Weird Al Yankovic and the Global Phase Shift

“We’re living by science and data, not our constitution. That’s wrong. We are not safe if we are not free.” —Darwin Award contender, protesting in Pennsylvania The target won’t stop moving. Not so long ago the WHO came out with a mortality rate of 3.4%; country specific rates span the range from almost 10% to […]

Posted in: In praise of biocide, scilitics by Peter Watts 78 Comments

Revenge of the Pangolins
(Or, The Epidemiology of Understatement)

I’ll admit I didn’t really see it coming. I mean, sure: I’ve been harping on Dan Brooks’s epidemiological musings (and, as it turns out, those of the US DOD) for years now. I’ve written articles both magazine- and ‘crawl-based; ranted on panels from Sofia to Tel Aviv (and possibly Berlin, assuming international flights are still […]

Posted in: In praise of biocide, scilitics by Peter Watts 107 Comments

Transitioning to Apocalypse

  Meghan Murphy, a radical feminist in the classic Second-Wave mold (that’s TERF to you kids), gave a talk to a packed house at the Toronto Public Library last night. She got a standing ovation inside and hundreds of shouting protesters outside. I’m giving a talk tomorrow at a different TPL branch, to a smaller […]

Posted in: public interface, scilitics by Peter Watts 49 Comments

Squirrel!

So that thing I can’t talk about is looking more likely to happen, and the rest of my 2015 is looking increasingly hectic, so (with the exception of the occasional Nowa Fantastique reprint) any blog posts I’m likely to make for the next little while will be short on deeply researched science and long on […]

Posted in: rant, scilitics by Peter Watts 30 Comments

Optimism Averted (Or, Has Anyone Ever Seen Lockheed Martin and the Koch Brothers in the Same Place at the Same Time?)

I’ve been mired in a funk of hopefulness over the past week or so. I blame 03— who, a couple of posts back, reminded me of last autumn’s announcement from Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works (I’d seen it at the time, but had apparently repressed the memory). One of the world’s largest aerospace firms— about the […]

Posted in: scilitics by Peter Watts 61 Comments

Rollover

So, here we are again. Another year. The last one went decently enough, writing-wise at least. “The Colonel” got picked up for reprint both in Dozois’ Best SF 32 and in Allan Kaster’s Top Ten Tales of SF 7. “Collateral” made the ninth iteration of Jonathan Strahan’s The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the […]

Posted in: climate, interviews, scilitics, writing news by Peter Watts 66 Comments

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

Your Brain on Gore.

Some of you have seen this already.  It’s a few days old, this revelation of yet another difference between liberals and conservatives. In addition to the usual polarities on abortion, gun control, climate change, evolution— you know the list— here comes another wedge issue some of you may not have been expecting: Animal mutilation. Turns […]

Posted in: evolution, neuro, scilitics by Peter Watts 79 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