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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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Here’s an interview with someone hated by both parts of the far-left and the entire right, Professor Stephen Pinker, who, along with Peter Diamandis (“Abundance”) has used facts to shatter the delusion that everything is spiraling into hell. That mythology doesn’t help inspire us to save the world, but rather spreads nihilism and cynicism. In fact, statistically, there are dozens of reasons for (guarded) optimism! Which, in turn, ought to inspire a can-do spirit and belief that we can act vigorously, to solve problems. Pinker is interviewed by Phil Torres. One special insight: When people believe that the world is heading off a cliff, they are receptive to the perennial appeal of demagogues: "What do you have to lose?" Sound familiar?

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This weekend I post about the "Deep State" - a buzz term suddenly revived and hurled in unison by rightist media. It stands for all of the knowledge professions, supposedly united in conspiracy against Real Americans. Only now this includes - especially - the US Military and Intelligence Officer Corps. The irony - that alt-right media fire this precisely-times salvo, all in parallel, while crying "conspiracy!" - is rich. But you need to come by: I'll help you track this meme. You should grasp its cleverness... and long-term foolishness.

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Libertarians. You're kidding, right? Your movement has been taken over by Cato shills, Steve Forbes, the Kochs, and to what end? They know you hate the Republicans. But all they have to do is get you to shake your head and ditto chant their mantra: "Yes, but of course statist Democrats are worse!" ... Idiots.

Name an issue! Market enterprise, entrepreneurship, competition and all market metrics do better under dems. Always and in all ways. Is it red states legalizing pot? Democrats deregulated the ICC, CAB, ATT, GPS and the internet. Show me ONCE when goppers did any deregulation that did not benefit oligarchs, the enemy of enterprise denounced by Adam Smith.

Trump has filled his cabinet with Goldman-Sachs billionaires and resource extraction subsidy parasites, but YOU only wince, instead of recognizing the march of feudalism.

Now Net neutrality and privacy. You... are... morons. Seriously, I say it with love. I speak at libertarian events and want to see us evolve into freedom. I wrote The Transparent Society. And it is in love and camaraderie, libertarians, that I call you fools and puppets who have betrayed everything Adam Smith stood for, and the Founders.

The Stooges had more brains.

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Okay so this happens when you pound on all the smart people. Slowly, but with rising momentum, they learn to fight back.
So, literally a false flag operation.

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Trump’s divided America… my latest political posting looks at the issues that divide us, from ideology and economics to climate change

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The NASA announcement of seven earth-sized planets orbiting a nearby red star, five of them within that star's Continuously Habitable Zone (CHZ) or Goldilocks (just right) zone is wondrously thought provoking in several ways:

1) Just the awe and wonder of it. And how amazing it is that the transit method has found so many systems, when it can only catch 5% of what's out there.

2) Note the scale of this system. The star puts out 0.05% as much light and heat as our sun. All of the planets orbit within the same distance range as Jupiter's outer moons.

3) Ponder what science fiction foretold. This is essentially the mini solar system that Arthur C. Clarke envisioned surrounding an ignited Jupiter, in his novel 2010. (This is Arthur's Centennial year.)

4) With that in mind, ponder Goldfinger's Rule. One planet in a Goldilocks Zone is happenstance. Two might be coincidence. Three....? Five...? I'm not "sayin'"... just hinting.

5) Before you get excited, remember these planets are likely to be tidal locked, with one face permanently starward. And tiny red stars tend to be Flare Stars, intermittently burping radiation. So any life would face challenges.

6) This system would seem an excellent target for some kinds of exoplanet direct viewing missions. Advantages: Well-understood orbits and a very dim star, allowing better contrast. Disadvantages: planets are very close to their star and hard to separate... only the system is close to us, so that's partly offset.

7) Should we aim SETI scopes in that direction? Yep! Should we send "messages" before thoroughly talking it over? Nope. A sure sign of immaturity and unscientific cultism.

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Will the coming scientists’ march be effective or counterproductive? This author on Slate asserts that Culture War is so locked in that the marchers will only be preaching to the democratic base. That the GOP is already so hostile to science that the marchers will only nail in place Red America’s suspicion that all scientists are partisan lefties. “In a post-election analysis at FiveThirtyEight, Nate Silver found that Trump held a 31-point advantage in the nation’s least-educated counties, while Clinton held a 26-point advantage in the best-educated ones—and concluded that income explained only part of this effect.”

Daniel Engber further asserts: “In the same way that fighting the War on Journalism delegitimizes the press by making it seem partisan and petty, so might the present fight against the War on Science sap scientific credibility. By confronting it directly, science activists may end up helping to consolidate Trump’s support among his most ardent, science-skeptical constituency. If they’re not careful where and how they step, the science march could turn into an ambush.”

But Mr. Engber misses the point. Science and journalism are not isolated cases. Indeed, an you name for me one fact-using profession of knowledge and skill that’s not under attack by Fox & its cohorts? Teachers, medical doctors, journalists, civil servants, law professionals, economists, skilled labor, professors….

In fact there are three educated clades not under open attack by the Murdochian-Confederate cult. Can you name them?

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Sci fi offers a simple explanation. He is an attention vampire. However many hate him... however little he actually accomplishes... an attention vampire will flourish as ever-more humans look at him, feel emotions about him, say his name.

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NASA will hold a news conference at 1 p.m. EST Wednesday, Feb. 22, to present new findings on exoplanets — planets that orbit stars other than our sun. As of Feb. 21, NASA has discovered and confirmed 3,440 exoplanets. It happens I have some info, having met with some top exoplanet folks in the last couple of weeks. But I expect to be as thrilled as the rest of you, in a matter of hours.

(Hint... think nearby!)

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Californians are 30% less likely to die a violent death today than other Americans. Since 1980, California’s rate of reported crime overall has fallen by 62%. The state’s criminal arrest rates, too, have fallen considerably, by 55% overall, and by 80% among people younger than 18 — a population, it is worth noting, that is now 72% nonwhite.

Violent crime in California has fallen by an impressive 50% in the same period. This includes drops in robberies (65%), homicide (68%), and rapes and assaults (more than 40%). That last figure is even more remarkable when you consider that the legal definitions of both assault and rape were expanded during these years.

Wanna point at Chicago? An outlier that is less blue and less immigrant rich, and far smaller than CA. Oh, and California generates inventions and jobs faster than anyone. Texas keeps sending governors here to try to raid and poach our companies. Um, why? Can't generate your own?

Efficient government, top schools and universities... and sure filled with problems... that are being handled better than any red state. Why? How? We haven't abandoned the formula of the Greatest Generation. We have unions, universities, infrastructure, tolerance and the rich pay taxes. And business flourishes.

Oh, one more thing. We like being a little bit funky-crazy. It's cool. It is one of many reasons why we're the sane ones.
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