David and the Goliaths.

Perhaps the saddest, most telling indictment of our current political administration is that even after the drone strikes, the executive murders, the ongoing suppression of torture reports, the all-engulfing phagocytosis of the surveillance state— basically, a Human Rights record so abysmal that even Dubya might flush with shame—  we Canadians can still look south of […]

Posted in: rant, scilitics by Peter Watts 30 Comments

Shapeshifter.

My most recently published story, a bit of neouromil  that appears in Neil Clarke’s cyborg anthology Upgraded, contains the following passage: Monahan had inventoried Sabrie’s weak spots as if he’d been pulling the legs off a spider. …  Not into performance rage, doesn’t waste any capital getting bent out of shape over random acts of […]

Posted in: rant by Peter Watts 128 Comments

Terrorist Creep.

Anyone who believes that all laws should always be obeyed would have made a fine slave catcher. —John J. Miller   We had a shooting up here in Canada the other day. Like most things Canadian it was a modest, self-effacing affair, nothing that even a couple of losers from Columbine would write home about: […]

Posted in: rant, scilitics by Peter Watts 58 Comments

Liquid Surveillance

Cool term, huh?  Liquid surveillance. I learned it from Neil Richards’ 2013 paper “The Dangers of Surveillance” in the Harvard Law Review (thanks to Jesus Olmo for the link); it’s a useful label for that contemporary panopticon in which “Government and nongovernment surveillance support each other in a complex manner that is often impossible to […]

Posted in: rant, scilitics by Peter Watts 88 Comments

Rhetorical

I saw Particle Fever the other night. My movie buddy didn’t like it as much as I did: she thought the music was intrusive, and she didn’t learn anything new about the science. I did— I learned that Supersymmetry and the Multiverse were mutually exclusive theories, which had somehow failed to sink in even after […]

Posted in: ink on art, rant by Peter Watts 44 Comments

NSA. BSG. AAAS. FOAD.

Back in 2003 I attended a talk by David Brin, at Worldcon here in Toronto. Brin had blurbed  Starfish; to say I was favorably disposed towards the man would be an understatement. And yet I found myself increasingly skeptical as he spoke out in favor of ubiquitous surveillance: the “Transparent Society”, he called it, and […]

Posted in: rant, scilitics by Peter Watts 51 Comments

Culpa.

Say what you will about this Peter Watts guy, he sure has a way with punchy quotes. Just look at some of  the one-liners he’s come up with that various folks have pinched for their sigfiles, or stuck on the sidebars of their blogs. Just look at all the pithy wisdom quoted on GoodReads: “Science […]

Posted in: fellow liars, ink on art, rant by Peter Watts 11 Comments

Geoengineering and the Evils of Conservation

Well, traditional conservation, anyway. The kind where you presume to “manage” a wildlife population by ensuring, year after year, that its population remains stable. The problem is that as any population varies, so too does its behavior. Mortality curves, reproductive rates, vulnerability to pathogens and predators — a hundred other variables — all change with […]

Posted in: climate, marine, rant, scilitics by Peter Watts 22 Comments

The Constraints of Time, The Limits of Reason

  As a postscript to my previous entry — and as a case study to the current one — I spent a little while over this weekend doodling the outlines of a fake nature documentary riffing off the old “Hinterland: Who’s Who” vignettes that used to run on CBC.  Mine was called “Internet:  Who’s Who”.  […]

Posted in: rant, scilitics, sociobiology by Peter Watts 352 Comments

Everything I Needed to Know About Christmas I Learned From My Grandma

Christmas in a household of professional Baptists has always been a time to think about the joys of giving.  In my particular case this has proven to be a double-edged sword, the flip side being that it is not a time to think about “getting”.  Devoting any neurons to the contemplation of what one might […]

Posted in: misc, rant by Peter Watts 20 Comments