Chat Log: November 7th 2009

[14:26] Jim has joined #knownspace

[14:30] #knownspace> Jim: i am here

[14:31] vilstef has joined #knownspace

[14:32] #knownspace> SeanS: mud mud mud

[14:32] #knownspace> SeanS: also known as all purpose joint compound

[14:33] vilstef has joined #knownspace

[14:33] #knownspace> vilstef: Bloody computer!

[14:35] #knownspace> SeanS: heh

[14:37] #knownspace> vilstef: Is this a chat or an oil painting?

[14:38] #knownspace> SeanS: dont know yet.. julie and i just got back from lexington

[14:40] #knownspace> vilstef: I just checked in. I'm going to be leaving in a while for an afternoon of food and conversation at a friend's place out in the country

[14:40] #knownspace> vilstef: And the corgi puppy is coming along-it's also a doggie play date. LOL!

[14:41] #knownspace> SeanS: Max the lab is always up for a doggy play date as well. ;)

[14:53] metagirl9 has joined #knownspace

[14:53] #knownspace> SeanS: hallo

[14:54] vilstef has joined #knownspace

[14:56] #knownspace> metagirl9: Hi- ot sure if this is where I type so people can read it... Would anyone know if Niven has an agent that would talk with a screenwriter (haven't sold yet but I know I will, with one of my scripts)- or email with a screenwriter about temporary rights to one of Niven's books to transfer story to a synopsis/1st 20 pages of script as well and allow them to shop it to high level agents - like ICM and CAA? Perhaps Niven himself would c

[14:58] #knownspace> SeanS: stick around. he might show up today

[15:01] dmac44 has joined #knownspace

[15:04] NickE has joined #knownspace

[15:05] #knownspace> NickE: 'Sup?

[15:05] #knownspace> SeanS: hey nick

[15:06] #knownspace> NickE: hi

[15:06] #knownspace> SeanS: just put up a shelf in the bathroom and about to put a TP holder in upstairs bathroom for julie.

[15:06] #knownspace> NickE: good night?

[15:07] #knownspace> NickE: went for 1st ride on teh bike since knee surgery today

[15:07] #knownspace> NickE: Cold!

[15:07] #knownspace> SeanS: i imagine...

[15:07] #knownspace> SeanS: actually a comfortable day today

[15:07] #knownspace> NickE: Nice fine day, bit of a chill at speed tho'

[15:08] #knownspace> NickE: How's everyone else

[15:10] #knownspace> NickE: Had some cool fireworks earlier at my daughter's school

[15:13] #knownspace> SeanS: going upstairs for a few minutes

[15:14] #knownspace> NickE: k

[15:14] #knownspace> NickE: no Larry earlier?

[15:14] #knownspace> Jim: It is still kinda early for Larry

[15:15] #knownspace> NickE: I dunno, he quite often comes in around midday his time if he's going to

[15:16] #knownspace> NickE: which actually wasnt that long ago I guess :-)

[15:17] #knownspace> Jim: According to a voice mail caller on the SliceofSciFi voicemail show, we are living in a Golden Age of media skiffy.

[15:17] #knownspace> NickE: Yeah. Mind you they also seem to like Defiling Gravity (so I've heard. Not listened for a while now)

[15:18] #knownspace> NickE: There is a fair chunk of genre TV about

[15:18] #knownspace> NickE: Not all good of course :-/

[15:19] #knownspace> NickE: (Am sooo behind on so many podcasts...too busy with ours :-)

[15:20] #knownspace> Jim: NickE, your podcast?

[15:21] #knownspace> NickE: The Signal (

[15:21] #knownspace> NickE: Not "mine" as such, I'm heavily involved

[15:22] #knownspace> SeanS: back after a bit more home improvement

[15:22] #knownspace> NickE: coming up to end of our 5th season

[15:23] #knownspace> NickE: I have a bt of minor DIY to do tomorrow

[15:24] #knownspace> SeanS: turned taz the roomba loose in the bathroom to clean up drywall dust

[15:24] #knownspace> NickE: heh

[15:24] #knownspace> NickE: Taz

[15:24] #knownspace> SeanS: he runs around and plows into everything.

[15:25] #knownspace> SeanS: talk about skiffy, i have a robot that vacuums for me

[15:26] #knownspace> SeanS: yet again scifi becomes fact

[15:28] #knownspace> NickE: household robots eh

[15:29] #knownspace> SeanS: so how bout a topic for today?

[15:31] #knownspace> dmac44: SeanS: does your robot follow the three laws of robotics (or however many there are)?

[15:31] ronn has joined #knownspace

[15:31] #knownspace> NickE: Hi Ronn

[15:31] #knownspace> SeanS: if he runs into my foot he backs off and goes somewhere else so i guess so

[15:31] #knownspace> ronn: Hello. I guess I must finally be in . . .

[15:32] #knownspace> NickE: yep

[15:32] #knownspace> SeanS: hi Ronn!

[15:32] #knownspace> NickE: household robots good or just plain evil! :-)

[15:32] #knownspace> Jim: hi Ronn

[15:33] #knownspace> ronn: So what's up? My screen shows "Topic: Topic search in progress..." which I take it means nothing in particular?

[15:33] #knownspace> Jim: no 3 laws for household robots - they can attack at any time

[15:33] #knownspace> NickE: just like in that Tom Selleck film

[15:33] #knownspace> SeanS: runaway

[15:34] #knownspace> NickE: See. SF coming tru alllatime!

[15:34] #knownspace> NickE: Thats the one

[15:34] #knownspace> SeanS: the robots in runaway had help becoming evil tho

[15:36] Hoboken has joined #knownspace

[15:36] #knownspace> NickE: oh sure, if you want to get technical about it. Evil I say! :-)

[15:36] #knownspace> NickE: Hi Hoboken

[15:36] #knownspace> Hoboken: Hi gang

[15:37] #knownspace> Hoboken: Dave from Hoboken here, as if you hadn't guessed

[15:37] #knownspace> SeanS: hi dave

[15:37] #knownspace> Jim: Like your new governor?

[15:37] #knownspace> Hoboken: Ugh

[15:37] #knownspace> NickE: just gonna knock up a sarnie. AFK

[15:38] #knownspace> Hoboken: How do I get a sarnie?

[15:38] #knownspace> SeanS: ok.. didnt follow that bit of brit slang

[15:41] #knownspace> ronn: Neither did I . . . ???

[15:41] Lensman has joined #knownspace

[15:42] #knownspace> Hoboken: Hi Lensman

[15:42] #knownspace> Lensman: Hi fen!

[15:42] #knownspace> ronn: Hi Lensman

[15:42] #knownspace> SeanS: i guess we will just have to wait for nick to get back

[15:42] #knownspace> Hoboken: Here's a topic: A Gift From Earth was neither a gift nor from Earth. Discuss.

[15:43] #knownspace> ronn: Assuming "knock up" is used in the American sense, how long do you think we'll have to wait? :D

[15:43] #knownspace> SeanS: the slowboat was from earth but didnt really play that big a part in the book if i remember

[15:43] #knownspace> SeanS: ram robot... oops

[15:43] #knownspace> Lensman: About nine months, of course.

[15:44] #knownspace> Lensman: Okay, I don't get it. How was the artificial organ tech *not* from Earth?

[15:45] #knownspace> Hoboken: I originally meant it as a joke but, think about it, how did artificial organs and alloplasty get funded in Sol system?

[15:45] #knownspace> SeanS: brennan

[15:45] #knownspace> Lensman: The tech was what triggered the revolt, that's all.

[15:45] #knownspace> Lensman: Ahhhh very good!

[15:46] #knownspace> SeanS: i dont recall if any other than the crew knew of the tech. the revolt was coming regardless

[15:47] #knownspace> Hoboken: Without a ramrobot package that dilutes the power of the Hospital, there's no effective revolt. Sure, there are always uprisings and they always end with more parts for the organ banks

[15:47] #knownspace> Hoboken: but an EFFECTIVE revolt requires a shift in the balance of power

[15:48] #knownspace> Hoboken: someone do another one

[15:48] #knownspace> Lensman: The resistance knew what was aboard the ramrobot. Polly was out in an orchard trying to take pictures of the capsule when it landed IIRC. The expectation was that the new tech would immediately end the organ banks, and when that didn't happen, the more hardline revolutionaries decided it was time to act.

[15:48] #knownspace> Hoboken: or are you all too busy trying to figure out how to knock up a sarnie?

[15:49] #knownspace> SeanS: got to know what a sarnie is before i work out the next part

[15:50] #knownspace> Lensman: Yeah sarnie=null meaning

[15:50] #knownspace> Hoboken: I wonder if it's like a yankee? You know what a yankee is, right?

[15:50] #knownspace> Lensman: One who gets yanked?

[15:50] EML has joined #knownspace

[15:50] #knownspace> Lensman: :)

[15:50] #knownspace> SeanS: hi mr lerner

[15:50] #knownspace> Lensman: Hi Ed!

[15:50] #knownspace> Jim: How many light-years was Plateau from Earth? How many years since it was established was A Gift from Earth?

[15:50] #knownspace> EML: Hi, all!

[15:51] #knownspace> Jim: ed

[15:51] #knownspace> Hoboken: A yankee is like a quickie buy you do it by yourself

[15:51] #knownspace> Hoboken: buy = but

[15:51] #knownspace> EML: Has Larry come and gone?

[15:51] #knownspace> Hoboken: Larry who?

[15:51] #knownspace> SeanS: he hasnt been here

[15:51] #knownspace> Lensman: 11.8 light years

[15:52] #knownspace> EML: Rosie the Robot evil? Say it isn't so!

[15:53] #knownspace> Jim: Rosie was a female version of Jander.

[15:53] #knownspace> SeanS: I named mine Taz because re runs all over the place bumping into things... luckily he doesnt plow through them like the real Taz

[15:53] #knownspace> SeanS: re=he

[15:54] #knownspace> NickE: back

[15:54] #knownspace> NickE: Hi Ed

[15:54] #knownspace> SeanS: ok nick.. what does knocking up a sarnie mean?

[15:54] #knownspace> NickE: sarnie= sandwich

[15:54] #knownspace> ronn: OK, Nick, U got some 'splainin' to do . .

[15:54] #knownspace> EML: robots seem out of favor in SF. At least I can't think of any recent ones in stories.

[15:54] #knownspace> NickE: knock up = to make (or indeed to make pregnant :-)

[15:55] #knownspace> Jim: Question: What is the SI unit that is appropriate for measuring the distance between stars?

[15:56] #knownspace> NickE: however, to knock one out = to masturbate

[15:56] #knownspace> Jim: tosser

[15:56] #knownspace> Lensman: Haldeman's /Forever Peace/ (awful book) had robotic drones, but not true robots.

[15:56] #knownspace> Lensman: knock up = to knock on someone's door, if you're a Brit.

[15:57] #knownspace> SeanS: parsec?

[15:57] #knownspace> ronn: The SI unit of distance is the meter. I presume you are asking what multiple of it?

[15:57] #knownspace> NickE: that too, but there are several meanings

[15:57] #knownspace> Lensman: Jim: Parsecs or light years

[15:57] #knownspace> Jim: Is parsec based upon the meter?

[15:57] #knownspace> ronn: Neither are SI units

[15:58] #knownspace> SeanS: parsec is the distance from here to centauri if i remember... 4.3 light years

[15:58] #knownspace> Lensman: No, parsec is based on some practical astronomy thing.

[15:58] #knownspace> NickE: parsec = 3.5 light yrs approx

[15:58] #knownspace> Lensman: parsec = parallel second

[15:58] #knownspace> Jim: Ronn, Wikipedia sometimes uses Gm for distances within the solar system.

[15:58] #knownspace> NickE: its a unit of angular measurement

[15:59] #knownspace> Lensman: Right Nick

[15:59] #knownspace> ronn: no it is the distance at which the parallax is one arcsecond Since the baseline for measuring parallax is 1 AU it is of necessity equal to 206264.80624... AU, since that is the number of seconds in a radian.

[15:59] #knownspace> ronn: parallax second

[15:59] #knownspace> Lensman: The authority speaks. Hi ronn!

[15:59] #knownspace> SeanS: i bow to the astronomer

[15:59] #knownspace> ronn: 1 pc = 3.26 ly

[15:59] #knownspace> NickE: me too

[16:00] #knownspace> NickE: well not far out

[16:00] #knownspace> Hoboken: gotta jet. Say hi to Larry for me.

[16:00] #knownspace> ronn: someone finally asked something I knew the answer to

[16:00] #knownspace> NickE: ttfn

[16:00] #knownspace> NickE: yay

[16:00] #knownspace> EML: per Wikipedia (not authoritative, I know), "Many units in everyday and scientific use are not derived from the seven SI base units (metre, kilogram, second, ampere, kelvin, mole, and candela) combined with the SI prefixes. In some cases these deviations have been approved by the BIPM."

[16:00] #knownspace> ronn: bye dave

[16:00] #knownspace> Lensman: Hey who is Hoboken anyway?

[16:00] #knownspace> dmac44: Ed, are you and Larry excitied that you have a new book coming out Tuesday? Do you have any signings planned?

[16:00] #knownspace> EML: Light-year and parsec were on the following list.

[16:01] #knownspace> SeanS: david from hoboken

[16:01] #knownspace> Lensman: It's this coming tuesday? I'd better reserve a copy at my local bookstore then.

[16:02] #knownspace> Hoboken: Which is Tuesday? Destroyer of Worlds?

[16:02] #knownspace> EML: I won't speak for Larry -- I'm always excited when a new book comes out. Destroyer is only #8 for me.

[16:02] #knownspace> Hoboken: I'm off to Barnes and Noble then!!!!!! Congrats Ed

[16:02] #knownspace> EML: Thanks, Hoboken.

[16:03] #knownspace> NickE: Hey yeah, DOW is out shortly. Off to Amazon to check

[16:03] #knownspace> EML: the lihk is

[16:04] #knownspace> EML: (Gotta obsessively watch the ranking, don't ya know. Hence, it's bookmarked.)

[16:04] #knownspace> SeanS: saw to EML books at the bookstore today. couldnt pony up the cash for hardbacks unfortunately

[16:04] #knownspace> NickE: Just added to my basket

[16:04] #knownspace> SeanS: two

[16:04] #knownspace> NickE: shows it as available now

[16:04] #knownspace> EML: Sean -- I'm not surprised if you saw Small Miracles (released a few weeks ago). Do you recall what the second was?

[16:04] #knownspace> ronn: 1 pc = 3.086 x 10^16 m,and the nearest star is a little over one pc away, so the smallest SI multiple of use would be the petameter

[16:05] #knownspace> SeanS: fool's experiments and small miracles

[16:05] #knownspace> ronn: not to be confused with soething modified by "iambic"

[16:05] #knownspace> SeanS: har har

[16:06] #knownspace> EML: Thanks, Sean. (Fools' EXperiments came out in hardback about a year ago, so not many stores still carry it in HB.)

[16:07] #knownspace> SeanS: Ed, the good thing is, I made absolutely sure I looked for your stuff when I was there. ;)

[16:07] #knownspace> NickE: heh, It was right there on my page when I opened amazon as recommended

[16:07] #knownspace> ronn: u do recall where the prefix comes from?

[16:08] #knownspace> EML: Sean: :-)

[16:08] #knownspace> EML: Any questions about Destroyer, folks? (I won't answer if doing so might be a spoiler.)

[16:08] #knownspace> NickE: must have something to do with buying books by Larrya nd Ed before I imagine :-)

[16:09] #knownspace> SeanS: a measure of meter poetry-wise if my memories from the distant past are accurate

[16:09] #knownspace> SeanS: distant past=high school era

[16:09] #knownspace> Lensman: Ronn: Parallax? It's the displacement of a star when comparing views from the opposite sides of Earth's orbit... observations taken six months apart.

[16:10] #knownspace> NickE: Does this conclude the "Worlds" trilogy, or is this pt 3 of 5 or 7...

[16:10] #knownspace> Lensman: Ed: I can't think of any questions I'd have about DOW that wouldn't be spoilers. I already know more than I want to!

[16:11] #knownspace> NickE: Can always do an Adams and call it a trilogy no matter how many books are in it :-)

[16:11] #knownspace> SeanS: thats true, Nick

[16:12] #knownspace> EML: FOW/JOW/DOW are *not* a trilogy ... no matter what you may see in *uninformed* reviews. And there well definitely be a fourth: Betrayer of Worlds.

[16:12] #knownspace> NickE: YAY!!!

[16:12] #knownspace> ronn: "tera-" for 10^12 comes from the Greek word for "monster" However, assuming ;) it was a corruption of "tetra" for "four," the next prefix would be a corruption of "penta" for "5" — so "peta-" — and the next one a corrupeion of "hexa-" for "6" — hence "exa-"

[16:12] #knownspace> Jim: tetraology

[16:12] #knownspace> EML: I am sufficiently frustrated by reviews that talk about a trilogy that I'll be doing a blog posting of correction.

[16:13] #knownspace> SeanS: i dont read the reviews... since i have the sources available to me, i dont see the point ;)

[16:13] #knownspace> ronn: "series" :D

[16:13] #knownspace> NickE: I didn't think either you or Larry had indicated it was a trilogy. Glad to know that that is in fact the case

[16:13] #knownspace> EML: Fair enough, Sesn. But presumably, some readers do look at reviews.

[16:14] #knownspace> Lensman: The only reason IMHO to read a review is to decide if I want to buy a book or not. Since all Niven books are automatic buys for me (unless 100% reprints)...

[16:14] #knownspace> ronn: Whereas presumably a "teraology" would be a series of a trillion books . . .

[16:14] #knownspace> EML: FYI, the back of the dust jackets refers to "the Fleet of World series."

[16:14] #knownspace> NickE: It's been really great seeing the progress here (and of course in the books)

[16:15] #knownspace> NickE: Really appreciate your and Larry's updates

[16:15] #knownspace> Lensman: Reviews also tend to give away far too much. I was outraged at how many reviews of FOW gave away most of the plot!

[16:16] #knownspace> EML: It's fun to share (and to drop tantalizing hints, but we won't speak of that :-) )

[16:16] #knownspace> EML: Lens: I often won't read the cover copy (if I know I'm going to buy the book) for the same reason.

[16:16] #knownspace> SeanS: you do a good job, ed

[16:17] #knownspace> Lensman: Ed: Exactly. Cover blurbs are like crack for me. I always tell myself that I'm not gonna look at the blurb when I start the book. Then about 1/3 or 1/2 way thru I break down and read it.

[16:17] #knownspace> EML: Of course the purpose of cover copy is to sell the book, not to maintain maximum plot secrecy. If one has to give, it's usually the latter.

[16:18] #knownspace> Jim: EML, does Sigmund Ausfaller live to the time of the novel Ringworld?

[16:18] #knownspace> Lensman: Sure, I understand that it's a marketing thing.

[16:19] #knownspace> EML: Jim: I won't answer, and you should read nothing into the (non)answer. Maybe yes. Maybe no.

[16:19] #knownspace> ronn: isn't that a bit spoilerish?

[16:20] #knownspace> Jim: EML, I was just kidding. I did not want to know the answer to that question, since it would spoil, presumably, DOW and BOW.

[16:20] #knownspace> EML: ronn: how is maybe yes, maybe no spoiler-ish?

[16:20] #knownspace> EML: DOW is only shortly after JOW, BTW.

[16:21] #knownspace> ronn: i meant the question answers crossed

[16:21] #knownspace> EML: ronn: gotcha.

[16:21] #knownspace> Lensman: I was sure Ed would not answer that question!

[16:22] #knownspace> EML: I'll say this -- DOW has a *gorgeous* cover.

[16:22] #knownspace> ronn: i am also simultaneously entertaining a large black cat on my lap, so typing a little slow

[16:23] #knownspace> SeanS: How did you get into the paranoid mindset of ausfaller?

[16:23] #knownspace> Jim: Red Bull

[16:24] #knownspace> Lensman: Very mysterious looking cover.

[16:24] #knownspace> EML: Sean: I read up on paranoids and interviewed a psychologist. (And thinking paranoid was way-cool fun -- since I could stop at night.)

[16:25] #knownspace> EML: The cover is recognizably a scene from the book -- with a fair amount of artisitic license applied.

[16:26] #knownspace> Lensman: But Ed, why didn't you just adjust your autodoc for a chemical imbalance, and *really* get into the part?

[16:27] #knownspace> SeanS: for the same reason that i didnt step into my transfer booth and go to Carol's promotion party... It is out of order. ;)

[16:27] #knownspace> EML: Lens: my autodoc only dispenses chocolate and caffeine.

[16:27] #knownspace> ronn: i take it then this is one artist whose license should not be revoked?

[16:27] #knownspace> Lensman: LOL

[16:28] #knownspace> ronn: It re-assembles you out of order?

[16:28] #knownspace> EML: If you hadn't noticed, the same artist has done all the Fleet of World series covers. And the RWC cover.

[16:28] #knownspace> SeanS: i have parts on order... probably show up sometime in the next 500 years

[16:28] #knownspace> NickE: Stephen Martinere?

[16:29] #knownspace> EML: Martinere: correct.

[16:29] #knownspace> NickE: Nice stuff

[16:29] #knownspace> Jim: What are some of Martinere's other works?

[16:29] #knownspace> NickE: He also did Building Harlequin's Moon

[16:29] #knownspace> Lensman: Martiniere's cover for /Children/ is breathtaking! And the FOW cover not far behind.

[16:30] #knownspace> NickE: agred

[16:30] #knownspace> NickE: agreed

[16:30] #knownspace> EML: Yes, it is. Tor has good artists. I also like what "Base Art Company" did for Small Miracles (although you need a big picture to see it well).

[16:30] #knownspace> Lensman: In fact I've been using the /Children/ cover as my computer wallpaper for quite some time now.

[16:30] #knownspace> dmac44: Ed: How does that work, does Stephen read the book and choose a section to draw or does the editor pick a scene and say draw this?

[16:30] #knownspace> SeanS: good question

[16:32] #knownspace> ronn: beats those covers where the artist obviously never read any part of the book . . .

[16:32] #knownspace> EML: Doug: it varies. The editor provides a form to the artist, describing the book. Not all editors ask the author to contribute to or sanity-check the form. And some artists (time permitting) choose to read the book.

[16:34] #knownspace> Lensman: I have no respect for an artist who doesn't read the book before painting the cover. I've heard Darrel K. Sweet hold forth on that subject at some length! Michael Whelan is another artist who is careful to get the details from the book correct.

[16:34] #knownspace> EML: I did a computer-centric collection a few years ago. The cover is simplicity itself, and nothing like any of my suggestions -- and I love it. It's perfect for a computer book. See:

[16:35] #knownspace> SeanS: i love that cover

[16:35] #knownspace> Lensman: Nice design.

[16:35] #knownspace> SeanS: somes the title up perfectly

[16:35] #knownspace> SeanS: sums

[16:36] #knownspace> EML: I decorate the walls of my office with art that's illustrated my writing. I just got Juggler, Destroyer, Fools' Experiments, and Small Miracles covers framed. (Now, ugh, I have to hang them.)

[16:37] #knownspace> SeanS: i did home improvement stuff earlier ;)

[16:40] #knownspace> EML: Huh! We've all been struck dumb.

[16:40] #knownspace> SeanS: or fingers can't find the keys ;)

[16:41] #knownspace> Lensman: Maybe intelligent robots are passe for the same reason "omniscient computers" are passe? Because there's a better understanding of the difficulties involved in actually making one?

[16:42] #knownspace> SeanS: lots of robots in sci fi today... just none of them are main characters. they are all nanobots today

[16:42] #knownspace> EML: Is intelligent robot a different challenge than AI? Because AI remains in vogue (and just as impractical).

[16:43] #knownspace> Jim: Is AI still in vogue? One of the skeptic magazines did an article on AI and treated it almost like a pseudoscience like astrology.

[16:44] #knownspace> Lensman: Well, a traditional intelligent robot is man-sized, which does put a limit on the hardware. But a ramrobot or the /Discovery/ from "2001" is just as much a robot as Adam Link or Robby.

[16:44] #knownspace> Jim: Adam Link?

[16:46] #knownspace> Jim: How about Bender?

[16:46] #knownspace> EML: Jim: in vogue in fiction. I agree, AI isn't coming to the real world anytime soon. (I did a related blog post about "intelligence, algorithms, and anthropomorphism" at If you're curious, it's )

[16:46] #knownspace> Lensman: Adam Link was one of the very earliest fictional intelligent robots. Perhaps the first "robot with a soul".

[16:47] #knownspace> Lensman: Altho one could argue for literary antecedents such as Pygmilion.

[16:47] #knownspace> Jim: Speaking of Futurama, there was shout-out to Philip J. Fry on SGU this past evening.

[16:47] #knownspace> SeanS: i see man imprinting on machine before i see true AI.. for instance, the later gateway books.

[16:48] #knownspace> Lensman: IIRC /Adam Link, Robot/ was by EandO Binder. Very early American SF, not very readable today.

[16:48] #knownspace> EML: I don't believe man-sized is a constraint that limits intelligence in robots, not when gigabytes fit in thumbdrive. The problem is that we don't know how to program an AI.

[16:48] #knownspace> dmac44: Herewith Lerner2019s test: if an artificial thing understands how to perform many tasks that, in nature, only a human can understand2014no matter the means by which the thing analyzes those tasks2014that thing is an artificial intelligence.

[16:49] #knownspace> Lensman: A quick check at Wikipedia says I'm right.

[16:49] #knownspace> EML: Doug! You've been to my post.

[16:50] #knownspace> dmac44: Very quickly. Antikythera or Babbage be warned, there's now a test :)

[16:50] #knownspace> Lensman: Well I regard the space requirement as an artificial constraint anyway. If you've got a stationary computer which controls a drone robot via radio/laser link, then it's functionally equivalent.

[16:52] #knownspace> EML: Computer guy that I am, I've enjoyed retconning that technology into Known Space.

[16:52] #knownspace> SeanS: so have I ;)

[16:54] #knownspace> dmac44: Does a variation of this test work for ETs too?

[16:55] #knownspace> EML: Doug: I get into that very question in the comments to that AI posting. (Or were you giving me a plug?)

[16:55] #knownspace> Jim: In Known Space, can a Flatlander open a Wunderland web page with his browser?

[16:56] #knownspace> dmac44: :)

[16:56] #knownspace> Lensman: It would be interesting to see a "test" for ET intelligence that excluded army ants.

[16:57] #knownspace> EML: Lens: the core problem with all tests for intelligence, consciousness, and self-awareness is -- we can't define them beyond "like us."

[16:58] #knownspace> Lensman: Frex if they come to a stream, they build a bridge with their own bodies to cross it. If too wide, they build rafts and use those to travel to the other side!

[16:58] #knownspace> EML: Have folks here read SPIN, by Robert Charles Wilson?

[16:58] #knownspace> dmac44: Isn't that one of the things SF does? Explore such questions.

[16:58] #knownspace> Lensman: Ed: So it's like the famous definition from a Supreme Court judge: "I can't define pornography, but I know it when I see it!" ??

[16:59] #knownspace> EML: SPIN (and the sequel, AXIS) has the most interesting ETs I've seen in a *long* time.

[17:00] #knownspace> EML: Doug: of course you're right. But SF has the same issues as scientists -- intelligence is an under-defined term. I've played with AI in quite a bit of my writing.

[17:00] #knownspace> Lensman: I've found it interesting reading about animal tests for self-awareness, and arguments over just what does or does not indicate this. There is one test where they put a dab of paint on an ape's forehead and then show it a mirror. If the ape reaches up to its own forehead, then it's argued this shows self-awareness. But some aren't so sure.

[17:02] #knownspace> Lensman: I think we're going to discover that things like intelligence, consciousness and self-awareness are not either/or propositions, but a matter of degree.

[17:02] #knownspace> EML: IMO, awareness and intelligence aren't yes/no things, they're on continua. I've had cats I consider as smart as a two-year-old child. I'm just glad they (the cats) didn't have opposable thumbs.

[17:02] #knownspace> EML: Lens: Jinx! You owe me a Coke.

[17:02] #knownspace> Lensman: Looks like we're on the same wavelength Ed

[17:03] #knownspace> Lensman: Wow I haven't heard that in a month of Sundays! "Jinx, you owe me a Coke".

[17:03] #knownspace> EML: Or perhaps, Jinxian!

[17:04] #knownspace> SeanS: heh

[17:04] #knownspace> Lensman: Well, never argue with a Jinxian! Sorta like "Never argue with a Wookie."

[17:07] #knownspace> EML: or a protector.

[17:07] #knownspace> Lensman: So, to return to an earlier discussion: The proposition was "A Gift from Earth was neither a gift nor from Earth." We've established that the actual origin was Brennan, and thus not from Earth directly, but what about the second part? In what way was artificial organ tech *not* a gift for the Plateau colony? Is that an argument that triggering the revolt was not beneficial?

[17:07] #knownspace> dmac44: Getting back to army ants, what else do they do besides I eat therefore I am? Do they create art, science, music?

[17:08] #knownspace> EML: Hmm. as for A Gift from Earth -- I have no opinion. Sorry.

[17:09] #knownspace> EML: Sean: if everyone who is selfaware refuses to clean floors ... my house is gonna get even messier.

[17:09] #knownspace> SeanS: heh... thats one reason i got the roomba

[17:10] #knownspace> Lensman: Re robots: Well that's one reason why I think the quest for actual AI is foolish. The only way to get a truly intelligent robot would be to get one capable of self-programming, or altering its programs. We don't want robots which can think for themselves, or to agitate for civil rights. What we want in robots is perfect slaves which do exactly as they're told, every time, and exactly the...

[17:10] #knownspace> Lensman: ...same every time with utter predictability.

[17:10] #knownspace> EML: YUp ... some of my AI stories have dealt exactly with that.

[17:11] #knownspace> SeanS: i read the jacket of fool'e experiments. looked Very interesting

[17:12] #knownspace> SeanS: fool's

[17:13] #knownspace> EML: actually, fools' (plural). It's from a line of Charles Darwin. "I love fools' experiments. I am always making them."

[17:14] #knownspace> SeanS: heh... sorry that i put the ' in the wrong place.

[17:15] #knownspace> EML: Not a problem, and you're far from the first. (Now the missing em dash in the cover synopsis of Destroyer? That vexes me.)

[17:16] #knownspace> SeanS: i was a little upset at the store... i had gone to get Ariel by Stephen Boyett and they didnt have it... then they failed to find it on the computer. when they told me it didnt exist, i went behind the counter and looked it up myself and said... this book right here!! oh well

[17:18] #knownspace> EML: anyone here live in or near Philadelphia? I recorded a radio interview that should be broadcast Monday.

[17:18] #knownspace> Lensman: I asked about DOW at my local Books-a-Million about a month ago, and it wasn't in their system. Hmph!

[17:19] #knownspace> Lensman: Ed what are the call letters of the radio station? Maybe I can listen to it online.

[17:19] #knownspace> SeanS: what station and time... most radio stations cast the broadcast on the net

[17:19] #knownspace> Lensman: Jinxian!

[17:20] #knownspace> SeanS: frankfort, kentucky here

[17:20] #knownspace> ronn: I think I'm going to have to leave and go lie down for awhile. See y'all later!

[17:20] #knownspace> Jim: BAM is a bad place for SF

[17:21] #knownspace> EML: the show is called fictional frontiers ( and I know the interview will, eventually, be podcast. I just thought it'd be neat if somen heard it live.

[17:21] #knownspace> Lensman: Re art being a requirement for ETs... In Scalzi's /The Ghost Brigades/ there is an ET species with absolutely no art whatsoever. Yet they're clearly intelligent, practice engineering, starflight and warfare.

[17:22] #knownspace> SeanS: if it is on an AM station at night, i can pick it up with the CCRadio plus

[17:22] #knownspace> Lensman: Bye Ronn! I hope you have time to work on the astronomy of Known Space sometime.

[17:23] #knownspace> EML: The show starts at 5:00 p.m. Monday 11/9. WNJC-1360 (but I may not be on first).

[17:23] #knownspace> Lensman: For that matter, in /Starship Troopers/ the bugs also engaged in starflight and warfare, yet on the individual level were not intelligent. Hive mind, I guess.

[17:23] #knownspace> SeanS: 1360 will be am... be chancy for me to pick it up until the sun sets

[17:24] #knownspace> Lensman: One assumes that's 5 pm Eastern time?

[17:24] #knownspace> EML: Just thought I'd mention it -- not asking if anyone is (or isn't) listening. When the podcast is availoable, I'll mention it on my blog and (Lerner) mailing list.

[17:25] #knownspace> Jim: Ed, thanks

[17:25] #knownspace> EML: One assumes ET, since it's a Phillie station. (And ET just seems right for an SF show :-) )

[17:25] #knownspace> Lensman: *chuckle*

[17:25] #knownspace> EML: de nada, Jim.

[17:27] #knownspace> EML: BTW, I'm pretty sure I won't be on the chat next month. I'll be away on a book tour that weekend. (For Small Miracles, but of course Destroyer will also be newly available).

[17:27] #knownspace> Jim: Lens, did Larry say that he would not be here?

[17:27] #knownspace> SeanS: taz the roomba is cleaning in here... less noise than a regular vacuum.

[17:28] #knownspace> Jim: Ed, where is the Book Tour at?

[17:28] #knownspace> dmac44: Ed: Then Happy New Year!

[17:28] #knownspace> Lensman: Message from Larry at 2:24 PM today: So far, nothing works. I'll try going to knownspace.

[17:29] #knownspace> Lensman: That's odd, last month he got in. Maybe he was using someone else's computer?

[17:29] #knownspace> SeanS: i would love to work on his pc... it seems everything works for everyone but him

[17:30] #knownspace> EML: Jim: regional: Research Triangle area (NC), Williamsnburg, VA, and Norfolk, VA. (I did signings in the DC area a few weekends ago.)

[17:30] #knownspace> Jim: SeanS, you don't live in the LA area.

[17:30] #knownspace> SeanS: nope

[17:31] #knownspace> Jim: Does anyone on the list other than Larry live in the LA area?

[17:31] #knownspace> Lensman: I should have noted 2:24 central time, my time.

[17:31] #knownspace> EML: I'm gonna call it a day soon. Anything anyone wants cleared up (or obfuscated) before I go?

[17:31] #knownspace> Jim: seeya

[17:32] #knownspace> dmac44: Bye Ed.

[17:32] #knownspace> Lensman: ED IIRC you have finished the manuscript for the next ...of Worlds book?

[17:32] #knownspace> Lensman: And IIRC you have a contract for the fifth?

[17:33] #knownspace> Jim: pentilogy

[17:33] #knownspace> Lensman: I forget the titles. Is "Betrayer" the fifth?

[17:34] #knownspace> EML: Lens: Betrayer (#4) is completed and turned in. #5 (title not definite) is still in the talking stages.

[17:35] #knownspace> EML: okay, folks. ttfn.

[17:35] #knownspace> Lensman: Bye Ed

[17:39] #knownspace> SeanS: hmm, seems i need to reboot... will be back.

[17:40] #knownspace> Jim: Should it take 12 months after a book is completed to release it to the public?

[17:41] #knownspace> Lensman: I think 6 months is the norm, or used to be.

[17:41] SeanS has joined #knownspace

[17:42] #knownspace> Lensman: But maybe that's the lead time for SF magazines, not books.

[17:43] #knownspace> Lensman: How many people here are actually active in this chat?

[17:43] #knownspace> SeanS: outsider is the bot

[17:43] #knownspace> Lensman: Show of hands please?

[17:43] #knownspace> SeanS: knownspaceARM is the log bot

[17:44] #knownspace> Lensman: Why was Brennan renamed Outsider?

[17:44] #knownspace> SeanS: the server is brennan... the bot is outsider

[17:44] #knownspace> SeanS: hi outsider

[17:44] #knownspace> Outsider: Morning SeanS:)

[17:45] #knownspace> dmac44: I'm a bit :)

[17:45] #knownspace> SeanS: the first irc server i ran was phssstpok however you spell it

[17:45] #knownspace> dmac44: opps that's bot

[17:45] #knownspace> Lensman: Outsider what is the meaning of life, the universe and everything?

[17:45] #knownspace> SeanS: .g life universe everything

[17:45] #knownspace> Outsider: SeanS:'s_Guide_to_the_Galaxy

[17:46] #knownspace> dmac44: I'm going inactive, see you all next month.

[17:46] #knownspace> SeanS: so if and when i build a new irc server, it will most likely be called truesdale

[17:46] #knownspace> Lensman: Bye dmac

[17:48] #knownspace> Jim: I'm still here, but I have been doing different things.

[17:49] #knownspace> Jim: SeanS, what does it take to build an IRC server?

[17:49] #knownspace> SeanS: just a pc

[17:49] #knownspace> NickE: tird, but watchin The A team if you can believe it!

[17:50] #knownspace> SeanS: i run a ubuntu linux server that does IRC, FTP, and is also my print server

[17:50] #knownspace> SeanS: no gui... all command line

[17:51] #knownspace> SeanS: dancer-irc is the daemon i run

[17:52] #knownspace> SeanS: set one up and we can link together.. keep meaning to hook up with euan but havent had the chance lately

[17:52] #knownspace> Lensman: Is knownspaceARM a person or a 'bot?

[17:52] #knownspace> SeanS: a bot

[17:52] #knownspace> SeanS: all it does is log the chat

[17:53] #knownspace> Lensman: So there are four people in chat at the moment.

[17:54] #knownspace> SeanS: Outsider is a more talkative bot. he can be used to google and find weather and other stuff. i can find the list of things he will do if you wish

[17:54] #knownspace> Lensman: What is the significance of "CrazyEddy" being grayed out?

[17:54] #knownspace> SeanS: 5 if you count eddy... but i have only talked to him every now and then

[17:54] #knownspace> Lensman: I just thought it might be fun to do the Elisa thing with Outsider, but I guess it's not that free-form.

[17:55] #knownspace> SeanS: idle for over a certain period of time

[17:55] #knownspace> SeanS: he is not that interactive

[17:55] #knownspace> Lensman: Not Elisa... Lisa? Liza? I forget.

[17:55] #knownspace> SeanS: same here

[17:56] #knownspace> Lensman: Eliza.

[17:58] #knownspace> Jim:

[17:59] #knownspace> Lensman: So do you have to use the ".g" to invoke Outsider, or is there some other format that actually uses "Outsider"?

[17:59] #knownspace> Lensman: Jim, you're a man of few words.

[17:59] #knownspace> SeanS: .g does google

[17:59] #knownspace> Outsider: SeanS:

[18:00] #knownspace> Lensman: Hi Outsider

[18:00] #knownspace> Outsider: Hi Lensman:)

[18:00] #knownspace> Lensman: Hello Outsider

[18:00] #knownspace> Outsider: Hi Lensman

[18:00] #knownspace> Lensman: Greetings Outsider

[18:00] #knownspace> Lensman: Wazzup Outsider

[18:02] #knownspace> Jim: Who are you Outsider?

[18:02] #knownspace> Jim: Hello, CrazyEddy.

[18:03] #knownspace> Jim: Truesdale

[18:04] #knownspace> Lensman: How are you Outsider?

[18:05] #knownspace> Lensman: I guess Outsider is tired of inane questions. :)

[18:05] #knownspace> SeanS: he only responds to certain words

[18:06] #knownspace> SeanS: hi outsider

[18:06] #knownspace> Outsider: Afternoon SeanS!

[18:09] #knownspace> Lensman: Sean: Yes, I realize that. So far I only got a response from "Hi" and "Hello".

[18:09] #knownspace> NickE: going to bed. Night all!

[18:09] #knownspace> Lensman: G'nite Nick

[18:10] #knownspace> SeanS: later nick

[18:10] #knownspace> Jim: night

[18:10] #knownspace> Jim: .g grin

[18:10] #knownspace> NickE: ttfn

[18:10] #knownspace> SeanS: there is a website with all the commands... just dont have it right in front of me

[18:10] #knownspace> Jim: pr0n

[18:10] #knownspace> SeanS: and julie cleaned so i know not where anything is

[18:11] #knownspace> Lensman: What means "pr0n"?

[18:12] #knownspace> SeanS: tis a euphemism for porn

[18:12] #knownspace> Jim: In context, no meaning; just a reaction to the phrase "*g0ne*"

[18:12] #knownspace> Lensman: -k-

[18:13] #knownspace> Lensman: Yah, the *g0ne* thing has me mystified. I think I asked once but I forgot the explanation.

[18:13] #knownspace> Jim: does "gone" cause problems

[18:13] #knownspace> Jim: gone

[18:14] #knownspace> Jim: nope, still here

[18:14] #knownspace> SeanS: gone causes no problems

[18:14] #knownspace> SeanS: its just what some people do... subbing a 0 for an o

[18:14] #knownspace> SeanS: like spelling god ghod

[18:14] #knownspace> Lensman: Okay, thanks for explaining.

[18:15] #knownspace> SeanS: no worries

[18:15] #knownspace> SeanS: going to turn list delivery back on in a day or two

[18:15] #knownspace> Lensman: What does that mean?

[18:16] #knownspace> SeanS: it means that i am going to turn list delivery back on in a day or two

[18:16] #knownspace> Jim: SeanS, the list volume has been relatively low

[18:16] #knownspace> SeanS: havent got any list mail for about 6 months... turned it off

[18:16] #knownspace> Lensman: Oh, you mean your personal setting for list delivery?

[18:16] #knownspace> SeanS: yes

[18:16] #knownspace> SeanS: i do not control the list

[18:17] #knownspace> Lensman: Well I didn't think the list itself had been "turned off", hence my confusion.

[18:17] #knownspace> SeanS: nope... sorry to confuse you

[18:18] #knownspace> Lensman: That's okay, confused is Lensman's normal state of existence. :)

[18:18] #knownspace> SeanS: i am still subscribed... just had delivery turned off

[18:19] #knownspace> Lensman: Yes, I understand.

[18:19] #knownspace> Lensman: I am still subscribed, I just don't bother to read most of the threads.

[18:19] #knownspace> SeanS: taz has cleaned up everything... i should of bought one of these a long time ago

[18:20] #knownspace> Lensman: taz is a Roomba?

[18:20] #knownspace> SeanS: yes

[18:20] #knownspace> SeanS: the cheapest model... had to know if it worked as advertised before getting a programable one

[18:20] #knownspace> Lensman: Works pretty well for you, then? I've never seen one in real life.

[18:21] #knownspace> SeanS: i am amazed. i have not seen it do carpet (i have none) but cant recommend it enough for hardwood/tile

[18:21] #knownspace> Jim: will it pick up dust bunnies?

[18:22] #knownspace> SeanS: like you wouldnt believe

[18:22] #knownspace> Lensman: We have carpet in most rooms, one room with hardwood floor but a large rug under the dining room table. Wonder how well it would handle transition from floor to rug?

[18:23] #knownspace> SeanS: i turned it loose in the computer room after tying all the cables up... i had not swept under the bed in there for who knows how long. 45 minutes later there was not a bit of dust or dog hair anywhere in the room

[18:23] #knownspace> SeanS: david, the website says that it transitions just fine. i would tend to believe it but i have not seen it in person

[18:24] #knownspace> SeanS:

[18:27] #knownspace> SeanS: i was very skeptical about what this thing would do but now i would recommend it to all my friends... with the caveat that i have not seen it do carpet

[18:27] #knownspace> Jim: gotta go, bye

[18:27] #knownspace> SeanS: later jim

[18:29] #knownspace> Lensman: Thanks for the info Sean

[18:32] #knownspace> SeanS: no worries