The thing about The Culture that did jive with me was that Scarcity tended to only exist if you were greedy for more than you'd really need, and in your ability to tell other people what to do. You could theoretically have a planet to yourself, but you couldn't stop other people from using it. You might not have… » 9/30/14 12:48pm Yesterday 12:48pm

Sadly, the Hot Zone is kind of a mess. I've been reading books by doctors that specialized in Ebola (including those directly involved with Reston), and you find that the Hot Zone dramatically exaggerates Ebola symptoms to scare people. And, as far as it being just on the cusp of jumping to airborne transmission...… » 9/30/14 8:53am Yesterday 8:53am

I think people toss around 'medieval' because we associate that period of time with religious institutions that were all encompassing in public and private life during the European Middle Ages, and because we tend to think of it as the last time when there was a unified authoritarian church. Even though none of that… » 9/29/14 1:11pm Monday 1:11pm

As a counter example to that, I present you with Lost, How I Met Your Mother, and Dexter. All of which I really, really enjoyed at their peaks, enough for them to be my favorite shows. But their decent into terribleness does spoil their previous seasons, because its clear that the writers were operating under bad… » 9/26/14 7:07am Friday 7:07am

Peter F. Hamilton also did another interesting economic take in Fallen Dragon, where Earth had very interesting Brutal Exploitation economic system towards the colonies it founded. If I remember correctly, Earth would seed colonies, with the understanding that they would build factories for the production of high… » 9/24/14 11:16am 9/24/14 11:16am

Exactly. The new BSG worked so well because the whole concept for old show was rooted in robotic genocide. That the original ignored that fact is rather odd in retrospect. Really, even in Star Wars, the magnitude of what happened to Alderaan is shocking. Maybe its only minimized because in the galactic scale of… » 9/24/14 9:05am 9/24/14 9:05am

Yeah, but they made their money back (well, some of them). Businesses spend billions to make billions all the time, its not just the movies. I'm more upset by the cost of various nutty military projects that then get canceled or turn out to be billion dollar boondoggles. The cost of the anti-ballistic missile… » 9/24/14 6:43am 9/24/14 6:43am

I've read a fair bit about the development of mitochondria and chloroplasts through endosymbiosis, but has there ever been any work done with the development of the nucleus? It seems like a rather interesting construction in its own, since the nuclear architecture of a eukaryotic cell is pretty complex, and… » 9/23/14 11:35am 9/23/14 11:35am

I would like to do another roleplaying game, but 3E/3.5 is so burned into my memory, it doesn't make sense to play much else. The people I play with are happy to make up new rules or steal other rules as we see fit. I keep finding that our house rules of Heal spells out of combat doing max healing, or you can rest… » 9/22/14 2:34pm 9/22/14 2:34pm

I wish they'd make a new one... this one has been around since 2011, and its flaws are well known (namely that its weighted towards Americans Christians). I'm sure you could build up a quiz with equal numbers of questions on Buddhist, Shinto, and Hindu questions that I would totally bomb at. » 9/22/14 11:32am 9/22/14 11:32am

Face melting Gods may not be more improbably than transdimesional aliens, but I think they are a bit more unique. Sci-fi plots like that are a dime a dozen, and the Ancient Aliens Teach Non Whites Stuff trope is problematic at best, though fortunately not dealt with too much in Crystal Skull. » 9/19/14 9:47am 9/19/14 9:47am