Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Science Fiction Updates: Hugos, prescience, and geeks in high places!


All right, this didn't blow just me away, but also Greg Bear, who says he went slack-jawed one night recently, while watching The Late Show. It appears that host Stephen Colbert and his guest, actor Paul Giamatti, are genuine sci-fi geeks. And not just a little bit! We knew Colbert was a Tolkien scholar. But name dropping Jack Vance, Larry Niven, Henry Kuttner and C.L. Moore? Okay, they are the real deal! 

(Alas, what am I, chopped liver? Hey, guys, I'll ship you some signed stuff ;-)  

Oh, and Barack Obama has kvelled on Liu Cixin and a number of other SF authors. Is this cult of exploration and Big Ideas inveigling itself into high places?  Perhaps in time to save the world? (See reference to "TASAT," below.)

== A milestone for the genre ==

Congratulations to the 2018 finalists for the Hugo Award!  Including Mur Lafferty, Anne Leckie, N.K. Jemisin, Martha Wells, Sarah Pinsker, Seanan McGuire, Sarah Gailey, Aliette de Bodard, KM Szpara, Suzanne Palmer, Vina Prasad, Fran Wilde, Linda Nagata, Ursula Vernon Caroline Yoachim, Yoon Ha Lee, Kim Stanley Robinson and John Scalzi. Notably, except for the last three mentioned gentlemen, all of the nominees in every fiction category are women or bendgender in some way. Come a long way! (Though SF was always expansive for its time, in any time.) Ursula would’ve been proud. We soar.

(Nancy Kress, Anina Bennett and I held a memorial session for Ursula K. LeGuin this last Saturday, at San Diego's Comic Fest.)

== All you geeks! Here's your chance to save the world! ==

Locus announces UCSD's new TASAT site, for nerdy sci fi aficionados who can cite old SF tales that might be pertinent to modern problems. 

You might save the world, someday, when something weird happens and the official Investigating Commission draws an obvious-but-wrong conclusion… 

...but then a dissenting member looks to TASAT and says: “y’know… There’s A Story About That…”

== A Coming Age of Transparency ==

Chasing Shadows: Visions of Our Coming Transparent World - now out in paperback - is on the Locus 2017 Recommended reading list for Best Anthology. I don't recall ever getting such a positive review from Gardner Dozois as this praise (in Locus) for the anthology.

Much is owed to the incredible quality of the authors, from Cat Rambo and Aliette de Bodard (a 2018 Hugo nominee) to Bruce Sterling, Brenda Cooper, Robert Silverberg, and Karl Schroeder... and to the unusual theme of the volume. As well as my co-editor Stephen W. Potts. You'll find good stories that tease with truly remarkable thoughts that... well... you likely never thunk before.

Here’s the review by Bill Fawcett coming in Galaxy’s Edge:

"The subtitle of this anthology is “visions of our coming transparent world.” All the stories relate to communication and human interaction as modified by technology, and privacy. There are over thirty stories by many of the top writers in SF. Each is categorized under such sections as Big BrotherSurveillanceNo Place to Hide, and Lies and Private Lies. Some of the stories and short essays are included were written from as far back as the 60’s, though more than half of the stories are new.

In a way, it was hard to review this anthology. The usual approach doesn’t apply. At the risk of frightening off readers, I have to say that this is a collection of stories that has something important to say about an issue that is vitally important to your world today, not something you can very often say about a SF anthology. Each story in each topic shows how SF authors have been concerned about the questions of privacy, control of one’s own data or even oneself, and the consequences of technology that will affect the coming decades. More importantly this rather large anthology is brimming with excellent, well-written and sometimes frightening or uncomfortable stories.

Normally you pick out a few outstanding entries that justify the collection. But whom to pick from this one is a problem. There are classics such as William Gibson’s “The Road to Oceana,” emotionally evocative classics such as Damon Knight’s “I See You,” and Robert Silverberg’s “The Invisible Man.” There are stories with an open warning such as Jack McDevitt’s “Your Lying Eyes” or David Brin’s “Insistence of Vision.” (You will never look at Apple glasses the same way again after reading David’s story.) The original stories in the volume are of equal quality and impact. There is no way to avoid one cliché phrase when describing these stories, thought-provoking. Read this just after signing off from Google, or looking up someone on Facebook."

== It wasn’t obvious? ==

How did I know? This is from THE POSTMAN

“It was called 'the Big Lie' technique, Johnny. Just sound like you know what you're talking about -- as if you're citing real facts. Talk very fast. Weave your lies into the shape of a conspiracy theory and repeat your assertions over and over again. Those who want an excuse to hate or blame -- those with big but weak egos -- will leap at a simple, neat explanation for the way the world is. Those types will never call you on the facts."

Lately I’ve been getting mail from folks like author Bruce Golden about this passage. And sure, another book was on my mind when I wrote it, in 1984. My dread of this evil method arose from a deep reading (even then) of history, which was manipulated all too often by monstrous liars.

Indeed, a small part of me frets about my own possible role: did some of today’s masters of Confederate Lie-Distraction read that paragraph above and decide “hey, what a good idea!” Because we are living amid the very crisis that I wrote about, in of The Postman.

Saith Bruce: “Funny, that thought crossed my mind briefly too. That someone connected to Trump (or his upbringing) read that passage and that YOU were the cause of all this havoc. Of course I laughed off that possibility immediately. And, as we know, Trump doesn't read.”

Alas, this havoc predates Trump, who is only the latest symptom. The master manipulator - Rupert Murdoch - does read… or did, back in 1984, when his campaign gained momentum to destroy Western Civilization.

== And more ==

A compilation of videos of some of my interviews on Russian media and speeches while in Moscow, March 2018.

The first issue of the latest reboot of AMAZING STORIES is planned for August, to be available at WorldCon in San Jose; several well-known writers have already committed to contributing to it. The magazine will be published on a quarterly basis after that. Hugo Gernsback published the premier issue of Amazing Stories back in April 1926.  It was the world’s first science fiction magazine and Amazing went on to publish works by writers now recognized as giants in the field, such as Jules Verne, H. G. Wells, E. E. “Doc” Smith, Robert A. Heinlein, Issac Asimov and others.

The George Slusser Conference on Science Fiction and Fantasy, will be held at the University of California, Irvine, on April 26–29, 2018 

"The difference between visionary and crackpot is hindsight." - Irene Petrick

Nerrrrrds onward! Humor from SMBC Comics. 

== For writers and would-be writers ==

Would you like to become a World Famous Author? Or at least improve your writing skills? Odyssey Podcasts are excerpts from lectures given by guest writers, editors, and agents at the Odyssey Writing Workshop. Director Jeanne Cavelos runs one of the best in the world.

Futures is the award-winning science-fiction section of Nature and it accepts unsolicited articles. Each Futures piece should be an entirely fictional, self-contained story of around 850–950 words in length, and the genre should,  be 'hard' SF. Send submissions to futures@nature.com, including a 30-word autobiographical note to be appended to the story if published. Prospective authors are advised to read earlier Futures stories at nature.com/futures.

Writers! Especially of murder mystery (the most pure form of story arc execution): Here’s important news!  By analyzing changes in a deceased person's gene activity, new software can determine an exact time of death, which could assist forensic investigations. “After death, over 600 muscle genes either quickly increased or decreased activity. Meanwhile, there was minimal change in gene activity in the brain or spleen.” There are limits: the majority of increases and decreases in gene activity happen between 7 and 14 hours after death.



167 comments:

Bob Neinast said...

Re the Big Lie, I cannot resist mentioning that I drew your attention to it a little over a year ago: http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2017/03/looking-back-at-heinleins-future.html?showComment=1489937120719#c3157347579770925799

Alfred Differ said...

@winter7 | Are you trying to tell me that American politicians act in good faith?

Some do. Some don't. Some are pretty good at keeping secrets. Most couldn't spin up a good conspiracy if their lives depended on it. A lot of what they get accused of that sounds like a well planned conspiracy probably isn't true. A lot of what they get accused of that sounds more like ineptness just might be. They are people like any of us, though they tend to be richer than average. Some are very rich.

The ones to be wary of are the ones who manage to stay in office a long, long time. They know all the tricks and just might be able to keep secrets and spin conspiracies. We get lucky occasionally when they get cocky and we find them with a freezer full of cash.

Our host explained how to deal with all these folks in his transparency book. It is well worth a read if you haven't already.

Anonymous said...



Alfred Differ:
Yes. That book will be very necessary to warn young people of the dangers of a future where no one can have privacy. With everything we discovered from Facebook and Cambridge Analytica, we can realize that, for many powerful people, we are only interchangeable merchandise for money. We can see how the powerful use the most powerful technologies in a totally irresponsible and criminal way. In a similar context, the book "The Transparent Society" has a very important importance, to the degree that I would prefer that this book be included as a mandatory reading in High School. (Yes, the book should be read before college, because teenagers get involved with technology very fast)
Moving on to another issue. Some time ago you asked me if I was interested in acquiring land. Are you in the real estate business?

Winter7

Alfred Differ said...

@winter7 | No. I'm not in that business. I don't recall asking you either, so it might have been a thought that just flitted through my head. 8)

I have noticed that Cambridge Analytica has begun to fire back. It will be interesting to see what they have to say.

No one should be surprised that rich people think of us in terms of merchandise and money. That is what markets foster among traders who don't know each other through a close relationship. There really isn't any other way to do it. We can admonish people till the end of time to treat everyone humanely, but markets function as lossy info compression processes to enable trade among people who could not possibly handle the information flood without them. Prices ARE the compressed results with very little information left in them. Only the bare minimum is left.

I don't know if our host's book would survive being made required reading here. After the political folks got done tearing him to pieces, they'd probably completely misunderstand what he wrote too. 8)

Tony Fisk said...

Tsk, David. You had one job. According to Bradbury, you're supposed to *prevent* the future! ;-) *

(Alas, what am I, chopped liver? Hey, guys, I'll ship you some signed stuff ;-)

You could acquire Neil Gaiman's habit of ninja signing books in airport book shops.

* If it's any comfort, I suspect Murdoch read Goebbels long before he discovered you.

David Brin said...

Thanks Bob N. And Tony & Alfred. Yeah, it’s lonely being Cassandra.

David Brin said...

An announcement: FYI, a hot job, in case you know anyone interested -

https://arstechnica.com/staff/2018/04/ars-technica-is-hiring-a-senior-writer/

"...Ars Technica is looking for an experienced writer who loves to help
readers understand new technology and innovative ideas—and why they
matter. The ideal candidate will be deeply conversant with science and
technology and can independently research complex technical issues.

With this position, we're not trying to fill a pre-defined "beat"—we're
trying to find a rock star of a writer, whether they cover drones or
biotech, CPU design or operating systems, Linux or robots, AI or bitcoin.

We're looking for someone senior (at least 3-5 years of quality
experience in sci-tech writing) and someone who already knows what we
mean by an "Ars story." Can you craft stories that will become "can't
miss" additions to a site reaching 15 million unique worldwide readers?
Do you have serious writing skills, technical depth, and reporting
chops? Would you call yourself a "subject matter expert" in at least a
few areas you regularly cover?..."

Were I younger and didn't have an empty plate, I'd say that's me!
Say I sent you.

Darrell E said...

I think I'd really enjoy a job like that Ars Technica senior writer position. Alas, I'm not remotely qualified.

occam's comic said...

From last thread
Dave said
""Bullshit again. Remove the outliers... Detroit, Chicago and Utah... and murder rates are HIGHER in average red areas than blue."

I replied
"Yeah sociotard, if the data doesn't fit your hypothesis start removing the data that doesn't fit until you reach the conclusion that you started with. that is how science is done."

My reply was very snarky (and a little emotionally satisfying) but a poor way to communicate.

Let me rephrase what I said so that it is both more direct and more polite.

I do not believe that Dave is talking about STDs, murder rates and teenage birth rates because he has a genuine interest in these subjects and wants to understand the causes of these activities. No, it seems to me, that the only reason Dave is talking about these things is because he is motivated to find some sort of statistical factoid to beat his political opponents with. It seems to me that Dave is wrapping a lab coat around a bully stick to beat his political opponents with, all the better to seem “scientific”.
I reminds me of the way George Will looks for weather “factoids” to cast doubt on global warming.

Dave loves to talk about the “war on science and all fact using professions” but never seems to ask why so many people are distrusting science and the “fact using professionals”. Maybe it has something to the “fact using professionals” dressing up purely partisan attacks (liberals are the good people and conservatives are bad people) in a lab coat that is transparently made of bullshit.

Jon S. said...

Occam, the cities of Detroit and Chicago, and the state of Utah in general, are statistical outliers. The reasons for that are complex and historical, and in the case of Utah somewhat religious as well (LDS theology covers some things you wouldn't normally think of as being "religious"), but it makes them exceptions to a general case that covers the entire nation.

They don't disprove the general case, however, any more than the existence of Dr. Stephen Hawking disproved the contention that the average human IQ is 104.

LarryHart said...

@occam's comic,

With all due respect, I've gone through most of my adult life with the culture around me presuming that conservatives are good people and liberals are bad people if not literal demons.

What you perceive as an attack on conservatives, I perceive as a very slow backing off from that older presumption.

LarryHart said...

Dr Brin in the main post:

How did I know? This is from THE POSTMAN:

“It was called 'the Big Lie' technique, Johnny. Just sound like you know what you're talking about -- as if you're citing real facts. Talk very fast. Weave your lies into the shape of a conspiracy theory and repeat your assertions over and over again. Those who want an excuse to hate or blame -- those with big but weak egos -- will leap at a simple, neat explanation for the way the world is. Those types will never call you on the facts."


That sounds disturbingly close to the friendly advice Donald Trump gave to Billy Bush, as recounted on a recent Bill Maher show:

"Billy. You just tell them. And they believe you."

occam's comic said...

Jon S
You are totally missing the point. Dave brought up these statistics not because he has an interest in understanding what causes the murder rate to vary. He brought them up to bash conservatives.

For example, the murder rate has fallen dramatically sense the early 1990's, during this exact same time "radical republicanism" has swept the country. A partisan hack who does not care why the murder rate has fallen could easily make a statistical case that it is Radical Republicanism that caused the decline in the murder rate.

To the non collage educated, it is obvious that the collage educated love to lie and deceive with statistics. It makes them sound so scientific and impartial when they are shafting you. It allows them to hide their naked self-interest behind a cloak of "facts".

A.F. Rey said...

Thanks for the Ars Technica tip, Dr. Brin. In some Copenhagen multiverse, I'll be applying for it!

If it were only this one...sign

A.F. Rey said...

In regards to the previous post, would you believe "sigh"

(Dang it, I don't even have a spell checker to blame for that! :( )

Robert said...

Yesterday I was having dinner with my parents and Yet Another Mass Killing happened to be on the news. I admitted to my parents that once I heard it was a van used for the killings in Canada that I'd initially expected the perpetrator to be Middle Eastern - it's much easier to get a car than it is a gun in Canada after all. Nope. Another white male. I pointed it out to my parents how [i]odd[/i] it was that all these mass killings were being done by white men.

My family and I are white. I'm just pointing out the obvious which tends to be handwaved away. This most recent wave of killings seems to be an ongoing example of radicalized young white men who are striking out against society. The only reason there's not a massive outcry against the breed is that a radicalized white male is in control of the White House, and radicalized white men are in charge of the House and Senate. Hell, it may be that the lightening of skin color was the most detrimental thing to ever happen to the human species as it seems to bring out the worse in us when it comes to how we treat each other.

And I say that only partly tongue-in-cheek.

Rob H.

donzelion said...

Excellent, uplifting post by our host.

Curious: what do folks think of Pruitt's new rules for the EPA? Does NPR's treatment fairly cover both sides? https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2018/04/24/605341791/pruitt-proposes-new-rule-defining-what-science-can-be-used-by-epa

I'm particularly struck by the 'replication crisis' referred to: when EPA evaluates 10-years' data for exposure to lead and new mortality, is Pruitt claiming that we need to evaluate another 10 years to 'replicate' the trial? Or just kill a bunch of kids (or young adults) to see how quickly they die (was it the lead? was it asthma? bad morality by the parents? poor choice of city to live in?). Asinine beyond belief.

occam's comic said...

Larry,
I think it might be better to talk to conservatives about what your liberal values are and how you put them into practice, when a conservative person calls liberals “bad people”.

Now that will not convince most conservatives most of the time that public policy should be made more liberal but at least it does not shut down the potential of greater understanding between liberals and conservatives going forward.

If you respond to conservatives saying liberals are bad, by saying “No conservative are evil and liberals are good, just look at this pile of statistical bullshit that proves it.” You discredit yourself and science while simultaneously shutting down the potential greater understanding between conservatives and liberals.

LarryHart said...

Robert:

I pointed it out to my parents how odd it was that all these mass killings were being done by white men.


Did you notice they took pains to say that it was not "terrorism". Now, charitably, that could mean it was a lone wolf, and that the citizenry doesn't have to be worried about related attacks continuing. But I do find it disturbing that the rule seems to be that only brown-skinned Muslims are capable of "terrorism". If a disaffected white Christian male performs the same act, it is something else.


Hell, it may be that the lightening of skin color was the most detrimental thing to ever happen to the human species as it seems to bring out the worse in us when it comes to how we treat each other.

And I say that only partly tongue-in-cheek.


Al Franken coined a term for that. "Kidding on the square".

LarryHart said...

occam's comic:

I think it might be better to talk to conservatives about what your liberal values are and how you put them into practice, when a conservative person calls liberals “bad people”.


Radio host Norman Goldman has the right idea. He wants to stop using labels like "conservative", "liberal", and "progressive", which he maintains simply cause whoever you are talking to to stop listening if you identify on the "wrong" team. He thinks common ground is there on plenty of individual issues if we simply say we are Americans who believe in constitutional government.


If you respond to conservatives saying liberals are bad, by saying “No conservative are evil and liberals are good, just look at this pile of statistical bullshit that proves it.” You discredit yourself and science while simultaneously shutting down the potential greater understanding between conservatives and liberals.


I get that. I'm trying to explain the frustration on my side that leads to it. We liberals keep hearing that you can't insult or demean conservatives, because that's no way to win them over to our side. But Ann Coulter can publish a book titled "TREASON!" referring to liberals, and well, that's just Ann being Ann, all in good fun. No one admonishes conservatives that they should catch more liberals with honey than with vinegar. And Trump just proved the common wisdom wrong on "You can't insult your way to the White House."

I'm not defending "railing at conservatives" as a winning strategy. I just don't see what a winning strategy looks like in any case.

Your argument seems more with Dr Brin than with myself. On that, I'll just say one thing. I think he's not using statistics in a vaccuum. He's using them to refute the right-wing meme that they represent the socially and economically superior philosophy.

LarryHart said...

Dr Brin:

Indeed, a small part of me frets about my own possible role: did some of today’s masters of Confederate Lie-Distraction read that paragraph above and decide “hey, what a good idea!” Because we are living amid the very crisis that I wrote about, in of The Postman.


I should have read ahead before commenting on Trump. But really, hasn't the "big lie" technique been well known since Hitler? I don't think you're responsible for inventing it, any more than Trump coined the phrase "priming the pump" on his own.

Tim H. said...

Red America doesn't need preaching to so much as it needs rescue, now if we could find a way to undo the "Vast right-wing conspiracy" efforts to make a rescue difficult to impossible, they're worth the trouble.

Tim H. said...

PBS ran a POV episode on Bill Nye:
http://www.pbs.org/pov/billnyescienceguy/video/billnyescienceguy/?utm_source=website&utm_medium=slideshow&utm_campaign=home_slideshow
Well worth watching.

Improbus Liber said...

@Tim H.

Red America needs what? Is no one answering their prayers?

David Brin said...

Occam you are so full of it that I have to wonder if you are another of our snarkers, in disguise.

Dig it, yes, I cite the innumerable ways that Red States are sunk in turpitude, not out of hatred of them but to refute a sneering rant they have aimed at city folk and universities and smart people for all of my life - that they are (naturally) vastly more Andy Griffith wholesome and human and sane and good than we residents of Sodom.

Those statistics are real statistics, from real sources. And the absolute consistency that they reveal puts a severe burden of proof upon those preening “good old” folks to support the slander, upon which they justify their confederate hatred.

Were they to back off from that “youy’re all goin’ to hell!” hatred, we’d be able to negotiate.

“For example, the murder rate has fallen dramatically sense the early 1990's, during this exact same time "radical republicanism" has swept the country. “

Again and again, drawing from the well of bovine swill. Republicans owned congress for 22 out of 24 years but actually won the congressional popular vote twice, across those years. They did almost no legislating except tax ripoffs. Meanwhile, the lead content in the bones and blood and children has plummeted and statistics show THAT is correlated with the plummeting murder rate! Which BTW has plummeted LESS in Red States. You aren’t even being logical in your illogic.

“To the non collage educated, it is obvious that the collage educated love to lie and deceive with statistics.”

Yes, and to paranoid loonie provocateurs, like you.

I’d be happy to investigate, calmly, why moral turpitude is rife in the counties that loudly proclaim themselves to be the very best people. No Child Left Behind - a GOP program - was supposed to apply metrics to all schools and teachers to get to the bottom of some problems. But as soon as the test scores came in, Red America exploded with hatred for NCLB and all metrics testing.

David Brin said...

Can anyone think of a good title for a novel set at my alma mater, Caltech? Or a good first line for such a novel? There's an alumni contest! ;-)

TCB said...

As you can see, there's already a monster movie with a Caltech title.

TCB said...

(Robert Anton Wilson referenced that movie for yuks in Reality Is What You Can Get Away With).

TCB said...

"It is a truth universally acknowledged that at any Caltech coffeeklatch, a tenured Sasquatch will plot-hatch a pot-laced potlatch."

Bob Neinast said...

Going back to talking Science Fiction, last year (as I'd mentioned), I'd reread the Postman and that Trumpian quote caught my eye. I've also recently reread Earth and Existence and obviously still need to do a lot of the others. (But not the Uplifts--I've already read all of them 3-4 times; I've going for the "neglected" novels.)

But I have a confession to make: I've never read Foundation's Triumph. You see, I feel I need to read the Asimov ones first. Of course, I read the original Robots and Foundations ages ago, and some of the later ones. But not Prelude and Forward. So, to prep to read David's novel, I started with Robots and Empire and then to Prelude to Foundation. Which I get stuck in the middle of, put down, and just cannot pick up again. That's happened about 3 times now.

So I have a question. Will I miss out on too much I ought to know if I just pick up Foundation's Triumph and read it? Or do I really need to finish plowing through Prelude and work my way through Forward the Foundation first?

And has anybody else had this problem?

Robert said...

I just read Foundation's Triumph and ate my early confusion. Brin is a good storyteller so he's able to explain things enough that you don't REALLY need to read the prequels. And heck, I've never read the Robot trilogy by Asimov.

Rob H.

Duncan Cairncross said...

Hi Bob
If you are going to read the Asimov books and Dr Brins Triumph I would recommend that you read

Donald Kingsbury's Psychohistorical Crisis

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychohistorical_Crisis

Alfred Differ said...

@donzelion | Pruitt shouldn't be the one deciding that. It should be done at the Congressional level with a rule addressing public access to data generated by public dollars. There are already laws about these situations and we need to debate it at the higher level to maintain consistency across the agencies that generate the stuff and/or use it.

Replication IS an issue, but so are the commercial interests of those funding some of the work. I'm generally for open access and would require a steep burden of proof from anyone suggesting limits. However, past practice allowed what was done and Pruitt should not be the low-level dweeb who can change it unilaterally.

donzelion said...

Alfred: There's data created by public dollars - then there's data analysis using public dollars and private data. So long as the data is reliable, does it matter if the EPA issues recommendations upon review of thousands of hospital reports (private data), or whether they can only get volunteers to test theories about lead poisoning say?

When it comes to selecting data, I should think scientists must judge the data sets available to them themselves. Policy recommendations ought to be based on the 'best' data available, whether public, private, or mixed - and Pruitt, the President, and Congress may not be the best positioned players to judge (what's the status of Congress's science advisors, after all? the presidents?).

"Replication IS an issue, but so are the commercial interests of those funding some of the work."
For the FDA, replication makes sense: does this drug actually work most of the time? What side effects? Burden on the drug producer to prove benefits outweigh harms, as we've agreed. But for the EPA, how do you replicate a 10-year longitudinal study of the impact of carcinogens? Seems more likely to me that if Pruitt gets away with this, he will successfully kill the EPA as a 'science-informed' entity going forward. Which is precisely what the commercial interests funding their own work (who KNOW that there's no lead to speak of in the water supply, that the air is safe, that they don't need any regulations because they're all good citizens...).

"However, past practice allowed what was done..."
Which past practice are you referring to? The most 'egregious' act by the EPA of late was determining limits on air-borne pollutants that various plant operators deemed 'excessive' (on a cost-benefit level, at least - they determined that $5-10m in costs to the plants per life saved was too high a price).

Tony Fisk said...

A quick glance at Wikipedia's entry for Caltech suggests the title "Throop the Looking Glass"

LarryHart said...

Bob Neinast:

Will I miss out on too much I ought to know if I just pick up Foundation's Triumph and read it? Or do I really need to finish plowing through Prelude and work my way through Forward the Foundation first?


Dr Brin and I don't agree on Asimov, so this is my opinion only. Caveat emptor.

That said, I think that if you have read the original three Foundation novels from the 1950s--that is, Foundation, Foundation and Empire, and Second Foundation, you have all the background you really need for any sequels. If you want additional relevant facts, you might also include early Asimov pre-Foundation space novels ( The Stars Like Dust, The Currents of Space, and Pebble in the Sky ) and early robot novels (The Caves of Steel and The Naked Sun). Those aren't so necessary to the Foundation plot, but you might find some Easter Eggs in Dr Brin's book if you've read those books.

My point is that Asimov's own 1980s and 1990s Foundation books were much different in character from the originals, and I almost think of them as a re-imagining of the Foundation novels more than true sequels.

The closest I've found to a true sequel to the early Foundation books is one that I was referred to on this list: Donald Kingsbury's Psychohistorical Crisis. It's an unofficial sequel that has to use different names for familiar characters and settings, but it captures the feel of the early novels while taking place later in time.

Steven Hammond said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
David Brin said...

Geez, we get some of the vocabulary here, before mass media. "Deep State" was one. Now see how this meme from toon-town has hit major media:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-intersect/wp/2018/04/25/inside-the-online-world-of-incels-the-dark-corner-of-the-internet-linked-to-the-toronto-suspect/

David Brin said...

I agree that Kingsbuiry's book is a very interesting branching off of Asimov... though also deeply flawed. In Foundation's Triumph I served the story arc, taking every Asimov thread I could find, even from obscure tales like PEBBLE IN THE SKY, and showing how they all converge. Especially the circle-theme at the end of 'SECOND FOUNDATION.

In addition to the original Foundation Trilogy, I'd recommend the CAVES OF STEEL T trilogy, the first two of which are fine detective stories that really set up and explain the dilemma faced by the immortal robot, Daneel Olivaw. Beyond that, the only one that's essential is FOUNDATION'S EDGE, in which a later Asimov sets up a supposed solution to the human dilemma that's identical, basically, to the solution Clarke offers in CHILDHOOD'S END. Only Isaac then showed he was uncomfortable and hinted that he'd truly want....


Oh! The Galactic Empire isn't Roman... it's Chinese! Including the fact that sterile servants (eunuchs... or robots) actually control everything.


Tony good suggestion! Throop... ouch!

Slim Moldie said...

Dr Brin said:

Can anyone think of a good title for a novel set at my alma mater, Caltech

I recall talking to a female scientist doing some research at Cal Tech about 10 years ago...I think the behavior she recounted was glomming? Urban dictionary?

“The Glomming Hour” might hit a nerve at Harvey Mud or MIT, but I think the techies might have more appreciation for self-deprecating humor.

Bob, I’d suggest reading Foundation’s Triumph because like David said, he shores up a bunch of dangling threads and adds a logical and sinister? backdrop that think might make Asimov’s stuff more compelling later.

Laters

occam's comic said...

Dave,
It saddens me that you still feel emotionally traumatized by the unjust and untrue insults hurled at liberals by conservatives. I understand that you are lashing out because you feel hurt and angry.

But you know, that doesn’t justify dressing up a rant about how bad conservatives are, with a bunch misleading statistics to make it sound “sciencey”. What you are doing is very similar to what Charles Murphy does in the Bell Curve. You both are motivated to find statistics to wrap your prejudice around, so that you can feel justified about being mean to other people you don’t like. Charles Murphy wasn’t really interested in intelligence and how it varies, and you are not really interested in murder rates or transmission rates for STDs. You both use real statistical “factoids” to make the case that the “other” is bad.

LarryHart said...

occam's comic:

You both are motivated to find statistics to wrap your prejudice around, so that you can feel justified about being mean to other people you don’t like. Charles Murphy wasn’t really interested in intelligence and how it varies, and you are not really interested in murder rates or transmission rates for STDs. You both use real statistical “factoids” to make the case that the “other” is bad.


I still think you're missing a crucial point. It's not simply about being mean to people who were mean to us. The point is to demonstrate that the ones who were mean to us are wrong in their arguments about us. Dr Brin is not demonstrating that "Conservatives are bad people." He's demonstrating that "By their own standards which they use to pillory liberals, conservatives are actually the ones who fail more than we do."

We're willing to forgo those arguments in the first place. What we're not willing to do is to be judged inferior by arguments which--when analyzed--don't even demonstrate the conclusion that we are inferior in the first place.

LarryHart said...

Dr Brin:

I agree that Kingsbuiry's book is a very interesting branching off of Asimov... though also deeply flawed. In Foundation's Triumph I served the story arc, taking every Asimov thread I could find, even from obscure tales like PEBBLE IN THE SKY, and showing how they all converge. Especially the circle-theme at the end of 'SECOND FOUNDATION.


We've had this discussion before, so I repeat my point more for Robert's benefit than anything else.

Yes, Benford, Bear, and (especially) Brin did a Herculean job of tying up ends which could be considered loose from the older Asimov books, and painting a picture which unifies the 1950s novels with the later ones. And I'm not saying I didn't enjoy your book for what it was. However, "what it was" was not the reading experience I was personally looking for, which is a sequel to the 1950s Foundation novels in the style of those 1950s novels. That's what Kingsbury's book did for me.

No slight against you the author. An alchemist would also have to be quite gifted to turn gold into lead (sic). But at the end of the day, that doesn't take away from the fact that, no matter how difficult a task the transformation is and how gifted the alchemist must be to accomplish such a feat, the end result is worth less than the source was. That's what Foundation sequels felt like to me. And I don't just mean yours--even Asimov's own 1980s and 1990s books felt lacking in the same regard.

Again--personal taste only. I don't presume to demand that writers bow to my wishes.

occam's comic said...

No Larry
You are missing the point.
Did Charles Murphy's the Bell Curve convince you that black people are innately inferior ? He used a bunch of "real" statistics.
Did Dave's post about murder rates and STD's convince you that conservatives are bad people? He used a bunch of "real" statistics too.

If you found the Bell Curve to be bullshit (or true) but Dave's post to be honest (or bullshit) maybe it is because you are cognitively motivated to accept one and doubt the other. For me, it is pretty clear they are both using the same tactic of using statistics in order to bash their political opponents without regard to the underlying realities (that black people are not inferior and that most conservatives (like most liberals) are pretty decent people.)

LarryHart said...

@occam's comic,

Ok, what if I were to investigate the actual logical arguments in "The Bell Curve" and determine conclusively that the author is interpreting the results incorrectly, and that his own line of reasoning actually leads to a conclusion that black people are mentally superior to white people?

You could say I've got no business arguing that either race is superior to the other, and that I'm just as bad as Murphy. But that's not the point. The point I'd be trying to make in that fictional scenario is an indirect proof--"Your (Murphy's) arguments are full of crap, because your (Murphy's) own experiments prove a different thing, in fact the opposite thing, from your (Murphy's) published conclusion."

I wouldn't be trying to argue that blacks are superior. I'd be trying to argue that Murphy's conclusion is bogus, so we're all better off not playing that game, but that if he insists on playing that game anyway, then he's proving the superiority of blacks rather than the other way around.

That's exactly analogous to what I see Dr Brin arguing. Conservatives use a certain set of metrics by which they claim liberals are socially and politically inferior to them. They're full of crap, and as you yourself (Occam) insist, we're better off not playing that game at all. But if they insist on playing that game anyway, then by the rules of their own game we win, not them.

Again, the point is not to argue my superiority, but to convince them that their own argument doesn't work.

occam's comic said...

Larry, it seem to me that you are saying that a good way to respond to crappy arguments from conservatives is with crappy arguments from liberals.

From my perspective, that leads to us all wasting our time on crappy arguments.

We both know that David Brin is capable of making honest, intelligent and insightful arguments for his positions but his last post was just a search for statistical “factoids” to bash conservatives with.

LarryHart said...

occam's comic:

but his last post was just a search for statistical “factoids” to bash conservatives with.


No, his last post was a demonstration that the statistical "factoids" conservatives bash liberals with don't work.

We're reaching an impasse in communication here. No point each repeating the same things over and over. I'll leave it to the group whether or not my point is being made.

occam's comic said...

Well Larry I think that we can both agree that most conservatives are pretty decent people and that most liberals are pretty decent people. And we might also agree that lobbing insults at each other may be somewhat emotionally satisfying (especially if we feel hurt) but it really is not a very productive way discuss politics.

matthew said...

I disagree with "conservatives are pretty decent people" thesis. Our current government is a damning condemnation of the American conservative movement. What our current government shows us is:
1) Conservatives are racists, or are OK with working to enable racists in order to keep power.
2) Conservatives are misogynists, or are OK with working to enable misogynists in order keep power.
3) Conservatives are authoritarians, or are OK with working to enable authoritarians in order to keep power.
4) Conservatives are liars, or are OK with working with lairs in order to keep power.
5) Hmm, perhaps there is a pattern here.

Anonymous said...

In Spain, the Spanish government acted in a misogynistic way, condemning for a "minor offense" a group of soldiers and policemen who, in their spare time, during the "Pamplonada" (Parties with bulls in the streets) committed a massive rape against a young woman of 18 years. 8The authorities wanted to absolve them) (State misogyny!)
And they just arrested a killer and serial rapist, very famous in california. A killer wanted for 40 years. And they discovered that the psychopath was a former policeman.
¿Do you notice the pattern? ¿Did not I say it before? Racist psychopaths often become police officers for automatic power status and legal access to weapons. With that power they can do a lot of evil. But the police systems accept any stranger who wants to be a policeman; because most normal people would not opt for such a risky job, unless they are bankrupt.
I wonder how Daneel Olivaw would solve this problem.

Winter7

donzelion said...

LarryHart: Might I propose a change in tactics? The fight between liberals and conservatives attracts (1) partisans already committed to one side, and (2) people who love fights. It discourages those who don't care for fights, and the large number who really just want to see heroes smite the villains quickly, then go about their business.

Take NOAA: interesting story about global warming, http://www.noaa.gov/news/globe-had-its-5th-warmest-march-on-record - note the '5th warmest on record' would, in another publisher's hands, be written 'climate change is over! the temperature fell in 2018 from 2017!' NOAA compares the 'averages' to avoid such a simplistic read - the read a hack would offer, rather than a professional. Yet their budget poses a real possibility of 20% cuts - targeting mostly the meteorologists and analysts who know how to interpret the facts.

Even as they face the cutting block, they still offer reasons for optimism. That's a gritty sort of determination: "We are in a battle we cannot win - the spotlight is elsewhere, so nobody cares - but dammit, we will do our best because there's something more important at stake!"

That's a kind of heroism liberals and conservatives can both admire. We could all use a bit more grit these days, and a bit less anger.

Anonymous said...


donzelion:

Good. The most obvious and often obvious option is mass protests. (in this case, access to Donald's golf courses and apartment buildings and in front of the White House.) Like the huge demonstrations in Vietnam, many of you could use your connections with universities to mobilize millions of students and their families to the mass protests Give the Republicans a dose of several days of mass protests and see how they react Maybe Donald will lift the mask for a moment and show himself as he is.

Winter7

Anonymous said...

Correction of text: I meant: Make mass demonstrations; similar to those that were made at the time of the war in vietnam. If it worked then to stop the war. Perhaps the trick works to get the government to adopt a commitment to fight global warming. (at least partially)
Undoubtedly, the demonstrations will be a big news in newspapers and television.
If the demonstrations are gigantic. I think the trick will work.

Winter7

occam's comic said...

Mathew
That is very different from my experience. But maybe that is because when I think of conservatives I am thinking about real people who I have known for years rather than some abstract category of people .

I have members of my family, friends and coworkers who identify as conservatives and not one of them is a racist, or wants an authoritarian government, or is misogynistic or lies any more than my liberal family members, friends or coworkers.

LarryHart said...

donzelion:

The fight between liberals and conservatives attracts (1) partisans already committed to one side, and (2) people who love fights.


I hear ya. But how to we get around the problem that the more egregious one side acts in reality, the more offensive and seemingly-partisan it becomes to point out the truth? We've already had examples here of "How dare you (liberals) point out treasonous acts?" Because apparently, committing treason isn't as offensive as mentioning that fact is.

Serious question.


That's a kind of heroism liberals and conservatives can both admire. We could all use a bit more grit these days, and a bit less anger.


They should all listen to Norman Goldman on the radio. Liberals and conservatives, I mean.

donzelion said...

Matthew: You're simply wrong, and wrong in a way that may hurt causes you believe in.

Trump and his oligarch cronies may or may not be racists, misogynists, or authoritarians (he's certainly a liar, but...) - perhaps they see racism, misogyny, and authoritarianism as marketable commodities with useful effects for themselves when sold to ready buyers. Ordinary conservatives don't know who to blame for predicaments they face daily - interminable commutes, lower wages than expected, higher costs for meds and other necessities, etc - so the oligarchs feed them a constant stream of targets for blame and effectively focus latent anger on anybody but themselves. The more ordinary conservatives perceive they are 'hated' by liberals, the more they embrace those channels run by the oligarchs looking to gouge us all - and the more entrenched the lines become.

We'll never convert the real racists, misogynists - but we don't need to. We just need the ordinary folks who don't want to breathe polluted air, who don't want to extort or extract wealth from others, who just want do something productive that pays the mortgage and be left alone, unjudged, and maybe dream a little.

LarryHart said...

occam's comic:

I have members of my family, friends and coworkers who identify as conservatives and not one of them is a racist, or wants an authoritarian government, or is misogynistic or lies any more than my liberal family members, friends or coworkers.


If by "conservatives" I can assume they vote Republican, then another serious question. What expectation do they have from Republican politicians in power other than those bad things mentioned above? And do they feel their party is doing the job?

LarryHart said...

donzelion:

We'll never convert the real racists, misogynists - but we don't need to. We just need the ordinary folks who don't want to breathe polluted air, who don't want to extort or extract wealth from others, who just want do something productive that pays the mortgage and be left alone, unjudged, and maybe dream a little.


If only you had been a writer for Hillary Clinton. Because that's exactly what she was trying to say during her unfortunate "basket of deplorables" speech. Not that all Trump supporters were deplorable, but that we have a chance to appeal to the ones who aren't deplorable. Not only a recognition that some (more than half) of Trump supporters were not deplorable, but that there is benefit in reaching out to those.

donzelion said...

LarryHart: "But how to we get around the problem that the more egregious one side acts in reality, the more offensive and seemingly-partisan it becomes to point out the truth?"

My theory is to look for compelling alternative stories and then try to change the subject.

"You're simply wrong, now let's talk about this!" - with 'this' being chosen deliberately to reflect things real people care about. Adults may be attracted by that effort, over time. Break the cycle of back-and-forth.

I believe the oligarchs were initially 'beaten' (to the extent they can ever be beaten) by precisely the same effort - change the subject from "are they good or bad feudal lords" to "here's what I need, what my community needs, and here are options to meet those needs, which one is best and why?" Once people start to work on those sorts of challenges, they'll focus energy and attention on solutions, bringing in the best facts they can find find.

Anonymous said...

LarryHart

Do you mean we should offend Republicans less because there is a possibility of convincing those "not so bad" to mobilize to oppose the orders of the party? Because in my experience, in Mexico, the members of a political party do not think. They simply follow orders. That is a huge obstacle to the individual honesty of the members of any political party.
But I guess it's worth talking ... One never knows. More strange things have happened.

Winter7

occam's comic said...

Larry
Man o man lots of people really, really don't like or trust Clinton, I would guess that about 1/3 to 1/2 of the votes Trump got from people around here was because wanted to vote against Clinton.

Another big reason I here is lot of people hate all the politicians in Washington and the fact that most of them were against Trump in the election, convinced many to vote for the "enemy of my enemy".

And there was a lot of disappointment with Obama Care. It was seen as free health care for the poor but mandatory shitty for profit insurance for the working man. You pay thousands of dollars for crappy insurance and if you get sick the high deductible means the insurance you struggled to pay for is actually useless.

Anonymous said...

Translation correction: I meant that maybe it's worth trying to dialogue with members of the Republican party.

Winter7

A.F. Rey said...

We'll never convert the real racists, misogynists - but we don't need to. We just need the ordinary folks who don't want to breathe polluted air, who don't want to extort or extract wealth from others, who just want do something productive that pays the mortgage and be left alone, unjudged, and maybe dream a little.

The problem is that the real racists, misogynists, polluters, etc. have embraced and usurped the name "conservative." So when you talk about "conservative" policies, attitudes, etc., you end up talking about racism, misogyny, pollution, etc., because they are the loudest and most influential.

Just look at the Republican national platform for 2016 if you have any doubts!

What we need to do is distinguish between these fringe people and the ordinary folk who don't want to embrace liberalism. But how do you do that when the fringe radicals control the conservative conversation? Any attack of them, specifically, will be twisted into an attack on "conservatives" in general. :( How do we divide the opposition when Fox constantly pushes them together?

matthew said...

Nope.
I grew up in conservative areas of Oregon and New Mexico. I know *many* conservatives, people I've known for 40+ years. People I would have called "good people."
Now I get emails and social media posts from these same people laughing about how they are gonna rise up and shoot all the libruls, soon. I get personal threats from people I've known for decades.

The evangelicals think that Jesus is coming, and soon, with his "iron rod," the AR-15.
The bullies think that they are gonna have some fun, raping and killing.

The "good" conservatives, the ones that don't approve of public racism and rampant lying - they are either too scared to say anything to their more vocal friends, or too dependent on extraction industries to change ways now.

Listen to locu when he speaks about how much he is looking forward to bloodshed and payback against the liberals that (allegedly) caused him to live a lonely life.
Listen to the ent when he talks about nationalism and homosexuality.

These members of our community are not outliers in modern America.

There is a huge amount of hatred in America right now, and it is not a "both sides" type of hate. We are living in 1932 Germany. We are living in 1989 Rwanda.

There is no such thing as a good Republican right now.
Anyone with a conscience is already gone from their ranks.


Anonymous said...

occam's comic:
The issue for everyone is simple. ¿Donald Trump or Clinton?
Simply, now we know that opting for Donald is like opting for Caligula. And opting for Clinton is opting for Clinton is opting for Bill Clinton (without sex scandals)
¿What do the people prefer? Obviously to Clinton. Only those who want to change everything by brute force choose Donald. So it does not matter how much the Republicans criticize Hillary Clinton. Donald has left the reputation of the Republican party at the same level as the Lannister house. (In fact, much worse) (And in the secret facts, the reality is even worse).

Winter7

occam's comic said...

Thanks for the reply back Mathew.

Your experience is really different from mine.

But I do agree that the polarization of this country is pushing us towards a very dangerous situation. Our different experiences may indicate that the polarization has gone further in some places than others.

Anonymous said...

occam's comic:
Do you say that ObamaCare should only be for the poor and that there should be better free health insurance for workers and employees?
It seems a reasonable request. But I suspect that implementing other health insurance will be taken advantage of by Republican leaders to loot the nation's money by hiring the services of companies belonging to Republican leaders, whether the Republicans are shareholders of those companies or that they own them by means of names. (trick very common in Mexico)
But yes. It is a reasonable request to create better coverage for employees. But we could use the same ObamaCare. Simply add more benefits, which are met through hospitals and government doctors, except in cases that require specialists. (and if we improve government hospitals we will not have to pay billions)

Winter7

occam's comic said...

Winter
In 2016 you could view the election as a choice between status quo or change.

If you wanted things to remain the same you voted for Clinton, if she had won we would have a continuation of the dysfunctional government we had under President Obama and the republican congress.

A vote for Trump was a vote for a change in the situation. We got change.


And I know it is almost treasonous to say this but, So far, Trump has been much better in office than George W Bush.


As far as the health care system in the USA it is the most expensive shittiest health care system in the world.

LarryHart said...

Winter7:

Do you mean we should offend Republicans less because there is a possibility of convincing those "not so bad" to mobilize to oppose the orders of the party?


It's going to be hard for me to overcome the language difference here. Bear with me.

By "deplorables", I mean the racists, the misogynists, the bullies, and the Nazis. And the ones who supported Trump for those reasons.

Other Republicans just want low taxes, deregulation of business, anti-abortion judges, and other more traditional Republican agenda items. They'd support a Republican over Clinton because they dislike the policies Hillary would pursue, not because they're evil.

In the olden days--that is, most of my life--neither party outwardly courted the deplorable. They might try to slyly appeal to them, but neither party would come out and say, "Vote for us, because we'll make you feel better about your worst qualities." The downside for any party doing so was worse than the potential gain. Trump changed that. He openly appealed to his deplorable base for support, and if doing so cost him some other Republicans or conservatives, he was ok with the trade-off. So the Republican Party under Trump became a coalition of the deplorables and the conservatives who were more willing to tolerate deplorables than to tolerate Democrats.

I think Hillary's point was that there was potential common ground to be found among the non-deplorables who simply thought Democratic policies would be bad. We could make deals with them that might not make them love Democrats, but might make them accepting enough that they'd be willing to have a Democrat instead of Trump.

sociotard said...

I guess Brin gets to crow about this now:

Russia now claims the US missile strike on Syria largely failed — and that they've captured US missile technology

LarryHart said...

occam's comic:

If you wanted things to remain the same you voted for Clinton, if she had won we would have a continuation of the dysfunctional government we had under President Obama and the republican congress.


Which is ironic, because changing out Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan would have been better, no matter who was president. I think we've seen proof since the election that the problem of dysfunctional government had more to do with Republican control of congress than with who was president. And congress was where voters essentially voted for the status quo.

Anonymous said...

occam's comic:
Is the health system expensive for patients or for the government? Because if you mean that the government spends too much on health, I've certainly noticed that the US government spends hundreds of millions on things that are much less important than health.
As for your claim that the Donald Trump administration is better ... I see that you do not believe in the evidence that Donald Trump is a Russian agent (the Russians do not give women free)
And if Donald works for the Russians ... One day you could wake up with the Russians knocking on your door.
One question to all. Since I use Google's automatic translator ... ¿Are words placed in an unacceptable way or in a non-professional way in my speeches here?
Winter7

LarryHart said...

Winter7:

Since I use Google's automatic translator ... ¿Are words placed in an unacceptable way or in a non-professional way in my speeches here?


I wouldn't say "unacceptable". They do sometimes sound like a child trying to talk about things he doesn't quite understand yet. But that's kind of what Google Translator is. So it's not your fault.

I'd say we can usually understand what you mean. Especially those of us familiar enough to know that you're speaking in a different language and using a translator.

Anonymous said...


LarryHart:
Hoooo You mean those who vote for Republicans. You do not mean the registered militants in the Republican party. You mean Republicans who do not actively participate in the Republican party. In that case, I agree that dialogue is possible. But I suppose you agree that the matter is different if we talk about the active militants of the Republican party. They undoubtedly lose benefits and turn their backs on them if they do not obey blindly. (I suppose)

Winter7

occam's comic said...

Larry
Oh yeah I would agree with that.
But to change it I think we need elections publically funded, with citizens given vouchers to donate to the candidates of their choice. (And massive taxes on political contributions above 500$) We might get decent conservatives and liberals rather than the bought and paid for shills we have now.

Winter
I think that Trump is horrible but not as horrible as George W Bush. The main good thing to come out of President Trump is that the democrats are united and motivated and maybe when they get into office they will realize that if they don't do right by the American people it will be a disaster for everyone. We need a new FDR not a another Obama.

Anonymous said...

¡Ray!. ¿So is not it acceptable for me to use the Google translator to translate into English something to publish in Bubok?

Winter7

Anonymous said...


occam's comic:
You'd be surprised how similar George W. Bush and Donald Trump are. You can verify that yourself. I could deduce all that because of a stain on Bush's tie and a book he was carrying in his hand ... (I'm kidding) (It took me a lot longer to figure that out)

Winter7

Anonymous said...


An example of what will happen when humanity spreads across the galaxy:


https://phys.org/news/2018-04-giant-slothaccording-ancient-humanfootprints.html



Winter7

David Brin said...

Donzelion talks sense… and Matthew’s: “Listen to locu when he speaks about how much he is looking forward to bloodshed and payback against the liberals that (allegedly) caused him to live a lonely life.
Listen to the ent when he talks about nationalism and homosexuality.”

Exactly. Were you like me some months ago, hearing about “incel” from these guys here, for the first time? We need to stay engaged with those confeds who will still talk to us. Because… well… I had no idea the crzay (and I mean that spelling) had gone this bone-deep.

Seriously, you need to read this LA Times article aloud to your wavering aunts. I never deemed The Handmaid’s Tale to be remotely plausible, till I read this, and it will sway your aunt: http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-elliot-rodger-incel-20180426-story.html

Of course, there’s no logic here. If rights are taken from women, they won’t then be “evenly distributed” among the involuntarily celibate. In every other human culture, where women had fewer rights, there were *more* mateless men, not less! In those feudal nations, the top lords could and would openly gather harems and crush any lower-class men who complained. And sure, we’re all descended from those harems, and hence we all fantasize we can have our own. Knowing the difference between fantasy and today’s vastly-improved reality, is part of the path to success. Pathetic whining is not..

(No, you poor loser-dreamers. If this society gets torn down and we revert to 99% normal feudalism, you will not be a top dog. If you’re not a winner now, you’ll be a double loser in a culture that slays wannabe whiners. Not a top dog, but kibble.)

Sure, not everyone gets a fair shake, in this more-fair society. In fact, I recall in my twenties wondering why nearly all the women my age had such atrocious taste in men. Separately, I believe that refining their mate choice criteria should be a Top Priority for the fifth wave of feminism. (It’s happening already, as nerds are faring better than they did, in the 1960s.) But I will fight to the death for women to retain that sovereign choice, and so will every American male who actually knows and can do stuff. So your “revolution” has no chance, bubs.

In Asia, there are 70 million extra males, so there’s a genuine ‘incel problem’ over there, that can only be solved by asking some women to have harems of their own! But over here? Do the math. These involuntary virgins have one thing to blame, their own standards, demanding attention from fashion model types, instead of adjusting their expectations to include women who are as lonely as they are.

If they want to blame anyone, blame Hollywood, for the unrealistic expectations and “standards” that leave them incapable of even considering that blatantly obvious solution.

David Brin said...

"And I know it is almost treasonous to say this but, So far, Trump has been much better in office than George W Bush."

Jiminy, I was right in my earlier diagnosis, Occam. Wheeeee! All that's missing is the inevitable-contrived war. Bush and his patrons wanted the golden goose to at least survive. Trump's people have Patagonian ranches and are fine with it all going away, so long as they have a head start to the private jet port.

Jon S. said...

Yep, occy has joined loco and the Ent on my shroud list. Life's too short, man.

Duncan Cairncross said...

Hi Occam

So far, Trump has been much better in office than George W Bush."

I would disagree - at this point The Shrub was nowhere near as bad as Two Scoops - unless you count being asleep at the switch for 9/11

now if we reach this time next year with Bone Spurs still in office and he has not actually declared war on anybody THEN I would say that he had been better than the Shrub who had invaded Iraq by that time in his presidency

hooda games said...

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Anonymous said...

Is there still a possibility that Donald Trump will be deposited? I thought that the Americans would solve the problem of presidential usurpation in a couple of months, but I see that it will not be like that. For these moments, Donaldo will have already passed all the secret files of the pentagon to the KGB.
It is even likely that he has already managed to convince the naval forces to get sharks with laser beams on his head. (I do not even have catfish with laser beams on my head).

Winter 7

Anonymous said...

Buenas noches a todos. Paz y próspera vida.

Winter 7

Anonymous said...

(No, no, the catfish are the ones with the laser in their head.) (Translator's fault)
I would prefer that the Google translator be directed by HAL 9000. That way there would be no more translation errors, and Hal is so kind!.

Winter7

donzelion said...

Occam: "Trump has been much better in office than George W Bush."

Domestically, I'm struggling to find the difference.
-Bush did his sanctions on China; Trump's done his sanctions on China
-Bush ripped the enforcement wings out of Justice Dept's civil rights, the EPA, and numerous other agencies - Trump's done the same
-Bush cut taxes; Trump cut taxes - both targeting the same beneficiaries, for the same reasons.
-Bush appointed John Roberts - Trump appointed Gorsuch. Can anyone tell me the difference in their judicial philosophies? They do seem to vote together about 95% of the time...

Trump's greatest successes (other than Gorsuch, for whom McConnell deserves more 'credit') so far have been in rolling back Obama's regulations, restoring the status quo to the mess Bush Jr left things at in 2008.

Foreign policy is trickier, because so much depends on global affairs that for all his power, the president simply does not control. But at home, where his power is greatest, the policy, performance, and a large number of the personnel are merely the Frankenstein corpse of Bush Jr.'s regime revived once more.

Tony Fisk said...

Trump is on record as saying that he wants to tear the entire system down. To that end he has been busily leaving administrative posts vacant and rudderless, or filling them with the worst candidates he can find. It appears this practice has a name: Kakistocracy. The man is a wannabe dictator whose plans are progressing nicely.

Was Dubya *that* bad?

donzelion said...

LarryHart: "Other Republicans just want low taxes, deregulation of business, anti-abortion judges, and other more traditional Republican agenda items. They'd support a Republican over Clinton because they dislike the policies Hillary would pursue, not because they're evil."

Exactly. And they'd actually support a large number of Clinton's policies if (a) they knew what they actually were (instead of what they'd been reported as 'meaning,') - which to me means, (b) if liberals knew a bit better how to actually connect with them.

I don't know Locum, never met him, probably never will: but I'm optimistic - he may rail against what he sees as the 'treasonous sanctuary law' in California - because mainly, that's what he's hearing. Yet deep down, I'm confident he would oppose the sorts of people who exploit, rape, and extort illegal immigrants, threatening to call the police and get them deported if they resist. A day may come when he connects the dots and realizes how the immigration rules are used in (non-sanctuary) America: I'll assume he's a decent man, and will reject that abuse and demand some change. If I'm wrong in that assumption for one individual, I'll still be right about many others - and that's going to be enough.

And if it's not enough, if the American Nazis really do take power, I'll at least know some friends who'll shelter me.

LarryHart said...

Dr Brin:

Were you like me some months ago, hearing about “incel” from these guys here, for the first time? We need to stay engaged with those confeds who will still talk to us. Because… well… I had no idea the crzay (and I mean that spelling) had gone this bone-deep.


An interesting side note--as usual, the authorities reassured the public that the van attack in Toronto was not terrorism. The cynical part of me thinks that simply means the attacker was a white Christian instead of a middle-eastern Muslim, but the notion that "not terrorism" is reassuring rests on the underlying assumption that this was just one lone nut-job and not indicative of more attacks to come.

Well, if there's a whole "incel" movement that this sort of thing comes out of, doesn't that make it terrorism?

* * *

And Jesus Christ, guys! I was a nerd before nerds were fashionable. I was involuntarily celibate in my teens and twenties, and yet now...well, let's just say things can get better. Instead of blaming the women for not wanting you, maybe ask why they don't. For a political philosophy that thinks poor people deserve to involuntarily starve or involuntarily freeze to death unless they earn their way, you sure are selective snowflakes about what the universe owes you.

LarryHart said...

Dr Brin:

Sure, not everyone gets a fair shake, in this more-fair society. In fact, I recall in my twenties wondering why nearly all the women my age had such atrocious taste in men.


I see that once again, I should have read ahead before commenting. :)


Separately, I believe that refining their mate choice criteria should be a Top Priority for the fifth wave of feminism. (It’s happening already, as nerds are faring better than they did, in the 1960s.) But I will fight to the death for women to retain that sovereign choice, and so will every American male who actually knows and can do stuff. So your “revolution” has no chance, bubs.


Men my age and older seem to be the last to know that defending and protecting women is more "masculine" than attacking them is. I can't believe that this movement uses the term "gentleman" to mean a different thing, in fact the opposite thing.


If they want to blame anyone, blame Hollywood, for the unrealistic expectations and “standards” that leave them incapable of even considering that blatantly obvious solution.


*Sigh!* I mean, you're right and all, but way to give them an excuse to blame the Jews.

LarryHart said...

donzelion:

...
-Bush cut taxes; Trump cut taxes - both targeting the same beneficiaries, for the same reasons.
...
Trump's greatest successes (other than Gorsuch, for whom McConnell deserves more 'credit') so far have been in rolling back Obama's regulations, restoring the status quo to the mess Bush Jr left things at in 2008.
...


As you sort of allude to, the actual domestic policies under both presidents have more to do with Congress. The main thing that Bush and Trump brought to the table is their willingness to sign Republican legislation, whatever that may be. For example, Trump didn't have a dog in the tax cut fight other than wanting "a win". The driving force behind the bill was Paul Ryan.

Bush and Trump both benefited from Republican congresses (except Bush's final two years), but in Bush's time, there were still more rules of decorum that prevented outright insanity from the legislative branch. That may account for Bush's term seeming more normal than President Snow's. And I think the main difference between the two is that Trump personally does control a large, vocal segment of Republican voters which the party can't afford to offend (because they've driven off so many others). Republicans in Congress may not be racist, misogynist, bullying Nazis, but they are afraid to lose the racist, misogynist, bullying Nazi vote. So there's that as well.

LarryHart said...

Tony Fisk:

Trump is on record as saying that he wants to tear the entire system down. To that end he has been busily leaving administrative posts vacant and rudderless, or filling them with the worst candidates he can find. It appears this practice has a name: Kakistocracy. The man is a wannabe dictator whose plans are progressing nicely.

Was Dubya *that* bad?


Well, to be fair (I'm on the Trump-is-worse team, but...) there was:

"Brownie, you're doin' a heckuva job!"

and

"A dictatorship is easier. As long as I'm the dictator."

LarryHart said...

Heh. Wouldn't you know. I thought I might have just invented a brand new hashtag, #PresidentSnowflake .

But the internet always wins that race:

https://twitter.com/hashtag/presidentsnowflake?lang=en

https://www.google.com/search?q=%23PresidentSnowflake&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwinw8bsrNraAhWDk1kKHTw_AxAQ7AkIQg

occam's comic said...

Donzelion thanks for actually thinking about the statement.

I would add -
the anthrax attacks were done by elements of our national security state against the press and congress.
The vast expansion of the national security state.
The complete screw up (maybe on purpose) at Tora Bora.
The start of our endless Global War of Terror.

And the American people were loving Bush at this time.

LarryHart said...

Ok, since I'm monopolizing the list this morning :)

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/26/opinion/when-misogynists-become-terrorists.html

Minutes before his attack, he posted a message on Facebook lauding the mass murderer Elliot O. Rodger and warned of an “incel rebellion” — a reference to an online community of “involuntarily celibate” men who believe women unjustly deny them sex.


First of all, kudos to the New York Times for acknowledging that this is "terrorism", regardless of the race of the killers.

More importantly, what kind of rebellion destroys the things it claims to lack and want more of? Would they protest being hungry by burning food?

occam's comic said...

As far as my personal experience with conservatives, I would say the vast majority of them are like Tim.

I have never met any person like Locum in real life.

Although I have met some poor angry conservatives - (but they seem to be mostly upset about shitty wages and crappy healthcare and people telling them how to live their lives.)

LarryHart said...

Same NYT article:

Mr. Rodger, who killed six people in Isla Vista, Calif., in 2014, recorded YouTube videos raging against “spoiled, stuck-up” women he called “sluts” who sexually rejected him.


Wait, now "slut" refers to girls who aren't promiscuous enough? I could have sworn that was a d... well, you know.

LarryHart said...

occam's comic:

And the American people were loving Bush at this time.


Some of us weren't. :)

But the ones who weren't loving Bush were called traitors. And no one admonished the conservatives that that sort of invective was no way to get liberals on board.

Paul451 said...

Re: Local "Incels"

David became aware of Loco's influences and motives "months ago"! Argh! I've been trying to tell you guys for freakin' years!

--

Larry,
"Wait, now "slut" refers to girls who aren't promiscuous enough?"

That's been the standard line from misogynists since I were just a wee lad, and I certainly don't think it was new then. (But I had the same reaction then as you have now.)

--

Occam's Comic,
"Did Dave's post about murder rates and STD's convince you that conservatives are bad people?"

No, because he isn't saying that "these conservatives are bad people", he's saying "these people are bad conservatives".

"You are missing the point."

Anonymous said...

In the past, criminals were tied in stocks in the squares. Even in the Bible they speak of the custom of stoning (Punishment that should never be used against women, but was used against men).
If the serial killers were placed in stock in public squares, in front of the relatives of the victims (and many stones). Would not it be fair if we are talking about serial killers like that California policeman they just captured or if we talk about that misogynist Nazi who ran over and killed people? (It has been known for some time that the Incel movement is linked to the Nazis)
Would not it be fair to stone the ex-California policeman arrested in the 'Golden State' serial killer case?
There are cases in which the madness of the Nazis can only be stopped in a language that they understand.
They want to cause terror. Then we must show them that the American people know how to defend themselves. That way, those supremacists will think twice or more, before committing murders.
But I would suggest modifications to the procedure:
1) Provide attendees first with rotten eggs and fruits.
2) Place a containment fence to avoid pious acts.
3) Provide small stones first. (In fact, it would be possible to sell the stones to the public that is not familiar to the victims)
4) Very large stones are not allowed unless they are used until the end.

Winter7

Anonymous said...

Hooo! I forgot something. The proceeds from the sale of stones during the stoning events would be handed over to the relatives of the victims. (The prices of the stones could be very high) A stone of one centimeter, could be worth ten dollars. An inch would be worth five dollars. (Those who go to Las Vegas, would buy stones again and again until they run out of money)

Winter7

(Si, es en serio)

LarryHart said...

@Winter7 on stoning,

The United States Constitution prohibits "cruel and unusual punishment". That term is admittedly vague, but I think what you propose would be covered.

But more to the point, most of those mass shooters kill themselves before they can be taken into custody for any kind of penalty.

Anonymous said...

LarryHart:

Yes. Most serial killers commit suicide so as not to be captured. Hence the importance of stoning those we capture.
If it is not possible to be extremely cruel, then we could use only small stones. It is not necessary to discard the concept completely.
In addition, it would be an excellent therapy for the victims to be able to throw some stones at the criminal. we must think of the victims.

Winter7

Anonymous said...

Larry Hart:
Sorry. I meant:
To participate in a stoning would be an excellent therapy for the victims who survived and for the relatives of the victims.

Winter7

occam's comic said...

Winter
I am pretty sure you are missing the point of the bible story about stoning. Maybe you should read the story again.


I am against the government torturing (or torturing to death) anyone -- even people who have done horrible things. If the government has to put someone to death for the horrible things they have done, the process should be quick and painless.
(I would recommend using nitrogen gas to peacefully asphyxiate the person.)

Anonymous said...

occam's comic:

Kill serial killers with nitrous oxide? That is a drug of laughter ... No no no.
The objective should be to punish and never reward.
Even stoning could be transmitted on television. That would be very convenient. We will call it: "The games of stones" (with contests and all that) (that the punishment is known by all potential serial killers, so that they are contained, and do not initiate that kind of hobbies)
The goal is to punish and set an example. Let the word spread that if a Nazi does something very bad. There are consequences. There is severe punishment. Irrational beings can not be trained through the use of reason. The Nazis are irrational. In consecuense…..

Winter7

occam's comic said...

No Winter
I mean nitrogen gas (N2). Put the mask on, turn on the nitrogen gas, take a couple of breaths and then the person dies.

Although I do understand your desire to hurt and torture people who have done very bad things, you may not have considered what the effect of hurting and torturing the bad people has on you.

Do you really want to actually pick up a big rock and beat another person until they are nothing but dead meat? Do you think that kind of experience will be beneficial to you?

LarryHart said...

Winter7:

If it is not possible to be extremely cruel, then we could use only small stones. It is not necessary to discard the concept completely.
In addition, it would be an excellent therapy for the victims to be able to throw some stones at the criminal. we must think of the victims.


Here the language barrier makes it hard to tell if you are joking.

Biblical stoning was a method of inflicting death. It's not a question of how small the stones are.

Anonymous said...

Howww. Me quedé dormido un par de horas.

occam's comic:
Hoooo So ... First that people throw thousands of small stones at the criminal and then the gas can be applied. We can include new ideas. Being creative is great.
LarryHart:
What if I talk jokingly or seriously? Both; depending on the detail of the comment.
Do small stones not cause death? Thousands of people will come to throw small stones! After three hours, I doubt that the serial killer is still alive. Who will pay for the university of the victims' orphans? The sale of stoning stones!
It is a certain bewilderment for me to defend the integrity of the serial killers, but when I tell them that something must be done to defend the victims of legal violations, nobody says anything. Are they American traditions? Is the "Prima Nocta" an inalienable right of the American police?

Winter7



Anonymous said...

Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa..... The translation looks terrifying.
I was referring to: I am disconcerted that you care about serial killers and do not worry about solving the problem of legal violations by the police. An imminent threat to all American families! For Solomon!

Winter7

LarryHart said...

Winter7:

I am disconcerted that you care about serial killers and do not worry about solving the problem of legal violations by the police


It's not a case of choosing one or the other.

And as occam said earlier, the prohibition on cruel punishment is not about the rights of serial killers. It's about what kind of human beings we want to be.

Also, about the rights of people accused of crimes they may not have actually committed. How would you like to torture someone to death and later find out he was innocent?

Anonymous said...

Larry Hart.

And that's why we need the time machine device. That way we could be sure that a serial killer is guilty (It will be). Time is irrelevant. if someone commits murders in the future, then he is already guilty, because, as Albert Rinstein said, time is only an illusion. That is to say. All moments already exist somewhere in time and space. They are already.
But since you forbid me to create the chronos device. We'll have to do detective work in the old style. And the new style.

Winter7

Anonymous said...

Larry Hart:
I'm having some late breakfast. I unveiled reading ...
Back to the topic. It is evident that the stoning should only be applied if it has been verified in a complete way and with many proofs that the person is guilty.

Winter7

Anonymous said...

Often circumstances are what limit us. Kennedy had to go in an armored car. But he did not want to show fear to the republicans: Limiting: The critics of the people.
The Great Wall of China was enough to contain the hordes of Mongols. But a Chinese general needed the help of the Mongols to get his girlfriend back. Limiting: The bandits kidnapped the Chinese general's girlfriend.
Donald Trump harassed Americans as two-year-olds and Americans did nothing about it: Limiting: Electoral laws (applied only to Democrats) and the idea that the president is an untouchable king ...... Etc.
That is to say. It is not about being cruel. It is about defending ourselves from the attacks of the Nazi monsters.

Winter7

Anonymous said...

Again the translation failed. I wanted to say that Donald Trump managed to steal democracy from Americans with the same ease with which an adult steals a palette of candy from a two-year-old child. The Americans did not do anything about it because they assume that despite being robbed of the presidency, they can not take it away from the thief. Because they do not want to lower themselves to the level of vileness of a thief.
If the signals sent recently to nearby stars are answered by the Borg fleet and the Borg begin to shoot us .... Should we refuse to shoot the Borg so as not to be bad like them? Maybe that makes us feel at peace with God .. But; the founding fathers acted in a different way.

Winter7

Cari D Burstein said...

I've always thought it rather hypocritical that the incel men who blame women for not wanting them are often the same men who would ignore women they don't consider beautiful. I'm sure there are exceptions, but usually these folks aren't upset that no women want them- they're upset that the beautiful women don't want them. They pay as little attention to women who don't meet their standards of beauty as the beautiful women pay to them.

As someone who doesn't seem to have the programming to filter on visuals the way most people do, it's always been very hard to wrap my brain around using physical appearance as a primary factor for finding a potential mate. I understand why we're genetically programmed that way, but apparently my brain never got the memo- I can't imagine the value of dating someone who's beautiful but also either boring or a total jerk.

Gregory Byshenk said...

Larry Hart wrote:
Well, if there's a whole "incel" movement that this sort of thing comes out of, doesn't that make it terrorism?

I would suggest that it depends on what the 'movement' and the actor are trying to accomplish.

I often see people saying: "why don't they call X 'terrorism'?" - when the answer very often is: "because it isn't 'terrorism'." Yes, there are grey areas as well as differing defintions, but fundamentally 'terrorism' means the use of terror (usually violence) in an attempt to exercise political or social influence. If that is not the goal, then something isn't 'terrorism'.

So in this case, if the goal of the action is to somehow cause women to sleep with previously 'incel' men (or some such), then it would qualify as terrorism. But if the action is just because the man hatest the women who won't sleep with him, then it is not; it is just plain violence.

So also in other such cases. When the KKK or neo-Nazis acted with the goal of keeping or making minorities subservient or politically neutered, then their acts would be terrorism. But a white man (even a white supremacist) who kills a bunch of black people just because he hates them -- without any additional political end -- then his actions are not 'terrorism', but only mass murder.

Alfred Differ said...

@winter7 | All moments already exist somewhere in time and space.

There are many of us who disagree. There is really good evidence that the universe cannot be deterministic in that sense. It isn't a big movie already printed on film, but only now being played.

If you realize the evidence contradicts this physical model, you are left floating in the philosophical sense if you want to justify moral punishments that way. It's not that we don't know what someone is going to do. It's that it isn't possible to know. Assuming we can leads to absurdities.

Anonymous said...

Gregory Byshenk:

Cuando un supremacista blanco asesina a varios negros, usualmente lo hace en complicidad de otros supremacistas blancos. Las acciones coordinadas para crear terror en una minoría son un acto de terrorismo. Los supremacistas desean sembrar el terror entre las minorías con el propósito de callar sus quejas y neutralizar cualquier intento de resistencia legal ante los abusos de los racistas.
El tema es demasido importante coma para dejar el asunto en manos de la AI del traductor automático de Google. Por eso lo escribí en español.

Winter7

Anonymous said...

Alfred Differ:

Actually something tells me that there is a limit to that time band. Some limit for what is already written. (And that could be modified with a time machine) Maybe this moment is not the present. It's the past ... (if it's confusing, but I think I understand what happens) But to prove it, maybe one day I'll have to go to the end of eternity.
But, in reality, it is not necessary to justify the punishments of criminals with philosophies of time travel. It is simply necessary.

All right. I must go to eat.
Winter7

Alfred Differ said...

only mass murder

Yah. As weird as that sounds, it is important for us to keep our definitions straight. If we don't, some fool will use our fear to run for office.

The incel guys might be terrorists IF women give in and alter their selection process. The rest of us need to make it clear to all we'd rather they did not. I'm pro-choice in the sense that I don't believe it is my place to tell a woman what to do with her womb and zygote/fetus/infant. It's not my place to tell them who to choose as grooming/sex partners either. Obviously a bag-of-cells/baby tugs at our hearts. Obviously guys need sexual contact. Placing either of those above a woman's choice, though, turns her into a kind of property. We've done that FAR too long and it needs to stop. That's why I'd rather women did not give in on this or anything like it.

Alfred Differ said...

@winter7 | I put to you that we don't know the past all that well either. We think we do, but we are largely guilty of modeling the past based on a little bit of evidence available to us. We do something similar for predicting the future.

Concentrating knowledge has entropy results.
There ARE constraints imposed on us by Creation.
If you like this kind of stuff and want to hear a counter-argument, read Karl Popper's "The Open Universe, An argument for Indeterminism". Many others make the case too and with more modern evidence.

Jon S. said...

Torturing someone to death is a pointless punishment. The reason to punish someone is so that they learn better than to do what they have done. Once they're dead, what lesson can be learned?

And history tells us that no one else will learn the lesson from such a punishment, either. It serves no good purpose, but rather only to degrade those engaging in the torture.

Yes, some people are too dangerous to ever be released into society. Once a prolonged procedure has made as certain as possible that you have the correct perpetrator, and that he/she is incapable of changing, then execution becomes a reasonable response. Infliction of pointless pain and terror, however, does not - such an execution should be carried out as painlessly as possible, and with no more vindictiveness than one would show a rabid dog. It's not the dog's fault he's rabid, but for the good of society he must be put down; similarly with the incorrigible killer/rapist/serial torturer.

locumranch said...


Since thread is ostensibly about Science Fiction, I offer you a synopsis of this changing narrative, one that initially emphasised the actions of the heroic individual repulsed by both collectivism & the Other, then celebrated heroic individuals unified in opposition to a repulsive Other, then as a celebration of collective unity over individual interests, until finally evolving into a narrative that celebrates collectivism & the Other while marginalising the individual.

The stories of Verne & Wells emphasised individual effort wherein the lone hero journeys from a confining conformity to a foreign destination (future, moon, a mysterious island, the bottom of the sea & the center of the earth) & the Other is most often portrayed as a monstrous collective of interchangeable beasts, moorlocks or ants. This particular narrative reached its apotheosis in the hyper-masculine heroes of Edgar Rice Burroughs.

With the advent of the 1930s, the narrative shifted to include distinct quasi-heroic individuals, separated by extreme ethnic, racial & sociopolitical hatreds who were bound together by their shared opposition to a much more repulsive Other. Ethnic slurs were common in these stories until these hatreds were transmuted into grudging mutual respect by the heroic (self-sacrificial) acts of the disparaged minorities. Most regard this narrative as Science Fiction's 'Golden Age'.

By the late 1950s, this narrative began downplaying human ethnic & sociopolitical division in favour of the more PC 'Commonality of Man' motif. The repulsive Other was often defined in either strict biological or ideological terms; individual effort was replaced by the fascist team mentality; and most stories took on the form of a democratic poly-ethnic Earth united against a satanic or hostile Universe.

It wasn't until the 1970s that Science Fiction really let its 'freak flag' fly by repudiating the importance of individual effort, rejecting conflict as the universal thematic & embracing collective (feminine) conflict resolution as its dominant motif, which meant the once-sacrosanct individual then became the villain & the once-repulsive collective Other became a messianic unifying figure, as in the case of David's "Otherness" trope.

Quite recently, this Otherness trope has been taken to a ridiculous extreme, stripping Science Fiction of the last vestiges of conflict, individualism & personal effort that made it popular, in favour of a touchy-feely universe dominated universal acceptance and LOVE, and so boredom ensues. So Eden sank to grief, so dawn goes down to day, and nothing gold can stay.

Once "Golden", Science Fiction (as an art) is now dying & almost dead.

Which is why Jon_S argue that the non-conforming individual is "too dangerous to ever be released into society". Why?? Because modern society was created to demonstrate the futility of individual effort and "Nothing gold can stay".


Best

Alfred Differ said...

Jon S | Torturing someone to death is pointless only if one accepts your stated purpose for punishment. Not everyone does. Some feel they are acting for God/Deity of Choice. Some feel they are acting to prevent others from committing offense X. There is probably even a 'purification of their soul' argument like what was once used for witches in Europe.

I'm of the opinion that punishment basically teaches people to avoid behavior X if they might get caught and punished. Some percentage of them will focus on avoiding behavior X. Others will avoid getting caught. I've seen both responses within my own family tree, so I have mixed feelings about punishment in general.

Though 'rehabilitation' carries some ugly connotations, I think the saner, more humane approach is to show someone a replacement behavior Y and demonstrate that it produces something they actually want without the risks associated with X. It's an ABA thing I learned trying to help raise my son who is on the spectrum. Punishment fails miserably with these boys because they can't understand what the punishment is tied to and that event A leads to B leads to C which invokes the punishment. They go straight for avoidance of being caught which means they learn situational controls. That doesn't work when you want to teach them not to run out into the street where they might be hit by a car.

Jon S. said...

Some do feel this will cause others to avoid behavior X. However, as I mentioned, both history and peer-reviewed study show us that in fact execution will not deter others from behavior X. If that worked, there would never have been another murder after the first execution.

And your description of rehabilitation is, in my opinion, precisely what "rehab" should be - not so much punishing someone for choosing wrongly, but showing how a better option can get them what they want in the future without harming others. As I've pointed out in other contexts, for instance, armed robbery, when amortized over say a ten-year sentence, typically pays well below minimum wage; if you want to get money, you'd be better off wearing a paper hat and asking if they want fries with that. Besides, working fast food carries a much lower risk of long-term incarceration or being shot during arrest.

Gaia said...

I / We Gaia are amused by Locum's rant ostensibly disguised as a synopsis of Science Fiction's changing narrative. We wonder how many authors are included in your study?

Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain.

#GalaxiaAbides

Steven Hammond said...

Cari D burstein said:
I've always thought it rather hypocritical that the incel men who blame women for not wanting them are often the same men who would ignore women they don't consider beautiful. I'm sure there are exceptions, but usually these folks aren't upset that no women want them- they're upset that the beautiful women don't want them. They pay as little attention to women who don't meet their standards of beauty as the beautiful women pay to them.

This is definitely worth quoting again! I think it's interesting, though, how few men and women go through life without having a sexual partner. I may not remember everything I learned in medical school, but I do remember the words of one of our teaching staff when (if I remember correctly) disbelief was expressed by the resident physicians that such a physically dirty and personally repulsive man could have a girlfriend--"Every nut has a bolt" was the reply.

The Incel thing is, however, an example of certain men feeling they are OWED sex by (attractive) women in response to whatever gyrations they accomplish and thus feel warrant adulation and deserve that such attractive women to agree to sex with them. There are plenty of unfortunate women that would have sex with these men, but that's not what they're after.

Oh, and in response to Winter7's proposition for stoning. I'm "agin it".
LarryHart and Occam's comic are quite right. Especially Occam in regards to the effect on the thrower of stones. I suspect he meant this in a very personal way for the thrower of stones, but it is also something that effects the rest of us humans. Retributive justice leads to blood feuds, vendettas, vigilantes etc. None of this is good for us as a social species or us as ordinary people trying to make it through life without being murdered. Jesus had it right (IMO) in regards to stone throwing.

donzelion said...

LarryHart: re Bush v. Trump

One thing that's interesting is the state of the 'health care' debate: Trump has vowed to end it, yet despite a majority in both houses, hasn't gotten anything passed. But again, that's 'reverting back to where Bush Jr. left things' - not actually doing anything new.

Trump did have a big dog in the tax fight - it was a major pledge, understood as much by his backers, and possibly the way he made peace with the 'Rep' establishment. Dr. Brin hates Pence as a dominionist; I see him more as Bush 3.0 - but ultimately, all of those punks are creatures of the same swamp.

"Republicans in Congress may not be racist, misogynist, bullying Nazis, but they are afraid to lose the racist, misogynist, bullying Nazi vote. So there's that as well."
No argument there. But that's where Matthew's "I hate them all!" is so harmful - there's a lot who may disagree, but are not themselves actually racists, misogynists, etc.

A person can find the 'MeToo' meme distasteful for reasons other than an intention to violate women (though the notion that they're entitled to 'due process' is silly - due process relates to courts, a venue in which rich men never suffered from want of zealous defenders).

Steven Hammond said...

A couple of questions while I'm on here.

@ David Brin:
Given your recent mention of religion and "16 questions" (if I recall correctly) etc, I am curious about your thoughts on Process Thought. This encompasses both Process Philosophy as A.N. Whitehead wrote and the works of other, later, writers. This thread of theology and philosophy is (I think) a worthy inquiry for one who is not completely committed to a materialistic explanation of the universe. This paper comparing the thought of Harold Kushner (Jewish Rabbi author of "Why Bad Things Happen to Good People" ) to those of W. Norman Pittenger, a Christian Process Theologian is very interesting and, I suspect, would be interesting to anyone who is not already convinced that nothing has real meaning (their love for children, spouse etc)and all that means so much to so many of us is purely biological.

<a href="http://www.metanexus.net/archive/conference2005/pdf/mccartney.pdf"</a"

Steven Hammond said...

Better link to the article:Problem of Evil

donzelion said...

Occam: The original version of my response to you started, "Treason? Nah..."

"the anthrax attacks were done by elements of our national security state against the press and congress."
So far as I knew, Bob Ivins was deemed to have 'acted alone.' There's a conspiracy theory that he was assassinated, rather than committing suicide. But I know of no evidence that it was done by 'elements of our national security state against the press and congress' - the narrative seems to show a lone individual. There are suggestions he wanted to target legislators who were 'pro-choice' in keeping with militant catholic views - but nothing so far suggesting the national security state itself, or any element thereof beyond one employee, perpetrated those attacks. I don't blame white people for white terrorism, nor do I blame Muslim people for Muslim terrorism - it's always the individual or group until evidence clearly extends that further.


-The vast expansion of the national security state.
True that, though recall that many sections of the USA PATRIOT Act was actually proposed by Al Gore as part of the blue ribbon commission on airport safety (and rebuffed by Republicans at the time for invasion of privacy and violation of banking preferences...). At it's formation, most of DHS merely shifted offices that had formerly resided elsewhere under a single branch. The NSA, and intelligence wings, did in fact expand - but they were already vast, and it's hard to pinpoint precisely how vast the expansion actually was (the budgets on those matters are deliberately opaque).

-The complete screw up (maybe on purpose) at Tora Bora.
-The start of our endless Global War of Terror.
The president doesn't control foreign policy - or generally what happens in the field of battle. His power over domestic legislation is immense - virtually nothing passes without his approval (maybe one or two vetoes get overridden per presidency), and precious little gets anywhere without his active engagement. That's why, at this stage, it makes more sense to compare domestic affairs for both presidents. And really...they're virtual clones (clowns) of each other, just one prayed a lot more, and the other tweets a lot more.

"And the American people were loving Bush at this time."
Not this American person...

Anonymous said...

Bien. Entonces, únicamente, Jon S. Está de acuerdo con mi idea de aplicar las lapidaciones como castigo.
Alfred Differ:
For the twenty kilos of collagen of the Kardashians! No. It is not about punishing in the name of God. And it's not about chasing sorcerers and witches. (If the Inquisition returned, without a doubt all of us would be tortured for denying the infallibility of the supreme and pedophile Catholic Church)
No. It's just that all the depraved Nazis know that murderers and serial rapists will be stoned. You say that applying severe punishments does not work. But I understand that, in some Islamic countries, anti-theft laws are so draconian that thefts are almost non-existent. (I wish they had the same laws against sexual predators, but that's not the case.) In Arab countries, laws protect men, not women.
But the fact is that it shows that severe punishments can work. (Of course there are some things that I'm missing, but ...)
Steven Hammond:
Yes. Jesus said: "He who is free from sin, let him throw the first stone" But he said it because the punishment was being applied in a misogynistic way against a poor woman who was probably forced to sin because of misogynistic men of that time. Remember that, at that time, women were very submissive.
And some people resent the fact that people become murderers by stoning someone. Hummmmm All right. We currently have the technology to create a lapidary robot that carries out its work in a completely autonomous way. And since AIs with feelings do not yet exist, we can discard the problem of a moral conflict in the mind of the robot. The guards only leave the robot alone with the criminal inside a large steel dome. The floor will be filled with stones of different sizes and the robot will use them to comply with the sentence.
We could call the robot. "The Mixdurr" (it sounds ominous).
The parents would say to their children: "If you do not behave, the Mixdurr will come for you" ... And the children will know that the Mixdurr does exist, which will make a big difference.

Winter7

Anonymous said...

Steven Hammond:
Haaa You believe in God. You think there is a great plan for everyone in this world ...
I hope you're right Steven. It would be a great relief to make sense of so many terrible facts that happen in the universe ... I hope you're right.

Winter7

donzelion said...

Locum: an interesting theory - but I fear you're about as far off as can be about most of the eras you're citing.

Take Wells' - hardly interested at all by 'individual efforts' - his heroes built time machines, created sapient humans, turned invisible, or suffered alien invasions - with all the effort done before the story (or by microbes). His interest is almost always, 'what is 'man'?' - a question probed by changing fundamental social factors. The Time Traveller is no hero resolving the Eloi-Morlock - but merely a tourist trying to understand it, as well as the end of the Earth itself. For all the valiant efforts by humans to repulse invading Other, it's the microbes that do it best.

I take Burroughs as more of a fantasy writer than an SF writer; I may be in the minority there, but to me, I see a totally different sort of literature than Wells or Verne.

As for the 'Golden Age' - the greats (Clark, Asimov, Anderson, Dick, Bradbury, Heinlein, etc.) were less than fascinated by ethnic slurs (though occasionally they may have crept in). Oh wait, you were saying the 1930s/40s were the Golden Age, not the 50s? OK....that's idiosyncratic, but the best of the bunch (Orwell, Huxley) weren't enamored of racial slurs, so much as horrified by the implications thereof.

"It wasn't until the 1970s that Science Fiction really let its 'freak flag' fly...
Dune? Forever War? Rama? Really? It's simply not the case that writers stopped, enthralled by 'Dispossessed' and 'Left Hand' - LeGuin left a big mark, but never silenced anyone (though she had less than kindly things to say about blonde barbarian/gerbil motifs as I recall).

I don't regard our host's work following that era as reflecting a 'collective feminine conflict resolution' motif - the "once-sacrosanct individual" was as often a hero as a villain, as always in literature. The "once-repulsive collective Other" has always been possibly a messianic figure (Childhood's End), or a threat, and sometimes, possibly both or neither (Hyperion, Ender, Vonnegut).

Grief and wail as you wish,
One 'Obelisk Gate' remains
What one thought dead, somehow yet lives
Great troves o'erflow great brains.

Jon S. said...

No, Winter, I strongly disagree with you regarding stoning. It is slow, painful, unproductive, and degrading to the spirit of those committing the act - and, over time, to the society approving of it in the first place.

I stated that executions, when necessary, should be carried out as quickly and humanely as possible. We don't crucify rabid animals, hoping other animals will learn better than to contract rabies; we don't rip the legs off of black-widow spiders, in order to terrify other spiders into being less venomous. We dispatch them as rapidly and dispassionately as we can. The same should apply to that miniscule minority who pose too great a danger to the lives of other human beings should they ever be released - if a man is incapable of giving up killing, his execution should be a matter of public safety, not a display of pointless vengeance.

Of course, if rehabilitation is possible, that's the preferable option - not killing is better than killing. Teaching is better than ending. Execution should only be a last resort, after every other possible remedy has been exhausted.

Anonymous said...

It seems that humans want to build their own "Oumuamua":

https://phys.org/news/2018-04-evolving-asteroid-starships.html


Winter7

donzelion said...

Winter - to rephrase and perhaps expand on LarryHart's & occam's point:

"the prohibition on cruel punishment is not about the rights of serial killers. It's about what kind of human beings we want to be"

Or rather, it IS about the rights of serial killers, because the unique and unprecedented feature of our constitutional order is that when we defend the very worst of us, we protect all the rest of us. What a piece of work is man...in apprehension how like a...

Anonymous said...

Jon S. :
¿Rehabilitation of the psychopaths? I suppose it's an option if they really dislike the implementation of harsh justice. Something like the solution of "A Clockwork Orange" by Stanley Kubrick ?. If something like this really works ... Well, it would be a useful solution. But if that does not work. There remains the option of personality demolition. (from the book "The Demolished Man") Which could be a solution applicable to Donald Trump. Out of compassion.

Winter7

locumranch said...


Steve_H fails to square-the-circle when he contemplates "the Incel thing". That there are 'involuntary celibates' (aka 'incels') who feel that they "are OWED sex by (attractive) women in response to whatever" represents only the half the problem, the second half being a society that believes that incels somehow OWE society something in return for nothing.

Reciprocity (or, a lack thereof) is the main issue here.

Society is culpable when it fails to meet the needs of its marginalised population (no matter how deplorable), whereas the deplorable population (once marginalised) is under NO obligation to fulfill the needs of the society which cast them aside.

It comes as no surprise that those who feel deprived will revolt. Like the bread-deficient in Les Miserables. Most progressives will even celebrate this fact and conflate the act of revolution with the pursuit of justice.

Yet, these very same progressives would deprive the incel male of intimate human contact -- a certifiable necessity for appropriate psychosocial development -- and feign surprise when revolution occurs.

Those who are OWED nothing OWE nothing in return, and "Nothing will come from Nothing", ya know what they say.


Best
______
The Golden Age of Science Fiction began with "the advent of the 1930s" when Asimov, Leinster, Orwell, Huxley & others began their careers. These were Golden Age authors who "weren't enamored of racial slurs" -- as Donzelion says -- but they most certainly weren't as AFRAID of ethnic distinctions as we are now. Instead, they celebrated our different strengths & weakness by giving lip-service to stereotypes before dismantling them through resolute action & transforming the so-called slur into terms of endearment. This was reciprocity in action. Again, that word, that cornerstone of civilisation that modern society has abandoned.

LarryHart said...

Gregory Byshenk:

I often see people saying: "why don't they call X 'terrorism'?" - when the answer very often is: "because it isn't 'terrorism'." Yes, there are grey areas as well as differing defintions, but fundamentally 'terrorism' means the use of terror (usually violence) in an attempt to exercise political or social influence. If that is not the goal, then something isn't 'terrorism'.


We've had this argument before. I guess I'm asking a different question from the one you're answering. I'm asking "Why is the fact that this attack isn't 'terrorism' reassuring to the public?" See, I think the implication is "It's just this one guy. Now that he's caught or shot or whatever, it's all over." Whereas, something like 9/11 makes us completely redesign travel because we're now in fear of more attacks.

And in that sense, well if "incel" is a whole movement of disaffected guys who want to do the same sort of shit, then it resembles 9/11 more than it resembles (say) the Las Vegas shooter. If it doesn't fit your definition of terrorism, that's almost irrelevant. If it's not terrorism, it might as well be.


So in this case, if the goal of the action is to somehow cause women to sleep with previously 'incel' men (or some such), then it would qualify as terrorism. But if the action is just because the man hatest the women who won't sleep with him, then it is not; it is just plain violence.

So also in other such cases. When the KKK or neo-Nazis acted with the goal of keeping or making minorities subservient or politically neutered, then their acts would be terrorism. But a white man (even a white supremacist) who kills a bunch of black people just because he hates them -- without any additional political end -- then his actions are not 'terrorism', but only mass murder.


I still disagree, though, even on the semantics. To me, what makes a violent act "terrorism" is not that it's political, but that a larger group than the particular victims is "terrorized" by knowing that more such attacks will be forthcoming, maybe against them. If your white supremacist simply hated some individuals who happened to be black, and he killed those individuals, then yes, I'd agree with what you say. But if he hates black people, and by killing some, he's putting the rest on notice that he might well kill them next--I think that's the very essence of terrorism.

Paul451 said...

Gregory Byshenk,
"'terrorism' means the use of terror (usually violence) in an attempt to exercise political or social influence. If that is not the goal, then something isn't 'terrorism'."

The Incel killer claimed it was an part of their "Revolution", and was indeed meant to incite terror in his (female) victims.

They aren't trying to convince women to date them, any more than a radicalised Muslim is trying to convert the infidels to Islam when bombing crowds. The "social influence" they are trying to achieve is to 'punish the enemy', to sow terror.

Radical hate-driven philosophy, online recruiting, targeted hate crimes in mass killings. Seems to meet any reasonable definition of terrorism to me.

Paul451 said...

Winter7,
Re: Stoning.

When we torture, when we derive some pleasure in harming others, it doesn't matter who that other is, we are demeaned by the act. Stoning criminals makes us more like the criminals.

Right now there's a faux controversy in Australia, because the Chief of the Australian Defence Force ordered the removal of "symbols of death" (skulls, grim-reaper, "kill 'em all" slogans, etc) from defence equipment and personnel. Obviously the local Murdoch puppets went into a frenzy about "political correctness gone mad", but anyone who read Gen. Campbell's statement would see his reasoning is based purely on his sense that a soldier's duty is meant to be strong but reluctant.

"Such symbology is never presented as ill-intentioned and plays to much of modern popular culture, but it is always ill-considered and implicitly encourages the inculcation of an arrogant hubris and general disregard for the most serious responsibility of our profession: the legitimate and discriminate taking of life."

This was in response to his experience with US military culture in Afghanistan (which has influenced young Australian service personnel). Campbell was SAS (special forces). He understands killing. He isn't some political wimp. He saw the way US personnel revelled in death, and saw it as fundamentally wrong for a soldier. In his mind, being professional in the face of war is a strength, not a weakness.

And that's how I feel about punishing criminals. It's something that burdens us, we should never take joy in it. Our ability to be better than the criminals is a sign of the strength of our culture and our civilisation. And anything that undermines that, weakens us.

(You talked of American police killings, and that's an example of what happens when you replace professionalism with a culture of fear and death. They first placed their own safety above that of innocent civilians, then placed their own fear above the lives of all others.)

Paul451 said...

Re: Locumranch,

I find it interesting that Loco's first post praises the individualist hero, but in his defence of Incel violence he expects society to "provide" for the creepers in his cult, specifically sex; for if it doesn't, he owes it no allegiance.

Shouldn't the burden be on you to earn it, hero?

LarryHart said...

donzelion:

Trump did have a big dog in the tax fight - it was a major pledge, understood as much by his backers, and possibly the way he made peace with the 'Rep' establishment.


What I meant was...sure he wanted a tax bill passed so he could crow about it, but he didn't care about which specific details were in the bill. Even the fact that it was a tax bill was relevant only because that's what the Republican congress wanted to do. If they had cared more about infrastructure or immigration reform, then Trump would have wanted that passed instead.

He cares about winning, not about which game he's playing in.

Anonymous said...

LarryHart:

"still disagree, though, even on the semantics. To me, what makes a violent act "terrorism" is not that it's political, but that a larger group than the particular victims is "terrorized" by knowing that more such attacks will be forthcoming, maybe against them. If your white supremacist simply hated some individuals who happened to be black, and he killed those individuals, then yes, I'd agree with what you say. But if he hates black people, and by killing some, he's putting the rest on notice that he might well kill them next--I think that's the very essence of terrorism".

Yes. I am sure that in that aspect, we all agree here. It is evident that white supremacist groups; The Ku Klux Klan and the Nazi groups are terrorist groups and those groups must be prosecuted by law. (If necessary, with the use of the armed forces)

Winter7

Anonymous said...

Paul451:
I do not plan to enjoy the spectacle of stoning. It is only about getting the psychopaths to associate the act of killing several people with a very painful end. So painful that the psychopath will simply look for other pastimes.
What was the objective of the British authorities to hang the German spies during the German bombing of London? This: Prevent someone else from agreeing to help the Germans with useful information. And it worked. It was a cruel strategy. But it was a military strategy. And nobody enjoyed the hangings.

Winter7

David Brin said...

I as just at a science fiction literary conference today. I can tell you that not one of locumranch’s generalizations about the decadal themes and messages and social assumptions of SF have even glancing correlation with reality. It’s fantastic! He gets every single decade all wrong! It has to have been deliberate!

e.g. lone hero in Verne’s writings? In From Earth to the Moon? And Nemo credits and does everything for his crew. Feh!

Stop waving your mirror at us!

Stephen Hammond, good question! And vastly more involved than I have time for, right now, alas.

re: incels feeling they are imposed upon and much demanded from them bull! Ingrates yowl and whine after being relieved to the cruel burdens most peasants and losers had to bear, in the very same societies they romanticize. Be a citizen and speak freely and earn something with your myriad opportunities. We promised “pursuit of happiness.” Doing it stupidly will not win actual happiness.

To fanatical “gentlemen” incels… not locum, who I assume to be above them… try EARNING human contact! The very same creepy attitude that makes you suggest women be forced to obey and put out… that is the same attitude that drove them to shun, in the first place!

If you stink, try showing, instead of demanding women remove their noses.

Are some female choice standards out of whack, among perhaps a majority of contemporary women? Sure. We can discuss that in other contexts. In this context? Dang, I’ll defend them against monsters bent on rape.

donzelion said...

Locum was so far off that I thought perhaps he was joking, but on reading it cross-eyed and upside down, either his take is a very eccentric series of inside jokes, or he just misread an awful lot of books.

But I'll stand by Burroughs. Silly boyish fantasies; not SF. Still a lot of fun. But there's better stuff out there by far.

locumranch said...


Both Paul451 & David are correct. Except for the gross misrepresentation of Incels as "monsters bent on rape" (which is a common accusation routinely leveled against almost every despised minority). From the most entitled to the least adorable, the burden is upon all of us to 'earn' the allegiance that we all desire.

And, while I agree that no one owes either I or the incel anything in particular, then it stands to reason that neither I or the incel owe anything to anyone in return, including protection, provisioning or even basic medical care.

Thus, we offer like for like, indifference for indifference & disdain for disdain.

Plus the term 'hero' refers to those without obligation, lacking in 'endearment', especially those free men of the Heroic Age .


Best
_____
I've read every magazine back issue of Analog, Amazing, Astounding, Galaxy and Fantasy & Science Fiction ever published, and I assure you that the information that I relate to you about Golden Age Science Fiction is indeed accurate, rendering the modern intellect as a fragile snowflake in comparison.

dolby atmos said...

http://en.miui.com/forum.php?mod=viewthread&tid=2435914&page=1&extra=#pid25407622

LarryHart said...

locumranch:

And, while I agree that no one owes either I or the incel anything in particular, then it stands to reason that neither I or the incel owe anything to anyone in return, including protection, provisioning or even basic medical care.

Thus, we offer like for like, indifference for indifference & disdain for disdain.


After years of attempting, I think I finally understand your core point. An analogous statement would be something like "In a world that disdains aristocratic privilege, I refuse to practice noblesse oblige." Or maybe, "In a world that insists on equal dignity for all races, I refuse to take up the white man's burden."

While I never thought I'd put these words in this order, you're not wrong to take that attitude. The part I don't understand is what you think is being demanded of you other than by the licensing boards of your own profession (to which point, your issue is with them, not with society at large). I was as bitter as you seem in my 20s, and I could have become a supervillain too if not for the grace of a few things in my life that broke my way. In my bad days, the notion that lack of companionship implied lack of obligation was a rueful consolation prize. But, I never misled myself that I was actually punishing others by that withdrawal. Acceptance of solitude was a feature, not a bug.


Plus the term 'hero' refers to those without obligation, lacking in 'endearment', especially those free men of the Heroic Age .


Mulling this over. I'm not sure I understand the point you're trying to make. (I don't mean that as "You're wrong", but literally I'm not sure I understand...)

In a vaccuum, when I think of the word "hero", the image that comes to mind is Hercules. Not exactly lacking in endearment. Certainly not celibate, involuntarily or otherwise. In a more modern context, "hero" calls forth Superman above all others. Superman in the early days of the 1940s played out a wish fantasy of nerdy boy readers (and would be the darling of the incels today) relative to Lois Lane. In his disguise as Clark Kent, he was the nebbish who could not get the girl to like (or even notice) him. Yet, as Superman, he was not the Don Juan that might be expected of someone who could have any woman he wanted. Instead, he was able to make Lois feel the disdain that Lois made Clark feel. An essay by Jules Feiffer explained that the antithesis of the nerd who can't get the girl isn't the jock who does get the girl, but the man who could if he wanted but exercises the option not to.

I've read every magazine back issue of Analog, Amazing, Astounding, Galaxy and Fantasy & Science Fiction ever published,...


If I could be sure that the tone wouldn't be misread in typy talk on the internet, I'd be tempted to comment along the lines of "That explains a lot." :)

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locumranch said...


How appropriate that the Moonies (aka 'disciples of Sun Myung Moon') show up at this hot-bed of progressive fiction & historical revisionism, following David's attempt to whitewash the literary genre that brought us 'Farnham's Freehold', 'The Space Willies' & multiple rants about various slack-jawed unenlightened syphilitic rural Red State yokels.

Gene Wolfe's grasp of Greek-to-English etymology is unmatched -- I recommend his works highly -- and it was he who first led me to the true etymology of term 'Hero', meaning a 'Free Man' unencumbered by fealty, oaths & binding obligation.

It appears that Larry_H finally grasps the concept of Reciprocity & its implications in regard to the now defunct Western Social Contract, especially the LIBERTY that social ostracism bestows upon the host of incels, deplorables & other undesirables , the malignant flip-side (vinyl reference) of progressive intolerance.

Quite inadvertently, Feminism, Liberation Theology & Identity Politics has also liberated the Cis White Male (with the elimination of his paired 'privilege' & responsibilities) from his traditional social burdens, including the so-called White Man's Burden of UPLIFT, civilisation-building and protection/provisioning responsibilities, letting loose mere anarchy upon the world.

As Women have been freed from their onerous obligations, so have Men, leaving the whirlwind ripe for reaping, because Women no longer OWE men anything, and vice versa.


Best

Jon S. said...

Winter, historically making executions horrific has not dissuaded psychopaths. This has been demonstrated in studies, as well as by the fact that public stonings, hangings, beheadings, and drawing and quartering have not stopped various violent crimes from continuing.

Put simply, vengeance killing does not stop anything except an individual life. In many cases, it simply leads to more vengeance killing (check Wikipedia, on the history of the Hatfield-McCoy feud). Rehabilitation does work on occasion, which elevates it as a method well above one that does not.

Tim H. said...

The discussion of stoning reminds me of Iain M Banks' "Surface Detail", where advanced cultures capable of uploading minds to virtual paradises also upload the minds of people they dislike to virtual Hells. Which accomplish nothing in reality.

The "incels", if all they're looking for is sex,are missing most of the fun in a relationship. Hint, the person living in that body is far more important to you than the body they live in.

A.F. Rey said...

The discussion of stoning reminds me of Iain M Banks' "Surface Detail", where advanced cultures capable of uploading minds to virtual paradises also upload the minds of people they dislike to virtual Hells.

Or SMBC. 8)

https://www.smbc-comics.com/comic/hell

David Brin said...

“And, while I agree that no one owes either I or the incel anything in particular, then it stands to reason that neither I or the incel owe anything to anyone in return, including protection, provisioning or even basic medical care.”

Utter bull, diametrically opposite to what I said. You are “agreeing” with the insipid, whining ingrate you see in the mirror.

“I assure you that the information that I relate to you about Golden Age Science Fiction is indeed accurate…”

You “assure” the way Trump does. You know absolutely nothing about the decadal trends in science fiction. If you read Analog, terrific. Join the TASAT community and cite specifics. But you are the worst and most tendentious generalizer I have ever known. (Look up "tendentious.")

There ARE decadal trends in SF. And some I object to. Were you a radical leftist, I might complain about the PC overshoot in the Hugo awards. (Though it is in the right direction, at least, unlike you confederate-feudalist trogs.) But the decadal trends bear almost ZERO overlap with the made-up fantasies you shared with us (so kindly) here.

Oh, in my last missive down here, "showing" should have been "showering."

And yes, when the cult dogma is to eliminate the rights of women and “distribute them evenly,’ yes, that is rape.

And you never faced the key question. A lonely guy should maybe lower his gaze from playboy models and negotiate - respectfully - with a lonely woman.

Include a pre-nup agreement! That invention limits the “provisioning” load. Oh… you… forgot… to do that.

Anonymous said...


One of the Hugo nominees is John Scalzi. It seems that he is a moderate Republican. I wonder if he could be an intermediary between Democrats and Republicans. After all. It seems that you all seek the unity of the whole nation .. I suppose.

Winter7

David Brin said...

John Scalzi is a moderate the way that I am... by registration. He is very very friendly to the PC crowd. They love him. And to be clear... so do I.

Steven Hammond said...

Hi all,

I'm curious if anyone else has DNA data on GEDmatch, the site that was used to help locate the Golden State Killer and what their thoughts are regarding the use of that data? Personally, I think it was pretty clever and cool, and, since the feds already have my DNA from my time in the military, I'm not especially concerned by the feds use of it here. I'm also interested in how this example fits in with Dr Brin's Transparent Society. Thoughts?

Disclaimer:I'm not closely related to DeAngelo--as far as I know...

Jon S. said...

Well, Doctor, as a former lonely guy, I can say that what worked for me was not getting all worked up about it and talking to women like they were, well, people. (It may have helped that I met the lovely lady currently off to my left online - I'm apparently high-functioning autistic, and don't put across my best image in person.) What solidified this relationship was when we sang an impromptu duet of Tom Lehrer's "Poisoning Pigeons In the Park" at the picnic (organized by the online community we were in at the time) where we first met face to face.

Never felt like she "owed" me anything, and we've been together happily for - gads, has it been 21 years already? Time flies when you're having fun chatting about Shakespeare and theoretical physics, I guess... :)

LarryHart said...

Jon S:

Well, Doctor, as a former lonely guy, I can say that what worked for me was not getting all worked up about it and talking to women like they were, well, people.


Having just recently been unemployed, I had to start interviewing again after the last time 16 years ago. My natural shyness and lack of social skills always makes that difficult, and the advice I got over and over again (even from my patient but concerned wife) is to goddamn it, make and hold eye contact. It's never been natural for me to do so, and I always feel like I'm an aggressor when I do, but I figured I have to do what I have to do. In order to practice, I tried meeting the gaze of attractive women I dealt with in the course of the day--cashiers or store clerks and such. Instead of furtively looking around as I always had, I would catch their eye and smile as if to say, "Yes, I noticed you and it was pleasant to connect with you, however briefly." Just to see if I was doing it right.

The effect is phenomenal. I recommend it as a starting point for any guy who thinks he can't meet women. Trust me--if I can, you can.

LarryHart said...

locumranch:

the concept of Reciprocity & its implications in regard to the now defunct Western Social Contract, especially the LIBERTY that social ostracism bestows upon the host of incels, deplorables & other undesirables , the malignant flip-side (vinyl reference) of progressive intolerance.


But see, your side doesn't just want liberty for yourselves. You want the liberty to subjugate others to your will. And when we resist that, you accuse us of intolerance and of disrespecting your rights. That's why even when we do understand what you're saying, you fail to persuade.


Quite inadvertently, Feminism, Liberation Theology & Identity Politics has also liberated the Cis White Male (with the elimination of his paired 'privilege' & responsibilities) from his traditional social burdens, including the so-called White Man's Burden of UPLIFT, civilisation-building and protection/provisioning responsibilities, letting loose mere anarchy upon the world.

As Women have been freed from their onerous obligations, so have Men, leaving the whirlwind ripe for reaping, because Women no longer OWE men anything, and vice versa.


Now, you're buying into the un-American notion that society only works when strong, authoritarian white Christian men run the place, and that by opening democracy up to everyone, we cause the machine to fail. "I reject your reality, Magus!"* The only failures I'm seeing are the ones caused by your preferred class purposely mucking up the works as revenge for not being treated as a higher class of citizen.

* Thanos to The Magus, Warlock # 11, Feb 1976

donzelion said...

LarryHart: Locum's posts on SciFi are about as accurate a reflection of actual SciFi as the Christian wealth cult's reinterpretation of the Bible. Engagement with the statements is futile, but engagement with the person may not be.

As I see it, you have some more interesting things to say anyway.

"In a vacuum, when I think of the word "hero", the image that comes to mind is Hercules."
Consider trying out Elizabeth Vandiver's courses at theteachingcompany.com - she concurs with you on Hercules, and fits Achilles and Odysseus into a broader tradition, all while making it immense fun.

"In a more modern context, "hero" calls forth Superman above all others."
Superman is 'paramount' in the DC universe, sure - but that universe is built upon a more 'Greek/Nordic' architecture than the Marvel universe, which doesn't really need a 'paramount' hero. Marvel is applying a more Judeo/Christian, Arthurian/Saints model - all of their heroes exist socially, and it's their social identities that intrigue us.

The Judeo-Christian tradition posits and discards its Hercules (Samson) - a tangent. The real story of Moses is not how he parted the Red Sea, but the law, the Exodus, the founding of a people. The real story of David is not smiting Goliath, but how he interacted with Saul, Jonathan, Bathsheba, Nathan. These characters are conceived of 'socially': reduce Jesus to his parables, or just the crucifixion, and the tale is just another murdered prophet among many - but to the extent the tales are compelling, it's the claim they are deeply connected to us - socially, spiritually.

The Judeo-Christian architecture posits 'character within world' - rather than 'what is character.' It offers Arthurian milieu, as opposed to Beowulf.

You can graft isolated, episodic tales into the DC universe neatly - Superman II is a modern variation on the Samson/Delilah tale, but that tale itself deviates from the Judeo/Christian architecture of 'character within world.' The basic architecture shows its limitations when you try to mash up the heroes - only cynical screeches ('Save Martha!') can make that happen.

But Marvel architecture, and science fiction generally, are built from a 'shared universe' - it's not a feature, but the genetic structure underpinning it all. The weakest tales are episodic (e.g., Thor I & II), strongest ones remember the 'hero within society' and confront it (Thor III, Black Panther) - and most of the origin tales are mostly interesting because we conceive Bruce Banner, Tony Stark, and Dr. Strange bickering with one another almost from the moment they're introduced.

Even the 'individualists' in the Marvel universe illustrate it's 'social' dimension: Wolverine in the DC universe is just another forgettable fighter, but in Marvel, he's the 'outsider' who keeps coming back to every last group under the sun - his tenuous link to that group questioned directly. His most interesting film portrayal plumbs that problem in detail - 'paternal/devoted son' Wolverine is a fascinating figure.

Picture Locum as a crusty Wolverine, growling, bitterly misremembering the 'good old days,' wanting to cross over to a Greek/Nordic tradition, forced to live in this Judeo/Christian one. Bitter, he snarks at the social reality he doesn't control - but at the end of the day, he'll be there for us to guard our backs (and mock us for ever having needed him). I picture most conservatives that way too.

David Brin said...

Interesting donzelion.

now onward

onward