Are not needed versus won’t work

Reading through the comments on this post, which has a reference to a Fred blurb, I came across a very astute summary of the problem.

Reading Fred, I see by the very questions the culture shock.

Cargo culture shock. They want the cargo only produced by high-trust, long time preference, but not change their culture or virtue. DNA might deal them a bad hand, but human beings can bluff. Simply think a moment. So they build totem towers.

Both liberals and libertarians don’t realize the experiments in law will fail. The 55 page iPhone ToS isn’t read, and at some point Tim will be Cooked because law and force are the opposite of trust. The libertarians too design elaborate replacements – DROs, arbitration, etc. not realizing in a trust/posterity/K society they aren’t needed, and in a suspicion/me-now/r society they won’t work.

And that is the crux of the problem when trying to mix heterogeneous cultures. Cargo Cult culture cannot contribute to creation-of-cargo culture anything other than consumers. What is the term in biology for an organism that only consumes of its host and contributes nothing back?

A little water-navy story

I was inspired by Pournelle’s “littoral navy” story to whip up a short story of mil-fic for a somewhat nearer water-navy story. A new type of ship. It’s been long enough since I read modern navy fiction I’m forgetting the terminology, and there are likely some minor problems with protocol. Any former squids / bubble-heads out there want to take a gander and offer feedback?

GoodReads

GoodReads is a book review site that was bought by Amazon a while back. It claims to be the world’s largest site for readers and book recommendations. It’s also rather interesting in that they do not require a person to have actually read a book to review it, and they do not appear to have any consistency of policy at all WRT the enforcement of their own rules as to what posts or comments are considered acceptable.

I received an email that said: Continue reading GoodReads

… And a happy new year

Oh, the joys of home ownership.

Need to install a new garbage disposal (old one made it about 18 years). Done.

Need to fix a broken bathroom faucet. Need to replace the valve/float system of a toilet to stop it running. And that’s on top of replacing a septic pump last August. Houses are sort of like boats in slow motion – an endless repository for money and time spent on maintenance and repair. Yet what is the alternative? Renting, where you are at the landlord’s whim, and gain no value from money spent? Trade-offs, always trade-offs.
I.e., life happens.

I quite imagine that a space ship, even a sentient one, is in many ways the same. Especially if it’s a warship.

Merry Christmas

Went well. Parents and family are here.

One funny bit – when we sat down for dinner, I asked “who says grace? I asked, so I don’t have to.” The 9-yo son says “I can do it.” And he did a fine (if rather short) job.

Well done, sprout number two, well done.

Debating reality

Reality versus feelings

Score: 1-0

I had a conversation recently. We had a minor disagreement over something – the details don’t matter – but it evolved briefly into a discussion over debate methods and why he didn’t like to debate against me. We dropped it, but it got me thinking, and I realized it brought back a memory from a conversation I had a long time ago (~25 years or so) at an SCA event. Continue reading Debating reality

Thanksgiving

I have much to be thankful for. All the normal things, like friends and family (neither are particularly numerous, but they make up for that in quality), the fact that I live in the greatest – if flawed – nation in the history of history. I have tremendous material comfort. Amazing technology. Generally good health among myself and family.

And of course, all my readers who thought that my mental meanderings and story were good enough to not just read, but buy and recommend to others. I’m humbled. For that I truly give thanks. And my publisher. I mean, how many people accidentally get one of those?

Going back to the earliest thanksgiving, what were they celebrating? Making it through the year. Why was that such a thing? I mean, all their ancestors had made it through the winter time and again, yes? So what’s the big deal, other than being in a new place? They’d tried something that sounded good –  communal ownership – and it had nearly killed them as each person tried to find gold or enrich themselves quickly while letting someone else do the hard but guaranteed method of survival and success called farming doing what needs to be done. Scrapping proto-communism and getting back to the fundamental reality of the world that there is no free lunch is what saved them.

Cargo cults always fail. Always. It is part of human psychology. We are flawed. We have huge brains, but it has few correct instincts, and it takes  a LONG time to program / train correctly (a couple decades of an ~eight decade life), and there are a lot of places it can go wrong. The more comfortable the world you live in is, the easier it is to not get the correct “how reality actually works” programming.

So – be thankful for what you have, tell those around you you love that you do, and never let comfort become too comfortable. But on this day – just enjoy the day.

Now, off to roast the bird!

Not a biblical scholar

I’m not a biblical scholar. Heck, I’m barely more than Biblically semi-literate.

So, of course, in my odd little corner of the universe, it makes perfect sense to write a SF book about the founding of a new order of monks, the Monks of St Possenti. This puts me in a bit of a quandary. I like the stories I read to be plausible, and require suspension of disbelief on only a few things, but not everything. If you want to stipulate FTL in violation of current known laws, great, run with it. But what I hate is when a story is purportedly in this universe’s future and it gets a lot of basic facts about physics or history or people totally fouled up. So when I’m writing it only seems reasonable to get what facts I can correct, so that others don’t have that same “oh, heck, not that silly and often-disproven trope again!”

So I need a little help here, by readers who are also familiar with the Bible, and hopefully a few that are specifically intimate with Catholic canon and monastic orders. Continue reading Not a biblical scholar