HN Gopher Feed (2017-08-08) - page 1 of 10
Big Companies and the Military Are Paying Novelists to Write Sci-Fi
299 points by anthotnyhttp://www.newyorker.com/tech/elements/better-business-through-s...
leoc - 1 hours ago
There was a rash of initiatives of this kind after 9/11 as well.
vonnik - 7 hours ago
The US Army Lab has solicited sci-fi stories and awarded grants to
build the tech they describe.
LanceH - 7 hours ago
The Marines have hired historians to write manuals on how their
tabtab - 6 hours ago
"How I used Microsoft Cloud 365 to escape Darth Vader and blow up
the Death Star! Uplinking R2D2 was totally seamless."
smilbandit - 3 hours ago
rebels use Teams
lowglow - 4 hours ago
I wonder if Neal Stephenson gets paid to do this. He's predicted
parts of where we're headed with Diamond Age and Snow crash.
vinayak - 4 hours ago
Microsoft had released Future Visions Sci-fi series after inviting
several sci-fi authors to their research labs - New Link -
book itself can be downloaded at
schlipity - 3 hours ago
This is actually part of the plot of the movie (Three Days of the
Condor) and book (Six days of the Condor). The protagonist works
at a CIA site where they read basically everything released and
break down the plots to see if it has any strategic value and/or
state secrets.If I had to guess, this still goes on at the state
level, but this article is about making this sort of data (minus
the state secrets awareness) available to the corporations able to
afford it.I'd also say that I think this might be an amusing
reversal of the old mantra: Ideas have no intrinsic value. This
business is pretty much about the expression of ideas. Maybe they
have value because they are writing them down and marketing them.
MattSayar - 1 hours ago
Yeah this reminds me a lot of Michael Crichton's Sphere, which
starts with a professor, funded by the military, who was tapped
to analyze in great detail how to deal with first contact with
pagnol - 58 minutes ago
Thanks for mentioning the movie. I just watched it.
zitterbewegung - 7 hours ago
Reminds me of a quote from Alan Kay: "A change in perspective is
worth 80 IQ points."
dogruck - 7 hours ago
I wonder what the annual revenues are. I'm skeptical.
tzs - 2 hours ago
Companies commissioning stories has gone on for a long time.For
example, the Isaac Asimov story "My Son, The Physicist" was
commissioned by an electronics company to run in an ad in
"Scientific American".Another Asimov example. "Think", IBM's in-
house magazine, commissioned Asimov to write a story based on this
quote from J. B. Priestly:> Between midnight and dawn, when sleep
will not come and all the old wounds begin to ache, I often have a
nightmare vision of a future world in which there are billions of
people, all numbered and registered, with not a gleam of genius
anywhere, not an original mind, a rich personality, on the whole
packed globeAsimov write the story "2430 A.D." about a world where
Priestly's nightmare had come true. (The title comes from his
estimate of when human population at its current growth rate would
reach the point where the Earth had so many people that there were
no resources left for non-human animals).The funny thing about this
story is that "Think" rejected it, because they wanted a story that
refuted the quotation. So Asimov wrote another story, "The Greatest
Asset", that refuted Priestly, and sent that to "Think"."Think"
then decided they liked the first story better and ran "2430
A.D."!I'm pretty sure that there was at least one other similar
case with Asimov.
godelmachine - 1 hours ago
I had "My Son, The Physicist" in my 9th grade. The mom comes and
suggests the son about "continuous conversation" with some
astronaut's stuck on Jupiter's moon - Ganymede (if I am not wrong
and remember correctly)
whyzoidberg - 4 hours ago
Finally some good work for writers! But seriously artists have been
kept alive by the state for millennia, no shock here
cryoshon - 3 hours ago
i'd kill for opportunities like this.but maybe we have to make our
own opportunities, so: how about a startup that provides science
fiction writing thought leadership as a service?dibs on founder
rurban - 7 hours ago
"Sweet Tooth" Ian McEwan: CIA, MI5 and MI6 are sponsoring many
writers, such as some companies sponsor open source devs
travmatt - 4 hours ago
the intelligence community has had a very long history of writing
fiction novels as ways to communicate some of their realities.
see john le carre
viach - 4 hours ago
Interesting read, somewhat related:A 19th-Century Vision of the
stcredzero - 2 minutes ago
Back in the late 80's, I ran across a statistic that just the
amount amount the military spent supporting its bands was as large
as the entire budget for NPR. I think this is also covered in
Manufacturing Consent. I remember flipping channels as a grade
schooler and running across US military propaganda on the nearest
independent TV station. (Which is now Fox, unfortunately. Sad,
because this is the station that introduced me to anime.) That
stuff gave me nightmares! An 80's era Soviet land assault is
basically some nightmare perfection of the Blitzkreig. The whole
horizon turns black and rolls at you like a wave, as rank after
rank of smoke generating tanks charges you at high speed.
fundabulousrIII - 7 hours ago
Congrats. The .mil & .biz folks have been acknowledged in what has
been implicit in every advancement I've seen in the last 40 years.
sci-fi pop fiction postulation and conjecture based on the science
community brain trust. Most of these guys were consultants or
engineers anyway and empowered to write. There are iconoclasts like
Ellison and the visionaries but the hard science guys always get
paid for their visions.
Retric - 5 hours ago
IMO, Science fiction is less about new ideas as it is spreading
those ideas to a wider audience. The average NASA scientist may
come up with an interesting idea, but unless it's directly
relevant within a decade few people are going to hear about it.
fundabulousrIII - 5 hours ago
Edited original to provide idea ancestry.
AdmiralAsshat - 6 hours ago
Not terribly surprising. People forget that Neuromancer was a
Bartweiss - 6 hours ago
Eh? I thought it was commissioned by a book publisher, which is
pretty different - they're buying it as a product, but these
companies seem to be hiring authors as consultants. Or am I
missing some interesting history on Neuromancer?
cpete - 7 hours ago
I posted something similar on HN nearly a year ago:
a nice complement to this New Yorker article :-)
DocSavage - 7 hours ago
It's a more detailed article. I've only done a couple of stories
for SciFutures. The topics are interesting. Unfortunately we
usually don't get to see what other writers wrote.
cpete - 7 hours ago
Out of curiosity, did you have any published writing prior to
working with/for SciFutures? I'm quite interested in
DocSavage - 3 hours ago
Yes. I had a previously published sci-fi story that won an
award. You'll have to be eligible for SFWA membership with
at least one pro sale.
KineticLensman - 6 hours ago
If you want to read a concrete example rather than the generic
relevant novels mentioned in the article the Directorate of Land
Strategic Concepts, National Defence Canada, commissioned Karl
Schroeder  in 2005 to write an SF novel to help explore them
future doctrine and concepts. PDF is available at . He wrote a
second (post 2010) but I don't have the reference now (a 'friend'
never returned it). I recall that it involved a CAF unit operating
in a trans-national mega city (somewhere in Asia) having to subvert
the all pervasive city AR so that they could complete their
mission. I was impressed!
exhilaration - 7 hours ago
Hey, the article mentions HN-favorite Ken Liu, author of the Three-
pinewurst - 7 hours ago
Ken is the translator (but a writer of other things), Liu Cixin
is the author.
markatto - 7 hours ago
Ken is a great writer in his own right though; The Paper
Menagerie might be my favorite book.
exhilaration - 7 hours ago
You're right, thanks!
fencepost - 7 hours ago
Visualizing and communicating how things will be used is very
powerful and important.My memory may be faulty, but I think it's
Alan Cooper's "About Face" that basically advised not just
describing the interface and how it'll be used, but how Bob the 73
year old luddite who hates all computers is going to interact with
it (context in flight movie systems). Creating characters and
having them interact with technology that doesn't exist yet is what
SF writers DO.
EliRivers - 6 hours ago
I have a copy of About Face on my desk that I keep meaning to
read, but I have read Alan Cooper's "The Inmates Are Running The
Asylum" which definitely discusses an in-flight entertainment
system to be used by, amongst others, an elderly gentleman who
really has got better things to do than burrow through menus and
directories to find a movie to watch. Could you be thinking of
that? Maybe they both used that example (although I think for
Cooper, it was personal history rather than example).
Animats - 2 hours ago
I had an online discussion with him about that inflight
entertainment system. I suggested just putting a channel
selector knob on the thing. Flip through the movie posters, and
if you stay on-channel for a few seconds, the movie starts.
Then it turns out it has pay-per-view channels and has to have
a whole payment interface, something he doesn't mention in the
samstave - 7 hours ago
Wasn't there something about Clancy being working with the CIA to
massage their image?Military and intelligence and politics have
always manipulated media...Also, recall "Americans army" was being
ostensibly used as a recruiting/psyche-molding tool...---Finally:
look at cyberpunk, and the top five writers in that category, as
well as anime (ghost in the shell, etc) which have in-formed modern
reality with all the millions of tech-workers from around the globe
have worked since their childhoods to create aspects of those
worlds into current reality...Is the totalitarian police-
surveillance state an emergent feature of such a reality?All crazy
military capability comes from able-minded imaginations saying
"wouldn't it be cool if..." without the discernment of the far-
djrogers - 7 hours ago
There?s a big difference between paying for speculative fiction
about your own industry as a form of long-term brainstorming
(what the article is about) and paying authors to publicly
produce works that further your political agendas.As I understand
it, the works discussed in the article aren?t published in the
traditional manner, and are for the use of those who commissioned
samstave - 5 hours ago
There may be a difference - but they are in the same mental
theatre, regardless... plus don't you think they'd be at least
a bit specific about the direction they are interested in the
ufmace - 5 hours ago
> Also, recall "Americans army" was being ostensibly used as a
recruiting/psyche-molding tool...IIRC, "America's Army" was
initially created as an internal training tool for the Army. Then
the Army decided to have the creator adjust it a bit and publish
it as a video game, sort of as a recruiting tool.As far as
adjustments, apparently the video game audience doesn't really
like waiting 2 minutes for a smoke grenade to actually produce a
huge cloud of smoke.
ehnto - 4 hours ago
It is definitely a recruiting tool, rather than 'sort of' one.
Just check out the website for the game today (and through the
wayback machine if you will)It can be difficult to tell apart
the content talking about the game and the content talking
about joining the army, but it is often explicitly about
joining the real army.
podiki - 4 hours ago
Did no one else immediately think about the plot to Watchmen (the
graphic novel, not movie)?
divbit - 6 hours ago
I honestly don't care if there is a "sinister" purpose behind the
good scifi I've read. Fund the next Iain banks please. In fact -
throw me $50k to live for a year and you've got yourself a book -
or I can at least guarantee some words on pages mentioning
spaceships / robots, etc.
cryoshon - 3 hours ago
pfff, for 50k/year i'd write five books. or ten. these kinds of
gigs are too rare for writers to pass up tbh
RodericDay - 5 hours ago
Iain Banks is the kind of writer who wouldn't take military
funding.If you don't care, and encourage initiatives like these,
you will never get it.
mindviews - 5 hours ago
I don't know...based on his writing I'm guessing that under
special circumstances he might.
obsurveyor - 3 hours ago
Sorry to break it to you but he passed away 4 years ago. :(
noir_lord - 1 hours ago
Special Circumstances is a reference to the "totally not a
military but we happen have found this incredible amount of
fire power just lying around" non-military section of the
Culture culture.It's Bank's wink towards that while you
might have an enlightened view of universal peace other
parts of the universe would quite like you in
pieces.Essentially the Culture's attitude to violence is
that it should be used as a last resort, so named because
once resorted to it lasts as an example.
himlion - 3 hours ago
Those SC drones can be quite convincing after all...
detritus - 5 hours ago
Speaking of whom - a friend and I were the other day wondering
Just Why On Earth none of his SciFi appears to have been optioned
for conversion to other media. I can imagine scope, complexity
and presumably huge budget leaving prospective optioners with
slightly soiled breeks, but all the same ? not even a hope of one
of the tales in The State of the Art?
ufmace - 5 hours ago
I don't remember all of the stories in State of the Art, but
I'm finding it hard to see the ones I do working as a movie for
people not already immersed in the Culture universe.I could see
Consider Phlebas or Player of Games as a miniseries though.
detritus - 49 minutes ago
It's a long (long) time since I read state of the art, but I
think you could mangle the tale of the benevolent super
culture visiting Earth and eating meat made from the DNA of
world leaders :)I think SotA was the third Banks book I read,
after The Crow Road and The Wasp Factory, and I don't recall
there being any gulf of appreciation from not having being
previously immersed in The Culture.
devrandomguy - 5 hours ago
Perhaps our civilization is not yet ready for direct contact
with the Culture. Hopefully, someone and her drone are working
on the problem.
tzs - 3 hours ago
Same question for a ton of science fiction and fantasy. Some
things that could be excellent on the silver screen, or as a
television series:? Fritz Leiber's "Fafhrd and the Gray
Mouser".I've not seen anything indicating anyone has ever even
started development on a movie for this.? Richard and Wendy
Pini's "Elfquest".Warner Brothers announced this in 2008, but
canned it because they thought it might compete with another
project of theirs, "The Hobbit".? Larry Niven's Known Space
series.One Known Space short story made it to TV: "The Soft
Weapon" was adapted to the Star Trek universe and became the
Star Trek: The Animated Series episode "The Slaver Weapon",
with Mr. Spock taking the place of Nessus the
Puppeteer.Ringworld has been in planning as a movie or
miniseries at least three separate times, but never got past
development.? Anne McCaffrey's Pern series.This actually got so
far as casting and set building, and was within a few days of
starting shooting for a pilot for a TV series for Warner
Brothers Network, but when the showrunner presented the final
pilot script to Warner Brothers for approval, they sent it back
with so many changes it no longer resembled Pern (the changes
have been described as turning it into something like a cross
between Buffy and Xena). The showrunner, Ronald D. Moore, was a
fan of the books and quit rather than accept the changes, and
the project died.There have been a couple of announcements
since then, but as far as I know none ever went past announcing
hiring a screenwriter and maybe an executive producer and then
never being heard from again.
detritus - 41 minutes ago
I've had problems with Niven ? his scope is grand and
majestic, but I've often found his narrative a little bit
clunky and paint by numbers, if that makes any sense?I've
jotted down your other suggestions for further reading,
wj - 5 hours ago
Probably lacking the ratio of explosions to character
development that modern scifi movies and tv audiences demand.
wodenokoto - 7 hours ago
Kinda funny to think that maybe, just maybe, the social network was
sponsored by Google or Twitter as an attempt to make the competing
platform less desirable.
rahulpandita - 6 hours ago
We proposed something similar for the field of software engineering
here"Software engineering researchers have a tendency to be
optimistic about the future. Though useful, optimism bias bolsters
unrealistic expectations towards desirable outcomes. We argue that
explicitly framing software engineering research through
pessimistic futures, or dystopias, will mitigate optimism bias and
engender more diverse and thought-provoking research directions. We
demonstrate through three pop culture dystopias, Battlestar
Galactica, Fallout 3, and Children of Men, how reflecting on
dystopian scenarios provides research opportunities as well as
implications, such as making research accessible to non-experts,
that are relevant to our present."
TeMPOraL - 6 hours ago
Interesting. I didn't realize this could be a paper material.
Also, whatever includes BSG in it, I'm an instant fan :). Thanks
for mentioning it; it was a good read.In your paper, you cite an
interesting piece about the optimism bias of people. Skimming
through it, it seems to somewhat support my current belief that
we need more, not less utopias and optimistic visions. To quote
from the ending of the text:"Overly pessimistic predictions may
be demoralizing if these predictions are believed and, if these
predictions are fulfilled, the outcomes that are obtained may not
be very satisfying. Overly optimistic predictions, however, may
confer benefits simply by symbolizing a desired image of success,
or more concretely by aiding people?s progress to higher
achievements. Given that predictions are often inaccurate at
least to some degree, it is possible that people may derive
benefits from shifting the range of their predictions to the
positive, even if this means introducing an overall higher rate
of error into the prediction process. Countering optimistic
biases in the name of accuracy may undermine performance without
achieving the accuracy that was intended, whereas the maintenance
of optimistic predictions may serve to align us, both in thought
and in action, more closely with our goals."Evaluating dystopias
can be useful to avoid disastrous failure modes, but I feel we
shouldn't dwell too much on them, and instead focus on trying to
achieve the optimistic goals the best we can.-- - https://sci-
ironic_ali - 5 hours ago
Didn't an asteroid come perilously close recently, one that no
one has on their radar (wrong word, but it'll do...)?
Gotperl - 7 hours ago
This is part of the plot by Armada by Ernest Client (which was also
heavily influenced by Ender's Game)
rglovejoy - 7 hours ago
Also Footfall by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle. It even has a
Robert Heinlein cameo.
marktangotango - 1 hours ago
That's such a great book, seems like also influenced the movie
Independence Day, I don't have a source for that though.
legohead - 5 hours ago
Interesting they mention and get quotes from the author of the
Three Body Problem series. I just finished reading that series,
and the whole time I had the feeling that it was written more to
convince people of something than to actually entertain the
reader.The ideas in the books were pretty amazing, unique, and
imaginative; but the story and writing itself was quite sub-
par.edit: I listened (audio books) to the English versions. I
thought the translation was excellent. I don't want to spoil
anything, but the author has a very dark vision of mankind and kept
having his characters ostracized to the extreme which got old
pretty quick. I didn't feel like the books were missing anything
descriptive from lack of translation.
jacobolus - 4 hours ago
Did you read it in Chinese? Maybe something got lost in
Jemaclus - 4 hours ago
I also really enjoyed the books, but definitely more from a
"these are cool ideas" perspective than from great narrative
storytelling. Something was probably lost in translation, but the
ideas were really great. I especially like (and hate) the concept
of the Dark Forest.
QuercusMax - 4 hours ago
Did you read it in the original Chinese, or the English
translation? I haven't read either, but it's possible that the
English version misses a lot of nuance from the original
version.(It's also quite possible the original is crap, and the
translation is doing a very adequate job.)
monochromatic - 4 hours ago
I actually thought the translator did a pretty good job (not to
say that I can read Chinese or do a direct comparison). My only
complaint was that I wish they'd westernized the names--they
all sound too similar to my American ears.
skrebbel - 4 hours ago
Notpick: It's not the author, but the English translator.
pvaldes - 3 hours ago
Last days the defcon issue, and this week for some particular
reason we have a few similar articles here and there talking about
how fabulous and great would be for a 'good nerd' to work for the
military, government, etc...Can we spot a pattern here? PR damage
KGIII - 3 hours ago
I used to take some employees to Defcon. Though, technically, I
had no good reason to go, personally. I just thought it was
neat.Anyhow, two games we used to play:Spot the Fed.Name That
Influence.The first was to see who looked like, and acted like, a
federal agent. We'd sometimes do some work to confirm it, but we
usually discussed it at the bar.The second was trickier, and
often just conjecture - again, over drinks. Who paid for the
research, what did they say, what did they not say, and what does
it imply?We weren't the only ones to play these games. I'm going
to guess they're still playing them.
bbctol - 7 hours ago
Reminds of this story from a while ago: the head writer for Call of
Duty switched to working at a think tank, given his experience
imagining the future of warfare.
kevinmchugh - 20 minutes ago
The US Army consulted in October 2001 with Hollywood
screenwriters to come up with terrorism scenarios they couldn't
hollyw...Details are still scant:
hammock - 6 hours ago
It's the opposite of when Valve hired a Chief Economist in
2012. We've come full circle.http://www.slate.com/blogs/mon
codeulike - 6 hours ago
... who then went on to be Minister of Finance for the Greek
elorant - 5 hours ago
And destroyed the Greek economy. Which speaks volumes about
his competence as an economist.
RodericDay - 5 hours ago
Someone clueless speaking confidently is always a joy to
elorant - 5 hours ago
Well I happen to live in Greece so I witnessed first hand
the results of his reign. You probably have no idea how
it is to live in a country that has capital controls so
let me enlighten you. The first months, until the system
was somewhat stabilized, in order to pay for servers and
such we had to ask for favors from Greeks who lived
abroad. Imagine having half a dozen servers to pay and
not knowing if you will manage to find someone/someway to
send money abroad.So yes, the guy was a fucking disaster.
But you have the luxury to judge him without living the
consequences of his actions and for that I can't blame
Alupis - 4 hours ago
Yanis Varoufakis became involved in the Greek Government
in 2015... well after Greece's financial problems had set
RodericDay - 5 hours ago
I grew up in Peru and knew lots of kids who didn't know
anything about their own country outside of their little
get-rich-quick schemes, and hated anyone who rocked the
boat, even as fierce critics sounded warning bells of
challenges ahead.The fact that some aspiring-rich
techpreneur reduces his complex gambit like you do here
is not at all surprising to me.___hn is stopping me from
replying downstream so:And yet you use ad hominem to
advance your own perpective, weird!"I'm greek don't
question me on this!""How dare you bring up my
elorant - 5 hours ago
Ad hominem attacks don't work in here dude. This is HN.
We either speak with arguments or not at all.Update: I
never forbid you for questioning me because I'm Greek.
All I said was that as a Greek I know first hand the
results of his actions. If you want to argue on that,
feel free to do so.As for my background, you don't know
it and that's the thing. You're assuming that I'm
rich(-ish) and thus drawing a conclusion as to where my
interests stand. That's irrelevant though, and highly
inappropriate. Don't judge me for what (you think) I am,
but for what I say.
jjoonathan - 4 hours ago
I thought he advised the opposite approach to the one the
Greek government wound up choosing?In any case, there is
no free lunch, and the lunch had already been eaten when
he was brought on board. In the absence of a miracle I
would expect every alternative to be painful. From your
experience we can conclude that he did not work a
miracle. That's hardly an indictment.
Tyrek - 4 hours ago
anecdata != data. You haven't presented any alternative
views on what a presumably more competent economist could
have executed on. Just because life was bad doesn't mean
that it could have been better.
elorant - 4 hours ago
What his predecessor tried to do. Fix the economy.
Greece's problem isn't the debt per se, it's the fact
that our economy isn't competitive. There's a lot of red
tape, many professions are regulated (pharmacies are a
prime example), we import way more things than we export,
entrepreneurism is very low, public sector is corrupted,
the insurance system is bankrupt, and a lot of things
don't work as they should in a modern western country.
Even if we defaulted in all our debt, which is highly
unlikely even if we exit the Eurozone, we'd be in the
same position give it a few decades. There are a lot of
structural problems in the economy and Varoufakis did
nothing to address any of these. All he did was acting
like a rock star who is clueless of how things work in
the upper levels of EU policy making. In the six or so
months of his reign he didn't introduced a single policy
to fix structural problems. Not one, nothing, zero,
ziltch. He was so fixated in the debt issue and acting
like a fucking primadona that he forgot there were other
equally pressing matters to attend to. Like running the
damn country for one.
KGIII - 3 hours ago
Just because I am not clear, are you suggesting that the
pharmaceutical industry be unregulated? You don't want
your pharmacy subjected to regulation? How about
professional engineers and physicians?
elorant - 1 hours ago
The pharmaceutical industry has nothing to do with how
many pharmacies will be allowed to operate. In Greece, up
until recently, the government controlled how many
pharmacies will open and where. Pharmacies ought to be
owned by pharmacists. If say, a company wanted to open a
chain of pharmacies all over the country they couldn't,
unless all shareholders were pharmacists. And that's not
all of the story, super markets for example weren't
allowed to sell under the counter drugs like food
supplements because there were exclusively handled by
pharmacies.This changed, partly, just in 2016 and it
changed due to the agreements enforced by the memorandums
we signed with lending parties.The same applies to
numerous professions, like notaries, taxi owners, customs
agents, law firms, tour guides etc. That's what I mean by
saying that the economy isn't competitive.
wott - 46 minutes ago
Competitive with whom? Many countries in Europe at least
have the same strong regulations on the same professions
(pharmacies, notaries, taxis, etc.). Get out of your
liberal dreamed land and check the reality.
Apocryphon - 4 hours ago
So you're advocating for your country to undergo the same
sort of economic shock therapy that other states before
elorant - 3 hours ago
Why, do you think that if we exit the EU things will
become instantly better? It will be much, much worse for
the foreseeable future. Greece isn't self-sustained. We
import pretty much everything, from oil to fertilizers.
Apocryphon - 1 hours ago
I'm not suggesting Grexit as the alternative, I'm just
wondering if you think prior examples of IMF-driven shock
therapy are the best model to emulate. There's a cost to
every option. That said, I think you're suggesting
something a little milder than what other countries have
guelo - 3 hours ago
Yea but now you're stuck with a lost generation of no
growth for the next 20-30 years, and no national pride.
Seems like it was worth fighting to avoid having your
kids and your kids' kids groveling the Germans forever.
The Brits are leaving voluntarily because they have some
RobertoG - 5 hours ago
Are you blaming Varoufakis for the capital
controls?"Capital controls were introduced in Greece in
June 2015, when Greece's government came to the end of
its bailout extension period without having come to an
agreement on a further extension with its creditors and
the European Central Bank decided not to further increase
the level of its Emergency Liquidity Assistance for Greek
)The FED is the lender of last resort in the USA bank
system (if I don't remember wrong that was the main
reason of its creation).The Bank of Greece was the lender
of last resort in the Greece bank system.The ECB should
be the lender of last resort for the europeans in the
Euroarea. Last time I checked Greeks were european. It's
not its job to be an enforcer for foreign interests.Why
we allow the ECB to be used as a political weapon or how
that is legal is beyond me. That means that we have given
all that power to people who don't care about, for now,
the Greeks.In fact, Varoufakis is disputing the legality
of that movement: https://diem25.org/thegreekfiles/
wott - 51 minutes ago
> You probably have no idea how it is to live in a
country that has capital controlsGive me a break, young
man, it was a common thing in many places until the 80's.
r00fus - 5 hours ago
That's a bit rich. He advocated retreating from the Euro
when Greece essentially had obligations that it could never
repay (obligations created by a corrupt previous government
that arguably were unconscionable).
elorant - 4 hours ago
Well actually he never did, and that's the problem. If he
had, we'd at least know his plan. But all he did was
taking a gamble that went on and on for months dragging
the economy to the bottom in the meantime. There was no
planning for exiting the Euro, nothing at all. Just
random thoughts here and there and a lot of bs talk. For
example, the committee that was exploring the
consequences of leaving the Euro and how the state would
react to that was less than five guys that he brought.
There was a lot of amateurism going on and eventually we
paid the price for all that.And by the way, those
obligations you speak about were not created by corrupted
governments. They were created for sustaining an unviable
model that gives pensions to people at their mid fifties
and maintains a soviet-era type of economy where the
state controls pretty much everything.
TheCowboy - 2 hours ago
I've read all of your comments in this thread and you
have a huge gap in your factual understanding. You should
really just stop commenting as you're spreading outright
falsehoods in some cases.Varoufakis didn't have the final
say on if Greece left the Euro. It has been quite public
that he disagrees with a lot about what unfolded,
including the decision to remain given the outcome of
negotiations.The idea that people were clueless about
what would happen to Greece if Greece left the Euro is
also ridiculous. Plenty of economists, in addition to
him, opined on this matter. No one has argued that Greece
would be instantly more well-off, but that they would be
better off over the long run given their set of
problems.There have been efforts to try to use Varoufakis
as a scapegoat for what happened, even though the crisis
existed before he came into power, and Greece's situation
is too complex for one person to take the blame.Tsipras
received support from the people during the 2015
referendum on the bailout. People overwhelmingly rejected
the bailout. Tsipras balked and didn't follow through
even though he could argue a public mandate.
elorant - 2 hours ago
Varoufakis was the mastermind of the approach to extort
the Germans as they would back off and approve a debt
relief. It was his masterplan and that's why the Syriza
party proposed to him to take the leading role in the
negotiations from the position of the financing minister.
This has repeatedly been confirmed by all parties, both
Varoufakis and members of the government. There's a book
coming in September from Varoufakis, called "Adults in
the Room" and as certain parts have leaked to the press
it has sparked a lot of conversation the last weeks where
more and more details of what really happened back then
come to surface. Varoufakis openly accuses Tsipras that
he backed off of the agreed plan.The result of such an
approach was exiting the EU. To say that Varoufakis
didn't called the shots on that is naive. Pretty much
everyone understood that if we were to push Germans too
much we might end out of the Euro. When Tsipras
eventually realized that Junker and the EU had made
contingency plans for such an occasion he came to his
senses realizing that the bluff has been called. All
these are documented in various sources.The crisis most
certainly existed before Varoufakis came into position
and no one is blaming him for that. What we blame him for
is that he never had a plan and dragged the negotiations
for far too long which eventually ended-up with capital
controls because we run out of money.
wott - 1 hours ago
> to extort the GermansCome on...
true_religion - 4 hours ago
How much power do you guys all think a minister of
finance has?In almost every government, its an
executive/cabinet level position which means all his
power derives from the President or Prime Minister. He
doesn't take independent action, as he has no independent
elorant - 3 hours ago
I can't give you an educated answer to that, but the
general feeling here was that he was calling the shots in
the whole negotiations thing considering that Tsipras is
an imbecile, and his English were tragic. Varoufakis was
chosen because a lot of guys in the government bought the
idea that extorting Germany would work out and they would
travmatt - 4 hours ago
I remember cracking up laughing when he described Germany's
proposed austerity measures as 'fiscal waterboarding' - such
a vivid description.
hinkley - 5 hours ago
"DO YOU THINK THIS IS SOME KIND OF A GAME?"
Bartweiss - 6 hours ago
CCP (the EVE Online people) have a whole team of economists
also.My favorite story, though, is still epidemiologists
studying the Corrupted Blood plague in WoW for real world
lessons on bioterrorism.
aeorgnoieang - 3 hours ago
Holy fuck that is awesome
Bartweiss - 1 hours ago
It's a wild story.The craziest part was that the players
who intentionally spread the plague would retreat to other
regions and log out in an attempt to incubate the disease
across victim die-off and mod actions, then return to
cities to reinfect people. That's what got epidemiologists
hooked, because disease control in the face of enemy action
is (fortunately) short on real-world data.The question of
how the plague could be resolved without server-level
actions (which are obviously unavailable in the real world)
is awfully interesting.
alasdair_ - 6 hours ago
Hopefully they don't come to the conclusion that "rebooting"
is the best way to solve the problem.
thevardanian - 4 hours ago
It's ok just because C-173 got Cronenberged there are still
plenty of dimensions left. Sometimes rebooting is the only
logfromblammo - 3 hours ago
Look, Rick, you can't just eliminate options just because
they seem like too much work for you, specifically. What
you meant to say is that sometimes rebooting is the
easiest and least boring option.
doc_gunthrop - 2 hours ago
Bit of a nitpick, but it's actually [C-137](http://rickan
jermaustin1 - 5 hours ago
I do something similar. I pay writers to write me sci-fi and
fantasy stories based on my prompts! It allows me to read what I
want to read!
jff - 3 hours ago
Seems like it would put you in a position to publish a, say,
quarterly collection of the results. Combine that with a Patreon
or something similar if other people enjoy the stories that come
from the prompts, and you might break even while still getting
the stories you like :) Seems like most short story publishers
run in a deficit so if you're accepting that from the start
you're in a better position than most.
YCode - 5 hours ago
What's that sort of service cost? What's the length of the
rayalez - 4 hours ago
Do you submit prompts to /r/WritingPrompts? If they're good, you
could get hundreds of stories for free(some of them great).
toisanji - 5 hours ago
i would like to hear more as well.
brandonmenc - 5 hours ago
Interesting. Could you provide more details? Things like cost,
DKnoll - 5 hours ago
That's interesting. Can you give us some examples of plotlines
and/or features you've requested, what you pay and the length of
the end result?
akvadrako - 1 hours ago
ha, this sounds like a great idea.
CodeCube - 5 hours ago
I don't have much more to offer over the other comments, other
than to bolster the requests for more information. Would love to
hear about what venue/service you're using for this, and if
you're willing to share, how much money you're funneling into
this kind of patronage. I'm very supportive of the idea of
communities coming together to produce art in this way :)
runevault - 6 hours ago
Based on the article about Neil Stephenson that was posted here not
long ago I'd been thinking along these lines, didn't realize
someone already made a business out of it. Interesting.
lukateake - 6 hours ago
A quick HN search (via Google) didn't turn up the article for me;
please link. Thanks in advance!
runevault - 6 hours ago
meta...Basically it talking about how much his book has shaped
what companies even today are chasing got me thinking about the
idea of how culture shapes tech shapes culture. I should have
considered it sooner since this dates back so much farther.
arnioxux - 5 hours ago
Neal Stephenson is working at Magic Leap (an augmented reality
company) now. I think it actually makes a lot of sense. If a
product manager's main job is to define product vision, this guy
has a 25 year head start thinking about it!
runevault - 2 hours ago
Yup, mentioned in the article I referenced and linked below.
Sounds like he got a lot of offers but ML finally made him one
that made sense.
dctoedt - 6 hours ago
My wife watches police "procedural" stories (Law & Order, CSI,
NCIS, etc.). I've long thought that some of their plot lines would
make for interesting "what if" training cases for real cops.
thefalcon - 6 hours ago
Aren't something approaching 100% of those stories pulled from
the headlines? (Not disagreeing with you that they would also
make good training cases.)
CodeAndCuffs - 6 hours ago
I don't know about 100%, but it is quite a common thing. That
said, even if you make a crime/situation/scenario up entirely,
there is a good chance it has happened somewhere.Case studies
of actual investigations - what worked, what didn't, what the
big break was, etc - are not uncommon in law enforcement
academies and training.When you watch stuff like CSI and Law &
Order, their criminal investigation stuff is often about as
accurate as their high tech and computer science stuff.
Wohlf - 6 hours ago
Law and Order certainly pulls a lot from real cases, but it's
not that high of a percentage. I'm sure many are inspired by
multiple cases mixed together but most murders are pretty
boring by fiction standards.
igorgue - 3 hours ago
The author of this novel works at Magic Leap:
mmaluff - 6 hours ago
This is the worst story I've read all week. Capitalism is
destroying our culture.
icebraining - 5 hours ago
This is nothing new, and certainly not restricted to capitalism.
Most of the great works throughout history (sculptures,
paintings, compositions, etc) were commissioned, often with a
specific purpose and conditions.
mac01021 - 4 hours ago
What's bad about this?
nitrogen - 4 hours ago
It's a submarine promo for the company mentioned. Seems
pretty appropriate though for a company paid to create stories
to use stories for its own promotion.
ZenoArrow - 3 hours ago
You can use sci-fi novels as a way to normalise actions. Take
drone warfare for example. If we actually thought about what
that meant, it's pretty terrifying, but we've been conditioned
by our media to find it fairly ordinary.
aeorgnoieang - 3 hours ago
Terrifying is ordinary tho; just look at every other living