Allen Thomson

Allen Thomson

  • Commented on New Book Week!
    It's really surprising that they did that. Passive observation was risky enough, but tickling the dragon's tail was really, really f*cking stupid. Yes, something Bridge-sized at 6400 km might well have been detectable from the vicinity of the singularity. But,...
  • Commented on Dude, you broke the future!
    wrt Bank's Culture, there's been an outbreak in the last years of flashmob performances of Ode an die Freude, which I like to think are somewhat Culture-like. There are many performances, but the classic one is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fj6r3-sQr58 but also...
  • Commented on New Book Week!
    In case something else pokes around. Which is what just happened....
  • Commented on New Book Week!
    Doesn't this count as Crossing the Streams?" No, it counts as showing that OGH knows what a low-loader is because he used it in a previous work. Typos happen....
  • Commented on New Book Week!
    Guessing (see previous comment), but would "low-leader" be a typo for "low-loader"? - ie. the kind of truck used to transport locomotives and power station boilers and suchlike huge loads by road. Also shoggoths, per OGH's A Colder War....
  • Commented on New Book Week!
    Using an Oberth slingshot around a small blockhole would be able to give you some ludicrously elliptical orbits, but wouldn't help much at all with plane changes (assuming that I remember my classical mechanics correctly). No, in the circumstances...
  • Commented on New Book Week!
    The moon is still orbiting the hole I thought about that but forgot to ask: what does the moon look like in TL 4 and the TL on the other side of the Gate? Forerunner installations, extra craters or...
  • Commented on Dude, you broke the future!
    Okay - so I'm guessing that Occam's Razor is not a thing or goal when it comes to developing physics theories? Opinions, where they exist, differ. https://quoteinvestigator.com/2011/05/13/einstein-simple/ https://www.hachettebookgroup.com/titles/sabine-hossenfelder/lost-in-math/9780465094264/...
  • Commented on New Book Week!
    It occurs to me that the name of the probe, ERGO-1, may indicate that the TL 2 American government was investigating the possibilities for using the black hole as a power source. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ergosphere and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kerr_metric What they actually found...
  • Commented on New Book Week!
    I am wondering whether one more book will be enough to tie everything together or whether we’ll end up with the Forerunners doing to the US what the US did to the Gruinmarkt, and a third trilogy starting with...
  • Commented on New Book Week!
    so your enemies can't force you back home if they'd captured you Yeah, especially if the enemies are the Big Bad that collapsed the Earth on the other side of TL 4's bridge....
  • Commented on New Book Week!
    • It ends too soon and on a cliffhanger. Argh! Yeah. I'm so old that I remember when such narratives came out monthly(ish) in the pulps as parts of a single novel. Switching to a yearly cadence is painful, but...
  • Commented on New Book Week!
    Finished it yesterday and will have to give it a more careful read and take notes this weekend. However, a question: Is the TL 4 and its Dome that TL 2 knows about the same as the TL and Dome...
  • Commented on Dude, you broke the future!
    With more people retiring, that restriction is lifted; now there are far fewer consequences in saying something offensive. With the portion of over-65s rising, expect this to normalize far more offensive speech. We've already seen this over the past decade;...
  • Commented on Dude, you broke the future!
    With regard to finding submarines, it should not be a surprise that the US, on putting strategic missiles on SSBNs, began to worry about the findability of such SSBNs. Admirably, it instituted a program to study such issues in...
  • Commented on What can possibly go wrong?
    It's one of these things I've known about for so long I can't remember where I first came across it, but I do remember the context - telepresence techniques for international surgery. You're limited to countries that are not too...
  • Commented on What can possibly go wrong?
    a copule of Teslas round here & a lot of Prius on electric mode & though not completely silent ( Tyre noise) they can creep up on you. We walk a lot in a similar suburban environment -- couple of...
  • Commented on What can possibly go wrong?
    NB: the stuff about clan tartans is ahistoric guff designed to extract money from tourists. But entertaining. https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/jewish-tartan...
  • Commented on Unforeseen Consequences and that 1929 vibe
    Not on topic, but perhaps of interest to those facing Brexit, RAND has examined various "so what then?" scenarios: https://www.rand.org/randeurope/research/projects/brexit-economic-implications.html...
  • Commented on What can possibly go wrong?
    Now I am thinking of all the snarky Culture ship names that he couldn't put in the books. This thread is rich with such, even ones that could be put in books. @67: Both lines converge somewhere @68: Logical extension...
  • Commented on Unforeseen Consequences and that 1929 vibe
    As long as we're talking about OTPs, hashes and such, could someone familiar with this stuff(*) comment on why allegedly cryptographically secure tools like SHA-256 and AES-256 couldn't be used to produce good-enough OTPs? For example: - Take two pictures,...
  • Commented on Unforeseen Consequences and that 1929 vibe
    much prefer the lever; among other things, you could use it for emergency braking if the main brake failed One of those other things was getting a manual transmission car out of a steep uphill parallel parking space. Left foot...
  • Commented on Unforeseen Consequences and that 1929 vibe
    Bitcoin mining is now consuming 30.23 TWh of electricity per year In WMD units, that's 26 megatons a year, one medium-yield B61 bomb per day. I overlooked the "of electricity" part there. Assuming that the electricity is mostly generated from...
  • Commented on Unforeseen Consequences and that 1929 vibe
    Bitcoin mining is now consuming 30.23 TWh of electricity per year In WMD units, that's 26 megatons a year, one medium-yield B61 bomb per day....
  • Commented on Empire Games Black Friday promo (UK only)
    > First Man, Princeps See also https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Speaker...
  • Commented on Empire Games Black Friday promo (UK only)
    "Invisible Sun" is due for the former — the second half of the book veered off the rails and ended up in the long grass, so I'm going to have to chop off the second half of the book and...
  • Commented on Empire Games Black Friday promo (UK only)
    Yikes. Nice to see that you have an end (of sorts) in sight, and we'll look forward to reading the four books. What are you thinking of doing for the sabbatical?...
  • Commented on Crib Notes: Empire Games
    A Secret Base must include at least one underground feature. Indeed so. It's pretty much a must for reasons both practical and psychological. http://www.thespacereview.com/archive/2037a.jpg...
  • Commented on Crib Notes: Empire Games
    On the future, far and not so far, I was reviewing the matter and was reminded that OGH and guest blogger Cat Valentine had some pertinent and interesting things to say back in 201201 and 201202. E.g., http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/2012/01/world-building-301-some-projec.html http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/2012/01/world-building-302-psychology.html...
  • Commented on Crib Notes: Empire Games
    we're shifting into medium- to far-future SF Which reminds me of a thing I've wondered about: what distinguishes the far future from nearer futures? Years or generations might do it in some cases, or social and technological change. Or an...
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