Brett_

Brett_

  • Commented on Not a Manifesto
    I just realized reading that Gladstone essay that Tolkien does have mundane-but-mysterious magic, including in [i]Fellowship of the Ring[/i]. Stuff like elvish cloaks that conceal their wearers amidst the terrain, or bread that sates appetite with only a few bites...
  • Commented on Not a Manifesto
    This goes the other way, too. If you've got a setting where magic behaves according to regular rules and mechanics (and always has), then it seems like you wouldn't really have a concept of "magic" versus "technology". It would all...
  • Commented on A brief, bitter quiz
    Operation Cyclone was a goddamn stupid idea, although I can see why it happened - that was back when Reagan would back any set of thugs with guns if they were shooting communists and leftists. Truth is, it wouldn't have...
  • Commented on Service update
    I really want Scotland to make the jump and go full independence, complete with independent monetary policy (I'm an American). Aside from the fact that I think it will make Scots happier (eventually), it will be a very useful natural...
  • Commented on YAPC::NA 2014 keynote: Programming Perl in 2034
    Is there any chance that you could see programming go through the equivalent of what the Industrial Revolution did to textile manufacturing, with lots of it broken down into highly specialized tasks that can be done by someone with the...
  • Commented on The Snowden leaks; a meta-narrative
    It is far from certain that the most productive system is *not* Fascism. China has shown how state directed Capitalism plus a dynamic party dictatorship can be very efficient. It's not that efficient. Parts of it are very efficient, but...
  • Commented on Generation Z
    They're replacing a variety of tasks with automation, but you come up with new ones to replace those. I mean, look at your post - do you do the same type of consulting help that you did 20 years ago,...
  • Commented on Generation Z
    @royal.canadian.bandit Simply put, a 40 year old is probably willing to take a job as a cop and defend the barricades protecting the 1%, but storming the barricades is a job for a 20 year old, and our society has...
  • Commented on Generation Z
    At least for the US, I don't see where the massive wage declines are supposed to come from*. It only slightly happened before the 1990s during a period when the labor force was rapidly growing due to more women, minorities,...
  • Commented on A nation of slaves
    It's not entirely unfounded. Unemployed people tend to have a myriad of psychological and self-esteem issues that pop up with extended unemployment, although whether that would be the case in a society where most people don't have "work for money"...
  • Commented on A nation of slaves
    Also, put me in the camp that believes that if the Piketty Hypothesis is true and wealth grows at 5% a year versus 2-3% for GDP (not entirely sure I buy that, but let's run with it), then that's a...
  • Commented on A nation of slaves
    I'll play Devil's Advocate here: I'm not seeing a trend towards greater technological unemployment, or even necessarily a trend towards accelerating income inequality in the US. The unemployment rate in the US was 4% as recently as 2007, just before...
  • Commented on Can We Merge Minds and Machines?
    I think augmentation will be slow to spread outside of medical purposes. Not because it won't work, but because it has to compete with the second-best alternative that doesn't require invasive surgery (unless the stuff you mention works out, at...
  • Commented on The Singularity Is Further Than It Appears
    @Ramez Naam You mentioned up-thread that your guess on uploading is early 22nd century. If that ends up being true, I wonder whether Uploading of actual people would really take off compared to potential alternatives. At that point, our life...
  • Commented on And in case you think that wasn't bad enough ...
    There's something for everyone, I guess. That's the beauty of erotica - you don't have to even try to draw it, so you can do more situations. You just write it out and let people use their imaginations. I think...
  • Commented on The revolution will not be hand-stitched
    It might be a good thing if Bangladesh was forced to diversify more as opposed to relying so heavily on textile production as a percentage of exports. It's at the point where getting wage raises and labor protections in the...
  • Commented on Polemic: how readers will discover books in future
    You could just see the break-down of the idea of a "book" as a thing by itself, if the number of "book" readers remains stagnant. I've always thought that you'd see more stuff like the old "publish a book chapter...
  • Commented on What have we learned?
    We at least take international terrorist activity more seriously now, and that's not just US Intelligence at work. The Bush Administration's pre-9/11 response to warning signs of a 9/11 terrorism attack was a comedy of errors, procrastination, and just "this...
  • Commented on The next moves in the Spooks v. News cold war
    I'm with Nojay#21 on this one. The NSA actually likes an unencrypted, uncensored internet, provided they can spy on it without being detected. They've usually opposed any sort of mandatory encryption law on internet traffic because it would reduce their...
  • Commented on A Bad Dream
    @cahth3iK "and full-on monitoring of all internet traffic like the Chinese. But we don't" Yes we do! That's the point of these last two weeks! We're not even close to the type of monitoring that the Chinese government does, which...
  • Commented on A Bad Dream
    I don't think this type of policy convergence is anything atypical - in fact, in the past, it used to be more typical in the US. Politicians have to win support from their constituencies, and they're constrained by the set...
  • Commented on Obituaries
    After the Winter of Discontent, it was going to be someone who would have to deal with the trade unions, the publicly owned companies, and the high inflation rate - Thatcher just happened to be that person at the right...
  • Commented on Me, talking
    @Scott-Sanford Intelligence augmentation will definitely happen, but it won't look much like the cyberpunk brain implants. When your glasses will do realtime google searches for you, you don't need any electronics in your brain. Especially if it's cheaper and easier,...
  • Commented on Me, talking
    I think the world of 2043 will look drab and plain to anyone not wearing their attachable augmented reality glasses/skin stimulant pads/hearing plugs. You won't have the flashy, neon colorfulness of cyber-punk cities, because it will be all virtual -...
  • Commented on Mo' holding pattern
    I wonder if the greater size of the lander would help. You would need some truly enormous parachutes, but you'd also get more air resistance coming down. Mars' atmosphere is rather annoying for anything except making methane rocket fuel. It's...
  • Commented on Mo' holding pattern
    Agreed. The "yech factor" aside, I've always heard that water made the best radiation shielding for astronauts on their way to Mars. I looked up one of Robert Zubrin's old talks on Mars, and he said it was five inches...
  • Commented on Mo' holding pattern
    @Memomancer Science fiction has done immeasurable damage in promoting fantasies about space travel that real spaceflight has no hope of measuring up to. It's more that they tended to be too optimistic about the time frame. All manned space activities...
  • Commented on Mo' holding pattern
    I forgot to add- If you've ever wondered why the computers aboard space probes and the ISS are relatively old stuff (supplemented by laptops in the latter's case), it's because of those cosmic rays. They tend to cause annoying "bit...
  • Commented on Mo' holding pattern
    Stopping the Cosmic Rays is probably impossible due to the sheer mass of material required, but they don't usually kill you. They just give you a slightly heightened risk of cancer, depending on how long you are in space. The...
  • Commented on Mo' holding pattern
    Tito's idea is a good one. You want to have a few inches to feet around a small part of your spaceship serving as the "storm shelter" in case of a solar flare, and you can use just about any...
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