Jay

Jay

  • Commented on Happy 21st Century!
    Well yes, it's the reproduction that does the harm. If we maintain the capacity for safe and effective birth control, that will help. More generally, I don't really understand why so many people think that this must be due to...
  • Commented on Happy 21st Century!
    We can probably manage a depopulation strategy aiming for a reduction of 50-70% over a period of 100-200 years, but only if we first ditch the ideological imperatives of constant economic growth, employment maximization, and free-market capitalism (not to mention...
  • Commented on Happy 21st Century!
    Re: 'Targeted viruses, mutations, etc.' There are basically three ways to approach what you're suggesting: 1) Make the virus non-contagious. It won't get out of control, but you have to infect each target individual separately. May as well just use...
  • Commented on Happy 21st Century!
    When they do so, they will inevitably come to the sincere, deeply held belief that culling the bottom 50% to 90% of the planetary population will give them a shot at survival in the post-greenhouse world. (That's the "bottom 50-90%"...
  • Commented on Happy 21st Century!
    We already have long stupid wars. At least two (Afghanistan and Iraq), possibly more depending on what exactly counts. I was talking about, best case, the sort of war where America finds out the hard way that it really isn't...
  • Commented on Happy 21st Century!
    “Super-Duper Custom Flu, version 2.7”, which spreads like influenza, kills like ebola, but has the built-in advantage of some unique tweaks to make sure it only kills “the others.” For extra fun, remember that viruses mutate. A mutant version where...
  • Commented on Happy 21st Century!
    He really is. He's neglecting the extremely high likelihood of war....
  • Commented on Not dead but dreaming
    I saw this and thought of you: factories in China are monitoring their workers' brains in real time. http://www.scmp.com/news/china/society/article/2143899/forget-facebook-leak-china-mining-data-directly-workers-brains Spoiler alert: the future's gonna suck....
  • Commented on Solarpunk rising, or how to turn boring bureaucratic meetings into creative fodder
    Anything "punk" that requires going to county planning meetings probably needs a new name....
  • Commented on Why I barely read SF these days
    Bartram’s account of Creek and Cherokee histories led to the view that these Native Americans were colonizers, just like Euro-Americans. Why wouldn't they be? Everyone else is. Tribes colonizing other tribes is pretty much all of history. The bit that's...
  • Commented on Why I barely read SF these days
    A hundred years from now, Africa will be Ascendant Maybe, but you don't know that, and neither does anyone else. As a history lecture once told me, it's difficult enough to predict the past. Given that so much of Africa...
  • Commented on Why I barely read SF these days
    Back in grad school I heard of a guy who was working with a superconducting NMR magnet at 2am. He saw smoke coming from the probe (inside the toroidal magnet) and, being rather less aware than he should have been,...
  • Commented on Why I barely read SF these days
    Also, the Mongols were herders. It's really hard to move a castle when your horses have grazed out the local area and you need to move on....
  • Commented on Why I barely read SF these days
    History is usually complicated and ugly. Not my fault, it was like that when I got here. Pretty much any civilization with neighbors finds military tech very useful for deciding things like who gets to be the masters and who...
  • Commented on Why I barely read SF these days
    I'm seeing pottery, bronze, and stone walls. "Advanced" is perhaps too strong a word. The whole "lost city" trope in pulp adventure fiction was based on cities like this in Africa and Asia, where civilizations large enough to build stone...
  • Commented on New publication dates (and audiobook news)
    I've done some semiconductor fab work in my time, and you're not wrong. The processes are prone to fail in extremely subtle ways. A stray fingerprint can ruin production for weeks, and I've heard horror stories about billion-dollar factories that...
  • Commented on Why I barely read SF these days
    Personally, I have a non-smart mobile phone. Smartphones seem very good for uses that I don't care about (video, music, Candy Crush, Facebook) and rather bad for functions that I actually use (phone calls, plus my phone has an actual...
  • Commented on New publication dates (and audiobook news)
    split between people who are already booking their first upload and those who think any technology newer than vacuum tubes is sorcery. No, that's the prevailing cultural script for arguments about technology. The actual argument around here is between people...
  • Commented on Why I barely read SF these days
    We know that physics behaves differently between the quantum and the Newtonian scale, and changes again between the Newtonian and relativistic scales. Any attempt to understand what's going on at the cosmological or Big Bang scales is limited by the...
  • Commented on Why I barely read SF these days
    A lot of us have taken to calling him the King in Orange, the Tweeter in the Dark. Don't blame me. I voted for the woman in the pallid mask....
  • Commented on Why I barely read SF these days
    I agree that tech to limit antibiotic resistance is important. But keeping the tech we have (antibiotics, electricity, cars) working safely is maintenance, not progress. Any tech whose primary purpose is to keep things from getting worse may be useful,...
  • Commented on Why I barely read SF these days
    Gene therapy seems to be more of a wild card. I think it's going to take multiple breakthroughs before it is safe and useful. Maybe ten to twenty years out. My best bet for the next revolutionary tech is genetic...
  • Commented on Why I barely read SF these days
    When I got my hybrid, I had some close calls in parking lots at first. It uses the electric motors for backing out, and pedestrians can't hear it....
  • Commented on Why I barely read SF these days
    I'm looking for something that could inspire SF the way space travel did in the 60s and computers did in the 90s. Can we go bigger?...
  • Commented on Why I barely read SF these days
    On an individual level, the oil companies don't really oppress us. We swipe our cards, pump our gas, maybe buy some M&Ms. Obviously there are pretty serious externalities, but I'm looking for technology that makes significant improvements in the lives...
  • Commented on Why I barely read SF these days
    That's a start, but it's not a huge step up from the pizza deliveries and taxis of my childhood. Can we go bigger?...
  • Commented on Why I barely read SF these days
    Feel free to replace the word "consumer" with "end user". The point is that the tech should liberate ordinary people....
  • Commented on Why I barely read SF these days
    That's not the answer. That's the question....
  • Commented on Why I barely read SF these days
    Perhaps we're missing the point. It the main post, OGH indicated that he wasn't interested in contemporary SF because (my paraphrase) it took contemporary social structures for granted. Up in #550 I suggested that what he was really looking for...
  • Commented on Why I barely read SF these days
    When I got my hybrid, I noticed that I got much worse fuel economy in the winter. Temperatures were about -25F (-32C) for all of February in Idaho, which meant the lithium ion battery's electrolyte was highly viscous and its...
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