Technology-LiveI have made "Joey for Reddit", android app that lets you read AMAs in magazine style QA format, add upcoming AMAs to your calendar and much more. AMA!
Feb 11th 2017 by codesForLiving • 35 Questions • 7623 Points
UPDATE: Thanks everyone for all the questions. We really enjoyed chatting with you today! Signing off for now, but may be back to later to answer a few more questions!
Hi, we're scientists and science fiction writers Catherine Asaro and David Brin. In a recent conversation about the legacy of nuclear weapons, we talked about the history and future of warfare - and how growing up in the era of "Duck and Cover" affected our books. Together, we make the case that science fiction - especially apocalyptic science fiction - can make the world safer.
David Brin is an astrophysicist whose international best-selling novels include The Postman, Earth, and recently Existence. Dr. Brin serves on advisory boards (e.g. NASA's Innovative and Advanced Concepts program or NIAC) and speaks or consults on a wide range of topics. His nonfiction book about the information age, The Transparent Society, won the Freedom of Speech Award of the American Library Association.
Catherine Asaro is a critically acclaimed author of science fiction who has won the Nebula Award twice and been nominated for a Hugo multiple times. She has a doctorate in theoretical chemical physics from Harvard University and is the Director of the Chesapeake Math Program. Her next book is the science fiction mystery novel The Bronze Skies, set in her Skolian Empire universe. It is due out from Baen Books in the Fall.
We're also joined here by Natalie from PRI’s The World who will help us in answering your questions today. Read the recent piece The World wrote asking if science fiction can help prevent a nuclear war.
Ask Us Anything!
Here's our proof: https://twitter.com/pritheworld/status/829678212213010434
What happened to the 2 mil that is still unaccounted for? Did you really only go to Mexico with 50k?
Because of your last AMA I bought a Panasonic bagged canister vac (because I can't afford a Miele) and it's great. Thanks for your service. What would you recommend for a robo-vac in an area with laminate floor and lots of dog hair?
To David ... First, what are your plans to continue books in the Uplift universe, and do you have plans for a sequel to Glory Season?
And second, how would you contrast your vision of near future Earth in 'Earth' with your view on near future now, especially after current election. I always loved your idea of requiring people to consume certain amount of news before they are allowed to vote, but in current (apparent) propaganda war, would this even be feasible, with all the echo chambers?
I have used Joey as in baby Koala. Because they are cute, and the name is short and memorable.
No idea where it is I only ever had what I took with me and what was sent to me.
If you're going to get a robotic vac, I'd recommend Neato or Miele models.
Hi Janareta. I am a little way into my big Uplift Book returning to Creideiki and the folks I abandoned on that planet long ago. (I am getting death threats from my 35 year old former self!) I have lots of sequel notes for Glory Season, Postman etc but none of those will happen till I get the self-duplicator from KILN PEOPLE! ;-) -- But I have two new books! INSISTENCE OF VISION and CHASING SHADOWS! See more at http://www.davidbrin.com -- db
Did you get to spend much time on set? What was it like to have a movie based on your story?
Miniature nukes. How the heck can we not allow or, perhaps, contain them?
I did get to spend a good amount of time on the set in North Carolina and having a movie based on my story was a bit surreal and a bit funny to be honest. When I first got there nobody knew who I was, they just thought I was another producer or something and when they realized they were very gracious and curious.
Roomba has a weird pattern algorithm for cleaning, which is very inefficient. The Neato and Miele models use a logical mapping algorithm.
Hello. Just wanted to say we aren't ignoring your comment, but rather, answering are appearing below, along with other comments. Thank you for your input! -- C.A>
Why the word "Question" in huge letters and in green text?
Why not the actual question in one colour and the answer in say black? And/or the letter "Q" instead of "question"? How much are you gaining by having a big chunk of your screen taken up by a word that we all know?
I've read that once the FBI actually closed in on you, you were relieved because you were fearing for your life at that point. Any truth to that? How did it actually feel when the FBI took you in?
You said you really don't like Rainbows because of the water filtration, but how do you feel about steam vacs for cleaning carpets? What's the difference?
What's your take on the the time frame for practical fusion energy generation? Is it something that will be unnecessary by the time it's possible?
Why not the actual question in one colour and the answer in say black?
That will not work well with day/night theme, and others themes that I plan to introduce.
And/or the letter "Q" instead of "question"?
It will be in a separate line from the actual question, so why not the whole word?
I felt relieved, I knew that things were getting ready to come to an end and getting caught was a stress reliever even if I knew I was going to jail.
Let me hit you with some copypasta from an expert in the field:
I did carpet cleaning work to put myself through college and grad school, it was great money because people use cheap vacuums and their carpets get filthy. Buying a good vacuum is absolutely true and you have no idea how much money you save yourself in the long run.
We used to charge $0.35 per square foot, that worked out to about $1000 per average-sized house to do good carpet cleaning because all of our competitors did shit work.
The number one problem was that most people didn't vacuum properly, so they had to get their carpets cleaned every few years and they were always filthy.
- Never ever buy a bagless vacuum. Just don't. Buy a good one with HEPA filtration (or S-class if you're in Europe). Buy one that is warrantied for commercial work. That means it is made of quality parts. Even brands on the cheaper side like Sanitaire and Eureka will work fine if they are the true commercial line. Just don't buy ones that say "professional" but are actually marketed towards residential: they will break down in a year if you use it more than once per week.
(I do not, personally, recommend using a commercial vacuum in your home, but rather, a premium residential vacuum.)
- Properly adjust the brush roller so that the bristles sweep the carpet, not dig into it. The tips of the bristles should just barely touch the bottom of the pile and it should offer no resistance.
- Change the bag regularly. Just buy them in bulk for a year, you should get them for about a dollar per bag.
(This depends greatly upon vacuum type chosen, and bag capacities of various vacuums. This can vary greatly, but remain cost effective)
- Never wear shoes in your house, and if you have pets vacuum at least twice as often. Also vacuum after every event.
- If liquid is spilled on carpets clean it up immediately. Keep putting dry towels down and stand on them, then put a fan on the damp spot.
- If you must clean them, hire a professional (not Stanley Steamer) to clean them using extraction. Shampooing is a last resort for very heavy soil, and should always be followed by extraction. Never hire coupon cleaners, or anyone that doesn't have a license & insurance.
- If you insist on cleaning your own carpets, never use a Rug Doctor or any carpet cleaning machine that is rented out by chain retail stores, you might as well use a shop vac and a water hose. Go to a janitorial supplier and rent a professional extractor, RTFM, and vacuum your carpets completely before you extract. You can rent an air mover or just buy some cheap box fans but either way you need to dry your carpets completely after extraction.
- Listen to everything /u/touchmyfuckingcoffee [+10] says about selecting and caring for your vacuum. He knows his stuff.
Do all that and your carpets will never need cleaning, you'll save yourself a crapload of money and your house will be healthier too.
Actually, the scientific community has been talking about fusion as an energy source for over fifty years. We were discussing this in the 1970s, expecting it would be less than a decade away. We should have been able to develop it for practical use by now. I think what is holding it up are political concerns.
Awsome job. So what lessons, good and bad, have you learned from the experience?
What are Jandice and Kelly up to now? Did you stay in touch with them? Masterminds was a fun movie. Were you offended that they portrayed you as an idiot being so easily manipulated?
I might be a little (a lot) behind. I keep wondering what scientists know that makes them so convinced that the barriers are political instead of practical. Is the math already worked out? Because I thought that they were still trying to figure out how to contain the reaction for an extended duration. Is it really just a matter of testing what they are already fairly certain of?
FYI. Saw Catherine speak at WorldCon(ChiCon) in 2012. Turns out your EM Drive info was quite solid. :D
Glad you liked it.
The lesson that I learned was, making things is the fastest way to learn programming. I started off by reading android docs and getting lost, then realized doing and learning on the go, is better approach for me.
The bad: I need to work on my procrastination.
No idea. No. Glad you like the movie. And it would take a lot more than that to offend me, I thought it was funny.
I didn't get to Costco yesterday for my 2 pound bag, so I'm drinking 7-11's Brazilian Dark since it's cheap and isn't fucking burnt like everything at Starfucks.
Hello. This is Catherine Asaro, and welcome.
One thought on your question: we’re looking at a new type of weapon unlike any traditional weapons of war. The cyber arena is among the fastest growing areas of military development. It makes it possible to weaponize propaganda in a more dramatically effective manner than has ever been done before. How do you overthrow a government without firing a shot? Control the flow of information to its people to reflect what you want heard and (attempt to) defeat or marginalize your opponents with fake news, propaganda, hacking, and other forms of cyber attacks.
If you extrapolate that into the future, consider this: what happens when we begin connecting our brains directly to online platforms? In isn’t that far in the future; it’s already being done in rudimentary forms. It takes the concept of a propaganda war and control of information to an entirely new level, one that could be used to wage a war with none of the traditional forms of weapon.
I can talk about future weapons of space war in another post (e/g/ smart missiles, advantages and disadvantages of beam/antimatter weapons, and the effects of relativistic speed in another post).
I'm just about to start too ! I'll take the practical method in learning rather than the theoretical way , hence i'll struggle with the jargon , but i'll break it into small bricks ..you did an awesome job for Joey !
The movie is hilarious. How accurate was the movie?
Well, it's 'based' on a true event, and there are accurate bits sprinkled throughout. However, it's a Hollywood comedy.
Has this affected your ability to get a job? Being a quasi-famous bank robber and all?
and isn't fucking burnt like everything at Starfucks.
Damn truth! Everything in starbucks that includes milk tastes too strong and burnt.
At one point in time, Starbucks was good. But then the fad came up where every boss'es intern/assistant would be there during lunch time and get a couple. This caught up. Now its just a brand and nothing more.
Well, you certainly are the Titan of Transparency, Dr. Brin. } ; = 8 P
To touch on that, though, and play a bit of a devil's advocate, how do you think transparency could be used to stop the guy building a "small" fission bomb in his basement, either as a hobby because he was bored and owned a large property he liked to blow things up on, or to further some terroristic agenda? It's not feasible today, but in a few decades, it's not beyond the realm of plausibility that even mid-range, consumer-level 3D printers and CNC-like fabricators could produce equipment of sufficient sophistication to create an implosion-type bomb (and the hardware of an gun-type fission bomb can be manufactured easily enough, today).
If a person is willing to settle for less than the ideal isotopes for nuclear weapons, and accrue small amounts over time, how would we be able to catch them, and either prevent them from doing something stupid with their backyard destruction project, or from building and deploying such a device for terroristic purposes?
Good question , Oddly most employers are very understanding as long as you are honest with them up front .
And when I fucking ask for a SMALL amount of ice, so I can drink it right away, and they fucking make the shit tepid!!
I need to sip my Brazilian and calm down.
Transparency makes such a fellow's goal much, much harder to pursue. Sure, he might sneak toward it slowly. But we are also developing personality metrics and lie detectors. Those tools would be hellish if monopolized by Big Brother. And hellish if we all lived in a judgmental conformist society of "liitle brothers." But in a tolerant and transparent world, we could shine light onto geeks we suspect of building WMDs. And if we prove wrong, they get an apology and compensation That is not hell.
Why aren't quiet vacuums a thing?
I had heard that someone made one once, and no one bought it because they associated loudness with doing a good job at cleaning. The solution seems simple: add a suction power gauge that lets you know if stuff is blocking the vacuum's hose.
I'm not sure I completely agree. There is an importance nuance.
Inventing and innovating is at the core of societies ability to adapt. And this is a somewhat private process that often goes against the status quo. This makes it harder to perform when every decision can be judged before it bares fruit.
We need a social system that reflects the power of the decisions being made. One that encourages diversity whilst at the same time tying us together in a shared global community. One where transparency is automatically increased with the degree of power involved. One that encourages freedom of individuality, but keeps dangerous technology heavily supervised.
BTW: I'm a long time fan. Earth was very formative for me in 90s. I wish more authors would write near future science fiction. It must be very hard to write as it is sure to always gets it partly wrong, but it is so informative and provides a vision for us to work with.
Don't worry; Quiet vacuums do exist. Miele and Sebo are some of the quietest vacs on the market.
WOrldbuilding can be fun in its own right and there are great new tools, e.g. a book describing in detail the nearest 200 stars! Still, I rely mostly on my instincts for what feels right... after years as a planetary scientist, I admit.... -db
that's so impressive what you've done... congrats!
what was your starting baseline? I read that you didn't know JAVA/Android when starting out, but did you know how to code in HTML or anything else? i pretty much know how to use google and my email, but not much beyond that. so how long would it take me to get to your baseline from which you started.. thanks for elaborating!
But would you recommend it if you had not been caught?
eep! David Brin! I loved the Uplift series.
I'm curious if you ever heard about this?: there's a 90's Artificial Life sim called "Creatures", where you take care of cute little pets with a virtual brain, genetics and biochemistry, in a virtual sandbox world with natural dangers.
In 1997, players of the game took to setting up a world and letting it run without helping the creatures to survive or interfering at all, to see how they would eventually improve after many generations of mutation and natural selection. They took to calling it a "Wolfling Run" after the Uplift novels. We still do today, 20 years later.
but did you know how to code in HTML or anything else?
how long would it take me to get to your baseline from which you started.
I will be way off, but will give it a shot. 2 years if full time effort.
No....philosophically I would not recommend it, however a life in the Caribbean wouldn't have been soooo bad I think.
Born to write! Born to blather tales. I did good physics by dint of hard work and romanticism. The arts are wonderful, but science is changing us and giving us this one chance to actually actually grow up, at last. I wanted to be part of that! -- DB
Okay, maybe this is a really predictable question but ... What's your take on Trump, especially when it comes to nuclear security and the fears so many people seem to have about his presidency altering the country and the world in significant ways? Think this will all make its way into your writing?
The three best brands in the US market are (not in order) Miele, Riccar, and Sebo.
I think we utterly rely on the skill, calm temperament and professionalism of the United States Military and Intelligence communities' officer corps. DT has already fired shots across their bows.
Do you have any plans to make money off that app? 10 months full time sure seems like quite the investment.
Hello David! How was life in prison? And what is the biggest lesson you learned from this whole experience?
Why hasn't word gotten out about the greatness of Riccar vacs? We bought a Supralite in 2008 and that baby is still as good as the day we bought it. It's a snap to service it too. I assume it's a marketing thing, but seriously. Best vacuum ever.
To enlisted personnel, the words "rely on the skill, calm temperament and professionalism of the... officer corps," don't exactly inspire confidence. Officers not having any idea what they're doing, and the enlisted guys being the ones who actually do all the work and get everything done is something of a half-joke/half-truth in the military.
All jokes aside, though, at least in the sub force (I can't speak for the surface fleet, nor the other branches), -most- officers who make it much past LTJG are usually pretty competent, capable, and generally very intelligent (though JOs having high intelligence is generally much more reliable than them having high competence). We also have the advantage, unlike the militaries of many other countries, of having a highly-trained, and usually well-educated enlisted corps, who are very active in both training the officers and providing back-up (sometimes "forceful back-up") when they try to do something particularly stupid.
Have you ever considered the possible outcomes of a civilization dominated by nations who take a much more old-school/traditional approach of having gentrified officers strictly from the nobility commanding uneducated and minimally-trained enlisted personnel, vs the model we use?
How different do you think the world might be today if the US military had stuck with the old-school approach of educated officers vs uneducated enlisted? How much of an impact on civilization do you think the differences between those two models has?
well move into a broom closet with two other people ,and eat hospital food every day . That part really sucks , its supposed to suck to discourage returning . Freedom is a precious , precious thing
I'm glad you're happy with it. Reviews like yours will help.
From what I hear, you are describing the Russian and Chinese militaries and it is very scary. This is why the US military is both competent and somewhat wise. Because the Marshallian traditions include not only absolute loyalty to civilian leadership, but levels of professionalism and education that are among the highest in American life. Especially in the Navy. Our experience with subs and carriers... which any 19 year old recruit could blow up at any moment, has led to utter respect for the noncom petty officer caste. You guys are among the most mature humans ever produced by our species.
The most distressing - yet cheering - thing I have seen in the last 2 weeks has been DT's utter contempt for our military, intel, and law professional castes. It is scary! Yet, I take some comfort in knowing that they are being driven (silently and cautiously) toward recalling that their loyalty is to the Union.
Here is one helluva novel (frightening) about a new, hot American civil war: https://www.amazon.com/Tears-Abraham-Sean-T-Smith/dp/1618688197
How much did you make off the movie?
Yes, that's pretty much what I was describing. About ten percent or so (give or take) of the total crew compliment of any US Navy ship consists of commissioned officers. The rest consists of enlisted personnel, a huge percentage of which are varying levels of non-commissioned officers (and a significant majority percentage on subs, where advancement rates are much higher than the surface fleet). Our enlisted personnel are highly-trained system experts, and excluding the new guys who are still learning/qualifying in the basics, everyone is expected to have a solid, working knowledge of how their equipment operates, and how to keep it operational in the field.
The Russians, in contrast, take a very different approach. They still have the officer/enlisted divide, but it is much more substantial, in multiple ways. Roughly half of their crew compliment is commissioned officers, with the other half being enlisted conscripts, who serve for two years and are strictly trained as system operators, not system experts. They operate out of rote procedure, and are not trained, nor expected to have a working knowledge of how their equipment does what it does, or how to keep it working in the field, beyond basic, pre-written maintenance instructions.
It is also worth noting that we're not the only ones who follow the system expert model. Some of our closest allies, like the Brits, follow the same model, with minor variations. I can't speak for every nation, but it does seem like Western/democratic nations tend to prefer the system expert model over the system operator model.
Make real world projects or contribute to them, that is the best way to learn programming, IMO. You can start by contributing on github.
I didn't get money for this, what I got was a great vacation and a chance to tick something off of my bucket list. I know that isn't exciting to most people but I, regular Joe, had the chance to be on a movie set...who wouldn't want to do that? Plus the food truck was awesome, my wife called me a hobbit for having second breakfasts.
Most of the products by Dyson. Shark vacuums aren't much better.
That being said, either would be better than a <$100 piece of shit Bissell, Eureka, or Dirt Devil.
Catherine here: I have far more ideas and stories worked out than I have time to write, so I concentrate on the stories I'm doing for publication.
If you're working toward publication, I would suggest writing short stories, going through one or two revision processes, sending them out to potential publishers, either online or in print, and then getting to work on your next story. It's good to learn to revise, but don't spend so much time revising that the story never gets sent out.
Also, don't let rejection get you down! It happens to every writer, even those of us who have hit best seller lists. If a rejection comes back, send it out to the next publisher on your list.
You can also go the self-published route. I would suggest trying publishers that pay first, however. Many of us got a lot of rejections before placing a story, but it was worth going through all that for the editorial and marketing advantages of having a well-established publisher.
You can also combine self-publishing with sending out stories that you haven't self-published, so you're building a fan base while you look for a publisher. One note: once you've published something on the web that anyone can read, you've given away first publication rights, which most publishers want. So that is why I suggest submitting different stories to publishers than the ones you've put up on line.
David, what do you feel like was your biggest mistake in the heist? Getting too many people involved? It seems like you got away with it for a while until all of your cohorts started talking too much.
Hi may I ask why you are not a fan of dyson or Shark? I'd imagine because they specialize in bagless vacuum cleaners as opposed to the bag vacuums?
A bit more of a present-day question, on the subject of nuclear weapons and their use.
I have a number of family members (aunts, uncles, older cousins, etc.), and various friends and co-workers I've had over the years, who have all either agreed with, or actively argued for the use of nuclear weapons as a first strike to solve our problems, mostly in the Middle East.
Do you have any recommendations for what to say to these people, all of whom lived through the days of "Duck and Cover" and the threat of nuclear annihilation, to dissuade them from the notion that using nuclear weapons, let alone as a "first strike," is a good idea?
In addition to that, do you have any thoughts on why people who spent half or more of their lives living under the threat of global nuclear annihilation would think that the use of nukes at all would be a good idea?
I don't have Mac mini. How many reddit apps are there for iOS?
To be honest, doing it at all was my biggest mistake but that thought comes with a bit of perspective. I will say though, if you have a "secret" it's best to keep it to yourself, lol.
It's not about bagless, per se. It's about the brands, themselves.
Dyson used to make pretty decent vacuums. Now, all the shit they put out has horrible airflow, shitty nozzle base plates, and they churn out vacuums with known problems, cashing in on the fact that a HUGE number of owners won't ever file warranty claims, and then churn the same shit out after they've "fixed" a problem or two.
Shark doesn't put their parts out on the market for guys like me to be able to repair them for our customers. Instead, they want you to ship your vac back to them (both ways) for repairs. They've also had many complaints about their warranty service. Combine that with shitty designs and shitty materials, and you get a less than ideal vacuum.
We have a severe problem that irrational people can take the American ethos of Suspicion of Authority (SoA) and be coaxed into turning it NOT against their oligarch oppressors, but against all the smartypants professionals who know stuff. Those professionals KNOW that crime has declined in America. We know that a hundred times more Americans died under George Bush as died under Obama from violence at the hands of Muslim antagonists. A hundred times. But you'll never get the New Confederates to look at the evidence. Indeed, facts only enrage them against us.
If every Middle Eastern nation declared war against us tomorrow, what could that alliance do to us? Fear of them is pathetic and cowardly. We outnumber them, even united! Their combined economies and militaries are a fingernail clipping, next to ours. Terrorism? Show me the terrorism! There's been almost none!
Our parents, in the Greatest Generation, endured more losses in any week of WWII than we have across the entire War on Terror, including 9/11! Yet the GGs never whimpered and whined and moaned and thrashed and threw tantrums the way confeds do, screeching "Islamic terrorists!"
Note it is folks who do NOT live in the cities who rail in fear. City folk - who are the targets - shrug and get on with business. -- db
I hope you're right regarding intelligence agencies civil servants. The problem is that more and more, meaning well is not enough. You need to Act Well, and unfortunately that means doing what Snowden did !
Great vacuum, but ugly as sin. Are you happy with it?
Catherine here: It is certainly still a deterrent. However, you make a good point. It only takes one person in a position of power to upset the careful balance we currently maintain in the world. The scientific and technological infrastructure to create such weapons isn’t easy to come by, but that doesn’t mean other countries and/or individuals can’t eventually develop them. We need to become well educated on the dangers, and to use our judgment in selecting leaders who can protect our best interests, not only in weapons development, but in dealing with the rest of the world in a manner that will encourage cooperation in protecting humanity from destruction. We also need a strong education focus on STEM fields that help train those who can develop counter measures to the means of mutually assured destruction; and a focus on political science/diplomacy, to train more people who can deal in a positive manner with discussions about weapons control among the international community.
Interesting.. I'll take a look.. Hope it doesn't have intrusive ads.
How is your life now? Can you relate to the one you were before all this?
I have a rowhome with two sets of stairs of carpeted stairs and a mix of regular carpeting and hardwood. I have a dog.
Without going over 3-4 hundred (but tell me if it's dumb to skip on a 440 one etc), can you give me advice on what to buy so I don't need to think? After each one of your threads I get into review hell on amazon, see my price creep up and end up getting nothing.
Best estimate on when will the singularity happen?
What's some cool things you plan to do when we have infinite virtual worlds to explore and create?
It only has banner ad at the bottom, and the QA view have native ads at the end of the page.
My life is actually pretty ordinary, the movie really did not change a thing. I still get up in the morning and go to work just like everyone else.
Man, your place was built by a vacuum masochist. Are you a strong person? Can you get that budget up to $600-700?
Depends on which singularity. If it turns out AI must happen the way WE did it... the only example we know... then they'll have to experience the world in tactile reality, like a human child. In which case it will take 20 years for little child robots to become truly superior. Time to teach them values and for civilization to remain human.
If it happens like in the movies, with a sudden accidental takeoff? Well, maybe it already has! Yes, I am talking to you, fellah! Yes, you, the AI I spotted lurking while I wrote EXISTENCE. You think I'm gonna stop these hints just because...
...ah, a bribe? Okay, never mind. Just joshing around ;-) --db
Definitely like the app. How difficult was the process of making the app?
Did you manage to bury any of the money before you got busted?
My wife insists on the shitty $49.99 bagless vacuums from some company you never heard of. Whats a good way to sway her to buy a better one?
Also. She has long hair. Its pain to clean the spinning brush. Whats the best way to remove hair from it?
Blood Music was one of the most beautiful and frightening things I've ever read!
Initially when I started I only had the idea of how the app should work, I didn't know Android or Java, so it was a bit difficult for me. After sometime the complexity of the task hit me. But I kept on doing one task at a time.
Nope. And FYI, American currency uses an ink that never really dries and burying money can lead to mold and rot and thus worthless money.
Cheap is very costly! Imagine how much you would be able to spend on a good vacuum with all the money you've wasted on shitty vacs. Ask her why she hates clean carpets and air. Seriously, most people just don't realize that there is a qualitative and quantitative difference in the quality of product and cleaning when spending money on appliances.
Ask her if she'd spend $50 on a refrigerator and expect it to get the job done. Your vacuum is a more important appliance because it's the only one you have that cleans your living space and air. Eww...
Check my post history; I have a video which will help you with that hair.
Greg Egan's novella "Wang's Carpets" left me with my jaw dropped. I ended up writing a 5000 word essay titled "Strange Loops of Wonder" about the science/math in it. The essay first appeared Tangent Magazine and then later in the anthology Projections: Science Fiction in Literature & Film, ed. Lou Anders.
About 2 years ago, a friend of mine bought a canister Miele. While it is the quietest vacuum i have ever used, i'm not sure it's more powerful than my hoover bagless. My question is if i empty out the canister every time before using my hoover versus a bagged vacuum cleaner with the bag say half full, is the performance of the bagged still better than the bagless model? Have you also played around with the new Miele Blizzard CX1 bagless?
Given your use of the larger concept in Sundiver, have you heard of the recent proposal of a quantum cascade laser system that is powered strictly by heat, with no electrical input, and produces a cooling effect by emitting light? https://phys.org/news/2012-11-powering-lasers.html
Do you think this could be used, not just to power a high-energy laser, but to make highly effective and efficient heat sinks that emit laser light at a much higher rate than even the most emissive materails we could make a heat sink out of?
You need to understand that Miele bags, in particular, allow for maximum suction and airflow until they're completely full. So, even if your Hoover bagless had freshly washed filters and a clean HEPA filter, it still can't out compete the Miele.
That being said, the better Hoover bagless models out there perform far better than many bagless vacuums.
This is Catherine, not David, so I"ll keep my response brief. Do you have a link to the proposal of the laser? I'd like to take a look and see what I think.
Yes, the native ads are a lot less annoying; I'd go with those throughout, if that's your only easy option. That said, as someone who always gets the ad-free version of any app I use regularly, I won't check the app out until there are no ads, and I suspect there are many users like me. If you don't make another big publicity splash when that's rolled out, I'll likely forget about the app, which is why I'd suggest putting out an ad-free apk for /r/android folks, to start generating loyalty and engagement. As you add features and squash bugs, folks will want to upgrade anyway, so it's not as though you're giving it away for free in the long term. Personally, I don't mind paying a reasonable price, so I suggest this not out of cheapness, but because I believe many folks just can't stand 15% of their browsing experience being taken up by a flashing ad.
Why didn't you do this? I assume you got caught first but why not make a beeline for a country with no extradition laws/international water?
I've got a Miele S7000 with a torn up hose that's currently held together with duct tape. How do I get a replacement or repair?
Given your use of the larger concept in Sundiver, have you heard of the recent proposal of a quantum cascade laser system that is powered strictly by heat, with no electrical input, and produces a cooling effect by emitting light? https://phys.org/news/2012-11-powering-lasers.html
Do you think this could be used, not just to power a high-energy laser, but to make highly effective and efficient heat sinks that emit laser light at a much higher rate than even the most emissive materails we could make a heat sink out of?
I'd suggest putting out an ad-free apk for /r/android folks,
That will be only good for less than 3 days, I plan to release crash fixes on Wednesdays and feature releases on weekends. Thanks for you suggestion though, interesting idea.
I'd go with those throughout
Will try to add it ASAP.
Well, you know what they say about hindsight.
Kewl! Hadn't heard of that! I will look into it. I want royalties! -db
If I'm cleaning a theater (short carpet flooring tiles everywhere, vacuuming after every show, 3 shows a day, every day) what is the best vacuum I can use? There's popcorn, there's candy, etc.
Catherine, I love your work! Why is there not more sci-fi that also treats romance and sex like you do? Are male authors really out of touch or is there just a negative stigma against romance?
Man, that is a shit job for a vacuum. Check out the ProTeam XP1500. It's an old Electrolux design that's been licensed out to different companies, and this is my favorite clone. It can take all kinds of abuse without problems, and the bags are available in bulk for dirt cheap. Plus, with HEPA filtration, it won't leave a lot of dust in the theatre after.
Aw.... I agree that Catherine writes REALLY good romance woven into stories about science. "The Moon Pool" makes you justabout cry! But am... I... really chopped liver? ;-(
(Actually ;-)! -- db
What do you think of Numatic, if you've ever encountered one? Particularly Henry? I don't think they're very popular in the US. My mum had one for 20 years, tried out several others and then got another Henry. Also, he's cute.
What do you think of the development of railguns, lasers and anti-ballistic missiles greatly reducing the threat of ICBM-delivered nuclear weapons?
How would this affect international relations, if MAD was less certain than it is today?
I hear they're great vacuums for the price. They've just recently begun importing them, and the costs are very high. So, I haven't had a chance to personally play with one yet.
But, basic is good and reliable, and I hear that's what they are.
HI, Matterbeam. At this point, I'd say that the threat is spreading out among more types of weapons, so it's diffused in that sense, but that nuclear weapons still pose a substantial threat.
How hard was it to code out the app and what was the hardest part of making the app?
How do you feel about your actions 20 years later?
Would you have not done it altogether, looking back, or would you have done things differently to make sure you got away with it?
Why are they pushing bagless so hard? They suck.
They're dirty, they don't work well, and you spend more time cleaning the canister and their multiple filters than vacuuming.
I can't be the only person that's noticed this right? I bought a $45 bagged Bissell to replace a $200 bagless Eureka. In addition to being a more powerful vacuum I just throw the dirty bags away and don't have to clean anything.
Have you heard the tragedy of Darth Plagueis the Wise?
I will say moderately hard, since I didn't know Android and Java development before. The hardest part was making all compnents work together.
If I hadn't have done what I did, my life would be completely different now. The things that have happened in my life since then have led me to having a lovely wife that I wouldn't have met if I didn't move here after I got out which led to us having a wonderful child. That being said my actions years ago were from someone who was very different than I am now and while I think what I did was wrong, well, at this point it is what it is.
You're preaching to the choir, bro. They're making these vacuums specifically to those who have drunk the bagless-koolaid.
Some people simply do not want to mess with a bag, and these vacs are for them. At least with these brands, you're getting far more powerful motors, better filtration, and rock-solid warranties with a built in dealer-repair network to make things easier.
What are your opinions on Kirby vacuums? I used to sell them so I'm a little biased, do you think they're worth the money for the power before l behind them and warrantee ?
Hey humans, thanks for doing this. I'm just wondering what's next for science fiction? Do you see the current geopolitical climate informing any general themes? Will we see more "abandon ship" Earth exodus story telling? Or a move away from dystopian to something a bit more idealistic?
Since this is the first Kirby question of the day, I'll go ahead and make it thorough.
I make more money repairing Kirbys and selling their consumables. Last week alone, on a slow week, I raked in over $600 in Kirby repairs...on 4 vacuums. I also get at least a dozen calls a week from people who regret buying them and want to sell them.
Kirby vacuums cannot compete against modern vacuums in terms of a) maintenance costs, b) consumables costs, c) deep cleaning (through the carpet padding), and d) filtration.
Kirby's impeller motor design is a low-suction, high-airflow system. This prevents it from cleaning the carpet padding, and down to the subfloor, leaving your home dirtier. This applies to the air you breathe as well as the cleanliness of your carpet. They clean the surface quickly and efficiently, but that's all.
The price of bags for the new Kirby's are ~ $8.6/bag. Miele's premium imported bags are ~ $5.4/bag. Kirbys also lack a separate exhaust filter to keep the air clean.
Kirby's factory warranty is only 3 years, with a refurbishment program that is not free, and costs more every year your vacuum ages. Miele has 7 year basic and 10 year premium warranties. Riccar's warranties vary based on model but are comprehensive and cover for 4-8 years.
So, all that for a vacuum that weighs as much as a boat anchor, can't get under any furniture, and is a pain in the ass to use.
Lots of myths about how reality shapes sci fi. Are there more zombie flicks during Democratic administrations and vampires in GOP ones? Defeat-The-Man tales happened under Obama but I expect more under DT... e.g. Norman Spinrad's new book THE PEOPLE'S POLICE. -- DB
Can you recommend some good high science Sci-Fi? I haven't read much of the genre but I really enjoyed the Mars trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson and (unrelated) the Hyperion Cantos.
I'm glad you're happy with it and sorry you didn't get it for MSRP or less.
I have posted a lot of lists, over time. Here you can find compilations about science fiction http://www.scoop.it/t/speculations-on-science-fiction
... and about using Science Fiction to teach Science http://www.scoop.it/t/using-science-fiction-to-teach-science
... and about teaching Science Fiction itself! http://www.scoop.it/t/teaching-science-fiction --db
Several writers in geo-politics (Peter Zeihan, George Friedman of Stratfor, etc.) seem to think, well, yes, the world is going to hell in a handbasket, but the U.S. can ride it (and anything climate change can throw at us) out. Do the two of you think we have the resources/privilege of being isolationist in the face of the world's challenges, and what do you think the results of such a strategy would be?
Fair question. With the absolute disaster which is the new filterless models, I can only say my opinion has changed, but not for the better.
I have met those guys and deem them to be vastly overrated. They go along with the hellishly stupid over-rating of the "Islamic" threat. They ignore the spectacular creativity that was engendered by the renaissance of the last 70 years. The only way their forecasts can come true is if: (1) A non-linear destructive dual use tech appears (see above), or (2) The current confederate madness (phase 8 of our civil war) keeps getting worse, slamming down upon the professional classes who created all our wealth and power. (3) If the propaganda system that has pushed this meme of cowardly pessimism continues.
There are ZERO statistical supports for "hell in a hand basket." Despite relentless downer and anti-professionals propaganda and economic sabotage by parasitical oligarchs, we still have vibrant science, inventive tech and an economy that moves forwar.
Those jerks are fools. As is anyone who listens to them. --db
I just bought my first Miele (C3 Kona).
First of all, the hype is real. I'm ashamed to have called myself a Dyson owner. 2nd, apart from standard filter/bag replacement, any tips for a first time Miele owner?
Anyone reading this with indoor allergies, it has made an instant impact on my wife's allergies. She was having to go in for weekly acupuncture to help with her migraines caused by allergies. After 2 days of furious vacuuming the whole house (normally would have killed her) she claims to feel as good as she did coming out of acupuncture. So, hesitate at the price tag all you want, this thing will end up making our lives cheaper.
Do you have an old-timey favorite short-story sci-fi author? I think it's the toughest sci-fi out there - trying to convey an "abnormal" plot in a meaningful way in a short amount of time.
I'm so glad to hear you're having such great performance from your Miele. Welcome to the club. Here's some tips:
Let your bags get completely full (bag indicator) before replacing them to save money. Many bagless converts don't understand how much they can hold.
Always start with your height adjustment set to the highest setting and working it down just until it starts to vibrate the carpet and NO lower. This will give you the best agitation and airflow combination.
Unplug your cord by hand and walk it to the vac before retracting the cord, and let it go in in a controlled fashion. This will help it and your winder to last much longer.
Be conscientious about how you use your hose, and try to avoid crimping it or stepping on it. You don't want to damage your wires inside the hose.
Take it in every 3-5 years just for a thorough inspection, so as to get out any trapped hair in the powerbrush and to make sure all else is running smoothly.
Hope that helps!
I really liked Joan D. Vinge when I was young. I agree with what you say about short stories. They are the hardest for me to write.
How likely would it be for you to make a Universal Windows app? You know, for all three of us that still use Windows Phone...
So I haven't read your story or anything but what was your thought process going into the heist?
Would brand would you recommend for house cat pestering applications?
Contrariwise, may not utopian science fiction that explains how a species has skillfully averted nuclear be beneficial for the same goal? Any recommendations for such science fiction novels? Thanks!
I planned backwards, where I wanted to go and then how much I would need to get there.
Eureka and DIrt Devil vacuums are particularly noisy, and if you get one of the cheap ones with no exhaust filtration, then you can blow dirty air at them too.
Have you tried Joan Slonczewski? She's an excellent writer of hard sf with a bent toward microbiology.
Will it also include follow-up questions that are answered? Or does it just take the parent comment of every response the OP makes?
Did you help at all with the movie, directing, explaining how it went, etc? If so how was working with them?
Yes, it includes all follow up questions that are answered.
I consulted on some of the props and sets in the movie, it was a joy working with Jared, Zach and the rest of the cast and crew.
No, I have not. Thanks for the recommendation.
As far as robotic vacs go, I prefer Neato and Miele models for their logical cleaning algorithms. My concern with robots is them dragging around animal waste or vomit. Just Youtube that shit.
Does anyone have any final thoughts?
Did u enjoy your time as lead singer of the Spin Doctors?
Will look into it, will not be coding it myself, though.
Hahaha, sadly that wasn't me and my wife doesn't recommend singing as a career for me.
Oh exalted lord of all that is vacuum-related, is there any news about your collaboration with Riccar? (Side note: Still trying to convince my wife to let me get a canister. Best I'll be able to do is a Panasonic, but it's sure as shit going to be better than the Dyson/Bissell/Hoover trio of terribleness that we've had before my Future Vac).
Thanks, as always. You're my favorite AMA-answerer.
I will be adding them. But first focus is to complete any missing features, so in the meantime, I will provide an option to switch between native and banner ads.
I'm fairly certain that somebody at Riccar made promises they shouldn't have and the project was cancelled.
I say fairly certain because no one at Riccar, particularly the woman who made me the offer, could be bothered to return my calls or emails.
I'm sure they enjoyed the free publicity, though.
With Valentines day coming up, whats the best vacuum for the lady in my life??
Do you want to die a violent death?
Looking for a bagged vacuum for a small, 1br apt. Sub $200. Any recommendations or save up for a better one?
You're not going to get much worth having for just $200. You'll get much better options at ~$400. I'd go with a good compact canister vacuum. Panasonic has some good ones for lower prices.
What is your opinion of Simplicity uprights? I bought mine about a year ago and love it. What are some things as an owner I need to be aware of when caring for my unit? I live alone with no pets so I don't think I'm very hard on the unit. Thanks for doing this AMA.
Simplicity vacuums are very good indeed. They're built by the same company that makes Riccar, and are often used to vet parts for upcoming Riccar models. Keep your brush roller clear of built up hair, fibers, etc., and have it into the shop once every year or two, just as a preventative maintenance measure.
I have a dog that likes to change his Coat more than my girlfriend changes outfits. What shall I get? Mostly carpet apartment with linoleum kitchen. I realize this is a stupid and easy question. But I have never thought about this until I cam across this AMA
Really, all you need is a premium vacuum. This is your invitation to visit your local vacuum shop and really get to know what your options out there are.
Just avoid all box stores.
People in this thread are posting vacuums that are north of $1,000. I didn't even know those got that expensive except for the Kirby an old coworker's wife ended up buy for about $2K after the interest of the crazy monthly payments.
What sort of vacuum can/should a peasant like me buy for my house?
How much would you spend on a refrigerator, air conditioner or water heater?
Because a real vacuum is an appliance and should be budgeted as such.
That's tough to say. I've had lots of fun and challenging jobs. But, the ones that stick out were the nastiest.
I can never seem to keep the air filter vents clean. The dust stuck in the metal part never wants to come out. I am good about replacing the filters but the actual medal part is never clean enough for me. Same thing with any vents in the house really. Is there a special brush or something else to help me?
What you need is a good strong-bristled brush with 1-2 inch bristles. Straw brushes can work well, but can damage cheap paint. Stay away from metal brushes. Have a partner handy with the vacuum nozzle right at the vents as their being cleaned to get rid of the debris.
All of the information you've provided over the years, and yet it is this comment that makes me the most sad that your business is not local to me.
Thank you. Well, if you ever make it to Texas, I'll buy you a beer...or espresso.
My vacuum at home has a problem where if you turn up the sucking power too much, it sounds like the bag 'catches' on something and the sucking power is greatly reduced. So I can only use it on the lower power settings. Any idea what this could be?
Sorry it's hard to explain.
It sounds to me like you've got an obstruction in your duct system somewhere. You can check youtube for videos to help, or get it to a local vacuum repair shop.
Thanks for another AMA. I've got a Miele and the power cord now doesn't stay out, it now always wants to retract into the vacuum. Is there an easy way to fix this myself, or should I take it in?
You should take it in. It's likely an easy fix for a Miele tech. There's a small brake in the system that might need adjustment.
What is a good affordable workhorse of a vacuum for cleaning my basement, car, random stuff I don't want to use my main cleaner for?
How about a shop vac? You can get just about any accessories you need to tackle the odd jobs.
I need a good vacuum that can handle long hair. Does such an appliance exist?
Of course vacuums like that exist. The trick is to pony up the extra cash for a premium vacuum, which will be much more efficient at picking up the hair.
Also, once you have a vacuum, be sure to regularly maintain it by cleaning out any hair built up around the brush roller, or other places in the vacuum. ALL vacuums require this kind of maintenance.
Happy to see you back! Bought a Miele based on your comments in the last AMA and am thoroughly satisfied with its performance. The Dyson has been relegated to the playroom, since it does suck up Legos easily. <EvilMomLaugh>
My question: how frequently should I have my Miele upright serviced professionally?
Thanks! I'm glad to hear you're happy.
Assuming you don't have any repair issues that require a visit to the shop, get it in every 3 years for a thorough inspection to make sure everything is working properly and buttoned up.
If you find any expensive item inside a vacuum, do you return it to the owner or keep it? What is the most expensive thing stuck inside a Vacuum?
I've never found anything particularly expensive inside of vac that came in for repair. Usually, it's bits of necklace/bracelets, charms, coins, etc. I did once find a cheap diamond pendant in the vacuum, but it was abandoned and I never heard back from the owner.