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I read Galactic North, a collection of Reynolds stories, half of which I hadn't seen before. Good stuff. I have new appreciation for the Great Wall of Mars, a novel approach to paraterraforming: rather than roofing off an area, *wall* it off, which high walls the atmosphere can't go over (yes, very high), convert the atmosphere in there, and expand the walls as you can. Walls grow linearly with radius, vs. quadratically for roofs, so above some size there's less mass in the wall than in a roof. Probably a big size, given the difficulty of building 10 mile high walls. Lower gravity means its easier to build high walls but also that you need higher walls, since the atmosphere is less bound.

I'd wondered just why human terraforming machines, the greenfly, could be such a threat; I'd missed that "Galactic North" explicitly addresses that, with the machines having apparently adapted and incorporated more advanced techs, like the Melding Plague and Inhibitor weapons. Whoops! I'm guessing the greenfly were run by at least gamma level intelligence.

I speed-read a Data Mining book, and killed a day reading webpages on data compression, encryption, and error correction. Nothing clever to say, but it's neat stuff, and I'm particularly fascinated by correction, perhaps because we just did quantum EC in the quantum information class.

* Supporting the troops
* Hunger among US children skyrockets
* Global heating [sic] denialist debunking.
* Sunshine T-shirt. I contributed "He's not a tame vampire."

* Half of US primary care physicians tempted to leave practice, because of red tape.
* On procrastination
* How Waxman replaced Dingell
* How much did swords weigh?
* The misery of living online (from nekomata
* Excerpts from Peter Watts's work in progress. Evocative, but they strike me someone as being bleak for emo's sake, rather than the bleakness of "superior invasive species" of Behemoth or the "consciousness is a useless epiphenomenon" of Blindsight, which work because invasive species are real and no one's sure what consciousness is for.
* I made a small contribution to range voting!
* Monkeys learning about money.
* More on female abortion in India.
* Secularism and prosperity
* Did talk radio kill conservatism?
* Teresa Nielsen Hayden on the Book of Mormon and her excommunication.
* The shrinking Repbulican base. Kathleen Parker on armband religion killing the GOP.
* Closing school libraries
* Reason on Tor books and libertarianism (via James)
* The Noon Universe, Soviet SF about an advanced society.



( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Nov. 29th, 2008 05:37 am (UTC)
From my PoV, demographic trends & voting trends combine to signal an end to anything at all like the extremism that has been the hallmark of the Republican Party for the last 25+ years. I'm very much hoping that the end result will cause the US to look more like the nations of Western Europe. I'm especially hopeful, because I think Obama is going to be an exceptionally popular president, and so we won't have to worry about a presidential election until 2016, by which time current demographic trends will have further solidified, with voters who are now 18-30 and those who are now too young to vote being a far larger percentage of the voting age population than they are now.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )


Damien Sullivan

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