Sean M

Sean M

  • 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...
  • Commented on Crib Sheet: Glasshouse
    You might want to check his bibliography and footnotes, since he alludes to other people who have replicated his work with variations. Also, I think that psychologists have traditionally been reluctant to replicate experiments, although scholars from other fields have...
  • Commented on Neptune's Brood: an excerpt
    Or worse, we joke about them and pretend that nothing can be done about them. There is a charming bit in Pope's "Rape of the Lock" where he states that it was the time of day at which judges just...
  • Commented on PSA: Ignore the news
    Gwynne Dyer's latest column, on the principle that bad news will be inflated to fill the media space available, is timely. I suspect that we won't hear much about a possible Israeli-Iranian war or a hypothetical Second Korean War or...
  • Commented on Why I Do Self-Publish
    And of course a good bookstore will order in a book for you if it is in print or accessibly out of print. The Warrior Woman of the Internet just speeds up the process and removes the excuse to get...
  • Commented on The permanent revolution
    The other thing up for debate is =how= to change. There are a lot of conflicting visions and plans for the future in any society, and they cannot all be fulfilled. The rhetoric of inevitable, technologically determined change is often...
  • Commented on Why I don't self-publish
    @32: In theory, technical publishers have specialist editors, copyeditors, book designers, etc. (although cost-cutting and the assimilation of academic by for-profit publishing are threatening this). I know Mr. Stephenson and his books slightly, and I think that like late Heinlein...
  • Commented on Things publishers can't do (yet)
    Of course, one reason that game programmers are less risk averse could be that they are younger, better paid, and self-selected for making a very risky career choice (by all accounts, it is hard to get into that industry, and...
  • Commented on Dragged kicking and screaming into the 19th century
    The people who actually study animal behaviour as a model for human disagree. For example, humans function in much larger groups than chimps, and our most common mating system is serial monogamy. Chimpss, bonobos, and various bird species all have...
  • Commented on Roko's Basilisk wants YOU
    The trouble there seems that the probability of being in the universe where the gamble paid off (or where -enough- people's gambles paid off) is so low. And since the marginal utility of a dollar declines with income, so that...
  • Commented on The World Shrinks Under The Weight of Madness
    Remember that Randi and co revealed Project Alpha circa 1979. In the 1960s and 1970s psi was a piece of trendy fringe science which authors could use as a respectable excuse for impossible things. And aside from Campbell, a lot...
  • Commented on The Anthropic Stupidity Hypothesis
    Our generous host tends to be realistically conservative about future software, because thanks to his prior career he knows how hard software projects are. The idea of speeding up input is cute, but it requires even more lavish software and...
  • Commented on Happy Christmas! Here is a flame war in a can
    The number of Americans who write with a straight face that someone with the money should be able to buy a 155mm howitzer or a nuclear bomb is one measure of the peculiar political situation there. As I understand it,...
  • Commented on Happy Christmas! Here is a flame war in a can
    The other possibilities are that the Bible describes a completely synthetic figure, or that it describes a celestial god whose stories were moved from the celestial to the terrestrial worlds some time between the letters of Peter and the canonical...
  • Commented on Big Guns[1]
    Oh yes . It might also be possible to skip hiring a crooked gunsmith and just print the parts required to turn a legal semi-automatic into an automatic weapon. 3D printers also seem like they will reduce the local contacts...
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