Sunday, 3 June 2007

sf writers advise the usa. In God We Trust.

This story is all over the shop: usa today's version is at http://www.usatoday.com/tech/science/2007-05-29-deviant-thinkers-security_N.htm?csp=34 I must learn how to do that thing where you write here and it shows up in blue and you just click on it. Anyone know how?

I'm now going to try it to this. Ha! It works. Thank you Farah. Now I know html and shall conquer the world. Mwahahahaha! Thank you to sour grapes (first comment below) who I think is really called alan, but i don't have any globe things with goggles on them on my machine or display. Do you perhaps use some evil Microsoft-style system? Anyway, back to the post, but you can expect future posts to show off with thises and heres all over the place. Ha!

USA Today is news for beginners, of course, though it once described me as one of the best and most famous obituarists in the world. A crowded field, eh? I've written a bit about these advisors at the other blog (click on the right), but they haven't put it up yet. That is the trouble with mediated blogs.
Well. A few additional thoughts, and remember that I'm a conservative; that I take the view that 9/11 did make a difference, and I know whose side I'm on in the war against terror (though it's a bloody stupid way of describing it); that there was a case (though not the case which was presented) for invading Iraq; that the removal of Saddam Hussein was an unequivocally good thing; that George Bush is not a blithering idiot; and that I like Larry Niven and Greg Bear's books well enough, and don't feel the need to throw Jerry Pournelle's stuff across the room all that often.
Remember too that I am a liberal in the British conservative tradition, and think that the defence of individual liberty is more important than catch-all legislation which may or may not (it will not, actually) do anything to reduce terrorist threats; that the right to freedom of speech is well-nigh indivisible (even on race-, sex-, religion- and sexuality-based issues) or else worthless, that I am fervently opposed to ID cards, DNA profiling, and imprisonment without trial; and that I wrote the introduction to a book called Glorifying Terrorism which contains many good stories by top Leftie sf writers and was edited by the nice and clever Farah Mendlesohn who wouldn't agree with me on 99.999 per cent of anything if you paid her.
The first is the point I make over at the Telegraph, but slightly differently. Why restrict it to the physics graduates with the postgraduate degrees? They're the ones to ask about tachyons and building a space station. Or even, at a pinch, what sort of mobile phone masts will do the job well.
But what governments want to know is how people will actually behave. I suspect they wouldn't like the answers that they'd get from Bruce Sterling and Ken MacLeod and Neal Stephenson and William Gibson and Charles Stross and so on, but aren't these the guys that are quoted by newspapers and advising coolhunters and corporations and all that? (Ken MacLeod is now going to email me saying "As if. I could do with the money.")
Well, if Pepsi and Hyundai aren't seeking his advice, or some continental university appointing him professor of the public understanding of the networked future, that's their loss. Don't blame me. Except, of course, that you'd be nuts to take his advice. But you should listen very carefully to his arguments.
The more serious objection to Sigma is that they're volunteers. You should never take advice from a gang of people who've signed up to tell you that you're fundamentally on the right track. You need a group made up of some people who think you've not gone nearly far enough, some who think you're mad, and some who think you may have got it right, but only by accident and for all the wrong reasons, and that disaster looms unless you listen to them.
But only I, in all of this debate, can be counted upon to speak any sense at all. Twas ever thus.

4 comments:

Sour Grapes said...

"Anyone know how?"

Copy the URL you want to feature. Write some text, like "link here". Highlight that. Click on the globe-with-glasses icon, and when asked to provide a URL paste in the one you copied. Your "link here" text will now be a live link. That should work. HTH

Anonymous said...

Don't panic; the various American spooks who hang out with cyberpunks don't brag about that in the magisterial pages of USA TODAY.

mckie said...

I'm very excited by anonymous's entry. who is she? You notice I use the preferred sex-neutral term favoured in academic papers these days. A spook, obviously. But it is clearly disinformation. On whose behalf? The FBI? The FCO? The Friends? Five? The Bureau Echt? Mossad? The Cousins? The FBA? I'll be by the old oak tree (there's bound to be one) in Alfred, NY, in about a week's time. Moscow Rules, mind.

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