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What You Know That Isn't So

  The saying goes like this, It's not what you *don't* know that is going to trip you up, it's what you know that isn't so. I believe that the first lady might possibly have been feigning helplessness, just a little bit.  She already had concept art and visuals, so I think she'll be okay.   But someone might truly be so new that they know nothing about science fiction as a genre or how it works in the world.  That person, the truly "new" person, might not realize that the second lady, no matter how assured she seems to be that she's passing on vital Wisdom, is wrong. So lets unwrap her backpack a little (to steal a metaphor). Stories about space pirates are Space Opera, generally.  "Soft" science in science fiction usually refers to sociology or psychology, social "science".  A story about space pirates might be "soft".  But that's picking nits.  The first big boo-boo is this: "not as popular *because* it is women
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Welcome the Ministry of Truth

I had something to say about what happens if we lose our doubt, our suspicion, and our ability to look for a lie because we have been conditioned to expect that everything around us has been certified safe?   And then I clicked through to the article.  I'll link it here and I won't quote the whole thing, just representatives of the points made.  You can go read it all if you still maintain a skeptical nature. First point:  "Publishers of nonfiction should have built-in, on top of the author’s fact-checking, a review process by people trained in fact-checking." The author begins with an example of a book suggesting that sunning your...butt hole every day was healthy.  I agree that this is utterly absurd.  I disagree that we need a ministry of truth to ensure that no one publishes such a silly health suggestion.  What we need is a developed and maintained skepticism, not an assurance that if something is in a "n

The Principle of Non-Persuasive Argument

 Have you noticed what I've noticed? It's not really something new.  I started to notice way back in 2015-ish that protests seemed to be deliberately non-persuasive.  Note that this is well before Trump, possibly all the way back to the beginning of Obama's terms or farther.  And I'll admit that I've only noticed this as a left-wing phenomenon, possibly because I don't need to be persuaded of what my opinions already are.  (And right-wing arguments that I find stupid mostly elicit a rolling of my eyes.) I had a long conversation once with someone about the very poorly conceived practice of blocking freeways.  My argument was that anyone stuck on the freeway would be motivated negatively toward whatever the blockage was supposed to be about, and that furthermore, nothing about a freeway even began to indicate what cause the blockers were intending to highlight.  In fact, if I don't say here what the cause was, in future years no one will be able to figure it

Flatten the Curve

Remember this: When we began with Covid 19 we were generally told that the goal was to slow the spread, to "flatten the curve", in order to dribble out covid cases in bits and drabs to reduce the burden on hospitals and staff. Everyone was still going to eventually get it, just not all at once. Think about when that message shifted. Think about when the rhetoric changed to "defeat" or "end" Covid 19. No flu or covid virus, not one of them, that has made the jump from animals to humans has ever been defeated. Not a single one has truly come to an end. They mutate. They become less prevalent. They all still exist and are still passed between people. Flatten the Curve. That made sense. Let us take away all of your freedom, emotionally and psychologically abuse your children, disregard those with mental difficulty, isolate the elderly and let them die alone because, BECAUSE, if you allow these utterly HORRIFIC things... we can DEFEAT Covid 19. Utter, au

Strong Female Characters

Time to talk about Strong Female Characters again. I actually saw that shortened to SFC. Time to talk about SFC's again. Why? Because there is a blow-up about a remake of a kid's cartoon and everyone is on about "Teela and the Masters of the Universe" and a couple of people have pointed out an element of the story that does seem rather odd as it's described: Does anyone care about spoilers? Prince Adam dies. According to what people are saying, Teela's "take away" on this is the need to berate his parents, fresh in their grief at the loss of their only child, that no one told her that he was He Man. She has a tantrum and leaves. She stays mad. She resists the call to be a hero when the universe is going to be destroyed. Later she treats Prince Adam badly. Or so I'm hearing. Tell me I've heard wrong. But the charge that her response when finding out that she'd been kept in the dark is self-absorbed, that tracks with the current tre

Call Me Mary Sue

 Call me Mary Sue. Writers have all heard of a Mary Sue.  In truth, these days even non-writers have probably heard of a Mary Sue. In short, a Mary Sue is a character who doesn't have to try very hard.  She is talented and loved by all without having paid her dues.  Mary Sue might be an orphan, but she's secretly a princess.  She's unusual and beautiful. She seems to inspire love and loyalty for no reason. She never faces the possibility of failure when it comes to the stakes of the story. And it's a fine line. One of my favorite novels, Perilous Waif by E. William Brown, seems to be a deliberate send up of the idea of a Mary Sue, complete with the violet eyes, the orphan condition, the inexplicable love and loyalty, and the secret princess. Everything. And yet, the character works because she makes mistakes that have weight and you know that she may fail at the stakes of the story at any point.  So the definition of a Mary Sue is not just being overpowered or uncritica

I got interviewed by Mike Acerra

 This was fun and interesting.  Thinking with Mike Episode 13 A woman of STEAM Julie Pascal