Damien

Damien

  • Commented on Constitutional crisis ahoy!
    How about the "Leave" campaign being an open sewer of lies?...
  • Commented on Constitutional crisis ahoy!
    > As unlikely as that sounds, I could easily see EU say: "Switch to the EURO to show you mean it." That would switch Brexit from "bad idea" to "good idea", IMO....
  • Commented on Nom de Teleport
    "Greek Gods were zapping all over the place. They literally appear / disappear all over the place." Depends on the myth, maybe. I'm reading the Iliad right now and they don't teleport *at all*. They fly around on chariots or...
  • Commented on Nom de Teleport
    "Someone needs to write a paper on why all these writers are men. It's not selection bias, I swear.)" The Price of the Phoenix, and the Fate of the Phoenix, by Sondra Marshak and Myrna Culbreath, from 1977 and 1979....
  • Commented on 21st Century: a complaint
    Serious reply: there are multiple measures of inflation which are used for distinct purposes. The Consumer Price Index, aka headline inflation, used for things like Social Security indexing, tries to measure what consumers have to pay and does include food...
  • Commented on The Scottish Political Singularity, Act Two
    "As an ignorant American I was asking about why and how, because US politicians have little which would bind them to their word." Actually US politicians are fairly good at keeping their campaign promises. There's mental selection bias, we remember...
  • Commented on Who Got Fantasy in My Science Fiction?
    I always considered Pern SF. The first book I read (Dragonsong) had a prologue detailing out it was a lost colony with genetically engineered dragons to fight spores from an eccentric planet! The colony ships are visible in the sky!...
  • Commented on Who Got Fantasy in My Science Fiction?
    "Would be interesting to see whether the last 30 years of neuroscience research can be tapped to provide some direction to SF&F story creators" That's a large chunk of Greg Egan's output. Some of Ted Chiang's, too....
  • Commented on Who Got Fantasy in My Science Fiction?
    I minded the psi right in the first episode of Babylon-5. But I watched anyway. The various life force stuff was annoying too, even more so was JMS's attempts to defend that as plausible, on the newsgroup....
  • Commented on Let's put the future behind us
    As a long term bachelor I'm pretty good at meals I like eating that don't take much time. Salsa and canned black beans and olive oil is a current love. Chips and store guacamole, smoked salmon and bread and cream...
  • Commented on Let's put the future behind us
    All you need for a refutation is basic chemistry and mass. Humans need an ounce or two of protein a day to survive. I just weighed out 12 Tums on my food scale, to get one ounce. And 30 grams...
  • Commented on Let's put the future behind us
    "Lifeboats for the human race" are a terrible reason for space colonies. Because they're not lifeboats for the people making the decision, they're backup for the human race as an abstract collective, which almost no one really cares about in...
  • Commented on Let's put the future behind us
    Don't know the real details of Phoenix, but AIUI hot dry climate is relatively easy to deal with if you have enough water to survive on at all. We build eastern-style buildings and apply lots of air conditioning, but smarter...
  • Commented on Let's put the future behind us
    This review makes them sound like condescending rather than sycophants (not surprising for the Brookings Institution). Also criticizes their more extreme claims, while granting the basic premise. Siberia, where you have to subsidize gold mines... http://www.lrb.co.uk/v26/n13/james-meek/reasons-to-be-miserable...
  • Commented on Let's put the future behind us
    I don't remember the article sounding like "Russian sycophants", and I'm certainly not. "Russia sucks economically because of a very long tradition of bad government." Yes, and one way that bad government could manifest is by subsidizing permanent cities on...
  • Commented on Let's put the future behind us
    A while back I read a now offline essay version of Siberian Curse, a book on how much building and maintaining cities in Siberia sucks, and how it might have been one of the economic anchors around the USSR, and...
  • Commented on Let's put the future behind us
    The intelligent ships and maybe the genderfree language are reminiscent of the Culture. Nothing else is. It's like near-Culture tech gone horribly wrong....
  • Commented on Let's put the future behind us
    I love this sort of thing. Or the idea of it anyway; never been in a big one. "Indoor [that feels like] outdoors". Nicer malls, hotels, and airports can approximate it: multi-story ceilings with lots of natural light, fountains, and...
  • Commented on Who ordered THAT?!?
    It can't be said if you know history. Strong central governments aren't a modern invention. Shogunate Japan, China at many periods, the Incas... Widespread national identity might be, but it would seem to flow from mass communications and ease of...
  • Commented on The Curse of Laundry
    I already mentioned Pohl's joymaker, which is basically an iPhone in 1965....
  • Commented on The Curse of Laundry
    OTOH, how many GRRM fans would be desperate for even an in-revision version of the next book?...
  • Commented on The Curse of Laundry
    To add to the other replies, SF authors have predicted information tech going back to at least Wells in 1899. http://mindstalk.net/sfpred.html Or Verne's audio TiVo in 1889. Pohl's joymakers were super-smartphones in the 1960s. Leinster had Google services in 1946....
  • Commented on Metacommentary
    No, it's transmutation. 'Activation' is transmutation. Low level waste comes precisely from turning stable nuclei into radioactive ones. (Vs. high level waste, which comes from radioactive fissile elements turning into much lighter and more radioactive fission products.) I don't think...
  • Commented on Metacommentary
    That's definitely a win for fusion. The direct waste of fusion is non-radioactive helium and lots of neutrons. The neutrons can activate the structural materials but at most you've got a bunch of low-level waste, and you've got some freedom...
  • Commented on Metacommentary
    Only if it's cheap enough. And for airplanes, has a power/weight ratio comparable to fossil fuel engines+fuel. Nothing about a working fusion reactor guarantees competitive price. US Navy may pay prices civilians wouldn't....
  • Commented on Metacommentary
    Instantiating the SA: FWIW, the text itself says "they were elves, and that means Good People", though acknowledging them being somewhat isolationist and suspicious. Mind you, they live in Mirkwood, under permanent siege from the creatures and magics of the...
  • Commented on Not a Manifesto
    (Lovely MovableType, making me login in several times a day... what's with this blog?) Yeah, no. To use different units from Matt, the Earth intercepts 2e17 Watts of sunlight. Humanity currently uses 18e12 Watts of energy, not counting food/structural wood...
  • Commented on Not a Manifesto
    Huh, still only 30-40%, indeed. (Up from maybe 12% not long ago.) So yeah, hard to price out air travel. Not much protecting US drivers from another doubling of gas costs, though. Even Europeans would see a 50% rise at...
  • Commented on Not a Manifesto
    Did you look at the links? Dave MacKay has a full electric HSR using maybe 1/14th the energy of a full 747. Even a diesel HSR is using 1/5th the energy. The plane's only advantage overland is pure speed. "Over...
  • Commented on Not a Manifesto
    I've seen people say Detroit is awesome for the future. High above sea level, gets plenty of rain, lots of cheap land, blizzards but no hurricanes......
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