voidampersand

voidampersand

  • Commented on Taxonomy of story, or, why murder?
    The Stone Boatmen is a mystical fantasy by Sarah Tolmie, published a few years ago. It is most unusual. It is about people choosing science and love and sharing over superstition and fear and division. (When I describe it that...
  • Commented on Sitrep
    There's an article in the latest Atlantic about textual analysis to determine employee morale. The same technology could be used to scan social media. Then it's just clustering to identify suicidal and potentially violent subgroups....
  • Commented on That sinking feeling
    The last time England politically separated from Europe it did not go well. Trade was devastated. Local government was powerless. England lost control of its borders. It was invaded by Scots from the north, Saxons from the mainland, Irish from...
  • Commented on Canned Monkeys Don't Ship Well, the Remix Version
    Carbon fiber string instruments are a thing, already. Should be no problem fabricating them on a starship. I think any practical starship is going to be enormous because it will benefit from square-cube factors. It will have room for forests....
  • Commented on Canned Monkeys Don't Ship Well, the Remix Version
    "Sadly, it looks like blasting your way between the stars the hard way requires magical technology too, just as FTL does." As in "any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." But our understanding of physics is good enough that...
  • Commented on SF For Nothing, Stories For Free
    Black Gate Magazine serialized the complete novel, The Death of the Necromancer by Martha Wells. It was a finalist for the Nebula award. It is a fantasy with unconventional characters, imaginative world-building, and a fast-paced plot with many unexpected twists....
  • Commented on On hold
    The Japanese Tale of the Heike is set in the 1100s when Pure Land Buddhism was the official state religion. Most of the story is about political intrigue and civil war (with superheroes!). Then it is wrapped up as a...
  • Commented on The Nakamoto Variations
    "A brain-chain interface is a direct communication pathway between an enhanced human brain and a network of networks on a blockchain." Blockheads....
  • Commented on The Nakamoto Variations
    The big Bitcoin miners in China have been secretly taken over by organized crime, with backing by officers in the Chinese Army. The gangsters are using the combined compute power of the Bitcoin miners to forge blockchain transactions. Their initial...
  • Commented on Why I barely read SF these days
    I'm looking for technology that makes significant improvements in the lives of rich-country end-users. Answering your question: Number one would be the ability to effectively hack the immune system. We're just beginning to get successful treatments, like the experimental immune...
  • Commented on Why I barely read SF these days
    We're liberating ourselves from the oil companies. So hell yes for batteries, solar power, wind power, grids, electric cars, and more batteries....
  • Commented on Why I barely read SF these days
    Used EVs are easy to find, you just have to live in a place where people have been buying new EVs for a while. Or look online. Generally the batteries are not knackered. People trade in their old EVs because...
  • Commented on Why I barely read SF these days
    It's a chilling example of "contemporary norms of power hierarchies" steering directly into an easily avoidable disaster. How many SF novels have I read where a spaceship has an autocratic captain? Way too many. You can't run a spaceship that...
  • Commented on Why I barely read SF these days
    Yes! Usually we get prevailing winds. It's great! They bring moisture from the ocean and cool us off. But there are exceptions. When a high pressure zone develops in the hot, dry interior and turns a canyon into a flamethrower...
  • Commented on Why I barely read SF these days
    Winds can come from any direction. Winds from dry land are dry. Most of the moisture comes on winds from bodies of water. Therefore when a mountain range parallels a sea, it has a rain shadow. The Rockies do not...
  • Commented on New Book Week!
    It seems very likely there could be many parallel Earths with primitive hunter-gatherer hominids, but not paleolithic and not Homo Sapiens. The hunter-gatherer societies that existed during recorded history and that we are reasonably familiar with were refugees from the...
  • Commented on PSA: Please don't nominate the Laundry Files for a Best Series Hugo Award (this year)
    Thank you, Charlie. This is a fine request and a kindness to your readers. It means I will use all the slots on my nominating ballot for other works I like, and not waste a slot on the Laundry Files...
  • Commented on Silence is ending (soon)
    M is for Mhari, our queen of the night. Or is it M is for Mo, musician of fright? N is for neurons. Hope you have some left....
  • Commented on Burn The Programmer!
    The post makes a strong case that most folks want to program by hand-waving, not by writing regular expressions. At least I hope that is the point. Left-Hand-Path looks like the best excuse to get a VR rig I have...
  • Commented on Burn The Programmer!
    "True Names" is still the best story about the metaphor of computing as magic, written by someone who actually understood the technology and was very familiar with the fantasy classics. While magic is a fun metaphor for programming, programming isn't...
  • Commented on A bright and shiny hell
    It depends on what you are looking for. Nine Fox Gambit is a space opera about a dystopian interstellar empire facing rebellion. It has a genuinely innovative big idea that nobody's done before. The politics are complicated and not totally...
  • Commented on A bright and shiny hell
    I invented this ultrasonic mind control device but all it did was uplift the dogs in my neighborhood....
  • Commented on Houston: what are the long-term consequences?
    Blind Waves by Stephen Gould is set around a near-future Houston that is mostly underwater. Most people live in floating cities in the gulf. It's a fun read....
  • Commented on Trapped in the wrong trouser-leg of time
    It sure seems like several of us have our trousers on backwards. Not sure how that happened....
  • Commented on Trapped in the wrong trouser-leg of time
    It's worse than that. Many residents of the Democratic-leaning neighborhoods in New Orleans moved away because of Katrina and the slow pace of rebuilding. Where are they now? Mostly in Houston....
  • Commented on Trapped in the wrong trouser-leg of time
    The most efficient energy source, based on the cost of transport, is keeping cows on the ground floor and using the dung for heating and cooking. Not only do the cows deliver the dung right to your home, they generate...
  • Commented on Help Wanted at the Climate Policy Sausage Factory
    When you need to develop a lot of infrastructure, sometimes what you need is a gigantic scam. For example, the Crédit Mobilier of America that built the transcontinental railroad. I remember talking to a guy who worked on building the...
  • Commented on Help Wanted at the Climate Policy Sausage Factory
    I think you meant my comment about cheap EVs, not SFReader's comment about HOAs (which I really do not need to get into). I remember concerned comments about battery life when car manufacturers started making hybrids. It turned out to...
  • Commented on Help Wanted at the Climate Policy Sausage Factory
    Yes, I understand how electricity works. My comment was about how infrastructure financing works. Instead of me paying the power company for whatever generation they feel like using, my local city governments have inserted themselves into the process, and they...
  • Commented on Help Wanted at the Climate Policy Sausage Factory
    I think that the cost of going carbon-free is less than $100K for a family. It may be $100K for a middle-class family that can afford it. But there are cheaper options. At this point a used crummy EV such...
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