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Slaves to Men with Machines

The coming AI dystopia nobody is talking about
Dall-E generated image of a robot face, edited with the OpenAI logo for eyes

In Frank Herbert's Dune novels, there's a historical footnote that plays in one of the underlying themes of the series. There was a time in the history of humanity, still in our future, when humanity dev thinking machines, computers with human-like minds that quickly replaced human labor in almost every sense. In Herbert's vision, this leads to a brief utopia for humanity. But it doesn't last, because very quickly "people became slaves to other men with machines".

First Contact

A story rejected by Asimov's so you get to read it for free!
A young girl looks up to the night sky wistfully dreaming of all the wonders above

"Tell me about the aliens, Daddy." Juliya was a young girl, maybe six years old, perched on the seat of her father's combine, with her hands on the steering wheel like she was ready to drive off into the field herself. She was bright for her age, or at least her daddy and her teachers said so.

The 2020 Election Isn't Even Close

Good people don't do nothing
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for ---- men to do nothing.
There is a general consensus among observers that the 2020 election is "a close race" with Biden and Trump neck-and-neck for most of it, right up until the very end. Some have observed how disheartening it is that the election is so close after the last four years of Trump's administration and especially with the administration's 2020 pandemic fiasco.

But it's not a close election. Not even remotely.

According to the Federal Register, the United States' Voting Age Population (VAP) is roughly 255 million.

Ears to Hear

or "Riot is the language of the unheard"
George Floyd looks up at the crowd begging the police to let him live, moments before dies.

Two weeks ago my brother was murdered. Since then, there has been a lot of news and conversation about another man who was murdered, George Floyd. Though I have many other things on my mind and going on in my life right now, that is a conversation I must join.

The Case for Ivan Vanko

or "If I Had a Hammer"
Tony Stark interrogates his past
This is a response to this YouTube video from Nando V Movies. If you haven't watched that video... I mean... you can if you want to. But here's a summary of his argument:
  • Iron Man 2 has too many villains
  • Removing a villain allows for better character development and story continuity
  • The only villain should be Justin Hammer
  • Ivan should be a random non-character scientist if he's named in the movie at all

On the Difference Between Writing and Story-telling

Or a brief review of young author I found at a Comic Con
Edited cover art for the Angelic Divide Trilogy

There are a lot of different skills required to write a novel. Technical facility with the language is perhaps one of the most basic (and most commonly ignored in today's age of instant digital self-publishing). Character development is another and worldbuilding is yet one more. There are myriad more, and plenty of community college writing classes dedicated to teaching them, so there is no need to describe them all here.

How Many Americans Does It Take to Elect a President?

Or how I learned to start worrying and hate the electoral college
Constitution Article 2 - Shamelessly ripped from

In 2016, the candidate who won the most votes* lost the election, which has led a number of consternated people to calculate the percentage of American voters who voted for her rival. There are a couple of different ways to do this math:

Dear Satya Nadella - an Open Letter

How you're failing Microsoft - and the world - and why.
What happens when Microsoft tanks and Google buys it

Dear Satya Nadella,

Let me get straight to the point: You're a man with no vision.

Harsh, I know. But let me explain.

Saving Arthur Part 1

I really need to stop reading Reddit Writing Prompts
I think I might hire an illustrator...
The party sat around the table eating their pottage breakfast in silence. The mood was somber and nobody cared to say anything. Nobody was really eating, either, just stirring the mush in their bowls in slow circles of ennui. A cold dread hung over the dining table as everyone wanted to talk but nobody had the courage to say what they were all thinking. It had been four weeks since their author had written something and the tension was palpable.

The Hobbit

or Deus and Bad Again: A Writer's Tale
Not the greatest fantasy epic of any time

You might think for a nerd and avid reader, I might have read J. R. R. Tolkien's "masterpieces" much earlier in life. You'd be wrong, of course, because I had other masterpieces to read and I was always more interested in science fiction (or science textbooks) and found the fantasy genre in general to be somewhat less interesting to me.

How Clifford v. Trump Affects You and Me

Or How I really didn't want to go there but this is where we are as a country
I'm brimming with enthusiasm

In the news this week is the announcement that a federal judge has dismissed Stormy Daniels' defamation suit against Donald Trump.

For posterity's sake, I'll summarize: Daniels accuses Trump of being involved in an illegal threat to silence Daniels regarding an illicit affair between the two. Trump calls Daniels a liar on Twitter. Daniels sues trump for defamation. Trump moves to dismiss the case. Court rules in favor to dismiss.

Informed Opinions

or How I Learned to Quit Opining and Learn From Others
Opinions? I can haz!
There's this tendency among humans to decide that certain opinions are or are not valid. And generally the opinions we call "invalid" are the ones we disagree with. But I think that we could be better than that, that we could find an objective way to measure something even as subjective as an opinion. Or at least we can have a more objective way of labelling an opinion as valid or invalid.

Fire and Brimstone

A Chaotic Introduction
Shamelessly ripped from the internet under fair use.

Arnold Trumain entered the café with a somewhat smug attitude. The back and forth over e-mail had taken months and he had finally agreed to this meeting out of sheer curiosity at who it was on the other end of those communiques who was so persistent. As he stepped in he looked to his left and saw the man sitting at the arranged corner booth, away from other patrons. He was early; Arnold liked that. 

Death Comes for Katie

Reddit writing prompt: Death offers a game for your life. You decide on D&D.
Image source: CanStockPhoto

She looked out the viewport window into the expansive field of glittering stars spread against a sheet of brilliant black. Even after all this time, the view never ceased to take her breath away. 

But it was the only thing that did.

The Timeweaver

Part 1
Is that a loom or are you just happy to see me?

Ralin struggled to see through the darkness. These alleys were never well lit to begin with and most of the lamps were out along this one. But there was one lighted lamp a short distance ahead, and it was that lamp which kept Ralin from getting completely lost. It was a cool night and the air was damp from a gentle sea breeze from the east. It would be morning soon. The first dawn of a new empire.

The Newsroom

And what it means to be truly great
Lost in such deep thought

I want to tell you about The Newsroom. In many ways it might be the greatest American television show ever made. But it may also just be another ordinary television drama.

Surface Pro 4 vs Surface Pro 3 Performance Benchmark

Since nobody else seems to have done it yet
Image Src:, edited at

Like any uber nerd watching Microsoft's press release last month, I was really excited to hear the announcement of the Surface Pro 4. But I already own a Surface Pro 3, so it begs the question: Is it really worth upgrading?

The SP4 comes loaded with some cool new tricks, most of which you already know about:

What does intelligence sound like?

Yeah, this is going to sound pretentious
Kudos if you get the Frasier reference.

If Intelligence had a sound… what would it be?
Can you tell how smart a person is just by how they speak?

Ever since I was a child, I've been told I was smart. Even by people who hardly knew me. When I was in middle school and my parents took me to a counselor to talk about my social problems with other kids, almost the first words she said to me were "I can see you're a smart kid." Really? How do you know? What did I say in these 5 minutes we've known each other that convinced you of my intellect? What Bayesian algorithm led you to that conclusion?

Dating myths

Things we tell ourselves to pretend we're in control

This is just a list of things people try to tell you about dating. Reasons you're not having much success or things to look for in a potential partner (or things to look for in yourself). Ingredients that we are convinced will add up to the perfect relationship if mixed in the right proportions.

The devil's economics

Why motivations matter
Image source:

This is a topic that I know is going to cause a few backs to bristle. Maybe that's one reason I've put off writing this article, even though the idea's been swimming in my head for months. I'm about to tell you that everything you know is wrong. Don't worry, you'll get over it soon enough :)

I'm going to talk about capitalism. Let's start by defining it and breaking it down into a few fundamental principles.


A really bad word for being human

Immersion. It's this sense of seamlessness and continuity in a video game that makes it feel more real. It's the holy grail of hardcore gamers, to enter a game and become fully engrossed in that world to the exclusion of outside influences. But even the best games aren't fully immersive. There's always a sliver of consciousness that remains aware of the fictional nature of the activity. I call this little sliver "Gamersion" and it's that sliver that I want to talk about.

Microsoft Business College

A new way to do business
Because knowledge

In keeping with the education theme from yesterday I want to introduce an idea I've been beating around for about a year or so now.


A university with no degrees
Image source:

It's no secret that education in the USA needs an overhaul. Especially higher education, which has gotten more expensive and less meaningful with each passing year. I mean, I have $30,000 in student loan debt, no degree, and a higher income than the rest of my family combined. My sister has $20,000 in student loan debt, a bachelor's degree, and trouble finding a job. I think this speaks volumes about the efficacy of our education system.

Why I fell in love with Liara

And the reason why I stayed.
Liara T'Soni

Ah, Mass Effect. That heart-wrenching emotionally wrecking love-heartache relationship of a video game. I'd give you a spoiler alert, but let's be honest, the first game is almost 10 years old. So just play it already.

Moral Junk Food

Jelly Beans for the Soul
Courtesy Jelly Belly (Public Domain - not used with permission)

I want to talk about junk food. You know, the candy bar that tastes really good but does absolutely nothing for your body's nutritional needs. The thing that makes the candy bar bad is not what it has - it's not the fat or the salt or the sugar or the calories. What makes junk food bad is what it doesn't have. Junk food lacks essential ingredients that our bodies require in order to be healthy, strong, fit, and eventually even to just survive. A person eating a diet consisting entirely of junk food would eventually starve to death (the technical term is malnutrition).


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