Brett_

Brett_

  • Commented on Two Thoughts
    I'm ignoring, of course, the possibility of rent-seeking by said digital middle-men, which seems quite likely at some point. Pretty much all major incumbents facing obscolecense and decline start looking for legal rents, using the justifications of safety and protecting...
  • Commented on Two Thoughts
    It sounds like you would end up with a More Perfect Market in that scenario where the Digital Middle-Men all disappear, aside from the "Data Utilities"/Pipeline infrastructure services mentioned above. Those could be regulated, though, eventually turning into the same...
  • Commented on Who Got Fantasy in My Science Fiction?
    Sorry, change "don't require a space setting" to "don't require a futuristic setting". The key is that the space/futuristic setting is just trappings for the story - there's nothing fundamental about a story like Star Wars that requires it....
  • Commented on Who Got Fantasy in My Science Fiction?
    For me, the difference between Science Fiction and Space Fantasy is that the latter has themes and plot elements that don't require a space setting to work, whereas the former do because the futuristic elements/setting are intrinsic to the type...
  • Commented on On the Great Filter, existential threats, and griefers
    Thinking more about the self-propagating probes, it's worth asking why any AI operating them would choose to hang around scattered across solar systems when they could transmit copies of themselves over interstellar distances back "home" to hang out with their...
  • Commented on On the Great Filter, existential threats, and griefers
    @Charlie Stross I think you fundamentally misunderstand the Fermi paradox. It's not necessary for all advanced civilizations to engage in interstellar travel; it's only necessary that not all of them abstain from it. Because all it takes is one, and...
  • Commented on On the Great Filter, existential threats, and griefers
    But suppose we can make self-replicating robots that can build a variety of sub-assemblies from a canned library of schematics, building them out of asteroidal debris? That might be the issue there - perhaps the "complexity" argument applies to interstellar...
  • Commented on A different cluetrain
    You don't need to look to the future to see what an authoritarian regime combined with heavy collaboration with corporate and business elites looks like. That combination characterized much of Latin America for the twentieth century, as well as East...
  • Commented on Default Option
    On topic- It looks like Syriza is going to win pretty big. The Guardian says there's a chance they might even get an outright majority, which would be very good news....
  • Commented on Default Option
    Agreed. From a US perspective, it's especially easy to see how it would go bad - a lot of US public housing in the cities ended up being terrible because of fierce opposition from the real estate business about any...
  • Commented on Default Option
    The "barracks and a chow hall" proposal would definitely be a lot cheaper than a basic income, although the downside would be the loss of flexibility. It would have the same issues for the poor as SNAP/food stamps does today...
  • Commented on Default Option
    Anyways, back on topic- If Syriza manages to form a government and press the EU on debt relief, then the whole situation is Win-Win for them. 1. If the EU relents, they get some serious debt relief and can ease...
  • Commented on Default Option
    Basic Income again, hmm. Common topic- It's not as bad as it sounds, although it would require a tax increase - my guess is you'd need to increase federal tax rates across the board and have the states all increase...
  • Commented on Cloud cuckoo politics
    I'll have to check that Graeber passage again. In England's case, I thought monetary taxes came after the money - landholders/nobles/whatever eventually preferred to just pay a fee to their liege lords rather than actually supply some level of soldiers...
  • Commented on Why we're not going to see sub-orbital airliners
    If you're only looking at today, then you can't really run a base-load grid entirely off of renewables - but we're talking about the future, right? During which it's certainly possible to weave together a diverse set of renewable energy...
  • Commented on Why we're not going to see sub-orbital airliners
    Where is this "expensive energy" argument coming from? It might get expensive in a particular form - petroleum fuels - but in general energy is cheap and getting cheaper, especially with the cheaper cost of solar power. And you don't...
  • Commented on Why we're not going to see sub-orbital airliners
    I had a crazy idea. Could you build an airplane powered over at least short routes by flywheels?...
  • Commented on Why we're not going to see sub-orbital airliners
    It's good they're a small share of overall emissions, on the order of 2-4% of the annual total. You might be able to offset that with tree planting programs. If you really wanted to build a low-emission plane, you could...
  • Commented on Why we're not going to see sub-orbital airliners
    I think telepresence and teleconferencing will cut into business travel, but I don't think we're there yet. In-person meetings still have advantages of privacy and schmoozing opportunities (you can slip out for private discussions at a diner), and the costs...
  • Commented on Why we're not going to see sub-orbital airliners
    Airbus is still trying to make a supersonic jet aircraft, so we might see the resurrection of expensive supersonic travel at some point on some routes. If they can actually get the sonic boom issue minimized to the point where...
  • Commented on On the lack of cultural estrangement in SF
    @Jay The Shah was a (relatively) cosmopolitan regime atop a far more conservative population, though. That's one of the main reasons why the existing religious dictatorship survives today - get out of the major cities and the population is quite...
  • Commented on An age-old question
    Weird, that sentence ending in response to Matt's post got eaten. It included the sentence fragment "less than 1% a year range, with most economic activity going to replace and repair the existing stuff as it breaks down". [[ That's...
  • Commented on An age-old question
    @Matt If your population is near-immortal (and birth rates very, very low), then having a high growth rate overall doesn't matter as much except to poor people still hoping to converge with the rest of the world in income. The...
  • Commented on An age-old question
    @Charlie Stross The US has a couple of "force multipliers" due to institutional military experience/capabilities and its lingering privileged position in the world's international institutions. It's sort of like how Great Britain still had a special place in the world...
  • Commented on An age-old question
    I actually wouldn't rule out a UBI, or at least some type of "Job Guarantee" that would consist of paying employers to hire you on. Jobs programs are a well-known policy program and almost always very popular (see the Washington...
  • Commented on An age-old question
    We have some techniques for remembering stuff, like the "method of loci" approach and other mnemonics. If we have medical immortality and good "external prosthetic memory", then learning how to organize your memories so you could best draw upon the...
  • Commented on Let's put the future behind us
    Forgot to add- "Tropical Islands" reminds me of an indoor water park at the West Edmonton Mall that I went to when I was a child, including a massive interior lake. I'll have to check it out if I'm ever...
  • Commented on Let's put the future behind us
    You're right about artificially creating a sense of space in space colonies, since the O'Neill Cylinder set-up never seemed realistic to me - too much unused open space in a very expensive megastructure. The real open space would be confined...
  • Commented on Oh dear
    They weren't the big drivers. Apollo peaked in 1966 with the modern equivalent of $45 billion/year, and it was way down after 1969-70 from that. Vietnam spending peaked at about 2.3% of US GDP a year in (I think) 1968,...
  • Commented on Oh dear
    @Charlie Stross And it's no coincidence that the UK economy grew twice as fast, overall, during the terrible, terrible inflation-ridden industrial militancy era of the 1970s than during the subsequent Thatcherite 1980s. Same thing with the US in the early...
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