Posts

Showing posts from March, 2019

An Imaginary Path

Image
There IS NO PATH back to "normality" if by normal you mean like it used to be. Not the 1950s or the '80s, or the '10s or yesterday.
Things are just changing too fast and too much. It's going to get stranger and stranger.
The fine article (and podcast) in Wired is actually about how sci-fi writers are getting more political, and how the "abnormality" is Trump, etc., but this back-to-normality thing is way bigger than politics. 
Science is becoming science fiction. Artificial intelligence, CRSPR gene editing, hypersonics, supercomputing, crowdsourcing, gravity waves, Instagram, augmented reality, virtual sex, quantum stuff, nanotech, fracking,  climate freaking change... And, really, don't get me started on world politics.  There's not path back to when all that isn't happening.


Being a science fiction writer myself (I'm comfortable saying that after three books published),  I'm sure not contemplating normality in the same color palette as …

One of the Biggies, Ambivalence

Image
What's Going to Wreck Our World? (If we are not careful)
The Plasticocalypse?
No,  AMBIVALENCE! (Heres an example)


Shell Oil is spending huge ($10 billion) on a giant plant outside of Pittsburg to makePolyethelene

Sounds (and looks) gross. But the ambivalence sets in with:

"More than 6,000 tradespeople and laborers will be on the site during the peak summer construction period. Some 600 full-time workers will manage automated technology to operate the completed plant. A 97-mile pipeline from gas separation installations in Ohio and West Virginia will supply ethane; a 250-megawatt gas-fired electrical generating station will power the plant."

Manufacturing on the rebound in America!  Here's to you, Mrs. Robinson...

Think about 3.3 billion pounds of polyethylene beads.
Think about a future when we can walk on water.
     ....not drink it, of course, just walk on it.
But LOTSA JOBS.


Ambivalence could kill us.

NYTimes pieceon Shell's new factory.






Unless somebody reminds us...

Image
We Forget How Many Ways America Is Changing The British Newspaper The Guardian Reminds us... (Those Brits, always reminding of stuff we'd rather forget)
The American family farm is disappearing


1950  (Scooter was in the 7th grade)
        Total population: 151,132,000; farm population: 25,058,000; Number of farms:
5,388,000; average acres: 216 (About 5 folks per farm family)

1998 (Olde Scooter was about to retire)
Total population: 275,900,000; farm population: 2,987,552; Number of farms: 2,143,150; average acres: 461 (About 1.4 folks per farm "family") I.e. In one man's work life, about 22 million folks left their farms. Huge "industrial" farms frequently have NO ONE living on the farm.  Maybe a few thousand hogs or tens of thousands of chickens, or endless waves of grain - soy and corn mostly.

We sort of know all this.  It just slips out of consciousness without a reminder now and then. 


How America’s food giants swallowed the family farms  **Thank you, Guardian; I …

'Nuff Said

Image
*

Ten-year-Long study!  Half a million kids!  Super study and incontestable findings.

So you anti-vaxers better come up with some other excuse.  

Just sayin'.....


* Good summary

Another Pick - On Southern Prejudice

Image
A Short, True Tale... ...From my days in San Francisco Get's another "Pick" from the NYTimes. I apologize.
When AIDS was just coming out, I was home in Texas and the subject came up. I was chatting with an old pal who said, "It's just a queers' disease." I told him it was already proven that anyone could catch it, which he denied ferociously and went on to give HIV a Biblical twist.  Then today, I saw a story in the NYTimes by a Houston doctor bemoaning how HIV is still rampant in Houston while San Francisco has it mostly under control. 

Up bubbled my memory of that old conversation, and I wrote a cynical "comment" that picked on the South - mostly unfairly.  Some comments moderator agreed with my umbrage and 'picked' my comment.  I apologize for being a categorical insulter, a category I mostly despise.

This one I'm not that proud of :\





The Chinese A.I. Leapfrog

Image
That Darn 'Invisible Hand' Sometimes it scratches the wrong itch.
China has a massive global lead in the absolute number of new factory robots, and is pouring large sums into developing AI.*



"The position in this country has been to let the market dictate what happens with tech and science, and I think that's going to prove to be a catastrophic mistake," says Amy Webb, a professor at NYU and author of a "The Big Nine," a forthcoming book on the future of AI.
Even as U.S. industry and top universities invest in future technologies, China is vastly outpacing the West in national planning and investments in AI and robotics, experts say.
Sigh...
Olde Scooter's closet of scary Chinese news:
"Winning" China'sPharma Invasion It's China More Than Russia China Becoming World Science Leader? More Threats from China - SUPERCOMPUTERS! Watch China Watch the Sky... Worrying About Chinese Competition Deep space communications
Electric Cars
Quantum communications