Sean M

Sean M

  • Commented on On the lack of cultural estrangement in SF
    And anyone with a browser or a local library can test the claim that no rich country except Israel has a total fertility rate above 2.0 (cough, France, cough) and decide for themselves whether they should be scared of high-TFR...
  • Commented on On the lack of cultural estrangement in SF
    You could look at it like that, or you could also say that Taylor has deliberately left the sexual and romantic lives of most of his human characters a blank slate. Readers are free to imagine them as straight, cis,...
  • Commented on On the lack of cultural estrangement in SF
    I would observe two things there. First, Howard Taylor is a Mormon, so its no surprise that the handful of romantic relationships in his fiction are heterosexual and long-term. Second, some authors of fiction (including OGH and the author of...
  • Commented on An age-old question
    Many people in most countries don't want immigrants, at least not immigrants with the same rights as everyone else. Right now Canada, Australia, Israel, and a long list of industrialized European countries let in more immigrants as a share of...
  • Commented on An age-old question
    As the OECD observes, "The share of the foreign-born population in the total population is especially high in Luxembourg, Australia, Switzerland, Israel, New Zealand and Canada where it ranges from 21% to 42%. In a number of other European countries...
  • Commented on An age-old question
    Scholars debate why such large numbers of Romans became landless and drifted into Rome in the last two centuries BCE. What they agree on is that the people who counted in a Roman election were those who could be there...
  • Commented on Some rambling thoughts on region restrictions
    Simon, the problems with a novelist becoming a one-man press is that most authors are better being authors than managers, and that now the author has to spend money in advance in hopes of making it back later (the first...
  • Commented on Some rambling thoughts on region restrictions
    One essay which comes to mind is Orwell's “Books vs. Cigarettes” http://orwell.ru/library/articles/cigar/english/e_cigar Not counting novels (or web serials or blogs or ...) as "real reading" has a long history too....
  • Commented on Competition Time!
    Unauthorized use of PROJECT GRAVEDUST technology and material from the Bodleian Library to settle debate on the cannonical origin of orcs in Middle Earth....
  • Commented on Competition Time!
    Release of unearthly geometry and Enochian script to member of the public "Hosni Mubarak" in attachment "BankAccountDetails.zip" to email dated 2014/03/23 re: exciting financial opportunity....
  • Commented on Schroedinger's Kingdom: the Scottish Political Singularity Explained
    Well, the Proclamation of 1763 was a major colonial grievance in 1776, as it forbade the colonists to steal Indian land west of the Appalatians, and Britian did end slavery in its colonies in the early 19th century, even though...
  • Commented on We need a pony. And the moon on a stick. By next Thursday.
    Didn't the same article state that most rich countries were equally lax about eg. checking passports against the Interpol database of stolen ones? I don't recall anything more than my passport being checked when I entered the US or UK,...
  • Commented on We need a pony. And the moon on a stick. By next Thursday.
    Wasn't one of the few interesting things to come out of the tragedy in Malaysia that few airports actually check all the security features on '90s vintage passports, let alone experimental ones like fingerprint scanners? If there are plenty of...
  • Commented on The myth of heroism
    Its a bit older than Christianity: compare Virgil's Aeneas to the Odysseus of the Odyssey or the Achilles of the Iliad. For that matter, compare Homer's Hector with his Achilles. I agree that there is a great difference between the...
  • Commented on Yet another bad idea
    Be careful Mr. Stross. The last time a SF author had a horrible idea and posted it on the public Internet to be laughed at, he set forces in motion which made "Oh John Ringo no!" a meme. Ringo had...
  • Commented on Implications
    And some people like learning about different cultures (whether because they respect them, or because they like to feel superior to outsiders and their strange ways). They read history or anthropology or old literature or watch TV shows about subcultures....
  • Commented on Implications
    Harry Turtledove does this a lot, probably deliberately. Alternate worlds somehow recapitulate World War II or the American Civil War or Byzantine history despite much earlier change points. I suspect that he does it for the money, since he has...
  • Commented on PSA: Why there won't be a third book in the Halting State trilogy
    I felt that way when the "Guardian" et al. revealed large-scale government attacks on online banking data. If its not the potential for corruption inside the security services, its the results when non-state spies obtain their techniques. But "Halting State"...
  • Commented on Trotskyite singularitarians for Monarchism! A political speculation.
    Greg: In Bengal the British carried out a scorched earth policy then refused to allow food supplies to be shipped in once it was clear that the Japanese were not about to arrive. They had the shipping to do it,...
  • Commented on The cult of justice
    I'm thinking more about the 12th through 14th centuries, where I have the strong impression that the English crown maimed and executed less people for more serious offenses than its 18th century counterpart did. But that period is not my...
  • Commented on The cult of justice
    And there were earlier changes; the Bloody Code was much bloodier than would have been acceptable a few hundred years earlier, and medieval people were happy to have a dozen intersecting and overlapping legal systems instead of a hierarchy. Medieval...
  • Commented on Trotskyite singularitarians for Monarchism! A political speculation.
    "Did the Brits oppress and enslave? No, not really. They were mildly to moderately oppressive (and still are: for which we should be grateful). The Soviet experiment killed millions, the Maoist experiment probably billions." The Bengal famine of 1943 also...
  • Commented on Trotskyite singularitarians for Monarchism! A political speculation.
    Well, the judgement of anyone who can read half a dozen histories written within aristocratic empires (histories written by the class which did well under those empires!) and think that we should try that again can't be sound. I can't...
  • Commented on Time tourism
    With de Camp's Rivers of Time stories, you have to remember that the first was published in 1956 as an attempt to do a 'hunters in the Cretacious' story right. Given his ideas about gender back then, and the expectations...
  • Commented on Who ordered *that*?
    I'm curious again: why do you think I am trying to convince someone of something? My previous reading and watching convinced me that Sterling is not being truthful, so I asked why. You told me that he was using coded...
  • Commented on Marking time, more thoughts
    No: a =resident of Rome= received a free grain ration. Rome was one of the half dozen largest cities in the world, with all the problems of cost of living which that implies (when that law was passed there was...
  • Commented on Who ordered *that*?
    Ah. Then I will ignore it. I enjoy trading learned allusions myself (such as all the programming references in “Atrocity Archives”) but they are no way to make an argument....
  • Commented on Who ordered *that*?
    I'm pretty sure that he has been following these issues since before I was old enough to use a keyboard. That is why I am pretty sure that he knows he is talking nonsense. I still don't understand why he...
  • Commented on Who ordered *that*?
    On the other hand, I am almost sure that he knows he is talking nonsense when he says that electronic civil liberties advocates had no idea what the NSA was doing to their beloved hardware. Everyone who cares has known...
  • Commented on Lies, damned lies, and popular beliefs
    Do we have any evidence on whether levels of ignorance have changed over time? I doubt that the situation was better in 1913, when most voters got far less school than today, and I am not sure about 1963. I...
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