If you're new here there's some posts I'd like to share.
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Requirements Kill: How projects can be ruined by the sheer number of requirements on them.
Feeds, Seeds, and Gray Goo: Nanotechnological manufacturing will be driven by logistics--and that's what keeps the "gray goo" scenario from being a real danger.
Other engineering essays:
The issues with engineering as a career, the problems with engineering education, and how to become an engineer if you just can't resist it. The reasons to avoid government projects. Don't be this kind of whistleblower. Why licensing software engineers is a bad idea. Even in fiction it's hard to keep ahead of advancing technology.
Analyzing specific spacecraft: Rocketplane's tourist design, the hypothetical Blackstar RLV, and off-equator space elevators.
Medical doctrine: I have issues with the childhood vaccination schedule and the innumeracy of medical researchers. They're not all bad though.
I've written a few pieces of fanfic and a whole bunch of book reviews.
Playing MMOs has gotten me thinking about how we could use one to test changes to our real world and what would be the signs that we're actually living in a simulation.
I've written a few things specifically about World of Warcraft. A rant on the brainpower needed for tanks to taunt mobs. A missing piece of backstory on the Defias. A suggestion for monetizing add-ons within the Blizzard rules. Reflections on how much more the Horde storyline focuses on PvP. And a discussion of how the Iliad would look in WoW terms.
My opinions on war and politics have been given a blog of their own.
Freighter Captain by Max Hardberger
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When retired captains sat around drinking and swapping sea stories, Max noticed he always had the topper for Worst Ship, Worst Port, and Worst Owner. Then he noticed they were all about the same few cruises and decided to write it up. This is a view of the bottom end of the shipping industry, a senile tramp freighter hauling trash to Haiti. Max tells it well and made me enjoy the tales of fixing leaking hulls, fending off corrupt port officials, and talking unpaid crew into not jumping ship.
Ninety Percent of Everything: Inside Shipping, the Invisible Industry That Puts Clothes on Your Back, Gas in Your Car, and Food on Your Plate by Rose George
George took a tour on a container ship to see how this massive business works. The answer is "too smoothly to be dramatic," but she looks into the history of shipping to bring more exciting moments in. The travails of merchant seamen in WWII are well worth reading.
Lights in the Deep by Brad R. Torgersen
A collection of short stories from a new author. Some of them are solid hard science fiction (okay, I caught some errors, but I don't think anyone who didn't do astrodynamics for a living would) and the whole set are fun stories. Torgersen lets his characters have happy endings even when the disasters going on are severe enough that "happy" is a relative term. I prefer hope to despair and enjoyed these.
Captain's Share by Nathan Lowell
Latest (print) publication in the "Quarter Share" series. Fun slice-of-life space opera. The drama level is higher than in the earlier books, but not as nasty as in Double Share. Our hero turns a "leper colony" ship into a well-performing organization by applying common sense and discovering that his subordinates are actually just misunderstood.
America 3.0: Rebooting American Prosperity in the 21st Century-Why America's Greatest Days Are Yet to Come by James C. Bennett and Michael J. Lotus
An excellent take on the country's current troubles with a set of solid recommendations for how to fix it. I gave this a review when I first read it.
The End Is Near and It's Going to Be Awesome: How Going Broke Will Leave America Richer, Happier, and More Secure by Kevin D. Williamson
An entertaining write-up of the on-going collapse of centralized government and explanation of how decentralized systems can do a better job. My review focused on the lack of suggestions for how to get from A to B.
Hard Magic, Spellbound, Warbound (The Grimnoir Chronicles) by Larry Correia
A self-contained fantasy trilogy. That's an impressive rarity by itself these days. It's actually closer to alternate history. In this case the "divergence point" is the appearance of magical abilities among humans in the 19th century. This has had all sorts of effects, including boosting Japan to superpower status thanks to its brutally effective use of talents. The story is set in the 1930s and our heros are a quiet conspiracy opposing evil magic users. Over the course of the trilogy they find out where magic came from, why that's a problem, and . . . drama.
Monster Hunter International / Vendetta / Alpha by Larry Correia
I'd originally bounced off MHI as "Buffy with guns." I liked the Grimnoir books enough to go back and give it another try. I also wanted to find out what was behind some of the in-jokes on the MHI challenge coin kickstarter. Not as deep as Grimnoir, but a very fun romp. I'll be picking up book four soon, and Correia's working on book five.
A Few Good Men by Sarah Hoyt
Hoyt's Darkship Thieves' series is a fun ride in a future history that has had feudal overlords take over the Earth in the wake of a nasty war, with a single free community hiding out on an asteroid. Now they've recontacted each other which is shaking things up on both sides. This book focuses on Earth, where a visit from some spacers kicked loose some stones that are becoming an avalanche. A bloody revolution is beginning against the overlords. Hoyt doesn't shy away from some of the nasty problems. How a new world is going to be built on the ruins is still an open question.
The Virginia Edition: A Sample of the Series by Robert Heinlein
I love Heinlein's work, but even if I had $2000 to spare I'm not sure where I'd put a leatherbound copy of his complete works. What I do want to have is e-versions of the previously unpublished material in the collection: letters, screenplays, and more. Hopefully they'll share that when the hardcopies are all sold.
Singularity Rising: Surviving and Thriving in a Smarter, Richer, and More Dangerous World by James D. Miller
I've been leaving out books that I didn't finish, but this one is an exception. Miller has a bunch of interesting ideas but he's too prone to "divide by zero" errors. Sure, if developing a self-replicating nanotech assembler or a smarter-than-human artificial intelligence is instant and free there'll be all sorts of bizzare consequences. But the Singularity isn'g going to repeal the laws of thermodynamics, and businessmen won't risk blowing up the world to avoid a utopia that will profit their competitors as much as their investors. I've been tempted to write a lengthy rebuttal but instead I'm focusing on finishing my novel-in-progress.
Salamander by David D. Friedman
A short fantasy novel. I enjoyed the heck out of the heros wrestling with the laws of their magic system to discover how to create great effects. Non-engineers might not be as big fans.
Under a Graveyard Sky by John Ringo
Apocalypse as a rebuttal. Ringo hates zombie stories for their violations of thermodynamics and biology. So, of course, he had to explain how it should be done right. Add in his worries about Moore's Law of Mad Scientists leading to bioengineered plagues and we get the Muse seizing his brain and forcing him to crank out a trilogy in less time than it takes to read three of GRRM's books. The first book has our heros fleeing the spreading disaster to hide out on a boat at sea. Once the danger fades civilization has to be rebuilt, and they'll have to step up and lead the effort. Step one: getting rid of those lingering mobs of zombies. Step two: keeping emaciated survivors alive. Step three: some organization . . . I'm looking forward to books two and three, which Baen is bringing out in rapid succession, undoubtedly to the dismay of other authors who were originally scheduled for those slots.
I've been reading various writing-advice books as I work on my novel. I've actually found some useful:
Million Dollar Outlines by David Farland
Focuses on making your story powerful rather than merely competent. I'm not worried about getting Hollywood's attention, but I do want to make my readers happy. Farland provoked me to scrap my opening scene and replace it with something completely different.
May You Write Interesting Books by Sarah A. Hoyt
How to keep your readers from getting bored. I think I'm doing pretty well on this front in my writing--and this one was much less boring than most of the advice books I've tried out--but I suspect I'll be taking another pass through this one after I've finished my zero draft.
Writing Excuses Podcast by Brandon Sanderson, Dan Wells, and Howard Tayler
Not a book, but I picked up the seasons 1-5 disk at Worldcon after they won the Hugo. It turns out the car leg of my commute is just long enough to fit an episode in. I've also been marathoning episodes when driving to Austin, College Station, or Guard training. So I'm close to the end of Season Five already. Lots of good stuff in here. The biggest help is probably that it keeps me in a writing headspace so much of the time.
Not mentioned: lots of re-reads, various books I didn't finish or found unhelpful, and a whole lot of Kindle sample chapters.
This would be a good year for me to try Nanowrimo. I'm actually doing some serious writing. I'm close to the 50,000 word mark on a space opera novel I started in January. So I could follow ursulav's footsteps and do a Nanofimo (Novel finishing) to blitz it. I've got a solid outline to the end, and one key end scene is written because the Muse was too enthralled with adding details to it to let me write the next one in sequence.
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Of course, my writing time is limited by the day job. I can write on the weekends and often do. But first weekend has a cub scout event. Next weekend is my Guard regiment marching in a Veterans Day parade, followed by family picnic. Weekend after that is more cub scouts. Next one has a Guard community service event. Then there's Thanksgiving . . . when we're inviting people over for gaming. So, nope, not getting a huge burst of writing done this November.
At the rate I'm going I'm in good shape to finish before next Fencon. I may sign up for the writing workshop, depending on what I think of host Carrie Vaughn. Haven't read any of her books yet, figure I'll read one or two before making the decision. Another writing workshop I might take it to is a cruise with Toni Weisskopf, but that'd be pricy.
For anyone reading this, the gaming day on 11/30 is technically a Royal Manticoran Navy event, but anyone interested is welcome, shoot me a message.
Turns out I missed seeing a couple of LJ friends at Worldcon because we didn't realize we were both going to be there. To avoid that happening again, is anyone planning on going to Fencon and/or the Ogre Launch Party?
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Final edit: Sold to woodwardiocom
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Re-Edit: I'd put this on hold because of disaster but I'll be at the Ogre Launch Party if someone wants me to bring them along (10/14/13).
As I contemplate where the hell I'm going to put my copy of Ogre Designer's Edition, one thing has become obvious. I have a stack of Ogre Minis that have never been painted, never been played with, and are never going to be if they stay with me. So they should go to a better home.
( Sparing non-Ogre players from wall of picturesCollapse )
I finally saw Star Trek: Into Darkness last night. ( Cutting for anyone more laggard than me, or for those who've had their fill of comments about it.Collapse )
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Jonathan Haidt has spent his career trying to develop a scientific explantion of human moral drives. An early version of his "Moral Foundations Theory" annoyed me enough to get over 300 words into an unpublished rebuttal. Enough other people actually shared their reactions to force him into revising his theory to account for patterns of morality he hadn't encountered before (i.e., conservatives and libertarians).
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The updated version is described in his new book The Righteous Mind and I have to confess he has thoroughly addressed my complaints. Haidt describes moral codes as made of combinations of six foundations the way a flavor is made of the five tastes. The moral "taste buds" are set on spectrums of Care/Harm, Authority/Submission, Sanctity/Degradation, Fairness/Cheating, Liberty/Oppression, and Loyalty/Betrayal. Humans use morality as a tool to bind themselves into groups for pursuit of a common goal: simple survival for a family or forager band, building something for a project team, or an ideology for a political party. Haidt discusses examples of liberal, conservative, and libertarian moral codes.
The best way to check a new scientific theory is to find a dataset not used during its creation and test the theory against that. If Haidt's theory is correct people have been responding to these foundations for thousands of years as they created codes for their cultures. Some of those sets of moral principles should closely match his models. I grew up with the "Seven Deadly Sins" as a guide to what behavior was to be most avoided (the 10 commandments didn't come up as much, not being a sculptor). So if Haidt's foundations match them I'd consider it useful evidence that he's come up with a good working model.
Some of the deadly sins match exactly to their corresponding foundations. "Care/Harm" is violated by someone feeling Wrath. The sin of Pride indicates someone is not accepting his proper place in the "Authority/Submission" hierarchy. The "Sanctity/Degradation" foundation concerns respect for sacred things (crucifixes, Korans, the words of MLKjr) and the human body, particularly sexual violations. So Lust was a much more common source of violations in medieval times than modern provocations such as flinging dung at an image of the Madonna. The "Fairness/Cheating" foundation dictates that rewards should be proportional to the effort people put in. Someone violating that is committing Sloth.
Identifying a sin for the "Liberty/Oppression" foundation seems hard until you realize Haidt isn't defining "oppression" in the libertarian sense of having your autonomy violated buy in the liberal one of having a smaller share of resources than other members of society. That clearly fits with the sins of Greed and Gluttony.
This leaves one member in each set: "Loyalty/Betrayal" and Envy. They're not a close match. Loyalty/betrayal refers to behavior towards one's group while Envy is an emotion aimed at an individual. But envy is "antigroupish" in making individuals work against other members of their own group.
Overall I think Haidt's MFT is a good model of human moral instincts. Different moral codes place varying weights on the individual foundations. Traditional/conservative moralities place roughly equal weights on all six foundations. Liberals focus on care/harm, liberty/oppression, and fairness/cheating (some are actually opposed to the sanctity, loyalty, and authority foundations). Libertarians put an extremely high weight on the liberty/oppression foundation, focusing on personal autonomy rather than equal division, with a lesser emphasis on fairness/cheating and a low one on care/harm.
Another bit of folk wisdom Haidt confirms is "man is not a rational animal, he is a rationalizing one." Haidt discusses the history of analyzing whether conscious reasoning has more effect on our decisions than instinct and did considerable research showing instinct wins whenever there's a conflict. His preferred metaphor is of the rational mind as the rider on an elephant. If the elephant doesn't know where to go the rider can direct it to an option, but if the elephant leans even slightly the rider is busy coming up with explanations for why that must be the correct direction.
Group behavior in Haidt's model involves people subordinating their personal identities to a group one. It can appear in many forms—families, forager bands, church groups, work teams, and even fans of sporting events. Haidt describes a college football game in detail as something designed to produce the feeling of “groupishness” that people seek. Some recreational pharmaceuticals such as peyote and ecstasy have similar effects.
To test Haidt’s theory of groups I compared it to the analysis in the software development book Peopleware. Programmers are usually thought of as loners but Lister and DeMarco describe how cohesive teams produce better in both speed and quality. The authors confessed that they could not come up with any advice for how to help programmers form teams. Instead they wrote the chapter “Teamicide” describing corporate practices that inhibit or disrupt team formation. These all speak directly to Haidt’s theory. First is separating the team members either physically or by splitting their time among different projects. Physical proximity—usually as a dense group—is a key ingredient in forming Haidt’s groups. Other practices correspond to the moral foundations. “Bureaucracy,” “Quality reduction of the project,” “Phony deadlines,” and “Those Damn Posters and Plaques” all degrade the significance of the team’s central focus, the software project they’re working on. Team members need to respect the sanctity of the goal to believe in their team. Likewise “Defensive Management” and “Clique Control” subvert the group’s respect for their supervisors and remove the supporting moral authority of the team leadership. “The Side Effects of Overtime” becomes a straight fairness/cheating issue. Lister and DeMarco’s statement that humans naturally form close-knit teams if not prevented from doing so is another confirmation of Haidt’s model.
The foundations most violated by teamicide are also the ones most likely to be ignored by liberal morality. This matches with the observed preference of the software industry for liberal causes. It seems that people who practice liberal morality still have their behavior affected by foundations they don’t usually respect.
Haidt isn’t shy about his liberal beliefs. His research was partly driven by trying to understand how Republican politicians connected better with voters than so many Democratic ones did. Kerry frustrated Haidt by by his refusal to use all the moral foundations in his messages. Obama did a much better job of fulfilling Haidt’s hopes. The 2012 campaign particularly used the “loyalty/betrayal” foundation in appealing to various groups to get out and vote. Romney’s attempt to appeal to Americans as a whole was less successful.
I suppose some people would find The Righteous Mind to be totally obvious. As someone who’s never had a good grasp of how human minds work it was full of revelations for me. There’s certainly a lot of counter-productive activity in modern life that could be avoided if people had a better idea of how each other would react. The fundamental problem is disagreement over goals. Haidt’s analysis won’t help us come to a consensus on that. It does give me the hope that if we can acknowledge that the other sides in our debates have honest motives for their desired outcomes we’ll be more civil in trying to resolve them. There are compromises we can make if we’re willing to--and if the decision-makers are willing to give up the personal power involved.
My papers from my MS degree are up on the web and every so often I get an email about them. The latest was an MIT PhD student doing a thesis on inter-agency programs. She interviewed me for an hour about the problems we had on the NPOESS program getting the military and civilian customers to agree on what they wanted. I'm looking forward to seeing the final product.
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"Oh, I'm sorry . . . this is calculus." -- Me, to celticdragonfly, while helping her with a Royal Manticoran Navy test. It's a definite indicator that you've joined a seriously nerdy fandom when algebra isn't sufficient to answer the quizzes.
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HeatDeath posted this on the SJG boards:
Ad Astra Games' "Attack Vector Tactical", an extremely detailed 3d spaceship combat board game (Picture Car Wars in 3 dimensions, only more complex) has an awesome ramming rule that totally solves these problems.I've been tempted by AVT just as an orbital mechanics professional to look at how they model the physicals. Now I'm tempted to buy it just to honor this rule. Still wouldn't have anyone to play it with though.
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The problem isn't whether ramming is possible: nav computers make it trivial for anything to ram anything. And the problem isn't how much damage a ram does: ramming should usually destroy both units. But if you give the player unlimited power to order rams, it breaks most games.
AVT's [frankly brilliant] solution is to require the player ordering a ram to stand up at the table and make the actual speech the ship captain would make, convincing his bridge crew that the situation is indeed suicidally desperate, and that ramming is the only honorable and feasible course of action. Everyone around the table votes, and the ram succeeds on a majority vote. Bonus points if someone actually tears up.
If the vote fails, the bridge crew throw the captain in the brig and the unit is removed from play.
When I saw the announcement of "Firefly: The Musical" I immediately wanted to go see it. Once I got there I had qualms--was this going to be good entertainment or just an attempt to take advantage of Browncoats' willingness to throw money at anything with the word Firefly on it? When the cast finished singing the theme song those qualms were gone.
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The Highball is more bar than theater, but a corner of it was curtained off for the show. The audience all had a good view of the stage. I didn't notice any problems with the acoustics but can't speak for the back corners. There was minimal scenery--the actors were as likely to use mime as to pull out a table for a scene.
The pre-show was a series of videos including songs from other Whedon works (Dr Horrible and "Once More With Feeling") and fan vids. The projector also had some use during the play. A starfield was projected for all the bridge scenes and a clip of the river ambush opened the show.
The Firefly actors are a tough example to live up to but our local heroes did well. Stephen Robinson (Wash) and Jason Vines (Jayne) stole most of their scenes. Robinson's comic timing gave us a classic showstopper--the audience was laughing so hard at an offhand wink that another actor was frozen, waiting for us to quiet down so she could say her line. Michael Thomas (Mal) had the toughest role--stepping into the shoes of an actor talented enough to anchor a multi-year prime time series isn't easy--but he held the stage and kept us engaged with the story. Linsey Reeves (Inara) did a nice job of showing a professional liar telling clumsy lies. Adam Mengesha (Book) solidly lays down the law for our captain. Sabrina Jones (Saffron) got to display her range from naive country girl to seductress to cold professional.
The crew introduced themselves singing the theme song together. The settlers' celebration was the setting for Mal and Inara's "I Won't Let You In" duet (a lovely song reprised at the end). That was the saddest of the songs as the couple explained their reasons for rejecting love. Jayne's "Guns and Women" was hilarious as our favorite thug dithered over which he was more attracted to. Saffron steamed up the stage with “Let Me Have My Wedding Night”. Then we switched to vaudville as Wash sang "When Did This Stop Being Funny" and got great laughs with some really bad jokes. Inara had another duet with Saffron, flirting in the ways "Only a Woman Can See". The action climax was Jayne saving the day with "One Shot"--a duet with Kaylee who felt she only had one shot with Simon. The soundtrack will be coming out on CD, including an additional song: "Special Hell".
On top of the songs the script added some grace notes to the original, usually going for laughs. Kaylee vamped on Simon in the background when the script allowed (and then in the foreground during the climactic "One Shot" song). The deleted scene from the original was included, giving Simon and River their best moments in the show.
This is not a good way to introduce your musical-loving friend to Firefly. The play assumes you've seen the episode. This let them save time and effort by not explaining setting changes or having scenery to show which room they're in. As much as I'd like better visuals this is a small scale production. A $5 ticket doesn't get me a Serenity marionette sailing across the stage. For someone who hasn't seen the show they're going to be very confused when the carrion house crew walks onto the stage and makes some cryptic remarks. Rewriting the scenes to provide the necessary context to that and other bits wouldn't be that hard--but there's probably not enough newbies in the audience to justify spending the time.
"Firefly: The Musical" was a wonderful show, well worth driving for hours. We were apparently the fans who'd come the farthest to see it so far (Fort Worth to Austin). Given that they've had to double the run of the show to deal with demand someone will probably beat that. With luck the Institution Theater will be inspired to tackle another episode--"The Message" and "Objects In Space" would work well in their format ("Out of Gas" would be great but harder to translate).
Strongly recommended to all Browncoats.
Photos from the show
( A possible first scene for Season Five of CastleCollapse )
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Steve Jackson is running a Kickstarter for the "Designer's Edition" of Ogre. I'm an Ogre fan from way back. I still have the counters from one of the $2.95 Microgames, even if the rules and map have vanished over the years. GEV was my favorite of the series--once infantry could fight from cover and make overruns I was hooked. I even sold Pyramid magazine an article with more rules and scenarios, naturally titled "Poor Bloody Infantry". So I'm in on the Kickstarter for a copy of the game. It's running wild. They'd originally wanted $20k to support printing and distributing (and to enable pre-orders). Now it's coming up on half-a-million dollars and Evil Stevie is frantically trying to come up with stretch goals to justify having this pile of money dumped on him. He's got some nice ones too, including a Tom Smith album of Ogre theme music. Which just got unlocked.
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So I'm trying to get a boardgaming friend to make time to actually playtest some of the new scenarios. And I've signed up for Board Game Geek Con this year (made easier by the November drill being moved to a different weekend). And I'm coming up with an idea for the scenario contest.
It's been 4.5 years since I've GMed a tabletop role-playing game. The skills haven't completely atrophied though. I applied some of them today running a command post exercise for my battalion. One of the exercise inputs was a Facebook rumor that the derailed tanker car of chlorine gas was actually a tank of ethanol, with the whole evacuation an excuse to keep people from getting at the 'shine. Alas, they went into rumor control mode before I could justify sending in a pickup truck loaded with some empty 55-gallon drums and a welding rig.
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I just brought celticdragonfly home from the hospital. A little later than they'd planned to discharge her, they were worried about her O2 sats. She's resting comfortably and trying to keep from talking. Should be back on solid food in a few days.
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I couldn't find our bell, but we have a hobby horse that whinnies. So if she needs something she just has to squeeze its ear.
We need to make November 1st a Federal Holiday. It can't be All Saints' Day, that's religious. But we could have White House Day to honor John Adams moving into the first White House or Taxation Without Representation Day to make us remember the British enacting the Stamp Tax. But whatever we pick I want this day off so I can stay up late at the Halloween parties and have a day to recover.
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XKCD has figured out a practical application for the Turing Test.
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The Warcraft folks announced how big the Big Bad of the new expansion is. I responded with a wisecrack. amiyuy was amused enough to make an icon of it.
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I like it. :D
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Matt Ridley wrote this book as a rebuttal to the ever-present, ever-changing prophesies of doom for the human race. Right now global warming and peak oil are the most popular ones, but there's still people talking up overpopulation or pollution as likely to cause a global collapse. Ridley doesn't just go after the individual theories. He's describing a comprehensive theory for how we got to our present level of wealth and power from our Stone Age origins.
In short: Trade is the root of all good. People specializing in producing something can make more of it and trade it someone else who has something they want, benefiting both parties. Keep increasing productivity and we have the extra time needed to create art, fight for freedom, or just enjoy life more without fearing next year's drought. It's not a completely new concept (Nonzero has a good take on the same issues), but he does a damn good job of pulling out evidence to show how far back trade goes, and how far things could spread geographically. Tasmania is a scary example of how a population could regress when cut off from its trading partners. Without a steady flow of tools and ideas from the mainland, the islanders couldn't maintain the technology to feed their original population and their numbers declined until they hit the minimum technology the island could support by itself.
It's not just physical goods--exchanging ideas is more important. Combinations of ideas are more powerful than individual ones. The combinations produce new ideas . . . which Ridley describes as "ideas having sex." Give that free reign and soon your society is prospering and expanding.
I strongly recommend this book for everyone. If you don't have time for the book then watch Ridley's TED talk or read his article introducing his ideas.
My favorite webcomic has won a second Hugo! You don't have to buy a book to read this, it's all online. But I'm still buying the books. They beat hell out of waiting for the webpage to load page after page. If you haven't read it, start from the beginning. Mad scientists are fun. Lots of mad scientists running around gets scary. Or funny. It depends on the experiment.
The protagonist of Darkship Thieves is a teenage girl visiting a strange new culture. But she's only superficially Podkayne of Mars. Actually she's got a lot of the Stainless Steel Rat in her, much to the dismay of many other people in the book. The setting is a few centuries into the future, with a nasty government controlling Earth to prevent technology from growing to a Singularity. Even with the fancy spaceship and biotech it's much more realistic than the typical space opera I read.
Best of all, Sarah Hoyt is coming to fencon this weekend! This is the first book of hers I've found and I'm hoping I can find some of the out of print ones beginning the other series in the dealers' room. With luck she'll be reading from the sequel to Darkship Thieves there.
"Jerry Smith's War: 2025."
I don't read many short stories these days, and this one isn't a great piece of fiction. But it is a well done scenario exploring how changes in technology and infantry tactics can revolutionize the way we wage "Small Wars." Useful reading for anyone expecting to be involved in a war in the coming decades.
I just got a catalog from University of Southern California Bookstore. I flipped through out of idle curiosity. Turns out there were no books offered at all.
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