• Andrew: Earth is rather awesome.
  • Dan: I wonder what evolutionary mechanism makes us feel awe at [a towering mountainscape].
  • Andrew: Fear/respect of the unknown.
  • Dan: Fear, sure. Why does that mutate into respect? Is respect a byproduct of our status as social animals? Would we respect the mountain and the stars if we weren't?
  • Andrew: Yes, we are programed to fear and repect our superiors becuase their is danger inherent in not doing so IE being cast out of the tribe. So we fear heights and the unknown as they both hold there own dangers. From there we develop respect for them.
  • But obviously we can't be constantly afriad of everything we encounter if we are to be master of the land. So fear becomes respect, a safe distance and a smile at the feast lion. A whistful whistle at the towering giants.
  • That's part of why we take so much pleasure in naming the stars and climbing the mountians. It's the same pride we feel from a succesful hunt, the conquest of a powerful force by human will and intellect.


My friend, the wonderful sf writer Peter Watts was beaten without provocation and arrested by US border guards on Tuesday. I heard about it early Wednesday morning in London and called Cindy Cohn, the legal director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation. She worked her contacts to get in touch with civil rights lawyers in Michigan, and we mobilized with Caitlin Sweet (Peter’s partner) and David Nickle (Peter’s friend) and Peter was arraigned and bailed out later that day.

— Cory Doctorow