• Posts
  • RSS
  • ◂◂RSS
  • Contact

  • All vs Most

    June 28th, 2012
    giving  [html]
    Problems with the potential to kill huge numbers of people are a favorite in fiction. I think this is because on that scale everything else is unimportant. [1] Why should the protagonist be spending all their time undermining the evil scientist, ignoring all the duties of the ordinary life they left behind? Because billions of lives are at stake! Why should we be willing to spend money like acorns to send a spaceship out to destroy that incoming asteroid? Because it would end life on earth!

    One thing they tend not to distinguish, however, is whether the catastrophe threatens to kill everyone or just most people. In terms of how many people die, things that kill 90% of people vs 100% are much more similar than different. But anything humanity can't recover from is very much worse: it removes the possibility of future people getting to live. [2] I find plagues and bioterrorism really worrying, but at least they're very unlikely to kill everyone.


    [1] Except love. The author can make a romance much stronger by having the protagonist make a choice where they value the love interest more than saving the world. Of course the world still gets saved, potentially by the two of them working together.

    [2] If there might be a lot of future people this is really bad, but even if we're just talking about a eliminating the earth's steady state population that's a lot of people-time missed out on.

    Comment via: google plus, facebook

    Recent posts on blogs I like:

    Learning Worst Industry Practices

    If I have a bad idea and you have a bad idea and we exchange them, we now have two bad ideas. But more than that. If I have a bad idea and you have a good idea and we exchange them, we should both land on your good idea – but that requires both […]

    via Pedestrian Observations September 20, 2020

    Collections: Iron, How Did They Make It? Part I, Mining

    This week we are starting a four-part look at pre-modern iron and steel production. As with our series on farming, we are going to follow the train of iron production from the mine to a finished object, be that a tool, a piece of armor, a simple nail, a w…

    via A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry September 18, 2020

    Learning Game

    I came up with this game. In the game one person thinks of something and then gives the other person a clue. And the other person writes a guess down on a blackboard or a piece of paper. Or really anything you have that's laying around that's av…

    via Lily Wise's Blog Posts September 17, 2020

    more     (via openring)


  • Posts
  • RSS
  • ◂◂RSS
  • Contact