Category Archives: Political Commentary

The Rise And Fall

of a great something.

Adding more money will not fix the problem; it may even make it worse because things have just gone over their heads. The expansion of private activity into outer space will create a still bigger challenge for the 20th-century state. Latencies in communication imposed by the limited speed of light mean that real-time control from the center will become impossible in principle. Even the Mars copter is largely autonomous.

Taken together, these developments suggest that the collapse we may be feeling — if one is in fact occurring — is not the fall of a hegemon but the crumbling of hegemony itself. It is probably driven by the drastic increase of complexity in the 21st century, represented by an ever-lengthening flood of bits which, if not understood, is psychologically indistinguishable from entropy. The world, like a team of wild horses, may have gotten away from the UN, Xi, Vladimir, and Joe because it’s gotten too dang complicated to control. Going back to historical metaphors, humanity may be reliving, not the fall of Rome but the fall of Babel.

Vernor Vinge, Neil Stephenson, and others saw this coming.

Happy Thanksgiving

I’m posting this from Windows in the new computer (I ended up using the Microsoft tool to build a boot drive). I’m loading software on it now, while following my Thanksgiving tradition of watching the Lions lose.

Given the events of the past year since the election, it’s hard to be thankful, but I’m guessing that we’ll have a lot more to be after the election next year, if the country survives the lunatics currently running it that long.

But we have our health, and we’re financially comfortable. I’m continuing to look forward to the next year, and years in space, and feel like we are finally on the verge of achieving the things I’ve been hoping for for decades.

Here are some interesting links: Why we should be thankful for the Pilgrims, and no, we didn’t steal the land from the natives. The latter isn’t a new piece, but it’s a useful corrective to those who oppose the settlement of space because it’s “colonialization.”

I hope that all of my readers are having a good day as well.

[Late-afternoon update]

It’s the four hundredth anniversary of the first Thanksgiving.