Antistone

Antistone

  • Commented on Book day!
    I was under the impression that the onset of K syndrome is probabilistic; some people get unlucky and catch it immediately, while others get lucky and manage to cast quite a few spells before experiencing symptoms....
  • Commented on There is no extra credit in science fiction.
    > Fussing over stuff that doesn't improve quality, just makes extra work, is a whole different thing. The original post doesn't make it clear that you're talking about "stuff that doesn't improve quality." In fact, you specifically say "quality is...
  • Commented on Book day!
    > There's a line near the end of The Delirium Brief where the SA is trying to explain to Bob what he's done. "I made a bargain with the devil ... and part of the package deal is my soul."...
  • Commented on Book day!
    I don't think the Laundry geas locks them down as tightly as you suggest. We know Iris was able to square her geas with running a cult of the Black Pharaoh. In The Apocalypse Codex, after Bob & Lockhart pick...
  • Commented on Book day!
    I have a question: what is the "Twinkie Singularity"? (This was referenced once in The Nightmare Stacks and twice in The Delirium Brief.) The books say it's a reference to Ghostbusters, but I've seen that movie a couple times (though...
  • Commented on Book day!
    The recorded message at the end was "aw der hal amedn aset". "aw der hal amedn aset" appeared previously in The Rhesus Chart (about halfway through), during a story that Mo recounts to Bob about a job she performed with...
  • Commented on Report on Seat 14C
    This recent TED talk has the most-promising proposal I've seen so far for how to design AIs that don't do Bad Stuff (and also the best explanation I've seen for why it's not easy): https://www.ted.com/talks/stuart_russell_how_ai_might_make_us_better_people (Very briefly: robots should be...
  • Commented on Report on Seat 14C
    Why would Maslow's category of needs not apply to an AI? I think it should apply, actually. Why would you expect it to apply? Do you think Maslow's hierarchy of needs applies to your TV, or your refrigerator, or your...
  • Commented on Report on Seat 14C
    > The Utility Function of all existing species is by definition, to go on existing. If we are making an analogy to utility functions in computer optimization problems, I think the more reasonable definition is "what living things try to...
  • Commented on Report on Seat 14C
    I suspect you may be thinking about this wrong because you're stuck in human headspace. We typically think of humans as having good and bad experiences and adjusting their behavior to try to get more good experiences. Computers do what...
  • Commented on Report on Seat 14C
    > I bet you've seen [contactless payment systems] but just didn't know it. If the card terminal has that WWII radar fan image on it the hardware supports contactless to some degree Just for general interest: I looked for such...
  • Commented on Report on Seat 14C
    > "Four-digit PINs are actually pretty good security-wise ..." In theory. But the banks make the ATMs such that most people cannot hide what you are typing, and then say that it's your responsibility to do so. That may be,...
  • Commented on Report on Seat 14C
    I'm confused. If you are able to pay off an entire payday loan within one payday, why are you not able to do the same with an equal-sized loan through a credit card?...
  • Commented on Report on Seat 14C
    I live in the US and haven't seen any contactless payment systems that I can recall. My card has a chip that I slide into a reader which thinks for a while, asks me to sign, and then beeps obnoxiously...
  • Commented on Report on Seat 14C
    I think counting the fee as interest over the full term of the loan is fair. If you had a loan that charged 5% interest per month but spread your repayments out over a full year, then you'd count the...
  • Commented on Crying fire in a crowded theatre for pleasure and profit
    This seems like kind of a strange use of the phrase "crying fire in a crowded theater". I usually see this phrase as a reference to a famous US supreme court decision about free speech issues, which do not seem...
  • Commented on Crib Sheet: The Nightmare Stacks
    Not sure if this would affect your plans, but I've always vaguely assumed a basilisk needs the actual photons coming off the target to form a sympathetic link. If you can digitize the image and still use it to basilisk...
  • Commented on Crib Sheet: The Nightmare Stacks
    This comment reminds me of Brandon Sanderson's Reckoners books, which are largely about the assassination of people who have super-powers that render them immune to traditional methods of assassination. (The opening of the first book involves a target with danger...
  • Commented on Crib Sheet: The Nightmare Stacks
    As I recall, Bob actually WAS shot, all the way back in the very first book--and sustained no significant injury, because his standard-issue ward protected him. In SFF, you can very quickly reach a point where a weapon's power level...
  • Commented on Crib Sheet: The Nightmare Stacks
    Re: war crimes I think there is a case to be made that only the All-Highest committed any war crimes, since the others were literally unable to refuse his orders. The geas is unprecedented in human law, and under the...
  • Commented on Crib Sheet: The Nightmare Stacks
    I didn't get the impression that there was literally a common ancestor, but rather that humans and elves evolved on parallel earths with similar but divergent histories....
  • Commented on Crib Sheet: The Nightmare Stacks
    I believe the book says that the Alfär initially did a lot of exploring, found some neat stuff like the dragons, and then started stumbling into dangers that nearly destroyed them and decided that random exploration of the multiverse was...
  • Commented on Crib Sheet: The Nightmare Stacks
    I believe the book says the Alfär are bad at detecting outright lies (which are prevented by a geas), not that they are necessarily bad at detecting other forms of subterfuge....
  • Commented on Crib Sheet: The Nightmare Stacks
    Depends how quickly they can apply new geasa to the existing population once they figure out there is no existing network in place....
  • Commented on Crib Sheet: The Nightmare Stacks
    > "what is this manufacturing base you speak of? You mean the ability to build moving carts? Useless things for serfs." Those thaum-slinging maces come from somewhere......
  • Commented on Crib Sheet: The Nightmare Stacks
    I realize the Host is only a tiny remnant of the peak might of the Morningstar Empire, but given the what they had left, I remember thinking repeatedly during The Nightmare Stacks that they were just utterly doomed. First off,...
  • Commented on The World of Tomorrow
    > "Another way to approach this is by unbiasing the central question..." There are lots of more-useful questions we would like to have answers to, but that doesn't mean we know how to answer them. Given a choice between an...
  • Commented on The World of Tomorrow
    > The record keeping you mentioned isn't really much of a gain and could even be a net loss. It seems like you may be talking past each other. You seem to be saying in the record keeping example that...
  • Commented on The World of Tomorrow
    I think this problem is quite a lot harder than you give it credit for. One part of the problem is undoubtedly that biased programmers feed their programs biased data sets. For instance, there was a TED talk about a...
  • Commented on The internet of decay
    Doesn't seem terribly difficult if you only try to track the information necessary for your requested query. Is there an assumption that it also has to track all the other information from the story? 1. Table of People. 2. Many-to-many...
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