Brett_

Brett_

  • Commented on Sad Trombone Exoplanet Reality Check
    Not really, I'm afraid. We're the classic example: we have enormously high literacy, but we're going to leave bugger-all behind for our successors, because essentially all of our writing is on media that fall apart after years to a few...
  • Commented on Sad Trombone Exoplanet Reality Check
    The problem for that set-up is the presence of writing and literacy. The reason why we know so much more on average about the past 3000 years versus the past 7000 is because writing became more common, and even with...
  • Commented on Sad Trombone Exoplanet Reality Check
    Exactly this. A lot of science fictions stories are basically space fantasy, either mysterious adventures in strange new lands or "X but in space". Star Trek is that (although it does have some interesting science fiction elements in the system...
  • Commented on Sad Trombone Exoplanet Reality Check
    If this planet holds up and is actually Earth-size (i.e. less than 1.2 times Earth radius and 2-3 times its mass), then I'm really hoping we can eventually do analysis on its atmosphere. Finding an earth-like planet with a habitable...
  • Commented on The iron law of development
    Could a civilization in an Olduvai situation jump-start industrialization by going to straight to electric dynamos, electric wires, electric motors, and modified flywheels running off of water and wind power? They are going to have a lot of metal readily...
  • Commented on We'll all go together when we go
    The counterpoint is that if you can keep some type of logistical system open (and countries can usually do this even under duress - look at the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany in World War 2), then you've got a...
  • Commented on We'll all go together when we go
    I wonder how long the IL-4 would stay that lethal. Diseases that kill quickly and totally tend to burn out really quick, or shift into less lethal but more contagious and chronic forms. One of the reason why Malaria was...
  • Commented on A game of consequences
    This might be more of a severe problem for free-"floating" habitats than surface-side colonies off-world. The proposals I've seen for early Mars colonies are essentially sets of hab modules, each with their own life support systems, connected together - and...
  • Commented on Some notes on world building
    Great stuff. Some aspects of the human condition are changeable: voluntary control over fertility leads to changes in family size, for example, which has huge impact on storytelling (how many siblings does your protagonist have?). Now there's an interesting idea...
  • Commented on Defining space opera
    Scale and Grandeur are key aspects of this - there needs to be huge stakes, great drama,and so forth. "The galaxy is at risk!" "The solar system civilization is at risk!" You need high emotional investment and expression as well,...
  • Commented on Towards a taxonomy of cliches in Space Opera
    -Major alien civilizations should not have a single monoculture that apparently all of them ascribe to aside from rare individuals unless there's a very strong reason for it (i.e. they went through some type of horrific purge). I'm looking at...
  • Commented on The paranoid style in 2016
    I agree with most of what MisterDK is saying. It's important to separate Trump The Brand from Trump The Manager - the latter is a mediocre businessman who has repeatedly run businesses into the ground, declared bankruptcy multiple times, and...
  • Commented on Long range forecast
    I'm a bit skeptical that we'll see full food collapse in the US. The US is just too big and climatically diverse - just look at the current weather. And there's a lot of areas that are perfectly amenable to...
  • Commented on Science-fictional shibboleths
    Yeah, pretty much. It's why I don't think fusion will be a major power source for electricity generation - the aneutronic version is just incredibly difficult, and even the very difficult version we might be able to do in a...
  • Commented on Science-fictional shibboleths
    I just think it's unlikely. Our ancestors were already bipedal apes when they discovered fire, so fire shaped what they already had and maybe accentuated it further. Whereas, an alien that looks like a six-legged land crab that discovers fire...
  • Commented on Science-fictional shibboleths
    Status Goods. You trade in rare items from other solar system as a way of showing that you're the type of person with so much influence that you can literally command starships to be built and sent....
  • Commented on Science-fictional shibboleths
    What NASA wants in terms of shorter-time-lag telepresence isn't really constant control in real-time by an operator. They like the whole "program everything into a sequence in advance" model for robotic space exploration, because it keeps power and control over...
  • Commented on Science-fictional shibboleths
    We'll have to agree to disagree on that one. All the ones we see on screen come across to me as taking hours, not days or weeks. The only exceptions were the trip in Phantom Menace from Naboo to Tattooine...
  • Commented on Science-fictional shibboleths
    The two people who make up James Corey - Daniel Abraham and Ty Franks - have openly stated that they wanted to create space opera and weren't interested in hard SF. My copy of Leviathan Wakes had an interview with...
  • Commented on Science-fictional shibboleths
    I've always though medical immortality might be a good impetus for greater off-world colonization in a SF setting (as well as further population growth, at least for a while, past the Demographic Transition). It doesn't seem at all implausible to...
  • Commented on Science-fictional shibboleths
    That Mediterranean figures match what I've read about other cities that got hit by the Plague. IIRC the German cities and towns that got hit by it lost between 60-80% of their population too. @Heteromeles It's a great idea. I'm...
  • Commented on Science-fictional shibboleths
    Actually, come to think of it, Star Wars warfare as seen in the movies is a rather interesting combo. Starship fleets that can essentially get anywhere in the galaxy in mere hours, without warning - combined with planetary defenses that...
  • Commented on Science-fictional shibboleths
    It makes sense in Star Wars. They have such capable starships that getting in and out of gravity wells is trivial for them, so why not live planet-side and fight over planets? There's another advantage to that which only comes...
  • Commented on Science-fictional shibboleths
    It's not that I think it's stupid, just that I think it's unrealistic on a time frame of the next couple decades. Resistance to density is fierce in most US cities, and especially in the affluent and upper-middle class neighborhoods...
  • Commented on Science-fictional shibboleths
    I just thought of one: Unrealistic Near-Term Manhattanization of American cities. The wikipedia entry on Manhattanization is here. Essentially, this imagines that all NIMBYs and land use restrictions have been defeated. Even areas that are sprawling suburbia today with layer...
  • Commented on Science-fictional shibboleths
    Charlie brought up guns being obsolescent, but what if you had something that did make them obsolete? Let's say someone figures out - either using solid-state lasers or very small missiles - how to make something that could be carried...
  • Commented on Science-fictional shibboleths
    Years of Rice and Salt had that effect for me - I couldn't buy the premise. The Plague in real life actually did cause mass death and devastation in both the Middle East and China in the 14th century, so...
  • Commented on Science-fictional shibboleths
    Opportunity Cost is going to neuter fusion as a commercial power source. Unless they literally pull a commercial version ready to build out of a hat sometime in the next ten years, they won't be able to start doing commercial...
  • Commented on Introducing new guest blogger: Heteromeles
    It's ultimately a matter of how often crops fail, what kinds of crops fail, etc. Failure-prone agriculture is nothing new - IIRC the ancient Romans' mediterranean agriculture had a high chance of crop failure, so they'd diversify and plant different...
  • Commented on Introducing new guest blogger: Heteromeles
    This is probably a stupid question, but do you have any relation to Geoffrey Landis?...
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