Cheeseburger Gothic

"Military Lessons Learned from the Battle of Wakanda"

Posted April 2 by John Birmingham

I found this, via Murph, to be very amusing.

STAY MOBILE

To set the stage – Captain Rogers and his host nation ally Black Panther positioned a Wakandan infantry battalion in close order on the plains outside Benin Zana, the capital city of Wakanda. While they were transported to the battlefield by vehicle, these craft were sent away. This dramatically cut down on the tactical mobility of the overall force and forced an engagement at that location. Given the enemy had superior numbers, this complete disregard of manoeuvre was a critical mistake.

It is true that the transport craft were unarmoured and open-topped. If fighting an adversary with strong anti-armour or indirect fire capabilities, sending them away would be reasonable. However, the Thanosian forces lacked this entirely. Their troops were incapable of using ranged weapons, or indeed, higher brain functions. They traveled on foot and bit the opposition to death.

Captain Roger’s disregard for vehicles is perhaps excusable as being on brand for a career light infantry officer. However, his next sin was far more grievous.

You can read the whole thing here at angrystaffofficer.com

12 Responses to ‘"Military Lessons Learned from the Battle of Wakanda"’

WA n'ker reckons...

Posted April 2
Good analysis. Perhaps too many egotistical super heroes inflicted with hubris?

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HAVOCK21 puts forth...

Posted April 2
Jesus, he missed, chain gun, Claymore, Foo Gas and Cluster bombs. I left out Land Mines cos thats not PC.

OH..BTW if anybody is curious as to why I have popped back on all of a sudden, I am on DETOX from the XBOX COD Black ops...

Therbs puts forth...

Posted April 3
Overdone the capping of fkn muppets? That just don't add up.

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jl is gonna tell you...

Posted April 3
Too funny.

Especially liked the mention of the dreaded OER as applied to superheroes.

jl asserts...

Posted April 3
Oh yeah, I should have broken the acronym down- "Officer Evaluation Report."

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Nocturnalist ducks in to say...

Posted April 3
The battle actually made sense to me, because each side had an ulterior motive.

The Wakandans knew that the real game was buying time for Shuri to complete the operation on Vision. The enemy was numerically superior but rather, uh, unsophisticated, so they put on a big show to make sure the attackers' attention stayed focused on them.

On the other hand, they didn't realise Proxima was actually playing the same game, inverted. She knew that Corvus had already infiltrated the city and so a big set-piece battle served her interests as well, for the same reason.

I rather liked the symmetry of that, each side was being pulled into the same trick they thought they were playing on the other.

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Oldy asserts...

Posted April 4
I know I'm probably alone here, but as a 40+ year fan, I've never hated a movie more. Infinity War was very nearly a franchise-killer for me.

As it is, I've zero interest in Endgame. I guess I'll see it on Blu-Ray sometime...

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Dick has opinions thus...

Posted April 10
Completely off topic, but did you know you had been credited with authoring The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck at The Betoota Advocate?
https://www.betootaadvocate.com/uncategorized/local-man-receives-conflicting-messages-from-birthday-book-haul/

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Vovchara reckons...

Posted April 15
The questions I had after watching this particular battle were:
Where are machinegun emplacements?
Where are mortars?
Where is artillery?
APC?
Helicopter gunships?
Any kind of ranged weapons? They don't even have bows!! FFS
Why are they using medieval weapons without medieval tactics, losing any kind of formation so soon?

To crash Wakanda you basically need one division of mechanized infantry.

Nocturnalist swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted April 18
Wakanda had had a pretty well-armed military, although apparently not a very large one, their main defence being concealment and discreet agent-level actions outside their own borders where necessary. However that military had just been affected by Killmonger's coup and a lot of its equipment had been destroyed by that fighting, keeping Wakandan armaments out of Killmonger's hands being an explicit goal of the loyalists.

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Vovchara has opinions thus...

Posted April 24
Really? Where? This is what I saw, Guys with spears. I am sorry, I misspoke, you don't need a mechanized division. A couple of Roman legions would do.

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Vovchara is gonna tell you...

Posted April 24
But even with melee weapons, here is how the battle of Wakanda should have been: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J7MYlRzLqD0. Replace Titus Pullo with "Captain America" XD

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The Dead Don't Die

Posted April 2 into Lunch Time Video by John Birmingham

Close the Oscar nomination booth. We have this year's winner.

4 Responses to ‘The Dead Don't Die’

FormerlyKnownAsSimon is gonna tell you...

Posted April 2
Ahh, i just saw this where all the cool zombies hang out (twitter) i have to crank up the VPN when i get home so i can watch the Twilight Zone ep they dropped for free as well.

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Dirk would have you know...

Posted April 2
I'll see your zombies and I'll raise you with an alt history version of a little band: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HY0GBmOxyYY

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Bondiboy66 ducks in to say...

Posted April 3
I am like, totally gonna see both of those fillums.

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Barnesm puts forth...

Posted April 16
I am looking forward to this one, might even check it out on the big screen. For small screen zombie drama, I would recommend Neflix's Korean series KINGDOM, except for the fact that it only runs to six episodes (more have been commissioned) and the final episode is such a dramatic cliffhanger that my narrative organ almost herniated itself when it simply spooled on to the Ultraman trailer. For those without Netflix when you finish a series it goes straight to the trailer of another series it thinks you might like.

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WW 3.1 “It’s not easy being green”

Posted April 1 by John Birmingham

From Dirk:


NBlob posted an interesting question, which IMHO deserves something more then just a simple in line response.
Quote: One of the most interesting things in WoC was the transplanted social contexts of up timers, feminism, LGBTQ, & race were discussed, but not the Green movement.
Would it be possible to kick off the Green Movement without Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, without the blights of oil spills, dead rivers, introduced species. Or would we accelerate Pell Mell into a hellscape of neonicanatoids, organochlorines, and hormone disrupters?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silent_Spring

Historical context:
Post WW2 Western Europe and to a lesser extent the United States were more or less industrialized but to a large degree rural country. Small scale farming was the norm, with big industry concentrated in urban areas. And at those places pollution was already rampant.
I’ll give you an example. As I am typing this, I can look at a small river 8 meters away from my desk. 70 years ago, this was more or less used as a sewer for small scale ironworking, shipbuilding and a coal to gas plant that supplied heating gas for this part of the city. It took from the late 60s to the late 80s to clean up the river, with the remaining brownfield site reworked to housing in the decade following that.
On the other hand, the waste that society produced was mild. Most products were packaged in (treated) paper, sold without rapping and disposable plastic bags were in a distant future. The fridge made his first appearance over here in the late 50s, so shopping was mostly a daily occurrence.
Organic waste was picked up even before sanctioned recycling by small traders called “schillenboeren”. Literally that means “peel traders”. Edible refuse was sold to lice stock holding farmers (Pigs will eat almost anything) and the rest went up the compost heap to be sold as fertilizer and top soil for the next spring.
Green movement and/or government intervention.
So how green will our 1955 be? Probably greener than it would have been. Footage from Tsjernobyl and Fukushima would make the appetite for nuclear energy a lot lower. Other factors would be more economical. Norway and The Netherlands are sitting on vast bubbles of natural gas and in the North Sea is enough oil for decades. So, coal could be on its way out in Europe.
Governments would be eager to pick off other low hanging fruit. Recycling, CFC free fridges and spray cans and lead-free gasoline intermixed with ethanol are the first to spring to mind. Intensive agriculture pioneered in the US and rolled out by people like Sicco Mansholt will supply cheap food and other materials. Manure can be used as a source for green gas which can be used in greenhouse farming. Early solar and wind power as well as city planning – southward facing roofs, utility ducts and city-wide warming systems will do the rest.
There will be green movement, attacking the excesses and finding itself in a watchdog role not unlike people in road and child safety. So less militant but more influence.

17 Responses to ‘WW 3.1 “It’s not easy being green” ’

insomniac would have you know...

Posted April 1
"sold without rapping"

https://www.stlyrics.com/songs/v/veggietales4708/stuffmartrap574722.html

Dirk mutters...

Posted April 1
The Queen's English is not my native tongue :)

insomniac reckons...

Posted April 2
Apologies, but the internet is so vast I wondered if there was a sales rap, just like I did a search the other day for "words that start with p and end with x". A dedicated page for that, too, exists.

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she_jedi swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted April 1
Would the decline of coal in Europe also hasten the demise of mining in the UK? And what knock on effect would this have with the rise of Thatcher and neo-liberalism?

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NBlob is gonna tell you...

Posted April 1
You're very kind.
A couple of thoughts.
The exploitation of gas fields is technically difficult, for years they vented and burnt the gas ( the flame we associate with refineries) because it was more difficult and dangerous to handle ( compress to liquefy & transport) than it was worth. Perhaps with some leadership from governments ( yeah, tooth fairy riding on a unicorn) they may be able to steer a market for gas, but that would not overcome the technical difficulties, up time technologies will short circuit the development, but not create the market. When the market is flooded with cheap gasoline (every country & gas co exploiting 5 decades of discoveries) ( ooh, impact on OPEC having market flooded?) will there be demand?

Democracies (with apologies to Churchill) will only do the right thing after exploiting every other option. Without public pressure would they ban CFCs etc? Would there be the public pressure?
An awareness of finite global resources or 'eco-consciousness' grew from less popular than botulism in the early 70's, to an opinion shared by a majority only in the last decade. Responses to that understanding is still er problematic (see reactions plastic bag bans.)Trading off even hypothetical economic gains against distant harm is a hard sell.
I think down-timers would be resistant to maybes and perhapses like Fukashima, 3 Mile Island & Chernobyl, or Bhopal and similar (one assumes they'd be prevented in do-over world) would have an minimal impact on them.

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Dirk reckons...

Posted April 2
Good question. But it will be a little more difficult to answer. I am combining She Jedi’s question with NBlob’s remarks because there is overlap between them.

What is coal and why became it so popular?
Coal has multiple uses. It was powering ships, trains and (in solid and later in gasified form) powerplants, in gasified form provided streetlighting and was part and parcel in the making of steel and in the upcoming chemical industries of the early 1910s onwards. The UK gained its superpower status from around the 1750s over the wind and wood powered and wheat fed Dutch by the virtue of having abundant supplies of coal in Wales and later finds up in Yorkshire and the introduction of the potato.

So, from say the 1830s the economies of Europe were powered more and more on coal. The UK went through a rapid phase of industrialization in that time period. With her empire she was building her own market which revenues were needed to pay for the Royal Navy and to import foodstuffs from her colonies. The latter is a consequence of the rainy UK climate. Potato farming took the edge of, but in essence Britain has a too low crop yield to sustain itself foodwise.

By the late 1820s coal gas lighting was introduced in major cities and mass transportation by steam train kicked off in earnest at the end of the decade. Around the 1880s further coal gasification brought gas into the home for cooking and lighting. The byproducts of this opened up the way for the naissance of the chemical industries in for example the German Ruhr. This situation continued till around the First World War.

The decline of coal
First off of coal was the Navy. Coal dust was a fire hazard and stokers could on be employed on dreadnought ships in more meaningful roles. So just behind the US Navy (Texas and Oklahoma were swimming in the stuff) the Royal Navy lowered its demand for coal to nearly zero by the late 20s.

From the 1920s a second big client was switching over. Railways gradually replaced steam for (diesel-)electric trains and locomotives. In WW II however steam trains made a comeback in occupied Europe and the UK, but that was its last hoorah. By the early 70s most countries had switched over to either diesel or electric, but a lot of steam engines especially in the 50s and 60s were held in reserve status in case of war.

The discovery of natural gas in Norway and the Netherlands, the increased import after the war of cheap high-quality coal from US and later Australia and the abundance of oil, drove in the final nail.
The Dutch were the first to close up shop from 1962 onward and closed their last mine in 1974. During the same time the transition to natural gas took place. With the city gas infrastructure already in place and utilities being in the hands of municipalities, provinces or the state (like as in a lot of the rest of Europe; this in contrast for example to the US and Australia) there was no problem nor discussion. As it even meant there was less need for imported coal and gas was in such ample supply, a lot was and is exported.

The rest of Europe also pulled out of mining. The Germans and the Brits (they still have some open pit mines) are the last ones. In Germany’s case the mine mostly peat (Brown Coal) but with their abundance in solar (Germany is there leading at the moment, on sunny days flooding the market over here), that will eventually pewter out. France and Belgium went mostly nuke, with Germany and the UK following suit.

The impact on our world in 3.1

Gas instead of coal: For continental Europe it would be not that big of an issue to ram that thru. Even the venting wouldn’t be that much of an issue especially when greenhouse agriculture was setup in and around the gas fields. Plants love CO2 and heat so you would be killing two birds with one stone.

Britain and Coal: As Britain was broke after the war, most of the effort would be towards reconstruction. And adding gas piping in the rebuild is then not that expensive, especially if you can pump either coal gas or natural gas through the pipes. After that it’s probably a matter of numbers. If nat gas is cheaper in the future the Brits will swap over, especially if the make their own finds. British Gas will probably still be in the hands of the government so there is no problem in ramming it thru either.

Oil: There will be cheap oil in abundance. Problem is that cars will be mostly unaffordable for your average European apart from a few VW Beetles and Citroen 2CVs. The car boom in Europe would as in our time be coming in the 60s, and bicycles and mopeds would be the main form of personal transportation. Not that that would be a problem, with the bulk of people living in walking or biking distance to their places of work.

British politics: The policies of the Churchill and Atlee administrations will have been by our standards very left wing. Public works, central planning, all the good things of Keynesian theory you can wish for. And apart from Western Germany – which had a 12-year experience with a state run economy – most of Europe will be in the same boat. Neoliberalism in the Rhineland variant will probably be the route of choice for Germany. Universal Health care, family allowances and universal education had been introduced there already under the Nazi’s, the autobahn just needed a dash of paint. The most pressing need was that housing and industry needed to be rebuilt. With an early introduction of the D-Mark, Germany with one stroke takes out black market profiteering and the excesses of Nazi economic policy. It’s draconian and you can pull it off only once but a number of other European countries will probably do the same.

One thing though Churchill (with India still firmly in his grip) will want to achieve is to position himself in the middle of Europe. And this time De Gaulle weakened by the loss of his colonies, a quarter of France occupied and only given token support by Southern Italy, will not be able to stop that. Germany will play ball, as would Switzerland, Scandinavia and the Benelux block. So neo liberalism can come but only in a very mild form. Britain first needs to get his political and economic ducks in a row before that can happen.

The humble masses: With your average European only having enjoyed 8 years of primary education, and being instilled with a sense of order and respect for authority, still have a modicum of trust in the government. And do not underestimate the power of mass media. When you can convince people, you can survive nuclear war by hiding under your desk (Duck, and Cover), you can sell them everything, even the points like the lack of plastic bags (Brown paper or canvas will do nicely as substitutes), nuclear power and less hazardess chemicals.

tqft would have you know...

Posted April 2
You might be aware but I will go on anyway:
From NBlob
"Perhaps with some leadership from governments ( yeah, tooth fairy riding on a unicorn) they may be able to steer a market for gas, but that would not overcome the technical difficulties, up time technologies will short circuit the development,"
& NBlob mentions " exploitation of gas fields is technically difficult,"
These 2 go together if the uptimers have maps/data on where the resources are. I don't mean general direction but maps of dry wells vs holes with stuff at the bottom.

Drilling is expensive, really expensive. Dry wells are a dead loss, time and money. Plus drilling tech from uptime would be much much better.
A trade of data on exactly where to drill for release sell comparatively cheaply should work.
The first company that takes the deal is going to save heaps and get ahead.

jl mumbles...

Posted April 2
I do wonder if there would be an early start with horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, otherwise known as "fracking." Hate it all you want, but people aren't going to let those sorts and amounts of resources sit in the ground. Plus, natural gas is far cleaner than coal.

However, there are very serious technological hurdles to winning gas in this fashion- you need lots of computer power and very specialized sorts of industry, not the sort of thing to pop up in a ten-year period.

Half the battle, though, is knowing that something that can be done.

Dirk would have you know...

Posted April 2
Another hurdle would be distribution outside of main urban areas. There will be research on it I think, but also on harvesting methane out of sewage treatment and composting.

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jason puts forth...

Posted April 2
Just a thought. There would be a rise in electric cars (assuming) which would reduce emissions dramatically as well as seriously affecting the income stream of Saudi Arabia. Possibly even the rise of state supported terrorism.

Dirk mutters...

Posted April 2
There were, even in our 50s and 60s. Mostly as replacement for horse drawn carts. For example this: https://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spijkstaal (in Dutch, run it thru Google translate for the text).

A more fruitful approach to counter the renaissance of Islamic fundamentalism, would be the redrawing of the map for that region, this time to ethnic lines. A Kurdish state broken off from Iran, Iraq and Syria, one for the Druze from Lebanon and Syria, bringing back the Turkmen to Turkey, joining up the Shia of southern Iraq with Iran, and the Arabs in Iran with those in Iraq, those kinds of schemes.

Also crack down on corrupt leaders and officials and slowly built up the nations to points were those countries in their entirety would have more to lose then to gain would they return to extremism. Ataturk's Turkey was a good example of that.

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HAVOCK21 would have you know...

Posted April 2
I just wanna know, given the greening of the plant, what about the ducks, I mean; Ill still be able to shoot my bag and start Stewin the little blighters right????

Dirk mutters...

Posted April 2
Aboard HMS Havoc we have made provision for you to have ample supply of them, and a complementary Green Egg as well. Thou shall not be forgotten.

HAVOCK21 has opinions thus...

Posted April 2
So long as I am paired ( think HOT bunking) with Commander Jane Wilet, ( I might have a crush on her) I am happy happy happy!

Dirk would have you know...

Posted April 2
Information on Rear Admiral Willet is currently classified as Top Secret Oyster. You will be informed in due course.

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HAVOCK21 mutters...

Posted April 2
m, i'm not seeing it in the thread as a consideration, but here goes:

1- The planet is on a war or threat of war footing
2- contesting of areas and bumps and battles greater than cold war ones will take place before the main event
3 - The above, alone will have an impact on whats given priority, both fro exploration, fuel usage , types etc. I think RAPID industrialisation will take place...greening the plant comes after Josef is in a fkn box!

jl asserts...

Posted April 2
Right on all three points, Havock.

Actually, mention is made (briefly) in 3.1 about the modernization of the steel industry. In many areas re: industrialization/environment you can have your cake and eat it, too. It just takes a little extra planning and a long term view.

One of the things I simply love about JB's universe is imaging all that would be possible if society and government had perfect foresight. Of course, the bad guys have this advantage as well, it's what drives Stalin and his douchebros.

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Things from the future past

Posted March 29 by John Birmingham

I've been working with Jason Lambright and Dirk de Jager on the next AoT novel and recently had them give some thinking time over to what sort of uptime tech might get quickly adapted and pushed out to the military by the mid 1950s.

I've also been thinking about consumer tech, but that's a different area.

Below is a far from comprehensive list of Dirk and Jason’s goodie bag. Overnight, Dirk sent me a some more thoughts about the whole process:

Something old, something new, something borrowed, something in NATO Olive

There is something about tinkering with the past and the all-encompassing theme of these books namely “What if?”. Oh, let me introduce myself first: my name is Dirk and I am one of the minions in JB’s sweatshop doing research and contributing a few words and ideas.

We have been thinking up a nice little scenario and already are on track for a great addition to the series. And we thought up on most of the toys we will be using in this book. Things like the HK 416 assault rifle, an update M60 main battle tank and the F-15 Eagle. But even three decent minds can forget something.

So, in the ye old and trusted Burger tradition we present to you The Pepsi Challenge. For this we have devised two categories:

First category:

Existing weapon, procedure of tech thingie. For this you may scowler the interwebs and the Pedia of Wiki for something cool. Couple of rules: it must be able to be build by mid 70s technology and be feasible to be used in the field and/or in daily life. And off course we haven’t used it already. We will be replying to each and every post, so you can send in another cool thing if we have already come up with one of those.

Second category:

Made up weapon, procedure of tech thingie with a degree of realism. So, no unicorn fart powered thermo nuclear tipped glidebombs or ICBM launching torpedoes. Bonus points can be gathered for things that are especially sneaky. For mentioned rules on the tech base also apply.

The prize: the two winners will get a cameo in 3.1. We can’t promise though you won’t be overrun by a speeding T-72 tank, get blown up by an incoming mortar shell or sleep with the fishes on the end of your paragraph. But if the input is good, we will do our best …

The fine print: the intellectual property will be become owned by Slim Jim Enterprises and the proceeds of these will be misused by Mr. Davidson on procuring dames and probably Columbian’s finest. But as a fan of the series you will be fine by that.

And if and when this post hits 50 replies, Jason and I will waterboard JB into publishing a new snippet of the book on the channel. So, thinking caps on chaps and chapettes and surprise us. We know you can …

And the list so far...

Gerber multitool
Zip ties
Permethrin (An insecticide and medicated ointment for treating nasty inset bites)
Blood type ID patches
Baby Wipes
IZLID (laser designator)
The metric system! (But not in the US, of course, unless Kolhammer gets his way via some diabolical Quiet Room project).
Improved First Aid Kits, training, the concept of "the golden hour"
Medevac, casevac
Quick Clot powder, Combat gauze (jam into wounds)
Combat Application Tourniquet
Israeli pressure bandage
Zodiac boats
Suppressed weapons
Katadyn water filters
V-40 grenade (with reliable fuse)
Night vision goggles. (Curious to see just how far those would advance in ten years, given the very obvious advantages to whichever side got the lead).
Flameless ration heaters
Thermals
Jungle Boots, Vietnam style (current issue)
Glow sticks
GPS navigation tools (Again, this is one, as we've seen in out TL, with massive civilian commercial applications. I suspect it would advance very quickly, along with satellite tech in general)
Black Hornet PD-100 mini recon drone
Improved maps, NVG readable
Improved socks, dacron mix, silver thread
Nicotine gum with vitamin C
Dextrose energy tablets, mixes
Power inverters for rough field power sources
Mini solar panels
Wind up propaganda radios, mini, air-droppable, tuned to VOA
JTLV
Armored glass for vehicles
Slat armor, Hesco basket mesh
Hesco baskets
Sawzall, battery powered
RPO-A-SHMEL "Bumblebee" RPG Flamethrower (M202)
Water powered field generator
Folding rubber cups
MP-5k
FLIR

69 Responses to ‘ Things from the future past’

jason swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 29
Velcro
Solar panels
GM Crops
Hydrogen to power vehicles (particularly ships)

Dirk reckons...

Posted March 29
Velcro and Solar panels are already in the book. GM crops and Gas to Liquid are great options. I'll chalk you down for one.

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Barnesm puts forth...

Posted March 29
Post it notes

Dirk ducks in to say...

Posted March 29
Great!

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Barnesm swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 29
Poly-paraphenylene terephthalamide – Kevlar

Dirk asserts...

Posted March 29
Is already in the book.

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insomniac is gonna tell you...

Posted March 29
Exoskeletons

A waterboarding machine

Dirk asserts...

Posted March 29
First DARPA exoskeletons were built on 80s tech. And we have an interrogation scene in the book (if that stays in) that even goes one step further.

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insomniac reckons...

Posted March 29
Is the 70s limitation just to give room to move in any future books?

I still maintain that a full set of (at least) US patents and applications would have been contained in the ship's information store, and some of those haven't even been applied for yet. Plus all the other non patent technical disclosures. You're losing 40 years of even relatively simple technological advancement.

Dirk asserts...

Posted March 29
you can find me response a little more down on this page.

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balders would have you know...

Posted March 29
3D Manufacturing
Filament (Plastics, rubbers, etc)
Sintered Laser (Metals, etc)
Improved battery technology
LiPo
NiMH
LiIon
High powered LED lighting
Low power portable computing
Internet (I cant remember in the books if it was being rolled out to public - or if it was just military
Cat pictures
Gig Economy (not a physical thing)
Augmented Reality (its probably already in the books)

Dirk would have you know...

Posted March 29
Cat or CAD pictures? :D

I like the Sintered laser and the batteries, I'll chalk you up for that one.

balders has opinions thus...

Posted March 29
cat pictures - you know the 95% of the 5% of the internet that isn't porn - everyone loves good cat pictures


I think that the low power / more efficient electronics would have a huge boost especially in terms of miniaturization, they wouldn't be able to produce a chip on a 7nm die, but they'd be able to implement a bunch of lessons learned and the time to get down to what we are producing these days would greatly reduced

Dirk reckons...

Posted March 29
On the one hand we would keep our brave new world clean of these excesses, but you have a point. Let me enlighten you however what the internet would look like in our little world.

Computers are expensive, so most of those you would find in the military, government, large companies and in academia. Think 80286s from the late 80s, though there is a section in the book working with reversed engineered Raspberry Pi's in the book running on Ubuntu/Linux. So it's more a 70s/80s style of computer use. Databases, communications, bookkeeping those kind of applications.

Digital pictures are another point: sure first gen will be in spy satellites, but for taking snaps we would go for Polaroid camera's. So cat pics could happen, but more or less on a physical company whiteboard then on the internet.

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pedrogb mutters...

Posted March 29
The taser. With two settings. Stun. Kill

Dirk puts forth...

Posted March 29
Was already in the first series but I like the idea :)

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Dirk has opinions thus...

Posted March 29
The 70s tech line is indeed a threshold intended to give us wiggleroom for future books and not to make the conflict between the Warsaw Pact and NATO too one sided. A more then 15 year tech gap would make for very short books ...

But you also have to factor in the tech/manufacturing base and economic constraints in our alternate 50s and for example multi year material research you have to do to make certain kinds of things. For example we are not using Chobham or Burlington armor for tanks, haven't fielded the F-35 or gone for nuclear powered aircraft carriers in 3.1. We tried to strike a balance on what we could get into the field in sufficient numbers, not going for the ultimate but for what would have been more then good enough.

True there will be things even more advanced known already, but that insight isn't lost. It's still on a shelf waiting for the industrial base to catch up to that.

jl mutters...

Posted March 29
Ditto what Dirk says.

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she_jedi would have you know...

Posted March 29
Not sure if this is in the books already but microwave ovens?

Nocturnalist would have you know...

Posted March 29
They can have microwave ovens off '70s tech but you have to wait until 1985 for custom kitchen deliveray-ay-ayys.

Dirk puts forth...

Posted March 29
There are microwave ovens (even affordable ones) and even custom kitchens ;) courtesy of a company that runs on the IKEA principle. And that wasn't even a stretch as the first ones were sold in our time even as early as 1946.

Same would go for fridges and freezers, vacuumcleaners and washing-machines and even dishwashers. The constraints would have been more economical (can we afford them on mostly the husbands wage?) and partly cultural. The second feminist wave would have come a little more early (the pill is on the market), but most especially Western European and for example Australian households would have been more paternalistic.
As a base we took this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HBB7YEbIYl8

But it's food for thought: what would a typical day for a lets say 27 year old She Jedi in our 1955 would have looked like?

John Birmingham asserts...

Posted March 29
I think there's a whole section somewhere about cheap Russian microwave ovens.

Dirk is gonna tell you...

Posted March 29
*nods*

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Dirk ducks in to say...

Posted March 29
Great, it is in the book but I will chalk you down for one.

jl puts forth...

Posted March 29
Early MOLLE is in there, too.

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Bondiboy66 reckons...

Posted March 29
FRED - the Fucking Ridiculous Eating Device. Featured in Australian rat packs since at least the 70s. Bit bigger than the American rat pack tin opener, with a built in rudimentary spoon. I still have a few in the kitchen drawer!

In a food related vein, tinned rats replaced with soft packaging ala current Aust and US rat packs/MREs.

If we are potentially going for newish Infantry weapons, perhaps something like the old Stoner Weapons System, where there is a basic working parts unit that can fit with different barrels, feed methods (belts or mags), grips, butts, yada yada as required, and all parts are interchangeable.

Can't think of anything else just yet....

Dirk mutters...

Posted March 29
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Field_Ration_Eating_Device

I like it!

On weapons we went for a standardized mix of trusted ones that could have been made on the tech bases. We took a serious look at the Stoner, but dropped that. It would have been too much of a compromise. Our mix however is NATO wide so for example a French made barrel would fit a Swedish made weapon. The mix is made up from the following:

Pistol: 9mm Glock 17
SMG: 9mm Uzi (MP5 for certain special forces)
AR: 5.56mm HK 416 (which will go under a few names M4A2, G38 etc.) for grenadiers with an underslung M320 grenadelauncher
SAW: 5.56mm FN Minimi (M249 in US service)
GPMG: 7.62mm FN MAG (M240 and L7)
HMG: .50 Browning M2

I have to give a shout out to Ian McCulloms excellent youtube channel Forgotten Weapons https://www.youtube.com/user/ForgottenWeapons which has been a great source of info.

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Keith reckons...

Posted March 29
Cat 1:

Space blanket.
Hang-Up Parachute Release Assembly.
Light Marker Distress.
Aluminium foil.

Cat 2:

Hot Spot Channel:

When soldiers are patrolling in the jungle, or jungle-like conditions, their radio signal will be severely hindered or destroyed by the dense foliage. But not with the Hot Spot Channel! The Hot Spot Channel will shoot a secure signal straight up through the foliage from which the patrol can communicate (for dustoff, fire support, resupply etc.). The HQ element can easily communicate with the patrol until the Hot Spot Channel is deactivated.

How does it work? Well, let us explain by saying: Hahaha, you don't want to know. No, seriously, you leave the technology up to us, let's just say we hope you already have kids.

Dirk mumbles...

Posted March 29
I'll chalk you down for the space blanket and the Parachute release. "Tin foil" was already in use in our time but that's an honorable mention.

And the Hotspot channel is cool, we are a little short on jungle in book 1, but something like that will find a place in future books.

Keith is gonna tell you...

Posted April 2
Too easy. Thanks, Dirk.

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Phil reckons...

Posted March 29
Can't remember if it's in the books or not but rapid turnaround DNA testing. I'm thinking the uptimers wouldn't be keen on exposure to certain infections that were running around at the time. Also genealogical testing may be handy to prevent accidentally sleeping with your great-grandmother, although I'm sure some perverts would want to use it the other way around

Dirk mumbles...

Posted March 29
Paul Brasch put a lot of Reichsmarks in these kinda things in the first series. It will take though a lot of computing power so it's probably only reserved at the moment to the rich and famous and academic hospitals. But the idea is cool!

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Phil has opinions thus...

Posted March 29
Can't remember if it's in the books or not but rapid turnaround DNA testing. I'm thinking the uptimers wouldn't be keen on exposure to certain infections that were running around at the time. Also genealogical testing may be handy to prevent accidentally sleeping with your great-grandmother, although I'm sure some perverts would want to use it the other way around

jl ducks in to say...

Posted March 29
Cheap paternity tests, to be found at the local pharmacy. What a great disruptor.

Respond to this thread

Oldy mutters...

Posted March 29
Can't WAIT
Can't WAIT
CANNOT WAIT!

AoT was my gateway drug into JB minionhood. That cover combined all the shit I loved - Clancyesque, Military Silhouettes, Time Travel, and the 2.1 thing.

But... who's working on Time Travel? They know it's a reality...

John Birmingham reckons...

Posted March 29
Einstein.

Dirk asserts...

Posted March 29
There will be research on that field. Einstein and a young Stephen Hawking will be decimating the footage with an attitude of "WTF happened?"

But there are a few things barring it. First one is money. There are a lot of things that will spring fruit for a lot less money. Eradication of polio for example and alternate energy. The space race, though with Stalin's hammer project eating up most of the means for the Soviet space program, that will be a little more balanced.

Secondly what if the Manning Pope experiment was a fluke? Can we reliably bring back the 21C's back to exactly where they came from, and what kinda distorted world will they find there? And how long will the research take? Wouldn't they not all be dead before it is feasible?

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tqft is gonna tell you...

Posted March 29
Double walled stainless steel thermos - $9.99 from Aldi
Insulated shopping bag - $1 or 2 from local supermarket

Dirk reckons...

Posted March 29
Love both of them!

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jl mumbles...

Posted March 29
This thread is going nuts- sweet. Lemme throw in a couple more things that are indispensable today but weren't obvious way back when.

Firefly IR beacon
Flash-bang
PLB (Personal Locator Beacon, think IFF for grunts)
Tritium illuminated compass (SANDY 183)
SAM splint (flexible splint)
AN/PEQ 2
SureFire flashlight
Nomex Combat Gloves

jl puts forth...

Posted March 29
Oh yeah, this is implied but I'll mention it specifically- the MIL STD 1913 Picatinny rail.

Dirk ducks in to say...

Posted March 29
Ok, I'll drop in a guilty pleasure of mine: the 2014 Italian MRE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GowFRT19yok and the 2018 MRE #23 of the US army https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u_sY-nJ179U

jl asserts...

Posted March 29
MREs, while perhaps a standard format, can't really be standardized across the board. Each country has its own prefs- imagine giving Yanks kippers, for example.

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rschappe puts forth...

Posted March 29
Manned space flight
Satellites, military recon

Dirk swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 30
Bless you, you have at least 3 novels to pick up on:

Sats are in this one: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07934VNLW

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insomniac mumbles...

Posted March 30
Does Harry miss Meghan?

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Steve asserts...

Posted March 30
How about logistics, goddamit? Nothing happens without logistics.

Here is my list of suggestions, for starters:

Standard size pallets and shipping containers
Forklifts and lift trucks
RO-RO ships
NATO stock numbers
Bar codes
RFID tags
Total Quality Management in manufacturing (Deming is already developing this in the 1940s)
Six Sigma continuous improvement and defect reduction
Gantt charts
Find Jack Dorsey’s and Mark Zuckerberg’s great grandparents and kill them all – you’ll save millions of hours of lost productivity

jl is gonna tell you...

Posted March 30
You are quite right. RO-RO and shipping containers are already pieces of the puzzle, the rest can be put in the mix.

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Myriads asserts...

Posted March 30
Nail Guns
Bio-Organic insulation (Mushroom based)
Cheap digital watches (Analog dies decades earlier)
Ceramic technologies (starting with blades)
Disposable razors
Disposable Diapers
"Day After" pills for pregnancy prevention
Mass produced cheep 'roller ball' style pens.

Concepts

Modern psychological trauma therapies
"The Joy of Sex" (Popular sex guide comes sooner as birth control has)
Urban planning of the 'walking downtown' style
Understanding of the effect of 'Big Box' chain style corporations and the effects they cause.
TMZ style pop-culture reporting. (And celebrity culture in toto)

That should have something of use in there.

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Dirk reckons...

Posted March 30
I'll chalk you down for the Bic pen Myriads. Urban planning is already in the book, though more bicycle based in Western Europe with good public transport.

Note to self: put the Evian in the winecooler and pre-heat the Egyptian cotton towels. At GWC we pride ourselves in adding a touch of class to torture ...

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NBlob would have you know...

Posted March 30
Re: surgical interventions, tape & staples replacing some external sutures. Sodium & potassium monitoring. Partial blood products. Informed consent. 5 rights with medication; right patient, right time, right drug, right dose, right delivery.

One of the most interesting things in WoC was the transplanted social contexts ot up timers, feminism, LGBTQ, & race were discussed, but not the Green movement.
Would it be possible to kick off the Green Movement without Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, without the blights of oil spills, dead rivers, introduced species. Or would we accelerate Pell Mell into a hellscape of neonicanatoids, organochlorines, and hormone disrupters?

Dirk mumbles...

Posted March 31
Excellent suggestions on the medical side of things NBlob, I will chalk you down for those.

On the environmental issues, I am writing at the moment a text that I will ask John to post here on the Burger as a separate blog post. What you are pointing out here has that kind of merit.

jl mutters...

Posted March 31
I'd think the medical field would explode with the wealth of information brought by the Fleet.

Ask the residents of Pittsburgh circa 1944 whether they'd like a cleaner life- certainly, but they'd want work, too. There'd have to be a balance struck. With foreknowledge of long-term environmental effects real headway could be made much sooner.

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Brother PorkChop puts forth...

Posted March 31
CBU-55s Thermobarics
OTH / BTH Radar systems
Claymores
Cheesewizz
WD-40
Super Glue

Dirk reckons...

Posted March 31
I'll chalk you down for the WD40. We have done one better on the CBU-55 ... :) Rest is in the book.

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Naut ducks in to say...

Posted April 1
Computer socks
Hypercolour T-shirts
Punkrock

jl asserts...

Posted April 1
The Sex Pistols come early.

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jd quinty mutters...

Posted April 2
I can't remember if Boxer Briefs, introduced in the 90s, were mentioned in the books (I can remember uptime suit patterns were) but I bet they would be widely distributed.
CL-84 Dynavert, a successful but unmarketable Canadian V-TOL prototype from the 70s, I imagine it beefed up in a half-measured attempt to turn it into an osprey.
Teflon coating.

jl ducks in to say...

Posted April 2
You learn something new every day, that CL-84 was ahead of its time. Dirk, you're keeping score, bud.

Boxer shorts per se have been around for a while, but you have a point with boxer briefs. Yeah, they'd prob be a hit, far better than the old "tighty whities"

Another point for teflon coating.

Dirk is gonna tell you...

Posted April 2
I am keeping score ;) I was composing an answer to both She Jedi and Nblob, which took me a little longer than I anticipated.

The CL-84 was new to me, tough I have studied the DO-31 ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dornier_Do_31 ). I'll keep both of them in mind.

To the boxers (yes good one) I would add the humble thong then as well though that kind of undergarment would create quit a stir in for example Francist Spain.

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Therbs reckons...

Posted April 2
Light weight, durable tent / tarp/ hammock/ bivvy material (cuben fibre / dyneema composite fabric)
Titanium mess gear (pot, spork/spoon etc)
Sawyer Micro squeeze water filter (smaller, lighter)

Was looking at this stuff for Zero Day Code fanfic


Dirk ducks in to say...

Posted April 2
I like the tent stuff.

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Brother PorkChop reckons...

Posted April 2
Contact lenses
Polarized lenses
105mm Recoilless Rifles (a personal fave)

Dirk has opinions thus...

Posted April 2
contact lenses are in. The RR's are already obsolete in the series cause of wireguided missiles introduced in 2.3.

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jd quinty mumbles...

Posted April 2
earpieces, earbuds (but the crummy kind that existed in the 90s), sony walkman-style headphones (with the exposed foam) and the 3.5mm headphone jack (did this 2024 also see the end of the 3.5mm jack?)

Betamax and music/data compact cassettes. 8 Inch floppy disks.

CCTV cameras.

High Pressure Sodium Lights (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_street_lighting_in_the_United_States#High_pressure_sodium)

Halogen headlamps (is this 50s US just as weird with their headlights compared with the rest of Europe from the 40s-80s? Where at one point they would only permit only two types of rectangular headlights in the 70s and 80s?)


Dirk mumbles...

Posted April 3
I'll chalk you down for the low end earphones. Rumor has it that on the 1956 CES - to be held at Madison Square Garden - RCA will introduce 6-track, following Phillips that will announce at the International Funk Ausstellung later in '55 their line of Running Girl portable cassette players.

Data storage on large magnetic tape is already here, as is CCTV (for military use). And we can expect advances in lighting technology.

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BostonJoe would have you know...

Posted April 4
How about metallurgy in general. It would have far reaching military and industrial impact. The steel and aluminum of the 40s can't come close to what current tech can produce. Hell, most of the whiz bang stuff people mentioned up thread aren't even possible without modern alloys and composites.

Dirk mutters...

Posted April 4
Very true. For this subject we have laid the bar at the late 60s. HY80 steel, Stainless steel and small scale titanium will be in use. As previously mentioned Chobham and Burlington are as of yet not out of the lab.

Aluminum is at a comparable level with scandium/aluminum alloys being in late research.

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Respond to ' Things from the future past'

Writing in cafes is bullshit

Posted March 28 into Writing by John Birmingham

I’m currently sitting in one of my favourite coffee joints. Pourboy in south Brisbane. (Okay, I guess I'm not any sitting there anymore cos I wrote this hours before posting it). You might have seen me rave about their croque madame because their croque monsieur is fucking awesome.

I find myself here once or twice a week during the school year because I drop Thomas nearby to a bunch of extracurricular stuff before class starts. Pourboy is a great place, but there’s a reason I’m writing this blog post and not the book chapter I should be working on right now. Pourboy is too good. It’s popular and crowded and noisy and I don’t know how any of these pretend bullshit writers and poets and citizen journalists ever get anything done in all of these fucking cafes they seem to live in because... GAH!

It’s busy here.

Funny thing is, it’s not usually this busy when I come through because I get here about 6.30 in the AM. It’s now just after nine, and I’ll be here a while longer while I run down the clock to an interview at the ABC studios down the road.

I brought in the new iPad, thinking I’d get some work done, and I did, but nothing heavy or deep. Not the book chapters I have due, or the TV script I’m working on. Nope. This ain’t the place for that. I avoided getting caught in a social media spiral, so yay for me, I guess. But I’ve been here for nearly two hours now and I’ve basically been triaging emails, writing short blog posts, and knocking over chickenshit admin that I’d leave until it was way too late if I was at my desk.

Given all that, I suppose it hasn’t been a complete write off. In a way it’s been kind of instructive. I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the unconscionable waste of time that Twitter has become (and Facebook always was). I’ve been thinking about how I always mean to blog regularly but never quite build up the head of steam to keep it going because I’m so fucking busy during my writing day that I can’t justify spending time on the Burger. And when I down tools at the end of the day, the last thing I want to do is more writing.

I wonder then if the thing to do might be to carve out a little time in the early morning a couple of days a week, to do the stuff I’ve been forced to do here today by all these noisy fuckers invading my normally quiet coffee shop.

I’ve come back around to the idea that social networks are poison. That it’s not just the nazis and the advertising and the advertising for Nazis. It’s the very nature of the thing, the way these platforms are engineered to destroy people’s concentration, to lure them into mindless scrolling, and swiping and liking and kommunting. They are also, of course, intellectual property traps. Everything you post on Facebook belongs to the Zuck. Everything. And the original deal the Book made with artists, that the creators would provide content and the Zuck would gather the audience, that’s long gone. Now you provide the content AND you pay for access to the audience.

I’ll admit, it’s a lot of thinking, for a morning coffee stop to fill in some time. But I dont often get the time to sit and think. Even if I can barely hear my own thoughts.

I should do more of it.

16 Responses to ‘Writing in cafes is bullshit’

jl reckons...

Posted March 29
Thanks for the warning re: IP traps. Hadn't thought of that, although I'm not surprised.

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jason ducks in to say...

Posted March 29
I cant write anything with the TV on let alone in a crowded cafe. Although I do listen to the sounds of a crowded cafe on spotify sometimes when trying to concentrate, hmmm...

John Birmingham would have you know...

Posted March 29
Yeah, me too. It’s weird, innit.

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Barnesm asserts...

Posted March 29
Weirdly this sounds to me like a productive strategy, you admit to yourself its stuff that wouldn't othewise get done. I confess I never considered a graded level of distraction tailored to the work I needed to accomplish as a productivity tool. Nice one.

damian mumbles...

Posted March 29
I’m a believer in this concept of modes that you seem to be describing. You can write certain content in a certain context, because that’s what you have time for or it’s what you have brainspace (tipping a hat to Tim and Debbie) for.

Sitting in the food court at Brookside at the moment, after eating two greasy pizza slices from the kebab shop waiting for a bus (like the old days I guess).

John Birmingham reckons...

Posted March 29
I distresses me that I know who you mean by Tim and Debbie.

damian mumbles...

Posted April 7
...
Because it means you’re over 40?

Nocturnalist mumbles...

Posted April 9
Age is just a state of mind, damian.

Or should I say, age is just a Braaiiinn Spaaace.

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Rob mumbles...

Posted March 29
I was thinking today that a café might be a good place to study my online degree to avoid distractions at home. I might give it a go, mainly to see if the pretentiousness and embarrassment of getting out a laptop or tablet in a hipster café would make me actually study. As opposed to sitting at home and going look! a dog to pat, look! a cat to meow at, look! a video game to play.

On the plus side of social media, without it I would never had met and continued to know novelists, musicians, artists, art gallery curators and owners. Its been good in a lot of ways. But I have had to filter out the angry posters and tediously easy politics (of which I'm definitely one) .

But as a boredom shifter of the void that is the modern soul, it really needs a hand break. It will probably come in the form of a Facebook myspace moment or an Microsoft anti trust lawsuit.

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she_jedi is gonna tell you...

Posted March 29
I honestly don’t know how JK Rowling managed to write Harry Potter in a cafe. Maybe it was before they became hipster traps of “pretend bullshit writers”...? Maybe she started it???

John Birmingham has opinions thus...

Posted March 29
I was pondering this very question just yesterday.

Nocturnalist mutters...

Posted March 29
I suspect she spent a lot of time in there outside the breakfast/lunchtime/after work rushes. (It was owned by a relative, apparently, so at least she didn't have to contend with "Scuse me, but the boss says you have to order something or leave".

damian mutters...

Posted March 29
I’d hang out for hours in quiet cafés in the 80s and 90s. Mostly they’d be okay if it wasn’t busy and you got at least one coffee or a pot of tea. Worst you would get is after a while a polite “Are you going to order anything else? It’s just there are people waiting for a table...”

I did get writing done that way, though it was with a good old A4 notebook and a pen (or several pens, ball points ran out too fast, felt tip sharpies hadn’t really been invented). That’s while living alone or in share houses, too, which is a very different life.

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Nocturnalist ducks in to say...

Posted March 29
There's a particular caff here that was pretty much my second home in my 30s. I'd knock off the day job at sixish, head in there, eat, then bust out the laptop and write until they threw me out at 10pm and usually go home and put another hour or two in before bed. It was a pain if it got too crowded, in which case I'd go elsewhere, but most of the time the noise level was just right, just enough to lull the looking-for-distraction part of my brain so it didn't interfere with the writing but not enough to, well, interfere with the writing. So maybe it's just a question of finding the *right* café.

Interesting thing was that when I was in a café with a certain amount of background noise I was fine, but on the nights I went to write in the library at ANU where it was much quieter, a single whispered conversation six desks away would drive me insane.

Did you ever work in an old-school newsroom in your journalist days, JB? I know Terry Pratchett said that once you've learned to write surrounded by ringing phones and shouting sub-editors you can write anywhere.

John Birmingham has opinions thus...

Posted March 29
Yeah, it's a weird thing. I have no trouble writing in crowded newsrooms. It's a background buzz, I guess.

she_jedi has opinions thus...

Posted March 31
I’m a business analyst so I have to write requirements documents, business cases etc, so creative but in a formal way? And I find I can write in a mildly noisy office, to the point where i’m doing my writing workshop stuff for uni in the office after hours before I go home because once i’m home the procrastination bug gets me and my creativity dries up. It’s weird!

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Jason Cox’s first book

Posted March 28 into Books by John Birmingham

A couple of years ago when I was collecting stories for the Dave Hooper anthology, I got this great little short from a guy called Jason. And then I got another one. And another one. And another. It just went on and on like the bombing of Dresden.

Except Jason’s word bombs were really good. All up he sent me seven pieces, and I’m pretty sure I used them all.

It’s been satisfying to watch him graduate to his own story worlds. His first novel, THE HARD MAN, dropped this week and he was kind enough to let me have an extract which you can read below.

I’ve already bought my copy right here, so I’ll be reading that.

2 Responses to ‘Jason Cox’s first book’

jl reckons...

Posted March 28
Good stuff by Jason, I was privileged to have Beta'd this. Enjoyed this book, recommend for anyone wanting an entertaining, fast-paced read.

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Therbs would have you know...

Posted April 3
Its sitting on my kindle yelling at me to start. Who am I to deny a hard man?

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