Charles H

Charles H

  • Commented on Long range forecast
    If civilization doesn't collapse, then an eventual "singularity" is inevitable. (Actually, I tend to also consider a total collapse a kind of singularity.) There are reasonable questions as to the time frame and the rate of onset, but we are...
  • Commented on Long range forecast
    Well, FWIW, we may not have the Hudson Bay ice sheet, but we've got Antarctica...and parts of it have been collapsing a lot faster than anyone predicted. There's also records that indicate that Antarctica was once warm enough to grow...
  • Commented on Long range forecast
    What do you mean "fracking scam"? I can see ways in which it could be globally true, but in the US "scam" doesn't seem to be the right pejorative. Some people have made lots of money at it, and it...
  • Commented on Long range forecast
    And then there's robots. Including self driving vehicles. That would be a big enough problem on its own. While I'm not denying that the problems you've identified are real, they aren't alone. Robots are going to cut out huge swaths...
  • Commented on A world-building puzzler
    You wouldn't get experimental science developing, as that DOES depend on the written word, but if you had a good apprenticeship system that encouraged the masters to share information with each other, you could slowly evolve a technology up to...
  • Commented on A world-building puzzler
    Careless reading, I guess, but what popped into *my* mind was a post-literate society. E.g., everyone has built in links into the general flow of thought, rather like the web, but not literary. Audio, visual, kinesthetic, etc. provided via link,...
  • Commented on Science-fictional shibboleths
    Science Fictions is, and always has been, a sub-genre of Fantasy. Even John W. Campbell, Jr. admitted as such, though as an editor he tried to minimize the logical incoherence. So. Global corporations ignoring externalities aren't unreasonable. People perceive things...
  • Commented on A small research question
    It's not clear how effective molecular scale chemistry *can* get in handling separation of isotopes. That it can do it SOME is testified to by carbon isotope preferences. But carbon is a low weight isotope (12-14) where as uranium is...
  • Commented on A small research question
    The story was "Night on Mispec Moor", IIRC...
  • Commented on A small research question
    Yeah, multi-stage hostings aren't uncommon. Look into flukes. But that's not being a hyperparasites....
  • Commented on The sky's gone dark
    It's even more extreme than you are suggesting. People react to images, and without images they don't feel the urgency. So reactions to disaster will again revert to local. PERHAPS entire nations will react together...but for larger nations that's a...
  • Commented on The sky's gone dark
    Unless things have changed a LOT, then ICBMs would only suffer minor inconvenience. They always used inertial guidance, and never relied on GPS, and their transition through orbital altitude is quite brief. That said, most things that rely on GPS...
  • Commented on The sky's gone dark
    If I understand things correctly, you don't just get ONE Kessler event, you get one per height-inclination pair. If so, this means total blockage is quite improbable, but dodging becomes rather expensive. Also, aren't orbits at a high inclination to...
  • Commented on A question about the future of the world wide web
    Saying the options exist is not causing them to really exist. The "Join our network" kind of thing can work, and work reasonably well. AOL was that kind of thing. But to get all the parties that you listed to...
  • Commented on The present in deep history
    While I'm not convinced that the banning of nuclear tests will have any long term effect, nuclear weapons will. Just what effect isn't yet clear, but it could lead to the "nuclear autumn" solution to global warming. Another thing that...
  • Commented on Inverted realities
    Actually, I think horrific vampire predates Stoker by quite a bit, though I'm not sure by how much. I believe that several psychologists wrote analyses about it, including Freud, but I don't think he was the first. OTOH (nearly a...
  • Commented on On the Great Filter, existential threats, and griefers
    The thing left out above seems to be civil war. As weapons get more destructive, civil war becomes more likely to destroy all participants. And it may be quite difficult to handle a high velocity mass targeted at your home...
  • Commented on Why we're not going to see sub-orbital airliners
    If your battery capacity is high enough, you can solve the peak discharge rate with a few supercapacitors (or a bank of regular capacitors, but supercapacitors have a LOT lower leakage, and can even replace batteries in a few circumstances)....
  • Commented on CMAP: Short stories, what are they good for?
    FWIW I believe that Roger Zelazny wrote short stories that he didn't intend to publish (but occasionally did) to develop back story for his on-going novel. Things that he felt he needed to understand about what was behind what was...
  • Commented on Things I would make if I had a 3D printer ...
    Shoes won't work, as the shoe needs to breathe, not just be the right shape. If you print shoes your feet will swim in sweat, even in cold weather....
  • Commented on On the lack of cultural estrangement in SF
    That's not the way to bet. Try instead nearly human AI that just follow orders and optimization matricies. You don't need a superhuman AI to get a Singularity. A nearly human AI and a few specialized tools will do the...
  • Commented on On the lack of cultural estrangement in SF
    Reality hasn't killed the Singularity. It's killed a lot of the fervor for it, and it's killed a few unrealistic definitions of it. The "hard takeoff" is probably unrealistic. The "soft takeoff" is in process. If you watch you can...
  • Commented on On the lack of cultural estrangement in SF
    All Science Fiction has always been a subcategory of fantasy. Nobody pretended to be predicting an actual future. Campbell had a rule that said "You can only break one basic rule of known science, and the rest of the story...
  • Commented on On the lack of cultural estrangement in SF
    Unless you assume built-in cyborg interfaces, some things won't change. Names, e.g., will be pronounceable, and strings of letters used as the names of agencies will be either short or pronouncable. Therefore: "Qutefgvbb of UUUI Prime doing sklethering at CC23X"...
  • Commented on Leading question
    Well, I'm from the US, but you're already at around 70 comments, so... But I've got to take exception to your denial of the AI singularity, as it's already in process. (Note that the AI doesn't need to be smarter...
  • Commented on Not a Manifesto
    FWIW, most Science Fiction, at least good Science Fiction, was written by authors who knew that they were violating "laws of Nature" that they expected would remain valid. This is true even of something as old as "The Skylark of...
  • Commented on The referendum question
    I've got problems accepting any of these as decent solutions. Every single one of them seems bad. First off, a government is that entity which claims a monopoly on the use of force in an area. Almost(?) all of them...
  • Commented on The Ferguson Question
    You've got some important points, but while SWAT was reasonable when it was a "flying squad" that was called in to deal with special situations, as a general approach it causes the public to distrust the police. And it also...
  • Commented on The Ferguson Question
    I will agree that the US police never "signed up for" the peelian principles, but that doesn't mean the question of whether they should reasonably be called a police force by someone living in Britain isn't reasonable. For that matter,...
  • Commented on Who Owns SF?
    I grew up in the 1950's. SF is owned by John W. Campbell, jr. Personally, I like some "fantasy" better than SF, e.g. the Dennis Schmidt Kensho series (which I'm currently rereading). But I never call it SF, even if...
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