Mar 01


I’ve read this article about three times now since it was published, which is rare for me. It is damn great.

Fantasy does not have to be hamstrung by the social conventions of the past. If you want those social conventions in place for other story reasons then you can get around that too by bringing women into the story. Terry Pratchett’s Monstrous Regiment has a lot to say about the different kinds of women you might find on a battlefield, and the many different reasons why they might be there despite restrictive social mores. Or, you know, you could read some actual history, because for all its patriarchal leanings, you will find that women’s roles in war were a lot more varied than many people expect.

I’ve never, ever understood the reason that fantasy and sf insists on being restricted to replicating 1950s social roles and mores. It is just completely senseless.

Feb 28

You can quote me

I wish I could personally punch in the face whatever fucking idiot at Google made a quoted search such as “fucking idiot” not be a true verbatim search.

Way to make your search engine worse, for the users who need that functionality the most.

Feb 28


I work really hard in my media consumption to make sure that I find films, books and other artwork that feature or at least include women as fully-realized, self-motivated characters.

It’s not easy, and it’s getting harder.

I’ve just never seen any reason at all to ignore half the human experience. That’s what I watch movies and read books for, even as non-social as I am – to partake in human experiences and ideas that I otherwise would not get to learn about.

I don’t feel like I should get a cookie or deserve congratulations for this. I feel like those who don’t do this are shortchanging themselves and lead a very desolate cultural life.

And truly, if you are not interested in watching a story about a woman, or have no women heroines or those you admire then I probably (almost certainly) want absolutely nothing to do with you. It means you are a misogynist prick in the most common case, or at the least culturally blinkered and thus also uninteresting to me.

When I was in an early grade, a classmate noticed me reading a Judy Blume book. I was already a much more advanced reader than this (was reading adult textbooks and National Geographic in first grade), but it was in the classroom so I picked it up.

It was good; I kept reading it. Then a classmate said to me, “That’s a girl’s book.”

So I said, “That’s good, because I like girls.” (Was not affirming a hetero orientation, just meant this in a general sense.)

Note I had not read any feminist theory then, and certainly no one around me in redneck North Florida would admit to being a feminist. I likely knew the word even then, but probably only had a vague idea of its true meaning.

However, I was already and always have been a pragmatic contrarian, and would frequently call out things I thought idiotic which lead to many fights and visits to the principal.

This time the classmate shut up, not really knowing what to say, and I kept reading the book.

Who knows how much is nature and how much is nurture? But I sure was at an early age ignoring and refuting bullshit that didn’t seem correct, and that really kept me distant from my peers, despised by many teachers, and I am sure made my parents contemplate burying me in the back yard.

Feb 28

Some things

Some things that are almost certainly true but that almost everyone now highly doubts, and nearly everyone will call you crazy for believing:

1) Humans face a much greater chance of extinction than nearly anyone acknowledges; this lack of acknowledgement is mostly due to hubris.

2) Eating meat from formerly live animals will in less than 100 years will be seen as nearly as monstrous as killing a human being.

3) If (and that’s a big if) humanity manages to avoid extinction and technological society continues, we or our much-different successors will attempt to leave the solar system, and likely succeed.

4) Creating an AI is absolutely inevitable, and that may mean the extinction of humanity.

5) We will succeed in “uplifting” animals to human intelligence and beyond.

6) If humanity does avoid extinction, within 10,000 years human bodies as we know them now will be no more.

7) In the future, there are really only two alternatives: Nearly no one has jobs as we now think of them, or nearly everyone is in slavery.

8) Sometime before we relinquish physical bodies altogether, changing physical sex will be as easy as wishing to do so.

And for those who doubt the extinction risk of humanity, ponder this.

Ninety-nine percent of the species that have lived on Earth have gone extinct, including more than five tool-using hominids.

Why would you think humanity would be any different at all, especially with all the amazing tools we have now with which to kill ourselves?

Feb 26


Another thing about short-term trading. You only care about the stupid. Don’t listen at all to most of anything. Just prick your ears up when something really, really dumb is happening. That’s where you make your money.

For instance during the late 1990s, every schmoe in the universe was piling into Yahoo and Amazon as Henry Blodget forecast them hitting absurd highs. I wanted to jump on that stupid train and then jump off before it crashed.

So I did.

Over the course of about two weeks, I quadrupled an already rather sizable pot of money, bailed out well before the top and then stood back and watched admiringly as the inevitable crash occurred.

How much was luck and how much skill? Who knows? I was in the right place with the right money at the right time and I made use of the opportunity. At worst, I would’ve lost a little (less then 5% of my capital) – money I had to lose, by the way.

But as it was, for the first time an account of mine went from five figures to six. And that’s why I only really pay attention to the dumbest things I can find.

Feb 26


This song has joined my tally of all-time favorite songs. Ignore the audio problems at the beginning; the sound person fixes them quickly. Kate Miller-Heidke is just awesome. I love when she uses her opera voice (former opera singer). And three percussionists!

I’d just assumed before watching this that the waver in her voice that helps make the song so great was a studio effect. Nope. It’s her (she’s not lip-syncing). Amazing talent.

Feb 25


I will no longer be doing any blogging of any sort about politics on this (or any other) blog.

It just makes me angry and there is nothing I can do at this stage, anyway. Corporations control the media and the government, and that is only increasing.

Only a huge crisis, far more calamitous than the recent financial implosion and subsequent Great Recession, will bring about any change at all.

Thinking about any of it, writing about it, or even noticing it wastes my time and fills vital brain space with useless garbage. I am by most accounts a pretty smart guy, but I’ve come to recognize that there is only so much information I can process and make use of, and that as I focus more the distractions are killing that focus.

Politics for now is a worthless ritual battleground. It and the scope of thought allowed therein is completely controlled, just as much as in any dictatorship. Voting means nothing; protesting means nothing (especially the way it’s done now). These are just relief valves the mandarins allow to make the hoi polloi believe they have a little power.

Wake me up when the revolution comes.

Feb 25


Remember a few posts ago, about trading Zynga? Look at its range today.

I would’ve made a lot of money. Easy call. But that’s really the secret, as much as there is one. Make the easy calls, and don’t be emotionally invested. Bail out when you are wrong, and automate the bailout.

If I’d been trading today, I would’ve made about $5,000 in an hour.

So tempting to do again.

Feb 24


Looking out the back door at our new place today, at first I thought I saw a dog, then realized it was a coyote. Very surprised to see one in broad daylight in an urban area.

It was quite far away, but here are some photos I managed to take with the NEX-5N.

Feb 24


I’d be day-trading the crap out of this stock if I were still in the game.

High volume, large float, large short interest? Oh hell yeah.

That means there’s a lot of stupid people doing a lot of stupid things with that stock. And the stupid is where you make your money.

The thing that makes day trading easy – for me, at least – is that you don’t have to be smarter than everyone else, you just have to be smarter than two things: your own dumb emotional instincts, and about 60% of everyone else trading in that stock.

And to be perfectly blunt, I can be smarter than 60% of even very smart people with one hemisphere tied behind my back.

And I’m so humble, too.