Answering George R.R. Martin’s attack on the #SadPuppies

Larry Correia has some words for George R.R. Martin, who claims there is no political agenda against Science Fiction writers at WorldCon (which gives out the illustrious Hugo awards).

By the way, for whatever it’s worth, everything described here has happened to me, and I’ve only ever published one Science Fiction story, many years ago. There are people on the internet who act exactly like this, then when we speak of recognizing them, as he does here, we’re called paranoid. Um, wut?

If the attackers get called on it, or busted, they delete the embarrassing stuff, run away, then come back somewhere else, often under a different name, trying to stick narrative into whole new conversations. I’ve got a couple of guys who are so persistent at it, posting under dozens of pseudonyms, whenever my name shows up anywhere that I’m pretty sure they’ve got me on Google alerts.

If you are talking about more recent times, and the number of people like that, plug my name into your search engine for the last week. Now we are in the hundreds, if not thousands. Forums, blog comments, all over FB, and this time it is racist, sexist, blah blah blah… I wish they would mix the narrative up a little and accuse me of something interesting.

The Lancet: About half of scientific papers may be bogus

“The case against science is straightforward: much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue. Afflicted by studies with small sample sizes, tiny effects, invalid exploratory analyses, and flagrant conflicts of interest, together with an obsession for pursuing fashionable trends of dubious importance, science has taken a turn towards darkness.”

(Emphasis mine.)

Read more from The Lancet.

It’s funny how every time I link an article like this from a scientific publication, and note that the peer review system as currently constructed has too many opportunities for corruption, I’m told that I’m a conspiracy theorist. Whatever. I have had multiple working scientists (and retired scientists) tell me this. Yet apparently I’m wrong to bring it up. Oh well.


This piece, When Nerds Collide by Meredith L. Patterson, is easily the best explanation of what’s been going on with nerds that I’ve ever read, and I’ve been watching this slow erosion of what we created and the growing attack on who we are since the early 2000s; it started slow, but like all exponential growth, it tends to look slow at first, but then suddenly seems like it’s exploding around you.

The question is, what’s next? I guess human nature doesn’t change much, and the ultimate issue is that, as weirdos, we will always be by-definition weird and thus shunned. Yet it would seem that most human progress relies heavily on weirdos for innovation. Can the norms continue to innovate on their own? Some can, but I think most can’t. Yet we can hardly threaten them to leave us alone or we’ll stop helping them; they won’t listen or believe anyway.

Convention of the states?

I see some Conservatives are echoing some Liberals who’ve been saying it’s time to hold a Constitutional Convention.

Since I have for some time now believed our Constitution is functionally broken, with just about every exploitable part of the thing exploited, I think it’s a fine idea. On the other hand, this group appears to only be using their call to appeal to conservatives and conservative issues (and by “conservative” I mean Conservative in the modern American political context, not necessarily what would classically be called conservative). Doubtless, however, if they did manage this, liberals too would have their chance to give input, and would hopefully be concentrating on restoration of due process rights, limitation of corporate power and hegemony, and other items that most concern them.

I have to say that on the whole I support the effort, but I’m pessimistic at this point; the most politically active among us are now so utterly locked in the delusional “left vs. right” mold that they will instinctively reject this out of fear of what “conservatives” might do or what “liberals” might do, and won’t even think about the fact that any proposed alteration or rewriting of the Constitution would not only involve extensive debate, but would also have to be ratified, with an enormous amount of time for everyone in the country to think about what was proposed.

Meanwhile, the average citizen, who is neither a Republican nor a Democrat, neither a “Conservative” or a “Liberal” in the way they say these things among the intelligentsia, has a hard time giving a damn about any of it. So we’re locked between “liberals” vs. “conservatives” vs. everybody who no longer gives a damn.

I still vote in every election, and I still vote not just bipartisan but for a mix of third party candidates just to send a message. I’m glad I do, as I know I still have some influence; I helped get a corrupt judge off the bench near where I live for example. But I know I’m in a minority in believing I can make much difference in the grand scheme of things.

As a country, we have come to mistrust and fear not just our government, but each other, so much so that we’re terrified of even trying to alter our basic system of government–even though the Constitution itself was designed to enable us to do that very thing any time we want to.

Such is the tragedy of this era.

60% of web traffic now on mobile devices

Qualify this under “general musings.”

But: the majority of web traffic is now on smartphones, tablets, etc.

I remember how much grief I used to get for saying the PC was slowly disappearing. I started saying that about 10 years ago. Whenever I said this I was accused of saying the PC was going to  “die.” No. What I said was it would slowly disappear from most people’s lives because they wouldn’t need one, and it would eventually turn back into what it was originally: a tool and/or toy for engineers, scientists, hobbyists, gamers, and nerds. That process was already visible to me in the middle of the last decade, although as with most things, this takes time, it’s no more an overnight phenomenon than any other major shift; it takes years, but the inexorable nature of exponential growth eventually becomes obvious to everyone.

I’d say we’re very nearly there. About the only thing the average person–not the engineer, the geek, the gamer, etc., the average person–needs a PC for is if they’re doing a lot of typing. How much of the population is that? A few million in the US I’d wager. Some accountants, some writers, lawyers perhaps, that sort of thing.

I’m going to enjoy the PC as a hobby again. I do wonder at times how much effort there’s going to be to actually make it difficult to make your own computer though. Linux and BSD will likely be the future there I’d think.  The turn of the next decade should be interesting to watch in that regard.

Yes, yes, I get it. You will probably always want a PC. So will I. I just honestly wondering if corporate and government entities are going to start going out of their way to make that tough.

Will Global Warming skeptics ever get the apologies they deserve?

It’s all over the news; we’ve gone about 17 years without any meaningful increase in global temperatures, and the experts are now declaring we’re in the middle of a “pause” based on factors they think maybe they can explain and maybe they can’t; the consensus seems to be to try to explain it away by the oceans, but this is as sloppy as anything they ever accused the skeptics of.

They’re now suggesting that it may be 10 years before temperatures resume their supposed escalation–10 years being the classic prediction people use when they have no real idea,  because it sounds reasonably in the foreseeable future but in reality, in 10 years no one will remember you predicted something 10 years ago. And a lot of these people will be retired by that point and won’t really have to directly answer for anything they might have got horribly wrong all those years ago.

Those who expressed skepticism all along were viciously attacked, mocked, in some cases careers ruined, as “anti-science” and “denialists” all for saying “hold on a second.” And no, those who accused pro-Global Warming scientists were not “just as guilty”; one side held most of the money and power, the other was little but a bunch of upstarts saying the Emperor appeared to possibly be missing some clothing,  and they were severely punished for daring to hint that maybe there was some problem with those fancy garments.

You can read a pretty good summary of where we are now here on Forbes.

Yes, the skeptical upstarts got a little bit of money here and there from vested interests themselves, but it was dwarfed by the money gotten by the establishment who declared Ex Cathedra that they had The Truth.

Money pollutes science. It just does. So once there’s a strong vested monetary or political interest in one side or the other of a hypothesis–as there always was here–you have to work more diligently than ever to focus on the data, and making that data as transparent as possible, and predictable, falsifiable results, not what you want to believe.

Maybe there still is warming caused by humans. If so, those who say so should be making their assertions with a great deal more humility and reflection on the possibility that they may be wrong and that in being wrong they can potentially cause damage too. We can only hope they do, anyway.

Those of you who called everyone who had any doubts crackpots, lunatics, “science denialists,” whatever? You lost the plot on how science is supposed to work, which is by testing and questioning and probing and debating and transparency and reproducible predictions. Instead you turned it into a religion with Bishops and Imams who were Not To Be Questioned lest the Wrathful Gods of Climate Change should destroy humanity.

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. The history of science is filled with this kind of closed-minded bullying of doubters and skeptics. Why would we think human nature has changed now in our supposedly more enlightened age?

In any case, one thing’s for certain: The Climate Change establishment has its tail between its legs. Good. It’s needed it for some time. Now I hope they keep studying the climate, and start giving more respect to dissent and skepticism, and allow much greater transparency in how they collect their data and how they do their calculations.

Technology & the end of capitalism as we know it?

This video by the always-fantastic CGP Grey is more far-reaching than most of his videos, and hits on several items we’ve discussed on Dean’s World in the past. For those of you still around (I’d guess well under 100% of what this site was at one point), I would merely note that this hits on something I’ve said many times before: we do seem to be getting into territory where we no longer even understand the economy let alone have a way to fix it:

I honestly have to wonder if the “socialist revolution” envisioned by Marx won’t become a reality not because anything Marx said was right (in fact I’m inclined to think he was wrong about most things) but because we literally hit a place where there are almost no jobs left even for bright talented people, and we are faced with whether to accept a situation where all available resources are owned by a tiny fraction of the populace, or whether we start entering a Star Trek-y future in which resource scarcity is no longer what drives society and “competition” becomes an almost meaningless concept, and we have some form of socialism-by-default because the only alternative is mass revolution and complete social collapse.

The horse analogy here is much more uncomfortably close to how I see the future than a lot of my friends seem willing to even look at:

What will we do when there really are hardly any jobs requiring humans for much of anything except to say “please give me stuff?”

I’ve thought for some time now we should start thinking about these questions more. Alas, most people seem content to either watch the TV, play video games, or engage in pointless partisan left/right questions instead.

I’ve spent much of the last 10 years being told I’m crazy when I mention these things, or accused of having an ideological agenda, which has been rather crazy-making,  as I sit and watch these trends unfold and when I say, “No, I really don’t have an agenda, I really do think this is what’s going to happen and I don’t know what to do about it but we ought to be thinking about it.

Nor do I have an answer now, except to say that I’m really pretty sure that the human species is now facing questions much bigger than anything, and I do mean anything, it has ever faced before. One possiblity is dystopia. Another is utopia. Likely it’ll be somewhere between those two, but I honestly don’t know what will happen, except I think all the old economic models will pretty much collapse.

Defending the liberal tradition in history, science, and philosophy