Geoff Hart

Geoff Hart

  • Commented on There is no extra credit in science fiction.
    re. Aiming to make your copyeditor obsolete: By all means! The higher you aim, the higher you'll land when you fall back from that lofty goal. Speaking as someone who's worked as a (primarily science, but many other things) editor,...
  • Commented on Report on Seat 14C
    Further to the request for a 3rd bathroom, it belatedly occurs to me that you may be in a difficult situation I've seen elsewhere: in that situation, one partner goes out of their way to please the other partner, and...
  • Commented on Unwanted Blogging Vacation
    Just saw your Twitter note that it was your Dad. I'm so, so sorry for your loss. It's been 7 years since my father died, and it's still a rare week when there isn't something I want to call him...
  • Commented on Report on Seat 14C
    Pigeon notes: "Which of course had me thinking "oh no, poor Marvin, they've reincarnated him as a short story dispenser..." Do androids dream of electric hugo awards?...
  • Commented on Report on Seat 14C
    One thing to keep in mind about training AIs: unconscious bias. If you haven't had someone help you step back and look at your unperceived biases, it's an enlightening and not always pleasant experience. The following phrase comes to mind...
  • Commented on Unwanted Blogging Vacation
    Not to add to your burden (reading or otherwise), but Maria Popova writes frequently, beautifully, and movingly about death and other important parts of life. You may find some comfort in her current essay (https://www.brainpickings.org/2017/07/10/adam-phillips-darwins-worms-life-death/) or in some of the...
  • Commented on Report on Seat 14C
    gasdive notes: "Whenever I do something that my modelling indicates would make my partner happy... it makes her less happy." Not a doctor, and don't play one on the innerwebs, but seems to me that you two need to book...
  • Commented on Unwanted Blogging Vacation
    As someone who also earns my living with words, I find it odd that words, per se, don't seem to mean much in the way of comfort. But the knowledge that someone cares enough to send me a few words...
  • Commented on Report on Seat 14C
    SFreader noted: "There needs to be debate, discussion and argument about this because however we define AI, the inference will be that humans will nevertheless remain superior to AI on some key metric." Indeed. But the history of animal behavior...
  • Commented on Report on Seat 14C
    In the context of utility, it's interesting to explore whether this is an emergent property of a complex system (as I suspect it mostly is for humans), something defined by a basic need such as survival (for more "primitive"* organisms),...
  • Commented on Report on Seat 14C
    Sabik noted: "One way to avoid a military response would be for the plane to never be off radar... just moving very very slowly?" I think that's actually a really cool notion; Robert Charles Wilson used a variant of this...
  • Commented on Report on Seat 14C
    With respect to payment card security, I'm not sanguine. For example, I'm not sure that the following problems have been solved in the U.S.: https://www.wired.com/2015/09/big-security-fix-credit-cards-wont-stop-fraud/ As the Wired article notes, I think we'll see a relatively rapid shift from card...
  • Commented on Report on Seat 14C
    In the context of card vs. cash safety, a somewhat scary report about how well banks safeguard our cash: https://ibsintelligence.com/ibs-journal/ibs-news/65-of-major-us-banks-found-to-fail-basic-web-security-testing/ Don't have time to track down details, but taken at face value, with all the caveats that implies, I'm not...
  • Commented on Report on Seat 14C
    Charlie objected to my "fly in circles" suggestion: "That's not 2017 procedure for any civil airliner. Remember, they have enough fuel to make their destination plus a reserve good for maybe 60-90 minutes." Yes, but if the 2017 procedure clearly...
  • Commented on Report on Seat 14C
    Paul 451 notes: "That said, given the obvious lack of awareness by the B777 pilots about their circumstances, and the 2037 biases of the Naval officers, there's still a good chance that the time-travelling pilots wouldn't know that they need...
  • Commented on Report on Seat 14C
    An afterthought: Given that modern fighter aircraft are (i) insanely expensive and (ii) severely constrained by the needs to keep fragile humans from turning to mush during maneuvers and (iii) given that drone technology is evolving so rapidly, it seems...
  • Commented on Report on Seat 14C
    Well, you nailed the "optimistic"* part. Bravo! * By Laundry Standards, assuming your description falls under Case Nighmare Orange Gibbon (sub-case shit-flinging)....
  • Commented on Crying fire in a crowded theatre for pleasure and profit
    re. Fire alarms: Yes, you have to teach people to take them seriously. When I co-chaired a workplace safety committee at a research lab, it took quite a bit of prodding of management before they realized that by only scheduling...
  • Commented on Crying fire in a crowded theatre for pleasure and profit
    This one's more like "crying fire sale in a crowded shopping mall": intentional deception by blurring the distinction between the nominal and effective APR (annual percentage rate) on a credit card or loan. TL;DR: The two terms have very different...
  • Commented on Crib Sheet: The Nightmare Stacks
    S. Copinger noted: "I can suddenly see a "From the files of the Laundry" collection of short stories from other authors of different incidents dealt with by these local offices over the history of the organisation." A consummation devoutly to...
  • Commented on Crib Sheet: The Nightmare Stacks
    paws4thot notes: "I think you've missed the point; Bob now has sufficient power to beat anything except a player with similar power to the "Eater of Souls", which means anything except extra-universal summon monsters." No, I got that. And that's...
  • Commented on Crib Sheet: The Nightmare Stacks
    paws4thot noted: "in roll-playing terms, Bob is now the character who is so powerful that he is unbalancing the game." Heh. Ideally, one does more role-playing than roll-playing, but I've certainly participated in campaigns in which the dice had more...
  • Commented on Crib Sheet: The Nightmare Stacks
    Charlie, just to be clear: Much though I love Bob, I don't want to see you focusing on him to the exclusion of your other stuff. (Not that you would, but just to be clear.) That was just a note...
  • Commented on Crib Sheet: The Nightmare Stacks
    re. unending series: It's worth noting that most of us live 70-some years (nowadays much longer, but I've lost several friends way too young, so let's go with 70 as an average). If we're lucky -- as I've been thus...
  • Commented on Crib Sheet: The Nightmare Stacks
    JBS notes: "Maybe we all are doomed in the long run, but I intend to go down fighting. And if I am going to be eaten, I'm going to do everything I can to give the eaters indigestion." Me too....
  • Commented on Crib Sheet: The Nightmare Stacks
    Gasdive notes: "In the real world there's current active plans that will clearly sacrifice 90% of the human population to powering corporate profits." It's worse than you think... more like 99%, plus or minus a few points. In what may...
  • Commented on Crib Sheet: The Nightmare Stacks
    Charlie wondered: "What makes you think any humans in my stories ever get a happy ending?" "Trunk and Disorderly"? The lobsters in "Accelerando" (for crustacean values of "human")? *GDR* Heteromeles wondered: "The real questions here is whether souls are so...
  • Commented on Crib Sheet: The Nightmare Stacks
    Charlie: "the Alfar host could have been arrested by the West Yorkshire Metropoltican Police" It worked against a bunch of sword-wielding medievals in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Of course, they'd already used the thing we don't talk about...
  • Commented on Crib Sheet: The Nightmare Stacks
    Peter Erwin noted: "frankly, if you are "many decades rusty", then I would seriously worry about how much the state of the art has moved beyond what you once did. Science -- including statistical methodologies -- does not stand still."...
  • Commented on Crib Sheet: The Nightmare Stacks
    A note about plausibility: It's worth remembering that Charlie is writing fiction, not engineering manuals. To succeed, he has to make the results interesting enough that we keep reading and plausible enough that we're willing to suspend disbelief and stop...
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