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If most writers are using long words and convoluted sentences to convey authority, then a high-status academic could deliberately use simple language, using the handicap principle to convey "people take me seriously as an authority even though I use simple language".

And if lots of people start doing this, others might imitate them.

nazgulnarsil: the easiest way to spot scientism is to look for value statements being conflated with factual statements

And if you read something where you can't tell whether the writer is trying to make a value statement or a factual statement, the writer probably doesn't appreciate the difference between the two.

Just on the off-chance, are there any OB readers who could get a good movie made?

If machinima counts as "a good movie" you might want to talk to Hugh Hancock (I've no idea if he reads OB, but based on his other interests he may well do).

Then the part about 'sixteen billion' just gets flushed away. And more importantly - you think it was the right thing to do. The noble, the moral, the honorable thing to do.

Like eating babies, then.

Aleksei: I hope you others feel that the character was primarily a victim way back when, instead of a dirtbag.

He was who he was. Labelling him "victim" or "dirtbag" or whatever says nothing about what he was, but a lot about the person doing the labelling.

Russell: Of course not. The victim was the girl he murdered.

If one person is a victim, it doesn't follow that another person was not.

Is this story self-consistent? Consider that:

(i) it's easy to make stars go nova.

(ii) when a star goes nova, its Alderson lines disappear, disconnecting parts of the network from each other, and stopping a war if the different sides are no different parts of it (the fact that the network is sparce is important here)

(iii) both Babyeaters and the Superhappies know this

(iv) nevertheless the Superhappies still plan to prosecute a war against the babyeaters

Another possibility would be to blow yup Earth's sun. This fragments the human species, but increases the probability that some branches of humanity will survive.

If I were the humans, I'd report back to earth (they have valuable information), then send out a robotic probe through the Alderson drive and blow up the star.

The humnans in this story know that there are at least two alien cultures, and the culture shock from them is too much to deal with. If there are more cultures, it will be worse.

I don't know what political setup the humans have, but it probably doesn't extent to Akon and his crew choosing war for the whole human species. Wouldn't the wise thing to do be to report back, especially considering they have some very important news?

You should write SF, Eliezer.

Zubon: I think empathy was explained for the Hive Queen, in the history of establishing cooperation between queens. The first one to get the idea even practiced selective breeding on its own species until it found another that could cooperate.

You may be right -- it's some time since I read the book.

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