Saturday, December 14, 2019

Will masks save us?

I'm not gloating, just sad. It turns out the one thing that might save us from the monsters in this looming night... is light. Did I tell you so, 22 years ago? No, make that 29 years ago

Ponder any aspect of the Putin-centered, Fox-propelled, Saudi/Mercer/Koch-financed Trump fiasco, and ask yourself: "What if every single secret were exposed?" Yes, including every secret of every Democrat or pundit or "deep stater." Fair exchange. Why am I confident which cabal would dissolve, like vampires under the sun? 

Because one of them openly raves against every possible type of revelation*, forbidding officials to speak, enforcing NDAs, railing against investigations, begging John Roberts to safeguard all their secrets. Oh, he will. But that won't be the end of it. Oh, no.**

== The dismal reflex ==

To be fair, it's not just the vampire right who declares hatred of light. Or suspicion of it. Some of the very best folks - those who honestly feel they are fighting for the enlightenment - fall prey to the lure of shadows. Take this example:

Can protesters hide behind masks? Recently - protestors wearing head-mounted cameras scanned 13,000 faces in D.C., as part of a protest organized by Fight for The Future. These privacy activists are vigorous and rightly concerned about misuse of surveillance tech. Right problem! They demand absolutely and spectacularly the wrong solution! One that is not only technologically and historically clueless, but that plays right into the hands of every would-be Big Brother.

I debated this very topic on NPR's "To The Point" with Warren Olney. An ACLU attorney - Kade Crawford - was smart, cogent, agile... and she again utterly missed what history tells us -- that it's no use 'hiding' from elites, and that technology does... not... stop still, no matter how hard you denounce it, or even if you pass laws. 

What works -- the only thing that has ever protected freedom and, yes, some privacy -- is when average citizens can maximally see, and thus hold elites accountable.

Why do you think Putin and Trump and Fox desperately seek to preserve secrecy? The sole fallback position of the GOP today always distills to "Don't Look At Us!" Tax returns, staffer testimony, Trump's bragged-about "Great Wall of NDAs"... enemies of the enlightenment are terrified of light! We mustn’t be the ones giving them excuses to blind us, while retaining in secret all the powers we foolishly “outlawed.” Listen to the stimulating debate on NPR.

Ironically, those Capitol steps protesters were doing the right thing. Looking. And teaching others how to look. And rightfully-rapidly criticizing today's perhaps-racially-biased facial recognition systems so that tomorrow's will be better. It's where you see open, knowing criticism that things are working. I worry about where the light isn't shining. 

== More smartpeople foolishness ==

But it goes on, the incredible foolishness of well-intended folks:

This article from The New York Times about "the Privacy Project" shines light on important topics. Alas, like nearly all paladins of privacy, the author yet again dances around the key point, never zeroing in on the blatant lesson. Take the following, excised from her piece: "Sahil Chinoy, a graphics editor for the Opinion Section, built a facial recognition system for less than $100. There are many ways this technology can be abused. San Francisco has banned the use of facial recognition technology by its police and other agencies, but other cities, including New York, haven’t taken any steps to impede its use."

Can it be that a knowledgable person of above average intelligence actually wrote that paragraph, without contemplating the ironic contradiction and conclusion? That banning face-recognition systems -- or almost any type of surveillance-type technology -- is not only futile and hopeless, but actually distracts from the real problem? And the real solution. Seriously. What can be replicated now for $100 will cost pennies, tomorrow.

I have been engaged in this issue for 25 years, having won the Freedom of speech Award for The Transparent Society: Will Technology Make Us Choose Between Privacy and Freedom? I've been involved in so many Privacy Conferences and I hope the Privacy Project will help spread growing Awareness of the problems we face, especially as we see deployment of "social credit" systems and ubiquitous camera tech. Unfortunately, nearly all these conferences wind up being festivals of hand-wringing, offering no plausible solutions.

There is a way out -- a way we can forge into the future without falling into surveillance hell by governments, corporations and other elites. But it will not come by banning "Orwell Tech." Or hiding from it, or screaming "don't look at me!"

It happens to be the same method we've used with growing effectiveness for 200 years, the method that's responsible for all our freedom. Alas, it seems that it's utterly counter-intuitive to contemporary pundits, who cannot conceive of any solution except prescribing darkness.

Want a better example of transparency/accountability in action? Law enforcement agencies in Dallas and Florida on Thursday became the latest to announce they are investigating allegations some of their employees made offensive comments on Facebook after a watchdog group compiled screenshots of the posts and shared them in an online database.”

This is how citizens can break omerto and corner the good cops into helping cull their ranks of the bad. Most are dedicated public servants. A large minority are former Jr. High bullies who crave the power to instill fear. The answer is simple. Hire and encourage and support the former... if they help rid the ranks of the latter.

 And if they do, then they can be trusted with the new technologies that are coming, anyway. That is, they can be trusted... if we get to watch.

== Worries about deadly drones ==

In “The Real Robot Threat,” Robert Zubrin (otherwise known as a zealous proponent of Mars colonization, asserts that autonomous weaponry — bereft of conscience or human sentiment — could become either police state enforcers or the ultimate doomsday weapons.  To be clear this is a step beyond today’s mere remote-controlled drones, whose operators have been shown to be just as morally cautious — if not more so — as the pilots of fighter-bomber aircraft. Zubrin frets that whole swarms of  robot killers might be dispatched by a single tyrannical decision-maker, and even that entity might not be human.

Of course we’ve all seen the movie. And there’s an interesting thing about such flicks… in a free society, they have often become self-preventing warnings.  In this case, it had better be. Zubrin cites a commission that recommended a worldwide moratorium on development of such tools, along with weapons that find, track, and engage specific individuals whom a human has decided should be engaged within a limited predetermined period of time and geographic region.

== Incantations for aristocracy... on the left ==

Lest it ever occur to you to imagine that dogmatic insanity is restricted to the mad-right, go every now and then to any university campus and attend a lecture on semiotics or post-modernist criticism. Here’s one that defends the power asymmetries that have always given elites control over information flows and thus power over nations, peoples and races… all couched in airy fairy claims to “liberate” us from neo-liberalism: Transparency as Ideology; Ideology as Transparency by Jorge I. Valdovinos

Abstract: Along with the increasing commodification of all aspects of culture and the persistent aestheticisation of everyday life under late capitalism, there is an equally increasing longing for objectivity, immediacy, and trust. As the mediation of our everyday experiences augments, a generalised feeling of mistrust in institutions reigns; the sense of a need to bypass them increases, and the call for more “transparency” intensifies. As transparency manages to bypass critical examination, the term becomes a source of tacit social consensus. This paper argues that the proliferation of contemporary discourses favouring transparency has become one of the fundamental vehicles for the legitimation of neoliberal hegemony, due to transparency's own conceptual structure—a formula with a particularly sharp capacity for translating structures of power into structures of feeling. While the ideology of transparency promises a movement towards the abolition of unequal flows of information at the basis of relations of power and exploitation, it simultaneously sustains a regime of hyper-visibility based on asymmetrical mechanisms of accountability for the sake of profit. The solution is not “more” transparency or “better” information, but to critically examine the emancipatory potential of transparency at the conceptual level, inspecting the architecture that supports its parasitic logic.”

This Orwellian gobbledygook is part of a general shriek of hatred aimed at all flat-open-fair systems of accountability that are rooted in the thing they hate most – the very concept of objective reality. Never forget that our enemy is zero-sum, incantatory justifiers of bullying power. And while today the worst examples work for a powerful "rightist" attempted Oligarchic Putsch, aiming to restore 6000 years of feudalism, there are would be savanarolas and Robspierres and Stalins among our (temporary) allies on the far-left, as well. 

== Transparency-pertinent news items ==

The 15 Biggest Ever Cases of Bank Fraud. Wow, a fascinating recounting of thefts and frauds, showing how much is being stolen by hackers and insiders… and this is probably not a complete list, by far! And the only long term solution is not “security.” It is transparency.

"Stephen Fry has narrated a new animated intro video for, discussing why we need (and may get) much better forums for argumentation and negotiation. The enemy of knowledge is not ignorance… Stephen Fry narrates.

Finally, futurist speaker David Orban offers a video on 21st Century Life Design Skills.



===footnotes ====

* Except for the malignant, spiteful, sadistic and opposite-to-Jesus "Book of Revelation," which the Dominionists worship instead of Jesus.

** When, not if, John Roberts succeeds in demolishing the credibility of the US Supreme Court, it will be up to all of us to stand up for Enlightenment Constitutionalism in our own ways. I offer 100+ suggestions in POLEMICAL JUDO.


Zoe Brain said...

Unfortunately, masks for filtering out dust and smoke particles are now necessary here in SE Australia, due to the mega bushfires. Ordinary bushfires made into gargantuan ones due to climate change.

Looking at the deep ocean temperature from ARGO buoys, I'm bloody terrified.

Others may look at the pending population crash - a billion if we act now, 5 billion if we don't, and shrug it off as it's decades away, and besides which, it will be people we don't know, people who don't look like us.

I can't manage that trick, I also like having many nonhuman species around that inevitably will disappear without action. Many of those are necessary for agriculture as we know it, so it would be inconvenient at the least for the survivors.

David Brin said...

Sooner or later we shall have to admit that puritanism isn't helpful.

While combatting the monsters who have got us in this climate mess... and their Kremlin masters who yearn for Arctic riches -- we must not only push science and scustainables and efficiency and recycling, but also...

...research into geoengineering. Greg Benford likes stratospheric seeding of molecules that would ruduce sunlight by just 5% only on the Arctic and only for 6 months at a time. I'm a fan of ocean fertilization, which showed good initial results from a couple of experiments.

duncan cairncross said...

I'm also a fan of ocean fertilisation

But I suspect that we will have to do something a bit more direct as Greg Benford suggests

Let's do a small mind experiment -

Musk is proposing a constellation of 40,000 satellites
The area of the earth facing the sun is about 1 x 10^14 m2 - so if each satellite had a 10m x 10m reflector/shade that would intersect about 5 x 10^-8 of the sun's energy

Which is about 1/10,000 of the extra energy we are getting from the greenhouse effect

Nowhere near enough!
But also not a totally insignificant amount

When Musk has a fleet of "Starships" operating such a solution could well be feasible

Larry Hart said...

scidata in the previous comments:

Heh. Palin and I are different things. In fact, the opposite thing.

Two of my characteristic responses reflected back in one line. My work is done.:)

I've been told reliably that Sarah Palin never actually said she could see Russia from her house--that that was actually Tina Fey spoofing her. Weird how that sort of thing gets into the collective consciousness.

 Ashley said...

Part one of two.

@ A.F. Rey: "So, as a therapist, what is your advice in engaging with someone who doesn't want to debate, but simply ridicule and belittle you to win the argument? One that you have to engage with and convince?"

OK, this is going to be a long answer, and sound pessimistic, so I will add the caveat that I became burnt out and ineffective.

The research shows that the best outcome from a cognitive behavioural therapist is about 50% of their clients achieving end of treatment goals. Best here means the most experienced therapists. Trainees outcome range from 25% to 50% (confounding variables from veracity of delivering the intervention according to the model).

And that's cognitive behavioural therapy, all the others AFAIK have less effective outcomes. Roth and Fonagy's "What Works for Whom" is the go to book on the search of the literature. But I'm quoting from the first edition, and haven't read the latest one, which may show that outcomes from other therapy models have improved since the first comparison of their outcomes?

I will now quote two lines from R&F Amazon page, "They are passionate about evidence-based practice and the proper use of clinical judgment, and they anticipate an evolution of existing psychotherapies in ways that respect necessary complexity and creativity. As experienced researchers and clinicians, they clearly describe the limitations as well as the strengths of the different research methodologies and are opposed to privileging one strategy over another."

Part of my training came directly from the authors.

I was convinced that the original book's research was solid. But there was a backlash from other therapeutic modalities (for example psychodynamic psychology), who felt their practices were being disenfranchised by evidence based treatments. Their argument being that there's more to therapy than measuring outcomes.

In particular, the therapeutic relationship.

This was used as an argument to support psychological modalities for clinical psychologists whose practices would be disenfranchised or downgraded. A push was made to publish papers based on measurement outcomes.

An example; in 2004/5 a pair (might have been more) of psychodynamic psychologists ran a randomized controlled trial to show that they could successfully treat Panic Attacks using psychodynamic therapy.

At the end of 20 sessions they showed a 40% improvement in their clients, which falls within the range provided by cognitive behavioural therapy.

So, here's the thing, when I started training, circa 1999, cognitive behavioural therapy guidelines quoted 12 sessions for trainees, and 8 to 9 for experienced practitioners.

By the time I qualified, my discipline had reduced this number down to 8 to 9 for trainees, 5 or less for experienced therapists. For reference, my best treatment outcome was 5 sessions.

I argued that outcome of the research was the equivalent of providing two treatments options for a broken leg; one at 6 weeks plus physical rehab, or one that took longer plus rehab were not equivalent.

Why would anyone choose the latter?

 Ashley said...

Part two of two.

However, after 2004, psychological research across all modalities has focused on the therapeutic relationship. The outcomes of some of those studies has been used to show that the therapeutic relationship is key to therapeutic change

Which is all well and good.

But after one research trial showed that using actors taught to follow a script were as effective as trained therapists, further research focused on promoting this as proof that the therapeutic relationship is all you need. And therefore all modalities are equally valid.

I observe that any client of mine who reached end of treatment goals liked me, but I would be the first to acknowledge that they did so with the caveat that I was firm/stern, but fair.

Therapy is hard, and to sell therapy as easy does a disservice to what is required from the patient.

Given that while patient satisfaction increases, when the therapeutic relationship is good, it has no discernible impact on the degree of improvement, or number of clients that get better.

I say that knowing my average number of treatment sessions were lower than the majority of my peer group, and the number of clients who reached their end of treatment goals was as high, if not higher than my colleagues.

As Dr. Isaac Marks, one of my mentors, said, "The therapeutic relationship is not sufficient unto itself to effect change."

I still stand by that, and it is a hill I was prepared to die on, and so I did when it was decided that the therapeutic relationship took precedence as measured by client satisfaction with me as a therapist when they failed to get better.


I will now repeat the question, given all the background I've covered.

@ A.F. Rey: "So, as a therapist, what is your advice in engaging with someone who doesn't want to debate, but simply ridicule and belittle you to win the argument? One that you have to engage with and convince?"

The answer is complex, because it depends on variables arising from personality. If you can get them to engage, by suggesting they wouldn't want to be ridiculed, then you can open the discussion.

However, you have to discuss the problem with an open mind, and by that I mean validate their beliefs through not confrontational means, which is incredibly hard work.

The go to book for this is: "The Power of Positive Confrontation: The Skills You Need to Know to Handle Conflicts at Work, at Home, and in Life," by Barbara Pachter & Susan McGee.

If I ruled the world, I would make this mandatory reading with training for all.

Terms & Conditions, Errors & Omissions Excluded from this post.

I unreservedly reserve the right to change my mind based on new evidence. Furthermore, what I've written at this point is lacks references and no contract should be assumed between the writer and the reader about the validity of what is written. I cannot be held responsible, or liable for adverse outcomes arising from using techniques that require advance training. This post presents condensed & abbreviated summaries of complex arguments posted for discussion on the internet, and are not meant to be authoritative in any shape, or form on said subject.

TCB said...

Re: the song lyric I posted the last thread. It's an original melody. If I had to name a popular song with the same vibe, imagine "One" by U2, but with more horns.

Anyway, after being pissed off for a couple of days I think I came up with something I am willing to work on. I've been sitting on a particular rockabilly/ZZ Top-ish guitar riff for ages, for an unfinished song about politics. (Note: a special danger of political songs is that events change and whatever you say can go stale. It's better to do a rush job, or else to avoid too much current-event reference; is the lyric like a blog post, or more like a short story that should still be of interest in fifty years? You have to pick one).

The line that gets repeated in this unfinished piece is "Right wing lies make the baby Jesus cry" because I just think that's hilarious. The verses wouldn't gel because, as noted, events change.

New plan, which I'm soliciting suggestions for: The singer is Abraham Lincoln, and he's singing about how rotten Trump and the modern Republicans are. What are some of the nastiest things the eloquent and humorous Honest Abe would say about his successors? Looking for boffo insults for the verses. Already got the chorus.

(Remains to be seen whether I can get a video made for that. I'd have to ask some people).

Zepp Jamieson said...

@Doctor Brin from previous thread, who argues that Labour went "too far left" which is why they lost. Here's a different take from the Guardian:

Democrats beware – the UK election was actually a terrible night for centrists
Kate Aronoff

The author, an American, notes that centrists in Labour and the Lib-Dems got slaughtered for what she calls "tepid politics" and warns of a similar fate for centrist Democrats next year.

locumranch said...

Mostly for rhetorical effect, our host asks the question "Will masks save us?", even though he has already concluded -- in the interests of transparency, no less -- that they will not, and he does so quite happily, having failed to consider the rather disastrous personal, social & psychological implications of a world without masks.

Civility, decorum, tolerance, multiculturalism, courtesy, mannerliness & polite society share certain common characteristics that can be best described as obeisance to appearance, tradition, role, convention & form.

Metaphorically speaking, all forms of politeness require the judicious use of masks, for it is not the truth that binds us together but a shared reverence for white lies & false pleasantries.

To test this rather cynical hypothesis, I offer you this simple wager:

Go tell your boss, employer, co-worker, associate, rival, religious adversary, friend, neighbour, parent, sibling or spouse what your really think about them & see what happens.

Transparency is destructive -- it will destroy us -- because this is its stated purpose:

To 'shine light on' (aka 'identity') all that we do not like in order to facilitate our destruction of it.


David Brin said...

Ah, sweet absence. Still, with "jim" fled, I guess the front office demanded we must have "a locum."

In fact, vitamin boy raised a reasonable objection, which is why I never demanded blanket transparency for all... but reciprocal accountability. Including accountability for unwaranted violations fo personal space and MYOB.

But yes, Ashey will tell you that a lot of therapy is getting it out in the open.

Larry Hart said...

@Dr Brin,

By pure coincidence, I am currently reading a suspense thriller called The Last Thing She Remembers which details as part of the setting what a "locum" is. It's a real word meaning a doctor who fills in for other doctors when they are away. Sort of the professional equivalent of a substitute teacher.

The novel takes place in England, so this may (or may not) be a Britishism, which would be consistent with our sniper's lexicography. Actually, Ashley is a British medical professional, so maybe she knows this stuff better than I do.

gregory byshenk said...

Larry Hart said...
By pure coincidence, I am currently reading a suspense thriller called The Last Thing She Remembers which details as part of the setting what a "locum" is. It's a real word meaning a doctor who fills in for other doctors when they are away. Sort of the professional equivalent of a substitute teacher.

This is used in the US, as well - at least professionally. A classmate of mine is an M.D. who does locum work in the US.

 Ashley said...

Yes, it is a term used over here for people coming to the ward to fill the duty roster.

Zepp Jamieson said...

Ashley: somewhat tangential to your posts, there is a concis of a paper today noting five prevalent psychological elements amongst Trump supporters. In a review paper published in the Journal of Social and Political Psychology, Psychologist and UC Santa Cruz professor Thomas Pettigrew argues that five major psychological phenomena can help explain this exceptional political event.

The paper itself is available here:

 Ashley said...

I've briefly perused the abstract. I like to reserve my opinion, because I failed to find a mention of a Null hypothesis within the text, and therefore it would require a lot of effort on my part to assess the paper and references, which I don't have the time and inclination to pursue.

TCB said...

Yeah, locum tenens means the same thing as lieutenant: literally, place holder.

So, anyone who has a spread out west and calls it Place Ranch would be someone so unimaginative that his horse is named Riding Horse, his dog is named Barking Cat-Chaser and he calls his penis Maybe Someday.

scidata said...

I'm an outsider, but I hear more and more of this scenario for 2020 and beyond:
Trump is re-elected
House stays Democrat
Senate turns Blue as well
Trump is re-impeached, and removed this time
SCOTUS is never even consulted

Is that possible or am I showing my constitutional ignorance?

duncan cairncross said...


The Senate would have to be 2/3rds Blue - which is beyond possible

Larry Hart said...


Sounds like wishful thinking.

Removal in the Senate requires a 2/3 supermajority. Only a third of the seats are up for election each time, so I don't think it's possible for Democrats to end up with 67 Senate seats.

It's also hard for me to see a path by which more Senate seats are flipped Republican to Democrat than the reverse and yet Trump still wins the presidency.

I'm curious, though. In what circumstances are you "hearing more and more"? People who know what they're talking about, or just wild, What-If speculation?

scidata said...

Larry Hart: It's also hard for me to see a path by which more Senate seats are flipped Republican to Democrat than the reverse and yet Trump still wins the presidency.
There's this weird thing called the Electoral College.

We get bits and snippets of US cable news up here, so we don't get a clear picture.

David Brin said...

Ashley what do you think of this device that's approved in the UK/EU?

You can write to me separately at

locumranch said...

Nice to meet you, Ashley.

I'll have you know that my red horse is named 'Red'; my cat is named 'Kitty'; and my friendly dog (now dead) was named 'Buddy'. All appropriately named by small children.

I have engaged in locum tenems for > 10 years, excepting that the US physician shortage has become so severe that those predominantly rural places most in need of 'holding' will now remain forever vacant because of typical urban narcissism.

Finally, I apologise for Zepp's all-consuming ignorance, and all those WEIRD people like him, who reflexively assume that (1) their personal preferences are superior everyone else's preferences, (2) their particular neuroses are normal and (3) their excrement is a fine confection.

Welcome to the conversation.

________ appears to be b.s., btw, and you'd be much better off with genuine ECT if you're depressed.

Larry Hart said...


There's this weird thing called the Electoral College.

After 2016, I think we all are well aware of that.

The Electoral College system means that (in most cases), whichever candidate "wins" a state gets all of that state's electoral votes. Florida has 29 EVs, so whoever wins Florida (even by as few as 537 votes) gets all of those 29 EVs. Incidentally, Senate races are also state wide. Whichever candidate gets the most votes in his state wins the Senate seat.

So for many Senate seats to flip Republican to Democrat, you would have to have a blue wave in a bunch of states which currently have elected Republican Senators. Under those circumstances, it's hard to imagine Trump winning those same states.

I'm not saying it can't be done that Trump wins and the Senate flips at the same time, but I'd say the odds against it would make even the most reckless gambler cringe.*

* Anyone recognize the line?

Zepp Jamieson said...

locumranch sayeth: "Finally, I apologise for Zepp's all-consuming ignorance,.."

Now you've gone and done it. You've said something nasty about me, and now the Doctor is going to have to rummage through everything I've ever said in order to say something nice about me. Do you realise how conflicted he is going to feel about this?

Larry Hart said...

Zepp Jamieson:

You've said something nasty about me

Kind of a "Dog Bites Man" story there.

Zepp Jamieson said...

Eh, what can I say, Larry? It was a slow news day.

duncan cairncross said...

I'm interested in that device as well

My cynical side is telling me that it won't do anything and that the EU/UK approval is something on the lines of - you can use it and it won't electrocute you

Zoe Brain said...


I unreservedly reserve the right to change my mind based on new evidence. Furthermore, what I've written at this point is lacks references and no contract should be assumed between the writer and the reader about the validity of what is written. I cannot be held responsible, or liable for adverse outcomes arising from using techniques that require advance training. This post presents condensed & abbreviated summaries of complex arguments posted for discussion on the internet, and are not meant to be authoritative in any shape, or form on said subject

May I please use that paragraph for myself? Modified for different circumstances, as I usually include references and citations.

Now onwards, as the original post was about transparency and privacy.

Googling my name will get a lot about me, as I have a high Internet profile, and while there are a number of other Zoe Brain's about, having been on the net since before the World Wide Web existed, search algorithms apparently tend to preference me. My footprints in the sands of time have become fossilised.

Also, natural sex changes in humans are rare. Maybe 1 in 200,000 in the human species as a whole, from a variety of syndromes, 5ARD, 17BHSD, 3BHSD etc. While strictly speaking a biological issue, there are many societal and legal complications that make life *interesting* - as in "may you live in interesting times" - and having too high a profile can lead to unfortunate consequences, getting firebombed etc. There are also psychological issues, as you can imagine.

I don't seek publicity, I shun the limelight. I don't hide though, and because I don't stand out from the crowd, when giving lectures on the subject to 3rd yr med students and postgrad psych students, having this frumpy aged female academic reveal at the end of the lecture that she is "one of those" can lead to enlightenment, and/or heads exploding amongst some of the more conservative students. A Bo stick is traditional, but I work with what I have.

Please consider this post the same light. I've dropped cloak to further an educational discussion about privacy and surveillance. Without that reason, I wouldn't have mentioned it, that firebombing of my house at 2am a decade ago is still fresh in my memory.

David Brin said...

The realm of blue skies and apple pie and home values and whiteness can't attract doctors, even from among the top students they send to university... and that inability to attract them is due to "urban narcissism"? Oh what a whiner. And then there's the foul mouth rest of it. Vitamins got used up in the first return missive. But 'personal preferences' can be subjected to objective evidence tests under wagers. We offer them. Confed ninnies refuse them. Poof!

the hanged man said...


The Senate would have to be 2/3rds Blue - which is beyond possible.

Maybe we are underestimating how much the Republicans hate Trump. Maybe if we can emphasize what heroes they would be, and the chance that they alone could save the conservative half (third?) of this country — just maybe more of them would vote to impeach than we could have imagined.

the hanged man said...

... and I do understand who their masters are, but never underestimate the power of hate.

Tony Fisk said...

Vampires may dissolve in sunlight. Sociopaths less so.

As Sarah Kendzior keeps saying: Trump and his coterie love getting caught. They're not so keen on getting punished, but they have yet to be.

Perhaps they're like those dudes in "Sundown" who discovered sunscreen?

Larry Hart said...

the hanged man:

Maybe we are underestimating how much the Republicans hate Trump.

I believed that in 2016. In reality, I believe we misunderstand just how much the Republicans hate us--Democrats and liberals in general. When they wear t-shirts that say, "I'd rather be Russian than Democrat", I tend to believe them.

They may consider the guy uncouth and find him personally embarrassing, but at the end of the day, they're happy with the results of his presidency. I was going to say, "They wouldn't want him to marry their sisters, but..." before I remembered the exiled Targarians in the first season of Game of Thrones. The guy literally traded his sister for an army to take back the throne. The current crop of Republicans would gladly make the same trade for right-wing judges, deregulation, and tax cuts.

 Ashley said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
 Ashley said...

@locumranch Nice to meet you, Ashley.

Back at ya. appears to be b.s.

Given it's based on TMS but using low voltage electricity, I will reserve judgement until I have done some due diligence, which will take some time.

btw, and you'd be much better off with genuine ECT if you're depressed.

Why you have correctly assumed I'm depressed, it's implied with burnout, or you may be following my blog or we know each other through social media, your anonymity doesn't allow me to ascertain who you are.

So the following comment is based on not knowing you.

I would ask are you a psychiatrist?

I ask, because while I'm not, I have some experience with assisting patients who have received ECT. Severe depression is life threatening, and in such cases the use of ECT can be justified.

There are considerable downside to zapping the brain, and to suggest the casual use over another intervention is not something to be taken lightly.

Obviously, I will state no wish to offend.

Larry Hart said...

When the truth itself is under attack and millions of Americans blithely accept anti-truth propaganda, those of disrepute and those of foul motive learn that dishonesty is a viable position — and possibly a winning strategy. That is terrifying, but that is where we are.

Howard Brazee said...

I've always believed that bosses need to know what their employees are doing (with regards to their work). In a Democracy, that means the people need to what our "public servants" are doing. Except for very short-term tactical secrets, nothing the government does should be secret from us.

scidata said...

@Larry Hart

Millions, but not billions.
"Courage, my friends; 'tis not too late to build a better world."
- Tommy Douglas

Larry Hart said...


Yeah, locum tenens means the same thing as lieutenant: literally, place holder.

Even though I've taken French, and I did recognize the French root of lieu, I never put together that "lieu-tenant" would literally mean place-occupier or placeholder.

Not sure how that fits, though. I can see it in terms like "lieutenant governor", but in what sense is an army lieutenant a placeholder?

And as a separate aside, why to the British pronounce it as "leftenant"?

David Brin said...

Zoe B thanks for your courage and individuality. And I fight - as do most here - for a future when personal eccentricities and individualisms are shrugged like your daily choice of clothes. Do note, however, that transparency/accountability that caught those fire-bombers and sent them to jail/therapy would have tipped the balance in the argument.

Ashley, do try to use quotation marks or >>___ symbols or something like Locom: ___ to show it was someone else who types the words you are answering. For a second there I thought YOU were the one recommending ECT. Of course it was our housemember from the House of Bourbon. That of Louis XIV.

 Ashley said...

Epic fail, I'll try to do better.

scidata said...

Larry Hart: why to the British pronounce it as "leftenant"

I'm guessing it's because British (older) English is more Germanic derivative, while US (younger) English is more French-Latin derivative. Pronunciation is very roots driven.

TheMadLibrarian said...

I actually follow the blog of someone who has direct experience with ECT for depression, and while it's not for everyone (decidedly not a panacea), it seems to have done the trick for her. Incidentally, she is the daughter of scientists, so hopefully would have a good handle on checking her biases.

Zepp Jamieson said...

Doctor: I got curious and looked, and found this at the Guardian:
Back in the 1800's Leutenant Mark Lefting was wounded during a battle, his men presumed him to be dead and left him there when they could not find him. One of his wounds was a stab in the mouth which partially mangled his tongue, when he arrived at camp the next day he went to the colonels office and the Colonel asked him his name, because of his wound he pronounced it 'leftenant' and because of the relation to his name 'lefting' his pronunciation of 'leutenant' and the fact that he was left on the battlefield, that battalion changed the traditional word 'leutenant' to 'leftenant' I suppose after the story was spread it just kind of stuck

Calum Blake, Burntisland Scotland

Sounds suspiciously apocryphal, though. Other explanations are that the pronunciation went directly to the Americans from the French whereas it filtered to the Brits through the Germans and Russians, who both pronounce "lieu" as "le". I was raised with the 'leftenent' pronunciation only the 'f' was silent. At least, that's how they said it in what was then the Royal Canadian Navy.

Zepp Jamieson said...

A stray thought from my deviant mind: the Commonwealth militaries may not have wanted people running around calling junior officers 'loo-tenents' because of the popular slang term 'loo.'

scidata said...

Zepp Jamieson: popular slang term 'loo'

I once read that the origin of that term was from old Scotland, where French was widely spoken (or at least words were appropriated). It comes from the warning shouted as chamber pots were emptied into the street below: "L'eau !"

Zepp Jamieson said...

Scidata: I've always heard that the iron chamberpots used in outhouses in the 17th and 18th century were made by Waterloo Ironworks, and referred to as 'loos'. I like your notion though.

Ahcuah said...

Re: leftenant

Looking at my copy of L'Ancienne Langue Française et de tous ses Dialectes du IXᵉ au XVᵉ Siècle (The Ancient French Language and all of its dialects from the 9th to 15th Centuries), alternate versions of "lieu" were liu, leu, lue, lu lou, luef, luec, and leou. While folk etymologies are always, um, interesting, I suspect "luef" is our culpret, attested in a 1382 letter: "En leuf de serment" (In place of an oath.)

TCB said...

As I understand it, the lieutenant would originally be an officer who is to be obeyed by the troops if their captain is busy elsewhere, or incapacitated. That explains how you can have lieutenant colonels (i.e. the lieutenant of the commander of a column) and lieutenant generals (a lieutenant of the "captain general" commanding the whole (general) army or a big piece of it).

As for the Scottish waste-water warning, I always heard it was "Gardyloo!" from Gardez l'eau, or Watch out for water! The funniest moment in James McEvoy's Frankenstein movie involves this.

David Brin said...

TCB you have it half right. A Lt. Colonel is sort of a junior colonel. But the source of Lt. General comes from an insane way they stumbled into nomenclature for generals.

Captain General was already widely used for the leader of a brigade but was replaced by Brigadier.

Major General, above a captain, get it? Would command ~3 brigadiers = a division.

Lieutenant-Colonel General would command ~3 major generals or a corps. It god SHORTENED to Lieutenant General.

Colonel General would command ~3 Lieutenant-Colonel Generals or an army. The Soviets and Russian still use this nomenclature. Their lower ranks are shifted upwards so that a 'colonel" replaces "brigadier." We just call this a "general". (4 star)

Then comes Marshal, which we - to not be imperialist - called 5 star generals.

We (the US) have the most ridiculous officer rank symbol system imaginable.

David Brin said...

Speaking of Soviet stuff. Has anyone seen DC’s Superman Red Son?

Zepp Jamieson said...

Re: Red Son. Yes. Absolutely brilliant.

David Brin said...

Ever see Toshiro Mifune and Charles Bronson in Red Sun?

Zoe Brain said...

@David Brin - the arsonists were known to the police, but there was insufficient evidence for prosecution of their cult, an offshoot of the Exclusive Brethren.

A quiet word was had with them, and they have caused no problems since.

It was something of a half hearted attempt anyway.They were misguided rather than evil, superstitious nutters who merely wanted to destroy the earthly form of an entity they genuinely believed was some kind of demon.

"They meant well". sigh.

I've come across Evil too, so I know the difference.

Thanks for the support. I feel something of a fraud though. The difference between a parachutist and someone with a parachute whose aircraft breaks up in mid flight. My Gender Identity was always female, but I looked male till the change, and was too terrified to transition volitionally.

Re Lieutenant : in Llalans (Scots lowland English) 1487 CE
Barb. xiv. 139 (E).
Schyr Richard of Clar That in all Irland lufftenande [C. luftenend] Was off the king off Ingland;

The Bruce. Barbour, John; McDiarmid, M.P. and Stevenson, J.A.C. (eds.); STS iv 12, 13, 15, Edinburgh, 1980–4. Written 1375. Edited from MS E., NLS Adv. 19.2.2.(i). Also STS 31–33, ed. W. W. Skeat, 1893–95, edited from MS Cambridge St. John's 191(G23), written 1487.

As can be seen, spelling was something of a moveable feast until the last fewe (sic) centuries. Pronunciation of Chaucerian English has most words spelt as they were pronounced, thus "Koo Rah Jer" for Courage. "Ker Ridge".

Larry Hart said...

Paul Krugman states the obvious:


Beyond that, Trump’s trade antics have damaged America’s reputation.

On one side, our allies have learned not to trust us. We have, after all, become the kind of country that suddenly slaps tariffs on Canada — Canada! — on obviously spurious claims that we’re protecting national security.

On the other side, our rivals have learned not to fear us. Like the North Koreans, who flattered Trump but kept on building nukes, the Chinese have taken Trump’s measure. They now know that he talks loudly but carries a small stick, and backs down when confronted in ways that might hurt him politically.

These things matter. Having a leader who is neither trusted by our erstwhile friends nor feared by our foreign rivals reduces our global influence in ways we’re just starting to see. Trump’s trade war didn’t achieve any of its goals, but it did succeed in making America weak again.

scidata said...

I'm a bit disappointed in Krugman. You'd think that by now, an Asimovian like him would look beyond the garish antics of the puppet-clown.

Larry Hart said...

George Conway (Kellyanne's husband) and other anti-Trump Republicans. The whole article is worth reading...


But this president’s actions are possible only with the craven acquiescence of congressional Republicans. They have done no less than abdicate their Article I responsibilities.

Indeed, national Republicans have done far worse than simply march along to Mr. Trump’s beat. Their defense of him is imbued with an ugliness, a meanness and a willingness to attack and slander those who have shed blood for our country, who have dedicated their lives and careers to its defense and its security, and whose job is to preserve the nation’s status as a beacon of hope.

Congressional Republicans have embraced and copied Mr. Trump’s cruelty and defended and even adopted his corruption. Mr. Trump and his enablers have abandoned conservatism and longstanding Republican principles and replaced it with Trumpism, an empty faith led by a bogus prophet. In a recent survey, a majority of Republican voters reported that they consider Mr. Trump a better president than Lincoln.


Howard Brazee said...

Trump is corrupting the Republican party. But Mitch got there before Trump.

TCB said...

What I found interesting about military ranks is that, somewhere along the way, armies figured out that every level of command should give an officer the job of controlling three of something. Maybe, MAYBE five of something, tops, until you get down to squad level, and even a squad may be two or three teams of three or four men. It's like the fractal branching of a tree. Because no human can actually run around telling twenty combat divisions what to do, much less a thousand platoons.

Larry Hart said...

Howard Brazee:

Trump is corrupting the Republican party. But Mitch got there before Trump.

True, but they have different ends in mind, and their alliance is uneasy because of that.

McConnell's corruption is geared toward maintaining Republican dominance in government. Trump's is geared toward his own personal aggrandizement and enrichment. Most of the time, they each reluctantly understand that the other is useful to them, but occasionally the rift is exposed.

Tim H. said...

LH, spare a kind thought for the shades of Goldwater & Nixon, for without the "Southern Strategy", McConnell & Trump would be corrupting the Democrats.

Larry Hart said...

I just found out recently that Nixon's "Southern Strategy" wasn't its own thing all by itself. There was a complementary "Northern Strategy" as well, which involved riling up Northern whites about immigrants taking their jobs and marrying their sisters and such.

Larry Hart said...

True dat...

For some reason, though, I rarely hear pundits wagging their fingers at Republicans about the price they’ll pay for clinging to a president who is consistently out of step with mainstream American values. I suspect that’s because the media tends to unconsciously accept Republican ideas about who constitutes an “average American,” so that the majority of Americans who oppose Trump are treated like an elitist fringe.

David Brin said...

HB: “Trump is corrupting the Republican party. But Mitch got there before Trump.”

There were always GOP horror stories from McCarthy & Rep. R.Nixon to Goldwater’s crzy side. But Goldwater was mixed and he grew. And even Reagan wanted us - country & civilization - to win. Even Newt wanted occasionally to negotiate and legislate something more than Supply Side rapes.

It all went dark with Dennis Hastert and the Tea Party, when combined with gerrymandering they went on a purge of all independent thinkers in GOP ranks. The party radicalized because only the primary mattered.

TCB: The rule of three has exceptions: A corps is often more than 3 divisions. The regiment (led by a colonel), which used to be the most important element of the army, is now de-emphasized in favor of the battalion (lt. col) of which ten or so are directly run by brigadier.

locumranch said...

The Krugman & NYT excerpts chosen by LH bring us to the crux of the issue, that being rampant logical fallacy that (1) mistakes idealised REPUTATION for a dearth of functional pragmatism and (2) misrepresents the arbitrary belief system embraced by about 50% of the American populace as either "mainstream values" or a mathematical "average".

Get thee to a dictionary, people, and recall that the value designations of "average" and "mainstream" imply a consensus that approaches (or exceeds) 80% of the populace, the dark secret behind these gross misrepresentations being elitist contempt for both the 'Will of the People' and the democratic process once defined as "majority rule".

As in the case of Brexit in the UK, the transportation strike in France, Salvini in Italy & Trump in the US, the PEOPLE & their popular will are NOT amused by the attempted bureaucratic putsch via 'manufactured consent' perpetuated by various fact-users & oligarchs who ironically fancy themselves an oppressed minority even as they claim to speak for the majority.

Of course, these bureaucratic cry-bullies have no idea of what the term 'oppression' truly signifies, even as true oppression is coming for them hard & fast, in the form of tumbrels & all things draconian because, once this effect is written, no amount of redefinition can ever erase half a line or cancel even a single word of it.


 Ashley said...

In passing, my understanding of general officer ranks is as follows:

Brigadier - one star general
Major General - two star general
Lt General - three star general
General - four star general

Major General derives from Sergeant Major General, hence lower than Lieutenant General.

If IIRC originally Brigade Generals were just generals. However, the usual caveat that this is very much period specific, post WW1.

It's a fascinating subject subject that I studied quite intensely when researching back ground stuff for my first three novels.

Zoe Brain said...

@locumranch - i see your Khayyam and raise you a Kipling :

We were living in trees when they met us. They showed us each in turn
That Water would certainly wet us, as Fire would certainly burn:
But we found them lacking in Uplift, Vision and Breadth of Mind,
So we left them to teach the Gorillas while we followed the March of Mankind.

We moved as the Spirit listed. They never altered their pace,
Being neither cloud nor wind-borne like the Gods of the Market Place,
But they always caught up with our progress, and presently word would come
That a tribe had been wiped off its icefield, or the lights had gone out in Rome.

With the Hopes that our World is built on they were utterly out of touch,
They denied that the Moon was Stilton; they denied she was even Dutch;
They denied that Wishes were Horses; they denied that a Pig had Wings;
So we worshipped the Gods of the Market Who promised these beautiful things.

Rupert Murdoch controls some 70% of print media in Australia, as well as around half of TV. Sky in the UK and Fox News in the US, with their associated newspapers and websites, are dominant influences, amplifying the promises of beautiful things,and suppressing words of tribes and icefields.

Reality wins in the end though. The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return.

David Brin said...

Zoe. Magnificent.

Ashley this is a nice try:
"Major General derives from Sergeant Major General, hence lower than Lieutenant General."

But no, I believe that the lowest general - brigadier - was also Captain General, followed by Major General, then Lieutenant-colonel general, then colonel-general and a general-general became Marshal.

Lieutenant-colonel-general got shortened (utterly illogically) to lieutenant-general. And colonel-general drove everyone but Russians nuts so they just lopped off the colonel, again.

 Ashley said...

As I said, it depends on when, so if we're going to pedantic the first use was Captain in General, which is when Kings commanded armies. The evolution the use then has various changes according to nation state.

"So, in these early days a “General” became the highest rank to direct all of the armies on the field. But what of all the other General officer ranks that evolved? As these armies grew in size, so too did the need for the General to have subordinate General officers to help him coordinate and direct these large commands. The first subordinate General rank to evolve was the “Lieutenant” General. The name of this rank came about because typically while the Captain General was away he would have his assistant, or Lieutenant, take over the army. And, since this Lieutenant must have the power to command other Captains, which were technically above his rank, he became the “Lieutenant General”. And, as you may have guessed by now, as the armies got even bigger this Lieutenant General would of course also require an assistant or subordinate officer with command authority. Below a Lieutenant rank was the chief administrative officer, or Sargeant Major…which of course was pressed into command service as well, with his title also evolving and being later shortened to “Major General”. This is why a Lieutenant General outranks a Major General, even though in field grade officers a Major outranks a Lieutenant."

From here:

But caveat it depends on a nation's army development and influences.

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin:

"Major General derives from Sergeant Major General, hence lower than Lieutenant General."

But no, I believe that the lowest general - brigadier - was also Captain General, followed by Major General, ...

Caveat emptor as all I know of military history I learned in movies and novels. But "Sergeant Major General" sounds British to my ear, so maybe you and Ashley are each correct, from a certain point of view.

Zepp Jamieson said...

"We were living in trees when they met us. They showed us each in turn
That Water would certainly wet us, as Fire would certainly burn:
But we found them lacking in Uplift, Vision and Breadth of Mind,
So we left them to teach the Gorillas while we followed the March of Mankind."

Doctor, should you ever decide to append to your Uplift series, PLEASE consider this for inclusion!

scidata said...

Re: Gods of the CopyBook Headings
"And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins"
12 years beforeHuxley's BNW.

Also, Kipling and Huxley both declined knighthood (as did H.G. Wells). Too many connections to ignore.

Jon S. said...

MIRANDA: O wonder!
How many goodly creatures are there here!
How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world
That has such people in't!

PROSPERO: 'Tis new to thee.

- William Shakespeare, The Tempest, Act V Scene 1

(emphasis mine)

Howard Brazee said...

Didn't George Washington hire generals with titles that indicated what their job description was?

scidata said...

@Jon S.
Yes, that was where I always assumed that Huxley got it from. However, in the Bard's time, 'brave' literally meant 'beautiful'. Kipling and Huxley intended a different thing. In fact, the opposite thing.

David Brin said...

A perfect night launch and night landing and "almost" with the fairings. Our space hopes have been utterly transformed by SpaceX, which has made US launch costs the cheapest in the world and forced everyone else to scurry and catch up. I never tire of watching these.

scidata said...

It seems that we're converging toward one happy day when SpaceX, Boeing, and Blue Origin will all launch. Noice.

matthew said...

Happy #ImpeachmentEve! Don't forget to leave out milk and cookies for Adam Schiff et al tonight!

Larry Hart said...


Yes, that was where I always assumed that Huxley got it [the title "Brave New World"] from.

I thought it was explicit in the book that both the John Savage character and Mustapha Mond were familiar with the line from Shakespeare.

However, in the Bard's time, 'brave' literally meant 'beautiful'. Kipling and Huxley intended a different thing. In fact, the opposite thing.

Heh. But here too, it seems to be no secret that the phrase was being used ironically. As if to say, "This is what your Brave New World really looks like!" Or with a Jersey accent, "I've got your Brave New World right here!"

Larry Hart said...


Happy #ImpeachmentEve!

"I want a Papadopoulos for Christmas..."

Tony Fisk said...

Zepp said: "Doctor, should you ever decide to append to your Uplift series, PLEASE consider this for inclusion!"

If you think back to climactic events on Garth in "The Uplift War", the good Doctor already has.

Alfred Differ said...

And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!

Hmm. Yah. Still moving.
... yet some of the copybook headings have been toppled it seems.

Pigs Have Wings could just as easily have been Visit The Moon except for the failed rhyme.

Oh. Duh.

Change is the only constant in life. - Heraclitus

Zoe Brain said...

@David Brin - thanks for the Falcon URL.

Good to see the Ka band system we space qualified on FedSat in 2002 is now ready for Prime Time.

FedSat also qualified the ARGO buoy store and forward message packet system, as well as a couple of other experiments. Now there's a decent constellation of these buoys floating around on the planet's oceans, we have good data. Even if the news isn't good, worse than our most pessimistic predictions.

The FPGA - Field Programmable Gate Array - experimental self healing hardware for deep space missions worked too, as did the error correcting software for the mass memory. Well, most of it worked. Of the 5 layers of defence, 3 remained untested as nothing got past the first two. The same architecture was "borrowed" by the MESSENGER spacecraft, so we got nice pix from Mercury.

Not bad for a microsat - they usually have one, at most two, experiments on each bird, not half a dozen. A case of "we only have funding for one shot, so cram 6 shots worth in", plus "fools rush in..." as the expertise we'd gained in the early 70s was all gone by the late 90s. We didn't know it was impossible, so we did it.

The slow tumble on separation made for great video, but meant gaining contact after activation was.. not trivial.

The best part of being a Rocket Scientist - for I headed the onboard computer system development for Fedsat - is that you get to say "as a matter of fact, I *am* a Rocket Scientist".

Alfred Differ said...

"as a matter of fact, I *am* a Rocket Scientist"

I wish all the folks who are involved in these efforts wore the t-shirt/pin/ball cap or whatever that said so. Often.
People need to see it. 8)

Zoe Brain said...

@Alfred Differ - even though all I did on MESSENGER was give maybe 20 hours of phone consultation and emailed them the error correcting Ada code and documentation, they were kind enough to make me a member of the mission team, complete with T shirt.

That and the FedSat shirt with the mission patch on are two of my proudest possessions. You can keep your Dior gowns and Gucci accessories, your Rolex watches and Pierre Cardin jewelry. This Geek Girl (ok, I'm 61, but still...) prefers these two shirts. More my style.

And I do wear them, accessorised with Dalek earrings and an Invisible Pink Unicorn pendant.

@David Brin - when an author of your calibre says "magnificent", that means a lot to me too. Thank you.

Larry Hart said...

@Zoe Brain,

If it's invisible, can you be sure it's pink? :)

scidata said...

NASA is live streaming the Mars 2020 assembly room.

Reminds me of the GM assembly line in Oshawa, Ontario, where I was a promising robotics software developer many years ago. It's closing today, after 60 years. As the last vehicle rolls off the line I'll take a long pull of tree sauce. Time and tides.

David Brin said...

Wow. Ashley and Zoe. We done real good, this month guys!

Larry Hart said...

A to Z?

David Brin said...

Dynamic bookends!

Lloyd Flack said...

A to Z, before the change Zoe was Alan

David Brin said...

Proud either way.

Jon S. said...

"A to Z, before the change Zoe was Alan"

Gives a whole new meaning to "from A to Z"! :)

Alfred Differ said...


Only certain women would see a unicorn, so of course she'd know it is pink. 8)


I worked the amateur rocketry side (almost 10 years) trying to help them break into the professional layer and prove things could be done on the cheap. Mid-90's to 2004. Suborbital with big dreams for more. We learned how to build and fly our own hardware and software and deal with weird things like exploding capacitors (electrolyte properties change with T... d'oh!), batteries for heating batteries, and then software that didn't have to do anything except keep the circuits warm, but not too warm... oh wait... we can't convect the heat away with so little air pressure up there... hmm. 8)

I got to learn that tantalum capacitors go bang with reversed voltages, so one can use them as cores for cheap igniters. One has to think about what your software will think when no data is coming in as well as when garbage echoes arrive because the real world is awful messy. "It works in the lab" doesn't mean "It will work in the field". Shoestring budgets can do more damage to business plans than failed tests. It IS possible to find an adhesive tape at Home Depot that will hold things together at T < -40 C, but don't tell them that. Finally, when you actually begin to do something interesting successfully, a multimillionaire might decide to copy and displace you and then have the same thing happen when a billionaire takes notice. [I'm not unhappy about that. I'll be a footnote in a book someday written by a dry historian a century from now, but I will have helped.]

Always choose to DO something. 8)

David Brin said...




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