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Ironically, most of the better bits, and indeed the overarching plot thread of HPMOR are largely down to the huge gaps in various characters' rational thought. If Harry had made the obvious "let's not trust the sinister guy that's obviously manipulative and definitely more experienced at it than me" leap right at the beginning it might have been a much shorter series.

Apart from young Harry picking up some of the flaws in the organization of Rowling's wizard world in the first couple of chapters in the first few chapters and the combat lesson scenes, there's really not that much rationality going on. Most of the rest of it is characters trying to achieve particular goals whilst being thwarted in large parts by emotional impulses and glaring oversights the reader is positively screaming for them to notice, which is pretty much Fiction 101.

Harry as a character in HPMOR works because he's implausibly precocious, ambitious and devious, which is quite cute in an 11 year old, not because he [sometimes] draws particularly well-reasoned conclusions. We do judge the series on whether we like him being really smart, but that's quite different from him being really rational.

If super-detached and accurate analysis of a situation is what turns you on then I think Arthur Conan Doyle nailed down the "rational fiction" genre with Sherlock Holmes over a century ago.


It's funny how Sherlock Holmes stories were considered very clever at first, then there was a backlash from authors like Agatha Christie who emphasized "realistic" psychology and disliked "magical" deductions from surface facts, and then it turned out that Conan Doyle's approach was right after all, because his stories predicted most of modern forensics. That's quite a high bar for future writers of rational fiction!

let's not trust...

A general failing of HPMOR and most 'rational' fiction is they suffer from the same plot railroading. Instead of starting with a world rules, characters, problem, and unbiased evaluation of what happens they generally try and fast talk their way into some predefined plot.

In the short term this can work, but for longer plots you still need to whack ever increasing numbers of people with the stupid stick or backtrack and edit in a few plot relevant items at the beginning ex: The Martian.


It's a startup, they built the stack from scratch which is probably a fair bit more complicated under the hood than it looks, it's a niche which is (probably) currently unserved and it's in a decidedly unglamorous industry.

Not to mention also a service which London-based developers are actually pretty likely to consider using on occasion.

It has a lot more reason to be on here than many other popular links.


Absolutely. This is a bit like a university professor feeling "richer for the experience" of "working in fast food" after deciding it'll be an interesting sociological experiment to volunteer at a soup kitchen. Interesting to try, perhaps, but a very different experience from the people actually dependent on similar service jobs for a living. I suspect he'd have learned more about the "sharing economy" by asking to people actually driving for a living about how they decide between surge pricing fares and desperate need to sleep, but at least it's moved him to share his hard-earned insight that life can be difficult for people in America that don't drive...

I'm more intrigued by what (if anything) happens to the Uber drivers that venture to pick up rides where apparently taxis dare not.


There's pretty good internet access in most despotic countries, few of which have the advantages of social stability and breadth of surveillance apparatus as North Korea

Of course the likes of Lukashenko and Mugabe have seldom tried to claim that they're keeping their country perfect, and there's a risk that North Korea's propaganda is so unsophisticated it could end up looking utterly laughable even to pretty well-indoctrinated North Koreans[1], but its pretty hard to organise an effective resistance movement even when everyone in the country hasn't been educated in the values of the current regime since birth and the leadership hesitates to send entire families to gulags at the slightest provocation. It's worth pointing out that those who might be best to depose the Dear Leader, or at least undermine the hardliners in his inner circle, have had always had the privilege of access to communications with the outside world.

[1]but probably not as laughable as we think. If people with access to the same education and media as us find ISIS' rather crass blend of simplistic theology and beheading videos to be sufficiently appealing to trade their comfortable developed-world lives to don burkhas and marry ISIS fighters, then people occasionally watching broadcasts appearing to challenge those approved by the propaganda police can quite happily continue believing in the probably less-absurd cult of the unique virtues of the Dear Leader and the nation of the cleanest people enough to not die in a protest.


Because agencies specialising in licensing a patent (i) are non practising entities, and many people's view a troll is pretty much defined by the concept of acquiring IP without the intention of doing anything with it other than seeking fees, and (ii) occupy their time sending legal threats to firms already using aspects of the patented invention rather than delivering sales pitches to people searching for technological breakthroughs, because "the right to develop your own technology which does X using Y" is a really hard sell.

Lawyers specialising in handling IP cases would probably have an interest in such a service though; potentially far more work for them than agreeing with the client that settling probably is the cheapest option. Insurers underwriting intellectual property liability insurance (it exists!) also have a very strong incentive to encourage, or even require their clients to use such a service.

And for some non-software industries many firms might have a pretty good idea which competitors/suppliers/clients of theirs are likely to be threatened by the same patent.


Also valuable, but as I understand it the OP's solution is applicable specifically to companies that have actually received C&Ds and suspect there are others [about to be] on the end of a similar shakedown which might have an interest in pooling defence teams.

The real reason certainly isn't cost when it involves one or two person pre-revenue businesses burning £200+ per month and an hour of daily commute in order to sit at a desk in a loft surrounded by other people rather than sitting at a desk in their nice quiet bedroom...

or Vista users. If you've got a Windows system that actually badly needs upgrading, you're still [not] going to pay for it.

That was my first thought when reading the headline: I thought Germans already were pretty confident they had legal protection.

I don't think any of the German Facebook friends I have use their full real name, and some of the pseudonyms aren't even that real-enough sounding to German-speakers.

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