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Karl Smithe
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Karl Smithe

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Science fiction has been invaded by stupidity since Star Wars.
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Karl Smithe

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The concept of 'psychohistory' is very interesting from today's perspective relative to when Asimov presented it in.  He started writing this in 1941. There was no nationwide broadcast television.  It is said television was delayed by World War II and by the end the atomic bomb had been dropped.

How many television commercials have been made with advice from psychologists by now?  Hasn't television changed psychohistory?  LOL  Now the Internet is in the game and everyone can play.
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By Memory I thought it was obvious that Ivan was an under appreciated character.  He didn't seem as dumb as Bujold was always having her other characters talk about him as being.  I suspect that Bujold is too intellignt herself to be good at writing dumb characters.  So I thought CVA was hilarious and great.

I was kind of dissappointed with Cryoburn on my first reading also.  But there is more depth to the background if you think about it.  That planet does not have any technology that other planets in the Nexus do not.  But they have done something with it that no one else has.

Look at us with the Planned Obsolescence of automobiles.  There were One Billion cars by 2010.  But 30 years before the Moon landing engineers could design flying machines that could do 400 mph to fight WWII.   Why do we keep redesigning cars that roll along the ground at less than 150 mph?  Science fiction readers read SF but then do not think about the stupid things done with the technology all around us in the real world.
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"Why do we keep redesigning cars that roll along the ground at less than 150 mph?"

Because Reaction Time. In the air you have a lot more time to react to an incorrect angle; a lot of time it may not matter at all other than perhaps making the trip longer. On the ground, there is a white van turning directly in front of you, or a pothole.

At 150 miles per hour, you are traveling 220 feet per second. Recommended separation distance in good conditions is 2 seconds; up to 4 seconds in bad conditions. That would be 440 feet to 880 feet, which would be 1/12 mile to 1/6 mile. That is about 1 1/2 to 3 city blocks (depending on the city and the road conditions). That density is unsustainable in the city, far too low, and trying to turn or cross such a street without a stoplight would be very nerve wracking.

On the interstate highways... we can't afford to maintain them to driving conditions and banking angles compatible with driving that quickly.

Energy of collisions (whether with another vehicle or with a tree or center divider) rise as the square of velocity; at 150 miles per hour survival rate would be small.

Aerodynamic drag rises as the square of velocity as well and becomes pretty significant: it takes 4 times as much energy to go 150 miles per hour as it does 75 miles per hour. Do we have the available energy to make that feasible for routine use?

Race-car drivers have to be extremely fit; the acceleration stresses and the concentration required are immense. People would have to train to drive 150 miles per hour. But they wouldn't. Over 80% of US drivers rate themselves as being above-average drivers.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Illusory_superiority#Driving_ability
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Karl Smithe

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Future Energy, Thorium and the LFTR reactor
Steve Haigh, August 2013

http://www.2112design.com/blog/lftr/
Future Energy, Thorium and the LFTR reactor. Steve Haigh, August 2013. This video looks at the science, technology and economics of using Thorium in a power generating nuclear reactor. Why Thorium? Thorium is a relatively abundant metal found in the earth's crust. It is forged in the cores of ...
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Karl Smithe

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How much does Planned Obsolescence affect the value of stockes of automobile companies?  Does the value depend on consumers being STUPID?  They keep redesigning piston engine junk 47 years after the Moon landing.

How much have consumers lost on the depreciation of automobiles over the last 50 years?  There were One Billion cars in 2010.
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Harry Potter versus Science Fiction

There is matter and there is anti-matter.  And there is a huge amount of matter in the universe.  Googling Harry Potter yields more than 79 Million results.

Since there is so much Potter in the universe it is only reasonable that there also be anti-Potter!  LOL  The 7 Harry Potter books are 6.3 megabytes.  So how would that much anti-Potter be measured and accumulated?

Using a program to determine SF and Fantasy densities gives the HP series an SF density of 0.076 and a Fantasy density of 0.706.  The Fantasy density is 9 times the SF density.  J. K. Rowling uses the word 'wand' 1,500 times.

A score of 1.000 would mean that 1 science or fantasy word was used for every 1,000 characters of text, including spaces and punctuation.

So I have selected a list of 13 books totaling 6.2 megabytes which should qualify as Anti-Potter.  The SF density is 1.134 and the Fantasy density is 0.049.  With an SF density higher than the Fantasy density of the HP series and a Fantasy density lower than the SF density than the Potter series it qualifies as Anti-Potter.  The SF density is 23 times the Fantasy density so this is really heavy literature.

Omnilingual (Feb 1957) by H. Beam Piper            Public Domain
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omnilingual

Badge of Infamy (1963) by Lester del Rey        Public Domain
The Foundation Trilogy (1941-59) by Isaac Asimov
Brain Wave (1954) by Poul Anderson
A Fall of Moondust (1961) by Arthur C. Clarke
The Moon is a Harsh Mistress (1966) by Robert Heinlein
Tau Zero (1970) by Poul Anderson
The Mote in God's Eye (1974) by Larry Niven
The Two Faces of Tomorrow (1979) by James P. Hogan
Cold as Ice (1992) by  Charles Sheffield
Old Man's War (2005) by John Scalzi

The first two are the shortest and in the public domain so the collection can be tested at little cost.  The true cost of a book is the time it takes to read, but what is the benefit?
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Oh I follow your reasoning. I was merely suggesting that religious teachings as an analog for "energy" might be more antithetical to Harry Potter as an opposite energy source. There seems to be a reason why the initialism "SSF" exists -- two sides to the same coin, in my book.
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Karl Smithe

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Blast from the Past with Greek Raspberry

LOL Does that make any kind of sense?

$35 Raspberry Pi 3 more powerful than $3,000,000 mainframe, circa 1980.

33 years ago the January 1983 Byte magazine published an article on benchmarks run on a wide range of computers. 8 bit micro-computers had been around for some time and 16-bit machines were not yet dominating the market. There was still a shortage of 16-bit software, the IBM PC AT-286 computer was a year away and the Intel 386 was three years away. But of course no one knew that at the time.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/11/23/test_template?page=3

So how powerful were all of those toy computers and the glorius 16-bit machines to come? What was a reasonable benchmark that would run on everything? The 8-bit processors did not have multiply and divide instructions so they would be blown away by any tests using heavy math. An ancient Greek dude came up with a method of finding Prime Numbers that required no computation, called the Sieve of Eratosthenes. Byte provided source code in multiple languages and ran the tests with multiple compilers of the same language when possible. This was done by volunteers all over the country.

The fastest machine was an IBM 3033 running assembly language taking 7.8 miliseconds for 10 loops. Getting an accurate measurement required 100,000 loops. The slowest machine was a Z-80 running Microsoft COBOL, taking 1 hour 25 minutes and 15 seconds. I presume they did not do 100,000 loops. Oh yeah, they would still be looping. An IBM PC running assembly language took 4 seconds. So IBM's mainframe was 500 times faster than their new desktop with a brain from Intel.

I have had my new Raspberry Pi 3 for a week now and crashed it once and had to reinstall the operating system. But ages ago I wrote a C program that duplicated the Byte benchmark. The Pi Linux install comes with a GNU C Compiler so I had to see what would happen. It compiled with two warning messages but produced executable code.

The Pi 3 takes 4.7 ms to run one instance of the program in one core. So 4 versions ran simultaneously, 1 in each core at 4.7 ms each. Running 8 instances of the program slowed things down with 2 in each core taking 8.8 ms each. Something is keeping it from doubling the time to 9.4 ms. So running 8 instances of the Byte benchmark took only a little longer than running 1 instance on the IBM 3033, a $35 machine versus a $3,000,000 machine with a 33 year time dilation.

3 is a Magic Number.

The only other ARM powered device I have tested is the Archos PMA400, a 2005 Linux based pocket computer. It took 52.2 ms and had only one core. So the Pi wins by a factor of 11 with one core and 44 with all of them. So 11 years and 33 years make a big difference. The Archos beat the mainframe in size and price at $800, but not processing power. The Raspberry won all 3 categories.

Beware of Greeks and Moore's Law, they will blow you a Raspberry.
The golden days of computer mags, replete with ancient adverts
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Karl Smithe

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I started this after reading Ready Player One.   Because I was so shocked by how much RP1 exceeded my expectations I thought this one might also.  Unfortunately it was pretty much what I had expected RP1 to be so I quit before getting half way through.  I am not one of those people that has to finish a book.
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Good on you for being honest. And for not trudging through 'boring'.
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Karl Smithe

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I tell people to start with Honor of the QueenBasilisk Station was kind of a bore.  Things seem to get redundant after Flag in Exile.

Weber did a pretty good Bolo story for Keith Laumer's Bolo universe.  The Known Space weries with the Man-Kzin Wars has more variety than the Harrington series  so there is lots to explore in Mil SF.
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I listened as well, several times over the years, actually. I'm glad he is getting published the traditional way now and hope he makes a lot of money, but I don't think I'd have found his work without the podcasts.
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I started watching a pirate copy of The Force Awakens a few days ago.  I gave up on it about 1/3rd of the way through.  It just seems to be a rerun of the same old same old.  I saw Star Wars in the theatre in 1977 and was surprised by how much I liked it then.  Maybe I have been alienated by decades of Star Wars propaganda.  The Martian is better.

https://simondillonbooks.wordpress.com/2014/03/11/why-star-wars-is-not-science-fiction-and-related-matters/comment-page-1/#comment-484

We need STEM Fiction i nstead of what science fiction has become.
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Karl Smithe

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So where is the link to Part 1?

SF literature began before there was film and television.
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Apologies on the link. It's now included. Thank you for your feedback. http://ericpaulgoldie.blogspot.com.au/2016/06/the-five-pillars-of-science-fiction.html
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