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Shared Circles including David Brin

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Activity

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Top posts in the last 50 posts

Most comments: 92

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2016-01-14 03:08:27 (92 comments; 13 reshares; 63 +1s)Open 

The next denialist chant, after they are forced to move the goal posts yet again?  Having to admit that science shows huge global warming due to human-generated CO2?  The next riff will be "Yay!  We polluters prevented an inevitable ice age!"  That's one interpretation - (a moronic one) - of this scientific study that suggest that - indeed - human activity 5000 years ago might have tipped the balance and prevented another glaciation.

In which case yay ancestors.  Now let's be scientific and responsible and not wreck the place. 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2016/01/13/scientists-say-humans-have-basically-canceled-the-next-ice-age/

Most reshares: 49

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2016-01-29 16:14:52 (7 comments; 49 reshares; 113 +1s)Open 

The first issue of the peer-reviewed, open-access Journal of Science Fiction is up! Check it out and let us know what you think.
 http://ow.ly/XBTZ1

Also from the folks building toward the new Museum of Science Fiction — Science fiction is the story of humanity: who we were, who we are, and who we dream to be. https://lnkd.in/empzFrV

Most plusones: 121

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2016-01-12 06:34:48 (15 comments; 7 reshares; 121 +1s)Open 

In memoriam David Bowie... A revised version of Bowie’s Space Oddity, recorded by Commander Chris Hadfield on board the International Space Station in 2013.  One of the top tribute/covers.

https://richarddawkins.net/2016/01/that-time-chris-hadfield-sang-david-bowies-space-oddity-on-the-iss/

Latest 50 posts

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2016-02-06 21:19:01 (5 comments; 0 reshares; 10 +1s)Open 

My weekend posting is on science! My answer to keep artificial intelligences (AI) from running wild! What's the most transformative technology of the next 3 years? Quantum computers for the rest of us? Prehistoric massacres!  Skin wearable systems and so on.  Even in a political year, the real folks who are changing the world - mostly for the better - remain focused.

http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2016/02/big-questions-for-future.html

My weekend posting is on science! My answer to keep artificial intelligences (AI) from running wild! What's the most transformative technology of the next 3 years? Quantum computers for the rest of us? Prehistoric massacres!  Skin wearable systems and so on.  Even in a political year, the real folks who are changing the world - mostly for the better - remain focused.

http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2016/02/big-questions-for-future.html___

2016-02-06 20:23:38 (19 comments; 0 reshares; 33 +1s)Open 

Here’s the most hilarious impromptu comeback joke I've heard in months.  It had a table of a dozen Washingtonians snorting beer and choking/guffawing. 
 
All right, the topic was political, sure.  But the punch line wasn't!
 
The setup: One fellow commented on all the hurrow over how President Obama, inexperienced amid his first months in office, bowed a bit too low when greeting the Saudi King.
 
"You don't see the same fuss over pictures of George Bush, walking hand-in hand with Saudi princes. Heck there's even a photo of Bush actually kissing the Saudi king... on the lips!"
 
To which another fellow replied, dryly:
 
"Well... in fairness... have you seen him?"
 
One beat.  Two beats. And we all fell apart. 

Fair enough!  Some temptations I guess are impossible to resist.

Here’s the most hilarious impromptu comeback joke I've heard in months.  It had a table of a dozen Washingtonians snorting beer and choking/guffawing. 
 
All right, the topic was political, sure.  But the punch line wasn't!
 
The setup: One fellow commented on all the hurrow over how President Obama, inexperienced amid his first months in office, bowed a bit too low when greeting the Saudi King.
 
"You don't see the same fuss over pictures of George Bush, walking hand-in hand with Saudi princes. Heck there's even a photo of Bush actually kissing the Saudi king... on the lips!"
 
To which another fellow replied, dryly:
 
"Well... in fairness... have you seen him?"
 
One beat.  Two beats. And we all fell apart. 

Fair enough!  Some temptations I guess are impossible to resist.___

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2016-02-06 17:21:03 (2 comments; 6 reshares; 41 +1s)Open 

Surprised and honored to be on this list! Ten people the Artificial Intelligence elite follow on Twitter: 

Surprised and honored to be on this list! Ten people the Artificial Intelligence elite follow on Twitter: ___

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2016-02-03 17:41:10 (4 comments; 6 reshares; 25 +1s)Open 

My midweek posting sheds light on at least a dozen implications of the Iowa caucuses that (I promise) you've seen mentioned nowhere else, on any medium. Like Ted Cruz's real plan, and what trick Donald Trump neglected, because of pride. Why did Paul Krugman tout "uplift"? And why "radical" solutions are never best implemented by Radicals.

Why did the GOP lords appoint Nikki Haley to answer POTUS's SOTU speech? And I review an essay that unveils "8 reasons for Trumpism." Some of them clear and strong, but the writer misses several much bigger ones.

Am I a credentialed pundit? Well, marginally. Do I offer different insights? As Sarah Palin would put it -- "You betcha."

http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2016/02/iowa-inanity-sotu-and-political-games.html


My midweek posting sheds light on at least a dozen implications of the Iowa caucuses that (I promise) you've seen mentioned nowhere else, on any medium. Like Ted Cruz's real plan, and what trick Donald Trump neglected, because of pride. Why did Paul Krugman tout "uplift"? And why "radical" solutions are never best implemented by Radicals.

Why did the GOP lords appoint Nikki Haley to answer POTUS's SOTU speech? And I review an essay that unveils "8 reasons for Trumpism." Some of them clear and strong, but the writer misses several much bigger ones.

Am I a credentialed pundit? Well, marginally. Do I offer different insights? As Sarah Palin would put it -- "You betcha."

http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2016/02/iowa-inanity-sotu-and-political-games.html
___

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2016-02-02 18:02:21 (47 comments; 2 reshares; 52 +1s)Open 

Post-Iowa Notes: NYT Nobelist economist Paul Krugman highlights ‘uplift’ in his analysis of the Iowa returns. His point being that we should choose to be more ambitious -- the one core thought that Bernie Sanders has contributed. Can we ‘uplift’ our society, our civilization? The American public mood is addicted to downer memes, despite every statistical metric having improved. While science fiction is filled with many negative stories, it is the one medium where perhaps 10% of the time, we see real optimism and hope.
http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/02/02/post-iowa-notes/


Post-Iowa Notes: NYT Nobelist economist Paul Krugman highlights ‘uplift’ in his analysis of the Iowa returns. His point being that we should choose to be more ambitious -- the one core thought that Bernie Sanders has contributed. Can we ‘uplift’ our society, our civilization? The American public mood is addicted to downer memes, despite every statistical metric having improved. While science fiction is filled with many negative stories, it is the one medium where perhaps 10% of the time, we see real optimism and hope.
http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/02/02/post-iowa-notes/
___

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2016-02-01 23:23:27 (0 comments; 2 reshares; 18 +1s)Open 

Wow. An utterly fine review by noted blogger-on-SF Brad K. Horner of my new short story collection INSISTENCE OF VISION.  Here's the sort of perceptive reader for whom I want to write more.  Have a look at what he says about this breakthrough volume.  And note: it's discounted for pre-orders!

http://danrymes.blogspot.ca/2016/01/insistence-of-vision-by-david-brin-my.html

http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2016/01/insistence-of-vision-and-other-forward.html

Wow. An utterly fine review by noted blogger-on-SF Brad K. Horner of my new short story collection INSISTENCE OF VISION.  Here's the sort of perceptive reader for whom I want to write more.  Have a look at what he says about this breakthrough volume.  And note: it's discounted for pre-orders!

http://danrymes.blogspot.ca/2016/01/insistence-of-vision-by-david-brin-my.html

http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2016/01/insistence-of-vision-and-other-forward.html___

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2016-02-01 20:42:55 (44 comments; 11 reshares; 37 +1s)Open 

My answer on Quora to What constraints to AI and machine learning algorithms are needed to prevent AI from becoming a dystopian threat?



My answer on Quora to What constraints to AI and machine learning algorithms are needed to prevent AI from becoming a dystopian threat?

___

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2016-01-31 23:51:19 (32 comments; 7 reshares; 51 +1s)Open 

Those who insist we should have made no deal with Iran, but instead rattle sabers to drive average Iranians into the mullahs’ arms… these voices were the ones who screeched when Henry Kissinger went to Mao’s China, in 1971.  In some cases the VERY same voices. Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger were savvy enough to see how stupid a situation we were in, to abide a triangle that favored the Soviets, with us hating on both the USSR and China and the Sovs getting to hold center position.  Kissinger arranged a judo move in which WE became the ones talking to both sides and playing them off each other.  

http://china.usc.edu/getting-beijing-henry-kissingers-secret-1971-trip

Now? “Feckless” Obama has just pulled a Nixon by opening up better relations with Iran, allowing us to take that favorable position, playing Iran against Saudia. It is obviously and blatantly the smart thingto do… once ... more »

Those who insist we should have made no deal with Iran, but instead rattle sabers to drive average Iranians into the mullahs’ arms… these voices were the ones who screeched when Henry Kissinger went to Mao’s China, in 1971.  In some cases the VERY same voices. Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger were savvy enough to see how stupid a situation we were in, to abide a triangle that favored the Soviets, with us hating on both the USSR and China and the Sovs getting to hold center position.  Kissinger arranged a judo move in which WE became the ones talking to both sides and playing them off each other.  

http://china.usc.edu/getting-beijing-henry-kissingers-secret-1971-trip

Now? “Feckless” Obama has just pulled a Nixon by opening up better relations with Iran, allowing us to take that favorable position, playing Iran against Saudia. It is obviously and blatantly the smart thing to do… once we coerced Iran to eliminate 25 tons of enriched uranium and to pour concrete into its plutonium reactor. And accept strong inspections.

But witness the Fox’ism as one commenter decried the comparison:  “We have not exchanged embassies with Iran. Their leaders will not stop calling us the devil. Obama has not gone to Iran. What have we gained the ability to threaten the Saudis with?”

To which I reply that foxisms are drivel. We do not need an embassy if two million Iranian expatriates start investing in their homeland, using economic leverage to help Rouhani and undermine the Guards, who are screaming in terror over that.  We are still at the Kissinger phase, fool. And Mao called us devils till the day he died… while working with the US to scare the crap out of the Russkies.

“Feckless” Obama “lost Crimea”… after stealing the entire Ukraine from the Russian sphere of influence, the biggest expansion of the West since the end of the Cold War. Russian media and Putin himself lay that “disaster” right at the feet of the man they call "aggressively clever" and anything but “feckless.”

The entire US military is back at 100% readiness, even the reserves, after plummeting to 0% (for major US Army and Marine and Reserve units) at the end of both Bush administrations. While casualty rates among servicemen/women have plummeted and Defense modernization is at its fastest pace ever. And every metric of US national health has gone up -- and almost every one plummeted across both Bushes.

http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2014/06/so-do-outcomes-matter-more-than-rhetoric.html

And… oh… yeah.  Obama killed Osama bin Laden.  Did you think we’ll let you forget that?  Never, b******s.___

2016-01-31 01:57:15 (6 comments; 0 reshares; 19 +1s)Open 

Never saw this before, a cool syllabus for a course at Brown on "Computers and Human Values" in which students a decade ago were asked to compare me and Nicholas Negroponte and Karl Marx! 
http://cs.brown.edu/courses/cs009/01/2005/

Never saw this before, a cool syllabus for a course at Brown on "Computers and Human Values" in which students a decade ago were asked to compare me and Nicholas Negroponte and Karl Marx! 
http://cs.brown.edu/courses/cs009/01/2005/___

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2016-01-30 20:50:26 (4 comments; 3 reshares; 26 +1s)Open 

Big news for Science Fiction lovers. The wait is over. You can pre-order INSISTENCE OF VISION, my third and best short story collection, Including a recent tale that's included in many best-of-2015 anthologies. Find here details about amazing stories -- plus how to get a pre-order discount! Also in this posting, peeks at some other books coming out soon, whose authors have done great at exploring the future.


Big news for Science Fiction lovers. The wait is over. You can pre-order INSISTENCE OF VISION, my third and best short story collection, Including a recent tale that's included in many best-of-2015 anthologies. Find here details about amazing stories -- plus how to get a pre-order discount! Also in this posting, peeks at some other books coming out soon, whose authors have done great at exploring the future.
___

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2016-01-29 16:14:52 (7 comments; 49 reshares; 113 +1s)Open 

The first issue of the peer-reviewed, open-access Journal of Science Fiction is up! Check it out and let us know what you think.
 http://ow.ly/XBTZ1

Also from the folks building toward the new Museum of Science Fiction — Science fiction is the story of humanity: who we were, who we are, and who we dream to be. https://lnkd.in/empzFrV

The first issue of the peer-reviewed, open-access Journal of Science Fiction is up! Check it out and let us know what you think.
 http://ow.ly/XBTZ1

Also from the folks building toward the new Museum of Science Fiction — Science fiction is the story of humanity: who we were, who we are, and who we dream to be. https://lnkd.in/empzFrV___

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2016-01-29 05:50:57 (17 comments; 19 reshares; 80 +1s)Open 

Researchers placed Antarctic deep-rock fungi in 1.4 cm wide cells on a space station platform called EXPOSE-E, which simulated Mars and extreme space conditions. A large fraction of the spores came active after a year of exposure.

 http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3421684/Life-exist-Mars-Antarctic-fungi-survives-Martian-conditions-strapped-outside-space-station.html#ixzz3ybrWlAO3

Researchers placed Antarctic deep-rock fungi in 1.4 cm wide cells on a space station platform called EXPOSE-E, which simulated Mars and extreme space conditions. A large fraction of the spores came active after a year of exposure.

 http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3421684/Life-exist-Mars-Antarctic-fungi-survives-Martian-conditions-strapped-outside-space-station.html#ixzz3ybrWlAO3___

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2016-01-29 00:14:59 (32 comments; 2 reshares; 46 +1s)Open 

Slate has jumped the shark by claiming "Donald Trump Will Make You Root for the Saudi Royal Family" -- because Trump pointed out that Fox News is co-owned and content-driven by the Saudis.  Ridiculous!  Trump may be saying outrageous things, but he has never harmed me. While the Saudis have carefully and deliberately financed the re-igniting of the American Civil War and their Fox-Madrassa has lobotomized 1/3 of my neighbors into zombiehood.

Mind you, I do believe Prince Alaweed that the pic with Megyn Kelley was photoshopped.  She would not meet with him bare-shouldered. It shows how dumb Trump's tweet-person is. Still, his feud with Fox is the most hopeful thing to happen to American Conservatism since Ronald Reagan. To be clear, EVERY thing you are told by Fox is - at one level or another - a lie intended to ruin you as a functioning US citizen.

They mean usha... more »

Slate has jumped the shark by claiming "Donald Trump Will Make You Root for the Saudi Royal Family" -- because Trump pointed out that Fox News is co-owned and content-driven by the Saudis.  Ridiculous!  Trump may be saying outrageous things, but he has never harmed me. While the Saudis have carefully and deliberately financed the re-igniting of the American Civil War and their Fox-Madrassa has lobotomized 1/3 of my neighbors into zombiehood.

Mind you, I do believe Prince Alaweed that the pic with Megyn Kelley was photoshopped.  She would not meet with him bare-shouldered. It shows how dumb Trump's tweet-person is. Still, his feud with Fox is the most hopeful thing to happen to American Conservatism since Ronald Reagan. To be clear, EVERY thing you are told by Fox is - at one level or another - a lie intended to ruin you as a functioning US citizen.

They mean us harm.

http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2016/01/28/saudi_prince_is_not_amused_by_donald_trump_s_itchy_retweet_finger.html___

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2016-01-28 21:25:34 (8 comments; 8 reshares; 44 +1s)Open 

Books that top US college students are required to read: The Transparent Society ranks 6th at Brown! Just below... Karl Marx. Interesting. One of my recent stories features Providence. Still, does anyone know which professor(s) at Brown are assigning it? Nice to know there are intellects out there with great taste.

http://qz.com/602956/these-are-the-books-students-at-the-top-us-colleges-are-required-to-read/


Books that top US college students are required to read: The Transparent Society ranks 6th at Brown! Just below... Karl Marx. Interesting. One of my recent stories features Providence. Still, does anyone know which professor(s) at Brown are assigning it? Nice to know there are intellects out there with great taste.

http://qz.com/602956/these-are-the-books-students-at-the-top-us-colleges-are-required-to-read/
___

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2016-01-27 18:13:19 (23 comments; 5 reshares; 30 +1s)Open 

My midweek posting is about plummeting oil prices, skyrocketing sustainables and how the hottest year in human history - 2014 - just ceded that "honor" to 2015. In other words, the fact-verdicts are in. And maybe it's time to let the "truthy" habit give way to... truth.


My midweek posting is about plummeting oil prices, skyrocketing sustainables and how the hottest year in human history - 2014 - just ceded that "honor" to 2015. In other words, the fact-verdicts are in. And maybe it's time to let the "truthy" habit give way to... truth.
___

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2016-01-27 17:28:49 (0 comments; 4 reshares; 19 +1s)Open 

The prominent sci fi podcast Starship Sofa has released an interview with me about why the year 2015 – while it had many problems – was filled with underappreciated good news….



The prominent sci fi podcast Starship Sofa has released an interview with me about why the year 2015 – while it had many problems – was filled with underappreciated good news….

___

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2016-01-26 04:41:37 (4 comments; 22 reshares; 108 +1s)Open 

It's been a rough week. We in the science fiction community were already reeling from the sudden loss of David Hartwell, one of the great editors of our field.  Now Marvin Minsky - co-founder of MIT's Media Lab, Artificial Intelligence pioneer, author of THE SOCIETY OF MIND, puckish innovator and jokester and mentor - one of the most original minds of two different centuries... and my friend.

Sigh.

http://news.mit.edu/2016/marvin-minsky-obituary-0125

It's been a rough week. We in the science fiction community were already reeling from the sudden loss of David Hartwell, one of the great editors of our field.  Now Marvin Minsky - co-founder of MIT's Media Lab, Artificial Intelligence pioneer, author of THE SOCIETY OF MIND, puckish innovator and jokester and mentor - one of the most original minds of two different centuries... and my friend.

Sigh.

http://news.mit.edu/2016/marvin-minsky-obituary-0125___

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2016-01-25 19:55:52 (71 comments; 6 reshares; 43 +1s)Open 

My new posting looks closely at why the GOP lords are so desperate to stop both Cruz & Trump. And at Cruz's actual goal (the VP nomination) and his fear that he might succeed too well! Also we'll look at the stunning hypocrisy of three "intellectuals" who could have arrested the slide of the American right into irrelevance and madness. We need a sane US conservatism - one that does not hate facts and science. I blame these fellows, above all, for selling out when they could have preserved such a sane conservatism for our nation.

No holds barred, this time!

http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2016/01/fear-trump-loathe-cruz-not-as-much-as.html

My new posting looks closely at why the GOP lords are so desperate to stop both Cruz & Trump. And at Cruz's actual goal (the VP nomination) and his fear that he might succeed too well! Also we'll look at the stunning hypocrisy of three "intellectuals" who could have arrested the slide of the American right into irrelevance and madness. We need a sane US conservatism - one that does not hate facts and science. I blame these fellows, above all, for selling out when they could have preserved such a sane conservatism for our nation.

No holds barred, this time!

http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2016/01/fear-trump-loathe-cruz-not-as-much-as.html___

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2016-01-24 18:19:25 (0 comments; 7 reshares; 34 +1s)Open 

Bard College’s Hannah Arendt Center announces: “We're excited to announce that edited footage from our eighth annual fall conference "Why Privacy Matters: What Do We Lose When We Lose Our Privacy?" is now available on our Vimeo account. You can watch all of the panels, including Edward Snowden's keynote on "Why Privacy Matters" and David Brin's talk on The Transparent Society, by accessing our conference's video collection here.

http://www.bard.edu/hannaharendtcenter/conference-fall15
https://vimeo.com/arendtcenter
https://vimeo.com/album/3581354/video/149510880
https://vimeo.com/album/3581354/video/147910444
https://vimeo.com/album/3581354

Bard College’s Hannah Arendt Center announces: “We're excited to announce that edited footage from our eighth annual fall conference "Why Privacy Matters: What Do We Lose When We Lose Our Privacy?" is now available on our Vimeo account. You can watch all of the panels, including Edward Snowden's keynote on "Why Privacy Matters" and David Brin's talk on The Transparent Society, by accessing our conference's video collection here.

http://www.bard.edu/hannaharendtcenter/conference-fall15
https://vimeo.com/arendtcenter
https://vimeo.com/album/3581354/video/149510880
https://vimeo.com/album/3581354/video/147910444
https://vimeo.com/album/3581354___

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2016-01-23 20:45:31 (8 comments; 2 reshares; 29 +1s)Open 

My weekend post begins with a tribute to my friend, colleague and editor David G Hartwell, who passed away last week, leaving many of us reeling. An inimitable/fascinating character. From there I launch into a sure-fire discussion-starter -- "Who are the greatest 'forgotten treasure' authors in science fiction?"

Then the President's sci fi reading list... and why are they no longer calling Harlan Ellison "Science Fiction's weird uncle..." but rather AMERICA's? That's progress. I betcha.


My weekend post begins with a tribute to my friend, colleague and editor David G Hartwell, who passed away last week, leaving many of us reeling. An inimitable/fascinating character. From there I launch into a sure-fire discussion-starter -- "Who are the greatest 'forgotten treasure' authors in science fiction?"

Then the President's sci fi reading list... and why are they no longer calling Harlan Ellison "Science Fiction's weird uncle..." but rather AMERICA's? That's progress. I betcha.
___

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2016-01-22 22:15:30 (49 comments; 4 reshares; 41 +1s)Open 

The lords of the U.S. right - from the Murdoch-Saudi owners of Fox News all the way to the faux-intellects at National Review - have been desperately seeking some magic bullet to bring down Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, so they can restore their till-now complete, top-down control over the GOP political caste. Hence a double barrel attack, with all the old guard pols, like Bob Dole, talking about Cruz’s “hateful personality.” As for Trump? While most of the world piles onto him as “fascist” (an accusation I tend not to believe), NR and Fox are trying a new tactic: accusing the Donald of being “too moderate!”  

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/01/22/its-official-trump-doesnt-go-far-enough-leading-republicans-argue/

Of course that accusation would be poison to the populist volcano that the lords themselves deliberately fueled for 20+ years, exactly as theJunkers lords ... more »

The lords of the U.S. right - from the Murdoch-Saudi owners of Fox News all the way to the faux-intellects at National Review - have been desperately seeking some magic bullet to bring down Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, so they can restore their till-now complete, top-down control over the GOP political caste. Hence a double barrel attack, with all the old guard pols, like Bob Dole, talking about Cruz’s “hateful personality.” As for Trump? While most of the world piles onto him as “fascist” (an accusation I tend not to believe), NR and Fox are trying a new tactic: accusing the Donald of being “too moderate!”  

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/01/22/its-official-trump-doesnt-go-far-enough-leading-republicans-argue/

Of course that accusation would be poison to the populist volcano that the lords themselves deliberately fueled for 20+ years, exactly as the Junkers lords did in 1920s Germany, using populist, lowbrow bigotism as a weapon against leftists and liberals… till that frenzy exploded out of their control. Proudly ignorant of history, few of today’s gopper lords seem to grasp what they have wrought, believing that if they tar Trump with “too-liberal” — spreading more glue under the nostrils of their horse — that they can then tighten the reins and hold on.

It won’t work.  All they do is prove daily their stupidity and unworthiness for the lordship over a re-feudalized West.  

Mind you, my own reading of Trump is that, yes, if he gets the nomination he will then charge for the center as fast as he can.  In which case he will need a strong ambassador to the molten-hot confederacy. And that would be Cruz.  ANY republican nominee will need Cruz for that role, a role - as VP running mate - that has always been Cruz’s one goal.  His only goal, all along.

 I tell you this.  Actually winning the GOP nomination for president is Ted Cruz’s second-worst nightmare! He knows he would be crushed and the confederacy left in smoldering ruins.  He has positioned himself — if trends continue — to demand the VP slot and from there to become the heir apparent, either in 2020 or 2024.  His role model is Richard Nixon — in all ways (except with touche of Joe McCarthy, whom he so physically resembles) — and thus he is playing a long, long game.___

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2016-01-22 20:33:15 (9 comments; 12 reshares; 61 +1s)Open 

By now you’ve seen reports that a couple of fellows at Caltech (my alma mater) seem hot on the trail of a neptune-sized “Ninth Planet,” traced by its effects on a dozen smaller (already discovered) worldlets.  This exceptionally well-written article on the pre-discovery prediction lays out a cool story of science at its boldest.

 http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2016/01/feature-astronomers-say-neptune-sized-planet-lurks-unseen-solar-system

By now you’ve seen reports that a couple of fellows at Caltech (my alma mater) seem hot on the trail of a neptune-sized “Ninth Planet,” traced by its effects on a dozen smaller (already discovered) worldlets.  This exceptionally well-written article on the pre-discovery prediction lays out a cool story of science at its boldest.

 http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2016/01/feature-astronomers-say-neptune-sized-planet-lurks-unseen-solar-system___

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2016-01-21 22:18:48 (15 comments; 2 reshares; 38 +1s)Open 

I still think we should bypass Hill and Bern and go with California's spectacularly effective and stunningly popular and brilliant Governor Jerry Brown.  Even if for just one term.  He is a jiu jitsu master who would bypass all the political cliches and shock americans out of their rigidly dogmatic-simplistic inanities.  How I wish he were even just on the debates!  Even agile savanarolas like Trump would be left smoldering ruins.

http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-pol-sac-jerry-brown-state-of-the-state-20160121-story.html

I still think we should bypass Hill and Bern and go with California's spectacularly effective and stunningly popular and brilliant Governor Jerry Brown.  Even if for just one term.  He is a jiu jitsu master who would bypass all the political cliches and shock americans out of their rigidly dogmatic-simplistic inanities.  How I wish he were even just on the debates!  Even agile savanarolas like Trump would be left smoldering ruins.

http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-pol-sac-jerry-brown-state-of-the-state-20160121-story.html___

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2016-01-21 21:14:59 (50 comments; 3 reshares; 27 +1s)Open 

“Republican Party leaders and prominent senators are sharpening their knives against Ted Cruz, expressing growing alarm over his candidacy,” begins a report on the CNN site.  Former Sen. Bob Dole — the GOP’s presidential nominee in 1996 has endorsed Jeb Bush, but thinks Donald Trump could be credible… as opposed to Ten Cruz, predicting "cataclysmic" and "wholesale losses" for the GOP if Cruz prevails. Well, well. I have mixed feelings.  First, I think Sen. Dole is generally right.  Moreover he is a throwback to when GOP candidates only made you say “he’s 50% crazy and the rest is normal conservatism.” 

Indeed, I blame guys like him, for not long ago denouncing the oligarchs who have made the accepted ratio 90:10.  Sorry, this insane asylum is partly your making, Senator.

http://www.cnn.com/2016/01/21/politics/ted-cruz-senate-revolt/index.htmlhttp://www.cnn.com... more »

“Republican Party leaders and prominent senators are sharpening their knives against Ted Cruz, expressing growing alarm over his candidacy,” begins a report on the CNN site.  Former Sen. Bob Dole — the GOP’s presidential nominee in 1996 has endorsed Jeb Bush, but thinks Donald Trump could be credible… as opposed to Ten Cruz, predicting "cataclysmic" and "wholesale losses" for the GOP if Cruz prevails. Well, well. I have mixed feelings.  First, I think Sen. Dole is generally right.  Moreover he is a throwback to when GOP candidates only made you say “he’s 50% crazy and the rest is normal conservatism.” 

Indeed, I blame guys like him, for not long ago denouncing the oligarchs who have made the accepted ratio 90:10.  Sorry, this insane asylum is partly your making, Senator.

http://www.cnn.com/2016/01/21/politics/ted-cruz-senate-revolt/index.html
http://www.cnn.com/2016/01/20/politics/bob-dole-ted-cruz-worse-than-donald-trump/

-___

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2016-01-21 04:36:32 (52 comments; 16 reshares; 78 +1s)Open 

I cannot understand the markets’ panic over lower oil prices.  Sure, it hurts if you own Exxon or drilling-fracking services companies, or if you are Saudia or Venezuela or Russia or Iran.  But for most of the world, it amounts to a spectacular tax cut and cost discount for all manufacturers, transportation and consumers of almost anything. See this article on much cheaper airline deals.  

https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/market-dives-more-than-3-percent-amid-fears-over-oil-prices-china/2016/01/20/010d3a62-bf9f-11e5-bcda-62a36b394160_story.html

http://www.npr.org/2016/01/20/463724352/as-oil-plummets-cheap-jet-fuel-means-better-travel-deals

 Is this flood of spendable cash supposed to somehow… hurt us?

Well, it might have, a few years ago, by choking solar and wind companies to death with floods of cheap oil.  But it’s too late for that. Those indus... more »

I cannot understand the markets’ panic over lower oil prices.  Sure, it hurts if you own Exxon or drilling-fracking services companies, or if you are Saudia or Venezuela or Russia or Iran.  But for most of the world, it amounts to a spectacular tax cut and cost discount for all manufacturers, transportation and consumers of almost anything. See this article on much cheaper airline deals.  

https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/market-dives-more-than-3-percent-amid-fears-over-oil-prices-china/2016/01/20/010d3a62-bf9f-11e5-bcda-62a36b394160_story.html

http://www.npr.org/2016/01/20/463724352/as-oil-plummets-cheap-jet-fuel-means-better-travel-deals

 Is this flood of spendable cash supposed to somehow… hurt us?

Well, it might have, a few years ago, by choking solar and wind companies to death with floods of cheap oil.  But it’s too late for that.  Those industries are self-sustaining and competitive now, with great new technologies looming.  So again… um… what’s the deal here?  This plummet in stocks smells funny to me.___

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2016-01-21 00:07:36 (5 comments; 8 reshares; 30 +1s)Open 

Among my oft-repeated topics is the usefulness of pessimism, when done well... but the utterly vital importance of optimism.  I explore this apparent contradiction (and it is only apparent) in today's posting. Which also looks at Ted Koppel's book about a potential super-blackout: Lights Out.  And I'll show you a weird hypothesis about why humans are different.

http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2016/01/the-value-of-pessimists-necessity-of.html

Among my oft-repeated topics is the usefulness of pessimism, when done well... but the utterly vital importance of optimism.  I explore this apparent contradiction (and it is only apparent) in today's posting. Which also looks at Ted Koppel's book about a potential super-blackout: Lights Out.  And I'll show you a weird hypothesis about why humans are different.

http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2016/01/the-value-of-pessimists-necessity-of.html___

2016-01-20 22:09:53 (18 comments; 0 reshares; 14 +1s)Open 

Getting fed up with Firefox on my Mac.  It shows me web pages then picks some - including my own site - to suddenly bounce away from after a minute and report "DNS error" and leave me on the Yahoo selling page.  Does anyone know what's going on?

Getting fed up with Firefox on my Mac.  It shows me web pages then picks some - including my own site - to suddenly bounce away from after a minute and report "DNS error" and leave me on the Yahoo selling page.  Does anyone know what's going on?___

2016-01-20 21:37:56 (4 comments; 4 reshares; 40 +1s)Open 

David G Hartwell passed on suddenly, one of the greatest editors in literature, not just science fiction… though he staunchly-effectively defended and promoted the genre of boldness and exploration. His tenure as head of Timescape Books was a golden age in SF. He annual best-of series kept alive a spirited side to the genre, at a time when many others pushed dolorous tales of omphaloskepsis, ennui and despair. With his wife - Kathryn Cramer - David collated The Ascent of Wonder and The Hard SF Renaissance, volumes now taught widely in universities, standing up for the value of a literature focused on exploring processes of change, as well as tomorrow's undiscovered realm.

We had been working closely together on an anthology of essays and stories about what civilization may become, when filled with transparency and light. Coincidentally given David's green light this very week, it mayb... more »

David G Hartwell passed on suddenly, one of the greatest editors in literature, not just science fiction… though he staunchly-effectively defended and promoted the genre of boldness and exploration. His tenure as head of Timescape Books was a golden age in SF. He annual best-of series kept alive a spirited side to the genre, at a time when many others pushed dolorous tales of omphaloskepsis, ennui and despair. With his wife - Kathryn Cramer - David collated The Ascent of Wonder and The Hard SF Renaissance, volumes now taught widely in universities, standing up for the value of a literature focused on exploring processes of change, as well as tomorrow's undiscovered realm.

We had been working closely together on an anthology of essays and stories about what civilization may become, when filled with transparency and light. Coincidentally given David's green light this very week, it may be one of his final books. How I'd rather have collaborated many times more!

As a guardedly contingent agnostic, I acknowledge some images of deity that might be worthy of respect. In which case, I'd ask - call it pray - that David be given his choice of next-worlds, from among those he helped introduce to millions of living minds. Pondering that is my way of solace.

An unusual fellow who designed his own life path. An original and the hardest working editor I ever knew. And my friend.___

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2016-01-19 23:08:36 (29 comments; 11 reshares; 56 +1s)Open 

David Brooks is the conservative columnist who comes closest, from time to time, to doing what most of them should be doing, right now, if they had any guts.  That is, stand up and acknowledge that their movement has been hijacked by crazies and by foreign and domestic proro-feudalists.  Only by rousing genuine anger at what’s been done to U.S. conservatism — turning it into a know-nothing rabble waging war against science and every other caste of knowledge and skill in American life — might the formerly intellect-driven cause of Goldwater and Buckley and Eisenhower veer away from the looming cliffs of insanity.

Alas, while Brooks tries for some stylishly militant flourishes, in calling for mainstream Republicans — state legislators etc — to step up, in the end his proposal boils down to “let’s all rally behind Rubio and/or Bush.”  It lays no onus on the ruiners of the GOP whoset up the current... more »

David Brooks is the conservative columnist who comes closest, from time to time, to doing what most of them should be doing, right now, if they had any guts.  That is, stand up and acknowledge that their movement has been hijacked by crazies and by foreign and domestic proro-feudalists.  Only by rousing genuine anger at what’s been done to U.S. conservatism — turning it into a know-nothing rabble waging war against science and every other caste of knowledge and skill in American life — might the formerly intellect-driven cause of Goldwater and Buckley and Eisenhower veer away from the looming cliffs of insanity.

Alas, while Brooks tries for some stylishly militant flourishes, in calling for mainstream Republicans — state legislators etc — to step up, in the end his proposal boils down to “let’s all rally behind Rubio and/or Bush.”  It lays no onus on the ruiners of the GOP who set up the current Munich Beer Hall trends.  Roger Ailes and Rupert Murdoch and the Saudi co-owners of a media machine whose blatant efforts to stir lobotomized populist radicalism are now coming home to roost… as the Junkers lords got more than they bargained for, in 1932 Germany.

No, it will take more than this, Mr. Brooks, though I’ll give you credit for being more of a man than George F. Will, who could have ended this madness years ago, but wimped out.

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/19/opinion/time-for-a-republican-conspiracy.html___

2016-01-19 22:10:27 (27 comments; 2 reshares; 43 +1s)Open 

Sarah Palin endorses Trump.  Okay, there's overlap.  But seriously? She is always running out of money and he has lots. Need anything more?

Sarah Palin endorses Trump.  Okay, there's overlap.  But seriously? She is always running out of money and he has lots. Need anything more?___

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2016-01-19 05:51:15 (57 comments; 41 reshares; 109 +1s)Open 

I have some doubts about Bernie Sanders.  But in several topics he is the only guys talking about core problems.  Like the concentration of economic power into pools and piles so immense they are "too big to fail."  Have a look here. How 37 banks become four megabanks over the last two decades.  This is not healthy.  A few bad choices by hal;f a dozen secretive moguls and the rest of us will be left, holding the bailout check.
http://realitieswatch.com/37-banks-became-4-just-2-decades-one-astonishing-chart/

I have some doubts about Bernie Sanders.  But in several topics he is the only guys talking about core problems.  Like the concentration of economic power into pools and piles so immense they are "too big to fail."  Have a look here. How 37 banks become four megabanks over the last two decades.  This is not healthy.  A few bad choices by hal;f a dozen secretive moguls and the rest of us will be left, holding the bailout check.
http://realitieswatch.com/37-banks-became-4-just-2-decades-one-astonishing-chart/___

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2016-01-17 20:35:48 (36 comments; 6 reshares; 39 +1s)Open 

Commercial companies are now specializing in selling hacking services to police agencies and governments, eager for side door and backdoor methods of getting around encryption.  While this story is disturbing on many levels, it also shows just how fragile are the quasi-religious hosannahs to encryption that are sung, almost across the board, by would be liberty defenders, ranging from Anonymous to the Electronic Frontier Foundation to Edward Snowden.  Oh, I will credit some of them with good intent.  Indeed, my own dread of Big Brother is no less impassioned!  No, I am simply amazed that otherwise smart people can actually convince themselves that commonfolk will ever play a game of shrouds and shadows as well as can elites of government, commerce, criminality, technocracy or adversary nations. Refutations come every single week, in an endless litany of (surprise!) leaks.
 ht... more »

Commercial companies are now specializing in selling hacking services to police agencies and governments, eager for side door and backdoor methods of getting around encryption.  While this story is disturbing on many levels, it also shows just how fragile are the quasi-religious hosannahs to encryption that are sung, almost across the board, by would be liberty defenders, ranging from Anonymous to the Electronic Frontier Foundation to Edward Snowden.  Oh, I will credit some of them with good intent.  Indeed, my own dread of Big Brother is no less impassioned!  No, I am simply amazed that otherwise smart people can actually convince themselves that commonfolk will ever play a game of shrouds and shadows as well as can elites of government, commerce, criminality, technocracy or adversary nations. Refutations come every single week, in an endless litany of (surprise!) leaks.
 
http://www.technologyreview.com/featuredstory/543991/the-growth-industry-helping-governments-hack-terrorists-criminals-and-political/  
Liberty can be preserved.  But we must start by asking “how did we get the freedoms we already have?”  That simple question reveals a basic truth.  We did not get them by cowering, or following todays reflexive cry that “everybody should hide!”  We got it all through open assertive citizenship.  By demanding to supervise.  To see.___

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2016-01-17 02:29:04 (8 comments; 4 reshares; 27 +1s)Open 

Someone in comments under my blog about sci Fi films and TV raised the issue of Mad Max, Beyond Thunderdome.  You can read my response there.  I deem it to be an amazing film, filled with aspects that not one viewer in a thousand got, but that trigger thinking and argument.  The film infuriated me, when I wasn't fascinated or delighted.

http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2016/01/a-science-fiction-tsunami-on-television.html

OTOH I have revised my posting to include a partial list of Kick Ass Ladies (KALs) in sci fi who were vastly, vastly more empowering than those in Fury Road.  A very very long list.  And you sci fi fans should be proud of our genre.  It is the tip of the spear of revolution and liberation, and girls will find no greater font of encouragement than in science fiction.

Someone in comments under my blog about sci Fi films and TV raised the issue of Mad Max, Beyond Thunderdome.  You can read my response there.  I deem it to be an amazing film, filled with aspects that not one viewer in a thousand got, but that trigger thinking and argument.  The film infuriated me, when I wasn't fascinated or delighted.

http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2016/01/a-science-fiction-tsunami-on-television.html

OTOH I have revised my posting to include a partial list of Kick Ass Ladies (KALs) in sci fi who were vastly, vastly more empowering than those in Fury Road.  A very very long list.  And you sci fi fans should be proud of our genre.  It is the tip of the spear of revolution and liberation, and girls will find no greater font of encouragement than in science fiction.___

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2016-01-16 21:52:09 (5 comments; 13 reshares; 42 +1s)Open 

A tsunami of sci fi TV and films! It seems that suddenly there's a flood of shows and movies, some based on SF classics. My weekend posting reveals how many. It's amazing! But so far, they've left out the best...


A tsunami of sci fi TV and films! It seems that suddenly there's a flood of shows and movies, some based on SF classics. My weekend posting reveals how many. It's amazing! But so far, they've left out the best...
___

2016-01-15 05:35:27 (3 comments; 3 reshares; 34 +1s)Open 

Hare’s an interesting article about why politics matters even… perhaps especially… in the Star Wars Universe. “Lucas took inspiration both from ancient history and current events, sometimes even using the films as social commentary. If anything, in order to capture the public imagination, the Sequel Trilogy needs more, not less, politics.”
http://farfarawayradio.com/2014/05/21/need-politics-star-wars-dom-nardi/

Alas, the author starts with a wrong premise… “The Civil War was essentially a debate between North and South about the authority of the federal government.”  Sorry, but that’s just wrong.  The southern states, having utterly dominated the US federal government for at least 30 years, had used its power - through US Marshals and Supreme Court decisions, to unleash platoons of irregular southern cavalry on rampages across all northern states. And when local militiastried to resist the... more »

Hare’s an interesting article about why politics matters even… perhaps especially… in the Star Wars Universe. “Lucas took inspiration both from ancient history and current events, sometimes even using the films as social commentary. If anything, in order to capture the public imagination, the Sequel Trilogy needs more, not less, politics.”
http://farfarawayradio.com/2014/05/21/need-politics-star-wars-dom-nardi/

Alas, the author starts with a wrong premise… “The Civil War was essentially a debate between North and South about the authority of the federal government.”  Sorry, but that’s just wrong.  The southern states, having utterly dominated the US federal government for at least 30 years, had used its power - through US Marshals and Supreme Court decisions, to unleash platoons of irregular southern cavalry on rampages across all northern states. And when local militias tried to resist the slave-hunter parties, southern presidents called in federal troops to help enforce the Fugitive Slave Act.  The South was all in favor of a strong federal government and wanted to use it to repress northern abolitionist newspapers, a goal laid down explicitly in the secession declarations.  They only became anti-federal the instant it appeared the presidency would no longer be their private sinecure.

But that is an aside about a pet peeve.  My real complaint here is that Dom Nardi doesn’t note the fundamental political fact of the Star Wars series, which is utter contempt for democracy — even the remote possibility that something like the Republic can function.  The secretive and extra-judicial Jedi order may - at the command of Yoda alone - withhold crucial information (a withholding that in fact leads to disaster.) Only the Empire is shown as efficient and capable of getting things done.___

2016-01-15 03:51:55 (50 comments; 0 reshares; 59 +1s)Open 

What on Earth has gotten into folks... Mad Max Fury Road... an Oscar nominee?  An endless, endless roadrunner cartoon without any of the momentary glimmers of actual thoughtfulness seen in the original trilogy, having absolutely zero to say about life or civilization or the human experience.  Sure, as a roadrunner cartoon I actually quite enjoyed it!  But... but... really?

What on Earth has gotten into folks... Mad Max Fury Road... an Oscar nominee?  An endless, endless roadrunner cartoon without any of the momentary glimmers of actual thoughtfulness seen in the original trilogy, having absolutely zero to say about life or civilization or the human experience.  Sure, as a roadrunner cartoon I actually quite enjoyed it!  But... but... really?___

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2016-01-15 01:30:52 (6 comments; 4 reshares; 24 +1s)Open 

My midweek posting - "Conspiracies, Japan's "recession," voting fraud and other nonsense" - takes on a number of shiboleths.  Like the notion that American society has stopped working... or that Japan has been in a 20 year recession -- both absurd statements.  And I go back to the lunacy of (most) conspiracy theories.... and I have a look at the latest buzzword used against President Obama -- "feckless."  What a hoot!  Probe beneath the surface.  Come on by and have some fun.

http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2016/01/conspiracies-japans-recession-voting.html

My midweek posting - "Conspiracies, Japan's "recession," voting fraud and other nonsense" - takes on a number of shiboleths.  Like the notion that American society has stopped working... or that Japan has been in a 20 year recession -- both absurd statements.  And I go back to the lunacy of (most) conspiracy theories.... and I have a look at the latest buzzword used against President Obama -- "feckless."  What a hoot!  Probe beneath the surface.  Come on by and have some fun.

http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2016/01/conspiracies-japans-recession-voting.html___

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2016-01-14 22:40:04 (22 comments; 9 reshares; 62 +1s)Open 

Unafraid of provoking 100 million Star Wars fans, I do it again in this interview on Nautilus where I -- um -- "poke" a little.  Enjoy!

http://nautil.us/blog/yoda-is-dead-but-star-wars-dubious-lessons-live-on

Unafraid of provoking 100 million Star Wars fans, I do it again in this interview on Nautilus where I -- um -- "poke" a little.  Enjoy!

http://nautil.us/blog/yoda-is-dead-but-star-wars-dubious-lessons-live-on___

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2016-01-14 03:08:27 (92 comments; 13 reshares; 63 +1s)Open 

The next denialist chant, after they are forced to move the goal posts yet again?  Having to admit that science shows huge global warming due to human-generated CO2?  The next riff will be "Yay!  We polluters prevented an inevitable ice age!"  That's one interpretation - (a moronic one) - of this scientific study that suggest that - indeed - human activity 5000 years ago might have tipped the balance and prevented another glaciation.

In which case yay ancestors.  Now let's be scientific and responsible and not wreck the place. 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2016/01/13/scientists-say-humans-have-basically-canceled-the-next-ice-age/

The next denialist chant, after they are forced to move the goal posts yet again?  Having to admit that science shows huge global warming due to human-generated CO2?  The next riff will be "Yay!  We polluters prevented an inevitable ice age!"  That's one interpretation - (a moronic one) - of this scientific study that suggest that - indeed - human activity 5000 years ago might have tipped the balance and prevented another glaciation.

In which case yay ancestors.  Now let's be scientific and responsible and not wreck the place. 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2016/01/13/scientists-say-humans-have-basically-canceled-the-next-ice-age/___

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2016-01-13 20:52:45 (17 comments; 3 reshares; 17 +1s)Open 

A hot topic has been the interface (if any) between science and religion. I've been writing a whole book on it(!) and contributed a chapter to Touching the Face of the Cosmos, which explores what may be the best motive for human exploration of space: the desire of every human being, essentially spiritual, to understand more about our place in the universe, how our lives on Earth are inextricably part of that bigger picture.

Even most atheists will admit to that hunger... and we got our richest meal in 2015... the "best year in space, ever."

http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2016/01/our-best-year-in-space-ever-plus-tech.html


A hot topic has been the interface (if any) between science and religion. I've been writing a whole book on it(!) and contributed a chapter to Touching the Face of the Cosmos, which explores what may be the best motive for human exploration of space: the desire of every human being, essentially spiritual, to understand more about our place in the universe, how our lives on Earth are inextricably part of that bigger picture.

Even most atheists will admit to that hunger... and we got our richest meal in 2015... the "best year in space, ever."

http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2016/01/our-best-year-in-space-ever-plus-tech.html
___

2016-01-13 06:07:54 (33 comments; 2 reshares; 27 +1s)Open 

Want the simplest way to take a slug of text from somewhere and STRIP it os all codes and formatting and links, so you just have the text you actually want?  I found a great way.  If you have gmail, open a new message them paste the text into the email's SUBJECT LINE. You can then immediately SELECT ALL and CUT and you will have the stripped text, ready to insert anywhere without noxious codes attached.

I use QuickKeys, so these steps are all one flick stabs of my index finger onto keys on the numeric keypad. Quickeys saves me at least 15 minute of lifespan, every single day.  I barely recall how to mouse drag a cursor onto a scroll-down menu, anymore.

Want the simplest way to take a slug of text from somewhere and STRIP it os all codes and formatting and links, so you just have the text you actually want?  I found a great way.  If you have gmail, open a new message them paste the text into the email's SUBJECT LINE. You can then immediately SELECT ALL and CUT and you will have the stripped text, ready to insert anywhere without noxious codes attached.

I use QuickKeys, so these steps are all one flick stabs of my index finger onto keys on the numeric keypad. Quickeys saves me at least 15 minute of lifespan, every single day.  I barely recall how to mouse drag a cursor onto a scroll-down menu, anymore.___

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2016-01-13 02:11:27 (43 comments; 9 reshares; 85 +1s)Open 

All the moaning and gnashing o teeth over the price of oil falling below $30/barrel?  Um, doesn't this amount to a gigantic cost-cut for manufacturing, transportation and consumers everywhere except oil-exporting nations?  I'm kind of glad it didn't happen some years ago, when it could have undercut solar energy and electric cars.  But those industries have reached takeoff now and nothing will stop them.  A chain of huge advances are going to put them everywhere.  Meanwhile, am I to mourn the boost to our economy and the plummet in world influence by Russia and Saudi Arabia?

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-global-oil-fallout-idUSKCN0UR03220160113

BTW it is way too late to sabotage our ability to get shale and tar sands oil.  If those wells are shut and fracking stops, while Saudis pour oil on the market, then fine.  We'll just open them again when the pricegoes u... more »

All the moaning and gnashing o teeth over the price of oil falling below $30/barrel?  Um, doesn't this amount to a gigantic cost-cut for manufacturing, transportation and consumers everywhere except oil-exporting nations?  I'm kind of glad it didn't happen some years ago, when it could have undercut solar energy and electric cars.  But those industries have reached takeoff now and nothing will stop them.  A chain of huge advances are going to put them everywhere.  Meanwhile, am I to mourn the boost to our economy and the plummet in world influence by Russia and Saudi Arabia?

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-global-oil-fallout-idUSKCN0UR03220160113

BTW it is way too late to sabotage our ability to get shale and tar sands oil.  If those wells are shut and fracking stops, while Saudis pour oil on the market, then fine.  We'll just open them again when the price goes up. Tech... is... not... lost.___

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2016-01-12 18:52:32 (16 comments; 2 reshares; 33 +1s)Open 

Do facts even matter anymore, in US politics? Perhaps you have an uncle or aunt who might yet be swayed by things that are actually true? In today's posting I try to arm you with that weapon for the tedious-but-vital election year, ahead. 

http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2016/01/as-campaigns-heat-up.html

Do facts even matter anymore, in US politics? Perhaps you have an uncle or aunt who might yet be swayed by things that are actually true? In today's posting I try to arm you with that weapon for the tedious-but-vital election year, ahead. 

http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2016/01/as-campaigns-heat-up.html___

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2016-01-12 06:34:48 (15 comments; 7 reshares; 121 +1s)Open 

In memoriam David Bowie... A revised version of Bowie’s Space Oddity, recorded by Commander Chris Hadfield on board the International Space Station in 2013.  One of the top tribute/covers.

https://richarddawkins.net/2016/01/that-time-chris-hadfield-sang-david-bowies-space-oddity-on-the-iss/

In memoriam David Bowie... A revised version of Bowie’s Space Oddity, recorded by Commander Chris Hadfield on board the International Space Station in 2013.  One of the top tribute/covers.

https://richarddawkins.net/2016/01/that-time-chris-hadfield-sang-david-bowies-space-oddity-on-the-iss/___

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2016-01-11 22:41:38 (64 comments; 14 reshares; 84 +1s)Open 

This coming Matthew McConaughey film is based on the true story of a county in the deep south that stayed loyal to the Union in the Civil War -- poor white farmers and escaped slaves who rejected the propaganda that they should sacrifice everything for plantation lord aristocrats. I first learned about the Free State of Jones from Ken Burns's wonderful CIVIL WAR series, where it's revealed that every state in the Olde Confederacy -- except traitor-to-the-bone South Carolina -- saw whole regiments of volunteers march north to fight for their true country -- America -- keeping oaths that they had sworn, instead of breaking their word, just because the slave-holders lost an election. Indeed, there were loyal counties and swathes of territory flying the stars and stripes all through the South....

... just as there are sincere American conservatives, today, who reject the tsunami of Fox... more »

This coming Matthew McConaughey film is based on the true story of a county in the deep south that stayed loyal to the Union in the Civil War -- poor white farmers and escaped slaves who rejected the propaganda that they should sacrifice everything for plantation lord aristocrats. I first learned about the Free State of Jones from Ken Burns's wonderful CIVIL WAR series, where it's revealed that every state in the Olde Confederacy -- except traitor-to-the-bone South Carolina -- saw whole regiments of volunteers march north to fight for their true country -- America -- keeping oaths that they had sworn, instead of breaking their word, just because the slave-holders lost an election. Indeed, there were loyal counties and swathes of territory flying the stars and stripes all through the South....

... just as there are sincere American conservatives, today, who reject the tsunami of Fox propaganda that they should hate their own, freely-elected government, and kowtow to the new feudal oligarchy that has hijacked the Republican party. The "job-creator" caste of Koch-Adelson-Murdoch-Romney aristos who are fomenting phase 8 of the American Civil War and re-igniting the class conflict that we thought our parents, in the Greatest Generation had ended, at long last.

Will this film rouse sane white conservatives to reject the New Confederacy? Or will they view it as a call to start militias, on any excuse at all? And I have to wonder... is anyone in southern Oregon - where I set The Postman - re-reading my book about where this militia "spirit" eventually leads?
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2016-01-10 22:48:29 (13 comments; 6 reshares; 36 +1s)Open 

 Denial: Self-Deception, False Beliefs, and the Origins of the Human Mind, by Ajit Varki & Danny Brower asserts an answer to one of the great questions of biology; why so many species, ranging from dolphins and chimps to corvids (ravens) and parrots, sea lions and elephants, and prairie dogs, all cluster close to each other under what I’ve called the “glass ceiling of sapience,” displaying similar, basic capabilities at tool-use, proto-language and self-awareness.

Varki & Brower propose that there is a lethal zone, just a little higher, wherein creatures become fully aware of their inevitable death. Any species who rise into this zone lose fitness because individuals become obsessed with their own mortality, to the detriment of all other considerations, like reproduction.

Under this hypothesis — clearly influenced by the mid-20th Century Freudian “thanatos” complex— humanity b... more »

 Denial: Self-Deception, False Beliefs, and the Origins of the Human Mind, by Ajit Varki & Danny Brower asserts an answer to one of the great questions of biology; why so many species, ranging from dolphins and chimps to corvids (ravens) and parrots, sea lions and elephants, and prairie dogs, all cluster close to each other under what I’ve called the “glass ceiling of sapience,” displaying similar, basic capabilities at tool-use, proto-language and self-awareness.

Varki & Brower propose that there is a lethal zone, just a little higher, wherein creatures become fully aware of their inevitable death. Any species who rise into this zone lose fitness because individuals become obsessed with their own mortality, to the detriment of all other considerations, like reproduction.

Under this hypothesis — clearly influenced by the mid-20th Century Freudian “thanatos” complex — humanity burst beyond the glass ceiling by counter-balancing the thanatos obsession with another exceptional skill, that of denial.  Self-distraction, using various mental tricks to ignore — for the most part — the glaring prospect of personal doom.

Alas, my response (admittedly without yet reading the book) is that Freudian and meta-Freudian  models are artifacts of a time when we had a much less clear understanding of the workings of evolution.   In this case, we have a just-so story of creatures becoming so terminally obsessed with mortality that they neglect their offspring.

Refutation is simple.  Those who find a way to prioritize their progeny higher than scrabbling for an extra few months… those are the ones who will pass on genes, including for the trait of such prioritization.  Indeed, nature is filled with examples of courageous mothers and dads who do exactly that. All that is needed is for parenthood to be an addictive high — and those channels are already present in every species that abides near the glass ceiling. Oxytocin, endorphins, dopamine levels, all reward parental care with overwhelming ferocity. At which point the thanatos distraction will have a potent rival, one far more correlated with fitness and success at the game of genetic procreation.  In other words, sorry. I’m not buying it.

There are other, more plausible, hypotheses for why humanity shattered the glass ceiling by orders of magnitude.  In nature, whenever a trait experiences rapid runaway, the first culprit to appraise would be sexual selection.  In my neoteny paper I posit a rare two-way cycle of sexual selection, in which female and male humans engaged in fierce judgementalism toward each other, demanding ever-inflating sets of exaggerated traits, foremost of which was intelligence.

http://www.davidbrin.com/neoteny1.html___

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2016-01-09 20:08:57 (0 comments; 0 reshares; 20 +1s)Open 

I've spoken of 2015 being our best year ever, in space. Now Nautilus Magazine publishes my extended (and some say lyrical) ode to our recent fantastic year. Today's blog posting samples that piece... then offers you one of my dazzling tech run-downs! Fascinating news from the universe, quantum computing! Materials! Cyber attacks!

http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2016/01/our-best-year-in-space-ever-plus-tech.html

The Nautilus essay is at:
http://nautil.us/issue/32/space/2015-was-the-best-year-ever-in-space

I've spoken of 2015 being our best year ever, in space. Now Nautilus Magazine publishes my extended (and some say lyrical) ode to our recent fantastic year. Today's blog posting samples that piece... then offers you one of my dazzling tech run-downs! Fascinating news from the universe, quantum computing! Materials! Cyber attacks!

http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2016/01/our-best-year-in-space-ever-plus-tech.html

The Nautilus essay is at:
http://nautil.us/issue/32/space/2015-was-the-best-year-ever-in-space___

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2016-01-07 19:55:17 (3 comments; 8 reshares; 43 +1s)Open 

2015: our best year ever in space! This article of mine -- appearing on the hot new online zine "Nautilus"  (or Nautil.us) -- draws notice to how stunningly effective our hero engineers and space-robot designers have to be, in order to accomplish all these miracles. Tiny errors—on the order of one ten-thousandth of a percent—would have aimed the New Horizons cameras at empty space, instead of snapping perfect images of a dimly lit world, hurtling by far faster than a bullet. It may be out of fashion in this era of reflexive, self-indulgent cynicism, but there’s something to be said for the can-do spirit. The notion that “we can solve things!”

Make no mistake... those (on all sides of the hoary-misleading political "spectrum") who are preaching despair and gloom are enemies of our future, our children, our planet. Every year we prove more capable of addressing theserious pr... more »

2015: our best year ever in space! This article of mine -- appearing on the hot new online zine "Nautilus"  (or Nautil.us) -- draws notice to how stunningly effective our hero engineers and space-robot designers have to be, in order to accomplish all these miracles. Tiny errors—on the order of one ten-thousandth of a percent—would have aimed the New Horizons cameras at empty space, instead of snapping perfect images of a dimly lit world, hurtling by far faster than a bullet. It may be out of fashion in this era of reflexive, self-indulgent cynicism, but there’s something to be said for the can-do spirit. The notion that “we can solve things!”

Make no mistake... those (on all sides of the hoary-misleading political "spectrum") who are preaching despair and gloom are enemies of our future, our children, our planet. Every year we prove more capable of addressing the serious problems before us.

Come see one long list of stirring examples.___

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2016-01-07 01:29:36 (15 comments; 17 reshares; 68 +1s)Open 

Wow! Curiosity rover captures stunning 360° panorama from towering Martian dune 

Wow! Curiosity rover captures stunning 360° panorama from towering Martian dune ___

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2016-01-06 17:47:19 (2 comments; 13 reshares; 33 +1s)Open 

My new posting is about that navel of civilization and utter cluster-frak -- the Middle East. I'll give you large segments from an insightful piece by a fellow who really knows a lot about what's going on over there -- international economist Charles Gave, who was born in Aleppo and knows just about everybody. It truly is vital that we try - at least a little - to understand what's propelling a part of the world that could yet slay us all.

http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2016/01/go-to-heart-of-middle-east-problem.html


My new posting is about that navel of civilization and utter cluster-frak -- the Middle East. I'll give you large segments from an insightful piece by a fellow who really knows a lot about what's going on over there -- international economist Charles Gave, who was born in Aleppo and knows just about everybody. It truly is vital that we try - at least a little - to understand what's propelling a part of the world that could yet slay us all.

http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2016/01/go-to-heart-of-middle-east-problem.html
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