Taos Toolbox: Day 1

by wjw on December 1, 2016

taos-logosmallDecember 1 is the first day to receive submissions for Taos Toolbox, the master class for writers of science fiction and fantasy, taught this year by Nancy Kress and Walter Jon Williams, along with guests George RR Martin, Steven Gould, and Emily Mah Tippetts.

And in fact applications have started to arrive right on schedule.

If you think you want to do this professionally, you can do yourself no bigger favor than to send us your application.

Jump in the box!  It’s great here!

{ 0 comments }

Index of Russian Lies

by wjw on November 30, 2016

Via Bruce Sterling, an annotated index of Russian disinformation.  Much of which seems aimed at demonstrating that the Baltic Republics never existed, spend their days persecuting Russian nationals, and only exist now because of a perfidious Western campaign aimed at President Putin personally.

War by spring?

{ 1 comment }

Summing It All Up

by wjw on November 28, 2016

{ 3 comments }

Paranoia Strikes Deep

by wjw on November 27, 2016

So our new president-elect is the simultaneous choice of the KGB, FBI, and KKK.   That’s gotta be a first.

(Now I know that Trump supporters are deeply resentful of charges of racism.  “I’m not a racist, and neither is Trump,” I hear.  “He just used the racists, and fooled them into voting for him.

(If you’re a Trump supporter, I’m certainly willing to discuss this with you, but only on condition that we also discuss the possibility that he used you, and fooled you into voting for him.)

It’s actually the KGB that interests me.  (Yeah, I know it’s the SVR now, but Putin is old KGB, and so are his cronies, and the SVR has inherited the mantle, the attitude, the murderous assassins, and the polonium.)

Now I can’t think of another American election where a foreign and unfriendly nation intervened so openly on behalf of a candidate.  Putin praised Trump in public.  The Russian state hacked voter databases, hacked emails, hacked the Democratic National Committee, and created fake news to which American asshats, who don’t give a shit about the truth anyway, gleefully linked on Facebook.

“They want to essentially erode faith in the U.S. government or U.S. government interests,” said Clint Watts, a fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute who along with two other researchers has tracked Russian propaganda since 2014. “This was their standard mode during the Cold War. The problem is that this was hard to do before social media.”

In short, their goal is to destroy American democracy.  (See also this article in the defense magazine War on the Rocks.)

Can you imagine the stink the right would have raised if the Russian state had intervened on Clinton’s behalf?  Trump would have tweeted TRAITOR HILARY AGENT OF MOSCOW, and all his fans would have applauded.

Putin’s people have been supporting far-right parties throughout Europe, one reason why neo-fascists are doing so well over there.  (I assume this is not for reasons of ideological solidarity, but because far-right nationalists weaken Europe and NATO, both of which Putin views as an existential threat.)

The Russians came within an ace of hacking the Ukrainian election.  So why wouldn’t they hack ours?

American voting machines are amazingly vulnerable.  Some are still running on Windows 2000.  Some use the crypto key ‘abcde.’  Some use wi-fi and can be hacked from the parking lot.  Many still have no paper backup.  It’s disgraceful, but it’s what happens when the entire political class is pig-ignorant about the internet.

Our best defense against hacking is the amazing variety of machines being used.  To be sure of a result, any hacking attempt would have to penetrate a  diverse clutch of machines all using different technologies and operating systems.  You’d need a lot of resources to accomplish that.  The resources, say, of a nation-state with lots of experience in hacking other governments.

But still, you’d only have to flip a relatively small number of machines in a relatively small number of districts.  Trump lost the popular vote, but won the Electoral College with 104,000 votes in a few districts in only three states.  So you’d only have to flip 57,000, which really isn’t a lot when you consider the total turnout of 180,000,000.

Which is why I found myself sending money to Jill Stein this week.  I had little use for Jill Stein in the election, but if she’s the only candidate with the courage to discover whether American democracy still works, or is being held prisoner by a foreign power, then I’ll put my money where my paranoia is.

You know what else my paranoia is wondering?  What Putin’s price might be for helping Trump into the White House.  Would Trump surrender the Baltics— remember, NATO is a “bad deal”— in exchange for election victory and permission to build the Moscow Trump Tower that has been on hold since the 1990s?  (The folks in the Baltics don’t think this is farfetched at all.)

(And if Putin actually did hack Trump into the presidency, and Trump tried to stand up to Russian aggression, all Putin would have to do is threaten to reveal that Trump isn’t the legitimate president, and Trump would have to fold.  Wouldn’t he?)

And if Stein’s audits reveal that Trump’s election was legitimate, then we’re no worse off.  Right?  And I can put my paranoia to sleep for a few years.

The only bright spot in all this is that I can now accuse right-wing internet trolls of being Russian agents.  Because hey, it’s true.

{ 6 comments }

Sick of Being Sick

by wjw on November 23, 2016

So I’ve been sick now with the Trans-Pacific Plague now for two and a half weeks, and I’m tired out.   While the Plague was at its height, I barely slept: I would start to cough about 1:30am and would then cough nonstop till around 5am, the sort of thing that can pretty well ruin a fellow’s sleep.  The coughing has abated, but I’m still unable to focus well enough to work, or to do much of anything else.

I hope those of you celebrating Thanksgiving have a lovely day with food and friends.  (I’ll be at home wrapped in blankets, maybe with a hot toddy if I’m lucky.)

While we wait for the last of the virii to be stamped out, please enjoy this picture of a baby lionfish I found on the Depth Charge Wreck.

lion7

{ 3 comments }

On the Wrecks

November 19, 2016

During my week in Palau I did 25 dives, but after we shifted to Chuuk I did eight dives over the course of five days, all of them on Japanese wrecks from the Second World War.  I was more than ready for the more leisurely pace.  Doing five dives per day is work.   Instead of […]

Read the full article →

Another Fine Giveaway . . .

November 16, 2016

Tor.com, through Goodreads, is giving away three copies of my new novel Impersonations.  Check it out!

Read the full article →

Enter the Dragon

November 13, 2016

This just in . . .  Most Famous Author in the World George R.R. Martin will be joining the Taos Toolbox faculty as a special guest! George was our guest for the very first Taos Toolbox, and now he’s consented to return for our tenth anniversary.  We’re pleased and flattered to have him, even if […]

Read the full article →

Review’d

November 13, 2016

File 770 has some very nice things to say about my Praxis series, Impersonations in particular. “Not only is this on my 2016 Hugo Best Novel shortlist, the series is on my Hugo Best Series shortlist.”

Read the full article →

First Week Underwater

November 11, 2016

This week I’ve been knocked flat by a cold, not to mention by the American election, so I thought I’d try to cheer myself up by posting pretty pictures. Palau is known for the wild diversity of its dives.  You can dive coral walls, caverns, and wrecks.  You can get swept along by surging tides, […]

Read the full article →

Contact Us | Terms of User | Trademarks | Privacy Statement

Copyright © 2010 WJW. All Rights Reserved.