01 January 2025

Where to get my books

There are two options; Google Play, or the Draft2Digital publication targets. Google Play isn't available globally (though they intend to be, based on how the publisher interface sets up billing regions!). So you might need to try one of the Draft2Digital targets. Kobo seems to be a good fallback choice for availability though not for avoiding DRM.

Title Google Books2Read
The Human Dress on Google Play via Books2Read
The March North (Commonweal #1) on Google Play via Books2Read
A Succession of Bad Days (Commonweal #2) on Google Play via Books2Read
Safely You Deliver (Commonweal #3) on Google Play via Books2Read
Under One Banner (Commonweal #4) on Google Play via Books2Read

15 September 2018

Road design

Various people comment that pedestrian and public transit city design with a side of cycling is much safer; various other people comment that much existing cycling infrastructure in Anglo NorAm looks for all the world as though it was designed to kill cyclists.

Well, yes it is in sober truth of fact meant to kill cyclists.

I don't understand how this can be considered a question.  Long-standing -- from the 1970s burst of cycling enthusiasm -- cycling infrastructure invariably has features meant to slow you down or to force you to dismount more or less as often as it can; any time the cycling path might cross a road or go under a bridge or interact with a pedestrian path.

These bits of infrastructure generally take two forms; a heavy metal gate, or a speed bump.  The heavy metal gate is invariably set a height to throw you off the bicycle forward on to your head if you hit it; just hitting the heavy metal barrier at speed might well kill you, and it's not like the things are signed at all.  It's not hard to go down a hill round a corner and get a surprise.  The speed bump is invariably carefully narrower and more steep (and thus cheaper, for requiring less material) than a car speed bump.  Also sometimes taller, and equally it functions to throw you off your bicycle into traffic.

The purpose of a system is what it does; the bicycle infrastructure is set up with a clear "get off the bicycle or we'll kill you" message.

Pretty much all cycling infrastructure in AngloNorAm is set up this way; it's created to minimize inconvenience to car traffic and to minimize startlement to pedestrians.  It thereby exists to make you get off the bike, and if you won't get off the bike, it'll kill you.

That's what it's for.

13 September 2018

Ontario politics

This is a whole lot simpler than a lot of people seem to be treating it as being.

Doug Ford has no belief that the law applies to him because it never has.

White supremacy is an authoritarian economic system based on loot-sharing.  The idea that there is no more loot -- that everything has been stolen, or, alternatively, that there's a system of laws that allows people to have and effectively defend political and property rights -- is utterly intolerable to a white supremacist.  The idea that you're not allowed to keep copying the authoritarian social norms into the future -- which is what the idea that you shouldn't bully, that the disabled and poor have rights, that misogyny is not virtuous, and so on functionally are -- is an obvious moral wrong.  That you should not loot, but work, is another obvious moral wrong.  The virtuous take, they do not strive.

If you combine these things, you've got someone driven by an intense moral imperative to create a category of lootable goods; who indeed believes it is morally wrong to have a concept of public space, public land, or public goods if those things interfere with looting behaviours on the part of his class.  It's not precisely corruption; corruption involves a recognition of wrongdoing.  Doug is absolutely certain that it is right to enforce hierarchy, to loot, and most of all, to enrich himself, because that is how you demonstrate virtue.

Laws are not applicable to him, and by extension anything he wants is legal.

That's all there is to it.

30 August 2018

Publication targets

So my books generally publish to Google Play, Kobo, iTunes, and Scribd.

Draft2Digital can (recently) publish to Amazon, and this solves my problems with Amazon's thing-like-a-contract and wire-payment-requires-a-chartered-bank-and-we-won't-cut-you-a-cheque policy.  It doesn't solve my issues with Amazon's labour practices.  When I used The Human Dress as an experiment to see how much market there was for my books on Amazon, there wasn't much; fewer sales than iTunes, which in turn is fewer than Kobo, which runs about a quarter to a third of the Google sales.  Putting the Commonweal on a platform with an internal flesh-robot business model is something I don't want to do, and it's not the case that I'm ignoring half the market; I might be ignoring ten percent of the market as it exists for me.  The Google Play version is DRM-free and readily cross-loaded, so liking your kindle shouldn't be too much disadvantage.

I don't publish to Nook.  Nook is a Draft2Digital publication target, but Nook as a platform cannot cope with the EPUB3 standard without introducing some highly specific workarounds.  These workarounds break everybody else, and the whole point of Draft2Digital is you give them one instance of the epub file and they publish the same thing everywhere you want to send it.  (I've been getting the same "EPUB3?  that's very advanced and our marketing tools may not cope!" message from Draft2Digital since the first time I used them in 2015, too.)  I like my EPUB3 toolchain; it's nicely debugged.  It validates readily.  It takes a couple of seconds to generate a new version.  I don't want to change it if I don't have to, and "have to" is not how I view "get books on Nook".

Tangible book publishing is outside my skillset and beyond my means, so there are no present plans to do so.

That's the current state of the means by which my books might wend their merry way to you, and I hope if there was any confusion there is now less.

20 August 2018

Committing book is getting to be a habit

Cover for Under One Banner, Commonweal #4
Egalitarian heroic fantasy.  Career options after your Talent-mediating brain tissue catches actual fire, what became of the Shot Shop, and certain events involving Scarlet Battery, Fifth Battalion (Artillery), First Brigade, Wapentake of the Creeks.

May contain feels.

Available on Google Play
Available via Draft2Digital  (this is a "universal link" and will show you everywhere it's available on Draft2Digital publication targets.  Amazon is not one of them.  Kobo, iTunes, and Scribd are.  It can take a couple weeks for a book to propagate on to the publication target.)

18 August 2018

Moral rot

"The moral rot of Trumpers like Dennard is breathtaking." That's Josh Marshall about some specific presumption-of-corruption incident.

I have this axiom that as soon as you're trying to explain anything beyond maybe a specific individual at a specific time in moral terms, you're making a mistake. Moral systems do not scale and have effectively no explanatory power. So what's going on?

Your complex modern world demands a couple of things, one obvious -- a willingness to accept you're going to have to approach it through abstraction -- and one much less obvious -- you're going to have to abandon anything that turns out to be counterfactual.

You can get a really clear example of "abandon the counterfactual" in drug policy. If the goal of the policy is to minimize harm[1], punitive laws don't work. Legalization and medical support mechanisms work.

Thing is, if you were raised in an authoritarian worldview, you probably can't do that. Abandoning your counterfactuals isn't something you've got the cognitive machinery to do, and you're nigh-certainly strongly conditioned to regard it as failure to attempt to do so. There's one immutable truth and you can never escape or alter it. (Facts aren't mutable but facts aren't the stuff in your head, either, and facts are just as complicated as the world they describe. Facts are a surprisingly poor tool for understanding. (Hence abstraction being both difficult to do well and essential.))

So what we're seeing isn't people in the grip of moral rot, so much as what we're seeing is a bunch of authoritarians who cannot abandon the counterfactual. (One of those counterfactuals is "money is virtue".) That inability leads to using an erroneous understanding of reality; it doesn't match up and the cost to get the reality map folded correctly starts to approximate "start over". This is impractically difficult for anyone to do. If you're rich enough, no one will expect you to and you'll wander around the landscape arguing what public schools (which at least approach the ideas of abstraction and abandoning the counterfactual) are bad, because they teach things which aren't authoritarian.

If you're not rich enough, you'll suppose everyone else is using your exact set of collapsed axioms and get angry when they won't admit it. Because what else could people be doing?

Simple does make things easier to copy into the future for awhile. Thing is, wrong is expensive, even when the complex society does its best to minimize the immediate consequences, that only lasts for awhile.

[1] the purpose of the system is what it does. Drug policy exists as an excuse for enslavement and terrorism with a side-note in avoiding civil control of the police by creating an independent revenue stream.

08 August 2018

More functionality

So when I was talking about functionality in a post recently, various commentators thought I was describing something plausibly either socialism or anarchism.

This made me blink a bit, and then I recognized that I hadn't said that the Seriously Full Service Credit Union Arrangement -- hereafter SFSCUA -- is a market actor.

Markets work fine if, and only if, all the participants are knowledgeable, all the participants have the option to refuse (at least on the scale of "this deal"), and there's a rough parity-of-pockets so that one party can't use greater financial endurance as a tool to impose costs.  (and if there's decent regulation disambiguating a common public notion of what it means to cheat and applying penalties to those as do anyhow.)

Part of the point of the SFSCUA arrangement is that it's potentially immortal.  It buys housing stock on the assumption that it's got a fifty year planning horizon and thereby a real need to minimize maintenance costs, so of course some initial capital spending is warranted.  It buys food on the futures market.  (It probably clubs together with other SFSCUAs and that entity buys food on the futures market, just as real credit unions handle insurance capital requirements today.)   It's not a corporation; it doesn't have immunity from liability and you are secure in your share.  (You can sell it or swap it but there's no way to offer the corporation (the SFSCUA isn't) a buyout agreement, sorts of thing.)

This is the sort of thing that makes markets effective; individuals can't possibly know enough for there to be an effective market in nearly all areas.  There is no fix for this that doesn't involve collective actors.  I think the intense opposition to collective actors on the part of corporations should tell us something.