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The place I most disagree is that Hanson envisions endowing children with debt owed to their parents, as a means of tempting people to have children. This completely misunderstands the mind of people considering having children. It would do me exactly zero good to be able to endow my children with debt to me. I work hard so my children can have a better future, not so I can steal part of theirs for myself.

China is a good example of why this argument doesn't work: according to Confucian values, children are fundamentally indebted to their parents (you owe them your life + all the resources spent raising you), and it's common to see Chinese people exhorting others to have children because "this way you'll have someone to take care of you when you're old". That line of argument does not seem to be working, to say the least.


Not about the CCP or politics but I've found Chinese Doom Scroll tremedously useful as a window into Chinese culture and ways of thinking. It's a daily translation of popular Weibo posts that the author encouters while doom scrolling.

Answer by lb_rvSep 28, 202030

Depending on what you define as hard SF, the Nexus trilogy by Ramez Naam might fit. I've seen it described as hard SF, as "having some hard scifi elements", and as "dumbed down science fiction" by a particularly displeased Goodreads user; take your pick. I remember it being very easy to read and making more of an effort than usual to consider the society surrounding the characters. That might not mean getting the social sciences exactly right, though.

In general, I think the closer the time period is to our own, the more likely it is that the social sciences will be right, since the author will have more material to base them on. 
It's been some time since I read one of his books and I'm not sure if he counts as hard SF, but maybe Ian McDonald? I remember being impressed by the complexity of River of Gods. If anyone has read more of his books, please confirm or infirm my guess.


I have read the trilogy and I second habryka's comment. One non-too-spoily example is that at several points, humanity is seen as a cultural monolith: all of humanity is described as having a single reaction to an event, no variation between countries or at least cultural blocks.

(I greatly enjoyed the books and would recommend them to anyone who likes SF despite the criticism above.)


A breath smelling of acetone can also occur when someone is losing weight very fast (extreme diets or the beginning of an eating disorder). An interesting tidbit.


An allele is a variant form of a gene. When we say that a gene has two (or more) alleles, we don't mean that a gene contains two or more alleles, but that the gene exists in several variant forms. Sort of like how carbon-12, carbon-13 and carbon-14 are different isotopes of the same element. As far as I understand, calling the mutated allele a "mutated copy of the gene" is correct.

(I'm fairly certain of this, but if my understanding is wrong I'd welcome the correction of someone more knowledgeable.)