Thursday 28 July 2016

My #top100 #scifi Num:61 2001

Amazon: http://amzn.to/24C4B9Z

Hard Science Fiction meets Deep Space Mysticism.
Ancient Aliens. Uplift. The numinous and unknowable end of the Sky Road.


Saturday 23 July 2016

Ontology of Ethics

This one is not a light read (listen) but worth it.


Thursday 21 July 2016

My #top100 #scifi Num:62 The Songs of Distant Earth

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1WG4hYA

Wistful utopia must accommodate living hordes of desperate, grimey refugees... familiar?


Friday 15 July 2016

Glam - Sea Steading


SABRE - Space Plane Engine - Funded

SABRE engine funded! I can't quite believe this will ever work, but I so hope it does.
Dropping metal tubes like an incontinent mechanoid is so clumsy.
Single Stage to Orbit is the stylish way to travel.



Thursday 14 July 2016

My #top100 #scifi Num:63 Rendezvous with Rama

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1Ybf3oR

Hard Science Fiction.
Realistic, plausible and gripping.
Classic Clarke. 


Thursday 7 July 2016

My #top100 #scifi Num:64 Starship Troopers

Amazon: http://amzn.to/22U5lrM

Don't discount this book as pure chaotic, battle-suit, mayhem -- although those bits are awesome.

It is also wise:
"Violence, naked force, has settled more issues in history than any other factor, and contrary opinion is wishful thinking at its worst."


Wednesday 6 July 2016

An army of powerful psychopaths

"Assholes: A Theory. Formally stated, “The asshole (1) allows himself to enjoy special advantages and does so systematically; (2) does this out of an entrenched sense of entitlement; and (3) is immunized by his sense of entitlement against the complaints of other people."

"Offices and corporate environments are crazy-making. The air is weird. You’re working within a structure that has no moral compass and can only measure things like money, and not things like proportion of staff who can still feel happiness or percentage wanting to kill yourself in a staff meeting. There’s that girl who’s on a diet but insists on bringing everyone cupcakes and watching them eat the cupcakes no really I insist ha ha ha ha ha. There’s the guy who runs in to work and leaves his sweaty bike shorts under his desk where their moist funk exudes a mist that occludes his office windows. Everyone’s mad" 

The environment is disturbingly familiar...

"According to psychologist Robert Hare, about one in 100 members of the general population meet the criteria for psychopathy. A lot of those are working in corporate firms."

...and the conclusions ring worryingly true.

"But if you are a socio/psychopath, you’re in luck! The numbers don’t lie! You’re more likely to do well in a corporate environment! Which is the kind of doing well that sociopaths LOVE THE MOST! Being a sociopath or a psychopath is not quite as good a roll of the dice in terms of statistical likelihood of corporate success as being born white in an upper middle-class family, but it’s a decent boost. And remember you can be both!"




Saturday 2 July 2016

Culture and language in whales


The End of the Nation State. Brexit could be the harbinger of a post-national world.

"... there is a growing feeling among economists, political scientists and even national governments that the nation-state is not necessarily the best scale on which to run our affairs. We must manage vital matters like food supply and climate on a global scale, yet national agendas repeatedly trump the global good. At a smaller scale, city and regional administrations often seem to serve people better than national governments."

I live in Switzerland. Here there is a smooth transition from local to national governance. The research seems to support the idea that a fractal, hierarchical, system allows people close to the issues to make the best choices.

"...Switzerland’s 26 cantons, for example, which have different languages and religions, meet Bar-Yam’s spatial stability test – except one. A French-speaking enclave in German-speaking Berne experienced the only major unrest in recent Swiss history. It was resolved by making it a separate canton, Jura, which meets the criteria."

"... in any hierarchy, the person at the top has to be able to get their head around the whole system. When systems are too complex for one human mind to grasp... they must evolve from hierarchies into networks where no one person is in charge."
Unwieldy central government, restrictive and bureaucratic, is old hat. Technology must deliver agile, Peer 2 Peer, network alternatives.