Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Accelerando


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* io9’s 20 best science fiction books of the 2000s. I say any list missing The Years of Rice and Salt, Accelerando, *and* Cloud Atlas is pretty deeply suspect.

* A federal judge has halted implementation of the ban on funding for ACORN on the grounds that the law is a bill of attainder.

* “Those scores on the prestigious test are in the same range as would be expected from children who never attended school and simply guessed at the answers,” said Robert Bobb, emergency financial manager of Detroit Public Schools, during a press conference Tuesday.

* David Rakoff’s oral history of the Gore presidency. A nice idea whose execution is marred by some badly forced jokes and a total inability to write like Jon Stewart, Josh Marshall, or anybody else.

* And the Morning News has your photos of abandoned shopping malls.

Unhappy Monday Links

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I have it on good authority that my friend Traxus was totally making fun of someone else in this post on blogging styles. That said, some unhappy Monday links.

* As you’ve probably already heard, Michael Jackson’s death has now been ruled a homicide. Let the feeding frenzy resume.

* Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. named a veteran federal prosecutor on Monday to examine abuse of prisoners held by the Central Intelligence Agency, after the Justice Department released a long-secret report showing interrogators choked a prisoner repeatedly and threatened to kill another detainee’s children. A good day for America (and for the rule of law). Hopefully this is the beginning and not the end.

* NJ-Gov: Christie’s lead has all but disappeared in the face of weeks of bad press. More from TPM.

* Elsewhere in New Jersey news UPDATE: from 1970: Foster parents denied right to adopt because the father is an atheist.

In an extraordinary decision, Judge Camarata denied the Burkes’ right to the child because of their lack of belief in a Supreme Being. Despite the Burkes’ “high moral and ethical standards,” he said, the New Jersey state constitution declares that “no person shall be deprived of the inestimable privilege of worshiping Almighty God in a manner agreeable to the dictates of his own conscience.” Despite Eleanor Katherine’s tender years, he continued, “the child should have the freedom to worship as she sees fit, and not be influenced by prospective parents who do not believe in a Supreme Being.”

People who love to tell New Atheists to sit down and shut up, take note.

* ‘How to Kill a City’: from an episode of Mad Men yesterday to the pages of the New York Times today. Via @mrtalbot.

* The Coin Flip: A Fundamentally Unfair Proposition.

* 12 Greenest Colleges and Universities, at Sustainablog. Vermont once again takes high honors.

* ‘Runaway consumerism explains the Fermi Paradox.’ (Via Ze.) This is actually an important plot point (with some nice twists) in a novel I’ve touted a few times here, Accelerando.

* And Fimoculous has your Curb Your Enthusiasm preview.

Paul Krugman, Anti-Singularitarian (UPDATED)

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Paul Krugman, anti-Singularitarian?

UPDATE: The indispensable Bill Simmon has tracked down an MP3 and transcript. I hadn’t realized Charlie Stross was Krugman’s interlocutor; it was only last week that I was talking about how much I like Accelerando. Off to listen.

Written by gerrycanavan

August 12, 2009 at 12:02 am

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The Rapture of the Nerds

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The Guardian interviews science fiction writer Charlie Stross. Here he is on the Singularity, subject of his recent book Accelerado:

Perhaps the strangest future predicted by science fiction writers is the Singularity – an idea that is already “old hat” for Stross. This concept was more or less invented by scientist and author Vernor Vinge, and started with a simple insight: If an artificial intelligence can be created on computers, it can in turn design more powerful computers to create more powerful artificial intelligence and so on at an ever accelerating rate until we arrive at the Singularity – a point where technological change happens so quickly that it irrevocably alters human existence. A powerful idea, but as Stross is the first to point out, not one that science fiction has always treated with the scientific rigour it deserves.

“A whole bunch of extra cruft accreted rapidly around Vinge’s idea, which was misappropriated and misunderstood by many writers,” he explains. “Along with the idea of nanotechnology, the singularity became a substitute for magic pixie dust that could do anything, and a placeholder for what author Ken McLeod dubbed ‘the rapture of the nerds’.”

Like all good science-fiction writers, Stross has a blog.

Written by gerrycanavan

June 9, 2008 at 2:36 pm