Friday, September 30, 2022

The Best Economic/Political Prediction of the last few years

Who made the Best Economic/Political Prediction of 2020?

I assert that it was yours truly.

Sure, some savvy folks projected (I did) that Vlad Putin would enter into a warlike spasm end-game, once western agencies were unleashed (post-Trump) to fight back. Others were on target with election forecasts, or tech breakthroughs, or investment strategies… and I am on-record (from 15 years ago) predicting that 2023 would see the ‘flying car.’ 

Amateurs can get it right, sometimes. 

But how about forecasting the exact pattern of US federal deficit-to-GDP ratio, across all administrations?

Allow me to submit for your consideration a chart that I’ve displayed online since 2015, followed by an amended version that I published in Polemical Judo (2020). It shows the stark and perfectly pure difference in fiscal management between Democratic and Republican administrations, since the Second World War, plainly revealing that Democrats are alwaysthat is absolutely always – the fiscally prudent ones… 

… and that Republicans are absolutely always spendthrift wastrels, apparently bent on throwing our children into the poorhouse.

If that seems opposite to all you ever heard – e.g. about supposed GOP sobriety and penny-pinching - then shame on you for accepting clichés without question!  And triple shame on the Democratic pundits and politicians who allowed that lie-incantation to stand for generations. 

(There are reasons they did this; I’ll get to those reasons in a minute.)

Here’s the 2015 version, and you can see my point quickly enough. During every Republican administration, the rate of accumulating public debt accelerates… in math terms that is called a positive 2nd derivative of public debt. In graphical terms, that means the center pivot of the debt trajectory across GOP terms is always above the curve.

The curve trends downward across democratic administrations, as the rate of accumulation of public  debt declines. Deficits decelerate. The 2nd derivative of debt is negative. 

That chart extended until 2015 or so. Now see a second chart offering the exact same data (over a wider period from WW-II up to 2017) with different graphics that some of you might prefer.

Now, skip ahead to 2020.
I self-published Polemical Judo in hope that a politician or pundit – even just one - on the Union side of this phase (#8) of the US Civil War would show enough agility to actually try some new tactics. My hope (and hard work) was forlorn. But never mind that. Here’s the version of the chart that I included in the book, showing my prediction for the incoming Trump administration. And yes, that forecast came true, to a degree that’s eerie.

Moreover, look at the next slide’s red & green arrows in the upper right, showing most-recent trends. They portray (a bit off due to MS Office) how Trump and then Biden wrought exactly the same pattern that I’ve tried to get folks to notice since 2015. 

Again, it is a perfect correlation that no one declares with the vehemence it deserves. Not even Robert Reich or Al Franken.

Okay, last chart. It shows the same effects, only in the FIRST derivative of public debt-to-GDP. And yes, the trend – again – is absolutely perfect.

== The biggest mystery in all this ==

Finally, why do dem pols never bray about this, since it should help corner a million wavering decent-folk Republicans into realizing they’ve been had, for decades, by a hypocritical cult incantation?  Shouldn’t this totally absolute correlation help peel many thousands away from the lobotomized, jabbering-treason Fox cult? 

Should not some dem pols or pundits at least try?

The reason that they don’t is simple. Because of the left. Because our own side’s cults – while fantastically less-harmful than the Mad Right – are still nut jobs who yowl insipid nonsense like ‘Modern Monetary Theory (MMT).’ 

“If deficits are going down, it means we’re not spending enough!”

Instead of viewing this ‘fiscal responsibility correlation’ as a wonderful weapon to eviscerate Republican hypocrisy, those leftists are guaranteed to behave exactly the way Fox wants to portray all Democrats -- as extravagant wastrels who want only to spend us into penury.

Yes, Joe Biden and the Democratic political castes did just spend a vast amount in their stimulus bills. They also fixed a few (far from all) of the horrendous ‘supply side’ vampire tax cheats that the GOP has given to blood-sucking oligarchy, across the last generation. 

That, plus re-funding the IRS to go after the cheater moguls and Wall Street parasites and inheritance brats, is why the net outcome of the Biden-Schumer-Pelosi bills will be to reduce poverty, unemployment, infrastructure decay AND deficits, yet again. 

It's win-win that could be parlayed into electoral victories, if played right. (Bets whether our own mad wing will allow it, though? Sanctimony is always preferable to pragmatic progress.)

== Anybody listening? Hello? ==

And so, there we are. A factual correlation so perfect that it ought to be a powerful weapon for the side of the Enlightenment Experiment, or at least the basis for many aggressive wagers… 

…but alas a correlation that will instead (again) only appear on this blog. Because… well…

…In fact, I haven’t the foggiest notion why I have to shout these things into apparent vacuum. Maybe I should finally take a hint and shut t f up.. 


== Addenda ==

Senate Republicans blocked a bill that would require super PACs and “dark money” groups to disclose large donors, The Washington Post reports.

Despite supply chain ructions and war caused by the prior administration. Bet me now over comparable actual economic outcomes... including federal deficits... across full democratic vs republican administrations.  I have not met a Foxite with the guts of a tardigrade, to back up their blowhard assertions.


== Final question ==

Would these missives get a lot more attention if I did them as podcasts? I don't really want to. 

But look at this guy.

Oh, he's entertaining and clever. Makes a few good points, amid all the pyrotechnic drama... and knows virtually nothing about privacy other than shallow surfaces.

 But 850,000 views? Jesus. Nobody reads anymore.  We're doomed, I guess, after all. 

Friday, September 16, 2022

The TOP thing Biden could do to win trust and outmaneuver traitors

Joe, please limit your own powers!  

My biggest complaint about Joe Biden? Not once has he spoken to the long list of failure modes in our current system that Donald Trump exploited to grab unprecedented power and abuse his authority.  Jobee should say “Let’s systematically fix those failure modes, even if it means reducing MY power, as president."

Not only is it necessary. It is also something that would play very well for the midterms! It would make him and his party look truly sincere. From my longer list in Polemical Judo:

- Amend the absurdly broad War Powers Act so that 'emnergency wars" must be congressionally renewed every 90 days and penalizing lie-pretexts.

- Elimination of blanket Presidential power to declassify information, plus EXPIRATION DATES ON ALL LEVELS OF SECRECY. 

- Use definitions of crimes to hem in the President’s now-universal power of federal pardons.

- Drop the Justice Department's ‘finding’ that presidents cannot be sued or prosecuted. Replace this with a “slow prosecution” process that limits a president to ten hours a week dealing with outside legal matters. That would deal with the silly argument of the Office of Legal Counsel's ‘finding,’ while still saying no president is above the law. 

(And boy would that play well with the public! Despite guaranteeing Joe will be the first slammed with those ten hours, alas.)

- Require that financial statements and tax returns be public and create a commission to rule on conflicts of interest, like forcing the Secret Service to pay top rates at Trump hotels, or foreigners flocking to do the same. Likewise, pass a specific emoluments bill.

- Give the Presidential Medal of Freedom to a commission, so it can never again become a travesty.

- Strengthen the 25th amendment without needing a new amendment! It was originally intended to deal with non-hostile transfers of power due to incapacity. And sure, a president with a fanatically loyal cabinet and/or VP is immune. But look at it closely! A VP (like Pence) who cannot persuade a majority of cabinet of fanatic loyalists could still appeal to an “other body” created by Congress! 

One incremental step: establish the amendment’s “other body” out of the nation’s most august retired judges, scientists and presidents. (See Chapter 16 of Polemical Judo, “Exit strategies: Surprising aspects of the 25th Amendment.”)

There are so many other things JoBee could do that would incrementally protect us, in case a monster ever returns to the White House. And each and every one would impress voters with his sincerity.

Can YOU think of a simple, easily understood power-reform that would hamper monsters but not a sincerely decent president very much? Speak up in the comments section. 

See more at Polemical Judo: Memes for Our Political Knife-fight, by David Brin.

== Related matters ==

Some congressional reforms are clearly needed. In fact, Polemical Judo begins with a discussion of New Gingrich's brilliant (if hypocritical) political gesture the "Contract with America," which made the GOP seem reformist and sincere. And no Democrat has ever learned from it.

Oh there are some efforts: 

Lawmakers have proposed bills to restrict their own stock trading. Some proposals would bar members of Congress and their spouses from buying stocks, a measure that majorities of voters support. Other legislation would force lawmakers and their spouses to put their investments into blind trusts.

On Wednesday, Speaker Nancy Pelosi promised a House vote on a congressional stock-trading bill this month. But neither that bill nor any other appears to have the bipartisan support needed to pass the Senate.

But I would go much farther. For example, by giving every House and Senate member one perogotive subpoena per year. Yes, including the minority party. Yes Marjorie "gaspacho" Greene and Lauren "won-ton violence" Boebert would abuse the privilege. So? Shrug off the hot air. It would guarantee that some light will flow, when next dems are in the minority.  There's more in Polemical Judo.


== Pointing fingers? ==

Of course we know why Marjorie Taylor Greene dissed then-nominated Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson – and later Mitt Romney and Susan Collins -  as enablers of pedophiles…. Because Greene’s party is the one overflowing with turpitudes and perverts.  

This article (from Slate) gives a first-level view, though only of the top half-dozen examples. Such as the GOP in the 90s replacing serial philanderer Newt Gingrich with Dennis Hastert – convicted multiple child-rapist - as head of the GOP and Speaker of the US House of Representatives, just two heartbeats from the presidency. 

What this article lacks is a truly aggressive shift from “these examples show Republicans are no-cleaner than Democrats” to a far more bold assertion. 

“Today's GOP is a den of iniquity and perversion and turpitude, spanning the entire spectrum, down to dog catcher.”

At one end are legal things that may not be telling, in any one case. Like divorce, which was political suicide in the GOP of old, till Reagan. Now? Seven marriages across the last 4 Republican presidents. Twenty-two across the last ten heads of the party. (Care to wager me whether the trend continues, as we work our way down? Or that it’s not far, far, far lower among top Dems… some of them flawed people, whose spouses nonetheless deemed them worth salvaging.)

Or take the Republican Party’s close affiliation with non-native gambling casinos – (didn’t that used-to-be a sin?) – and floods of donations from mob-related casino moguls.

In fact, let’s compare every kind of turpitude in red states vs blue ones. (Setting aside outliers like Utah and Illinois.) From pedophilia and domestic violence to divorce rates, as well as STDs, gambling, and heck, yes, let’s include abortion, if you like. Red states still ranks worse.

This is the sort of thing you can demand wagers over, from MAGAs and then watch as they run!  Do it in front of witnesses.

Saturday, September 10, 2022

Bold ideas for Planet Earth (Mostly science!)

Okay, I generally put aside most space and astronomy stuff for their own category. But I do have to say that while I am nototiously critical of the SLS/Artemis moondoggle, I do hope the three SLS monstrosities we've largely paid for will eventually work well, so we can get as much as 5% of our money's worth. And a useless-silly footprint stunt. Then - Heinlein-willing - commercial launch will consign the wretched thing to obsolescence and history and NASA can go back to the real business of grownups, way farther out. 

Oh, yes. The Large Hadron Collider is back up and upgraded, discovering tetra and even pent-quark particles. Some think there are now enough of these particles to begin grouping them together, like the chemical elements in the periodic table. That is an essential first step towards creating a theory and set of rules governing exotic mass.

== Saving Earth through geo-engineering? ==

One newly proposed method for addressing climate change involves sequestering plant waste CROPS: Crops Residue Oceanic Permanent Sequestration (competing for an X-Prize for carbon removal) envisions reducing atmospheric carbon dioxide by bundling agricultural waste into half-ton cubes and disposing of them in the deep ocean, below the thermocline - in extremely cold water, where their carbon will be undisturbed for millennia. This should be substantially less expensive than attempting to remove carbon dioxide by industrial processes. And the odds of it being politically acceptable are...

Other concepts being explored: The idea of using sun-shields to block maybe 1% of incoming sunlight – and perhaps even more of the UV – has a new proposed method… blowing giant bubbles. Intriguing and it may come to that. But still very expensive and it only works until something happens out there and it stops.

Gregory Benford and some others prefer that far-cheaper prospect of aerosols spread in the upper atmosphere that reflect light back into space. On paper and in the lab, they are short-lived and harmless. But again, any time you stop, all benefits are lost.

Much more effective across millions of years would be my method to enlarge (gradually) Earth’s orbit. Decidedly easy for some future civ to do… maybe even our g-g-g-kids, since it only requires 1000x the might of this already mighty civilization!  See my video Lift the Earth! as well as the numbers behind the idea.

But I have long favored another approach that appears to be a win-win, all around! From“When smoke from the 2019–2020 Australian wildfires billowed across the Southern Ocean, the iron-rich particles it deposited on the ocean triggered an algae bloom bigger than Australia—and it had a rapid and prolonged impact on the Southern Ocean's marine ecosystem and its carbon cycle.” … 

“The phytoplankton bloom outlasted the wildfires by almost half a year. Phytoplankton blooms don't usually survive longer than a few weeks, so the duration of this bloom was astounding and has rarely been observed before on such time scales.”

Read the article. The hope is that ocean fertilization into strong currents (not contricted zones like the Black Sea, Med and Caribbean) can lead to plankton, then krill, then burgeoning of whale population back to pre-indistrial levels, which some believe could make the fertilization cycle persistent with their... well... whale... poop.

Which segués kinda naturally into our final geoengineering project and the most-necessady!

Peecycling! Not urinating while on a bike! No, it’s giving urine back to nature along (especially) with the rare phosphorus (P!) that otherwise gets flushed to sea. In 99% of humans, pee is perfectly harmless when cycled through dirt and foliage or flowers, and recycling it may even be required, someday, as I depict in the future, in Existence.

Again... P (Phosphorus) will be the next scarcity, far more than oil ever was. Time to be thinking about it, before the King of Morrocco owns the world. Do see Existence.

== Our bio future ==

Scientists in Sweden have created a liquid that can absorb solar energy and store it as a thermal fuel for as long as 18 years. The fluid works like a rechargeable battery, but instead of electricity, sunlight goes in and heat comes out when it's needed. It appears to be about Hydrogen plus Methane, but looking into it.  

Artificial photosynthesis can produce food without sunshine: A two-step electrocatalytic process can convert carbon dioxide, electricity, and water into acetate, the form of the main component of vinegar. Food-producing organisms then consume acetate in the dark to grow. ‘Combined with solar panels to generate the electricity to power the electrocatalysis, this hybrid organic-inorganic system could increase the conversion efficiency of sunlight into food, up to 18 times more efficient for some foods.’ Feed such a system CO2 directly from major producers like cement factories and the phase two reactors get nutrients from agricultural runoff. Very similar to current prototype systems using algae and sunlight.

Experiments showed that a wide range of food-producing organisms can be grown in the dark directly on the acetate-rich electrolyzer output, including green algae, yeast, and fungal mycelium that produce mushrooms. Producing algae with this technology is approximately fourfold more energy efficient than growing it photosynthetically. Yeast production is about 18-fold more energy efficient than how it is typically cultivated using sugar extracted from corn.” And "Using artificial photosynthesis approaches to produce food could be a paradigm shift for how we feed people.” 

== Interesting research ==

The rate of developing Alzheimer's was lowest among those who consistently received the flu vaccine every year, a very large study says. Though people who received at least one influenza vaccine were 40% less likely than their non-vaccinated peers to develop Alzheimer's disease over the course of four years.  "Since there is evidence that several vaccines may protect from Alzheimer's disease, we are thinking that it isn't a specific effect of the flu vaccine."

Like the new ‘miracle” cancer treatment etc., I am not betting the farm on preliminary results!  Still… track this…. Alas, it bodes poorly for Trumpist America.

New research turns the idea of heat-loving dinosaurs on its head: It presents the first physical evidence that Triassic dinosaur species, which were a minor group largely relegated to the polar regions at the time, regularly endured freezing conditions there. Hence when a sudden ice age swept the planet at the begin of the Jurassic, the cold tolerant and feathered dinosaurs swept in too.

Unusual superconductivity observed in twisted trilayer graphene: "While superconductors have been around for a long time, a remarkably new feature in twisted graphene bilayers and trilayers is that superconductivity in these materials can be turned on simply through the application of a voltage on a nearby electrode…"

And so we move onward. A spectacular scientific civilization! Whose fact-based professions are truly the groups who are vastly more-hated upon than all the races and genders. Wager me on that and let's compare actual amounts of time spent in direct dissing, on Fox. We're on the same side!

The side of a future with some hope.

Saturday, September 03, 2022

What Putin and Other Haters of the Enlightenment Experiment Really Want

First some good news? Bringing manufacturing back home to the U.S. - onshoring, re-shoring or near-shoring – is happening at a greater clip. 

“The construction of new manufacturing facilities in the US soared 116% over the past year, dwarfing the 10% gain on all building projects combined, according to Dodge Construction Network. There are massive chip factories going up in Phoenix: Intel is building two just outside the city; Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing is constructing one in it. And aluminum and steel plants are being erected all across the south…” reports Bloomberg.  

(Mexico has also become a popular choice – as it should be, since Mexican plants use gobs of US-made parts and vice versa. Moreover, turning Mexico into a middle-class nation – already far along! – should be one of USA’s very top priorities.)

==What does Putin want? ==

Those wondering "what Putin wants" are making it too complicated. Try for Context. Across 6000 years, 99% of our ancestors languished in dullard, insipid feudal societies, ruled by delusional lordly-owner castes. And that's across all nations, races and continents.

But there were exceptions. Every Enlightenment Experiment in democracy/freedom and flattened hierarchies, has resulted in dazzling creativity, productivity, science, art, diversity etc.

Faced with such huge difference in outcomes, neighboring despots and feudalist rivals always concoct the same zero-sum rationalization:

"Those decadent, soft (Athenians, Florentines, Americans, etc.) got their pleasures, toys, inventions, wealth & indulgences by trading away what's important - grit, endurance, courage... manhood."

(If you don't like my using those terms, do not blame me. Macho has been the core of every feudal despotism. You and I are the weird exceptions.)

That concocted contempt for 'decadent and effeminate' yankees dripped in the song "Yankee Doodle"... till it was disproved at Monmouth, at Cowpens and at Yorktown. It was recited by Confederates vs. city northerners, till Gettysburg and Appomattox. Nazis repeated it till Bastogne. It was Soviet doctrine. It remains chanted in palaces and conspiring basements in all of today's autocratic nations.

And it is the central catechism repeated - now with ever increasing desperation - by Vladimir Putin, especially since he succeeded so well for a while at exploiting our distractability, e.g. imposing Brexit and Trump and disinfo-tsunamis on the West and taking over US conservatism. Hence, Vlad was shocked when NATO finally said "enough" and stood firm.

Alas, like all psychopaths, he cannot re-evaluate a masturbatory delusion, even in the face of overwhelming disproof. He is so sure that Biden and the West will fold, any day now, that he will spend Russian youths like kopeks, betting on the same delusional and repeatedly-disproved incantation, over and over again.

And trust me. If we get past this current phase of world oligarchic/macho-feudalist putsch, your children will face the same delusional incantation by enemies of democracy and freedom.  They can't help it. It's all they have.

== JoBee's MAGA Treason Speech ==

OMG. Lately several of my longstanding tactical suggestions have apparently gained a little traction! I have no idea if anyone listened… or else some others simply thought up the same things. But Biden's speech at Independence Hall - while disappointing in its incompleteness and missed opportunities - at least threw down the gage and said 'we see you now!' to the Risen Confederacy.

And others are trying hard for new tactics! Robert Reich is great and you must watch this short video!  Alas, I am always saddened when I see such a bright guy just barely miss a key point. Not only are Red State legislatures bound and determined to cheat and repress voting, with likely support from the Roberts Court. The entire argument put forward by John Roberts - that those state legislatures have sovereignty - is based on the notion that those legislatures were elected by those states' citizens. And in gerrymandered states that is simply not true. They are not legitimate and all else devolves from that.

(Ever since the left stoopidly murdered Al Franken (politically), Reich is just about the only alpha paladin we have, alas.)

Or take this example. “Thousands of Democrats changed their voter registration in Lauren Boebert’s district ahead of the primary.” Damn straight! Let em howl! Their gerrymandering cheats did this. 'For the last few years, Colorado’s “open primary” system has allowed unaffiliated voters to participate in either party’s primary elections. That means voters like Hallenborg can weigh in on Boebert’s primary run — without actually joining the Republican Party.'

This is straight out of Polemical Judo.

As the Rank Choice voting reforms - like the one that scotched Sarah Palin's comeback - are straight outta sci fi fandom!

== Finally some judo vs Gerrymander cheating? ==

Again, the greatest betrayal of democracy and fairness perpetrated by the Oligarchy Party – gerrymandering - has been given cover under lame, atom-thin rationalizations by Chief Justice John Roberts. In fact, there are ways to neutralize the Roberts Doctrine. Methods that have never been broached or even considered by our paladins fighting for fairness and justice… not even Lawrence Lessig. Again, I offered a number of agile maneuvers in Polemical Judo.  And the one that’s most pertinent to gerrymandering still awaits even minimal discussion or refutation. 

It would very likely work! Or at least force John Roberts back to the drawing board, begging the Federalist Society for another rationalization for treason. See “The Minimal Overlap Solution to Gerrymandering.”

Now, if only dem lawyers would consider my two suggestions for defeating gerrymandering and "voter ID restrictions." And no, they aren't 'already doing that.' Not even remotely.

And finally... Can’t get enough of well-written and cogently insightful blogging?  Come visit down in the comments section, below! Smaller than many out there, it’s probably among the smartest blog-communities (blogmunity?) around.)

Sometimes I urge these folks to spin off their own blogs. One of the members of this community, with the monicker “Catfish ‘n Cod” has done so. Good stuff. 

Saturday, August 27, 2022

Science fiction - Reaching for the future

As the World Science Fiction Convention is about to stage and rage in Chicago, let's pause to glance at the genre of wonder, the literature that deals with the one 'eternal verity'... change.

First ... a look at how far science fiction has come in achieving respect at its high end. From The New Yorker: “Can Science Fiction Wake Us Up to Our Climate Reality?Kim Stanley Robinson’s novels envision the dire problems of the future—but also their solutions,” as in his latest release - The Ministry for the Future.

Harlan Ellison distilled the essential question. "Our duty is to make a world that's even just barely good enough that our kids do better. And theirs and theirs. Till super generations come who look back at us as monsters. Monsters who somehow rose above both their natures and their times....

“…even if barely enough."  Or as Roman Kznaric put it, more succinctly in his non-fiction book: The Good Ancestor: A Radical Prescription for Long-Term Thinking, our duty and task is... to be Good Ancestors.

Those of you reading my Out of Time series, about teens from varied eras yanked into a future utopia-in-peril, in order to save it with their ‘grit,’ know I borrowed the term from that movie, of course. But so did these neuroscience researchers: "Uncovering links between grit and cognitive function". Unless one of them is a fan who borrowed it from me!  

== Good Quick Reads ==

A series of quick-read hard-SF novellas by Laurence E. Dahners is worth a look. Lively  fun is the "Stasis" series where a young physicist makes a way to freeze time. Book 1: A Pause in Space Time

Sarina Dahlan's novel RESET offers a pretty unique take on how we might flush away the grudges that so often poison our lives.

Speaking of time... The “Out of Time” (or “Yanked!”) series: Only teens can teleport through time and space! Dollops of fun, adventure & optimism for young adults. Five Out of Time novels offer free first chapters… and five more are in the pipeline!

== YouTubes and Lists beyond the beyond ==

Tune in! Isaac Arthur has among the best sci-future podcasts - Science & Futurism - that explores in amazing detail the implications and ramifications of every permutation of the ‘alien’ you can think of… while poking as zones where we can’t! 

This episode cogently discusses what might happen if we head out there into the galaxy and find one or more less technologically advanced alien races. 

Are we behooved to act according to a Trekkian Prime Directive not to interfere? Can that even be enforced on all individuals who might disagree?  All of his riffs are detailed, logical and interesting… though this one features my books at 27 minutes in, offering big discounts for purchasing audio versions from Audible!

Just in case you never knew about this side of me... Eight outstanding David Brin books sci-fi fans need to read,” from The Portalist.

From Mental Floss: “Twelve novels that won both the Hugo and Nebula Awards,” with a mention of Startide Rising..

And from The Washington Post: Let's talk about the beasts of Sci Fi and Horror: a look at fictional animals, from Clifford Simak's City to Stephen King's Cujo.

== SF & Hollywood ==

Caltech physicist Spiros Michalakis and Hollywood writer/producer Ed Solomon (co-creator of Bill & Ted) speak with Caltech science writer (and sci-fi fan) Whitney Clavin in this video about how they collaborate to make science shine in film 

My original Salon article denouncing Star Wars was not my most hate mail-producing piece! It did lead later to a book: Star Wars on Trial. I was the 'prosecutor' and one of Lucas's novelizers the defense attorney. We called witnesses, cross-examined... huge fun! 

My later, upgraded case is one of the chapters in my recently released collection of essays on SF movies - Vivid Tomorrows: Science Fiction and Hollywood.

And this article preceded the later proof that Yoda is (by sheer death count) decisively the most-evil character in the history of all human stories and mythologies, combined. So there.

See the trailer for the Tom Swift spin-off.  And Neil Gaiman discusses the trailer for The Sandman series, based on his Sandman graphic novels. The series has been released on Netflix.

== Dark visions ==

As the Ukrainian literary magazine Chytomo recently covered in a disturbing article, “Since 2009, Russia has been actively publishing books on war between Russia and Ukraine in the fantasy genre, as well as historical and nonfiction literature about the collapse of the Ukraine project and mocking the independence of the non-existent Ukrainian people and artificial Ukrainian language.”

This article discusses a rather scary sub-genre of sci-fi, based upon an earlier wave of “Spetznaz fantasies” featuring Russian super soldiers shooting down especially Americans like mown grass. To be clear, our own nutter right has relished similar masturbatory fiction-fetishes, all the way from the marginally mainstream Red Dawn to the outright treasonous/fascist Turner Diaries.  And it is a common trope in war-inciting propaganda going back all the way to the Iliad and Roman epics vilifying Carthage. Today, as we speak, there is a major genre of “wolf warrior” tales and movies promoted by a certain Rising Power in the east.

But we are now witnessing the kind of calamity that can happen in the real world, when such agitprop seizes the imaginations of resentful (often incel) males.

== And more... ==

Do you miss old-fashioned, “classic” sci fi? Startling Stories is aiming for a revival of the pulp magazine (of the same name) which ran from 1939 to 1955. The title kinda says it all!

With Forkpoints, Nebula Award winner Sheila Finch (Reading the Bones) delivers an impressive, career-spanning collection!  Stories like the wistful “The Old Man and C,” which imagines a world where Albert Einstein followed his talent for violin instead of physics. Fans of Finch’s Xenolinguist stories will enjoy encountering the author at her lyrical best in “Sequoia Dreams,” about alien visitors who have a profound ecological message to convey, and “Czerny at Midnight,” in which a marine biologist’s autistic son communicates with an octopus through music. 

In her new anthology, The Memory Librarian and Other Stories of Dirty Computer, Janelle Monáe presents a collection (inspired by her album Dirty Computer) of vivid dystopian stories of the near future, of humanity and society adapting to changing technology.

Finally... Chicon, the 80th World Science Fiction Convention will be held from September 1 to 5 at the Hyatt Regency Chicago, with Author Guests of Honor (and our dear friends) Steven Barnes and Tananarive Due. (Have fun!) And see their new graphic novel collaboration, The Keeper.

Awards will be announced for this year's Hugo Awards for best in SF&F (nominations listed here).