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  • Commented on Artificial Intelligence: Threat or Menace?
    Greg @493, Charlie@489, Advertising is older than that. It was around in the ancient world. Here's a gratuitous dick pic pointing the way to a Pompeii brothel: https://www.campaignlive.co.uk/article/history-advertising-no-142-pompeii-penis/1357977 What was missing was mass media and joint stock companies to advertise...
  • Commented on Sucker bet (a thought experiment)
    I'm not a gamer, but I assume Zelda players tend to splurge as they approach their wallet limit? Extravagant consumption isn't what we want to encourage. . . Something like Elizabeth Warren's wealth tax would have much the same extreme...
  • Commented on Sucker bet (a thought experiment)
    The real question then is how to render the billionaires sufficiently afeared or constrained that altruism becomes their best option. Or, y'know, taxed until they're no longer billionaires....
  • Commented on Sucker bet (a thought experiment)
    Re. Billionaire long game influence buying: https://talkingpointsmemo.com/feature/it-took-decades-but-the-anti-new-deal-crusaders-have-triumphed...
  • Commented on Sucker bet (a thought experiment)
    Charlies experiment could be gamed out in a purely sociopathic way, altruistic only out of enlightened self interest, otherwise maximising for wealth, power and control freakery. That likely describes most billionaires. Flipping this about a bit, if most of them...
  • Commented on Sucker bet (a thought experiment)
    $100 billion won't buy you a country, but a fraction of it will buy you many governments. The really startling thing about campaign, think tank, and other propaganda spending in democracies is not how much there is, but how little....
  • Commented on CASE NIGHTMARE BLONDE, Part 2
    I mean, performative insurgents on the fringes of institutions, exploiting the flaws and loopholes of the system- the tax break, the Apprentice edit suite, the media's appetite for the controversial soundbite, without the discipline or pro-social requirements of working within...
  • Commented on CASE NIGHTMARE BLONDE, Part 2
    Thank you for the Wodehouse bollocks link. Boris's chaotic dishevelment seems to be a genuine part of his personality, or pathology, and carefully calculated pose, or branding exercise. He's one of those charmed monsters who've figured out how to use...
  • Commented on CASE NIGHTMARE BLONDE, Part 2
    “Overweening ambition dedicated to one goal – self-advancement", in Dixon's phrase certainly fits Boris, but I'm not sure much else does. He's no stiff necked, inflexible, spit and polish martinet. Enthusiastically unprincipled flexibility has got him where he is...
  • Commented on Ask me anything!
    Flogging a dead horse here, but the F-105 Thunderchief (which had 2-seater variants) and F-111 were both capable of going supersonic for about 45 minutes courtesy of large fuel capacity. You'd still need a single in-air refuel, which would presumably...
  • Commented on Ask me anything!
    Thank you. The Iron Dream sounds like it's up several of my alleys. Also, Hitlerian "pump" fiction is the best and worst of typos....
  • Commented on Ask me anything!
    I know about Mencius Moldbug and Paul Krugman. Without being indiscreet,do you have any other fans who might surprise/ delight/ appal us? On second thoughts, indiscretion is probably a plus....
  • Commented on Ask me anything!
    Crossbred serval x domestic cats are by all accounts quite behaviourally doglike. They like walking on a leash and are more social than a normal cat. http://petskeepersguide.com/forums/Thread-Walk-a-Savannah-cat-a-dog-in-cat-s-body Don't keep them as pets though. When their genes get into the feral...
  • Commented on The Inevitable Brexit Thread (2)
    Schrodinger's MP. All things to all people until it collapses under scrutiny....
  • Commented on The Inevitable Brexit Thread (2)
    In other news, Serbian foreign minister advises citizens not to travel to the UK due to political chaos. I suppose he'd know the signs ... Well, it would at least help prevent any unpleasantness concerning Archdukes in open-topped vehicles. ....
  • Commented on Three pieces of news about the Laundry Files (UPDATED!)
    DEXTER SPOILERS To me, that last scene was more He's a lumberjack and he's trapped in a hell of his own creation, but yes, there were probably a couple of unnecessary seasons and glitches in the middle there. Even at...
  • Commented on Three pieces of news about the Laundry Files (UPDATED!)
    There are counterexamples. The makers of Dexter (TV) were wise to steal what they could from the books then write their own show. The books devolved into handwaving supernatural mush. Going in the other direction, I remember being hugely impressed...
  • Commented on Three pieces of news about the Laundry Files (UPDATED!)
    Damn. You beat me to it. I was going to say that nothing could be more appropriate for the Laundry-verse than a digitally reanimated corpse, but I was thinking of Alan Rickman, who is otherwise sadly unavailable....
  • Commented on The Inevitable Brexit Thread (1)
    Thanks. I wasn't aware that had gone beyond vague talk....
  • Commented on The Inevitable Brexit Thread (1)
    Viewed from afar, the EU seems to have conducted itself with remarkable restraint and decency throughout the Brexit process shambles. Essentially, "Look, we're not coming near you while you're waving that knife around, but if you'd like to stop self-harming...
  • Commented on The Inevitable Brexit Thread (1)
    The Australian* upper house system of proportional preferential voting for party lists rather than candidates** was primarily intended to secure the equal (per-capita over-represented) influence of the smaller population states, but it has given the parties somewhere to park Elderly...
  • Commented on The Inevitable Brexit Thread (1)
    "I am determined to stop calling those shitbags the "alt-right" and refer to them as what they are. Namely, Nazis." I like the term alt-nazi. Makes the point that they're scum, while making a taxonomic distinction between today's internet...
  • Commented on The Inevitable Brexit Thread (1)
    A couple of questions from Australia: 1. Given that any conventions of cabinet solidarity and party discipline seem to have gone out the window, is there actually a majority in parliament for a second referendum, assuming mischief makers don't frame...
  • Commented on Peak Brexit
    Re. the discussion of heater/monitors above, it's not just CRTs. I have a gargantuan 10 year old 30" flat screen monitor at home, last of the old pre-LED ccfl back lit displays. It's a very pleasant 150 watt panel heater...
  • Commented on Peak Brexit
    I've no idea whether this is right or not, but years ago someone told me that after Victoria's electricity grid was privatized in the 90's, transformers were only replaced when they blew. Prior to that, under the old State Electricity...
  • Commented on Peak Brexit
    If everyone in a Lovecraft story inevitably winds up insane or dead, C'thulu would presumably take one look at today's Tory party and realise he'd timed his entrance too late to make any discernable difference....
  • Commented on Brexit! Means! Brexit!
    Yes. Famously so. C.1970 a notoriously long winded Country party MP began a speech to parliament with the words 'Now, I'm a Country member. . .' At which point future Labour PM Gough Whitlam interjected 'We remember!'...
  • Commented on Brexit! Means! Brexit!
    Hint: THIS IS A MATTER OF FUCKING LIFE AND DEATH. IF THE UK DOES WHAT YOU SUGGEST, MANY PEOPLE WILL DIE WITHIN A MATTER OF WEEKS. Well, since we're in to Swiftean Modest Proposal territory, would that be such a...
  • Commented on The Pivot
    I'm not sure that Murdoch is pivoting in any meaningful way. Carol Cadwalladr seems to have forced News Corp's hand, having independently come up with information which the Times had been sitting on, so now they're trying to get out...
  • Commented on The Nakamoto Variations
    SPOILERS for The Fear Index by Robert Harris, and Charlie's Rule 34 Re. Charlie's interest in technothrillers vs. SF, you might want to throw financial thrillers into the mix. The rise of algorithmic trading, flash trading etc. seems to have...
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