Geoff Hart

Geoff Hart

  • Commented on Crib Sheet: The Delirium Brief
    Heteromeles notes: "...there are ample precedents, from Superman to Pratchett's Death, of superpowered characters working admirably well in stories where they are, by far, the most powerful characters in the piece." Definitely. Different strokes for different folks! Heteromeles: "Still, OGH...
  • Commented on Crib Sheet: The Delirium Brief
    Charlie: "But Bob in particular has "leveled up" so far that he's quite hard to use as a sympathetic viewpoint character in a work of fiction." Based on the last things we've seen of Bob, I'd disagree -- from my...
  • Commented on Do my Homework
    Robert Prior wondered about my "eight shades of ma" story: "Mandarin has 4+1 tones: rising, falling, dipping, high, and unvoiced (which isn't considered a tone, but sounds different)... Cantonese has 8. Maybe the story is in Cantonese?" Yes, Cantonese. My...
  • Commented on Do my Homework
    Robert van der Heide noted: "My admittedly limited experience with Japanese says ditch the romanizations ASAP and try to learn to read it the way native speakers do." Tried that, and found myself completely incompetent at memorization of the symbols....
  • Commented on Do my Homework
    Elderly Cynic notes: "Rote learning was still a required skill when I was at school (and it was punishable if you failed), but it was not regarded as being even an aspect of intelligence. It was simply a different required...
  • Commented on Do my Homework
    icehawk notes: "The question of why Europe did better than China or the middle-east at innovation from C13-C18 is much studied. One part of the answer is that while China had a monolithic knowledge system - one giant school of...
  • Commented on Do my Homework
    Graydon noted: "More workers doesn't produce more innovation. That's the whole mythical man-month thing." Yes, but with the caveat that it depends on the nature/quality of the workers, their diversity, and how they're managed. Where you see serious returns on...
  • Commented on Do my Homework
    whitroth reports: "Travelers in New Zealand who refuse to hand over their phone or laptop passwords to Customs officials can now be slapped with a $5000 fine." There are a *lot* of fen who will balk at that for Worldcon...."...
  • Commented on Taxonomy of story, or, why murder?
    Heteromeles: "As far as the Eukaryotic Tree of Life goes, fungi are far closer to animals than they are to plants." My bad: I was referring to the original context (why women could only do botany, thus long ago) and...
  • Commented on Do my Homework
    John Hughes noted about my description of David Brin's Sundiver using laser cooling: "Doesn't work -- you're taking a high entropy source (heat) to make something that is low entropy (laser beam). You've made a time machine." Well, first, Brin...
  • Commented on Taxonomy of story, or, why murder?
    Heteromeles noted: "Since botany is the science that (in Victorian English terms) was everything fit for females to learn, e.g. it was the study of stuff that didn't pee on you in fear and which wasn't hunted by sporting chaps...
  • Commented on Do my Homework
    Heteromeles noted: "I'm trying to avoid the problem of reconciling quantum mechanics and general relativity, but it's another elephant. The answer isn't simple or obvious now, and it's not clear we know why." We know (i) that quantum mech works...
  • Commented on Do my Homework
    Graydon, thanks for the additional notes on greenhouse agriculture. I'm not horribly worried by competition with existing greenhouse companies. The idea would be to reduce imports, not to compete with existing exporters. Shouldn't be too hard to develop mechanisms to...
  • Commented on Do my Homework
    Vulch criticized my comment that I'd expect you get a shitload of thermal radiation from a sunshield: "You might want to have a look at the James Webb Space Telescope which uses a sunshade to keep the instruments cold. Although...
  • Commented on Do my Homework
    Troutwaxer noted: "Sociopath Punk. I like it. And aptly named, too. Ideally you take a pill before going to work and it wears off before you get home." Niven had a story about this... can't pull up details, and excavating...
  • Commented on Do my Homework
    Richard Gadsden notes: "The thing we tend to forget, because we think of space as cold, is that space is a really really good insulator. If you want to do a chemical process at a very very high temperature, then...
  • Commented on Do my Homework
    Charlie notes: "Population time bomb"/overpopulation stories have also gone into decline, perhaps due to the gradual realization that thanks to the green revolution and demographic transition we aren't doomed as a direct consequence of overpopulation—climate change and collapsing agriculture are...
  • Commented on Taxonomy of story, or, why murder?
    _Moz_ wondered: "You really think having a three person marriage would be more complicated?" Of course it will be more complicated. Not speaking from personal experience, but if you take "standard marriage v.1.0" and add another personality to integrate, then...
  • Commented on Taxonomy of story, or, why murder?
    Mikko Parviainen notes: "Also, polyamorous relationships do not always map easily on the "marriage" thing." Indeed, and part of this is the problem of the secular legal system preferring nice, tidy binary categories and being acutely uncomfortable with nuance and...
  • Commented on Dread of Heinleinism
    JBS noted (re. Starship Troopers): "And that's a flaw in the narrative. It's naive and idealistic and certainly not the norm in any society I'm aware of past or present. But it is the ideal on which the U.S. was...
  • Commented on Taxonomy of story, or, why murder?
    _Moz_ noted: "The thing with public transport is that reliability and frequency are what makes it work at all. So you need to run buses and trains empty off peak just so that they are always there." Yes and no....
  • Commented on Taxonomy of story, or, why murder?
    Re. public transit: It's obvious enough to deserve repetition, but the transit system must be well-designed to make it attractive to commuters. When I grew up in Montreal (late 1960s-1970s), public transit from the 'burbs was a disaster. I lived...
  • Commented on Dread of Heinleinism
    The Raven noted: "I think the general problem with the governmental model Heinlein used in Starship Troopers, governance by an elite, regardless of its terms of service, is that it is actually not new at all: it is aristocracy, and...
  • Commented on Taxonomy of story, or, why murder?
    Pigeon noted: "This is a weirdly popular form of argument on here: that we haven't built X for a while, therefore we can't build X at all any more (where X may be nuclear reactors, or moon rockets, or pour-your-own...
  • Commented on Dread of Heinleinism
    JBS notes: "I think the real lesson of Starship Troopers is civic duty - that "rights" come with "responsibilities"; something that too many still don't understand." If I had to boil it down to one statement, I'd pretty much say...
  • Commented on Taxonomy of story, or, why murder?
    allynh noted: "Variations on the Murder Mystery: - You are murdered, you are restored to an earlier backup and have to find out who killed you." Iain M. Banks, "Feersum Endjinn", has some fun with that notion too, though it's...
  • Commented on Taxonomy of story, or, why murder?
    Elderly Cynic noted: "While it is often claimed that marrying for love is recent, there is precious little evidence for it, and some against it." Yes. It's probably fairer to say that *the freedom* to marry for love is relatively...
  • Commented on Taxonomy of story, or, why murder?
    I think it depends on what you're looking for in a book. There are many great stories in which the struggle is against nature, a scientific challenge, a rival for the hand of your beloved, duels of wits to see...
  • Commented on Dread of Heinleinism
    Total disagreed with my suggestion that the modern trend of increased civilian casualties is not the result of a deliberate policy to wipe out civilians, providing examples: "Uh, and the Nazis in the USSR, and the Germans in East Africa...
  • Commented on Dread of Heinleinism
    Martin, thanks for the reality check on what I wrote. I did my best to clarify that my description was speculative and descriptive of a common but not ubiquitous trend, with obvious exceptions. The response by two participants reminds me...
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