dough560 on July 24, 2010, 04:17:41 pm
Robert.  There are times to sit back and watch a story unfold.  You can agree with the story or establish your reasoning as to why not.  Then there's always "Why didn't I think of that!"

Simple answers are usually the best as are simple threat responses.  What is the simplest response to the situation which increases survivability?  In this case, I don't know and am just enjoying the story.  I don't believe this is a "No Matter What You Do, You're Dead!" situation.

Considerations:  
1st:  Personnel / Skill Sets / Life Support Duration.  2nd:  Communications.  3rd:  Available Equipment.  4th:  Environment / Terrain.  5th:  Identify and prioritize threats as active, in--active or environmental.  As of 07.23. the threats are either inactive or environmental, thus lower on the list.  An active threat likely to cause immediate injury or death would advance to the head of the list.

I suggest you do your best to set aside your beliefs (prejudices and preconceptions).  It's easy to get lost in the woods by concentrating on a particular tree.  For a single tree is what your beliefs let you see.

Logic.  Systemic Thought.  Inspiration.  Hurt if you are not used to them.  They help you learn.

J Thomas on July 24, 2010, 10:00:15 pm
It is contrived because claim jumping is NOT unheard of in the LNS belter universe, having featured as a plot element in Ceres. Crime in the belter universe is NOT unheard of or why would there be the custom of wearing guns or other weapons? The gun carrying (nothing wrong with that, per se) is obviously a transplant from LNS's USA centric worldview of today but in the USA of today, or in any society, weapon carrying is important precisely because of the prevalence of crime. So in belter land you can't have it both ways: either there is crime and that's why people walk around with guns and knives or there isn't crime and weapons would be something most people wouldn't bother with for the same reason Sandy states to explain the absence of routine encryption.

Study existing foreign societies and you'll find things that don't make sense the way you'd expect them to. Sometimes when you get real familiar with them, things start to make sense in their own context. Sometimes not.

Today christians don't wear crosses in case they need to be ready to crucify somebody. It's more ritual and fashion. If people believe their liberty came from their guns, then they could carry guns without actually expecting to use them. They could practice with them to impress each other with their marksmanship etc without actively thinking their lives will depend on it. Your idea that widespread crime is the only reason that people would carry weapons is, well, too limited.

Quote
One thing we know they'll have in decades to come is ridiculously cheap, ubiquitous computer power tucked into everything (the ock being one example), so routine encryption in personal communications, as you note, would be of practically no cost.

It seems that way to me. Possibly given incredible computing power people might get better at breaking encryption than at encrypting. That seems ridiculous to me, but that's from my perspective in my own time. Things might be very different if you have millions of parallel processors. I would imagine that any new hardware that breaks encryption could be adapted to do better encryption too, well enough to trump the decryption. But that's my prejudice, guessing about technology which has not been invented.

Actually, when I think about massive processing power I figure it might change an economy into something hard to imagine. Like, a distributed network could watch everybody all the time and make it particularly easy to hire work done. Like, you look at the corridor outside your apartment and notice it's littered. You tell the network you'll contribute $20 toward keeping it clean. Then whenever somebody walks down the corridor who's open to small monetary offers, the network makes them an offer to clean up the litter. Somebody else wants a small amount of plastic to recycle, and offers a price. The network tells whoever cleans the corridor to separate out plastic trash, and leave it for somebody who's traveling in the right direction to take it....

We suppose that free markets work best because anybody who tries to track too many details gets overwhelmed. With the processing power to track many trillions of details and collate them, free markets could be fantastically more efficient. But only if the network knows what you want to buy and what you're willing to sell. Keeping secrets from the network makes it harder for you to get what you want.

Quote
Also, encryption would be more important in a state-less society because, for example, there would be no state enforced so-called "intellectual property." If you don't want someone to steal your secrets then you have no option but to keep them secret.

It's true that without IP enforcement any IP you want to keep secret would have to be trade secrets. On the other hand, if you don't have what it takes to be profitable if somebody else knows how to do what you do, wouldn't you be better off to do something else? The society as a whole would be better off if the more efficient team does the work that you do badly. Maybe you'd be better off too.

You keep talking as if there's only one way things could work, or only two ways.

Quote
These plot elements are arbitrarily chosen ad hoc just to move the story along: there is no encryption because if you had encryption then there would be no story or a completely different story. Then the author might actually have to make a serious attempt to portray the world of the future.

It was not that important to the plot that the bad guys find out about them from their unencrypted communications. Some other way for the bad guys to find out about them would have worked just fine. While this might have been an arbitrary plot element which moved the story along, it's wrong to say that without it there would be no story or a completely different story. It could be a slightly different story. It could be left unexplained how the bad guys found out about them, for example, and a method might be revealed nearer the end. Explaining that near the beginning isn't necessary for the story, it's just the way it got done.

Robert on July 25, 2010, 04:58:33 am
... but at the end of the day you're just a cartoonist, a fantasist playing games.

Guilty as charged--except for the cartoonist part, I am at the stick figure level; Lee Oaks is the talented artist who draws EFT. I am a "fantasist playing games" and damned proud of it. EFT has been in the top 100 comics almost from its inception. So I guess somebody likes it. I understand your envy. (Just a suggestion, have you considered switching to decaf?) Cheers.

What's to be envious of? I am about as interested in being a serial cartoonist as I am in being a drug dealer, television producer or other type of panderer to people's escapist inclinations. And as you admit, you're not even a very good cartoonist.

Robert on July 25, 2010, 05:02:33 am

Your explanation is contrived, like so much in the story. You're determined that no mere reader will outguess you but at the end of the day you're just a cartoonist, a fantasist playing games.

And you're just an ignorant suck, knowing no more science than you got in junior high school (which wasn't much in my day, but the local library still had books on chemistry and rocketry), probably a lot less in yours.


Care to cite and refute anything I've written.. you know, like you were taught in high school English and debates?


Robert on July 25, 2010, 05:18:11 am
It is contrived because claim jumping is NOT unheard of in the LNS belter universe...

I don't think I heard about this universe? Citation, please. Hey, maybe having a lot of claim-jumping is contrived. Seems so to me.

... but in the USA of today, or in any society, weapon carrying is important precisely because of the prevalence of crime. So in belter land you can't have it both ways: either there is crime and that's why people walk around with guns and knives or there isn't crime and weapons would be something most people wouldn't bother with...

Tee hee, you've got it exactly backwards. Read the fracking literature. The unarmed UK has twice the violent crime rate as the partially armed US. Even more armed Switzerland and Finland are even lower on the violent crime scale. So, as the book title says, More Guns, Less Crime:

http://www.amazon.com/More-Guns-Less-Crime-Understanding/dp/0226493660/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1279984809&sr=1-1

Robert, I think it's about time you armed yourself... with some knowledge.   ::)

I was not talking about forced disarmament, obviously, but the neglect to use something that may not be needed, so it you that has things bass ackwards. To recap: Your argument that encryption would not be commonplace because there would be less need for it because there would be much less crime applies just as as much to the carrying of weapons. We just take your argument and substitute the word "weapons" for "encryption."

wdg3rd on July 25, 2010, 05:42:43 am
... but at the end of the day you're just a cartoonist, a fantasist playing games.

Guilty as charged--except for the cartoonist part, I am at the stick figure level; Lee Oaks is the talented artist who draws EFT. I am a "fantasist playing games" and damned proud of it. EFT has been in the top 100 comics almost from its inception. So I guess somebody likes it. I understand your envy. (Just a suggestion, have you considered switching to decaf?) Cheers.

What's to be envious of? I am about as interested in being a serial cartoonist as I am in being a drug dealer, television producer or other type of panderer to people's escapist inclinations. And as you admit, you're not even a very good cartoonist.

Bobby, what the hell are you here for then?  Sandy doesn't draw, he writes.  Have you read any of the other strips here?  Like The Probability Broach,  or Roswell, Texas or (my personal favorite and I've been a fan of L. Neil Smith since before you got out of diapers and he wasn't involved in that one) Odysseus the Rebel?  Sandy suggested switching to decaf, I suggest just sobering up and/or going away.
Ward Griffiths        wdg3rd@aol.com

Men will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest.  --  Denis Diderot

SandySandfort on July 25, 2010, 11:59:13 am
To recap: Your argument that encryption would not be commonplace because there would be less need for it because there would be much less crime applies just as as much to the carrying of weapons. We just take your argument and substitute the word "weapons" for "encryption."

Seems reasonable, but it does not comport with the facts. I was one of the original Cypherpunks. Today, even most of those folks don't use crypto as a matter of course. Yet, a large number are heavily armed. Contradiction? Maybe, but it's a fact. (Also, they often own lock-picks , read SF and self-describe as libertarians or the liker. I don't know why these overlapping clusters exist, but they do.) In any case, crypto and guns address different threat models. So substituting one word for the other simply does not work, because they are not equivalent, whether you think so or not.

Here's a little test, Robert, that should give this forum an insight into your value system. Whom, in the world, do you admire?

terry_freeman on July 25, 2010, 07:18:41 pm
I think it may be plausible to say that encryption has been rendered useless by quantum computers or somesuch, therefore it has been discarded as frivolous. I'm not buying arguments about the cost of encryption, since it is merely a bit of software, which is available for free even today. It might be that quantum computing is cheap enough that random eavesdroppers can decrypt communications.

Regarding carrying arms in space correlating with levels of crime, that's a naive assumption. There are lots of fire extinguishers in American homes which are almost never used. I'd guess that homes where fire extinguishers are present are less likely to have inhabitants who fall asleep while smoking. People prudent enough to install fire extinguishers are prudent enough to reduce risks.

Switzerland has lots of full-auto battle rifles - one per adult male, or nearly so - and very low rates of crime, and no invasion worries for a lot of years.

As others have said, people might carry weapons as a matter of honor and prudence; it is part of being a good right-thinking AnCap person. It is no great stretch to imagine that shooting competitions would be as common as bowling leagues or card games; it's fun to meet with the guys and gals and put a few holes in targets. In an AnCap society, neighbors are unlikely to make up spurious complaints - and there is no "governing authority" to turn spurious complaints into bans.

In an asteroid belt, there's a lot of empty space to set up ranges.

I'm having trouble with the notion of a human being surviving a trip through a mass driver. I'm hoping this is a step in a chain of reasoning which leads to something more useful.

Is there any reason the mass driver cannot be used as a rocket engine? It's portable, for some definition of portable, can be cut loose from the asteroid, turned appropriately, and go wherever it is pointed, given fuel and propellant.  A little bit of handwaving, some creative engineering, and that magic Ock computer, and I'm ready to believe. ;)



SandySandfort on July 25, 2010, 07:58:49 pm
I think it may be plausible to say that encryption has been rendered useless by quantum computers or somesuch, therefore it has been discarded as frivolous. I'm not buying arguments about the cost of encryption, since it is merely a bit of software, which is available for free even today. It might be that quantum computing is cheap enough that random eavesdroppers can decrypt communications.

Here's the deal. The tanglenet is encrypted, for some value of encrypted. It's instantaneous and does not travel through intervening space. So tanglenet communications are untraceable and cannot be intecepted. So most daily communications are snoop-proof. For close work, though, radio makes more sense since it is possible to locate and range. Yeah, you could have crypto on top of that, but why would that be necessary on a mining or construction site? Let's say suit radios are good for a hundred clicks or so. Normally, there won't be anyone that near you on a mining site. In this arc, we have an unusual situation. Of course, there is a simple solution...

Switzerland has lots of full-auto battle rifles - one per adult male, or nearly so - and very low rates of crime, and no invasion worries for a lot of years.

Not only that, these weapons and large portions of ammo are not in Swiss Army garrisons, they are in everyone's home. In addition, kids regularly take their competition rifles to school for after-school practice and competitions. Though the image of a teenager bicycling to school with a rifle over his shoulder fills hysterical US hoplophobes with images of Columbine, it doesn't faze the more rational Swiss.

As others have said, people might carry weapons as a matter of honor and prudence; it is part of being a good right-thinking AnCap person. It is no great stretch to imagine that shooting competitions would be as common as bowling leagues or card games...

If you will remember, this very concept was alluded to way back in the World Ceres arc:

     http://bigheadpress.com/eft?page=21


Azure Priest on July 26, 2010, 07:14:28 am
Here's a little test, Robert, that should give this forum an insight into your value system. Whom, in the world, do you admire?

I have my suspicions, Robert might be part of a group name that starts with "l" but is not "libertarian."

dough560 on July 26, 2010, 09:31:18 am
Robert seems to be one of those who don't agree with the created universe, and believes Sandy has to change said universe to fit his (Robert's) beliefs.  What ever they are.

Rather childish actually.

None are so blind as they who will not see, or so deaf as they who will not hear.

quadibloc on July 26, 2010, 11:52:50 am
Though the image of a teenager bicycling to school with a rifle over his shoulder fills hysterical US hoplophobes with images of Columbine, it doesn't faze the more rational Swiss.
Since many American schools are filled with people who use switchblade knives to rob other children of their lunch money, they've responded with metal detectors. This isn't irrational, because even if all the children had knives, bigger kids would pick on smaller ones.

When the United States committed the crime of slavery, it basically ended up forfeiting its right to the kind of homogenous society in which an armed citizenry would raise no eyebrows. I suppose it could earn that right back by fixing things so that black people and white people were totally equal, percentile by percentile, in wealth, income, education and social status. Socialists claim to be for achieving that outcome, but for various reasons never quite really get so ambitious in practice.

I expect that the advantages of inherited wealth will persist from generation through generation in a libertarian type society as much, or more, than in what we have now, but I suspect I will be hearing arguments to the contrary.

SandySandfort on July 26, 2010, 01:13:27 pm
I expect that the advantages of inherited wealth will persist from generation through generation in a libertarian type society as much, or more, than in what we have now, but I suspect I will be hearing arguments to the contrary.

Not from me. You have stated an opinion. My opinion (as you probably expected) is to the contrary, but neither of us really knows. I guess we will just have to agree to disagree.

J Thomas on July 26, 2010, 01:44:31 pm
I expect that the advantages of inherited wealth will persist from generation through generation in a libertarian type society as much, or more, than in what we have now, but I suspect I will be hearing arguments to the contrary.

First, note that Mr. Sandfort has posted a link explaining the overall sweep of the current approach.

http://www.ozarkia.net/bill/anarchism/faq.html#part11

These particular people do not call themselves libertarians so much as Anarchist Capitalists. AnCap for short. If you want to argue with them, at least notice who you're arguing with.

Some AnCaps do not recognise IP ownership. Some do not recognise land ownership. Presumably some do not recognise the right to sequester resources. Many do not recognise rights granted to corporations as opposed to the individuals who participate in corporations.

Of course the details of AnCap societies could vary widely depending on the rights that those societies recognise. But if fundamentally wealth depends on the good will of the rest of the society, then families could control lots of resources while the rest of the society believes they are doing a good job of using those resources for society's benefit. When people get the sense that a family sequesters resources so it can grab more resources without sufficient mutual benefit, then that society will create ways to work around them -- competition etc which is likely to reduce that family's wealth.

This is a very general concept and as I said the details could vary widely. Some AnCap societies might allow particular families to get so much control over communications etc that they can abuse their control. I would not consider those to be ideal AnCap societies.

There are obviously very many different ways to build AnCap societies. Some of them would not work. Some of them would give different outcomes from others. Since there's a lot of disagreement in detail even over what's desirable much less how to achieve it, I don't think it makes sense to argue about what must inevitably be true. Unless we make "Any True Scotsman" arguments.

Brugle on July 26, 2010, 07:10:53 pm
These particular people do not call themselves libertarians so much as Anarchist Capitalists. AnCap for short.
I'm not exactly sure who you are including in "these particular people" , but the anarcho-capitalists that I know (including myself) consider themselves to be libertarians.  (There are libertarians who aren't anarcho-capitalists, of course.)  Anarcho-capaitalists might consider the term "libertarian" to be confusing (for example, some people might consider "libertarian" to mean a member of the local Libertarian Party), but don't disavow it as far as I know.

But I consider debates about definitions to be tedious.  If you use definitions of "anarcho-capitalist" and "libertarian" that makes the first something other than a subset of the second, then I have no objection as long as you make your definitions clear when they matter.

Some AnCaps ... do not recognise land ownership. Presumably some do not recognise the right to sequester resources.
I find it surprising that any anarcho-capitalist would not recognize land ownership or would not recognize the right to do anything (excluding the initiation of force) with any property that had been legitimately obtained.  Please give a cite (preferably a link).