Celebrities Are Demanding Unconditional Adulation

Candice eetimesI had an epiphany this morning.  I finally got the ‘cancel culture’ complaint’s true, underlying meaning.  I finally got what people were screaming about when they claim that “free speech” is under threat.

First, let’s get real about what “free speech” means.  It means that one can say things critical (or nice) about political issues without the government stepping in to prosecute or harass one for saying them.  It has NEVER meant that one can say what one wants without others disagreeing.  (Nor does it mean that one can spread lies about a private individual or group to harm them.  We call that calumny, libel, slander, etc. and it is legally prosecutable.)

But lately, folks in the media are pushing a meme that is supposed to carry a negative valance, “cancel culture” that oppresses them and suppresses their “free speech”.  But what is “cancel culture” really?

This morning, after someone tweeting an angry tweet that I of all people should support “free speech” and fight “cancel culture” simply because I have worked to disseminate information that others don’t like… but I haven’t fought “cancel culture”… I got it.

“Cancel culture” is when ordinary people dissent from what a celebrity has said or done by using social media to express that displeasure, en mass, and by being so many, it looks like a “pile on”, etc., often followed by withdrawing the very adulation, attention, and money (ticket & book sales, clicks, views, etc.) that made them celebrities and media “elites” in the first place.  Then, these celebrities whine and whinge about how unfair and wrong “cancel culture” is and demand free speech rights… and sign a letter saying how wrong it is that our modern culture allows ordinary people to express their dissent in the only way that they have the power… by withdrawing their adulation and fan participation.

So, instead of decrying “cancel culture”, I can’t help but see it as the simple voice of ordinary people.

And no, celebrities, media, business, or academic, do NOT have a right to unconditional adulation, or even our respect.

Further External Reading:






Generals Are Always Prepared For The Previous War

Candice eetimesIt’s a classic truism and remains true today.  When new tech obsoletes the planning, training, and doctrine of an older leadership, proven experts in the older tech.  Examples?  The stirrup used by the Norman’s defeated the Saxons in 1066, introducing the mounted knight.  The Welsh longbow that proved that the days of the mounted knight were over at Agincourt.  The infantry squares w/ bayonet mounted on rifles that showed that mounted cavalry and massed infantry doctrines were over.  The machine gun and trench warfare that showed that the European military love of fast calvary was over.  Airplanes and tanks that showed the Maginot line was useless.  The GPS system that showed Iraq’s doctrine that tanks would get lost in the trackless desert was fatally mistaken.  The large drones that allowed death from above that showed that hiding in the desert didn’t work.

Now, our military is confounded by a new system that utterly obsoletes older doctrines… the cheap, small, multi-rotor drone.  It serves as both intelligence gathering and explosives delivery vehicle.  Our military is not ready for them.

But they could be, if they start letting young officers perform wargames using them.

First line of defence is electronic counter measures.  Find the frequencies that enemy forces are using and hijack them or jam them.  It won’t be easy, not with spread spectrum technology and cheap encryption.  But start researching the problem now!

Be ready for the next tech development: AI.  The next step is to make the drones independent using AI if the command signals are lost.  The AI can continue the mission… even use image recognition to find our soldiers.  Uniforms are easy to identify.  Today’s camo is designed to confuse HUMAN eyes, not AI.  Time to start researching the problem now!

We might find that low tech solutions can be used.  For example, the weak point of multi-rotors is the rotors.  Imagine high tensile strength fiber nets to entangle the rotor blades.

That may not be the only solution… but time to war game them and see what works… NOW!

Further External Reading:



Crisis or Opportunity?

Candice eetimesFor decades, the start-up entrepreneur’s mantra has been “disruption”.  If one was to have a successful start-up, it had to disrupt it’s industry.  Well… here today, with the COVID-19 pandemic, is economic disruption on a global scale.  Nearly every industry has been effected.  So, as opportunity is the obverse of crisis, now is an excellent time to take stock of entrepreneurial and investment opportunities.

First, the obvious.  Businesses that depend upon in person transactions such as restaurants, bars, nightclubs, personal grooming, etc. have been hit hard by the need to maintain physical (we mislabel it “social”) distancing.  It may be several years before we can comfortably return to taking such close contact for granted.  These closures and restrictions have also disrupted their supply chains.  For example, food distribution to restaurants have been disrupted clear back to the farms that source the food.  These are clearly areas of opportunity for new businesses, new models.

Already, we can see some readjustments in some of these businesses, as take-out and delivery replace in house dining.  Even more interesting is supply chain adjustments to deliver raw foods directly to households.  This will continue and will likely create new opportunities.  Oddly, it is also a throw-back to an earlier time when the butcher, green-grocer, and the milkman all did home deliveries largely because most households either had no car or only one, such that the homemaker couldn’t drive to a supermarket (which only came into existence when the second car became available to the suburban household).  Providing these services efficiently will be a challenge and the firm that figures it out will be the big winner.

This need to maintain physical distance has ironically turned conventional wisdom upside down.  For a generation of teenagers, people wrung their hands at how young people were glued to their smartphones, talking, texting, or browsing, instead of in person socializing… or paying attention to the droning lecture from the teacher in the classroom.  We now see that they had been in training for this moment.  And this means that they are ready to adopt new modes of entertainment and education.  The firms that figure this out will clean up.  Forget large movie houses or even the multiplex.  Forget large classrooms with mediocre instructors.  They won’t be missed by the younger generation.  (Read my essay on the past and future of education.)

The pandemic has disrupted manufacturing supply chains.  For several decades, the mantra was ‘just in time’ supply.  It made sense in that it reduced Work In Production (WIP) and thus capital tied up in inventory.  But we had already seen issues with natural disasters interrupting supply chains… but when an entire global economy is interrupted?  The new mantra will have to be something more like ‘resilient & agile’ as well as ‘just in time’.  Manufacturers and logistics firms that solve this puzzle will dominate the next century.

We’ve seen contradictory developments in health care delivery.  On one hand, some hospitals have been overwhelmed with sick and dying patients, while others and many clinics, have been shuttered by others avoiding them lest they be exposed.  We’ve seen that our earlier ideas about mobile emergency hospital ships have proven nearly useless, yet the idea that developed out of warfare, the Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (MASH) unit proved itself.  Yet, we still didn’t have enough in some places and too much in others.  Solving this will be BIG.

Imagine if you will (said in Rod Serling voice) a simple at home sample that one licks and seals.  It has a grid of chemical reagents that detect compounds and antibodies and changes color.  One then takes a photograph with their smartphone.  One’s fitness wearable has constantly measured other variables.  A web based system analyzes the photo and provide instant diagnoses and even orders one’s new meds if it detects changes in disease, etc.  If the system detects something that requires it, an appointment for a video conference with a physician is scheduled.  Vaccinations are provided annually via peel and stick patches mailed to your home.  Another lick and seal antibody test days later confirms one’s immune status.  Clinical visits would be rare.  But when they do occur, one would walk through a whole body scanner at the entrance and the medical AI will have delivered it’s evaluation before you see the physician and if needed, personalized medication is being fabricated by a machine at a local pharmacy.  It might be a CAS9/Crisper fix for a genetic disorder, or it might be a designer virus to treat a bacterial infection.

Murder By Any Other Name

Candice eetimesWith recent calls to “open the economy” and even armed protesters blocking the streets of Michigan, there has been a recent talking point among a certain class of political pundit, echoed by the usual suspects, that efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19 epidemic infringes upon their freedom and liberty.  I’ve even seen it being described as taking away the dignity and future of those who have become unemployed as the restrictions required are ‘carpet bombing the economy’.

Equating minor and temporary economic hardships with loss of liberty, dignity, and future?  No one has less liberty than someone in body bag, no one has less of a future.  I’ve been unemployed numerous times.  Hell, I was intermittently homeless as a late teenager / early 20s. I still had liberty, dignity, and a future.  But to claim that a job (or some financier’s stock portfolio) is worth knowingly allowing people to die when we could have prevented that?  I judge that to be depraved indifference homicide, murder by any other name.

15 Minutes of Fame…

Maybe you saw it?  My thoughts on where COVID-19 is taking us were included in an article collecting visions of SciFi writers in the Boston Globe:


How to make homemade masks more effective…

candicecoverAs there is a shortage of N95 masks that should NOT be hoarded by non-medical care providers, there is a growing movement to make homemade masks.  Such masks are just not as good as the manufactured medical grade masks, but are better than nothing.

As an inventor and technologist, I’ve been thinking for the past several days how to make homemade masks more effective and protective using materials available in many homes or at least easily available at most supermarkets. I believe I have an easy solution. The masks need to be laundered after wearing to maintain cleanliness… but they should be HAND laundered in very hot water using real soap such as Ivory Soap bars then rinsed in dilute white vinegar. This will leave a film of lipids on the fibers as the acetic acid in the vinegar will convert the soap to a chemically neutral lipid that will cling to the fabric. (making the cloth feel softer, a nice bonus) Here’s why this will work to protect the wearer. Corona viruses are spheres of RNA surrounded by a lipid coat. That’s why washing one’s hands with soap and water works, soap tears that lipid coat apart allowing the RNA to be destroyed. The mask fibers treated with real soap and then vinegar will have lipid coatings that will chemically bond to the lipid coating of the virus particles, trapping the virus, FAR better than conventionally washed fabric.

I’ve been asked what fabric they should be made from:  The best choice is smooth tight knit, fuzzy yarn (but NOT terry) white cotton tea toweling.  Avoid dyed and especially print cloth.

Please share this widely. It could save lives.

Download All The Stars Are Suns Free

What to do stuck at home this weekend? How about reading? I’m putting my SciFi novel on a special for #Covid-19 lockdown this weekend. You may download the novel for free starting Friday through Sunday (3/20 – 3/22). I just ask that you write a fair and honest review on Goodreads, LibraryThing, or Amazon (and anywhere else you think might be interested. Please share this offer?

Video Review: DEVS

candicecoverThe only good thing that I have to say about this show is that it avoided the silly SciFi trope of using transparent displays.  My take away?  This show is cheezy anti-tech, anti-Silicon Valley agit-prop.

The show kicks off with the juxtaposition of a high tech couple leaving their nice San Francisco apartment, stepping over a homeless man camped literally on their doorstep, exchanging cheery morning greetings by name.  They then take a private commuter bus down the penisula to the over-the-top woodland tech campus with a creepy & cheezy giant, full color, statue of a little girl in modern clothing, which turns out to be the companies brand image and company name.  There is a hint that this is the Founder / CEO’s dead daughter.  And when we met this CEO, for just a moment, we would be forgiven for thinking that this is the same homeless man that was sleeping in the couple’s doorway.

One of the couple is promoted to work on a super secret project in a super protected and shielded bunker like building.  The inner sanctum is covered in what a good technologist would recognize as an oversized representation of a fractal antenna, like what can be found in modern cellphones… save that it fails to maintain the fractal pattern down to the small size that an actual working device would require.  This signals to me that the visual look was borrowed by the Hollywood set designer with no or little clue as to its actual function.  Then one goes into the sealed off room to see what is instantly recognizably an unshielded quantum computer.  This newly promoted employee turns out to be an industry spy who uses his ‘Dick Tracy’ watch, takes pictures of the code.

Bad Move.

He is discovered and murdered by the CEO and his security goon.  Thus, we are told, as if none of the rest of the obvious allusions didn’t, that they are evil.

The murder is covered up and the victim’s girlfriend tries to figure out what happened to him.  Oh… and there’s another reference to tech workers invading space that doesn’t belong to them when she approaches her old boyfriend for help, and they meet up in a bar in the Castro… get it? Heterosexual tech workers use the gay community’s space as if it was theirs.

OK, let’s unpack some of this shall we?  The well off tech workers stepping over the homeless man… pretty obvious huh.  Then the commuter bus, an icon of gentrification of The City that earlier escapees (always willing to shut the door after they get theirs) from the surrounding burbs have protested for raising the cost of rents and then bussing them to Silicon Valley.  This is clearly supposed to represent and demonize facebook and Google, etc.  The disquieting resemblance between the homeless man and the CEO… cute huh?  The list goes on and on.

As someone who grew up in Silicon Valley yet spent much time as a member of the LGBT community in The City my whole life, I can’t find this amusing nor enjoyable.  It’s crapping on everything I hold dear.  It’s a lie write on the small screens that I helped to develop by a Hollywood team that ungratefully uses all of the tech from people like me.  I won’t be watching it further.

Raven’s Roost On The Homestretch

Candice eetimesFor fans of my first novel, All The Stars Are Suns, who have been waiting for the next book in the series, Raven’s Roost, I am nearly finished with the first draft.  Yes, it’s been over two years since I released the first so it may have seemed like I had abandoned it, but I never did.  I’m not writing pot boiler romances.  I’m writing carefully crafted Hard Science Fiction with just a touch of Fantasy style, keeping in mind Clark’s dictum that a sufficiently advanced technology looks like magic.  World building, as well as character and plot development, have taken time to do right (write?).  Another thing that has taken time is to ensure that what I write won’t conflict with the follow on books (at least two more).  There’s nothing more aggravating than an author who can’t keep her own plots and world building straight.

I can’t make any promises, but I hope to release Raven’s Roost by the begining of summer (for all my student fans).

Religious “Liberties” is a Sham

Candice eetimesRecently we have seen a movement to create “Religious Liberty” laws and a Federal Executive Order that are pitched as a protection of individual and group religious groups rights to “sincerely held religious beliefs”.

They are a sham.  Their real aim is to circumvent both the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States and anti-discrimination efforts, most notably those laws protecting LGBT people.

The laws and edict are designed to force government to fund religions that discriminate against others who aren’t living up to their religious edicts.  For example, they require that State and Local government to fund private adoption agencies who use “sincerely held religious beliefs” to deny government funded services to same sex married couples, unmarried people, and transsexuals (married or not).  Another example is that they require both private and public schools to fund religious based campus organizations that discriminate against LGBT people nullifying those schools’ and even States’ anti-discrimination rules and laws, under penalty of losing their Federal funding.

Proponents of these so called “liberties” laws claim this is to protect the right to believe and worship as they chose.  BOLLOCKS !

No one has lost the right to believe, or worship as they chose when a law disallows FUNDING for a group that discriminates against others. But when the government denies funding to an institution for DEFENDING the rights of people against discrimination, or of nullifying anti-discrimination laws by requiring funding of religious based organizations, that is a form of both discrimination and of establishing the power of religion to demand funding from taxpayers in the face of that institution, local government, or State’s “sincerely held beliefs / values” of non-discrimination. Thus in essence, this is not about religious “liberty”… but about bigoted people’s ability to use government power in the name of religion as means to empower themselves and their religion over others.

True religious liberty doesn’t demand this power. True religious liberty in history demanded that government NOT allow this kind of power. Historically, in many of the colonies, and then the States, said polities had laws that demanded that everyone had to tithe to the government sanctioned (both meanings of the word intended) church, no way around it even if others attended another church or no church at all. Some colonies and townships even fined people if they didn’t attend said church. When the authors of the Bill of Rights wrote about Freedom of Religion, that is exactly what they were talking about, the power of the government to force monetary support for a religion that they themselves didn’t believe in and were often mistreated by.

Today, these so called “Religious Liberty” laws are a de facto means of using the power of the government to demand that monies, specifically public taxes be used to empower churches that mistreat others in the same (but sneaky) way that the Bill of Rights was meant to disallow forever.

Fight for our Bill of Rights. Don’t be fooled.