icehawk

icehawk

  • Commented on Ask me anything!
    “365.2425, which is usually only relevant for financial calculations.” Oddly, how long a year is in financial calcs is less and less tethered to reality as one ascends into high finance. There are a lot of different algorithms for turning...
  • Commented on Ask me anything!
    Question: Which 'classic' SF story would you most enjoy doing a rewrite of (or sequel to, or other story in the world of)?...
  • Commented on Upcoming appearances
    « From Pre-Roman times to at least the Renaissance, the idea was that the magic happened when the rite was performed perfectly. The state of the performer didn't matter. » My understanding is that science and magic were not distinguished....
  • Commented on Upcoming appearances
    Take off and summon Cthulhu on the site from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure....
  • Commented on The Inevitable Brexit Thread (2)
    Democracy only works when you prefer losing your cause to losing democracy Only if you also have enough popular support for your cause. Otherwise, push it too far and a REAL popular backlash can happen. The NRA-loving gun nuts who...
  • Commented on Three pieces of news about the Laundry Files (UPDATED!)
    well, yes. They won’t make a Laundry Files movie or TV series just because they thought name recognition would get half a million bums in theatre seats. Not a big enough star for that. But given this decade’s fashion in...
  • Commented on Three pieces of news about the Laundry Files (UPDATED!)
    Traditionally the film industry often had a film-maker who wanted to make a film, and also had the rights to a book or graphic novel that they possibly did not know, care about, or even like. Industry execs wanted a...
  • Commented on The Inevitable Brexit Thread (1)
    Isn't what will happen obvious? The UK will crash out with No Deal on 29 March. Because accomplishing anything else from here would require either co-ordinated competent leadership by the UK Govt, or courage by May and her inner cabinet....
  • Commented on Lessons learned: writing really long fiction
    Maybe plenty of things Scientists can't be bothered studying, but nothing they're prohibited from questioning. 'Prohibited' is the wrong word. There are questions that the scientific method is ill-suited to answering. Whether the Mona Lisa is better than Picasso's Guernica,...
  • Commented on Lessons learned: writing really long fiction
    There was a fairly clear arc up until Memory, I disagree. I will agree that the early Miles novels had Miles as a quite a consistent character, and were mostly very much military SF. And 'Memory', where he left the...
  • Commented on Someone please cancel 2019 already?
    don’t extradite Julian back to Australia Given current Australian practice of taking Ozzie career criminals in their 30s who moved to Oz from NZ aged less than three, and deporting them ‘back’ to NZ, you can take your bloody Assange...
  • Commented on Someone please cancel 2019 already?
    a system that relies on an engaged, clueful and informed populace has failed, dismally Indeed, it has. Alas. And so Socrates is dead. The demos was never engaged, clueful and informed. And yet, we seem to have muddle through....
  • Commented on Someone please cancel 2019 already?
    Running for President was the first I ever heard of him. I first met Trump as a character in the cartoon 'Bloom County'. Who got stuck in Bill the Cat's body due to a mistaken brain-transplant. I didn't realise...
  • Commented on Crawling from the wreckage
    After Munich, Chamberlain told the Cabinet "It would be madness for the country to stop rearming", Also, Chamberlain gathered support for a declaration of war. FDR would have liked to do more to stop Hitler, but the US congress and...
  • Commented on Crawling from the wreckage
    The actual Vorkosigans would probably be better, neofascist tendencies not disregarded. They would, at least, recognise Australia as the half-arsed job of terraforming that it is. Or should I say “angloforming”? The acclimatisation societies of the British Empire tried...
  • Commented on Crawling from the wreckage
    "Traditional tribal chieftainship?" I'm not sure there is such a thing, There very much is such a thing. Or maybe "many such things". Rangatira, and rangitiratanga both were and are really important parts of Maori culture. And when I lived...
  • Commented on Crawling from the wreckage
    Well, the number of people living in extreme poverty in China, about a quarter of the world population, has definitely been declining, for specific Chinese reasons. True in its smaller lookalike rival Vietnam as well. But leave them out, and...
  • Commented on Crawling from the wreckage
    Aotearoa elected a young, almost-pregnant woman as Prime Minister on a platform of undoing austerity and reducing the impact of climate change. I think the "almost-" is in the wrong part of that sentence. She was fully pregnant. Not just...
  • Commented on Crawling from the wreckage
    Anyway, humans do not suffer from the tragedy of the commons. Sorry. It's been disproved, and it's an urban legend. That will be great comfort to the North Atlantic cod industry. People who talk of the "Tragedy of the Commons"...
  • Commented on Peak Brexit
    You say "proliferation is a political problem not a technological one" like that makes it easier. So is climate change... To take this thread back about 800 comments... so is the issue of "individuals owning cars" vs "using a car...
  • Commented on Peak Brexit
    This whole "which power generation technology should we choose" argument is stupid. The answer, obviously, is not to pick a technology. Pick several. Wind plus solar plus hydro plus tidal-powered plus some storage utilities gives a cheap, reliable, efficient network,...
  • Commented on Peak Brexit
    Once we have electric cars and something resembling decent AI, people won't own cars anymore. Cars being electric rather than petrol-driven is irrelevant. Obviously. I don't see the AI connection either. What does driverlessness have to do with car ownership?...
  • Commented on Peak Brexit
    Be it noted that abolishing slavery in England was a cheap gesture, as there were no slaves in England and hadn't been since the days of QE1 But it was the first step to abolishing the slave trade (in 1807)...
  • Commented on Publishing: A Slice of Life
    I think people are approaching this phishing attack on publishers from the wrong point of view. Perhaps the plan is not to steal Charlie's manuscripts, but to add to them. And to manuscripts by other authors in publishing houses around...
  • Commented on Publishing: A Slice of Life
    Trendy targets for phishing scams in the UK appear to be private schools. Trying to get a list of parents' email addresses. So they can send them "Note that the school bank account details have changed, please send fee payments...
  • Commented on Publishing: A Slice of Life
    Those who've done jury service can attest: most crimes are just damn stupid. Tragically stupid. Really, really tragic: really really stupid. Just putting "Cyber-" in front to make it "cyber-"criminals doesn't necessarily make them smart. You don't need to be...
  • Commented on Do my Homework
    "The first point is that ground-breaking innovations are NOT made by putting an army of even genius-level monkeys to work, but by providing the right conditions for the tiny number of exceptional people." I think my disagreement is on the...
  • Commented on Do my Homework
    You give a convincing set of examples where some scientific institutes/groups are vastly more successful than others. I'd add Xerox's Palo Alto Research Group as another extraordinary hotspot. You then seem want to use this to evidence to get to...
  • Commented on Do my Homework
    Read Frans de Waal's "Are We Smart Enough To Know How Smart Animals Are?" Great book! I also agree re the moving goalposts of AI. Though that goes both ways: things people used to think didn't take intelligence, we now...
  • Commented on Do my Homework
    Of these, Darwin was a wealthy, well-connected, best-selling author (from Voyage of the Beagle), while Wallace was an itinerant animal collector in Indonesia who wrote the paper while recovering from malaria. Guess who got the fame? Darwin wrote extremely well....
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