The Plot Thickens

Ever wonder how The Ole Perfesser plans to spend all the money he’s made from his book An Army of Davids? Well, probably not, since you’re a normal person. But because I’m not a normal person, I decided to discover the answer myself:

TO THE STARS: A new foundation aimed at promoting faster-than-light travel. Give generously, especially if you’re really rich.

posted at 10:55 PM by Glenn Reynolds

So that’s why he supports giving all those tax cuts to super-rich people! He wants them to build a space ship so he can escape Earth before the Grey Goo-ocaust hits. It’s good to see that “Operation: Get-Me-Off-This-Fucking-Planet-Before-the-People-I-Voted-for-Make-it-Explode” is in full swing.

“Hey Howie- thanks for allowing me to come on your show
and accuse your employers of treason. Me an’ tha’ H-rocket’ll
totally save you a seat on the Battlestar.”

Gavin adds:



Comments: 31


Reynolds’ book, in summary.

Chapter 1:


Chapter 2:

“Interesting, if true.”

Chapter 3:


Et cetera, et cetera.


I want a seat on the Battlestar.


Hmmm, super-lightspeeds? Shouldn’t we have, you know, somewhere to GO before we work on that?
Kinda like if Columbus’ Plan B involved the Concorde. Well, maybe an Airbus A380.

Herr Doktor Bimler

I followed the link…
and my brain had a core dump. I am traumatised and may need counselling. This is not just stupidity, this is enriched military-grade stupidity. Podkletnov Effect! Woodward Effect! Can the Deane Drive be far behind?

Every time someone spouts such crap, a Maxwell’s Demon dies.


And Schroedinger’s cat gets it up the kitty-pooper.


And Schroedinger’s cat gets it up the kitty-pooper.

Or not.


The American people watch and read a lot of science fiction. This would be okay except for the fact that a very large number of fans of the genre, people like Reynolds, don’t understand science enough to know why “fiction” is added to the end of “science fiction.”


Herr Doktor Bimler, at least you didn’t make the mistake of clicking through and reading the arXiv paper. I want to know how the fuck that shite got on the arXiv in the first place — I had to reboot my brain after it gave me the blue screen of death. I think I finally understand how Wolfgang Pauli felt when he called a paper “not even wrong.” I mean, at best it’s so wrong on so many levels I don’t even know where to begin. Just…. gaaahhhh………

Herr Doktor Bimler

This would be okay except for the fact that a very large number of fans of the genre, people like Reynolds, don’t understand science enough to know why “fiction� is added to the end of “science fiction.�

Hmm. Reynolds gives the impression that he went fossicking around in the attic, and found his collection of back issues of Analog — from back when John Campbell was editor. Campbell, as any fule kno, was big on the attitude that (1) the laws of physics will ultimately prove to be whatever is most convenient for us; and (2) the only thing holding us back from acquiring Neat Toys (anti-gravity, faster-than-light travel, unlimited energy supplies, etc.) is the stranglehold exerted by an unholy alliance of academic physicists with their vested interests, and inefficient central-government research funding. Does this sound familiar?

Then for a while the New-Age wankers hi-jacked these ideas, especially (1). Then the pendulum turned again, or the wheel of fortune swung [metaphor of choice goes here], and they are associated once again with the right-wing / libertarians. Somehow this is reassuring.

Herr Doktor Bimler

I want to know how the fuck that shite got on the arXiv in the first place

Someone is trying to drive us to drink. I suppose I should thank them.


Deep Spock said,

July 7, 2006 at 9:10

And Schroedinger’s cat gets it up the kitty-pooper.

Or not.

Um, not to quibble, but shouldn’t it be “AND” not?


“But why don’t you just get rid of Harold?”
“Because of the enormous commerical possibilities should he succeed.”

I’ll send $5. If this works plus the Rapture, think how glorious the world would be. Oh nevermind, I’ll go buy lottery tickets instead. The odds are better.

Herr Doktor Bimler

qubit, I clicked through and glanced at the arXiv paper — because the voices told me to. Oh, and because people warned me not to. Well. It is a subtraction from the net sum of human knowledge, if ever there was one.


I am running outside to strap JATO bottles to my bicycle.

I’ll be watching the fireworks from Mars in a few years.

A few thousand years.


You are obsessed with the grey gooooooo.


You are obsessed with the grey gooooooo.

Not the grey goo per se- just Insty’s obsession with fleeing the Earth before it gets destroyed by either terra, grey goo or global warming (which doesn’t exist, and even if it does it’s not worth doing anything about because that would mean diverting resources away from his spaceship). I think the desire to have his brain transplanted into a robot body and fly into space is the Grand Unifying Theory of Instapundit- it literally colors every position he takes. It’s why he hates Islamic fundamentalists, Christian fundamentalists, environmentalists and lib’ruls who give money to the poor- they’re all impediments to him getting on that rocket ship and escaping this hellhole planet.


I put all my money in perpetual motion machines.


yes rich people, please give glenn reynolds money to build a faster than light travel rocket ship. he can do this better than physicists even though he is a law professor because he is a libertarian and totally not a part of the government like those softy university and government funded physicists. this is not a scam.


Where do I apply for a grant. Sure, I’ve got a degree in fine arts, not engineering or physics. but that just means I’m not constrained in my thinking. I haven’t been told time and again that “oh this would violate this-or-that law because of such-and-such (buncha math stuff) bhah-dee-dee-blah blah”

Give me several million dollars and 10 years, and I’ll see what I come up with.

I’ll at least be able to come up with some cool pictures to use to go shop around to get more investors. Whaddaya say?


Between this and the nanotechnologic transmogrification of the Perfesser into an immortal robot lawyer, humanity may have acquired a shot at salvation! The more he and his kind distance themselves from us pathetic humans, the better our chances of pulling this wreck out of the mud.

There’s also delicious anticipation of the Perfesser’s first spin in a non-approved spacesuit made in Korea by disgruntled piece-workers. That’ll be a real “ze goggles, zey do nuzzing!” moment.


So the Perfesser is ignorant in concepts of law, politics, religion, psychology and apparently physics and engineering as well.

Can he work a soft drink dispenser? Oh, wait we don’t pay people for that anymore. Perhaps one of those soft-server ice cream machines? I mean, with enought instruction I know he could pull the lever and maybe hit the cone – but is the swirlly top flourish thing within his intellectual grasp?

This is really important. We need to find him labor suited to his diminished capacity, as I believe everyone should feel as if they are actually contributing to our society.

In Vino Veritas

I am, admittedly, not quite up to speed on the latest scientific jargon; can someone explain the impending grey goo apocalypse. And, have the white nationalists adequately prepared?


The grey goo apocalypse is what happens after Net Neutrality is removed and the entire World Wide Web is turned into a funnel for Right Wing Blogs and Robot Porn. Specifically, the Grey Goo is what steams out of your ears after closing the 4739th pop-up window bearing Hinderaker’s face while attempting to read your e-mail. All liberals are destroyed and conservatives take over the Earth, which within three months is reduced to an orbiting cinder. The conservatives attempt to escape in their pods but the President presses the wrong button (“EXPLODE” instead of “GO”) and all perish.


Y’all know that Arxiv is basically unrefereed, right? They just check to make sure papers are correctly filed…


“The Grey Goo” is basically this silly theory that a nano-bot could be programmed to replicate itself forever, thus turning the entire world into a blob of grey goo.


Come on, we all know exactly how to create faster-than-light travel:

1. Take all of Instapundidt’s money.

2. ? ? ?

3. Warp Speed!

Herr Doktor Bimler

I liked the explanation at the Lifeboat website. Here I am using ‘explanation’ in the sense of ‘hysterical gibberish’.

“For simplicity, when we talk about “goo” dangers, we will just mention grey goo as it is a more established term than green goo or red goo.[…]

“We hope it concerns the reader that four types of “goo” have already been named yet the dangers of self-replicating nanotechnology are not a significant concern to our world leaders.”

Ah (thinks the reader), they seem to be arguing that because wide-eyed propellor-heads have sub-divided the hypothetical danger of speculative unworkable technology into four distinct dangers, and world leaders are still not doing anything about it, then I should be concerned. How many different colour-coded varieties of non-existent dangers will they need to give names to, to shift leaders from their apathy? Is the colour lexicon large enough?

Can the argument really be so pathetic? (wonders the reader). Well yes; funny old world, isn’t it. Then the reader gives up and pours a beer instead of reading all about Drexler’s proposals for a nanotechnological defence shield.


Goddamit, faster than light speed?

Everytime I hear something about this kind of shit it makes me furious. Have we totally fucking forgot about cancer? AIDS? hunger? poverty?

Fuck yeah though let’s get a hyperspace engine, even though we have no way to sustain life in space for prolonged periods, have no weapons, no sensors that will tell us anything worth knowing about these new areas of space, and just might inadvertently call an alien ambassador’s mother a whore, triggering our destruction.

Ok maybe that last part is far-fetched, but not much more than the promise of flying around at warp 9 and locating another planet like earth to populate.


I read Ender’s Game. I liked it.

I don’t think I took away the same things as Prof. GR did.


You live in the golden age. It lasts until the oil runs out. After that it’s back to 1850 except for the part about having already dug from the ground everything that’s easily diggable, so make that 1750. Let’s see you fight cancer and AIDS with no equipment. Hunger? You’re going back to plows pulled by oxen; good luck feeding yourselves, let alone anyone else. Poverty? In the new old world, even the rich will be poor. “All your toys are belong to us.”

And that’s the good news. What’s the bad news? Well, there’s an unstable island in the Atlantic set to collapse and trigger a supertsunami that will wipe out the East Coast of America, there’s a finely balanced underwater rock in the Pacific set to do the same to the West Coast, the Yellowstone magma pocket could go any minute to finish off the middle of the country, we’re overdue for a major asteroid strike that will take care of the rest of the planet, and oh yes, it seems that the only thing staving off the next ice age is global warming.

Let’s see you cope with those challenges in the new 1750.

You’ve got one opportunity to become more or less self sustaining by getting into space in a big way, and this is it. There are no second chances. Have fun, and when it’s too late just keep repeating “It’s only science fiction.”


[…] That said, some libertarians can be pretty damn wacky. And as The Editors and Sifu Tweety know full well, hell hath no hilarity like a libertarian scorned. I mention this because I found the following comment posted in one of my “Ha-ha-Glenn-Reynolds-wants-to-have-his-brain-downloaded-into-a-robot-and-fly-into-space” threads. It reads as follows: […]


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