One has to wonder if Cuba will finally follow the lead of Russia and China. After 70 and 30 years of trying to make socialism work, at the price of millions of lives and crippled economies, they switched to capitalism. My guess is that Cuba will do what those two countries did – do it gradually and with face-saving rhetoric. The changing of the old guard may be just one symptom of that evolution.

Cybernetics explains the differences between the two kinds of economies. One uses top-down controls, the other bottom-up controls. For complex systems bottom-up controls adapt to changing conditions faster and in more nuanced ways. Thus capitalism’s efficiency.

No system is perfect, however. Capitalism’s very sensitivity to change makes it skittish, prone to boom-bust cycles and runaway positive feedback. The solution is LIMITED top-down controls. One example of that is found in thermostats – a carefully chosen delay. Only until a change of temperature exceeds one degree does the thermostat switch on heating or cooling mechanisms.

Click image for story.

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LAER’S POLITICS – complex, not red or blue

In these highly political times I’ve decided to openly declare my politics. They are complex, because the universe is complex. They are NOT binary: black or white (or red or blue). Or liberal or conservative.

I am liberal AND conservative. AND moderate, a rare bird in these divisive times, where you must be one or the other.

On most SOCIAL issues I’m liberal. On ECONOMIC issues I’m moderate. And on most DEFENSE issues (personal and national) I’m conservative. My personal flag is red AND white AND blue.

At the base is defense. At the personal level, I interpret the 2nd amendment right to bear arms as applying to personal defense, not as applying to militias as the founders viewed it. I also believe that for every right come responsibilities, the chief among them to act wisely. (To see more click PERSONAL defense.)

At the national level, I support a leaner and more effective defense. I believe we need to focus less on hugely expensive weapons, and more on ground troops and cyberwar. (To see more click NATIONAL defense.)

After our physical survival is assured we must consider our fiscal survival. Economies are cybernetic systems. History has shown that massive top-down control of economies (socialism) is largely a failure. Bottom-up controls (capitalism) is much more effective. But only if some top-down controls ensure certain endemic ills of capitalism are prevented. Small businesses, for instance, like all infants, must be protected from big-business predators. (To see more click ECONOMICAL issues.)

Physical and fiscal survival supports our spiritual and social health. Racism is an evil we must aggressively fight – BUT with firmness not fanaticism. The same goes for religious intolerance and sexism. I am a feminist, because feminism is at its base about fairness. Not just to the women in our lives, but also to men. We have also been victimized by paternalism though obviously less so than women. (To see more click SOCIAL issues.)

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RED SPARROW – engrossing Jennifer Lawrence movie

I was dubious about Jennifer Lawrence’s latest foray in filmic heroics. It sounded a bit too much like a Black Widow origin story, for one thing. But I saw it last night and was pleasantly surprised.

The heroine Dominika Egorova IS a Russian spy and secret agent like Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow, Natalia Romanova. But instead of fighting with fists and feet and the occasional weapon Dominika fights with her brains.

From a victim of misfortune and a puppet of a ruthless government at the beginning she’s transformed into a deadly mistress of wits and weapons. One which her masters come to regret creating and decide, too late, to “retire with extreme prejudice.”

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The hard left/right is the ENEMY of the LEFT/RIGHT

I highly recommend an article by psychologist Steven Pinker. One point he made (of several) echoed a thought I’ve long had – that EXTREMISTS of any movement are among the WORST ENEMIES of that movement. They give the movement a BAD NAME, and HURT FRIENDS of that movement with attacks on the friends for not being extreme enough.

An example that hits me personally are those few extreme feminists who blame ALL men for the crimes of some. They alienate me, a lifelong feminist, and lessen the chances that I’ll support financially and other ways important strands of feminism such as the vital #TimesUp and #MeToo activities and pushes for equal pay and more newborn family support.

Another point he made is that “cold” reason and logic are not enemies of “warm” emotion and intuition. They are helpmates.

For more good common sense click the image to read the article – and maybe his latest book.

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Riveting MANTICORE ASCENDANT series – latest book

I just finished a real all-nighter of a novel. It’s book 2 of David Weber’s Maniticore Ascendant series. Book 3 is coming out March 6th; I’ve preordered it.

The series takes place in Weber’s Honorverse, when the Star Kingdom of Manticore was just a small three-planet empire.

Click an image to read an excerpt and to buy the book.


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If you want to keep up with news about what’s happening with Marvel Studios and their properties click HERE.

What’s the latest? Captain Marvel as played by Brie Larson just got her superhero suit. And it’s green, causing some fans to get a tad snotty cause it’s not red. Hey, can’t a woman take a shower after a hard day fighting ee-vill and change clothes?

Click the image to see more views of the suit and discussion of the reason it’s green.

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I really enjoyed Laurence Dahners’ The Girl They Couldn’t See, about a teenage girl with a sort-of-super power who takes on a criminal gang. Now she gets help from her brother, who never misses whether with a football or a bullet, to take on another gang. Dahners has a golden touch: the skill to pull you quickly into the story and keep you there.

Click on the images to read an excerpt and to buy the book if you like what you read.

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PROOF – marvelous movie about a female math genius

It’s rare that I highlight an old movie on this site. I usually focus on what’s soon to come out, or did so recently, and which you might not have discovered. But I recently rediscovered a fabulous older movie: Proof, a movie based on the Pulitzer-Prize winning play of the same name.

We SF/Fantasy fans like to read and write books about superheroes and geniuses, like the recent terrific Gifted and like Good Will Hunting. Proof is about a mathematical genius, played by Gwyneth Paltrow, the daughter of another genius. In it we discover that she has done original ground-breaking research of her own, and must fight to convince others that it is her work rather than the unpublished work of her recently passed-away father.

Besides a drama of a high order, I especially liked that it realistically shows what it’s like to be a genius, heir to all the weaknesses as well as the strengths that all of us share.

Proof is available streamed or on DVD from Amazon.

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I spend two or three hours a week on YouTube looking up interesting and fun videos. I often download the ones that are fun to re-watch (usually dance videos) and put them on a DVD. This way I can more easily watch them on my TV in high resolution. I can also control whether I slow, freeze, or back them up to better view favorite segments.

I’ve found two channels that post the most interesting and also the artistically  best videos. They are called Gioma and Km Music.

Here is a recent video from each channel that I really like (plus a bonus from Km Music).


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KELLY SHADOW WALKER pictures & story beginning

I had an idea this morning after reading a thread in the Absolute Write writers’ website. AW, if you don’t know, is a terrific collection of over a hundred different forums for just about every kind of writing imaginable. My favorite is the SF/Fantasy forum. The thread was Superhumans?

After reading it an image came to me. A young girl writing in her diary – a secret electronic diary hidden in her brain. She was a superhuman unhappy with her lot.

Click on each image to see a larger size.

It’s tough being a superhuman. Oh, excuse me, POSThuman. Mustn’t be politically incorrect, suggesting superiority to ordinary humans. Even in my secret diary stored in one of my brain’s nanoscopic memcores. (As opposed to my public supposedly private pback diary I’m keeping to keep my school counselor happy. Not that she or anyone else can read it, it being in my 256-bit personally constructed code.)

So, future me, hope you don’t sneer at me. I’m only 10 years old. Cut me some slack. Are you really that more mature, five or fifteen or fifty years from now? Or five thousand. I’m supposed to be able to live that long. I cringe at the thought. Cringe.

What really annoys me is the missions PH Rescue Central assigns me. Last week it was getting a cat down from a tree. I couldn’t use my supersuit, it and me, Kelly “Shadow” Walker, being secret. Nor could I jump up to it, supposedly being a mere human. Yes, MERE human. MERE MERE MERE I said it. (Silently, to this memcore.)

That’s it so far. The story continues, but I haven’t put much online yet. See it at THIS link.

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