David L

David L

  • Commented on On the lack of cultural estrangement in SF
    In 1814 ... and the US petered out in wilderness in the eastern part of the Mississippi Valley. Oh, and most English people lived in villages. Not quite. By 1824 there were a lot of towns, large and small, along...
  • Commented on Ask the Author
    but why do people keep on making the same mistakes, or repeating already-known-to-be-wrong ( Not to say evil ) acts? Because the new folks become convinced that the previous folks didn't implement things correctly. Just do that and all will...
  • Commented on Ask the Author
    Death of government bureaucracy ... have you considered this is a possibility thanks to constant government surveillance? No need to ask the populace to fill out forms in triplicate if all of your activity is already being monitored and recorded....
  • Commented on On the lack of cultural estrangement in SF
    The social structure of most primates is apparently hardwired to a rigid pecking order from The Boss down to the outcastes. Ditto dogs. But most folks who have dogs as pets don't get that these days. (At least in the...
  • Commented on On the lack of cultural estrangement in SF
    For the Amish, I believe the problems were mainly property taxes, plus the spread of the suburbs to border Amish farmland, to their mutual displeasure. A big part of it is that there's no farming frontier left. If you're having...
  • Commented on An age-old question
    Yes. It was Congress telling NASA and the US military how to build a single vehicle for wildly divergent uses and the only way anything was going to get approved was to lie about the costs and benefits. Think of...
  • Commented on On the lack of cultural estrangement in SF
    I look at autos that people have maintained well from the 60s and 70s and it's obviously hard to predict the future. A Cadillac or Mercedes from that era looks woeful compared to the Hyundai Accent my daughter just bought....
  • Commented on On the lack of cultural estrangement in SF
    one thing you're going to be speaking a different language. And it feels that way many times in the US. :) Some friends back in the 70s in college. One was from Minnesota. They were in Mississippi for a football...
  • Commented on On the lack of cultural estrangement in SF
    I think you underestimate the level of "peacetime" violence in antiquity. Discussion this with a friend a while back and we decided that in many areas they only reason the fighting would pause is the weather got too bad (winter)...
  • Commented on On the lack of cultural estrangement in SF
    I always assumed that the requirement for FTL drives to be in "Flat Space" was more to do with the plot than anything else. In my mind it had to do with navigation. Even if that wasn't the author's intent....
  • Commented on On the lack of cultural estrangement in SF
    reinforced concrete What is the issue with reinforced concrete? Does the embedded steel/iron break down over time? Is the concrete designed to be weaker (and cheaper) knowing the reinforcing will carry the strength? And the exposed surfaces wear faster? Or...
  • Commented on On the lack of cultural estrangement in SF
    There's an organization called 'The US Army' which is very, very interested in such things. Agreed. But their idea of acceptable damage to the terrain isn't quite the same as most consumers....
  • Commented on On the lack of cultural estrangement in SF
    It's not that the transporter isn't magic ... it's that people have been taught to accept the apparently magical if the aesthetics are right. Plastic and chrome good, goat entrails and pentacles bad. Yes. I expect it would be a...
  • Commented on On the lack of cultural estrangement in SF
    My grandfather was born in 1885 and died in 1982. And was still running the farm until 1978 or so. Born into coal oil lighting and died after the shuttle flew. His universe changed radically and I doubt he could...
  • Commented on On the lack of cultural estrangement in SF
    Rather than lock them up for centuries, or execute them, there may well be viable brain hacks capable of changing their personalities permanently. We already have an idea of how to do it now, and that knowledge will only increase...
  • Commented on On the lack of cultural estrangement in SF
    I wonder how much the mentality of the average person would have changed between 1814 and 1914. You seem to claim not much. I guess I have to disagree. Industrial revolution? Electricity. Telegraph and telephone. Movies? Phonographs? Even if the...
  • Commented on On the lack of cultural estrangement in SF
    People look at the problems and limitations of Google's automated car and don't understand that these are temporary problems. When it's "perfected" there will suddenly be a large number of truck drivers out of work, and bus drivers that aren't...
  • Commented on An age-old question
    My daughter used to baby sit a boy who was about 4 or 5 at the time. One thing she was supposed to do was keep him entertained enough so he wouldn't default to reading (and I think remembering) the...
  • Commented on An age-old question
    And £20 says NASA will be the first to get someone back alive. And $100US says non of us here will be alive when that happens....
  • Commented on An age-old question
    Yes, I heard (don't know if it's true) working out the billing reconciliation for all the companies they bought absolutely stuffed them for ages. 10 years ago or so I was sitting next to a fellow on a plane who...
  • Commented on An age-old question
    neuroplasticity This is a phrase used in the US on late night, after midnight, TV commercials for various potions and study programs to improve your mental abilities in old age. This time slot is always full of various potions, snake...
  • Commented on An age-old question
    Let's suppose that research on diet and exercise produces scientific consensus around a regime not too far away from current best advice, but with enough of the gaps filled in to offer an extra 20 years of life and excellent...
  • Commented on An age-old question
    And of course, if your colonies are filled with near-immortals, spending five years in the colony as it migrates out to Saturn isn't going to be a big problem for them. You're assuming a big change in how we humans...
  • Commented on An age-old question
    Right now Canada, Australia, Israel, and a long list of industrialized European countries let in more immigrants as a share of the population than the US does. I THINK I heard on a radio or TV news show recently that...
  • Commented on Let's put the future behind us
    The mirror would focus sunlight onto a 1-kilometre-wide patch of Mars's surface. This would raise the temperature in this patch to a balmy 20° Celsius (68° Fahrenheit) from Mars's typical surface temperature of between -140° C and -60° C (-220°...
  • Commented on Let's put the future behind us
    Remember, you don't get "villages" and "towns" in the US; just about any random gathering of houses and a general store incorporates as a city as soon as it can. Ah, not really. It may seem like that from afar...
  • Commented on Oh dear
    In most security setups things seem to always get lax over time until something goes wrong and then "heads roll" and things are tightened up. Back around 1980 or so I was told a story at one of the top...
  • Commented on Leading question
    As people get better educated about money the number of silly financial events will decrease. Really? Just how is this to be accomplished? What evidence is there that this is happening?...
  • Commented on Unwelcome reality excursion
    If the U.S. didn't bother to join the Allies, why go there? Yes. If Britain had fallen before Pearl Harbor then the US voters would have not joined the war in Europe. In face Roosevelt and the administration was trying...
  • Commented on Unwelcome reality excursion
    I am talking of security clearances for "secret" I'm fairly sure mine was secret. Seemed silly to me at the time. This was for a Gaseous Diffusion Plant for nuclear fuel. If you didn't have the clearance and it wasn't...
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