Adrift on the Ocean of Truth


Link to me at:


I'm Richard Baker ( and this is my homepage and the central node of my Web presence. I'm a physicist, a software engineer, an entrepreneur, an extropian and a science fiction fan. Maybe one day I'll be a writer too. I'm also interested in history, philosophy, evolutionary biology, positive psychology and many other things.

the exercise of vital powers

I work as lead application developer and development manager at Clifton College, an independent school in Bristol. I'm responsible for the full product lifecycle of database applications that ease the running of the school. My current projects are a system for Clifton College Services, the commercial wing of the school, to support its Holiday Activity Courses, and the development of the college's website and intranet.

prettier shells

I'm a member of Trinity College, and until March 2003 (eighteen months after my funding ran out...) I was a research student in the Geometric Algebra Group, part of the Astrophysics Group of the Cavendish Laboratory at Cambridge University. Before working towards a PhD, I did a postgraduate Diploma in Computer Science at the Cambridge Computer Laboratory, and before that a four year physics course within the Natural Sciences Tripos. I lived in Cambridge for nine years but for personal reasons I've recently returned to Bristol (whence I came and where I went to school at QEH).

colonising cyberspace

I'm a member of the Culture and can often be found on #culture (which also has a Web interface). I'm also part of the CultureBooks reading group and I own the Culture's backup Elench list (but not the LondonElench). I've contributed numerous articles to the Culture Data Repository, including the Very Brief History of Time (which I plan to turn into a book called Light, the Universe and Everything) and a partial autobiography. I'm at least partly to blame for the Culture's Cannibalistic Nazi Vampire Submariners film. Some snippets of my Culture messages have ended up in Paul Morrison's quotes file and in the weblogs of such luminaries as Brad DeLong and Charlie Stross. Sometimes I hang out on Brin-L too. The Usenet archives contain quite a few posts by me from long ago.

the strange countries of the future

In the mid 1990s I sketched out the setting of a hard-sf RPG called Ad Astra with my friend Dave. I've recently restarted work on this project and intend to greatly expand the current material. You can help by answering the survey on the game's future. I've also made some minor contributions to Orion's Arm, a hard-sf worldbuilding project. Recently I've been thinking about some new future histories. I've written the beginning of The Paragon of Animals, the first story from my Solar Nebula future (and the ending too, which you can read if you don't like middles). Comments would be appreciated. As well as writing sf, I like to read it. Iain Banks, Greg Egan, William Gibson, Neal Stephenson, Bruce Sterling, Vernor Vinge and David Zindell are some writers I particularly like. The TV shows I enjoy most are Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Babylon 5.

rock and roll epiphany

My favourite bands are the Smashing Pumpkins, Radiohead and Veruca Salt, but I like Ash, Blonde Redhead, the Delgados, the Donnas, the Foo Fighters, Garbage, The Gathering, Beth Gibbons, Gemma Hayes, Hole, Jack Off Jill, Kenickie, Lacuna Coil, Le Tigre, Mercury Rev, Nina Gordon, Nine Inch Nails, Beth Orton, A Perfect Circle, Porcupine Tree, Portishead, Queen Adreena, REM, Sleater-Kinney, Snake River Conspiracy, Suede, Theatre Of Tragedy, Tool and many others too. Recently I've been listening to Evanescence, Zwan amd Liz Phair.

no man is an island

I know lots of interesting people including Nick Baylis, Claire Bickell, Carolyn Burke Brad DeLong, James DiBenedetto, Richard Edwards, Stephen Fulljames, Cerstin Henning, Kate Hill, Adrian Hon, Dan Hon, Lisa Khalid, Sara Rabinowitz, Kim Randell, Matt Rhodes, Ashley Silcock, Jolene Simko, Gaute Strokkenes, Evan Vetere, Paul Walker and Mariama Xi.