David Graeber has the most interesting take I have read on why you don’t have your flying car:
Of Flying Cars and the Declining Rate of Profit
Graeber’s hypothesis is that our economic system is run with a preference for fostering bureaucracy over creation, and this stifles innovations that do not themselves result in more bureaucracy.
I find his thesis provocative and plausible. For example, it is consistent with my experience of what is happening to academe in the United States.
Addendum: Graeber and Thiel discuss the issue for Baffler.
I’m giving a talk on Tuesday, free and open to the public, at the Rochester Institute of Technology. It will be in Xerox Auditorium at 5:30 on May 12. Poster below! Do stop by if you want to know the answer.
I’m pleased to have a story (“Racing the Tide”) in the forthcoming CliFi anthology, Loosed Upon the World. The book will be out in August. Official announcements can be found at John Joseph Adam’s blog.
I think I was maybe 4 when I first saw Star Trek. From that moment, I wanted to be Spock.
RIP Leonard Nimoy, 1932-2015.
Writer’s & Books is going to do a reading of my play B-19. The play is based on a true story of an experiment meant to “cure” homosexuality by sinking wires into the pleasure centers of one man’s brain to directly cause positive associations with heterosexuality. It’s a story of forgotten history and unexpected consequences.
SAVE THE DATE
Writers & Books presents
B – 19 by Craig DeLancey
Directed by Jean Gordon Ryon
Writers & Books
cordially invites you to attend
A Staged Reading of a New Work
Please join us for a staged reading of a new play by Craig DeLancey directed by Jean Gordon Ryon. Actors will perform the play with books in hand, and the playwright will be present for discussion and questions.
Saturday February 21, 2015
Writers & Books
740 University Ave.
A very cool site, under construction and growing, on the history and influence of SF culture:
It’s being developed by SF writer Steve Carper.
The third installment of the Predator Space Chronicles is up.
Amir Tarkos is one of the only humans in the Predator Corp, the most feared and respected military force in the Galaxy. With his partner Bria, a bear-like carnivore, Tarkos is on a dangerous and difficult mission to fight the Ulltrians, a race that once extinguished much of the life in the Galaxy.
War has begun, but Bria has been accused of murder and treason and Tarkos is suspected to be an accomplice. Only they can save the Alliance, but first they must escape from prison, raise an army of artificial intelligences, and seize control of the most dangerous weapon the Alliance ever created.
So we all missed this one. Science fiction writers have for decades been imagining different ways in which a technological society can turn on science. Standard tropes are that fundamentalist religion takes over the state, and bans science; another standard trope is that some catastrophe happens, and people blame science and scientists (Interstellar had a few lines devoted to this trope, to cite a very contemporary example).
This morning, I read the text of the bill that passed the House last week: HR1442. This bill would determine who can advise the E.P.A. It includes (I cut for readibility some clauses):
(2) Each member of the Board shall be qualified by education, training, and experience to evaluate scientific and technical information on matters referred to the Board under this section. The Administrator shall ensure that–
“(C) persons with substantial and relevant expertise are not excluded from the Board due to affiliation with or representation of entities that may have a potential interest in the Board’s advisory activities, so long as that interest is fully disclosed to the Administrator and the public and appointment to the Board complies with section 208 of title 18, United States Code;
“(E) Board members may not participate in advisory activities that directly or indirectly involve review or evaluation of their own work;
So (C) above would open the advisory board to include corporate representatives; these people are specifically redefined as acceptable as long as we know that they work for industry.
But (E) above means that a scientist whose has published on global warming, for example, cannot be part of the board if they are discussing global warming, because of course then her work would be evaluated as part of the discussion of global warming.
In other words, working for a corporation that would be directly affected by the regulation does not cause a conflict of interest, but the scientific method and peer review do cause a conflict of interest.
No dystopian fancy ever encompassed a world in which “I am paid to say P” is treated as no serious conflict of interest with respect to P, but the person who publishes peer-reviewed scientific papers on P has a conflict of interest because… I just don’t know why because.
We are laggards, we science fiction writers. The world is leaving us behind.
Always eloquence and wisdom incarnate.
My story “Cantor’s Dragon,” about Georg Cantor and the infinite, is out in this month’s Shimmer.
Shimmer deserves our support. It can’t be easy to run a journal nowadays, and yet the field would die without them. Let’s support the good folks at Shimmer!