certain NYT articles and put them on the web for free.

300:

One sunday he took one of the trainers up in a good wind, throttled way down and flew past the tower.

Backwards.

Dad not amused when tower complained.

Not surprising about the complaint. Most airplanes don't have rear-view-mirrors! 😂

I have read that one C-47 flying the Hump in Asia during WW2 ran into strong headwinds, couldn't fly fast enough to get over the pass, and was in a valley too narrow to turn around. They reduced speed and backed out of the valley.

301:

»I'm going to stick my neck out and suggest that bleed air from the turbine compressor is a great way to aerosolize a high vapour pressure oily liquid«

No, you need far higher pressure and, easier to fix, much lower temperature.

302:

Yes, thanks to BO for that Nautilus link!

Thank you very much. Interesting, and a certain Host is in it. Andy Weir, on the other hand, comes across as a lightweight.

You know, one thing Weir said kind of bothered me. To the question of "Can science fiction sway the direction of society?" he responded, "Honestly? No. We’re entertainers. When writers forget that’s their main job, their work suffers. No one likes to be preached at." I also read Talking Points Memo, a left-leaning US political site, and I'm deluged with reporting on people whose major form of media consumption appears to be preaching and other propaganda.

It'd be interesting to see what happens if a SFF writer decides that yeah, maybe it's okay to preach too, so long as it's good art. Is there a reason for an SFF author to disempower their own creativity, to censor themselves as "just entertainers" when they write about things that matter? After all, most Christian sermons are essentially Bible fanfic, to the extent that they touch on scripture at all.

303:

It's very easy to read Docotorow and Brin as lecturing their readers, even in their fiction. Not to mention the whole "Please don't create the torment nexus" meme.

And then we get to people inspired by science fiction, especially a certain type of billionaire. Which raises the question of whether what Ayn Rand did counts as writing, and if so is it science fiction?

304:

Excellent tip, thanks for that and the link.

305:

Since we are over three hundred...

Those of you who had read "The Songs of Distant Earth" by Arthur C. Clarke, has it occurred to you that Thalassans act and think in a way which is very characteristic of High-Functioning Autistics?

Clarke had said that "The Songs of Distant Earth" is his favorite novel, and I totally understand why such society would appeal to him. Raised (by robots) from embryos, the first generation of Thalassans had ditched all the crap Clarke believed was holding us back, such as religion, racism, personal ambition, and sexual possessiveness. Being an Aspie myself, it certainly appeals to me.

Unfortunately, the only way I could see Thalassa continuing as it did in the book, is if these first colonists (and hence their descendants) were all autistic. Neurotypical children, even if kept in deliberate ignorance of religion, racism and war, would soon discover rivalries, cliques, superstition and bullying — stuff which very much appeals to significant portion of Homo sapiens. Within a few generations they will be back to traditional human tribal divisions, even if specific tribal markers would make no sense to us. But then, most tribal markers in history made no sense to anyone without a dog in that particular fight. "Their skin is different color!" is no more and no less arbitrary than "They eat shellfish! Gross!"

306:

The behavior we characterize as neurotypical might be seen on reemergence as gauche. Indeed, it might not be so much majority behavior now as a loud minority who "Dare to be assholes".

307:

Sorry, don't know Renfrew.

You're not Canadian, eh? :-)

I was thinking of the Royal Canadian Air Farce character played by Dave Broadfoot: Cpl (later Sgt) Renfrew and his police dog Cuddles (the brains of the outfit) based out of their lonely log cabin on the 14th floor of Mountie headquarters…

http://airfarce.com/dave-broadfoot

I was thinking that the (imaginary) Canadian series could start out as almost a comedy then slide into something darker (much like the Laundry series).

Although while goggling for a link to the character I discovered that there was an earlier Sgt Renfrew of the Mounted, which might have inspired Broadfoot's character's name:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Renfrew_of_the_Royal_Mounted

308:

The behavior we characterize as neurotypical might be seen on reemergence as gauche.

I may have been unclear. My point is that such behavior would emerge (not RE-emerge) in the very first batch of children. There would not be any adults around to tell them it is "gauche". And if robots are good enough at child psychology to spot and stop such behavior -- and more importantly, were designed from the start with this goal in mind, -- then the Earth society which built the colony ship already must have put an end to such "neurotypical behavior", and "ditching the crap" is moot.

309:

Here I made it to my 50s before I discovered that all the ills of human behaviour are committed by 'neurotypicals'. If only we had the sense to subject ourselves to the Aspie god-kings earlier we might have avoided so much suffering.

Sarcasm aside, the neurodivergent people I have known have managed to exhibit all the human failings listed above. Certainly bullying, racism, ambition, rivalries and cliques. Some have taken it to truly impressive levels. One former employer of mine was a real exemplar of many of those qualities, and he was certainly neurodiverse (and used his diagnosis as a justification for his atrocious bullying behaviour).

I submit that there is not a sub-group of humans that are magically immune to such failings. The notion that there is not is offensive in the extreme.

310:

I think we all agree that humans are necessarily the product of their genes, the human culture that raises them, and their environment, the latter of which includes all the microbes and other organisms that live on, in, and around them. All of these have profound effects on brain structure. To be blunt, if you disbelieve the statement and have posted anything supporting ideas like "covid brain fog" you're contradicting yourself.

I'm pointing at one problem with how we deal with "the spectrum," with "neurotypical" on one end, "neurodiveregent" in the middle, being people who "function", to people who can't function on their own without specialist help at the far end.

There's a problem with this spectrum that's so obvious it's overlooked. That problem is that, for about 300,000 years, we were foragers ("hunter-gatherers", which I'm not using because foragers is shorter and less sexist). All of our ancestors, until very recently, were what would today be considered hard core biology nerds, and to thrive, they had to have skills that most PhD ecologists (and most survivalists) lack. Today, most people with anything like those skills level are seen as weird and often neurodivergent by those in the mainstream ("normies"), but that puts us in a paradox: what is today considered normal (obsessing about people, downplaying knowledge skills and talents) would have been crippled a handful of generations ago.

What changed? Culture, possibly with a side of microbial ecology. It happened too fast for our human genes to change significantly. This is supported by any good anthropological study you read. Foragers aren't all aspies. Most of them behave normally, and they often have functioning neurodivergent people within their families.

What's going on here is that cultural mainstreaming. If, to be a competent adult, you need to be able to identify 500 species of plant and know what to do with them, guess what your elders and peers teach you? If, to be a competent adult, you need to be employable, socialized to follow laws and be loyal to your country, guess what your school teachers teach you? Either way, your brain is profoundly shaped by the culture(s) in which you are grown.

A lot of what we consider "neurotypical" is the product of culture, not biology. Neurodivergence is real, but the way it displays now is a product of culture too, not biology. We're cultured organisms and always have been.

311:

I am well aware that neurodivergents are capable of bullying, racism, ambition, rivalries and cliques. My point is:

a) At least some Aspies really are not capable of any of these things.

b) Thalassans as portrayed in "The Song of Distant Earth" are not capable of any of these things, and have not been for 400 years.

c) Arthur C. Clarke is on record stating that he wanted to create a society which started with a "clean slate" (no adult influence) and left all these things behind.

I tried to come up with a way how such society could persist for 400 years. The only way I could see it working is if it consists entirely of people in a) group.

312:

Since I'm preaching from my little soapbox this morning, there's something else I've been thinking about since Bo posted that Nautilus article: text and subtext, specifically in science fiction.

The basic problem is that English, like most languages, isn't one language. It's a reef of languages, with jargons coding everything from status to wealth, age, and whether one belongs to a particular social or technical group. On this blog, you demonstrate you belong by using terms like "mammonite" or "strange attractor." THIS IS NORMAL, and I'm not saying it's bad. But it can cause problems.

One big problem I see is that jargon boundaries control the sub-text too, not just the text, because they depend on education and shared experience. If I say "canned monkeys don't ship well," it's a bit of silliness to a newcomer. To an initiate here, it refers to a series of discussions about space travel that have lasted over a decade and informed several of Charlie's books.

Writers control the text. But they don't control whether the readers get the subtext, unless they're writing only where they can be reasonably certain that their readers belong to the same in-group, as in a scientific journal. If they're writing for a general audience, they have no control over whether their readers belong to their in-group or not, so things that are only in the subtext might get lost.

For example, the Laundryverse is a bunch of texts. In the Nautilus article ( https://nautil.us/does-science-fiction-shape-the-future-543468/ ), Charlie said "For the past decade I’ve been writing critical political satire disguised as Lovecraftian horror stories." True enough, but I think some of the critical political satire is in the subtext, more than the text. Now I'm wondering if part of Charlie's reluctance to sell the Laundry media rights outside of the UK is due to the adaptation losing the subtext? This isn't a criticism, just trying to put into words something that bothers me about SFF in general.

The problem to me is about who controls the subtext in SFF. Back in the "Golden Age" it was people from various technical subcultures. My parents, both engineers, read the Lensman as something approaching satire, because stuff that never happened in the real world (like prototypes working on the first try) happened so often in the books as to approach camp. E.E. Smith was also an engineer, incidentally, so this was an in-group joke. SF was initially techies writing for techies, and the Space Age mainstreamed it.

Nowadays, the subtext comes out of the humanities. Former subtext from the technical fields is relegated to tropes, setting, and other unimportant stuff. Instead, calls to the Canon of English literature--or other great works--seem to be the subtext. Readers who don't know the jargon well enough to get the sub-text sometimes seem to be blamed for their outsider status. Thus, there are statements like "The thing is, billionaires are not critical readers. They don’t seem to have noticed the subtext of the science fiction they read as kids, much less noticed where there’s a worrying absence of subtext."

Maybe, if the subtext is critically important, it needs to put into the text just a bit more? Is this preaching, or not? After all, if the writer's goal is to get the techies to not build the Torment Nexus, then that part can't be in a subtext that only English majors get.

313:

The first time my wife saw "canned monkeys don't ship well", she was very upset because she thought it really refers to canned monkey meat.

315:

Um, have you read my Becoming Terran, yet? I think I meet both preaching and good writing.

316:

No, what Ayn Rand did was write fanfic for the wealthy, that should have ended in the slush pile.

317:

Writers control the text. But they don't control whether the readers get the subtext

Or whether they read a different subtext than the author intended. There's the old joke about a time-travelling Shakespeare failing a class in English literature because he 'obviously' didn't understand the true meaning of Shakespeare's sonnets…

318:

That would depend, to a degree, on whether autism is inheritable. If both parents are autistic, will the child be?

319:

As far as I know, yes it is strongly inheritable.

320:

Martin Rodgers @ 282:

Thanks, but it's paywalled. Do you have a link the rest of us can use?

Try entering the URL into https://archive.ph/

321:

whitroth @ 286:

Sorry, don't know Renfrew. I know Sgt. Preston (of the Yukon, with his dog, Yukon King), and, of course, Dudley Do-Right.

If memory serves, Renfrew was Count Dracula's butler.

322:

True, but the reference was to someone's mention of https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Renfrew_of_the_Royal_Mounted

323:

Renfield was the Count's minion.

324:

In which context, I propose renaming the LHC as the "Large Higgs Collider".

325:

Saw the eclipse. It was mostly cloudy, but with enough breaks frequently enough I could follow the progress.

Got some photos ... at least enough I'll be able to design myself another T-Shirt.

In the meantime I talked to a lot of people.

Today is a rest day before I start my journey back home.

326:

Actually, I was referencing the Dave Broadfoot character, which most Canadians here probably heard/saw when they were younger. Doubt anyone here is old enough to have read the boys adventure novels when they came out (although I may be wrong).

327:

Or whether they read a different subtext than the author intended. There's the old joke about a time-travelling Shakespeare failing a class in English literature because he 'obviously' didn't understand the true meaning of Shakespeare's sonnets…

I've had similar experiences.

I also remember a one-time boss of mine who, as a politician's aide, wrote a bill that got passed. Then he went to grad school and took a class where the professor brought up the bill and talked at length about the bill-writer intended, not realizing the bill writer was sitting in front of him, seething.

To clarify, I don't want to load onto writers the responsibility for how readers interpret their work. That's both maddening and cruel. I'm trying to get at the difference between explicit and implicit, to the degree it can be controlled.

For instance, if cautionary, dystopian stories about "here's what happens if the bad guys win" result too often in powerful people idolizing the bad guys, then maybe we really do need more stories where the bad guys are portrayed as delusional, damaged, increasingly loathed, isolated, and despised more than feared. And losers. Right now, that's the way we want the aspiring super-rich to see themselves, no?

328:

Re: '... load onto writers the responsibility for how readers interpret their work. ... the difference between explicit and implicit, to the degree it can be controlled.'

Authors* have some control/responsibility - but it seems how much control depends on who their editors (e.g., Campbell) and publishers are.

Genre label importance ... Animal Farm, 1984 and Brave New World are all SFF novels that seem universally recognized as highly politically charged/relevant. All have been banned at some point in powerful authoritarian states (i.e., the genpop weren't allowed to read these books) while these same books were required reading for the up&coming in-crowd/pols. I find it weird that as much as the so-called literary elite scoff at 'SFF', this genre has been able to produce and communicate some very powerful ideas/messages.

*Ditto for songwriters ... and artists in general.

Re: neurotypical and other psych terms

Basically, I agree with your comments/POV. Whenever I hear/see 'typical' I automatically think 'statistical average among that sample/population at that point in time'. What strikes me as weird is that the folks here skew sci/tech, i.e., they know about evolution, bio, stats, etc. yet still seem to have a hard time accepting that humanity is both complex and in constant flux. Almost like they're rejecting their own bio and point-in-time-existence/ephemeral nature.

Re: Higgs

I remember watching the telecast from CERN confirming the Higgs particle (2012) and seeing that Higgs was in the audience. Glad the Nobel committee didn't waste time before awarding him the prize (2013).

'The Moment: CERN Scientist Announces Higgs Boson 'God Particle' Discovery'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0CugLD9HF94

329:

Maybe, if the subtext is critically important, it needs to put into the text just a bit more?

Problem: the SF canon is old and you can't retroactively fix it. (I was going to say "retcon" but that's SF fandom in-group jargon right there, which king of proves the point.)

Consider Iain Banks' Culture novels, the ground zero of the New Space Opera, dates to the mid-eighties -- it's forty years old. Ursula LeGuin's Imperial Phase was the 1960s; Isaac Asimov died a third of a century ago (and stopped writing SF in the early 1970s): Dune is well over fifty.

As with LLMs or other AI training data sets, the SF canon embodies the attitudes of an earlier age -- several earlier ages -- and we tend to forget, as older folks, just how much social change there's been in the past two decades.

330:

if cautionary, dystopian stories about "here's what happens if the bad guys win" result too often in powerful people idolizing the bad guys, then maybe we really do need more stories where the bad guys are portrayed as delusional, damaged, increasingly loathed, isolated, and despised more than feared.

Problem: it doesn't work. (Doesn't even work for ordinary people, never mind the powerful.) When David Brin wrote "The Postman", and it got adapted for cinema, he hit the roof when he saw what the producers had done -- they'd actually turned the no-holds-barred bad guys into heroes and painted his actual hero as an ineffectual wimpish fool. Because it's drama, and drama works best with protagonists who take significant actions that change things -- typically violent actions, because it's very hard to make everyday business or bureaucracy exciting.

331:

we tend to forget, as older folks, just how much social change there's been in the past two decades

Another one of my nieces is getting married this year. When I was her age there's no way she could have openly been with her sweetheart, let alone contemplated legally marrying her.

332:

When David Brin wrote "The Postman", and it got adapted for cinema, he hit the roof when he saw what the producers had done

That's not quite how he describes it now…

https://www.davidbrin.com/nonfiction/postmanmovie.html

Short version: he blames the first scriptwriter, Erik Roth, for deciding "to toss out every iota of the book and start from scratch with a story that was completely his own... incidentally going out of his way to reverse every moral point of The Postman!"

333:

Um,….hunh? The Postman made $20 million on a budget of $80 million and won the Golden Raspberry for worst movie of the year. Why is it an example of anything other than not alienating the fans?

Meanwhile, LOTR raked in $2.9 billion in three movies. Palantir aside, I don’t know of a tech bro who idolizes Sauron, and the attempt to humanize him on Netflix seems to have died.

I agree that Chosen Ones are overplayed, but why not make more villains doomed over-reachers, rather than enviable strongmen?

334:

I'm fairly sure that Shakespeare failing on his own works is an old Asimov short story.

336:

I heard it from an English prof, poking fun at over-certain colleagues.

Whether it originated with a published story, or was making the rounds before it was written down I don't know.

337:

Problem: the SF canon is old and you can't retroactively fix it. (I was going to say "retcon" but that's SF fandom in-group jargon right there, which king of proves the point.)

I think we just had a pretty good example of miscommunication right there. Twice.

I’ll try to say it differently: how do you communicate with a reader who doesn’t think the way you do, and who may not want to understand you at first? Do you say it doesn’t matter, that you’re only an entertainer? Do you say it’s their fault, because they read differently than you do? What is the threshold to be crossed before you, or any author, tries to empathize with readers who want to take your cautionary parables as inspiration?

338:

Heteromeles @ 337:

"Problem: the SF canon is old and you can't retroactively fix it. (I was going to say "retcon" but that's SF fandom in-group jargon right there, which king of proves the point.)"

I think we just had a pretty good example of miscommunication right there. Twice.

I’ll try to say it differently: how do you communicate with a reader who doesn’t think the way you do, and who may not want to understand you at first? Do you say it doesn’t matter, that you’re only an entertainer? Do you say it’s their fault, because they read differently than you do? What is the threshold to be crossed before you, or any author,

If the reader doesn't think the way you do and does not want to understand you is he/she even going to read your book in the first place?

339:

People looking to justify their actions will look for canon as much as they'll look for anything else.

A modern cliche example is the Christian Bible, used to justify everything from genocide to charity. A few billionaires using obscure philosophy textbooks to justify rape or rapacious greed is small beans comepared to a "Crusade Against Terrorism" or the occasional "Christianisation by massacre"

Looking around at various reified texts there's everything from the Little Red Book to the Koran written explicitly as guides for running a society, but also a bunch of incidental writing taken the same way, whether that's the Hindutva inspirations or David Cameron's "Why we need a Brexit Referendum" pamphlet (which I don't believe was seriously intended as a manifesto for bankrupting the UK)

340:

Random post-300 headline: Arm CEO warns AI's power appetite could devour 25% of US electricity by 2030. Well somewhat relevant to themes in the OGH's work, anyhow.

We've talked about crypto "currency" as the bogus unnecessary energy sink that will eat all our emissions savings for the foreseeable future, but what about that "AI"* thing again?

* holding "AI" distinct from AI. One is mostly a marketing term, the other is a very abstract research concept.

341:

devour 25% of US electricity by 2030. >/i>

Any idea how much a shoggoth uses? Just in case anyone is comparison shopping...

342:

If the reader doesn't think the way you do and does not want to understand you is he/she even going to read your book in the first place?

I am. You?

343:

...only good thing I remember about that utter waste of film stock was the scene where the so-called hero is whining about being injured and oh-so-hungry... and his unamused (and under-impressed) companion goes out with her shotgun... we hear from off-screen... one shot... horse screams in brief agony... followed by a close up of a bubbling pot of stew...

my date that night could not stop laughing about who was the genuine hero in it... sadly I agreed with her... and I really liked the book... aside from that wacky final chapter with a 'super hero' fight scene...

what made me so pissed at the time was that book could could-a-should-a-would-a made a rather decent six episode miniseries on cable 'back then'... for less than half the cost of the movie..

maybe netflix will, after running through all other source material, takes a second look

344:

A modern cliche example is the Christian Bible

And Adam Smith's "The Wealth of Nations".

People stretch what he said into all kinds of contortions today.

Not that I agree with everything he did say.

345:

I am.

Agreed.

We all need to get out of our personal echo chamber / comfort zone. Or we'll never understand the world around us. I suspect that no one on this blog could get more than single digits if running for elected office. So if we want to change or just influence the world around us we need to understand the bits we don't agree with.

346:

Talking of news, new & old, one surprisingly quiet one, that I missed the first time around, appears to have resurfaced.
That the German Green party are as stupid & gullible as ours, or even worse ... they've been taking money from Putin - to pursue their anti-nuclear (power) agenda

347:

@Greg, what changed that made fission power a good idea, unless you are also after an atomic weapons program? I would have thought that the rest of Europe/world would consider it a good outcome if the folks that manages to start 1.5 world wars (WW1 was hardly the fault of a single agent, a lot of nations where willing to go there) last century would abstain from dabbling in fission?

I tried to get some reputable sources backing up your "innuendo" about the green party, but came up blank... I am not ruling out that there is a speck of truth to it, but I would like to see reliable data on that. The only thing I can find is green resistance against letting a Rosatom daughter build nuclear fuel assemblies in Germany to make eastern european reactors less dependent on supplies from Russia, which seems an odd proposition given the participation of a rosatom daughter. But be that as it may, please post some links.

But to put my cards on the table, I consider fission a patently stupid idea (for non-atomic weapons states), for a whole set of reasons including fuel availability and risk management. From a scientific perspective even fission is and being able to do this on a "commercial" scale is impressive, but neither makes actually keep doing it a good idea.

349:

What people get out of the bible says a lot about them.

350:

My wife had a related strange educational experience. Her job was as part of a team running an online engineering library project. All the other team members had library qualifications, but she was the sole qualified engineer on the project.

After she'd been with them for quite a few years they decided she should be library qualified too, so sponsored her to do a day release MSc. Turned out for one of the course modules a paper she had published as part of her role at the project was on the reading list. Since the assignements were anonymously marked she had to be very careful that if she was saying anything close to what was in her paper she did it as a quote with appropriate biblio referencing, because otherwise there was a risk she could be penalised for plagarising herself. She was quite worried that the automated plagiarism checks would pick up on her turn of phrase / use of language and cross reference.

351:

holding "AI" distinct from AI. One is mostly a marketing term, the other is a very abstract research concept.

How do you designate the livestock term, which dates back further than the comp-sci one?

352:

And Adam Smith's "The Wealth of Nations". People stretch what he said into all kinds of contortions today. Not that I agree with everything he did say.

Even more so, they ignore what he actually did say. Throw out some Smith quotes to a right-wing (Canadian) audience and they think you're quoting Marx rather than the secular saint whose alter they claim to worship at.

"No society can surely be flourishing and happy, of which the far greater part of the members are poor and miserable."

"Wherever there is great property, there is great inequality."

"Civil government, so far as it is instituted for the security of property, is in reality instituted for the defense of the rich against the poor, or of those who have some property against those who have none at all."


This one is particularly apt today, as we look at how the powers-that-be 'explain' inflation:

"In regards to the price of commodities, the rise of wages operates as simple interest does, the rise of profit operates like compound interest.

Our merchants and masters complain much of the bad effects of high wages in raising the price and lessening the sale of goods. They say nothing concerning the bad effects of high profits. They are silent with regard to the pernicious effects of their own gains. They complain only of those of other people."


"People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices."

"It is not very unreasonable that the rich should contribute to the public expense, not only in proportion to their revenue, but something more than in that proportion."

"All for ourselves, and nothing for other people, seems, in every age of the world, to have been the vile maxim of the masters of mankind."

And of course this one, which they are absolutely certain isn't from The wealth of Nations even when you point to the page:

"The interest of [capitalists] is always in some respects different from, and even opposite to, that of the public ... The proposal of any new law or regulation of commerce which comes from this order ... ought never to be adopted, till after having been long and carefully examined ... with the most suspicious attention. It comes from an order of men ... who have generally an interest to deceive and even oppress the public"


(It used to be fun to do the same thing with Lincoln* to American right-wingers, but the entertainment value disappeared when being batshit-crazy MAGA became a membership requirement.)


* He believed in the labour theory of value, which is anathema to modern capitalism.

353:

AI. There are many overloaded acronyms and pretty much nothing is context-independent.

And I'm not going to apply scare quotes to the marketing term consistently, it's just a way of grumbling about the creeping ubiquity. That sounds like a semi-reasonable name for a band.

354:

I am. You?

Except JohnS's statement doesn't apply to you.

"If the reader doesn't think the way you do and does not want to understand you is he/she even going to read your book in the first place?"

You want to understand. You aren't convinced that your current worldview is the One True Way, and are making active efforts to understand how others see the world.

355:

Agreed on the band name.

Having worked in agriculture in the 70s, every time I read "AI" my brain first thinks of that meaning. Which provides some quiet amusement when reading marketing claims and research papers alike.

356:

I'm going to note at this point that religious devotees of scriptural religions -- ones where the holy book is central (notably Judaism/Christianity/Islam/Mormonism) -- tend to be terrible at understanding fiction: the idea that a book can be full of made-up stuff yet not designed to mislead or lie to the reader is anathema to them (because if one book can be made up, why not another very important one?). Written fiction as an abstract concept is subversive to their world view. As witness Salman Rushdie's brush with the Ayatollah Khomenei over The Satanic Verses, or the book-banning craze in the Bible Belt right now.

357:

blank @ 347
Re: German Greens:
Google for them + "Gazprom" - apparently they took/were "given" approx £20m when the Nordstream pipeline was under way, but this is now a year or three-old news.
OK?

358:

Written fiction as an abstract concept is subversive to their world view. As witness Salman Rushdie's brush with the Ayatollah Khomenei over The Satanic Verses

Khomeini, if I remember correctly (It's been some years since I read the Satanic verses), wasn't so much displeased by the concept of fiction than by Rushdie's (apostate muslim) mockery of Muhammad* and also by a direct attack on Khomeini, though his name wasn't mentioned.

  • Muhammad leaves town, and while he is away the main brothel owner has his prostitutes dress as Muhammad's wives and does a brisk business with the town people
359:

UPDATE

The Laundry Files TTRPG Kickstarter is open.

Also, it exceeded its funding target in the first 66 minutes, so if you pledge enough money to pay for one of the rewards you will receive it.

Unless CASE NIGHTMARE GREEN happens first. In which case you'll have bigger worries than not receiving a new roleplaying game.

360:

Well.. over the years, I considered running. After a conversation over lunch, a woman who was pushing really hard to become a full partner in what was then named Andersen Consulting said she'd vote for me. And my brother-in-law, a native Texan, though my views of welfare, etc, were reasonable.

And then there's the friend I have in NYC, a gafiated fan, who has real money, has said he'd happily put in the max $2k, for sheer amusement value.

I've always said that if I ran for, say, Congress, the least worst case would be one or more talking heads on Faux Noise dying on air of apoplexy.

361:

You're absolutely correct. A datum I've mentioned here a while ago: back in the late seventies, before I started working professionally, I was a library page. Another page was a black woman (she had an MSc in microbiology, so she couldn't get a job, no Ph.D). One day, she asked me what I was reading all the time. When I told her mostly sf, her reply was "Fiction, that's like lies, right?"

I was so shocked it took me three days to come up with an appropriate reply. (Which I've always been happy with: no. A lie is saying something you know is false to be true. Fiction, though it may tell truths, represents itself to be false.)

362:

And then there's the friend I have in NYC, a gafiated fan, who has real money, has said he'd happily put in the max $2k, for sheer amusement value.

A friends son ran for Congress in the Houston area. In the R primary. In Houston. He came in 5th or something like that. Adding in the state party support they figured each vote cost over $10k in campaign spending.

363:

When I told her mostly sf, her reply was "Fiction, that's like lies, right?"

An acquaintance said something similar about actors: "They're all liars".

Ticked off my wife who does the occasional acting gig, and is about the most honest person I know.

364:

The "fiction is lies"/"actors are liars" thing is a simplifying assumption common among people who have been trained to believe every proposition is unambiguously true or false. (As is typical of Biblical fundamentalists, because life is easier for their preachers if nobody knows their doctrinal statements are questionable, so that's what they teach the kids.)

Obviously the Bible must be true (because it says it's true right there in the Bible), so the whole idea that there's a book that may contain untruths while not being full of lies is an incomprehensible paradox and deeply subversive to the black-and-white outlook.

365:

Which must be some kind of corollary to "I read it on the Internet, so it must be true!"

366:

The Laundry Files TTRPG Kickstarter is open.

Congratulations! I've pledged.

367:

context is everything

Adam Smith's intel base -- the set of books and papers and journals and ideas -- was limited in a way nobody alive today could grasp emotionally

never mind googling in 2024... inter-library loans in 1974 offering about a thousand times the number of resources (and not just due to the volume having been written) available in 1874 or 1774

due to lots 'n lots of hard work to establish that service

what Adam Smith wrote was (of course) biased due to gender-age-ethnicity but he was seeking to dig deeper and reveal what could be universal truths

that he has been shown as imprecise is a good way of demonstrating there is never an end to fact-checking, deep dives, experimenting, et al, that goes into the scientific method

...now if we could only locate that be-damned butterfly in Peru that triggered the earthquake in New Jersey last week we could all sleep easier

368:

The one I heard recently was "you're living in the Matrix", semi-seriously as though it was being tried out for a different argument elsewhere.

369:

before getting blown up mis-stepping on a transgender landmine, J. K. Rowling was one of those British authors viewed with suspicion by American religious clergy for 'normalizing' magick and wizards and treating children of diverse fiscal backgrounds more-or-less equally

then there's the momentary brew up over "the Force" in the Star Wars movies in the late 1980s which led to a failed attempt at banning 'em in various locales

so yeah... not grasping fiction as being fiction seems an accurate summary

but it is part of a larger effort at stifling disagreement with moral authority by reducing 'wrong thoughts' via censorship

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comstock_laws

here in US there's a massive push to revive the (in)famous Comstock Laws to prevent abortion-by-medication but already there's hints the longer term usage will be to censor the mails...the books going through USPS ("the mail")... and little doubt by way of pretzel logic those laws will be leveraged to censor the web... but given hyper-partisan judges it might well happen...

how's that for a horror novel set in the US?

I really will lose sleep imagining the Handmaiden's Tale mashed up with Comstock-derived 'thought police' encoded AI web-bots surveying Facebook-TikTok-mobile-phones to identify 'wrong thinking posts'

370:

uhm... "I did my own research on vax" was not etched onto tombstones of any of those million-plus dead Americans because surviving next-of-kin refused to acknowledge such utter stupidity having been a mass suicide pact

but after crunching the numbers? so many card-carrying batshit crazy tinfoil extremists died that it has assuredly thinned the herd enough to reduce support for Trump

I'm trying not to savor the bitter dregs of this cup of self-owned-stupidity tea

371:

hmmm...

{ stands up from desk and stares out window }

{ spoken in a loud firm voice }

"computer! end simulation of dystopian early 21st century and show me the exit from holodeck"

{ repeats request louder }

{ nope still stuck here }

372:

Few will be surprised to discover that NEOM is going down the toilet.

373:

a native Texan, though my views of welfare, etc, were reasonable.

Being potentially able to get some votes from the 5% or 10% of actual voters who are susceptable to persuasion on policy is fuck all use in most countries, but especially in the USA. You'd get many times more votes simply by being selected as a candidate by one of the major parties, or if an open primary is held, by being annointed by the committee that runs one.

And then there's what happens when your extreme views and long history of anti-American activities are covered by the media. Even the most reasonable statement can (and will, if you look capable of being selected) be portrayed as putting you somewhere between Stalin and Osama Bin Laden (or Jesus and Ghnadi if you prefer). You can see this above with all the quotes from that notorious socialist extremist Adam Smith.

374:

because it says it's true right there in the Bible

But fiction invariably starts with "this is a work of fiction and any resemblce to reality is accidental" or some similar verbiage. I presume literalists brains lock up at that point from hitting the liar's paradox and thus they're untroubled by exposure to the rest of the book.

Although this does raise the question of how exactly they learned to read, given the wide use of fiction in schools ("See Spot run" ... really? Produce this 'Spot' and show me it running).

Mind you, it also raises questions about all these politicians who never ever lie, or perhaps get a mysterious exemption from the Biblical injunction against lying (perhaps by "neighbour" the Bible means "those close to you on the ideological spectrum of your choice" and thus the tale of the good Samaritan* is there to show that even Jesus had his off days?)

(* the good Palestinian?)

375:

The differential death rates continues even though the behaviour has now been normalised. I'm one of the very few I see making in public now, and I've seen a tiny fraction of those wearing N95 masks (I'm not sure whether to say two or three, out of perhaps 30 masked people despite taking a train during rush hour recently)

The upside is that someone gave me half a box of N95's the other day, which prompted someone else to say they'd bring their box along next time they expect to see me. So I might get through the pandemic only buying two boxes of masks (counting the half box I had at the start, because bushfire smoke is also ungood)

376:

so many card-carrying batshit crazy tinfoil extremists died that it has assuredly thinned the herd enough to reduce support for Trump

Don't have a link handy, but I had seen pretty convincing analysis show that without Covid deaths, Trump would have won in 2020.

377:

Ha - I was just about to post that Grauniad article too. Mind you, if they actually build a mile and a half or so of it, it will be an interesting experiment in construction.

And coincidentally I just read a really nice story from the ever worthy Lavie Tidhar that was at least in part set in Neom. https://www.uncannymagazine.com/article/the-robot/

378:

https://theconversation.com/bruce-pascoes-black-duck-is-a-healing-and-necessary-account-of-a-year-on-his-farm-following-a-difficult-decade-after-dark-emu-224971

Bruce Pascoe has a new book out and the article describes some of the, ah, "very Australian", responses to Dark Emu.

https://theconversation.com/nzs-mental-healthcare-is-in-crisis-but-research-shows-us-how-to-shorten-wait-times-and-keep-staff-225775

only about 60% of healthcare is currently aligned with evidence-based guidelines. According to this research, 30% is “waste, duplication or of low value” and 10% is actually harmful.

Article is about mental health but the stat quoted is about general healthcare. Interesting that they explicitly call out dealing with autistic patients as an area where therapists are noticeably problematic. "There is no cure for ASD" apparently still needs to be at the top of the list, and it's worth noting that "ideally someone should come up with a way to assess adults" is on the list even though that's not something the average therapist can do (coming up with the assessment system, that is, once something exists they should be able to use it).

379:

Re: 'There is no cure for ASD'

There's been some lit/scientific investigation into ASD and ADHD overlap for over a decade now. Just like with physiological (medical) problems, it seems that some clinicians are still of the mindset that a patient can have only one condition (infection) at a time. Reason I mention this is that if someone has both conditions, getting diagnosed/therapy for only one condition won't be enough.

https://psychscenehub.com/psychinsights/adhd-and-autism-comorbidity-a-comprehensive-review/

There's some access to in utero testing for ASD even though there's no 'cure' yet.

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25251361/#:~:text=In%20the%20United%20States%2C%20prenatal,to%20arrange%20for%20early%20interventions.

380:

Re: '... the assessment system,'

Check in your region what a thorough psych assessment costs - over here it's $4 - $6 thousand. Plus many/most insurance companies don't cover it. Plus there's a long wait list.

The above is based on conversations with a clinical psych resident - family member. I once asked what the paperwork was like expecting a description similar to the stereotypical movie/TV psychiatrist scenario - nope!

381:

The good news is that for some (many?) ADHD people trying random illegal stimulants tells you at least half of what a formal assessment will. Ideally you'd try illegally obtained prescription meds, but according to some people the bankers drug also works as an assessment tool. If you try some and sit there going "I don't see what the fuss is about, if anything I feel more calm and collected than usual" congratulations :)

Here the rationing is via a queue rather than bill shock for the most part, but for adults there's also the fun thing of finding a clinician who's capable of dual diagnosing. "capable" often referring to their mental capacity rather than any kind of certification process, because as you note many still suffer the delusion that the Au and DHD parts of AuDHD are mutually exclusive (I guess that means AuDHD people have cliche split personalities who have one syndrome each?)

The Autistic Survival Guide to Therapy by Steph Jones seems like an interesting book, and Yo Samdy Sam interviewed the author here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zL_s6dKitH0&lc=UgzofYYTW7RaBMDBshd4AaABAg.A23LDPNt11SA245fmVNTwF Potentially a useful book for people engaging with therapists more generally, especially if you're struggling with the idea that therapist shopping might be an essential part of the process.

382:

{ snark on }

...as if we were clamoring to live in a city where the supreme ruler was a man who never obeyed any law he disliked

and his extended family having demonstrated decades of benign behavior as well as effective administration of a multi-trillion dollar windfall which was the very definition of a non-renewable source of wealth...

so yeah... savoring another cup of self-owned-epic-fail tea

383:

Re: 'Autistic Survival Guide to Therapy by Steph Jones ... Yo Samdy Sam interview'

Interesting interview - thanks! I especially liked the comparison to languages.

Although autism and ADHD have become familiar terms, I'm not sure I'd recognize them in real-life because like 'normal' there's probably a considerable range/variety.

384:

Obviously the Bible must be true (because it says it's true right there in the Bible), so the whole idea that there's a book that may contain untruths while not being full of lies is an incomprehensible paradox and deeply subversive to the black-and-white outlook.

I suspect that one place the Binary Outlook also turns up is in those who naively think we live in a simulation. At least some of them think underlying reality is binary, 0s and 1s, and that any apparent diversity is simulated, not real.

---Cosmic Silliness Warning---

I'm not sure if anyone's noticed my current infatuation with Jonathan Oppenheim's semi-classical cosmology. All his group are doing is working under the notion that gravity and spacetime aren't quantized, while everything else is. And it seems to work pretty well so far.

So postulate that we never find a graviton, and analog spacetime remains the most accurate model we have.

Now further postulate that this is all, in fact, a simulation: spacetime is an analog simulation, while quantum mechanics is a digital simulation (because it's quantized, of course). Now I don't know much about analog simulating beyond slide rules, but I do know that the nuisancey bit of it is error propagation from step to step. So if we're living in an analog simulation, we should expect propagating errors in the simulation of spacetime and gravitational systems.

Do we see this? Hard to say. But if it turns out that the best model for the observations attributed to dark energy and dark matter is some sort of error propagation in an analogy of gravity warping spacetime, then wouldn't that be evidence that we're living inside a simulation? A semi-analog simulation? And the mind of the Simulator who is dreaming this up is a very strange and loopy system indeed.

---Back to Reality---

385:

Greg Egan's books occasionally fall off the edge of that sort of thought pattern. He has the disadvantage of being better at weird maths than some of us, which leads to bits of his books being confusingly like textbooks in places. Well, they're textbooks, but for maths and/or physics that (probably) doesn't actually exist. Diaspora is "what if string theory was just the start" and gets a bit weird in places. Elliptical quarks and toroidal wormholes are not the worst of it...

386:

Howard NYC
Or, earlier, the attempts by US religious nutters trying to ban or restrict JRRT's works & films - carefully ignoring his deep-rooted catholicism ...
Yeah, they're stupid.

"Comstock" - "It was as if all the walls of the houses in Geneva had been turned into glass" - a favourite quite of mine, reflecting what happened when the murdering chritian shit Jean Calvin took the city over.

Moz @ 374
In delicious irony, a few Samarian/Samaritans still exist - unfortunately, like the Jews & the Muslims, they also still say: "But god gave us this land" .....

ilya187
And, given the continuing numbers game of loonies dying ... how likely, really is a DJT win later this year?

387:

Obviously the Bible must be true (because it says it's true right there in the Bible), so the whole idea that there's a book that may contain untruths while not being full of lies is an incomprehensible paradox and deeply subversive to the black-and-white outlook.

Given the 'inspiring' level of self-inconsistencies in the bible and the acquired art of simply doing away with these inconsistencies by filling in one's preconceptions as 'interpretation', bible readers should have no issue with other types of fiction at all. Both require a suspension of disbelief, but once you master that it is a breeze...

388:

_blank @ 347 Re: German Greens: Google for them + "Gazprom" - apparently they took/were "given" approx £20m when the Nordstream pipeline was under way, but this is now a year or three-old news. OK? _

That is what I called innuendo... please bring a reference that explicitly describes the hinted at shenanigans...

What did happen is that Gazprom used 20 million EUR to finance some green washing of the nordstream2 pipeline project in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern via the "Stiftung Klima- und Umweltschutz MV". However that was a project of the SPD government of the time (German labour equivalent) and did not involve the green party at all, which appeared as a staunch opponent of the nordstrem2 project. I will not reule out that individual members of the green party might not have been bought as well (20 MEUR is a big enough sum to do that), but as a party the greens came out clean (unlike the SPD, which irks me personally). But, by all means if that is not what you were implying, either bring a discuss-able hypothesis with supporting data, or just let it rest until you have supporting evidence.

389:

what!?

the universe is guilty of running on 'rounding errors'?

never mind the law of gravity, you'll be hearing from the universe's lawyers, Dewey, Cheatem & Howe regarding your slander

meanwhile be careful handling fissionable materials... you might find it unpleasant to be in a localized tweak in the weak atomic force

391:

I'm fairly sure that Shakespeare failing on his own works is an old Asimov short story.

He could have used it in fiction, though I couldn't name the short story. I do remember Asimov telling the story on himself, as something that happened when he was meeting his daughter at her college. He'd arrived early, she was still in class, and he got to stand in the back of the room listening as the teacher dissected an old Issac Asimov story...

392:

Yes thanks. I just don’t have a clue how one would simulate a universe using mated relativistic analog and quantum digital systems, where the clock is in the analog portion of the system.

However, if you want even more silliness along this line, add in the “Dark Fluid” model. It postulates a “dark fluid” (a gas really) that has negative energy as the cause of dark matter at galactic scales (it clumps around matter) and dark energy at intergalactic scales (it repels itself). It’s apparently too complicated a proposal to test using the data astronomers can collect. But as you point out, fluids are often the working media in analog simulations. So maybe dark fluid effects are the slop caused by the characteristics of the fluid used in the simulation…?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dark_fluid

I should point out that, given how spacetime works in relativity, the system clocks for the digital simulation of quantum mechanics could be a titanic number of water clocks in the relativity simulation, with each clock time influenced by how much working fluid is flowing into and out of it as it simulates a tiny bit of spacetime.

I think I’ll stop there. My brain hurts.

393:

I think I’ll stop there. My brain hurts.

Welcome to modern physics.

394:

»I'm fairly sure that Shakespeare failing on his own works is an old Asimov short story. «

"The Imortal Bard"

395:

In US news….

You may have read about the Arizona Supreme Court reinstating an 1864 ban on abortions? Apparently, the head of the legislature that passed it was a “pursuer of nubile young women” (aka a pedophile) whose habit of marrying young teens who rapidly divorced him caused him to resettle in Hawaii after his brief stint in Arizona.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/style/power/2024/04/10/arizona-abortion-law-1864-william-claude-jones/

Just a reminder: politics isn’t a reality show, and elections matter. All sorts of creepy crawlies get attracted by the bright lights of politics, and it’s up to voters to swat the problematic ones.

396:

Ok, you don't know how the game works here. You might look back to 2016, when Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent, and member of the DSA, officially joined the Dems, because for all practical purposes (except where extremist "libertarians" run around), there are only two parties, and you have to be in one to run, *esp. if you want to run nationally.

And the media outing me? Y'know, you can't out someone if they start out openly.

397:

So, the obvious question: if it worked so well simulating the UK economy, why is no one still using it? And was it tried on other countries' economies?

398:

blank
Thanks for that ... interesting tale of smear & counter-smear &, um ... err ...

whitroth
Probably because it's results went against some party's "holy principles" otherwise known as Official Dogma (!)

399:

Welcome to modern physics.

I’ve said before that I believe we live in a simulation, specifically an analog simulation of reality. The best possible analog simulation of reality I believe.

And as we all know, the best possible analog for something is the thing itself.

So I’m saying we living in a simulation of a universe simulating itself in a strange loop. Moreover, we ourselves are strange loops simulating ourselves, we’re composed of systems of strange loops down to the Planck scale, and we’re subsystems of subsystems that are also strange loops, all the way up to the universe as a whole.

This appears to be akin to the Indra’s Net visualization taught in Tibetan Buddhism to help them attain Nirvana. So getting to the point where you grok this might be useful. If that’s your thing.

400:

when passed, that law and others such, back in 1864 applied to territory which is now 'other states' (aka: jurisdictions) such as Los Vegas over in Nevada... fun twist that... will the (re-en-)slavers in Nevada attempt to apply that law due to this quirt of legacy mapping?

and then there's Comstock Laws... = s u d d e r =

which, if enforced would outlaw anyone sending love/lust letters to a romantic partner... and given SCOTUS judges eager to expend their reach, will be applied to e-mail and texting...

so... once again... I will say in a loud, clear voice: "computer end simulation and exit the holodeck"

{ he looks around for the exit to reveal itself }

401:

PALATE CLEANSER

"parrots use technology for cognitive enrichment"

https://lite.cnn.com/2024/04/11/world/parrots-tablet-enrichment-study-scn/index.html

I for one welcome the poorly considered uplifting of our future avian overlords

402:

And just fun from the RW: Hamas doesn't think they have enough living Israeli hostages for Israel. We know that an IDF trooper murdered three of them, and Hamas has, more than once, shown hostages killed by the Israeli bombing....

403:

And, given the continuing numbers game of loonies dying ... how likely, really is a DJT win later this year?

Walmart in-store background music is now featuring the Doobie Brothers' "Takin' It To the Streets" and the Simpsons cartoon series, which for years seemed to have been captured by the Tea Party, recently featured an episode in which Marge unionized workers in the gig economy. Both negative indicators for a Trump win.

404:

Canvassing the commentariat to solicit music recommendations, reason being the stuff I recorded off Pandora the last few years is starting to turn up mostly duplicates of cuts I got already. Classical I don't need, started collecting that in the 1970s off library L.P.'s and stashed up 800 albums worth, which takes care of me fine for an hour a day bike ride. Then to avoid annoying the spouse with baroque or opera i'll typically do 5 or 6 additional hours background listening while reading or otherwise engaged, mostly the fifty artists listed below. I got 600 hours of this material after removing all the advertising messages, and I figure a musician's working career usually generates ten hours of good product before their ideas dry up or the studio contracts run out of gas. So it gets increasingly futile each time I go back for a recording binge. I'll have to quit and stick with what I got unless I come up with some other names, suggestions please? Don't mean to be greedy or obsessive, but at this rate I'll be hitting the same tunes four times a year which might get repetitive.  Pandora shows similar related choices for each entry,  but they all seem to turn up in each other's files. Here's my list, mostly Hearts of Space regulars:

Vangelis, Steve Reich, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Liquid Mind, Michael Whalen, Kevin Keller, Robin Guthrie, Leo Abrahams, Bill Evans, Oscar Peterson, Eluvium, Hiroshi Yakamoto, Nala Sinephro, Emily Sprague, KMRU, Morton Feldman, Space Afrika, Tarentel, Brian Eno, William Basinski, Iasos, Kevin Braheny, Akira Yamaoka, Ahmad Jamal, David Helpling, Richard Bone, Tim Story, Paul Horn, Robert Rich, ISHQ, Deuter, Pat Metheny, Brad Mehldau, A Produce, Meg Bowles, Max Corbacho,  John Serrie, Rudy Adrian, Michael Stearns, Mychael Danna, Harold Budd, Constance Demby, Erik Wollo, Atomic Skunk, Alpha Wave Movement, General Fuzz, Klaus Schulze, Steve Roach, Patrick O'Hearn. And here's a tip from experience, don't ever tell them you like something or they'll play it back for you every few hours.   

  

405:

I quite like The Hu (Mongolian folk metal, with throatsinging).

https://www.thehuofficial.com

Tanya Tagaq.

https://www.tanyatagaq.com

Tsai Chin (Cai Qin), if you like Chinese pop. (I do, because my Mandarin is so bad that I can just enjoy the vocals and catchy tunes without worrying about following the lyrics.)

I liked the album Deep Formosa, which led me to Sauljaljui.

https://worldmusiccentral.org/2020/10/29/deep-formosa-groundbreaking-collaboration-between-indigenous-taiwanese-musicians-and-deep-forest/

I assume you've already listened to groups like Oysterband. You might like Ian Tamblyn.

https://www.iantamblyn.com

406:

I for one welcome the poorly considered uplifting of our future avian overlords

Naw. Parrots are a devolved Gubru client species…

(Someone wrote a fanfic set in Brin's Uplift universe, and he liked the story enough to make it official.)

407:

Roe v. Wade, and Arizona's insane Comstock law, make TFG's election really unlikely.

408:

There was an obscure danish band called "Strange Party Orchestra", given your list, you might like them.

409:

Naw. Parrots are a devolved Gubru client species…

Actually the nonfiction fun part of this is that from about 50 million years to ca. 5-10 million years ago, parrots, caracaras, and southern hemisphere songbirds (including corvids) were the smartest vertebrates on the planet. Really smart primates are a comparatively new thing under the sun.

Hominid intelligence really took off with the start of the ice ages. Now that we're doing our damnedest to return the planet briefly to a Miocene climate, we might be paving the way for the formation of a multispecies polyculture. At least while the heat is on.

Sadly, given our record with other hominids, it's entirely possible that printing this will cause a bunch of H.sap.sap. to try to make all smart birds extinct, just 'cuz they feel threatened and stuff. And so it goes.

410:

But can they open childproof containers?

It's all very well having a thinking brain parrot, but if I also need a child to open my pill bottles and a dog to help me cross the road the place is going to be a menagerie.

411:

Of late I've been enjoying Noga Erez (IIRC Isreali funky style singer), Otyken (Mongolian House). You may like giving either of them a listen. My kids are appalled at both of them.

412:

Wait does geas have a hard S? I've been saying gaysh this whole time.

414:

You can also borrow CDs from your local librar(y/ies).

If you are extremely lucky, they have a website listing what they have.

(In my case, (almost) all the libraries in the county decided to cooperate on a common website. Convenient.)

415:

is take slang takeoff on "danish" as the sort of overly sweet music that some find cloyingly happy-fun-cheery-cherry (KPOP gone way too sugary being one instance) or are you referencing the nation?

416:

only kids under fourteen can properly configure complex electronics such as current day: Door cams, data feeds into tablets, mobile phones (worst of all)

that's the terrifying thing about negative population growth... nobody with an adaptable brain able to fix the crappy stuff Silicon Valley inflicts upon us

417:

Seriously? You’ve got cockatoos literally unionizing to take care of your trash whether you want them to or not, and you’re asking me if a large, intelligent parrot can open a childproof container? Of course they can! https://youtube.com/shorts/qIXT2l1xLnM

The question is whether you want to be able to close it again afterwards…

418:

You forgot lightbulbs, washing machines, letterboxes and thermometers.

Whatever you buy, there's an app for that. If you're really lucky it'll be a generic app that your device is more or less compatible with and the one suggested by whoever sells the device will be the original app rather than a pirate or modded version. But either way, it will need to know everything about you and will send everything it can find back to whoever most recently updated the telemetry code.

I have a whole bunch of apps on a trash phone I bought that doesn't have a SIM and only connects via wifi+pihole, but even then some of them send an awful lot of something to somewhere...

419:

Ah, the "it's not whether the battery is removable, it's whether the device will accept a replacement one afterwards" problem (answer: only if it's a genuine Apple{tm} battery installed by qualified personnel using legitimate tools rented from Apple{tm} and the replacement is properly authorised and tithes paid)

So I suppose the real question is whether a cockatoo can use your credit card to order the necessary bits from the beast of bezos. I wonder if that's why Amazon is (was?) selling those single-purpose buttons you could set up to order one specific item every time they were pressed. I previously assumed they were there so your cat didn't have to eat your face if you died (instead it would eat your face because it wanted to)

420:

Re: '... we’re composed of systems of strange loops'

As in fractal? Who knows - if there's a molecule, there can be a universe.

https://phys.org/news/2024-04-discovery-fractal-molecule-nature.html

The other weird physics headline today: electrons outside the atom.

https://www.sciencealert.com/physicists-finally-capture-mysterious-wigner-crystal-after-90-years

Music:

Liang Bo - first saw him on Singer 2017 (where Dimash made his international breakthrough). His style has that repetitive/cyclical quality that some of the artists you already listen to have.

Vangelis is interesting - slight change in rhythms and tones and you get 'Chariots of Fire' (hopeful striving) or 'Conquest of Paradise' (unrelenting evil).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WYeDsa4Tw0c&t=14s

421:

ah, the joy of a cancerous growth that never die...

"corporation" as a concept into which is included a number of modernized horrors:

'clumsy AI' (Stross, right?)

'clanking replicator' (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-replicating_machine)

'infinite growth' (capitalism as cancer drawing down on every resource)

'monopolistic deathlessness' (Marx by way of Chicago School of Economics)

'malicious enshittification' (Doctorow)

...only...there is in that... the lie of deathlessness

422:

Good grief. Just go to , for example, https://tech.scargill.net/ and read a little about one old geezer deals with this. Tasmotise everything!

423:

Given your original list, I was a little surprised to not see Mike Oldfield included.

And in quite different tastes, I seem to spend an inordinate amount of time listening to Abbey Park and Steam Powered Giraffe, and Professor Elemental, and Mr.B. And for glamorous angst, Meg Myers is hard to beat.

424:

but after crunching the numbers? so many card-carrying batshit crazy tinfoil extremists died that it has assuredly thinned the herd enough to reduce support for Trump

You're right, the numbers have been crunched. You may have seen this a few years ago, but it's fascinating to watch as a slow moving but continuing disaster; it's a animated graph of Covid cases per capita in US states, color coded by political affiliation. For all that many states half-assed their pandemic responses, it's a stark illustration that even a half-assed reaction helps more than denial that any problem exists at all.

425:

Are you suggesting that I replace the CPU in my nearly new, still under warranty washing machine with a different chip and write the code myself? Or what?

I have actually pigeon'd it because I couldn't work out how to access the wifi AP in it without the app (online says nope), so now the wifi antenna is missing and I can only see the AP if I'm within about a metre of the machine. I don't know if it's possible to connect to it in the current state.

The other option is you expect me to buy a washing machine from another country? I have a Fairphone and that was a PITA to get, I still don't have a proper case for it, and I dread the thought of needing to get it serviced. But that whole brand new in box was about 2x the size of the phone in each dimension so it was trivial to post between Austria and Australia (yes, really)

426:

Diaspora is "what if string theory was just the start" and gets a bit weird in places. Elliptical quarks and toroidal wormholes are not the worst of it...

As a side note, I did appreciate the subplot that boiled down to "we invented wormholes and they were useless." It was both a nice variation on the trope of an author unlocking some new toy for the characters and completely plausible in context.

427:

for those seeking an uplifting, brain-stretching read... Naomi Novik's "Scholomance Trilogy"

A Deadly Education

The Last Graduate

The Golden Enclaves

one of those rare times when a trilogy being too short...

428:

Yeah, that was funny. And all the rushing about made the shaggy dog story almost acceptable.

429:

answer: only if it's a genuine Apple

Sorry. FUD. If you want to go the 3rd party route for batteries and such, go ahead. Apple just says they will not fix it later.

And they are relaxing some of this.

430:

And, given the continuing numbers game of loonies dying ... how likely, really is a DJT win later this year?

It's complicated. I read a long article about this a few days back. It was a high level reading of the changing demographics and party affiliation in the US. Over the last 10 years the over 65 has been trending from R to D due to demographics. The last of the WWII and near misses are dying out. Their hippy kids are replacing them as they age. The Beatles and Grateful Dead are replacing the Benny Goodman and Andy Williams folks.

But in the general trend of kids rebelling against their elders the slow shift in the 20 to 35 years olds is D to R.

Basically all kinds of assumptions about which generations will vote which way is shifting and we're in the middle of the shift.

This doesn't mean Wyoming will vote D anytime soon. Or maybe forever. But it is what is happening to some degree in Wisconsin, North Carolina, and other near 50/50 states. Which is one unspoken reason the R's in charge in those places are working very very hard to figure out how to keep the D's from voting.

I have to wonder what this kind of analysis would show in the UK. And the rest of Europe. Is the rise of the hard right a last gasp or a permanent trend?

Anyway, Walmart and similar study their shoppers to a very fine degree and have figured out that Hank Williams Jr needs to be replaced with 60s/70s soft rock as background music. In some areas. In others, likely not.

431:

What Apple had a problem with third party replacements for was the TouchID fingerprint sensor, and (more recently) the screen (with its integrated FaceID sensor). Both of these are secure biometric readers, and the iPhone (and to a lesser extent iPad and Mac) are positioned as secure authenticators for online identity services including banking.

(It's a side-effect of Apple deciding on security as their big marketing proposition some time around 2010 -- the "value add" they use to persuade customers to buy Apple kit rather than cheaper Android/Windows gear.)

If Apple allowed randos to bypass the authentication hardware on customers' credit card devices, the potential for reputational damage would be horrifying. (Like Boeing suddenly turning out not to have bolted their planes together properly.)

Now, the EU and the US government are leaning on Apple to open up to third party repair shops and even app stores. And Apple is grudgingly giving ground (while losing in court because Apple is not a true State Level Actor).

But you need to recognize that if Apple bends over for the US government or the EU, then they've got no easy excuse for not bending over for China or India or J. Random Kleptocracy to demand spyware and backdoors on iPhones.

432:

Oh. I know all of this. And the big fight, in the US at least, is with politicians who seems to still think that secure back doors are a possible thing. "Why can't you have open to any repair part and still keep it all secure and be liable if my bank account is drained?"

As to unlocking iPhones and such, Apple so far has refused to build the tech to allow it. For the China / India reasons you mentioned. If they every do build it (or admit to doing so) they are hosed.

And just a few minutes ago I was reading how now Apple is getting push back on "Find My" locked phones from some state legislatures and repair advocates. Of course the Find My locks are what has made random thefts of Apple things go down (per hassle from politicians) as thieves were no longer able to steal things and quickly resell them. But people keep forgetting to turn off Find My when selling or giving away or trading in old computers. Random thefts, especially on the street, went way down after "Find My" locking.

People want zero friction in the use of locks on front doors of houses that no one can break into but are trivial for the owner to use.

433:

Related to nothing else.

My son just boarded a plane leaving LHR for the US. The Captain of the plane is named Picard. But he said SHE is not bald.

434:

And in the Star Trek universe, she would be flying to Europa about now (IIRC).

435:

So, I have not seen anything from JohnS since he said he was going to drive home from the eclipse. Texas & Louisiana had some intense storms that day. Anyone heard anything from him?

436:

Thanks for all replies on the music question, suggestions will keep me collecting through next year at least. Some of the youtube videos mentioned had multiple millions of hits, which surprised me, (Steppenwolf really got 95 million hits!?!) until I looked for the most viewed youtube entry of all, and saw a list of dozens above ten billion each. It included lots of preschool kiddie infotainment videos, though, so Google looks to be solidly connected with future generations of users worldwide. And that's a good thing. I think.

Actually I'm starting to understand why overseas leaders get a bit spooked with America's soft power of cultural influence, guess it's up to U.S. voters to try and keep the big tech firms honest, for the rest of the world's sake if not our own. And here they thought TikTok was such a problem, Montana's legislature even tried banning them from the state. Wonder how that went...

Speaking of cultural influence, just think, if Trump does get reelected, he could reach out from the White House to children all around the world. With their Daily Tweets to guide them, members of the Young Trump Apprentices International could stand up for the American Way, no matter what country they lived in. They'll need a suitably militant theme song, how about...

Who's the leader of the club that's made for you and me? D-O-N-A-L-D T-R-U-M-P ! Donald Trump, Donald Trump, Forever let us hold our banner high, high, high, high! Come along and sing this song and join our company! D-O-N-A-L-D T-R-U-M-P !

Whole political demonstrations would be sure to follow. Imagine young women so overcome with emotion, proclaiming their fervent loyalty, they weep and sway as they firmly grasp flagpoles, thrashing back and forth to wave the banner high! A long life to Donald Trump, a long, long life!

And yet some dare call him a felon, what's the world coming to.

437:

So, I have not seen anything from JohnS since he said he was going to drive home from the eclipse. Texas & Louisiana had some intense storms that day. Anyone heard anything from him?

It is a 20 hour drive. I've done it each way 2 times. But round tripped only once. It can be mind numbing. You're trying to time it to miss traffic around Atlanta and Charlotte on the southern route and Dallas, Little Rock, Memphis, and Nashville on the northern route. Each time I did it I split it into 2 chunks of 10 hours. Once from Texas to NC I left at midnight and slept all day in Little Rock which was great as I missed all the city traffic. But I still needed a couple of days to recover.

Anyway, he has he dog to keep him awake. And at my age now and he's older, I'd likely split it into 3 days.

Plus the weather in Texas turned nice Tuesday and he may have gone sight seeing or photo taking.

438:

And another off-topic thought: we are all horrified by the torture devices used for centuries to for left-handers to use their right.

Oddly enough, no one makes a mobile device for lefties.

439:

Talking of "Announcements" ..Here is a dumpster of festering SHIT - everybody cheer the glorious Leader(s)
What a waste of money

440:

Steppenwolf really got 95 million hits!?!

Some of us remember Easy Rider from 50+ years ago. :)

441:

I wasn’t suggesting anything more than the idea that you might find some useful info about dealing with assorted widgets that want their own apps, from an old geezer that has been doing something about it. Your choice.

And #438 - I’m a lefty in both senses. I can’t say I’ve noticed any particular handedness in phones or tablets, but admittedly I haven’t used a huge fraction of the market. I even escaped much of the ‘60s torture-left-handers thing due to having a left-handed headmaster. What stuff has stood out to you?

442:

»But you need to recognize that if Apple bends over for the US government or the EU, then they've got no easy excuse for not bending over for China or India or J. Random Kleptocracy to demand spyware and backdoors on iPhones. «

I totally fail to follow this line of thinking ?

What on Earth makes anybody think Apple will /not/ follow the laws of jurisdictions which are a large fraction of their sales ?

Apple is not a nation state.

Apple does not have a seat in UN.

Apple does not have an army, a battle-ship, much less a credible nuclear deterrent.

Apple is just a company which wants to make as much money as possible.

And conversely, why do so many people think, that just because Apple is a "tech-company" it is somehow not subject to nation states and their laws ?

Or even more confusing: Why do some people think Apple would even consider go to bat for their particular set of values and norms all over the world ?

And finally, do people actually want to live in a world where big trans-national tax-evading companies behave like nation states ?

How much do you think your life would suck, if Apple, Google or FaceBook took a personal dislike to you, and acted with the impunity of a nation state ?

Imagine search results /and/ your phone actively trying to ruin your life ?

Search results obliquely linking you to all sorts of shady things?

Phone accidentally rerouting your calls to a sex-line? Sending dick-pics to any female-sounding name in your phonebook ? Calling 112 at random times ?

Or navigation straight up trying to get you to drive over a cliff or into a river ?

You should be very happy that big companies will follow the law, in whatever manner maximizes their profit.

And if you do not want to trust that as the only safety-net, you should concentrate on getting laws passed which prevents companies from ever getting that big in the first place.

443:

There's a difference between complying with legal requirements -- if necessary going to court to clarify their lawfulness -- and bending over backwards to help an oppressive regime. See also "IBM and the Nazis". (Apple wants to maximize its sales, but not at the cost of being seen as Nazi-era IBM.)

444:

How much do you think your life would suck, if Apple, Google or FaceBook took a personal dislike to you, and acted with the impunity of a nation state ?

Nation-states don't have immunity, though. At least, not without a nuclear deterrent. And companies have form for behaving in extra-legal ways when they think there will be no consequences for them. (Corporations being effectively psychopaths and all that.) Large companies more than small companies, because they have more money and, in our society, money is power.

Consider something like what happened to this chap. It's rather like having a small government go after you, except that you don't have a clear recourse for appeal (for non-terrorist cases, anyway). (Discussed in Cory Doctorow's book The Internet Con if you want more details.)

https://nypost.com/2022/08/22/google-bans-dad-for-sending-pics-of-toddlers-swollen-genitals-to-doctor/

445:

See also "IBM and the Nazis".

Honestly, this is the only place I've encountered people who've heard of that independently of my mentioning it to them. IBM doesn't seem to have suffered any reputational damage from renting out the machines that ran the camps…

446:

»There's a difference between complying with legal requirements -- if necessary going to court to clarify their lawfulness -- and bending over backwards to help an oppressive regime.«

Yes.

And that difference is, and always have been, »what makes the company most money?«

447:

»Nation-states don't have immunity«

I didn't say "immunity", I said "impunity".

448:

»IBM doesn't seem to have suffered any reputational damage from renting out the machines that ran the camps…«

… because they also rented out the machines used to keep track of all the japanese citizens USA put in concentration camps, the machines used for the early numerical simulations of nuclear explosions and the machines in the rear-guard trucks of Pattons 3rd. Army as it went through Europe.

Once ze rockets are up…

449:

I have not seen anything from JohnS since he said he was going to drive home from the eclipse

Has anybody heard anything about Elderly Cynic? He hasn't posted here since February 7th.

450:

The site you linked didn't seem to have a clear goal or explanation of what it was for, so I found it confusing. Some geezer who likes reprogramming widgets?

My issue is with things that want internet connections but don't need them. The app is a relatively minor thing, but my preference is to pay a bit extra and have a user interface on the things that actually need it.

Light bulbs should turn on and off via the switch on the wall (everything electrical should). Microwaves should have a volume knob and a duration knob. Toasters should have an eject function and a darkness knob. And so on. Admittedly it's vaguely useful if the microwave also has a delay function, but I'd lose that over having an internet connected microwave and an app.

451:

I charge my car at night when it costs 0.095 GBP per KWh. I use an app for that. I don’t want to go out to the charger at midnight to do that. So I want the internet connection.

452:

Made it back home alive, despite everything I-285 around Atlanta could throw at me.

453:

balding... not bald... Captain dude had a horseshoe buzz cut style of a thing

454:

Light bulbs should turn on and off via the switch on the wall (everything electrical should). Microwaves should have a volume knob and a duration knob. Toasters should have an eject function and a darkness knob. And so on.

Now you sound like they guy I did some field mowing for in 1970. He had been born in 1885. And was adamant that second gear in an auto was a stupid waste of money. A model T was fine with only 2 gears and thus all cars should be fine with such.

I LIKE that my microwave has programed settings for various things without me having to look them up. And other modern conveniences.

455:

"I LIKE that my microwave has programed settings for various things without me having to look them up."

I doubt that anybody here would object to such being available. Less happy if that was the only way to set power and duration. Decidedly unhappy if to use the microwave, it was necessary to connect to it from one's phone via the Internet.

Oh, and my previous vehicle had five forward gears. I used all of them.

JHomes

456:

I'm not sure why "only have an app if it's necessary to get the functionality" comes across as "even when it's the only possible way to get the functionality that shouldn't be allowed".

Look, if you need Tesla to provide cloud storage of everything that happens in or near the vehicle, that's fine, you need an internet connection for that (BTW, that feature isn't optional, it's a necessary part of every Tesla).

Likewise if your car is too dumb to allow you to schedule charging then sure, set an alarm, wake up and turn on the charger. Having an app makes that easier. Great.

But if your toaster will only make toast if it has an internet connection and you have the app running... I don't know why that's necessary. I'm just not smart enough, or imaginative enough, to work that out by myself. Please advise.

457:

Howard NYC @ 370:

uhm... "I did my own research on vax" was not etched onto tombstones of any of those million-plus dead Americans because surviving next-of-kin refused to acknowledge such utter stupidity having been a mass suicide pact

but after crunching the numbers? so many card-carrying batshit crazy tinfoil extremists died that it has assuredly thinned the herd enough to reduce support for Trump

Not enough of them.

458:

Charlie Stross @ 364:

Obviously the Bible must be true (because it says it's true right there in the Bible), ...

Oddly enough, when challenged to provide chapter & verse, no one has ever actually shown me WHERE the Bible says that.

459:

ilya187 @ 376:

"so many card-carrying batshit crazy tinfoil extremists died that it has assuredly thinned the herd enough to reduce support for Trump"

Don't have a link handy, but I had seen pretty convincing analysis show that without Covid deaths, Trump would have won in 2020.

IF, as I suspect, "long Covid" makes people stupid, anti-vaxxers may have increased the numbers of Trump voters significantly in the last 3-1/2 years.

460:

Mr. Tim @ 414:

You can also borrow CDs from your local librar(y/ies).

If you are extremely lucky, they have a website listing what they have.

(In my case, (almost) all the libraries in the county decided to cooperate on a common website. Convenient.)

I often find new music on YouTube. If it's good enough to stand up without having to watch the video I'll add it to my collection.

I record the audio using Audacity and save it as a MP3 file.

461:

I didn't say "immunity", I said "impunity".

So you did, and that's what I thought I'd typed.

Most nation-states can't act with impunity. They have to consider how neighbours and allies will react to their actions, let alone enemies. The more military and economic power they have, the less they have to worry about how others will react.

462:

Oddly enough, when challenged to provide chapter & verse, no one has ever actually shown me WHERE the Bible says that.

Hey, good to have you back!

You're right, the Bible wasn't originally considered the Word of God. IIRC, St. Augustine, for example basically wanted to ignore the what he considered the embarrassingly primitive creation story in Genesis and focus on the New Testament. And I'm pretty sure that the early Church taught the problems in the text of the Bible (with Jesus' 2 contradictory birth stories, 4 resurrection stories that don't agree with each other, him simultaneously riding two animals as he enters Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, etc.)...and seminarians have learned this ever since. It's not a secret, never has been.

The Quran, on the other hand, is regarded by devout Muslims as the Word of God as dictated by an angel to Mohammad and recited by him.

I sometimes wonder if the tradition of Biblical inerrancy arose in response to the spread of Islam in some way. Probably there's a way to look it up, if I really wanted to know.

Anyway, I should end by pointing out that the technical bibles that some authors create for their works might also be called Tech Qurans, if they're intended to be the Word of God for that creation. Just a thought.

463:

David L @ 437:

"So, I have not seen anything from JohnS since he said he was going to drive home from the eclipse. Texas & Louisiana had some intense storms that day. Anyone heard anything from him?"

It is a 20 hour drive. I've done it each way 2 times. But round tripped only once. It can be mind numbing. You're trying to time it to miss traffic around Atlanta and Charlotte on the southern route and Dallas, Little Rock, Memphis, and Nashville on the northern route. Each time I did it I split it into 2 chunks of 10 hours. Once from Texas to NC I left at midnight and slept all day in Little Rock which was great as I missed all the city traffic. But I still needed a couple of days to recover.

Anyway, he has he dog to keep him awake. And at my age now and he's older, I'd likely split it into 3 days.

Plus the weather in Texas turned nice Tuesday and he may have gone sight seeing or photo taking.

I've done that 20+ hours on the road in a single push enough times that I won't do it again unless dire circumstances require it.

I planned the trip to be three days driving each way. San Antonio had the intense thunderstorms overnight Tuesday night, but it was bright & clear Wednesday morning when I left. Stayed overnight at the same hotels I stayed at going down, just in reverse order (Baton Rouge, LA and Lagrange, GA).

Only one short stop for photography. At my first fuel stop in Texas there was a small colony of Cattle Egrets in the trees next to the gas station, so I spent about half an hour on them.

I got home right around 8:00pm local time this evening.

464:

I often find new music on YouTube... I record the audio using Audacity and save it as a MP3 file.

Yes, this. In my case I've got a browser add-on for downloading Youtube videos and can convert mp4 to mp3, but the end result is the same.

465:

of course not... this is Earth 2... more batshit crazies per square mile than there are slot machines in Los Vegas

over on Earth 1 is the timeline where all the sane people emigrated when they saw Trump get elected here on Earth 2...

466:

so... the admonishment to RTFM is, at it's root, the "11th Commandment"...?

467:

Q: request link to that add on?

TIA

468:

H @ 462
Yes
Augustine said (paraphrase): "If the bible says something that's contrary to physical evidence, then it's WRONG - because it was written down by fallible humans" - and everybody has been ignoring him, ever since.
The problem with the "recital" is ... the Hadith - which are, specifically NOT "the word of god" - & include all the bollocks about women's dress, for starters ...

Howard NYC @ 466
Meanwhile The Grauniad reckons DJT is losing & wil go on, steadily - losing - is this whistling in the wind, or genuine?
I can't tell.

469:

T H I S . J U S T . I N

in anticipation of the kickoff of Trump's trial on Monday, all stores contacted on Saturday reporting every bag of popcorn has sold out... soonest available resupply in two days { snark }

just so utterly Trump-ish... if what finally crashes his shot at re-election, all those fundamentalists refuse to vote for him due to him getting caught falsifying business records to conceal paying off his mistresses to avoid revealing 8 years ago the rather obvious fact he's as far away from being a pious Christian as a penguin at the South Pole... which is about 7,000 miles from moral purity

470:

I doubt that anybody here would object to such being available. Less happy if that was the only way to set power and duration. Decidedly unhappy if to use the microwave, it was necessary to connect to it from one's phone via the Internet.

Let's set. Without any internet or wifi mine has, reheat (from the fridge) settings for various things, defrost (from the freezer) for various things, a turntable that I can turn on and off, timer and power settings if I want to figure it out myself, and one touch full power for 1 - 6 minutes if that's what I want. And an add 30 seconds button which works from start on in the middle.

Cost around $200 when I bought it 10+ years ago and installed it myself. It is an over the cook top unit with exhaust built in also. I do NOT want to go back to a counter top with a timer and "volume" knob.

We have a Breville counter top over with even more settings. No Wi-Fi or Internet but it is great for cooking all kinds of things without watching.

Oh, and my previous vehicle had five forward gears. I used all of them.

Let's see. Years on a small tractor with 5 speeds (Ford 8N), some small earth moving things at time, a home made lawn mower with 2 3 speed transmissions giving 9 total combinations, cars with 3 to 6 speeds in a manual transmission, and that Explorer with 4 wheel locked, 2/4 wheel highway, or 2 wheel highway. Plus an assortment of other things.

My point was my "second gear is stupid" is my mantra for folks who don't want things to change that they are used to, even if better.

You don't seem to fit that shorthand.

471:

is my mantra for folks who don't want things to change that they are used to, even if better.

And what convinced me to avoid going TOO FAR.

About 30-35 years ago I went all in on X-10 remote controls for lights and such in a house. That totally convinced me that some "neat tricks" are just that. Things that trick you into thinking this is better. It wasn't and I gave it all away.

My wife is kind enough not to bring it up as a weapon when we're in a debate.

472:

Made it back home alive

Glad to see :)

473:

Well it seemed like a gimmick when I connected the washing machine to the wifi so we both get notifications on our phones when it's finished a load. But given the machine is downstairs (we can't hear it singing its happy little LG song when it finishes) it's actually really useful to get a notification. The built-in programs accessible via the front panel have always been more than enough for us, but I can see the potential for the custom programming in the app being useful sometimes or for some people.

474:

»About 30-35 years ago I went all in on X-10 remote controls for lights and such in a house.«

We built a new house 8 years ago, being in the IT/Security field nothing "smart" was allowed near it.

The heatpump was nonetheless delivered with their "smart" option, which transpired to be a standard BOPLA plastic box with a TI evaluation kit, still with the factory self signed certificate and default password. Not installed.

The garage-opener is key-operated. The professor who had called their radio-fob solution "the best in the industry" told me that he was not willing to praise it any further than that and that his garage was key operated.

475:

Oddly enough, when challenged to provide chapter & verse, no one has ever actually shown me WHERE the Bible says that.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 kind of says that if viewed at a certain angle. Of course, the likelihood is that 2 Timothy was forged in Paul's name for purposes of ecclesiastic propaganda.

476:

Has anybody heard anything about Elderly Cynic? He hasn't posted here since February 7th.

Haven't heard anything. I've been hesitant to email him, because if he's ill the last thing he'll want is some internet acquaintance bothering him.

477:

We built a new house 8 years ago, being in the IT/Security field nothing "smart" was allowed near it.

Around 10 years ago I put up Ring.com cameras around my house plus a door bell. We were at a point where the house might be empty for a week or two at a time. Then Amazon bought Ring. Now it is to the point I can't make use of any of the features like sharing with my kids unless I merge my Ring account with my Amazon purchasing account. This summer all the Ring will go away.

I also have a separate Wi-Fi network for visitors.

But I understand VLANs and routing. Most consumers have no idea. And when their identity is stolen can't understand what might have happened.

I want to put the Wi-Fi USB dongle on my washer and dryer to notify me when they are done. Especially the dryer as it runs till a moisture sensor thinks things are done. But I do not trust the appliance companies to do much of anything right. When I find some Round2Its I understand there are RPi projects which will do this for me.

I also get lots of push back from most people when I tell them to ignore the "smart" features on their TV and buy an external box. Apple TV is great. If you don't like Apple check out the competition. But a smart TV is an open security hole into your home.

Have you ever looked at sense.com products? Are they even an option in Europe?

478:

Apple TV is great.

I bought one so I could watch movies stored on my computer on my big TV. My newer version (bought when I retired as a present to myself) has gaming which helped get me through lockdown.

I find that now lockdowns are over I'm not watching much television anymore (my 'watch next' list keeps growing faster than I'm making time to watch them), but I was surprised to discover that the Apple Music algorithm actually does a decent job of playing similar music when an album is over. I've discovered several new artists I like that way.

(Surprised because iTunes used a classification system that was distinctly modern-Western-centric. Anything older than 1900 was "Classical". Anything from outside Europe/North America was "World". Any recent pop music was sorted into dozens of specialized categories. Just what you'd expect from a database designed by a rather nerdy music fan, actually.)

479:

IF, as I suspect, "long Covid" makes people stupid

Long Covid (no need for quotes, it's a real thing) makes your brain tire more easily. For people like me, that means we have even less patience with MAGA-twats, climate deniers, etc. For the victims of populist politicians, it makes the effort to think past the manipulations and quarter-truths harder.

480:

David L @ 470:

"I doubt that anybody here would object to such being available. Less happy if that was the only way to set power and duration. Decidedly unhappy if to use the microwave, it was necessary to connect to it from one's phone via the Internet."

Let's set. Without any internet or wifi mine has, reheat (from the fridge) settings for various things, defrost (from the freezer) for various things, a turntable that I can turn on and off, timer and power settings if I want to figure it out myself, and one touch full power for 1 - 6 minutes if that's what I want. And an add 30 seconds button which works from start on in the middle.

Cost around $200 when I bought it 10+ years ago and installed it myself. It is an over the cook top unit with exhaust built in also. I do NOT want to go back to a counter top with a timer and "volume" knob.

I currently have 3 microwave ovens - mid-1980s vintage JCPenney microwave with convection oven, a BIG Panasonic 1200 Watt & the built in GE (1000 Watt?) unit that's over the stove & includes the exhaust fan & the "counter light". The only complaint I have about the GE is the control layout works differently and the "builder" did not leave the manual for it. (and he installed it too close to the corner so the door won't open all the way, but that's not a defect with the microwave itself).

I think the JCPenney model was manufactured by RCA, and it's built like a TANK. I currently have it out in the container because even with the additional cabinets & counter I installed I still don't have enough room for all my small appliances. Having that second oven (convection) would be real handy for cooking something like Thanksgiving Dinner.

We have a Breville counter top over with even more settings. No Wi-Fi or Internet but it is great for cooking all kinds of things without watching.

AFAIK, none of my appliances have Wi-Fi or internet capability? I don't know for sure because I wired one room as the computer room when I moved in and everything is on Ethernet. I've even got a spare port where I can plug my laptop in if I need to work on it here at the house.

I don't need Wi-Fi here & the places where I can use it I wouldn't be able to get to the appliances anyhow. 🙃

Oh, and my previous vehicle had five forward gears. I used all of them.

Let's see. Years on a small tractor with 5 speeds (Ford 8N), some small earth moving things at time, a home made lawn mower with 2 3 speed transmissions giving 9 total combinations, cars with 3 to 6 speeds in a manual transmission, and that Explorer with 4 wheel locked, 2/4 wheel highway, or 2 wheel highway. Plus an assortment of other things.

My point was my "second gear is stupid" is my mantra for folks who don't want things to change that they are used to, even if better.

You don't seem to fit that shorthand.

I have to admit that I don't use 4th Gear all that much (mainly because when I do I sometimes forget to shift up to 5th on the highway - which lowers gas mileage).

I go directly from 3rd to 5th most of the time.

481:

so... the admonishment to RTFM is, at it's root, the "11th Commandment"...?

I think it’s older than that. Most societies have what the anthropologists call “initiations,” “esoteric knowledge,” and so forth. That’s all this is. Probably goes back to the Mesolithic, with the expert toolmakers only revealing where they got their best stone to the kids who really cared about knapping, not to the headbangers.

Learning the Bible takes time, but anyone can do it. It, like history, biology, computer science, etc. all have a learning curve, and it takes time and money to climb the curve. Scholars help by teaching what has already been learned, so that the students don’t waste their limited time and energy rediscovering things that others discovered before them.

Thing is, most people don’t want to learn much, if anything, about most fields. That’s reality, and it’s generally okay.

Rather less okay is when some naive outsider, like me with my cosmological silliness, comes along and strings terms together in an order that only appears to make sense to those who know even less than I do. Presumably what I’m writing annoys real cosmologists, but since they haven’t spoken up yet, I’ll take the silence as an okay to be silly. Were I promulgating anti-vaxxer theories in an authoritative manner, that would be far less okay, even if I believed my own bullshit.

482:

Kardashev @ 475:

Oddly enough, when challenged to provide chapter & verse, no one has ever actually shown me WHERE the Bible says that.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 kind of says that if viewed at a certain angle. Of course, the likelihood is that 2 Timothy was forged in Paul's name for purposes of ecclesiastic propaganda.

That's a mighty oblique angle, but better than 99-44/100% (IME) can come up with ... although it does leave some questions unanswered ... like WHO DECIDES what is or is not scripture?

483:

runix @ 479:

"IF, as I suspect, "long Covid" makes people stupid"

Long Covid (no need for quotes, it's a real thing) makes your brain tire more easily. For people like me, that means we have even less patience with MAGA-twats, climate deniers, etc. For the victims of populist politicians, it makes the effort to think past the manipulations and quarter-truths harder.

The "quotes" are there because I can produce no evidence that "long Covid" is THE FACTOR in making more people stupid ... hence the big "IF"

I suspect it is so, but cannot prove it ... and it could be something else doing it.

484:

... and now for something completely different:

I buy a big net-bag of onions (5lb bag). How do I keep them from sprouting before I use the entire bag?

I got the bag back in November & I've used about half of it, but all the remaining onions have long plant stems growing out of them.

485:

Ah, understood. I doubt that there is any one factor that alone determines whether people are more likely to do stupid things; the fatigue from long covid is part of it for people with it (whether or not they admit to having it); the brain damage from each round of covid is another.

486:

Now you sound like they guy I did some field mowing for in 1970. He had been born in 1885. And was adamant that second gear in an auto was a stupid waste of money. A model T was fine with only 2 gears and thus all cars should be fine with such.

He got his wish, even if he did not live long enough to see it. Most electric cars have only 2 gears.

487:

It's probably too late now, but next time take them out of the bag, and store them in a cool, frost-free dark place. A light-proof hessian sack (but not air-tight - you want air to circulate) in an outbuilding would work well, and only bring enough into the house for a week or so of meals.

I don't usually buy that much at a time - we use 2-4/week depending on what we're cooking, and I have mine in a wicker chest of drawers in the pantry. Even then, if we've got onions for ourselves, and we've ended up bringing most of a bag back from the parents (we usually get asked for 2 or 3 loose onions), sometimes they start sprouting before they get used. Plastic bags are the worst for keeping fruit and veg.

At this point, you're probably reduced to planting them out or composting them. The stalks are edible (I've been known to chop them up with the bulb), but don't let get past the sprout stage as the bulb will start rotting.

488:

The "quotes" are there because I can produce no evidence that "long Covid" is THE FACTOR in making more people stupid ... hence the big "IF"

It's not long covid; more accurately it's any COVID.

I repeat until I'm blue in the face: COVID19 enters cells by futzing around with the ACE2 receptor site, part of the renin-angiotensin system (RAS) which controls blood pressure, among other things. The ACE2 receptor is present in the cell walls of most epithelial cells lining the blood vessels, so COVID19 messes up blood vessels -- among other things it seems to make them leaky and causes inflammation, hence the spike in cardiac incidents and hemorrhages after acute infection.

Hypothesis: for every glaringly obvious fatal stroke COVID19 causes there will be about a dozen transient ischaemic attacks (TIAs, also known as "mini-strokes") that don't cause obvious lasting damage ... and for every clinically significant TIA there are probably a dozen or more minor brain bleeds that don't cause obvious clinical signs or symptoms but lead to creeping impairment.

By some estimates, the 2022 Omicron wave infected over 60% of the UK population; I gather the USA was hit even harder. And COVID19 has been endemic ever since, with many people being persistently re-infected.

Upshot: this is a virus that causes creeping, low-level, sub-clinical brain damage, and we've all had it. It's probably as bad for us as long-term tetraethyl lead inhalation. And we don't have any decent vaccines for it yet, just ones that mostly stop it from killing us immediately.

489:

WHO DECIDES what is or is not scripture?

There were huge dogfights about that during the first few centuries CE and the question hasn't been totally resolved to this day. Look up Marcion of Sinope and Irenaeus.

The Septuagint was kind of settled for the Greek version of the Tanakh by 200-ish BCE, but the New Testament didn't really gel until the fourth century CE. The texts eventually included in the NT were floating around before that, some being regarded as Scripture and others just useful writings, but didn't get canonized for quite a while.

490:

I buy a big net-bag of onions (5lb bag). How do I keep them from sprouting before I use the entire bag? I got the bag back in November & I've used about half of it

Easy. Eat more onions. ;-)

491:

I buy a big net-bag of onions (5lb bag). How do I keep them from sprouting before I use the entire bag?

Ionizing radiation.

A 10,000 Curie Cobalt-60 source is always the answer if you're looking for a way to slow down biological processes!

492:

this is a virus that causes creeping, low-level, sub-clinical brain damage, and we've all had it

I think I've avoided it. Got all my shots, and I still mask up when shopping and mostly avoid eating out. So my subclinical brain damage can be blamed on something else. :-)

I was supposed to get my six-month booster this week, but apparently they changed the criteria the week before so I have to wait until the fall now. At least I got a call from a nurse rather than showing up only to be turned away. If I'd been able to get my fall shot ten days earlier I'd have made it in before the change… :-(

495:

Charlie @ 488
this is a virus that causes creeping, low-level, sub-clinical brain damage, and we've all had it. - are we SURE about that?
Even with advancing age, I don't think I've had any C-19 syptoms or effects - so far.
SEE ALSO: Rbt Prior @ 492?

496:

Chop or slice and then freeze them. I do this with damaged onions I’ve grown in my allotment. I usually part cook them first by lightly frying them before freezing in bags and use them for casseroles, stews curries and shepherds pie. But perhaps buying them in smaller quantities would be a better choice.

497:

Re: sprouting onions

If they’re growing roots as well as shoots, might as well get a bag of potting soil and some pots and plant them. If they survive the summer you can harvest next fall and try again.

If they’re just growing shoots, they’re not going to Make it anyway, so compost them.

498:

No wonder Iran is racing to build a nuke.

What an exciting time to be alive. Probably should practice the child assna from yoga so that I can do “duck and cover” if the time comes.

499:

Re: 'Eat more onions. ;-)'

Agree - raw onion is a good source of VitC. Also good for fighting inflammation and (supposedly) for keeping gardening pests away.

Charlie @ 488:

Re: 'COVID - inflammation'

Doing whatever you can to reduce or at least control inflammation - this is where diet can help.

Howard NYC