voidampersand

voidampersand

  • 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...
  • Commented on Help Wanted at the Climate Policy Sausage Factory
    I see a lot of poor people who already have a low carbon footprint. They share apartments, ride bikes or the bus to work, and can't afford to eat a high-meat diet. The next thing that would help is having...
  • Commented on The light at the end of the tunnel (is not necessarily an oncoming train)
    There is a bridge. It goes all the way around the world, has a variety of architectural styles, and people live in it. It might connect to the Culture. Or Ancient Greece....
  • Commented on The End of the British nuclear deterrent?
    You know the Donald really likes having his name on things. If the UK cannot get the latest Trident missiles, don't look at it as a military problem. You just need to make a deal. Your new Trump D-5 missiles...
  • Commented on Things Can Only Get Better! (Part 1)
    The January 2017 issue of Scientific American has an article on the "It from Qubit" project. This quote got me thinking:Once researchers have deduced a quantum gravity theory, they could ask what is the theory's computational power? "If that power...
  • Commented on Things Can Only Get Better! (Part 1)
    Bear in mind this lesson from the George W. Bush administration: however badly the President screws up, if he can find a way to make things even worse, he gets reelected....
  • Commented on Eleven Tweets
    As a USian, it seems to me that British libel law is skewed heavily to the advantage of the rich and powerful, who use it to censor legitimate journalism. And somehow, in spite of strict libel laws, the news is...
  • Commented on Eleven Tweets
    There are vast well-funded networks that spread right-wing propaganda, conspiracy theories, and general craziness. There is no reason why they can't set up subscriptions or crowd-funding and take micropayments. They surely will, if they haven't already. Traditional news reporting started...
  • Commented on Eleven Tweets
    Micropayments are a great idea technically, and the internet is already in the process of transitioning to micropayments. But they just make commerce more efficient. They don't have a bias towards truth or justice. Karl Schroeder's novel Permanence showed an...
  • Commented on A reminder
    See Eco's comments on syncretistic ideology. Fascism isn't coherent. It is a mishmash of tenuous justifications for authoritarianism. Trump evolving into a fascist is done. He was a garden-variety corporate authoritarian narcissist. Now he has linked up with a party...
  • Commented on A reminder
    FDR passed Social Security by throwing the minorities under the bus. (Domestic workers and agricultural workers were excluded.) Even now, Social Security collects premiums from undocumented immigrants and provides them with no benefits. No private insurer would be able to...
  • Commented on A reminder
    The corporate power that is preserved is political. If you just want to maximize economic power across the entire corporate sector, all you have to do is set up free markets, invest in stocks, and let the best companies win....
  • Commented on A reminder
    I second the recommendation to read David Neiwert's piece on right-wing extremism. He was working as a reporter when extremists moved into the area. He thought the best thing to do was to ignore the extremists, to not give them...
  • Commented on Sometimes I don't know why I bother!
    John Muir, born in Scotland, grew up in Wisconsin. An extraordinarily strong walker and mountain climber. Mechanical genius and inventor. Scientist. Writer. Conservationist....
  • Commented on Cyberpunk 2.0: Political economy, energy, and the future US
    If we're going to pack into burbclaves, how about burbcaves? http://www.undergroundgardens.com/summary.html If I had to live in Fresno, that is totally how I would want to do it....
  • Commented on Cyberpunk 2.0: Political economy, energy, and the future US
    "Politics turns rational proposals, such as John Wesley Powell's 19th Century rational proposal to dam some western rivers and irrigate a bit of farmland, into the unsustainable sprawl of pork-barrel dams and water works that is the American West today."...
  • Commented on A game of consequences
    Extrapolating from the history of desert civilizations, you want to have a broadly spread religion. Judaism and Islam in the Middle East, Buddhism in Central Asia, Mormonism in the American West. It takes a huge amount of cooperation to establish...
  • Commented on The unavoidable discussion
    For an American analogy: imagine if you lived in Massachussets or Washington but your political frame of reference was dictated from Mississippi or Alabama I would say Texas. I'm intrigued to know how this very British lunacy looks from the...
  • Commented on Rise Of The Trollbot
    When mucking out the spam bucket on a blog, what really characterized the spam was how boring and poorly written it was. I realized that I wasn't deleting it just because it was spam. I was deleting it because it...
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