fmackay

fmackay

  • Commented on Trapped in the wrong trouser-leg of time
    The quoted numbers are for everything. You can play with the dropdowns at the top of the OECD figures to compare spending on separate parts of the healthcare sector....
  • Commented on Trapped in the wrong trouser-leg of time
    Both France and Germany (and plenty of other EU countries) spend more on healthcare than the UK does. Latest figures here (uk 9.7% of GDP, fr 11.0%, de 11.3%; uk figure jumps in 2013 because).)...
  • Commented on Book day!
    OGH previously tweeted "Book 9 was going to be a Heart of Darkness journey into SPOILER's America, but reality bushwhacked me with worse before I even outlined it", see here for the original tweet. Since that was a now-abandoned plan,...
  • Commented on Some notes on the worst-case scenario
    "Where Alph, the sacred river, ran Through caverns measureless to man Down to a sunless sea."? Surely not coincidentally......
  • Commented on Some notes on the worst-case scenario
    Once Art.50 is activated, in terms of existing law it takes unanimity on the EU side to extend the negotiation period or reverse the activation. Only the former, art. 50 doesn't mention revocability. Which is why a case is to...
  • Commented on Empire Games
    I thought something similar, but really the transcripts of US govt meetings, presented as if actual examples of such, also imply survival of civilisation in that timeline. As does the framing device for the Laundry Files, currently about the only...
  • Commented on Empire Games
    Thanks for the book, Charlie; stayed up far too late last night finishing it. Another age problem - Holmes is "barely forty", later meets Pierrepoint & Baker and is said to be younger than both, but Pierrepoint is noted to...
  • Commented on Facts of Life and Death
    It is suggested that Scotland might not have to leave and rejoin the EU, if we sort out independence in a sufficiently timely fashion....
  • Commented on Facts of Life and Death
    The DEFRA data I linked enumerates "rough grazing" and "permanent grass" separately, "nearly half" (about 44%) excludes rough grazing, it's exactly half when that's included. But yes I imagine a fair chunk of what is cultivated as "permanent grass" is...
  • Commented on Facts of Life and Death
    Nearly half the UK's agricultural land is used for livestock (according to), you could get a lot more calories per hectare out of that if you put crops on it. I wonder how many Leave voters would change their minds...
  • Commented on CASE NIGHTMARE BLOND
    If the Black Chamber has potential hooks in Boris because of his US nationality (if he hasn't in fact renounced it) then it would surely be time for a DSS to have a quiet word with the new PM about...
  • Commented on We'll all go together when we go
    Since we're well past 100 comments I'll risk a semi-OT question for OGH (SPOILERS for The Nightmare Stacks): the elves appear to have had something analogous to the lone gene hacker/catastrophic plague scenario, in that any sufficiently insane magus could...
  • Commented on The unspeakable truth
    On firefox/android I use a very handy extension called three finger swipe - possibly available for chrome too, or something similar surely is - which lets you bind various actions to a - you guessed - three fingered swipe. So...
  • Commented on Defining space opera
    The answer to that question is, yes, he does, with a 6-months-between-books trilogy, book one out in two months. Assuming the blurb doesn't lie [1], is this Ken's first space opera? The only previous contender is Newton's Wake, I think....
  • Commented on Long range forecast
    I'm not entirely convinced by this argument, yes surely this scenario would legitimise Indyref2 but how many of the people who voted no last time, when asked "which union do you want to be in, UK or EU?", would go...
  • Commented on The Invisible Library and its perilous Christmas obsessions
    For collector types, doesn't that rather muddy the waters regarding what constitutes a true first edition? Could end up being a nice little earner for book reviewers....
  • Commented on Default Option
    ...perhaps you could fill the gap between rail and concetre with some sort of rubber that is compressed by a tram and not by a cycle? This is a thing. Although it doesn't prevent the rails from being very...
  • Commented on Ask the Author
    As entertaining as it would be to see Timmy eaten by a shoggoth, surely the best fit for a Blyton/Laundry crossover would be the Magic Faraway Tree books? Somewhere in an English woodland, at the top of an ...unusually tall...
  • Commented on Crib Sheet: Neptune's Brood
    I seem to be writing only near future SF and urban fantasy these days ... If you do want that best novel Hugo (and congrats on the latest), I can't imagine a likelier candidate among your announced/possible future works than...
  • Commented on The revolution will not be hand-stitched
    I remember reading an SF novel in the mid-80s where, as a throwaway, the protagonist had a high-end pair of running shoes with a perfect fit ensured by a robot stitching them in situ, using the foot as a last....
  • Commented on Spook Century
    Seems as though all but a few of the Strugatskys' novels were translated to English, but that all are OOP - cheapest "How to be a god" on bookfinder is about $100. Clearly a demand is unfulfilled - I've only...
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