Comment by Tamfang on Epilogue: Atonement (8/8) · 2010-08-14T04:59:54.492Z · LW · GW

Eh? Perhaps I was too young to get (or remember) what's so great about it. (I haven't read much Asimov since my early teens.)

Comment by Tamfang on Epilogue: Atonement (8/8) · 2010-08-14T04:55:22.076Z · LW · GW

hm, is ''Tichy'' the Polish word for 'peaceful'?

Comment by Tamfang on Normal Ending: Last Tears (6/8) · 2010-08-14T03:37:19.778Z · LW · GW

Ah! I read it as "Sailor's Heart's Desire", with no particular significance.

Comment by Tamfang on Three Worlds Decide (5/8) · 2010-08-14T02:31:37.898Z · LW · GW

Fiction like this may be the nearest thing to a way to avoid such a blunder. Occasionally a pundit says "Nobody has ever given any thought to the consequences of biotechnology," as if sf didn't exist, so I'm not hopeful.

Comment by Tamfang on Interlude with the Confessor (4/8) · 2010-08-14T00:47:49.301Z · LW · GW

I don't buy the (fairly common) idea that in the post-national Future all humans will look alike, though it's a convenient device here. I wonder whether I've ever seen it used this way.

The traits that we now call ethnic may cease to be ethnic markers, but they'll continue to appear so long as the genes exist, albeit rarely in the same combinations. Is there any reason to expect Akon to recognize which clusters of traits were once ethnic markers, out of all the combinations existing in his time?

Comment by Tamfang on Interlude with the Confessor (4/8) · 2010-08-13T20:59:06.510Z · LW · GW

I wonder how much fiction has been written about fucking forking uploads.

Comment by Tamfang on War and/or Peace (2/8) · 2010-08-13T07:05:58.879Z · LW · GW

"The Babyeaters don't seem to have had humanity's coordination problems. Or they're just more rational voters. Take your pick."

My pick is that they rationalize like the dickens.

Comment by Tamfang on War and/or Peace (2/8) · 2010-08-13T07:03:56.726Z · LW · GW

"Every human culture had expended vast amounts of intellectual effort on the problem of coming to terms with death. Most religions had constructed elaborate lies about it, making it out to be something other than it was – though a few were dishonest about life, instead. But even most secular philosophies were warped by the need to pretend that death was for the best. ¶ It was the naturalistic fallacy at its most extreme — and its most transparent, but that didn't stop anyone. Since any child could tell you that death was meaningless, contingent, unjust, and abhorrent beyond words, it was a hallmark of sophistication to believe otherwise." —Margit in 'Border Guards' by Greg Egan

Comment by Tamfang on War and/or Peace (2/8) · 2010-08-13T07:01:59.577Z · LW · GW

That Ira Howard died well before 1911, let alone 2014.

Comment by Tamfang on War and/or Peace (2/8) · 2010-08-13T06:59:57.831Z · LW · GW

Clearly you don't value sex with your lover

Be serious: does anyone value fucking as a terminal value rather than as a means to enjoyment?

(assuming I understand the phrase 'terminal value', which is new to me)

Comment by Tamfang on The Baby-Eating Aliens (1/8) · 2010-08-13T01:02:50.073Z · LW · GW

The ship employs a Master of Fandom? (Not a Secret Master, obviously; they're too hard to recruit.)

I once had a chat with Dan Alderson (1941–89) about his "tramlines" (as he called them). They follow gradients of the "fifth force" field; traversible tramlines pass through saddle-points (because potential energy must be conserved). The fifth force is generated by stars in proportion to some power of their luminosity. So, to a rough approximation and with some simplifying assumptions, a traversible tramline exists between two stars if there is no point on the line between them at which some third star appears brighter. Thus they join neighboring stars, not random ones (like wormholes in the Barrayar universe).