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David Brin
Futurist, Science Fiction Author, Scientist. Advocate for a Transparent Society.
Futurist, Science Fiction Author, Scientist. Advocate for a Transparent Society.

David's posts

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NASA was spared - overall - deep cuts in the Trump proposed budget. Sighs of relief? Only look at what was meddled-out. All three of the satellite programs that would have helped to nail down the facts regarding climate change, all wiped out by those who shout (in effect) "If we don't look, then it doesn't exist!" (Object permanence is something most humans learn by the time they are three.)

Also gone, the Asteroid Redirect Mission, nailing in place the weirdest aspect of America's current Civil War... the fact that Republicans are obsessed with putting more dusty footprints on the Moon while Democrats (and nearly all scientists and space entrepreneurs) want to at least take a closer look at the likely bonanza of wealth available for the taking, from asteroids.

Why would our insipid political struggles extend into space? Because that asteroid bonanza could undermine prices for materials we currently tear out of the Earth, threatening the sunk costs of resource exploiters. One reason why that cult also undermines sustainable alternatives to fossil fuels. (Too late on that one, fellahs. Too late, thank God.)

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Why do so many movies base everything upon Villainy, Apocalypse, Pessimism, Incompetence, and Dystopia (VAPID)? My latest science fictional posting...

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And now for something different. A posting of cool science fiction news. The Nebula Awards! (Congrats all!.) And neato films. And possible AI! And more on cinematic SF, And how we can look beyond (even far beyond) our current troubles.

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The barbarians have taken the capital. We had budget surpluses under Bill Clinton, till the Bush tax cuts for the rich turned it into huge deficits. Now, instead of asking the beneficiaries of the last 20 years to help pay for a civilization that created and protects their wealth, these shortsighted oligarchs want to burn all our seed corn, to get one more great big tax gift.

"Make no mistake" as the president often says. The destruction of science and every fact-profession is the underlying goal.

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Our counter-intelligence professionals are deeply worried about new kinds of attacks upon America by foreign powers that are vastly more sophisticated than the ones that meddled in our 2016 elections. They are struggling to understand the battlescape of this new information war. “As Americans tweet and like and upvote their way through social media, they generate a vast trove of data on what they think and how they respond to ideas and arguments--literally thousands of expressions of belief every second on Twitter, Facebook, Reddit and Google. All of those digitized convictions are collected and stored, and much of that data is available commercially to anyone with sufficient computing power to take advantage of it.”

This excellent journalistic exposé takes you through the scary path that this underground campaign of social sabotage has taken — following patterns that Fred Pohl eerily predicted in The Cool War — revealing how our own technologies have been turned against us, and why we are so vulnerable.

What the story leaves out is the central, core fact that ties it all together. For you see, most of the failure modes rely on subjectivity — the ability to sway people with appeals to emotion, group loyalty, crowd momentum and rumor mongering. All of these approaches fail when people are calmly willing to weigh facts. So the agenda relies utterly upon demolishing two things… both calm and facts.

In my recent blog posting, I propose four reforms that could be enacted if just thirty mature-adult republicans joined with democrats in Congress. But the most important would be to appoint a commission to find some way that all Americans could verify clear facts or refute blatant falsehoods.

Oh, there'd be a myriad things to work out -- we don't want a Ministry of Truth! But clearly, if facts do not start gaining advantage over lies and rumors, we are doomed.


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The Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the world. But amid rapid climate change, Vladimir Putin is setting Russia up to take advantage of new shipping routes and oil deposits. “The scale of Russian military and economic activity—driven in part by a national mythology and pride rooted in its northern identity—means that, regardless of U.S. policy, there is competition for Arctic power and resources. Benefits accrue to early movers, and the U.S. is not one of them.”

Russian officials’ rhetoric about its Arctic presence, coupled with military re-entrenchment, has been less than diplomatic. “Dmitry Rogozin, deputy prime minister and director of Putin's Government Commission for Arctic Development Issues, has called the 1867 sale of Alaska a “betrayal of Russian power status” and has said that the Kremlin has a “right to reclaim our lost colonies.””

More than 4 million people live north of Earth's Arctic Circle, nearly half of them in Russia and the rest scattered among the seven other northernmost countries—the U.S., Canada, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, and Finland. Have look at the distribution of Russian bases, including new ones, ringing the Arctic. The US Navy is deeply concerned. And there are no climate denialist cultists in the US Naval Officer ranks.

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He howled at Michelle Obama for having uncovered hair, when she visited Riyadh… and now Ivanka and Melania went uncovered. Screamed at Obama for bowing his head to receive a necklace medal… then DT does the same. And earlier GW Bush kissed Saudi princes on the mouth and walked with them holding hands. DT railed at the Saudis on the campaign trail, and now they are best pals. He promised proof that Obama was Kenyan and muslim, and now shrugs off all such vows with chuckles.

Seriously, is no hypocrisy beyond you redders? On any single day of the Trump Administration… any one… he or administration officials have done things that would have you hypocrites screeching for revolution, had a democrat done anything remotely like it.

Now he’s howling ‘witch hunt” because there’s an independent counsel, when the air reeks of outright treason with foreign foes? FIVE special prosecutors were sent sniffing every corner of the Bill Clinton Administration. Reagan and Bush Sr got once each, with this difference. Dozens of high Reagan and Bush officials wound up being indicted and convicted, confessing to felonies. Did all the witch hunts under Clinton and Obama bear similar fruit?

All they ever came up with was a husband fibbing about some adult-consensual 3rd-base infidelity in a hallway.

Clinton and Obama had the only two, 8-year administrations with ZERO high officials convicted or even indicted for actual malfeasance of office - the only times that ever happened. And it happened despite over a billion dollars and 25 years of frantic probing by their enemies, desperately sifting every file and cabinet for some smoking gun, anything at all. The worst you nut-jobs ever found was Hillary making the same mistake with her email system that Colin Powell and Newt Gingrich made, with zero harm done. Ohhhh, lock her up!

Just the fact that DT insists on continuing to use his easily hacked old Galaxy S3 is twenty times the security breach, one out of hundreds spilling from that clown car. Hypocrites.

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Only 21 light-years from the Sun in Pisces, is SIMP0136 a well-studied brown dwarf star… or so folks thought. But UCSD’s Adam Burgasser has helped nail down that it’s more of a free-drifting planet, with mass of about 13 times that of Jupiter, right at the boundary between brown dwarfs and giant planets. Free-floating planets are easier to study because their dim light isn’t overwhelmed by the brightness of their host stars, which blinds the instruments that astronomers use to characterize an exoplanet’s atmosphere. That meant astronomers had already detected fast-evolving weather patterns on the surface.

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Thank Heavens. With this decisive win by Iran's moderates, there may be pushback against the Trump White House giving Putin the US-Iran War that he so desperately wants.

I am registering here a prediction call... a 50% probability that Donald Trump will announce some kind of Israel-Saudi deal for those two 70-year enemies to move closer together: targeting Iran. The Trump White House overflows with men who have stated or implied an eagerness for war with Iran. Because every evil force on the planet wants it to happen.

Not the educated citizens of Iran, who are struggling gradually to wrest power from the mullahs... but the mullahs certainly want such a war! They'd be safe from major damage, under the Russian nuclear umbrella, and a nasty little snit would help them crush democracy, at home.

It serves Russian interests, since it would then drive Iran into Moscow's arms and destroy all chances of a Persian democratic renaissance. It will push Trump's political crises off the headlines and make him look 'strong.' And it serves the Saudis to a (dumb, shortsighted) T.

One question: would the Israelis foolishly fall for this trap? If they are offered a huge inducement? A Big Peace Deal with the Sunni Arab World? It could happen. 
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