There were giants in those days …

… and Steven Den Beste was one of the greatest. Sadly, he’s now gone. His site, USS Clueless, was one of the first websites that became a daily stop – I set up a bookmark for it, but I went there so often that it actually became faster for me to type the URL. His server, which was in his home, apparently died around the same time he did, but there is an authorized mirror available.

Bill Whittle described USS Clueless as the internet’s Krell Mind Machine, and that was an apt description. His long-form writing was well-researched, well-thought-out, and left you better informed, even if you weren’t actually smarter, for having read it. He was an engineer, and his posts on engineering topics, particularly things like alternative energy, were and are worthwhile references. His posts on politics earned him a position in “the Four Horsemen of the ABlogalypse.”

He retired USS Clueless in 2004, because he suffered from a genetically-caused degenerative disease, and the medications he took to allow him to do the in-depth posts became too much for him to want to handle, not to mention that his emails were filled with attacks and nitpicking, which became discouraging.

He continued blogging, but limited himself to anime, personal topics, and the occasional topical post. Chizumatic was never a regular stop for me, but it was a pleasant diversion on those occasions that I went there.

There are many tributes to him that have been posted already, and I’m sure more will be posted in the next days. There is a roundup post here that covers all the ones I’d found myself, and then some.

Farewell, Steven. I’m sorry you’re gone, and I hope you’re feeling better.

UPDATE: Steven talked about whether he’d made an impact here. Given the responses to his death, I feel confident in saying that he did, even apart from his engineering work.

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