Artemis - a disappointing follow-up to Martian

Oh, what a disappointment! I approached Andy Weir's Artemis powered with the fervor of Martian. And this book, about the moon colony, starts quite brilliantly. The colony, with all its trappings of being a human civilization with human flaws (economic disparity, commercialism, crime, etc), is described well. There are fun facts like coffee tasting terrible because water never boils or that Kenya, with its proximity to moon (being on the equator) is suddenly  massively rich and powerful.   

But then it immediately becomes clear that this book is written, largely as a movie script with ready-made characters right out of your average blockbuster script. It resorts to some terribly poor attempts at pedestrian humor and dubious plot elements to keep moving forward. It prioritizes forward motion over all else hence sacrificing the tension and good-natured angst that kept Martian taut and interesting. 

However, there is one quote that I found quite relatable: 

“I woke to those few seconds of pleasant amnesia that everyone is awarded with.”


By Andy Weir

Quality - Put trust in the new or on the old reliable?

I was hurtling down a highway last evening at 80 miles an hour and while executing a particularly sharp and long curve along the road I could not help but think about the trust we all must put in our vehicles. The number of things that could go wrong at any moment is infinite. And yet, for the most part, things don't go wrong. I mentally patted myself on the back that it is good that I recycle the car every couple years reducing problems induced by wear and tear. However, I also immediately thought that isn't it better that once you have put some miles or a couple years on a car you must trust it *more* not less? It has gone through the only real QA (Quality Assurance) possible. The rubber hasn't just hit the road but survived and thrived. Should I really be returning that car in favor of a brand new with a better smell but less real-world testing potentially putting myself at risk all over again every few years? 

Who knows? We don't. But we do know that this isn't going to be a problem for long. More than likely the next car will offer over-the-air-updates for software that would more or less run the car - essentially continuously making it more and less safe at the same time.