Charlie Stross

Charlie Stross

  • Commented on Story time!
    I raise you growing up in Leeds during the cold war. Five miles east of my home was the Vickers tank factory, where they made Chieftains and Scorpions. Twelve miles north-west was Leeds-Bradford Airport (able to handle C5s, C130s, and...
  • Commented on Story time!
    No; only really simple single-stitch mechanical sewing machines are suitable for treadle conversion. There are any number of 19th century and early 20th century Singers out there, not to mention hand-cranked chain-stitch machines. But stuff like my wife's new-for-Christmas sewing...
  • Commented on Story time!
    I don't disagree that the idiots on the right want and might think they can get that much whiter world, but they can't have it; it's not an available possibility. When they realize they can't get it, then—because their self-definition...
  • Commented on Story time!
    Also note: food refrigeration is a cheap sterilization strategy. Cold kills most vermin and parasites, and retards decomposition. It also makes it possible to ship food long distances between continents where it grows and continents where it's consumed. Domestic refrigeration...
  • Commented on Story time!
    The first is that we will spend trillions fixing climate change, or there will be a multi-billion person die-off. As I keep saying, I believe that the smart, rich right-wingers (the people funding the white supremacists, not the knuckle-draggers themselves)...
  • Commented on Story time!
    Pedantic nit: it's a hoard, not a horde....
  • Commented on Story time!
    A lot of the heat in a subway system comes from the trains—it takes up to 10MW to start up a London Underground tube train on a cold morning (around freezing, i.e. annual average for Toronto!), and they're running through...
  • Commented on Story time!
    I know you don't need an automatic washing machine—I simply happen to have one now. I lived with a twin-tub for years, they're a pain in the neck in terms of time spent leaning over it, but it's still better...
  • Commented on Story time!
    I note that the oldest deraileur gear wikipedia cites for a bicycle dates to 1885 (two speeds only), with early-modern ones coming in from 1928-1938. We can probably hand-wave this as "19th century technology" in terms of the engineering as...
  • Commented on Story time!
    Addendum: the big difference I can see is the lack of disposability in all these items. A modern washer-drier has a design life of 5 years, then you throw it out and buy a new one (hopes the manufacturer). A...
  • Commented on Story time!
    My two cents, but the general fun point is that future low tech won't the same low-tech as it was in the past. There's progress even at the low end. If you've got just about any access to electricity—and a...
  • Commented on Story time!
    On prepping: I have enough health issues that if medicine supply chains break down I'll be dead within six months, and that my maximum daily walking range is severely limited—ten kilometers and I'll be groaning in pain for the next...
  • Commented on Story time!
    Mostly it's going to knock the middle east - Iran, Iraq AND Saudi Arabia - out, at least in the short term, and maybe longer. The U.S. can mostly supply its needs from domestic production, but who does the rest...
  • Commented on Story time!
    how the great Fossil Fuel Authoritarians who rule Russia and Saudi Arabia, the US, Canada, and Australia (among others) are doubling down on fossil fuel extraction and production, rather than shifting to different systems of power It's a trillion-dollar bust-out...
  • Commented on Story time!
    Yes, well, the Iranian RG are a pain in their own guvmin't arse ... spoiling for a fight they can't win & looking for millions of deaths, because they have "got religion" - they are the mirror-image of Bolton &...
  • Commented on Story time!
    Ahem: the sawblade on the old U-boats was to sever mooring cables on sea mines, AIUI. Not for attacking ships....
  • Commented on Story time!
    Totally agree about it being another Gulf of Tonkin incident. Iran has nothing to gain, the Japanese owners of the tankers contradict the US government account of what happened (and they should know!), and the US responded by blaming Iran...
  • Commented on Story time!
    Assuming you mean the English-language Laundry RPG from Cubicle 7 (there are separate French and Spanish officially-licensed Laundry RPGs with their own rule sets) ... it's no longer on sale. Cubicle 7 sub-licensed the Call of Cthulhu d20 ruleset and...
  • Commented on Story time!
    The number of things wrong with D&D is epic: * Alignment system (enough said) * Races (hint: dubious race politics is a given thanks to the unacknowledged implicit racism in Tolkien and other fantasy taproots, but still ...!) * Predisposition...
  • Commented on Story time!
    It's worth noting that it is in the dragons' own self-interest not to eat the auditors who certify that their hoard contains enough gold to back their scrip. So it follows that if one wants to sneak up on and...
  • Commented on Story time!
    The dragons don't lend their gold, they merely use it as colateral and issue paper against it. Sure the paper says "I promise to pay the bearer on receipt one gold piece", signed A. Dragon, but have you ever actually...
  • Commented on CMAP #16: Book Title Blues
    The best eye-opener for foreigners about the scale of Australia is to learn two simple facts about Perth, in the west: Perth is two-thirds as far from Sydney and Melbourne as London is from New York. And barely any closer...
  • Commented on Story time!
    Similarly: gelatinous cubes are simply ginormous (and promiscuous) eukaryotic cells that have cracked the diffusion-gradient problem so they can get oxygen and nutrients everywhere in the interior without maxing out at a diameter of a couple of millimetres. And the...
  • Commented on Story time!
    I've been thinking of them (or rather, the super-rich) as liches for a little while, mostly because their entire existence is conditioned by "magical" legal documents that describe the web of trusts, corporations, and foundations that actually house their wealth,...
  • Commented on Story time!
    I am so not going to post the pitch I worked up for my creator-owned supervillain comic, set in a small, depressed town mostly famous for exporting Mooks (those mirrorshade-wearing, boiler-suited interchangeable minions that the likes of James Bond and...
  • Commented on Story time!
    with sidekick as senior to hench and lackey between hench and minion. This is screaming for a spoof HR manual, complete with pay scales, grades (with roles and responsibilities), performance appraisal guidelines, and some hints about Performance Improvement Programs for...
  • Commented on Story time!
    I'm not talking about the TV show, I'm talking about the 80s and 90s comic run. Utterly epic....
  • Commented on Story time!
    You're familiar with the Grant Morrison reboot of Doom Patrol and their enemies, the Brotherhood of Dada, led by Mr Nobody? As wikipedia summarizes it, "The Brotherhood stole a magical painting and used it to transport Paris into another reality...
  • Commented on Story time!
    Wrt relativity/FTL/time travel: please take it outside, guys, it's derailing the otherwise-entertaining comments on supervillain origin stories and crapsack dystopian hellhole job ads....
  • Commented on Story time!
    I encountered vector and matrix arithmetic at age 14. English school system, 1970s. And I got Boolean algebra and set theory aged 10—I lucked into a crossover between a 60s attempt at teaching "the new mathematics" and a 70s attempt...
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