Robert van der Heide

Robert van der Heide

  • Commented on Why I barely read SF these days
    My favorite mixed unit is the barn-megaparsec (3.086 cubic cm)....
  • Commented on Why I barely read SF these days
    “Self-driving cars. In the US, that would be a game changer for parents with children, who no longer have to drive them everywhere.” More autonomy for children/teenagers. More autonomy for the old & disabled. Many fewer traffic stops (tense interactions...
  • Commented on Why I barely read SF these days
    “The human race would sacrifice any/all other holdings to preserve our basic ability to eat, breathe, drink, etc.“ You’re more optimistic about humanity’s wisdom than I am. I would hope we’d make that choice, but I’m not convinced we will....
  • Commented on Why I barely read SF these days
    “taking a prevalent trope and then either turning it on it's head, or having it run straight into the band saw.” Didn’t someone do that with “Orphan girl discovers she’s a princess?”...
  • Commented on Why I barely read SF these days
    From what you write I suspect you’d enjoy the work of (sometime contributed here) Joan Slonczewski. I’d recommend starting with “Door Into Ocean.”...
  • Commented on New Book Week!
    The following feels odd: “...headless robots shaped like German shepherd dogs with gun muzzles for heads.”...
  • Commented on Dude, you broke the future!
    If I read that blog post correctly you’re saying it would be possible for someone with sufficient resources to create an experiment that would put a (ever-improving with multiple replications) p-value on all single-world interpretations. It’s just going to be...
  • Commented on Dude, you broke the future!
    “Is it even a meaningful question?” That’s what I’m trying to figure out. If QM “interpretations” are unfalsifiable by any conceivable experiment then it’s a category error to refer to them as being “right” or “wrong” and there’s no point...
  • Commented on Dude, you broke the future!
    “And if (horror of horrors) it turns out the Copenhagen Interpretation is physically correct and many worlds is not.” Is there any conceivable experiment that could prove such a result? It doesn’t have to to be a benchtop experiment -...
  • Commented on Dude, you broke the future!
    “we do frown upon enslavement“ You must have missed previous discussions here about the US private for-profit prison system....
  • Commented on Dude, you broke the future!
    “I'd discard it like a shot if I didn't have to do it to stay alive.” Wow. Whereas if someone uploads me into a simulation that doesn’t have curry and sushi and ice cream, I’ll ask them to switch me...
  • Commented on What can possibly go wrong?
    She(?)'s back! Happy new year, assuming we make it that far....
  • Commented on Dark State: how to get signed copies!
    8 or 10+. If Pluto, why not Eris? (Or whacky whirling Haumea?)...
  • Commented on Dark State: how to get signed copies!
    Pluto's a dwarf planet ... but the dwarf in question is Thorin Oakenshield....
  • Commented on Unforeseen Consequences and that 1929 vibe
    "However, per The Economist they could be doing much better: if they were at zero population growth rather than seeing a net decline in their work force, they'd have been averaging 4-5% annual economic growth ..." "Economy not growing as...
  • Commented on We get reviews (contd.)
    just how democratic is the Commonwealth of Timeline 3? How "democratic" is the UK of 1910 compared to the USA of 1950 or the Islamic Republic of Iran of 2000? The latter three have demonstrated their ability to perform the...
  • Commented on Crib Notes: Empire Games
    It's interesting to consider how this affects the average age of people's relatives. We go from a world where most people have tons of siblings, first cousins, aunts, uncles, nephews and nieces, often at least one parent, and maybe a...
  • Commented on Burn The Programmer!
    Over twenty years later I can still sing the first verse of the Matsushita company song, purely phonetically, without understanding more than a few isolated words of it. Singing along every day for a couple of years is what did...
  • Commented on Crib Notes: Empire Games
    "Agriculture is also backward by our standards, leading to a lower carrying capacity than our own world." If Miriam's gang caries over some key seeds & breeds the NAC could probably see a noticeable increase in the ratio of people...
  • Commented on Crib Notes: Empire Games
    I hope Miriam also brought them some books about the Meiji Restoration....
  • Commented on Crib Notes: Empire Games
    'MITI enforces an "eat your own dogfood" rule' Is their name a shoutout to these guys?...
  • Commented on Empire Games gets a price cut in the UK
    I assume the gate to nowhere is a sort of "firebreak": somebody one jump away from that world along one "pattern vector" really didn't want to get any visitors from a different world one jump away from it along a...
  • Commented on Trapped in the wrong trouser-leg of time
    Second best. It doesn't quite beat the New York Post's classic headline about a gang-related decapitation in a strip club: "HEADLESS BODY IN TOPLESS BAR"...
  • Commented on Report on Seat 14C
    Amusing pets....
  • Commented on Crying fire in a crowded theatre for pleasure and profit
    "if the U.S. were to withdraw ... South Korea would have to increase its military strength to fill the void of the U.S. absence, both on the ground and offshore." As a US taxpayer I don't have a problem with...
  • Commented on Crying fire in a crowded theatre for pleasure and profit
    It's less cool when the cleverness is driven by desperation....
  • Commented on Crying fire in a crowded theatre for pleasure and profit
    I was just thinking "Cool. Clever whales." Thanks for the extra context....
  • Commented on Crying fire in a crowded theatre for pleasure and profit
    Well past 300, time for something random I think readers here will find interesting. Gangs of aggressive killer whales are shaking down Alaska fishing boats for their fish: report The animals have learned to target individual boats, and are leading...
  • Commented on 2117 revisited
    In 2117 "engineering" will involve almost no innovation. Rather it will be all about understanding what already exists, so when you patch one of the patches on the patches on the patches on one of the (multiple, interdependent) Legacy Systems...
  • Commented on 2117 revisited
    How about leaving the reactor in a nice big concrete building next to a chemical plant that sucks in air and spits out kerosene, which you then use to run your diesel locomotives? Hydrocarbon fuels are really convenient in many...
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