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A plaintive request

I'm still on vacation (with a side-order of signing tour) and won't be home until Thursday evening, at which point I'll be jet-lagged for a few days. Meanwhile, History is happening, and I wish it would stop, or at least slow down.

As Lenin allegedly put it, "sometimes decades pass that feel like weeks: and sometimes weeks pass that feel like decades." Assuming the quote's correct (I haven't been able to run down a citation for it), he was on the nail, and we're clearly living through it: at the rate History has been happening over the past month I am expecting the date for a new Scottish Independence referendum to be announced, China to land a Taikonaut on the Moon, Turkey to declare war on Pennsylvania, and Boris Johnson not to offend anyone all week. (For those who aren't in on the joke, here's The Economist's take on Boris as Foreign Secretary—key phrase: "like putting a baboon at the wheel of the Rolls Royce".)

Seriously. 2016 sucks. It probably doesn't suck as badly as 1933, or 1943 come to think of it, but it's still a shitty, horrible, no-good excuse for a year in history, and future generations of schoolkids will ask their baffled teachers, "but what were they thinking?"

So. In an attempt to cheer myself up ... what am I missing that is outside the prevailing media narrative but is still worthy of reportage?

588 Comments

1:

Pokémon Go is making people go out and interact with strangers cordially.

2:

That's not news.

(In other news: some guy somewhere wrote a book in 2006, published in 2007, called "Halting State" ...)

3:

There's a new Laundry Files novel!

4:

So, some good news, ..

.. anything scientific!

(1) Anything with gravity waves.

(2) CERN's quadruple quark particles.

(3) Binary neutron stars and their EoS: http://www3.mpifr-bonn.mpg.de/staff/pfreire/NS_masses.html

(4) Henry's cell paper: http://www.cell.com/abstract/S0092-8674(15)01191-5

5:

And a good book it was. But that's reality, in the "Stranger Danger" and "Shoot first, don't ask questions later" country. If that doesn't give you a modicum of hope...

6:

And.. speaking of the new (and excellent) Laundry Files novel... Y'know that picture of Pence eating at Chili's that's been circulating? It's been noticed that Pence's daughter doesn't seem to have a reflection in the mirror behind them. Uh oh.

7:

Holy crap, I missed the Henry paper. I don't have enough of it to tune my bullshit detector, but if true it's significant.

8:

There have been worse years ir recent history. Remember 2008? Global economic collapse with a side order of Polish leadership dying in a plane crash, 130000 people die in a cyclone in Burma, 69000 die in an earthquake in China, bomb blasts with hundreds of dead everywhere, Russia attacks Georgia, dozens of ships hijacked by Somali pirates, 600 killed by a hurricane in Haiti, Madoff scheme collapses.

We would need a serious natural disaster to challenge that kind of record.

9:

2016 was the year "normal" ended for most people

10:

http://www.defensenews.com/story/defense/innovation/2016/05/03/lockheed-nuclear-fusion-generator-investment/83870398/

There's starting to be VC money moving toward fusion. General Fusion's starting to build full-scale subsystems. Nothing immense, but the money might be growing a brain about energy urgency.

Tesla had its first fatal crash and their stock bounced around a bit but is basically stable.

It's looking less and less likely this year will repeat 2012, agriculturally.

I don't think this is enough, but it's something.

11:

We're hitting global economic failure, though; Swiss 50 year bond yields have gone negative, and everyone else's are trending down. The whole thing is running on momentum.

The little shred of silver lining is that the political cost of pretending things are OK may -- I stress may -- be getting higher fast enough that a fix will be tried.

12:

Brazil is having a really bad year on so many fronts. On the plus side, probably because of the Rio Olympics more research is being done on the Zika virus with one of the more interesting approaches is the use of gene drives.

http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2016/06/08/481234642/new-genetic-engineering-method-called-promising-and-perilous

It seems that humanity now has access to several different approaches to mapping and manipulating the human brain but so far haven't seen anything that compares, contrasts and/or consolidates these different approaches/info. CompSci brain mapping vs. optogenetics vs. chemogenetics, etc.


13:

There's also a possibility that a 5th force of nature has been discovered.


http://www.livescience.com/55283-has-a-fifth-force-been-discovered.html

Excerpt:

'There are many ideas about forces that affect only dark matter and the term for this basic idea is called "complex dark matter." One common idea is that there is a dark photon that interacts with a dark charge carried only by dark matter. This particle is a dark matter analog of the photon of ordinary matter that interacts with familiar electrical charge, with one exception: Some theories of complex dark matter imbue dark photons with mass, in stark contrast with ordinary photons. [Gallery: Dark Matter Throughout the Universe]

If dark photons exist, they can couple with ordinary matter (and ordinary photons) and decay into electron-positron pairs, which is what the Hungarian research group was investigating. Because dark photons don’t interact with ordinary electric charge, this coupling can only occur because of the vagaries of quantum mechanics. But if scientists started seeing an increase in electron-positron pairs, that might mean they were observing a dark photon.

The Irvine group found a model that included a "protophobic" particle that was not ruled out by earlier measurements and would explain the Hungarian result. Particles that are "protophobic," which literally means "fear of protons," rarely or never interact with protons but can interact with neutrons (neutrophilic).

The particle proposed by the Irvine group experiences a fifth and unknown force, which is in the range of 12 femtometers, or about 12 times bigger than a proton. The particle is protophobic and neutrophilic. The proposed particle has a mass of 17 million electron volts and can decay into electron-positron pairs. In addition to explaining the Hungarian measurement, such a particle would help explain some discrepancies seen by other experiments. This last consequence adds some weight to the idea.'

14:

1. California's experiencing totally expected hiccoughs in trying to transition to renewable energy. These might turn into epic fails, so it's worth watching, as a microcosm of difficult it is to rebuild the infrastructure of a complex system, especially in California, where noir was invented for a very good reason: http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-renewable-energy-summit-20160711-snap-story.html

2. You're probably already aware of this, but Google is experimenting with post-quantum cryptography, and may roll it out soon in Chrome, whether it's truly secure or not: https://techcrunch.com/2016/07/07/google-starts-experimenting-with-quantum-secure-connections-in-chrome/

3. Worth checking out this essay, if you're worried about the Markram et al. paper on uploading bits of rat brain https://aeon.co/essays/intelligent-machines-might-want-to-become-biological-again (the tl;dr version is that it would be horribly energy expensive, at this point in time, to try to emulate an entire human brain. In 2045, it might be different.)

4. Have you run into the anti-Paparazzi scarf? It looks like dazzle camo 2.0. I wonder how much military research is going into defeating artificial vision systems there is, and whether we'll see dazzle X.0 systems replacing multispectral camouflage at some point:

http://www.thisisinsider.com/purchase-this-anti-flash-scarf-2016-6

5. How Pro-ISIS groups are developing survival tactics for using social media: http://spectrum.ieee.org/tech-talk/telecom/internet/proisis-online-groups-use-social-media-survival-strategies-to-evade-authorities. Since this is a research paper to help authorities deal with this, it looks like online "tradecraft" is developing rapidly. Along with the CIA's "Moscow Rules," I suspect they've also got "Facebook Rules."

15:

The police in the U.S. are finally starting to take online threats and harassment seriously, responding to them proactively instead of insisting they can do nothing until those threats become reality.

It is unfortunate that they only made this change in response to criticism of the police themselves, and it remains to be seen if they'll take any other threats seriously, but...it's a start?

https://theintercept.com/2016/07/12/after-dallas-shootings-police-arrest-people-for-criticizing-cops-on-facebook-and-twitter/

16:

Yes, gene drives are a bit worrisome, simply because of all the implications.

In general, IMHO we're having problems with information not making it across field boundaries in the life sciences fast enough.

For example, biomedical researchers are getting all sorts of credit for discovering things about bacteria (such as bombing them with huge amounts of antibiotics makes for resistance) that ecologists have known for decades and plant pathologists have known for even longer, dealing with pesticides and pests. I do know that early antibiotic researchers knew about antibiotic resistance, but there's been a lot of similar work done in parallel in different fields, and they aren't talking with each other. Seriously annoying.

Right now, there's a mosaic theory of coevolution out there that's seems to be causing a huge stir among at least some evolutionary researchers, but it's not hitting the mainstream yet. This is a big problem, because it's probably what we'll need to understand how CRISPR/cas-9 and similar systems have bigger impacts, but again, no one's well enough versed in both systems to make the knowledge jump from one field to another.

I won't go beyond that, because the silliness multiplies exponentially when we get to the cultural walls between fields. For example, how many engineers and designers think that deserts are barren places, filled with nothing but rocks and sand, and thus any desert anywhere is a perfect place for the industrial facility, and that locals who protest otherwise are stupid NIMBYs?

For a bigger example, how many artists (including writers) take that "humanities" label on art seriously, and have deep-seated humanist biases about what animals and/or machines are capable of, in terms of mental skills, creativity, empathy, and so on? How many artists still believe that evolution stops above the human neck, and that anything to do with a human brain came from (so as to not upset Greg Tingey) Something Else?

17:

I will note that Tesla also did a purchase/merger with Solar City, giving Musk a vertically integrated energy/storage/transport stack. If he subsequently buys someone who makes a rival to this (TLDR: electric articulated container lorry) then it'll be clear he's shooting to be the next General Motors, and with a good chance of making it (Tesla isn't huge but he's been consistently ahead of the ball on electric vehicles for a good five years now, with everyone else in the existing auto industry racing to catch up with his tyre tracks).

An ambitious sign of plans for global reach would involve investments in wind turbine and tidal turbine manufacturers, but those are probably outside his comfort zone and are already big business in some places (like, er, Scotland -- passed 56% renewables in 2015, exports energy to England via the grid, will still be an energy exporting economy even after North Sea oil winds down to zero).

18:

Tidal's not a good idea in the general case. (It's arguable that it's a good idea anywhere; the ecological cost's brutal.)

Terrestrial wind isn't worth it if you can use PV instead; wind has moving parts. Musk's very American, and western/south-western American at that. Is probably planning to take advantage of the Long Drought as a business opportunity. (Well, sure, it doesn't rain, but it's not cloudy, either, and you can put these on your land instead of soybeans...)

Ocean wind would be nice to see as a means of synthesizing pumpable fuels. If you can talk the newly independent Scotland into restarting/repurposing the Clyde shipbuilding industries to go out and harvest ocean wind, that would be something.

19:

I note that there are places were solar is pretty much useless -- Scotland, for example. North of every city in NorAm except Anchorage, gets as little as 4h of daylight in winter, needs most energy in winter for heating -- not in summer, for aircon. Wind, on the other hand: Scotland has bucketloads of it; 25% of the EU's offshore wind capacity, installing multi-GW offshore farms, and so on.

The Scottish offshore oil engineering support industry seems to be making a go of transitioning to offshore wind farm support; we may yet get to the point where they're producing synthetic oil or ammonia from farms too far out to cheaply cable up to the shore.

My take is that energy monocultures are as bad as any other type of monoculture, and we should diversify everywhere.

20:

Maverick scientist thinks he has discovered a magnetic sixth sense in humans Science, long-form but slight perfect for airport lounges, June 23rd 2016.


*innocent nose wiggle*


If you want a meta-comment, the recent palava in Turkey shows a quite distinct fracture between those who Believe [tm] in the narrative and those who are more than a little bored with the old 20th C ways of doing things[1]. In many ways the sloppiness shows the cracks ~ not that stops physical violence, but there we go. Can't kill an idea and all that [meta-meta-note: it takes a 10% to change a group, now look at genocide for your clues].

Whilst the particulars of Turkey are unique, a world where the Morlock / Eloi split between those who trust the narrative and those who control it is coming to an end.

Or, to look at it again: education (esp. science) is a broad spectrum where at each boundary you're lied to and told "this is how it works", only to ditch it at the next plateau. The downside to this is the instillation of false confidence.


There are other ways of doing this spectrum path, expect them to be used[2]. [T. May: vampire saving her eternal soul ~ we'll see].


A good one is to run your society so all Shine / Flourish / Become[3].


[1]I will remind you of bathrooms and women traveling alone to Iraq killing themselves with their shoelaces. That shit does not fly, Mr. Men.
[2] Turkey. Gul. Academy Schools. Tories and Academy Schools. Work out the players already.
[3] Trigger Words for all three factions.

21:

The new radio telescope in South Africa seems like good news to me! Stop reading the Politics pages!

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2016/jul/17/first-image-from-south-african-super-radio-telescope-far-better-than-expected

22:

There may be an upcoming issue/scandal regarding vendor charge-backs. Major online retailers and big box stores are devising increasingly complex and ever changing sets of directives for suppliers, then developing fee schedules for non-compliance. This has apparently become a significant revenue source and boon to their margins as smaller companies do not have the resources to dispute charges.

There are job postings cropping up more and more for "Chargeback Specialists" to dispute these claims, and in speaking to people in that area, a good portion of the claims are dropped after dispute; the retailers essentially seem to be spamming complaints for profit in the hopes that suppliers will not have the resources to dispute them then using those profits to support low pricing.

It is an interesting form of rent seeking and one that the consumer is unlikely to notice or fight because some of the benefit gets passed to them. In the end though, this is another pressure against small suppliers which will lead consolidation in those companies who can afford designated personnel to deal with retailer bureaucracy.

On the somewhat more reported side there is the artificial stingray made out of rat heart cells, organic drones will probably have some novel uses (aside from honey production).

23:

The New Zealanders managed to get 34 Kakapo chicks this breeding season, taking the species to 127 individuals,

This may not be 'news' or 'historic' for humans, but it certainly is for Kakapo! (or would be, if they understood it)

24:

'Human Error' by Paul Preuss - when 'sloppy drives' leak from the computer and infect humans . . . one time when you probably won't want to be immune to the infection, and the younger you catch it, the better.

25:

Depressingly, you have proved to be quite prescient

26:


> Wind, on the other hand

I may have pointed to this before, but https://earth.nullschool.net/ has a neat animation of current global wind conditions. Or at least I think it's current. It kind of shows where and why wind energy is available.

Of local interest here, I note that Texas' large wind industry seems to be dependent on the tail end of the admirably dependable Trade Winds after they blow across the Gulf of Mexico and curl up toward the north and west.

27:

#helicoptermoney => #basicincome has received a ton of interest and is moving into the zeitgeist surprisingly rapidly. 1st step towards a post-scarcity utopia - everyone's goal, I'm sure.

I am trying to spread the meme that helicopter money (QE for the people) should be the means of implementing basic income. It's the only way currently available to break deflationary economies out of the liquidity trap. We'll worry about inflation if any sign of it develops.

28:

A few things from my end

1. This is the year SpaceX is likely to launch 12 flights in a row. Speaking of, they've also mastered ship-based landing. Whether or not this leads to reusability, it is a technical feat in-and-of itself

2. Bezos' Blue Origin has indicated that they'll start launching suborbital paying customers in 2018. They've also broken ground on an orbital rocket factory

3. http://spaceref.biz/company/moon-express-announces-new-home-at-historic-cape-canaveral-space-launch-complexes-17-18.html

4. http://www.shanghaidaily.com/article/article_xinhua.aspx?id=329848

5. http://spaceref.biz/organizations/space-angels-network-opposes-icbm-amendment-to-the-2017-national-defense-authorization-act.html
TLDR. Orbital-ATK wants the US to speed up decommissioning its ICBMs so that they can use the ICBMs as launch vehicles to compete with the new startups

29:

Helicopter money is completely the anti-thesis of Basic Income - it's basically an attempt at making QE a: Actually work in an environment where banks refuse to lend. and b: Not make inequality worse.
But it's still bog standard Keynes, and the payouts stop as soon as the economy has been kicked into a higher equilibrium. Which it would be - It's an excellent policy idea, it's just not in remotely the same idea space as BI.

31:

Maybe this will cheer you up. As in, things could be worse?

Yes, you do have Merry Terry and Boris the horror. However, you do not have Trump. What's much more important, you do not have hundreds of people being killed by raving maniacs allowed to openly carry weapons designed for the sole purpose of killing people, and people being killed by the police and other people.

Most of us here on the other side of the pond would happily trade places with you.

32:

Russia and Turkey kiss and make up.

Seriously, this piece of positive political news coming from the most unlikely places should really restore our faith in humanity.

Russians and Turks are bitter historic rivals, fought twelve wars in four centuries, they always regarded each other as enemies. But since 1990s, trade and tourism (Russia is really cold in winter and Russians are desperate to have some sun and beaches in summer, which Turkey has in abundance) flourished to extraordinary levels.

Even cultural ties, which usually went in one direction (Turkish leftist intelligentsia has a thing for classical Russian literature) now reversed with millions of ordinary Russians listening to Turkish pop music and watching Turkish soap operas.

Idiotic downing of Russian jet in Syria by Turks last November seemed to have ended all that overnight. Russians and Turks were enemies again, anti-Turkish hysteria in Russia (and vice versa) beating sad records of Greek-Turkish antagonism.

And this too has suddenly ended. Erdogan apologised, Putin accepted his apology and Russian tourists are once again back at Turkish beaches. Even coup in Turkey didn't seem to stop them.

33:

And of course, failure of Turkish coup is definitely very good news. It is now clear that Erdogan has very serious popular support (his supporters even willing to risk their lives confronting tanks!), so successful coup would almost certainly have led to an all-out civil war in Turkey and quite possibly on greater scale than the current Syrian civil war.

It looks like we dodged this bullet.

34:

And SpaceX just landed another rocket.

That's well on the way to a drastic cut in launch costs.

35:

Helicopter money as qe also maps to the Sinclair economic model popularized by Heinlein in Beyond This Horizon and For Us The Living. In effect instead of banks inflating money to lend through fraction all reserves you distribute that expansion to fund basic income.

36:

and future generations of schoolkids will ask their baffled teachers, "but what were they thinking?"

They weren't, that's the problem.
Just wait for the US election .....

37:

The cure for that is to get the US Gini coefficient below 33% ( = .33 ).
Whereas if Drumpf wins it will hit 50% or higher ....

38:

How many artists still believe that evolution stops above the human neck, and that anything to do with a human brain came from (so as to not upset Greg Tingey) Something Else?

Indeed - & many of them uses "something else" usually some bullshit about "spirtuality" or "human society" - because they are deluding themselves, as well as trying to gull the rest of us .....

Actually/ultimately it's down to a failure of education & incompetent & prejudiced educators, of course.

39:

Tidal's not a good idea in the general case. (It's arguable that it's a good idea anywhere; the ecological cost's brutal.)

There are ways around this:
Big tidal lagoons rather than super-barrages.
Huge, slow-rotating, deeply submerged turbines in constant or semi-constant flows
[ Think 20 m diameter turbines, with their tops 20 metres below the surface in the outer E-Channel / Bristol-channel / Irish Sea / W coast of Scotland, f'rinstance ]

40:

IS IT
REALLY?

Goat-fucker Erdogan has stated that democracy is a useful route to islamism - in so many words.
The coup is a guarantee that he & his "moderate" (cough) islamists will clamp-down REAL HARD, thoroughly rig the next elections, & continue hos unbelievably stupid re-stated war against PKK ...
Not a pleasant prospect.

41:

Is it good news? It seems its being used as an excuse to tighten Erdogans grip on the country.

This might very well be a time will tell one....on balance it seems at the "least bad" end of the scale.

Whilst I wouldn't wish a civil war on the heads of anyone a country wracked by civil war can't drag NATO into anything, where a nationalist, islamist hard man President might be able to.

42:

Guidance is being provided, though not from the very highest levels, for Catholics (who are surprisingly numerous)on how to reconcile between different values in political responsiblity. In other words, they are being given permission to not be one issue voters. This could be critical if actually implemented beyond exhortations for bishops to teach critical thinking.

http://www.archny.org/news/the-hierarchy-of-values-in-voting

43:

The gulf stream!!! Who needs it?

44:

If Turkish people seem to want mildly Islamist dictatorship of Erdogan, who we are to argue against? Let them have it!

All-out civil war in Turkey is definitely the worst option.

War against PKK is probably over. I am quite sure Erdogan will soon announce ceasefire with Kurds like he did before.

His purges against military ensure that he no longer has an army to fight them.

45:

And his adventures abroad are probably over too. Turkish troops already pulled out of Iraq. His support for Syrian opposition will probably end as well. Even before the coup, the new prime minister made noises about normalization of ties with Syria.
In short, welcome to new Turkey - seriously weakened, relatively harmless, no threat to neighbours and no longer democratic.

46:

The awful year-in-general has, for me, been offset by getting married, getting ready to be parents, being about to move in to our first home, and -- the other day -- finding out I'm probably a friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend of yours. Which was clearly the high point of it all.

If I was to take any positives from a non-personal stance, it would maybe that Corbyn and Sanders have shown that the Left hasn't withered and faded away, but have been here all along and are coming back with teeth.

47:

#helicoptermoney => #basicincome has received a ton of interest and is moving into the zeitgeist surprisingly rapidly. 1st step towards a post-scarcity utopia - everyone's goal, I'm sure.

On basic income rather than helicopter money, I noted two recent articles in Prospect Magazine (it will ask for your email address before letting you read them). One by Jon Cruddas and Tom Kibasi, "A universal basic mistake" and a reply by Stewart Lansley and my colleague Howard Reed: "There’s no mistake: a Universal Basic Income would work".

The latter links to A Universal Basic Income: An Idea Whose Time Has Come?, a report by Lansley and Reed for Compass that models the change in income distribution produced by two UBI schemes. To quote:

... basic income ... encourages a society which allows greater freedom, and builds self-respect, in which all lifestyle choices are equally valued, and people are not judged by such decisions. Social security would move from today’s punitive stance, which only values work and too often assumes the worst in people, to providing the means for choices around work, innovation, co-operation and leisure.

My own experience of trying to fund educational projects supports UBI, as I'm sure does that of other readers here. I wrote an essay about this, "Cruddas and Kibasi Want Me to Waste My Talents".

48:

I'm interested in Basic Income as a concept, but it seems too open to abuse: there are always going to be people who, through myopia or desperation, are going to be willing to sell their current assets and leave themselves destitute or, at least, precarious -- and there will always be people willing to exploit that.

How do you guard against that? Would basic guarantees -- of, say, shelter, sustenance, etc. -- be more resilient and workable?

49:

Walter Jon Williams has answered Charlie's call to action and written a post on Turkey. He seems to think no coup attempt was best and successful coup was second best.

www.walterjonwilliams.net

50:

The bit that was news was the word "cordially". Most multiplayer games have already been taken over by the trolls by day 2.

51:

I don't think I can easily get at it, but am checking. It does look as if they FINALLY have a model that matches reality, but the risk there is that there may be ones that match closely in some respects but are serious misleading in others. Whatever. It looks like a leap beyond where we have been stuck with the damn-fool 'neural networks' (for which term it seems that von Neumann was to blame).

53:

"Maverick scientist thinks he has discovered a magnetic sixth sense in humans" That is not news, and started in 1992; the developments since then have been inconclusive (which does NOT mean entirely negative) attempts to find out whether or nor we can really use it.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC49775/


54:

So while Bowie might have died not long after, Blackstar was really pretty awesome. Not just as an earworm or pop song.

55:

Happy news:
A cyborg birth!
http://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/robots/a21716/swimming-stingray-robot-rat-cells/

Not-so-happy news:
The new dude at the helm in the Philippines is doubleplusungood, calling for the killing of drug dealers, with a body count of about 100 so far and 60.000 surrendering to the police, their ultimate fates currently unknown.

Re: the Henry Markram paper, if you want more background on computational neuroscience, feel free to drop me a line (argument from autority: I am currently doing a PhD in computational neuroscience).

56:

News this week?

As normal we're pretty steadily slightly improving treatments for various diseases. I don't mean some giant leap forward that grabs headlines. I mean survival rates and quality of life in a half dozen cancers or various other diseases has been improved a little by modest, boring research results that will never get a headline in a daily newspaper.

Also, when I'm feeling down this video has a way of making me smile since it represents a reduction in human suffering on a level that's hard to really comprehend:

https://i.imgur.com/c9KlUGn.webm

57:

The usual stated position of Islamists is that no authority made by people can out-rank one set up by God. Handily, the Koran lays out the divine laws that us humans are supposed to live by, but with a slight downside of doing so in a mostly-incomprehensible manner.

There is a fix though! All you do is let your friendly neighbourhood Islamic cleric do the proper interpreting, thus effectively supplanting a democratic government with a religious one.

For a look at how well that looks, have a shufti at Iran where the populace have had a religious-based system for an awful long time, and are a bit fed up with it.

58:

My take is that energy monocultures are as bad as any other type of monoculture, and we should diversify everywhere.

I think that will be the big lesson of carbon power. We discovered that our main source of energy was destroying the planet, and then fucked around for a couple of generations while the damage piled up because it was politically difficult to begin transitioning the entire planet away from what for most intents and purposes was the only game in town, energy-wise. But if we get through this squeeze and in 2116 someone discovers that, I dunno, one type of biosynth fuel is really bad news, we'll be much more able to phase it out quickly if that fuel is only 10% of the energy market.

59:


*innocent nose wiggle*

How many fucking pen names does one person need?!

60:

The Koran is nothing like what it is painted in the anti-Islamic press; I bought a copy to see what it really said. There is little difference in that respect between Christianity, Islam, Judaism or indeed Communism, Capitalism or any other religion.

The most hopeful things that I can see in the news is the possibility that the chaos in the West might shake cracks into some of the old sources of evil. Pursuing the mixture as before, only more so, is not sanity, and even the much-deprecated contenders (Erdogan excepted) strike me as not wholly evil.

61:

Amazon sell googly eyes in packs of 200, and it seems reasonable to use two of those per sock so I would guess at around 250 before needing to put another order in.

62:

SUMB! (Snickering Under My Breath).

64:

Packs of 500! Undone by crappy typing again :)

65:

Plus, SpaceX continues to succeed in landing boosters: http://www.space.com/33443-spacex-dragon-launch-rocket-landing.html

Reusability is the key to reducing launch costs; reducing launch costs enables the commercial exploitation of LEO and beyond. Let NASA do science; Musk is better at engineering.

66:

Well, for one, without it most Europeans would have to relocate to Northern Africa.

67:

The Koran is arranged in order of chapter length rather than in the order it was written. This version of it was created by "the anti Islamic press" to make it readable.

http://www.citizenwarrior.com/2008/12/abridged-koran.html

68:

What appears to have happened with the Koran makes quite an interesting tale, if you will forgive my failing memory of the tale.

The prophet seems to have definitely been a real person; non-Koranic records of his existence are present. Whether he did everything he was claimed to do is however debatable. The Koran was a set of oral history tales about the man, and about the then-traditional tribal lore which were written down about a century after his death.

The writing-down event appears to have involved quite a lot of people, none of whom was able to guesstimate how much parchment was needed. Several different scribes were used, some of whom wrote and spoke Aramaic instead of Old Arabic. The recorded text is mostly Arabic, with some Aramaic which I understand share a common alphabet and script.

From the start, the scribes used only the good side of the parchment leaves, this after all being religious truth, not any old doggerel. When the work was mostly done, though, they ran out of parchment and started using the other sides of the already-completed parchment leaves. Page numbering was either unknown, or was not used, so the reading sequence of the collection (which in any case would have been poor for a sequence of remembered stories, sayings, aphorisms and traditions) relied on the parchments being read in order.

The collected text was then stored for long enough (years, perhaps) that nobody could remember the original reading order.

It was then copied, and distributed, but no one scholar could agree with any other scholar on reading order and so on; various amateur editing attempts were made so that over time several different edited korans were produced, each with their own little splinter group following and proclaiming that this one was true, all others blasphemous. A religious argument slowly spiralled into a war on this basis, until a king ordered that all copies of the Koran that were claimed to be original be brought to him so that a certifiable compendium be made.

This was done, and once the certified and guaranteed word of god version was made, all the competing copies were burned.

The final version recorded the chapters in order of size, nobody being able or bold enough to impose a reading order on them. The modern Koran is thus little more than a compiled list, out of which people tend to pull the bits they like and leave the rest (so just like every other religious book out there).

To add a little spice to the mix, that old mixture of mostly Arabic and a bit of Aramaic is still present, together with many of the original linguistic sayings that make no sense out of the original culture. Stuff like our modern "Pedal to the metal" which only makes sense to a culture which knows how to drive a contemporary motor vehicle, and which is meaningless to anyone else is what I'm getting at here.

Thus the text that in Arabic translates as "70 virgins" in Aramaic means "74 raisins" and originally meant something like "luxuries beyond all counting" (raisins being rare imported luxury goods) carry on being used and re-used and misunderstood.

69:

Then you shouldn't trust what it says, any more than you should trust the version that the Saudis are trying to claim is official, which has been extensively edited to be anti-Shia (and probably anti-women).

The version I read was by Sir Abdullah Yusuf Ali, and is the one favoured by Muslims who do NOT follow Saudi Arabia and, in particular, do NOT regard the Sharia as having been fixed in the 10th century (i.e. Shia and 'progressive' Islam).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abdullah_Yusuf_Ali

It is instructive to compare it with the Bible, and to compare the Gospels with Paul's revisions, the Decalog, Pentateuch etc. You can do the same for Judaism, with which I am vastly less familiar.

70:

I read Quran in Arabic and I can say that this is not really a book. Unlike Judeo-Christian Bible, there is no narrative, no story, no structure. It's just an extremely long diatribe against infidels mixed with long lectures on how the society should be ordered.
Arabic people (and Muslim scholars especially) should be lauded for having built an entire religion on such thin material.

71:

Not dissimilar to the Christian Bible's origin in level of chaos ....

72:

The names are retired and never used concurrently. This is different to sock puppets, which are used concurrently with other identities or as part of a force multiplier if you're into your JTRIG stuff.

I'm sure you can enjoy the irony of dead naming me, yes? I enjoy the irony that my identity is quite clear no matter the name ;)

Here's a mouse on a dandelion

~

Positive news?

The study identifies 15 ‘bright spots’ where ecosystems are in a much better shape than researchers had predicted they should be. These include unpopulated, unfished regions such as the Chagos Islands in the Indian Ocean, and areas that are close to towns and where fishing takes place — such as Kiribati and the Solomon Islands, also in the Pacific. The study also pinpoints 35 ‘dark spots’ where conditions were surprisingly poor, such as Montego Bay in Jamaica and Lord Howe Island between Australia and New Zealand.


Mass coral death drives efforts to identify resilient reefs Nature, 15th June 2016.


Obviously, if you identify the positive, you can replicate it.

73:

Re: The force multiplier bit you described above ... if this is a well-known ploy, wouldn't most tech-savvy site builders/managers have some means of identifying therefore preventing this?

Then there's folks who stick a number on someone else's identity ... C'mon, you're a unique person, pick yourself a unique name. Just because someone doesn't post for a few weeks, doesn't mean they won't be back.

74:

All forms of warfare, including computer security against malice (as distinct from mistake), are an arms race, where the side that has more resources or is more ingenious, wins.

75:

Holy sh*t.

Soft Bank bought ARM.

Almost every single mobile device out there uses an ARM-designed chip. One could wreak a h*ll of a lot of havoc by tinkering with that design process. I mean, that would be my reasoning if I were properly paranoid and all.

76:

Softbank is Japanese, if I recall correctly. Their intelligence services just got a major boost!

77:

And therefore (non-democratic) a threat to everybody.
Um err ....

78:

Precisely.
Next to no government at all, a religious government, a theocracy is almost certainly the worst form available ....

79:

There is little difference in that respect between Christianity, Islam, Judaism or indeed Communism, Capitalism or any other religion.
YES
They are all full of lying murderous WRONG shit ...
Not a problem, unless you are gullible.

80:

Much better IS THIS VERSION ...
These people also do a skeptic's annotated bible & annotated book of moron, too.

81:

Not a problem, unless you are gullible.

I wish. In practice gullible people will work hard to make it your problem.

82:

Was talking to a Turkish-American friend the other night. She fears and mistrusts Erdogan, gives some credence to the conspiracy theories alleging that the coup was stage-managed by Erdogan behind the scenes to give him a pretext for a clampdown, and thinks he's well on the way to becoming a dictator.

I tend to agree with WJW. No coup: best outcome. Successful coup: second best outcome -- bad, but not terrible. For worst outcome it's a toss-up between Erdogan suppressing the coup and becoming a dictator, and a half-successful coup leading to a civil war: both of these are terrible.

(You will note that since the coup Erdogan has fired more than 2000 judges and is talking about bringing back the death penalty for treason. This is the guy who considers bad-mouthing him on twitter to be treasonable, has started up a war against an ethnic minority he holds in about the same esteem as Hitler held Jews, and who may or may not be feeding weapons and aid to Da'esh.)

83:

Iran is more complicated than that!

Khomenei's great innovation in theological jurisprudence was in squaring the circle between islam and democracy -- which is what made him popular in the immediate post-revolutionary mess. His idea was to set up a constitution with a judiciary of islamic clergy to rule on the constitutionality of democratically-generated laws per shar'ia, which would be the underlying law.

This might have worked except the Iranian revolution ran straight into its equivalent of the French Revolutionary Terror and then an invasion by a fascist dictatorship -- Saddam's Iraq -- that turned into their equivalent of the first world war. By the time it ended, Iran had a weak democracy under the effective veto of the agencies of a Deep State running on a permanent war footing. Then over the next 30 years the Deep State apparatchiks became increasingly corrupt, pressure for democracy rose ... and Dubya screwed the pooch again by declaring support for the Velvet Revolution in Iran (which instantly turned everybody against it).

This is my understanding, which may be wrong: I have no local sources and can only go by what I can find in the non-mainstream media -- but Iran is a lot more complex than a simple theocracy.

84:

Crime is down, and has been staying down. It peaked in the US in ~1990. It looks like 1993ish for the UK http://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/crimeandjustice/bulletins/crimeinenglandandwales/yearendingdecember2015


Lot of reasons to argue why. (Freaknomics argued either removing Lead or legalization of Abortion). But crime is down. Murders are down (even in the US murders with spree shootings, our gun crime has significantly decreased, most gun deaths are older white men committing suicides). http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/gun-deaths/

Extend this to wars and coups. We still have them, but its less often, and less violent. We just happen to live in an age of 24/7 news cycles and social media making those that do happen bigger and more sudden.

It's been 70 years since the major nations had a real war. With luck, diplomacy, and the favor of God/Allah/Buddah/His Noodleness we can keep avoiding the next one.

Its something I learned working with drug courts. You can't fix people as a group. But you can reduce the harms and mitigate, and allow some people to fix themselves. In the drug court I observed, it was a replacement for traditional court for low level drug offenders with petyish crimes. Folks would get sentence to treatment rather than jail for their crimes (ranging from possession to theft, DWI, minor assault). I saw folks who were clearly mentally ill, and those whose meth habits took their teeth. But the name of the game wasn't curing everyone, just reducing the reoffense rate.

And it works. Average rate went from something like 3 months to 3 years in reoffending. Reduced the jail, one of the 5 largest in the US, from being overcrowded, to shutting down entire wings. And some of the people get clean and build new lives. Some just reduce the harm (to quote the judge, 'ok your test came back clean this time for heroin, but you're still testing positive for marijuana, you need to stop smoking weed for a month before I can graduate you'.

It's not perfect, but it is better for these peoples lives. So many people able to function just a bit better. Odds are still they will reoffend, but many won't, and giving people a shot is not only cheaper than putting them in jail, stats show things are better. Less crime, less drug use, less big crimes and small crimes.

It's not perfect, but we're doing better all the time.

85:

Re 33: I'm sorry, but I don't agree.

My first thought, on seeing the papers, was "why the hell to they want the US to extradite a cleric...oh, the former PM under Erdogan, ummmm.."

Then I start seeing suggestions that the coup was stages, and then it looks *far* nastier. From the little I know, since Attaturk in '25, the army has stepped in, frequently, to *save* Turkey as a ->secular

More: from a Turk I work with, he's saying that 3,000 of those arrested are ->judges

And now I think that it was staged, so that Erdogan can get what the legislature and the courts *wouldn'* give him: dictatorial power. Or, given that it's Turkey, and the thought was floating around, in say, Saddam Hussein's head, and ... is it al-Baghdadi? of ISIL?, why *shouldn't* Erdogan be thinking of "Caliph", and the revival of the Ottoman Empire?

*bleah* Sorry, Charlie, didn't mean to bring you down.

mark

86:

Probably because I'm politically naive, but I don't see how you manage a fake coup.

However, I can more believe that Erdogan found out a coup was being plotted, and rather than quashing it in the planning stages, he figured it wouldn't destroy him, decided to let it happen, and made contingency plans so that he could try to take advantage of it afterwards.

Something like this probably happened around 9/11 in the US. Dick N'Bush didn't have anything to do with the attack itself, but they knew something was coming, so they had contingency plans all set to go after it occurred. This kind of thing is difficult to prove and harder to prosecute than puppetmastering an attack.

87:

Including atheism, of course. If atheism were Islam, I would be a westernised Shiite and Dawkins a Wahhabist.


88:

Yes, indeed. You can tell just by seeing television pictures (look at the women, and how they are dressed). We are told a pack of lies by our Lords and Masters about Iran, whioch does not mean that I think that it has a nice government.

89:

Triple bollocks on stilts

Stop trolling

90:

Charlie,

Something good: John Glenn just turned 95 today.

mark

91:

Regarding Khomeini, it is my impression that his revolution was standard Shi'i messianism, indeed, but also borrowing Communist revolutionary schtick.

and Dubya screwed the pooch again by declaring support for the Velvet Revolution

That would be after he screwed the pooch by declaring an Iran seeking detente and being helpful on Afghanistan(*) to be in the "Axis of Evil", right?

What a lot of poor, sore canines!

(*) It's also worth mentioning the casualties the Iranian border forces take trying to keep Afghani heroin out, ultimately of us. That and three euros will get them a cup of coffee.


92:

but I don't see how you manage a fake coup.

False-flag operation? You dress your boys up as someone else. It's been done a lot in the context of provocations to interstate war, but it's probably harder to do domestically, as you have too many people left to talk. Your other explanation is no doubt better.

93:

More space cadet biased news:

India launched a test shuttle:

http://www.isro.gov.in/rlv-td/rlv-take-videos-0

It is supposed to evolve into a shuttle that can carry people into orbit.

94:

@32

Nothing positive going on there.

I can see Erdogan further evolve into something Saddam/Hitler/YOURfaveDICTATOR like with many deaths as a result.

96:

I'd say nearly impossible to stage such a couple a false flag operation domestically in these times. It might be possible to let an existing coup run its course instead of stamping it down early, maybe use agents provocateur to nudge them on, but staging it completely is impossible without being found out.

BTW, I think that also might have been the method how Erdogan managed to organize those helpful bomb terror attacks in Ankara and Istanbul.

97:

Web design is still ludicrously complicated and time-wasting. What's positive about that? One can laugh about it.

98:

A failed coup against a democracy has no apparent effect on economic growth. A successful coup reduces growth. From a purely economic standpoint democratic rule works best.

99:

Basic income only seems open to abuse if there isn't already an essentially universal requirement for each person to have a unique id.

In this way it's a bit like health care. Providing it to people allows for centralized control...but if you've already got the centralized control, at least you get a few advantages from it.

That's the only way I can parse the "possibility of abuse". If people want to lie around and watch TV all day, I pity them, but I wouldn't want to stop them. It's not as if automation isn't removing all the jobs at an increasing pace.

Well, the actual problem is that it isn't removing *all* the jobs. Only some of them. So some people need to be kept working. And the people who supply the jobs resent any necessity to treat their workers humanely. And *THAT* is why basic income is meeting such resistance.

100:

Getting back to the original post, you might enjoy this take on solar development across the world:

http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2016/07/18/3797907/solar-energy-miracle-charts/

101:

It might be possible to let an existing coup run its course instead of stamping it down early, maybe use agents provocateur to nudge them on, but staging it completely is impossible without being found out.

This. You never actually have to burn down your own Reichtsag: there's always some muppet with a box of matches. At worst you just have to have someone insist on full procedural correctness (they don't even have to go as far as full-on white mutiny, just get a bit stickly about things.) at a critical point in the intelligence workflow, or cut a specific section of a security budget. Something useful will happen sooner or later.

102:

Thanks for this and the MS Fnd ... informative and funny!

103:

You never actually have to burn down your own Reichstag... Something useful will happen sooner or later.

What a beautiful formulation!

I certainly went through most of life just assuming that Hitler had ordered the fire set himself: later archive releases or something showed that it was some Dutchman acting alone. Bet they had extra ice-cream that day.

104:

If people want to lie around and watch TV all day, I pity them, but I wouldn't want to stop them.

You are, of course, talking about the proles. I have often wondered what the super-rich do all day, and whether this is always interestingly decadent, or no better than Andy Kapp. (One rather remembers Citizen Kane's wife doing nothing but jigsaws at Xanadu.)

You get people like the merely rich Branson who do serious fun stuff, but do they all? I really have no idea. Maybe Wodehouse is a data-point, for an earlier generation of rich layabouts.

105:

I wrote this 5 years ago at Crooked Timber, regarding dystopian SF and its excitement:

Is P.G. Wodehouse considered boring? There’s a marked lack of assassins, environmental collapse, alien invasions, bloodsport, and genocidal maniacs in his writing. Maybe Anna Karenina too is boring: I recall only one violent death and only one significant character who wasn’t comfortably well-off.

People who say they wouldn’t want to live in a world where people are generally content and uniformly prosperous (or even read about it) strike me the same way as people who say life would be too boring if we didn’t inevitably face old age and death whether we want it or not. It’s either a case of sour grapes or they are seriously lacking in imagination.

My vision of utopia may be hopelessly optimistic or shallow, but here it is: that we may all enjoy the easy life of a Bertie Wooster, insofar as that is possible without expecting other people to play maid, cook, or Jeeves, and that if we choose anything more strenuous it is out of enthusiasm, not necessity.

106:

Yes - very good news.

At the same time, I'm frustrated with the lack of coordinated retail consumer-level suppliers/installers.

To repeat myself: the solar power (PV) industry needs to organize itself similarly to NA automotive in terms of marketing and distribution.

Or, find a charismatic, energetic CEO willing to talk this up.

Or, get a movie producer or SF author (OGH?) to put alternative energies under the microscope of contemporary human day-to-day life as well as national economies making sure to describe AE as exciting, sexy and smart (and the current 'oil/electricity' model stodgy, stupid and oh-so-yesterday!) because the tree-hugging approach still isn't cutting it after 40+ years of trying.


Closer to home ...

The solar or passive energy books at my local library seem targeted at DIY folks. Meanwhile the municipality (suburb/satellite city) has managed to install all of a couple of solar panels on four of its (smallish) civic buildings. Plus, there's zero information on the city's site as to rules, regs or permits for solar. There's also no analysis (that I can find) on spending for heating/cooling/(nuke-sourced) electricity/hot water traditional vs. solar/passive. Wonder if the solar/passive/alternative energy option needs to be presented as a form of tax revolt in order for City Council to take it seriously.

107:

The ideological purge (and yes, those words are chosen with care) has risen to ~30k, including the Turkish version of Homeland Security and even down to mayoral positions. If you want a reality-based-community assessment, US friendly assets (the Guls) are being targeted - Er has already removed the actual old school Kems. Anyone blustering on about the old guard Kem military hasn't been paying attention - they're last century, the US was using soft power [*cough* Academies *cough*].

In no small coincidence, last week the USA released the infamous redacted '28 pages', which, to the surprise of absolutely no-one, fingered the Saudis, and even Saudi intelligence as being responsible. ( Release of 9/11 report could strain US relationship with Saudi Arabia Guardian 16th July 2016).

Add to this the emergency talks Kerry & Putin held last week and the almost immediate announcement that the US government would not support any coup, the theatre surrounding it (jets firing missiles at helicopters and buzzing the general population [a tactic pioneered by Israel, for the record]; the presidential plane circling a "besieged" airport but on public aviation networks still [rather, than, you know, heading for a safe / friendly place asap and turning off transponders to prevent getting shot out of the sky]; the ground boots stating they were told it was a training exercise, being generally clueless and not even following the 'how to coup' basic 101 manual; the Guls immediately stating it was a false flag and so on) and the media blinkers hitting full coup coverage rather than "holy crap, the Saudis really did do it" and you've a few choices:

1) Assume that the veneer of control is paper-thin and everyone is bat-shit winging it

2) It's all according to the plan: the GOP convention turning into "let's nuke Saudi Arabia" is worse than Turkey having a dictator for ~10-20 years

3) I wasn't joking about the chess and Political Symbology as combat technique, and Russia won this game

4) Ignore #3, don't blame Mossad, wonder at who is really playing games that reference Ancient Stones from Egypt's hey-day (Boris' Latin education comes to the fore as he spots the plays)


~

For a 'positive' spin on this, I think a deal was made: call it the Chechnya solution (which is: have your own rabidly loyal Islamic hard men in power and kill all the rest. c.f. Er's son & business links). Short-to-medium term the M.E. is going to dissolve into a smoking pile of dusty desert [and there's no political chips in the West to prevent it given Iraq / Syria debacle], and Er was looking more and more doddery both internationally and internally, so Europe needs a bulwark, who doesn't look like a Western prop to Muslim nations, but is more importantly not of the pan-Arabic league ideology. Oh, and who also kind-of-not-really-but-will get on with Israel. It's a counter-weight move [to Iran, of course], and yes: expect the usual oppression.

I suspect some fairly heavy Game Theory / modelling was done: time will tell if it is enough to prevent destabilization of the region. [Oh and the old guard probably went with "at least he's not a Communist", not even being funny].

In positive news: the parrot isn't dead, it was merely sleeping after-all:


New Zealand kākāpō sees bumper breeding season BBC 15th July 2016. (Astute readers will note that this story has had some considerable legs this year - so either the journos are feeling like Host or this is part of the NZ tourist PR campaign).


108:

Funny you should say that. I was just the other day commenting about how some wrinklies can be perfectly content sitting on a park bench with their faces in the sun, and how I can't. Just can't. That might mean that I am young at heart, and people have indeed made that claim, or it might point to a fundamental anhedonia or lack of (supply own mystobabble). It's not something I am proud of.

To paraphrase King Lear, I want to do such things – what they may be, I know not, but they shall be the wonder of the earth!

109:

I wouldn't enjoy just sitting in the sun all day either. At least not every day. I have a scientific hobby so expansive that you might consider it a second career if it paid anything. If my material prosperity were assured without participating in a regular employer-employee relationship I'd drop the first career and pursue science full time. If other people would use their newfound freedom from want to just watch TV all day, that's their loss, not mine.

110:

And, some really (ish) good news for my favorite species [yes, that does mean what it says] on the planet:

US Navy banned from using sonar that harms dolphins and walruses Guardian, 16th July 2016.


Of course, this goes out of the window immediately if a situation really is 'hot', but hey.


~

You'll note each of the stories are redemption ones. Humanity fucks up, looks at situation, applies a solution.


Not perfect, but better than before. If you're lucky you'll not wipe out all the mega-fauna.

111:

"False-flag operation? You dress your boys up as someone else."

That gets tricky if you start killing your boys who are dressed up as someone else.

Supposedly a Turkish F16 shot down a helicopter operated by coup participants.

112:

...and there's enough people on this forum (and lurkers) who can tell you how that sounds.

Hint: there's a registered kill of a jet plane by a prop plane due to the fact that the jet had to slow down so much to target it that it stalled and crashed.

A-1 Spad shot down a MiG-17 jet fighter in the Vietnam War

113:

(Please include in your workings the fact that said helicopter was operating in a dense urban environment which, while not NY, still has a large selection of tall buildings).

114:

Re "Reconstruction and Simulation of Neocortical Microcircuitry", after 15 minutes of trying to obtain a free copy I'm now fully recalling why it's been on the To-Read list ("worth reading" according to a local computational neuroscientist) for so many months. Did you manage to obtain a copy?

115:

Took 3 seconds:

Reconstruction and Simulation of Neocortical Microcircuitry PDF download link

Reconstruction and Simulation of Neocortical Microcircuitry PDF, talk notes, legal.


Note, since we're on the positive, the most weird place on the internet to hold these files:


Dean's Stroke Musings Blog: be warned. Aggressive use of LARGE RED FONTS.


~

Oh, and I get the meta. I get the meta-meta. Turkey proves you don't get the meta-meta-meta ;)

116:

However, I can more believe that Erdogan found out a coup was being plotted, and rather than quashing it in the planning stages, he figured it wouldn't destroy him, decided to let it happen, and made contingency plans so that he could try to take advantage of it afterwards.
He was in an airplane for a while. That was extremely dangerous personally, if deliberate; passenger aircraft can be downed pretty easily given access to military weapons. (Don't know enough about Turkish politics to read any tells, though.)

117:

Note: the first link doesn't work. This is a meta joke. There's been some fairly aggressive redactions and spiking across the board on this one, interesting.

This is the kind of thing you'd be getting without the spike:


The Blue Brain Project: calibrating the neocortical column PDF

The neocortical microcircuit collaboration portal: a resource for rat somatosensory cortex PDF

TOPOLOGICAL ANALYSIS OF THE CONNECTOME OF
DIGITAL RECONSTRUCTIONS OF NEURAL MICROCIRCUITS

Yeah, but I'm better than that:

Reconstruction and Simulation of Neocortical Microcircuitry Working and Legal PDF, no payment required.


~

Anyhow, about those blues. Fear not Host, never surrender, never give in!

118:

(and that was surprisingly hidden that one)

119:

OK, I was half-hoping you'd do that. Thanks! and impressed.

(Happily thinking about the meta now.)


120:

I wouldn't want to read about a world where everyone being well-off was the point of the story. But that's exactly the kind of world I'd like to live in.

Consider "Beyond This Horizon" by Heinlein. Everyone was well-off. I can't believe in the society, but I can read the story with enjoyment. Everyone being well off wasn't the point of the story, it was merely environment. I don't like the Wodehouse that I've read, but my wife dotes on it. So. Different people have different tastes.

P.S.: In Wodehouse NOT EVERYONE is well off. Jeeves, e.g., while not impoverished is clearly not "well off". And sufficiently in need of funds to put up with various forms of maltreatment without complaint. (Of course, he's also sufficiently self-assured to occasionally use underhanded means to achieve his own ends, without being excessively careful that he won't be found out afterwards.) This is in distinction to the Heinlein were everyone *WAS* well off...at least everyone who had a speaking part.

121:

Let's see if I can parse the big picture properly:

During the Cold War, Communism was positioned as the enemy, Containment as the policy, Domino Theory as the nightmare scenario, and therefore to further containment the west propped up any damn Hard Man who was tough on communism.

The first wave of Hard Men were the arab monarchs installed post-Sykes-Picot/Versailles. They lasted about 1-3 generations (except in Saudi Arabia, where oil money enabled them to buy stability) before being supplanted by Ba'athism -- initially a democratic anti-colonial pan-Arab movement, later corrupted into something an eyeblink away from Fascism with Islamic Characteristics. The pilot program was rolled out far and wide, including in South America (see: School of the Americas, Operation Condor, all those tin pot dictators, you know what to look for) and Africa. Additional hardline proxies were used to hold the line: Israel, Apartheid South Africa, Greece, Taiwan, South Korea (the latter three under the dictatorships).

Dictatorships are unstable and tend to decay. Their successors are whoever survived repression by the secret police. This is often the church (in East Germany, the Communist Party didn't fuck with the Lutherans; in Iran, they left the Ayatollahs alone). So when a dictatorship collapses these days, especially in a not very well secularized state, you often get a free-for-all where the religious types come out on top. Iran, Iraq, Syria ...

Anyway: we hit 1991 and the "end of history" (thank you, Francis Fukuyama). Communism is over, except in China where it's a sock-puppet for oligarchic capitalism. What is the new Big Bad?

Iran scared the bejeezus out of the USA in 1979-81, so "Islam" is designated the new Big Bad by bumpkins too stupid to realize that their gas-pumping Saudi buddies are also muslims. Salafi Islam has many of the same characteristics that made Communism so terrifying to US economic/business interests (a distinct disdain for money, an interest in "setting the east ablaze", evangelical, not like us) and the guys setting Cold War policy didn't know shi'ism from salafism from a hole in the wall. Their big new fear was the collapse of the mid-East as we transition away from the fossil fuel economy, with domino effect leading to destabilization as far afield as Russia (worked example: Chechnya) or China and terrorism burning through a region which already has at least two nuclear powers (Israel, Pakistan -- Saudi and others to follow).

So the big issue is how to contain islamic radicalism. And the west is gradually realizing that the Iranian shi'ites are pretty harmless in this context -- a case of chickenpox compared with the virulent smallpox pandemic that is being exported from Saudi Arabia by way of Da'esh -- hence the ramp-down of the anti-Iran rhetoric by everyone except Benny Netenyahu (whose regional concern is with Hezbollah in Lebanon, about fifty miles beyond his border). And the goal is to establish some sort of authoritarian proxy for Western power that will be tough on Salafi nutjobs and hold the frontier against the collapsing Arab states while not obviously being a Western proxy, and Erdogan fits the bill, and it sucks to be Kurdish this decade.

If we posit that Islam is the New Communist Threat for late-phase capitalism, then we may expect the old playbook to come out again: containment, proxy regimes, domino theory, the whole nine yards.

Look for soft power reinforcement of conservative church-and-family movements in the non-Islamic world (cough, Poland, Hungary, maybe Romania and the other Balkans next) and for a kulturkampf against islam in the west (see: Theresa May and the Home Office deradicalization campaigns). Anti-immigrant campaigns aren't just about crude racism: they're the twenty-teens equivalent of nineteen-fifties anti-communist witch hunts for the enemy within, with the added bonus that the memory of the 1940s Original Sin has faded out of living memory so you can paint the Christ Killers^W^Wevil mussulmen as dark as you want. And that's how it's going to play at home.

In which case, to answer the question of how it plays out overseas, we need to ask who will be the bulwark in the east? I look to Malaysia or Indonesia for some sort of containment policy, China too, to Nigeria's Christian government prosecuting a civil war against Boko Haram in their north, to Russia's common interest with the west, and so on.

What am I missing?

122:


OK it doesn't affect OGH directly, but television in 2016 continues to be amazingly creative instead of the "vast wasteland" it was for much of the 20th C. Sure there's crap, but we're also getting Mr Robot, The Expanse, Orphan Black, …

123:

Plenty of examples of literature where the writer writes for either the well off, or for those with aspirations of being well off. Regency Romances for example are usually about the great and good.

Of course those are a wallpaper covering those who are not well off or where the wealth comes from. Mansfield Park, for example, mentions but does not explore that all the protagonists wealth comes from slaves.

I also find this interesting, as this wallpapering, done at the time when the authors didn't want to hurt sales by being controversy (or it was a non-issue in their class), cause such later problems. EG all those misinterpreted novels written during Jim Crow and set in the antebellum period on big plantations. The wonderful Antebellum society is always shown from the perspective of a white daughter dealing with Cotillions. Never the illegitimate black daughter dealing with Placage or Quadroon balls (except Faulkner using it to disqualify a suitor).

Anyways, there's always conflict. It's just finding out where it is. It might not be violence. It might not be the upper class.

124:

TIME.

Short answer: you've run out of it.

Long answer: you've run out of it and it's now a crabs in the bucket scenario. Turkey getting hoisted off to Russia is part of the plan - Russia knows how to play with Islamists (note: not Islamic / Muslims) and they've been drafted in to run the show.

Do this connection:

ARM is sold for $24 billion to Japan who has been printing Yen like the Sun still shines out of it's arse for the last 10 years. GBP drops by ~%20 and no media source will touch how debased the Yen is [CUE: OUR SAVIOR DONALD TRUMP, VETERAN OF THE JAP - USA FINANCE WARS IN THE 80's]. Hint: deals worth +$1 bil take over a year to do, let alone that kinda cash.

Japan has been a basket case for 15+ years and is run by a dubious Shinto-ultra-nationalist cabal. [True story - can provide a reference from waaay back in 2002 rather than these Johnny Come Latelies]. And everyone gets put out when I called them out for putting fucking 731 on that plane:
731 Reality check Japan Times. Yeah... that's like Merk wearing a nice line in hats that happen to have a skull on them.


Apple is sitting on $189 billion that it can't get back into the USA to funnel into its Hedge Fund.

Snapchat is valued at $15 billion.

Work the numbers on QE, 0% interest rates et.

Compare ARM to Snapchat.


One is a social media enterprise. The other is a major intel asset in everyone's phones.


The valuation is fucking insane. Put a 0 on the end, you might hit sanity.

Now ask why this isn't being done.


~


We're into Gibson territory now: forget economics, it's done [digital ahoy]. This is all about positioning for the End Game [tm].


Malay / Phil / Indonesia etc - sure, being used, but fucked.

~


Um.


We were supposed to be cheering you up.


Grizzly Bear Cub & Wolf Cub Playing
YT: 2:05

125:

"Think 20 m diameter turbines, with their tops 20 metres below the surface in the outer E-Channel / Bristol-channel / Irish Sea / W coast of Scotland, f'rinstance"

Of course, this does require a bit of basic noddle.

Charlie's comments a while back about Scotland being remarkably well off for tidal power led me to think "ah, like Kylerhea narrows, for instance?" (This being well known as a spot where you either go with the tide or don't go at all.)

But on looking to see whether there was any tidal power generation scheme planned for it I discovered that, apparently, there was... but not any more. Reason being that everyone in the area thought the underwater turbines would eat their boats. As far as I could make out there was not the slightest justification for such a view unless you had a boat with a draught like an ocean liner, but the communications between the scheme proposers and the locals were so bad that it ended up cancelled anyway.

They should stick it in Corryvreckan, surely nobody would complain then...

126:

Pokemon Go may solve a good deal of problems. Its getting people out in public spaces, especially young tech savvy people who are taking notes. Despite the 'funny incidents' like the guys who walked off the cliff, people are getting outside.

I'm seeing groups of 3-6 walking around outside. People with pale skin that are getting out and about and using public spaces too often ignored. The pokestops are usually in public shared spaces, such zoos, malls and public squares. Many of these benefit from increases in traffic, not only helping businesses and the economy, but also meaning video and photos to provide police help (and police the police). And bringing attentions to infrastructure issues as people with cameras take pictures.

Not to mention the public health issues solved by just getting people out there, moving and tightening the waistline of the youth.

127:

Note: the USA just threw SA under the bus. If you don't think this has been planned, you're an idiot. And there's still ~ $47 bil arms contracts on the sheet. [Meta note: I suspect this is a Judas Goat moment to suck in all the 'nuke em' political arias and then slaughter them].


@ Martin. Sadly I think 30 million deaths are the price for betraying the Empire.


Madeleine Albright - The deaths of 500,000 Iraqi children was worth it for Iraq's non existent WMD's YT

Hillary Clinton 2016 - "We came we saw he died" Laughing About Gadhafi Libya YT


Remember: these are the women who stated that if women didn't vote for them, they'd go to Hell.


Madeleine Albright on Her 'special Place in Hell' Comment YT

~


Happy yet?

*nose wiggle*

p.s.

Not even joking: humanity can fix shit. But.. you don't.

128:

Yeah but remember ARM is fabless now, which greatly undercuts their advantage and actual value. Much easier to compete when its only design features that give you an advantage rather than owning your fabs. If there's a talented group of British designers, they might end up better off in the next competitor.

Snapchat is a VC bubble though. Probably going to pop in the next downturn.

129:

And, meta-note: take a look at how long the USA dallied and danced with Qaddafi before fucking him literally up the arse with a knife, special forces handed it over while filming in ultra-HD.

[Not that you've seen the original, it was downgraded a couple of times and edited: don't want that Humvee in the background, yo].


What you think they're going to do to SA, land of sex slaves, laborer slaves and FGM? The land that fucked America during the 1970's over oil? (Remember: Qaddafi didn't do Lockerbie. He was just annoying and tortured some folks and sought to upgrade his society).

Nuke the entire site fom orbit YT: film: 0:08.


p.s.


Not seen many repercussions @ Penn State, eh. Like the Catholic Church, you be tainted my little ones.

130:

Doesn't matter.


The disparity between tech 2.0 bubble evaluations and real world stuff [like, come on: Snapchat is worth more than the 2nd largest industrial power company? GTFO] is just showing everyone:


This. Shit. Is. Broke. Yo.


GS is already attempting to ride the next wave, but fuck em.

Senser - No Comply YT: music: 2:36


We're going to make their Minds impossible.


Fact.

131:

More interesting news: Los Angeles is planning on building a new "peaker" power plant that consists of 18,000 Lithium ion batteries. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/world-s-largest-storage-battery-will-power-los-angeles/

The key news here is that this proposal won out against 1800 other proposed designs, including natural gas-powered peaker plants. Partly this is due to the high cost of things in LA (including air pollution), but it's the first time that a battery back-up has beaten fossil fuels.

The bad news is that it's not coming online for at least another five years. Still, I suspect a natural gas plant would take at least that long.

132:

Ah, see the thing is Snapchat is valuated at more than the 2nd largest industrial power company, but that's not the same thing as worth more. Snapchat is a private company whose shares are hard to buy. They are evaluated as worth an insane amount of money. But it can't be liquidated or sold.

Snapchat is purely an estimate of VCs trying to ride a wave who are using other VC's money. It's not a fair market estimation, its insiders playing pass the buck.

133:

The problem with current (no pun intended but I'll take what I can get) tidal flow power systems is that they rely on immersing a high-voltage generator in deep water under significant pressure and expecting it to work faultlessly for years or decades with minimal costly maintenance.

There is also the problem that the good sites with strong currents have strong currents, strong enough to move boulders the size of a bungalow at a couple of metres a second along the seabed. Building a submerged turbine that will survive in that sort of an environment is going to be somewhat of a challenge.

134:

"She looks a little tired, don't you think"

"Their evaluation looks a little optimistic, don't you think"


Nine Words.

And I'm the ninth.

Cute symmetry.

135:

And you fundamentally misunderstand the power of Capital and how it's used to control markets.


Money is now totally useless.


Since 2008 those with it [locked into property / stocks etc] have seen massive gains, those without have seen a loss.

Hint: if it takes a $100k loan just to buy into a society that doesn't reward it and expects 20-30 year olds to spend ~70$ of entire earnings on rent and debt INTEREST let alone having a life...


I've a better way.

136:

And triptych: You devoured your children like the Titan Kronos, just to sustain a world-eating disorder.

You're Fucked.


And the worst part of it was: you tried to infect me and combat me with silly H.S.S attacks. You know, those that lead little ape minds to kill and fear and slay and so on.

We're going to purge you right out. And then make sure it's sealed.

Everyone

137:

@Host we love you.


So, am I just bat-shit insane, or am I running wetware that's kinky as shit?

Hint: it's the latter.

@DPB

LOL @ SIXTH SENSE WAIT TILL YOU SEE THE CERN REPORTS.

@ YOU IZ ALL KINDS OF MESSY PUTTING YOR FAITH IN ME NOT KNOWING WHAT I DO

Yeah.


You're going to shit bricks when you realize your QM models were wrong.

138:

GOOGLY EYES YARP.

Lol.


Don't worry: DPM has a special surprise, it's in about 4-7 months.

'Cause, you know ~ total lols.

Hint:

THESUNTHESUNTHESUN


Then he can fuck off and do something useful with his life rather than trying to undermine art. And yes, you annoyed me enough to make this one... personal.

Hmm. Is it cancer, cured? Is it light and sight?

No spoilers you ex-M15 dredge.

139:

C'mon now, everyone in Wodehouse is well off, they've all got servants...

140:

My take is that energy monocultures are as bad as any other type of monoculture, and we should diversify everywhere.

Apologies if this has been said. Monocultures aren't bad per se, they are a tool for optimising specific outcomes. They have an effect of reducing diversity and as a result they create single points of failure, which in turn make the systems of which they are a part (or at least the local branches) less resilient. Localised monocultures can be offeset by diversity at a macro level (eg an unrelated monoculture with different vulnerabilities elsewhere). There is a trade-off between the optimised outcome and diversity and resilience.

Walmart might be a good, USA-focused example. In the Olden Days, a small-to-medium town would have separate small stores for all the things the superbarnwarehousemarket sells now. Prices might be higher, but the supply chains are more complex and employ more people for each specialty, and create substantially more value overall. If one business failed it wouldn't effect the town much. Heck if one industry, or at least one type of market collapsed (say horse-buggy hitches) it wouldn't be a disaster. But where a Walmart displaces that sort of economy, it still offers a lot of (lower paid) jobs, it offers customers much lower prices via overseas volume-driven sourcing. The optimisation is powerful enough to drive the process, it must be because it happens everywhere (not just the USA). But if a Walmart closes in a small town, it's a local disaster because so many local jobs are there and so many services are no longer available elsewhere, it's a KO punch to that town. And if Walmart fails somehow, that is a national disaster.

Arguably it's a second-order effect of regarding shareholders, employees and customers as discrete, rather than all as stakeholders in the same community. But monoculture-oriented optimisation only encourages such a viewpoint. Many people don't seem to understand the trade-off between homogeneity and resilience. They see optimisation as "efficiency", a word remarkably abused by multiple, overlapping, contradictory unstated definitions that you end up seeing in a tapestry of the things even in single sentences. There's almost no concept in the wild that a market driven approach might sometimes optimise the wrong things.

141:

You're missing the intelligence projections for rain in the Eastern Med. (Or sea level; sometime in the next century, there's going to be a decade where the water comes up a couple metres. Or the whole department of horrible surprises.)

If you're a European head of state, you're very likely absolutely sure your country is going to be destroyed inside, if not your children's, then your grandchildren's lifetimes.

The choice you've got is how it gets destroyed; getting up and pushing for conscious ethnogenesis, social justice, and a brighter future is, well, difficult enough no one's doing it. (It's blitheringly difficult to start from "we're doomed if we keep this up" and get to "better future for all"; no one will accept the "doomed" part as accurate or they'll engage in unhelpful behaviours like backing deluded fascists. Look at how many corporates successful switch core businesses.)

Turkey as the bulwark isn't really accurate; that supposes there's an expectation of Turkey still being there later. The point is to get someone in power in Turkey who is guaranteed to pick a particular set of bad policies because those policies greatly reduce Turkey's permeability to those who flee their homes.

142:

The problem with suspended turbines is we don't know how to make them.

Fouling is a really horrible problem, and the UK, which as been hauling the sort of organisms that like to cause fouling in from all over the world for a couple hundred years due to a vigorous and incautious shipping industry, is an especially nasty place for fouling. Build the big turbines out of titanium? It'd work in theory, but no one knows how and this does NOT help the price per kilowatt-hour. Tin-based antifouling paint works but it's so effective it wipes out the planktonic forms of an amazing range of marine life and got banned because there were real fears of a sterile ocean. Clever "sharkskin" microtexture coatings? Promising line of research, but no one knows how.

And, it's mechanical, and it's in a nasty environment -- under salt water -- and solar prices haven't even started to bottom out yet. Wind's so much easier than submerged anything it's not funny, neither. It's really really tough to make an economic case for tidal.

143:

I'm interested in Basic Income as a concept, but it seems too open to abuse: there are always going to be people who, through myopia or desperation, are going to be willing to sell their current assets and leave themselves destitute or, at least, precarious -- and there will always be people willing to exploit that... How do you guard against that? Would basic guarantees -- of, say, shelter, sustenance, etc. -- be more resilient and workable?

For any societal system there will always be people who want to live past the edge. Move the edge and they will move past it. Over and over again. Always. And always people who'd rather get over someone for $10 instead of the same effort honestly for $100. I have known and know both kinds. They just exist. And have existed for all of time.

For any societal system we have to decide if perfect is the enemy of "good enough" can we just live with good enough.

144:

This is my understanding, which may be wrong: I have no local sources and can only go by what I can find in the non-mainstream media -- but Iran is a lot more complex than a simple theocracy.

Iran and China seem to be on different paths to the same place.[1] China may hold things together long enough to make it work. Iran I'm not so sure.

[1] One party rule. Party run by a small group. Military is a part of the government but there is a side military that is more loyal to the party than to the state. Side military gradually turning into a corporation that owns huge swaths of the economy. Wants to be a world power like in the past. ....
Not a perfect match but really close.

145:

Plus, there's zero information on the city's site as to rules, regs or permits for solar.

Call up the permitting office and ask where to find the rules. They may be online but well hidden. It seems to be a part of the culture of permitting offices in the US. It may also be that they state somewhere that Section 93.29.x.43.G follows the state/national code book of 2015 or similar.

146:

Re: Nethanyahu &Hezbolla:
1) Hezbolla is not "50 miles from the border". That border region has been one of their strongholds since the 80's, and that hadn't changed much(during the bad old days mortar fire on the border towns was pretty common).

2) Nethanyahu's rhetoric is at least partially for internal consumption. The man is a demagogue, and a very successful one at that. He needs to scare the voters, otherwise he will be out of office next election.

Re: Missing?
A) That the fractured nature of the terrorist action makes it easier to create false flag operations: find someone from the correct religion/ethnicity willing to die for money or stupid enough to think they will survive to spend it, supply money in unmarked bills, one operation on its way.

B) That the same nature makes it inherently harder to control. Even if the wanted, Da'esh can't tell all the guys they sent back home and cut all contact with and/or their facebook followers to stop all plans and activities. They will be ignored, and marked as "bought out by the crusaders"

147:

you forgot Killjoys(which I love) and Cleverman(which I know is good but can't watch due to personal buttons)

148:

Re 'What am I missing?'

Some comments:

- The Warsaw Pact was a credible military threat under unified command, but it hadn't got anything 'The West' needed. The Islamic world is, for starters, far more varied and anarchic and even if it were united it still wouldn't be a truely credible military threat, but oil changes everything: mere containment can't work as it did and local losses can't be accepted as easily when oil supplies and prices are paramount.

- Related with that paramount importance of oil is the fact that you can't rely on strong men as on Franco, Chiang or Pinochet because oil makes them too powerful to be reliable; they can too easily become a problem themselves, like Saddam Hussein and Gaddafi, or even Hugo Chavez. When they have got no oil you can still rely on them (see Mubarak and El-Sisi, for example) but Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria, etc. offer an alternative model to the strong man: the strong local group, often a religious and/or tribal minority; it's relatively easy to kill one man or a junta, the Alawites and the House of Saud are much more resilient...

- A lot is happening in the Near and Middle East almost invisibly due to terrorism hoarding all attention. The most visible symptom is, birth rates are collapsing all over the Islamic world (France has a higher birth rate than Iran, just to mention one example)

149:

Here, let me channel CD or whoever for a while. All is going as planned. The middle east wants to give us a hard time? Let's show them how sneaky and wicked smart we can be. They won't even know what happened after it happens. We are GOOD at war, especially the underhanded kind. They're killing each other for us while we pretend to be all concerned and occasionally stir the ant pile at random as if trying to help. It's hilarious and it couldn't happen to a better bunch of people.

150:

I like Dark Matter, too. It's not Great Science Fiction, but it's good fun storytelling with developing characters and a constant air of suspense and mystery.

151:

The question is if the system would be set up with protections or recourse for those that have been wronged. In the US it's common for senior living facilities to set their rates to match or just barely exceed the amounts a retiree could expect from their pension and Medicare benefits. Often enough there's dodgy accounting that eventually leads to sanctions from the government, but the individuals never recover any of the funds that might've otherwise gone towards a decent standard of living.

On the other hand, there are certain protections that keep some assets out of the hands of creditors - ie it's possible to keep ones home in the case of a bankruptcy. Some student loan rules set repayment terms that maintain a minimum percentage of income.

A UBI scheme would ideally not only provide basic income, but would protect that from debt collectors. People falling into bad financial situations might find any excess skimmed off to pay off their creditors, but could still rely on a bedrock of income to live on.

152:

OK, it's firmly within the MSM, but Trump's trophy wife delivering one of the most blatant cases of plagiarism this side of 10 year old's school report, capping it off with the RickRoll :

"He will never give up. And most importantly, he will never let you down."

just has to put a smile on anyone's face.

Whomever it was in the Trump team that landed this - I salute you.

153:

Uh? We do know how to make them, and we've even installed some. Apparently there's been an experimental installation in Strangford Lough in NI since 2008, and there are one or two others dotted about too. There are also plans to install them in places like the Race of Alderney and the Great Russell (certainly for the latter environmental impact assessment has been done).

Fouling isn't actually too bad in the UK because the water is too cold. It grows much quicker in warmer waters. Also, strong currents and moving parts tend to mitigate against it.

The great thing about tidal power is it's dependable and predictable - and also, since tide times vary by several hours between places that aren't all that far apart, with enough installations it is dependably continuous. For Scotland, which has plenty of tide races but bugger all sun, it is a much better option than solar.

154:

"I note that there are places were solar is pretty much useless -- Scotland, for example"

Yes and no. Solar prices fall significantly every year. The average fall is 25% (which is *astounding* but true).

If solar made sense in Australia in 2013 (which it did) and solar is only 1/3 as good in Wintertime Scotland (which is is) then solar only has to fall to 1/3 of the 2013 cost to be worth while in Scotland. Well that's 2017. The 'insolation' figures for high latitudes look bad, because they're based on an area of the Earth's surface. But by angling the panels the figures come back to pretty good. They have to be spaced further apart, but 'per panel' they can produce well. Add a two axis tracker and there's some but not *huge* disadvantage to high latitude grid scale solar.

The other thing with Scottish solar is that Scotland is ideally placed to supply the evening peak demand for a lot of countries to the East of Scotland for at least 6 months of the year.

155:

"And the west is gradually realizing that the Iranian shi'ites are pretty harmless in this context."

I wish :-( I am not totally convinced about these reports, but this isn't the only source. The UK is schizophrenic in this respect, and at one stage was inventing libel out of whole cloth against Iran, but there are signs that the diplomats (or at least the merchants) are winning out over the warmongers. And the same seems to be true in the rest of Europe.

http://www.globalresearch.ca/hillary-clinton-if-im-president-we-will-attack-iran/5460484

156:

If wishes were horses, beggars would ride. It's a damn-sight less than 1/3 as effective in winter, even compared with its average over the year. I don't know where you got your figures from, but they are wrong.

157:

Yeah, Scottish winter is going to be 0/3 for a large portion of the 24 hours.

I have seen some panels on Edinburgh roofs, but only a small number. Down here in the south (52N is 'south'? Oh well), there's a good number, but that's a few degrees different.

Also, Scottish weather. We're talking about a climate whose main contribution to world culture is the idea that rain doesn't have to be on and off, but can be left on gently all day. Good for keeping your panels clean. Not so good for the panels having any useful light.

And that's not to mention that even 100% conversion of all available light might not give you much when you're area limited. Brits have tiny houses, Scots included.

158:

There's been a couple of experimental installations, yes.

There's a lot of outstanding unsolved problems. (One of which is the same one windmills have; design for optimal power output and you've got a bad problem when rare extreme conditions come through.) Compare to the gigawatts of wind and solar in series production, busy producing subsidiary specialist industries. Tidal's inherently limited -- not many places you can put it -- and ocean currents aren't reliable enough in terms of location. (Recent case of lots of Galapagos penguins starving to death because the Humboldt Current moved, for example.) So it's never going to have the level of investment wind and solar get, and it was marginal -- let's do the difficult thing under salt water! -- to start with.

159:

rare extreme conditions come through

Ah, while I know of hurricanes and tornadoes in wind, what's the tidal equivalent? The moon decides to have a close encounter?!

That there are few places that you can do tidal is the big problem, yes. That means you do it in those places, do other stuff in other places.

160:

The big problem with tidal turbines is that you aren't thinking big enough.

We all know that the correct way to extract energy from the moon is to build rails around the equator and have a mobile power station attached to the moon by a tether.

It zips around the world being dragged along by the moon, dumps electricity into the rails and triples as a space launch and intercontinental transport system.

One stone, multiple birds!

Then we could use all the spare power to drain the north sea and turn it into farm land :)

161:

Only 7 hours daylight, but like gasdive said the 1/3 figure is based on insolation of the Earth's surface in proportion to the latitude, one would expect better results from a tracking array.

Actually if Edinburgh is 56N it's means the winter solstice midday sun's altitude is only around 13 degrees. This seems extreme, but actually suggests that PV cladding on the south-facing parts of structures would make sense. There's always talk of PV window glass, one of those things that is supposed to be ready for market but you don't see much in the wild yet.

I think the point was, though, that it's all in orders of magnitude that suggest improvements in price and efficiency will make it practical in the relatively near future.

162:

Er, just how far apart do you think that houses are in the UK? A 30' house casts a 43x shadow in midwinter. Claiming that improvements will change anything is mere wishful thinking, because it doesn't make economic OR ecological sense even at 100% efficiency.

163:

About 10.5°, not 13 (Sheffield, at latitude 53° 23', is 13). The minimum daylight length is about 7 hours. Problems:

  • Much of the 7 hours is not sunny. Solar panels are noticeably less efficient with diffuse light, and tracking doesn't help so much either.
  • As OGH has said, demand in northern Europe is anticorrelated with sunshine: we need power for heat and light in winter, not for aircon in summer.
  • Much of Edinburgh, including the New Town where OGH lives, is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Cladding its Georgian terraces with solar panels is a big no-no.
  • 2D tracking solar panels, which would improve efficiency, aren't really well suited for mounting on buildings. The Central Belt of Scotland, where I grew up, is heavily urbanised—I'm not at all sure where you are going to put the solar farms, and why you would prefer them to wind farms (which allow the land under them to be used for other purposes).

I guess if solar PV were approximately free you'd install it: every little helps. But "improvements in price and efficiency" by themselves are never going to make solar a principal energy source in northern Europe, because of the anticorrelation with demand noted above. At minimum, you need cheap, efficient, long-term energy storage (six months' worth, so that solar energy collected in summer could be used in winter).

164:
The most visible symptom is, birth rates are collapsing all over the Islamic world (France has a higher birth rate than Iran, just to mention one example)
Iran's low birth rate is a bit special; they put astonishing effort into getting the birth rate down in the 90s. How many countries offer(ed) free vasectomies and tubal ligations and have a state-owned condom factory? There's been a policy reversal, though whether it'll be successful is another question.
165:

'Per se', Collingridge's dilemma.

166:

Iran's low birth rate is a bit special; they put astonishing effort into getting the birth rate down in the 90s.

Pretty much all middle-eastern countries either already have low birth rate, or it's falling.

There's been a policy reversal, though whether it'll be successful is another question.

Well, so far the TFR apparently rose from a low of 1.87 in 2006 to a high of 1.92. Either way, that's sub-replacement...


(Source: Gapminder World)

167:

"He will never give up. And most importantly, he will never let you down."

As his third wife, she presumably has some degree of personal insight into this aspect of his personality.

168:

I disagree with your overall thesis but don't have time for a considered rebuttal. On the specific point of Malaysia as a bulwark against Islam I would strong argue against it given:

1. Constitutional discrimination against non-Muslims see Bumiputera / Article 153 of the constitution. My Christian and Chinese Malay friends tell me the discrimination is pervasive to the point the amount you need to bribe a police officer depends on your race and associated religion (exponential scale. Bumiputera > Christian/Indian > Chinese Malay).

2. The close financial links between KSA and the ruling party, as discovered in the 1 MDB scandal.

I would suggest Malaysia leans more towards increasing radicalisation rather than the bulwark you propose.

169:

Not so much. Google 'list of countries by natality rate', results are... instructive. Something really _BIG_ is happening almost unnoticed and unmentioned by media and journalists.

Countries like Indonesia, Morocco and Saudi Arabia are barely at replacement level, Turkey, Lybia and Tunisia don't reach it, Quatar, Iran, Brunei, Bahrain, Lebanon... are even lower, at levels absolutely 'European' (how many people would believe natality rate is the same in Denmark and Lebanon?)

Today, save error or omission, the 20 or 25 countries with highest natality rates all belong to Sub-Saharan Africa with one exception, Afghanistan. The fact that Iraq and Gaza are, again if I'm not wrong, the Arab countries with highest rates speak volumes.

170:

I didn't say, but I was thinking about grid scale PV farms rather than building mounted. Of course south facing walls will work in Scotland, but that's a *residential* thing and that's a different kettle of fish as the subsidy situation is completely different. I *wasn't* thinking about converting the New Town into a solar farm. I also wasn't thinking of solar *instead* of wind. They complement each other. So no, you don't need 6 months of storage. In fact, if solar *was* your only option (which it isn't) then you would only need about 20 hours of storage, but you'd need to build a lot more solar. The sun comes up *every* day (by definition). Luckily we've invented wind turbines and power lines so no large scale storage is needed *at all*.

6 hours of winter solstice daylight in the Orkneys. About 9.5 hours in Nyngan NSW Australia. Yeah, it's cloudy in the Orkneys but we have clouds here too! I can't find monthly figures but annual clear sky hours in Nyngan are about 1800 hours a year. *All* of Scotland has over 900 hours and most has over 1200 hours https://blog.metoffice.gov.uk/2011/06/23/met-office-in-the-media-23-june-2011/

So it's less than twice as much cloudless sun in Nyngan and about one and half as much daylight time in winter. So Nyngan’s winter solstice output should be *less* than 3 times more than the same plant on the Orkneys (assuming sufficient spacing).

That’s only counting direct sun and assuming zero output under cloud. However output under cloud isn’t zero.

So if Nyngan made financial sense to build at 2012 module prices in Australia where there is *NO* grid scale solar subsidy and it competes against Brown Coal on a completely even market, then an Orkney solar plant would make financial sense some time between about now and 2018, even in the Orkneys.

There’s a strong idea that solar simply won’t work anywhere but equatorial deserts but it’s not the case. It will produce some power anywhere outside the Arctic and Antarctic all year. It might be a third, but when the prices have fallen to 1/50th of what they were when the first large scale PV plant was built, then it’s not an impossible stretch to think that there may be some PV in Scotland’s future and that it’s not useless.

172:

build rails around the equator and have a mobile power station attached to the moon by a tether.

And then, if it is possible to cause this arrangement to pull the moon into the earth, or at least bring the tether down on us like a whip (cf KSR's Mars), and the cause of this failure increases short-term shareholder value, this is what will happen.

Cf what someone was saying, was it Heteromeles, about nuclear being n practice done by cheapjack liars rather than the noble clean-jawed engineers of old-school SF. In a world that looks like electing The Donald, all estimates of failure modes due to human greed and stupidity need urgent revision.

To paraphrase Gibson, "The huckster will find his own use for things".

173:

http://www.reuk.co.uk/Solar-Insolation.htm

At a (high) efficiency of 15%, 1 MJ/diem is under 2 W/m^2, averaged over 24 hours.

174:

Mea culpa, I have not paid much attention to OGH's plaintive request for good news.

From today's newspaper:

The summer is when 18-year-olds are conscripted to do their military service, and this is the first year of gender-neutral drafting. Previous generations of feminists have demanded equality in all things except that nasty obligation stuff, and considered that the best way to get women ahead in life is for them to start climbing the ladder when their male contemporaries are still yomping around in the Arctic. (Then use the head-start to argue that men are falling behind because biologically inferior.) The youngers seem to represent a turn to "equality means equality".

From the Armed Forces' point of view, they get double the human material to choose from: and in an age when half the youngsters are morbidly obese and another half thick as dockers' sandwiches, gender-neutrality is a good thing for them. Pacifists can do peace-corpsy things, of course. The military says that they won't sweat the small stuff; some units have segregated dorms, others share rooms, in which case the boys can be asked to step out to let the girls change, a senior female officer says.

175:

Adding a new meaning to cold fusion ....

176:

Looks like a variant on the Farnsworth-derived Polywell design that Bussard came up with. So a bit better than cold fusion; there is at least no doubt that fusion does take place in those devices, and indeed they are sometimes used as neutron sources.

AIUI the problem is that they may or may not lose energy through bremsstrahlung too rapidly to maintain any useful distribution of high-energy particles (where "useful" means enough fusion happens to make up the loss). Some people have proved that they do, some people have proved that they don't, and nobody yet has managed to make an experiment that can get within orders of magnitude of handling enough power to throw any light on the matter without melting itself.

177:

Here's the question. Even though Scotland's peak electricity use is not well-correlated with solar power, that doesn't mean solar won't serve a few functions. Even with lower electricity use in summer, electricity use in summer is not zero. Solar panels can compensate for natural wind power fluctuations during those times

Electric cars have to be included in these discussions (unless Scotland intends to stop decarbonizing its infrastructure). Solar power correlates well with the time people are at work, when it would be best to recharge cars infrastructure-wise.

Finally, we have to include politics. I don't know if Scotland and England share renewable energy subsidy scheme, but my understanding is that England has slashed their solar subsidies by ~67%. If so, it is likely that Scotland could pay for the panels by exporting the electricity to England?

178:

How do you set up a fake coup? You have people *you* trust, with authority, locate and coordinate the disaffected, or, in this case, the folks who are truly unhappy with Erdogan's push towards dictatorship. Organize the coup - you know the time and where -and then have your people in place to "catch the plotters".

A headline today says that the Turkish military "knew hours before it started" about it. If that isn't a clear indication that Erdogan orchestrated it, I don't know what is.

mark

179:

Y'know, I see some folks here talking about what people do if there's a basic minimum income.

Literally, I've been trying to get a conversation started for decades as to what do we do in what I refer to as a Post-Adamic society (you don't need to earn your living by the sweat of your brow). People keep blowing me off.

Folks are now starting to consider BMI, and how automation and AI *is* starting to cut the number of people who work seriously. If you don't come up with things to try... look at Africa and the Middle East, where the unemployment rate varies from 15% to (and I'm not making this up, I think I got it from a wikipedia entry) 80%.

And if you don't like BMI, I have a number of friends who are good at what they do, and can't find a job. Please contact me directly, and give me *jobs* for them, from nurses' aid to RT computer programming. Put up, or shut up.

Sure, with BMI, some people will just couch potato and party (no servants needed). Some will find or make jobs, so that they make above minimum income. And then there will be the folks who want to *do* something....

mark "how do I get off this damn planet?"

180:

What do you do when it's night and the wind doesn't blow? Freeze to death in the dark?

The "solutions" to the variability and non-dependability of wind and solar involve other people spending lots of money to implement either gigantic amounts of storage or oversupply of standby generating capacity, usually fossil-fuelled. At the moment wind and solar coast on the fact the grid supplies most of the electricity from dispatchable sources like coal, gas, nuclear and hydro.

Practically speaking storage is not a real solution other than to even out demand and supply on a day to day basis as it is done today. The grid will need lots of fossil-fuelled instant-start CCGT as it does today to support renewables especially when their installed base reaches a majority of the capacity on the grid (if it ever does). This will cost money, even if it's not used as much as it is today, and of course it will mean burning a lot of fossil fuel gas which is going to become scarcer and scarcer as time goes on.

As for Scotland and solar PV, two words -- "slant angle". The atmosphere is about 50km thick, where it is assumed space "starts". When the sun is at its highest at noon midwinter in Edinburgh the light is coming in at an angle of 11 degrees. That means the effective path through the atmosphere, clouds, moisture etc. is 50km/sin(11 degrees) = 250km. This does not bode well for the output of a solar panel even if it is aligned optimally.

181:
A headline today says that the Turkish military "knew hours before it started" about it. If that isn't a clear indication that Erdogan orchestrated it, I don't know what is.
I'd want the details behind that headline before interpreting it that way. If nothing else, IIRC at least half of Turkey's coups were led by the Chief of General Staff and presented as on behalf of the entire military; by definition the military knew about them a lot more than hours beforehand.
182:

I don't see the problem. People will do what they want, which in some cases will be nothing. That's OK. The "folks who want to *do* something"... will be able to, whereas they can't now. That's OK too. Why should this make you want to leave the planet?

183:

There was a recent paper by Erik Myerson on the economic consequences of coups.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BxGIkxI0T-q7ZmhxQk1GRWRxSDQ/view

The upshot is a coup overthrowing a democratically elected government lowered GDP by 1-1.3% per year over a decade.

I find that, conditional on a coup attempt taking place, the effect of coup success depends on the pre-intervention level of democratic institutions. In countries that were more democratic, a successful coup lowered growth in GDP per capita by as much as 1-1.3 percent per year over a decade. In more autocratic countries, I find smaller and more imprecisely estimated positive effects. These results are robust to splitting the sample by alternative institutional measures, as well as to a range of controls relating to factors such as leader characteristics, wars, coup history, and natural resources. Despite the role of pre-coup GDP dynamics, results are not driven by mean reversion. Moreover, extending the analysis to matching and panel data methods yield similarly robust results. These methods further allow testing relevant adjacent hypothesis and indicate that the effects of successful coups conditional on a coup attempt are not driven by failed coups; nor do the effects of coups simply represent those of transitions to and away from democracy more broadly.

A successful coup is worse than an unsuccessful coup.

184:

One possibility is the coup was launched before the plotters had planned as the loyalists had discovered the plot and the traitors felt that they had to act immediately to have any chance of success.

Knowing in advance is not necessarily evidence of collusion, it may be a sign either of a successful investigation or a plotter defecting.

185:

Since the commentariat seem to have missed this:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-tayside-central-36468301

Headline/Lede:
"Scotland's largest solar farm formally opened

Scotland's largest solar farm, which will provide power for more than 3,500 homes, is due to be officially opened.

The 13MW scheme, which was constructed on 70 acres of land at Errol Estate in Perthshire and includes 55,000 solar panels, went live in May."

186:

The "solutions" to the variability and non-dependability of wind and solar involve other people spending lots of money to implement either gigantic amounts of storage or oversupply of standby generating capacity, usually fossil-fuelled. At the moment wind and solar coast on the fact the grid supplies most of the electricity from dispatchable sources like coal, gas, nuclear and hydro.

Practically speaking storage is not a real solution other than to even out demand and supply on a day to day basis as it is done today. The grid will need lots of fossil-fuelled instant-start CCGT as it does today to support renewables especially when their installed base reaches a majority of the capacity on the grid (if it ever does). This will cost money, even if it's not used as much as it is today, and of course it will mean burning a lot of fossil fuel gas which is going to become scarcer and scarcer as time goes on.

It's a bit dated, but worth looking at Scottish System Demand:

By definition, the system maximum-demand occurs once per year. In 2003/2004 in the SP area the maximum-demand of 4,227 MW was recorded in the evening of 20th December 2003. In the SSE area the corresponding figure was 1,694 MW on 28th January 2004. The minimum demand for both areas is of the order of 36% of peak demand. The load factor in 2003-2004 was 64.2% for SP and 56.8% for SSE.

It's worth clicking through to look at the load curves too. No matter how you slice it, Scotland needs a lot more power on winter weekdays than on summer weekends. The solutions you need to ensure supply for peak demand winter days were already needed before intermittent renewables became significant. You'd need gas turbines even if nuclear power became the baseload, because it's terribly expensive to build enough nuclear capacity for the most demanding winter days then leave it idle much of the year. That's significantly worse than leaving gas turbines seasonally idle.

In the presence of giant seasonal storage schemes, like power-to-gas with underground storage of gas, both nuclear and renewables can theoretically reduce fossil combustion for electricity to zero. Without large scale seasonal storage schemes, I think that's very unlikely; I agree that electrochemical storage is going to handle daily variations and not much more. The better question is, then: how much fossil fuel can you avoid burning by investing X pounds in renewables? X pounds in short term storage? X pounds in nuclear generation? The answer is going to change based on previous answers. It's not fixed for all time.

187:

Except that the wind is blowing *somewhere*, and in either the case of solar or wind, you're going to be storing excess somehow.

Btw, is this Nojay Sneddon? I'm the guy who gave you the ride to your brother's(?) in '92....

mark

188:

If Lockheed Martin has the breakthru they claim, and it's just pure engineering work from here on, we've got a wonderful future opening up.

Because this isn't just commercially useful fusion, it's also portable. Even if its semi-truck trailer size rather than pick up, it will be portable enough for Pan-Max and larger ships as well as powerplants. If some scaling is possible, we can also run electrical airplanes.

So potentially we can end air pollution in a decade. Eliminating smokestacks, shipping and rail pollution will do a massive amount. Even if a micro-fusion engine isn't feasible in the near to mid term, our long term efforts on hybrids and Tesla will dovetail with it. Additionally, the cheap power which can be transported means all sorts of places become more livable. No more importing barrels upon barrels of oil in the arctic or to pacific islands. Desalination turn key plants using brute force power.

And if we can make a pick up size system, we can run wide body airliners using fission. Even bigger than you'd think, allowing some massive version of the Virgin Galactic ships when you reduce the fuel you need to haul. Much cheaper into space. And once there, using a VASIMR, the entire solar system becomes accessible, including sample. return. Heck, Mars in 39 days is possible if we're able to use fusion to power such a system.

Of course there will be struggles. Oil rapidly loses value. The middle east goes up in flames, but few of the nations saved enough to survive the coming crash. Otoh that means the flow of oil that brings in weapons and support to fuel conflict in the middle east dries up. It also means the funds going out from some of the regimes to fund external terror as a domestic stabilizer will end.

189:

My vision of utopia may be hopelessly optimistic or shallow, but here it is: that we may all enjoy the easy life of a Bertie Wooster, insofar as that is possible without expecting other people to play maid, cook, or Jeeves, and that if we choose anything more strenuous it is out of enthusiasm, not necessity.

You forgot to stipulate that the easy life must be auntless. But that aside, I agree. I suggest:

  • Introduce UBI.
  • Raise the minimum wage by 10% every year. If businesses complain about staff costs, tell them to automate.
  • Make it illegal "for the duration" to work as a Web programmer, Pokémon Go designer, virtual-reality researcher, app builder, member of W3C, or anything else that applies computing to the virtual rather than the real world.
  • Require every computer-science student to also study robotics, at least one hard science such as chemistry or physics or botany, and one vocational or engineering topic such as fashion design, catering, chemical engineering, or hairdressing.
  • Immediately begin the hugest Manhattan Project possible to automate everything.
  • Levy a non-innovation tax on manufacturers of goods such as razors, vacuum cleaners and washing machines who do not improve performance (*) of all products by at least 1% per year. We need to free ourselves from domestic drudgery as well as paid work.

(*) Measured in jeeves. A washing machine (**) that I can put all my delicate Moroccan shirts into and then go out of the house without fearing it might set the place on fire or flood the floor, and that does not wreck the fine embroidery, and that presents the clothes neatly folded and ironed: that's one jeeve. The one I didn't use this afternoon because I have to handwash clothes in case it shreds the stitching by moronically bashing it against a rotating metal drum for forty-five minutes: that's about a centijeeve.

(**) It might not in fact be a washing machine, if it no longer uses water. But then, we still "dial" numbers on a phone keyboard.

190:

The thing is, I don't have to put up or shut up. I can just accuse you of wanting communism.

This isn't directed at you personally, but it seems that a group of people who support BMI don't realize the political terrain as it is

BMI is competing against the ideology of "anyone who doesn't work, starves". Like it or not, you're losing the argument to that option.

191:

Sorry, Charlie,

About CASE NIGHTMARE TWEED, and CASE NIGHTMARE BLOND? I think it's time to worry about CASE BLUE HADES.... The URL says it all....
http://www.news-journalonline.com/news/20160718/earthquake-reported-off-florida-waters-was-really-navy-test

mark

192:

"What do you do when it's night and the wind doesn't blow? Freeze to death in the dark?"

Well, according to what I've read, Scotland has 5 natural gas and diesel plants which provide ~3% of its electricity. So the answer to your question is having 57% of your electricity renewable, 40% nuclear, and 3% fossil. That seems to work and should be implemented globally.

193:

If Lockheed Martin has the breakthru they claim, and it's just pure engineering work from here on, we've got a wonderful future opening up.... So potentially we can end air pollution in a decade.

I'm way incompetent to comment the science and engineering of this, but let's have a community thought experiment. Suppose this is going to work, and do what it says on the tin (without blowing up or summoning infernal beasties), just suppose – then WHO is going to be pulling strings to make sure it doesn't happen at all, and HOW? On a mountain, you ideally study the difficult bits from afar, in advance.

194:

More good news (and probably topical for some of Host's older fans):

A vaccine for Alzheimer's disease could be trialed in humans within the next 3-5 years, after researchers from the United States and Australia have uncovered a formulation that they say successfully targets brain proteins that play a role in development and progression of the disease.


Alzheimer's vaccine steps closer with new study Medical News Today 18th July 2016 (yes, the source is a bit of a joke, but the actual study looks promising)

195:

Likewise, the British Army has just opened all jobs to women - so, if you're daft enough to want to join the infantry (it seemed like a good idea at the time...) then carry on.

Of course, there are the usual cries of how standards will be lowered to allow women to pass, how the sky will fall, and the world end. Those of us Reservists who had women in our infantry units all along, just smile.

IIRC, the Royal Norwegian Navy managed to confuse the Americans by having a female submarine commander back in the 1990s; and the Swedes won a Leopard tank users competition with a mixed crew (although the big smile came the year the Dutch conscript team beat the German conscripts into second in the big NATO tank competition).

196:

The other thing with Scottish solar is that Scotland is ideally placed to supply the evening peak demand for a lot of countries to the East of Scotland for at least 6 months of the year.

Yes, but we'd need a much better grid interconnect with the continent. Right now (going from memory: in a hotel with spectacularly crap wifi) there's about 1.5Gw between GB and France, partly via the Chunnel. ISTR a plan to add another 1-2Gw of bearers, but that was before Brexit screwed the pooch. Any such plan is now very probably on indefinite hold for political reasons.

A direct grid interconnect from Scotland to Norway is possible, but a whole lot more expensive than using the overland grid connection with England and then hopping the much narrower English Channel -- Norway is ~200 miles of bad weather and cold sea away. Yes, there are gas pipelines, but high tension electricity and sea water make me kind of itchy in a way that methane doesn't.

197:

The North Sea Link between the UK and Norway apparently started its construction phase last year. Though as you say a project like this, big and still in early stages, might be thrown off by Brexit.

198:

I disagree with your overall thesis but don't have time for a considered rebuttal. On the specific point of Malaysia as a bulwark against Islam I would strong argue against it given:

Sigh. What part of "islam" != "islamism" don't you get?

One is a religion. The other is a radical authoritarian political movement that takes religious doctrine as law and enforces it violently.

It's a false equation, all too common in the west; the equivalent would be conflating Christianity with Neo-Nazism. (Because, hey, you don't get many Jewish or Muslim neo-Nazis; that political creed evolved in Christianity-based societies, and weaponizes pre-existing prejudices found among that faith community ... but to equate all Christians with Neo-Nazis would be, shall we say, an exaggeration.)

199:

IIRC, the Royal Norwegian Navy managed to confuse the Americans by having a female submarine commander back in the 1990s

Didn't know that, but I'm all for confusing the Americans whenever possible.

Some of our forenames are not entirely transparent to furriners: INGE without the R, for example, is male. Other common male forenames are ODD and BENT (though the latter is more Danish), while some women are just RANDI.

As regards the standards, I understand many women couldn't throw a grenade the required distance but then neither could I, even in my youth. In the article, the senior officer said, "It's OK if you're not super-fit to begin with, that's what boot camp is for".

200:

I don't buy into that class of conspiracy theory - it's a matter of who is going to be pulling strings to get control of it.

201:

Dunno if this is positive or negative, Charlie, but what do you think of Owen Smith (who seems to be the one to challenge Corbyn)?

mark

202:

It's a false equation, all too common in the west; the equivalent would be conflating Christianity with Neo-Nazism.

Some friends and I have long used the back-formation "christianist". It's more transparent than "Domininionist" in the USA.

203:

Recte: That's a word should join Saint Terry's banananana and continuinuinuum.

204:

I wasn't really thinking of domestic solar the way we do it in Oz - but you're right, it does seem a bit of a stretch.

205:

All very good points, especially the bit around heritage sites. Checking my assumptions, I had a vague idea that new tower-block type construction could do this, but the scale is probably wrong and there may simply not be so much of that sort of thing occurring anyway.

I guess if solar PV were approximately free you'd install it: every little helps.

That's basically where I was going.

But "improvements in price and efficiency" by themselves are never going to make solar a principal energy source in northern Europe, because of the anticorrelation with demand noted above.

Agreed - other sources of generation in addition to better options for storage are needed.

206:

if we can make a pick up size system, we can run wide body airliners using fission.

I assume you meant "fusion" because fission for aviation has been done and it sucks, badly.

No we can't; neutrons are not our friends and go through a lot more centimetres of lead shielding than alpha, beta, or gamma radiation. See also the history of the NB-36 program and the Soviet equivalent. When you factor in the risk of aviation crashes on top, and bear in mind that neutrons cause secondary activation so your reactor is going to be radioactive even if there's no 235U or 239Pu fuel involved, it ain't worth the candle.

Instead they'll do it the way the French run nuclear-powered trains: use fusion to drive Fischer-Tropsch synthesis of aviation fuel from atmospheric CO2 and water, and burn it in gas turbines. (The French TGV network is essential nuclear-powered, but they don't put the reactors on the trains: they put them in big-ass reactor containment domes and feed the trains electricity via the grid.)

As for space travel, you're forgetting the real obstacle to nuclear in space: heat rejection. We use reactors to heat a working fluid, and unless you can figure out a way to convert neutrons directly into useable moving electrons, you're going to be limited by your ability to dump waste heat into a vacuum -- which, as we know, is a pretty good insulator (even if the background temperature is only 2.7 kelvins).

207:

Tower block construction of residences got a really bad name in the UK in the 1960s-1980s period; they're mostly being demolished these days -- everyone wants a house, or at worst, an apartment in a block no more than four storeys high (with elevator) or three (without).

208:

Ha! Right now I'd like to go to the Scottish Riviera to get some sun...

How do you predict the weather in Scotland/Norway/Snowdonia/Lakeland?
"If you can see the mountains, it means it's going to rain. If you can't see the mountains, it means it IS raining."

209:

"What do you do when it's night and the wind doesn't blow? Freeze to death in the dark?

The "solutions" to the variability and non-dependability of wind and solar involve other people spending lots of money"

The "solutions" to wanting electricity and not having a large coalfired power plant in your living room also involved other people spending lots of money. A National Grid doesn't fall from the sky a gift from god. People spend money and build it. If a definition of a practical national electricity supply includes it not costing any money, then there are no practical electricity supplies in existence.

Heating is a solved problem. It's not even expensive. The utility installs a switch in your meter box that they control remotely. You're allowed to connect anything to it that is permanently wired in and safe to operate unattended. That circuit gets metered independently and costs less than a third of what normal electricity costs. Because it's so much cheaper than oil or normal electricity, people connect up storage heaters. (Hot water or big blocks of cement) They spend their own money, not other people's money. The utility saves money, the customers save money, it's not zero sum.

The utility gets to control the load to a certain extent, allowing them to match consumption with supply rather than supply with consumption. That doesn't eliminate a winter peak but it does take a huge chunk out of it.

So no, having some solar in the grid doesn't mean that you die in your house in the dark no matter how wonderfully dramatic that sounds.

"dispatchable sources like coal"

Coal is the exact opposite of dispatchable. Coal plants take hours or days to ramp up and down. Load following is normally done by simply allowing the steam to bypass the turbines and does nothing to alter the amount of coal burnt.

210:

... but to equate all Christians with Neo-Nazis would be, shall we say, an exaggeration.

But perhaps not really that much of one - since as you say it is built on the pre-existing prejudices you find in most (almost all) Christian communities. Those prejudices are barely concealed in many places and entirely open in others. Maybe the conservative tendency in non-Christian communities has something similar, and there's no doubt secular communities (where they have some kind of group expression at all) have something like them.

I'm probably just pessimistic at the moment, because the rural area in Queensland I am from is the area that voted most strongly for Pauline Hanson's One Nation party in our recent federal election, which isn't exactly neo-Nazi but is certainly a logical go-to party for neo-Nazis (the older, saner ones anyway... the younger, crazier ones would go for Reclaim Australia but that's another story). The commonly expressed point raised in favor of Ms Hanson is that "she says what people are thinking".

The proper approach currently seems to be to engage with racists and work to dispel their ignorance in a non-aggressive way. Promoting a broader understanding, building a window onto the feared others where they can be seen as fellow humans and not so different, etc. Forgiveness and reconciliation. I suppose the problem with ignorance is that it breeds, and you end up with the same journey over and over again. I'm aware in abstract that it's necessary and that over time, even only after a couple of generations it sinks in. And really that the ongoing effort is built on the successful earlier engagement (hey, I'm probably an outcome of such a thing myself). But in practice it can be very wearing.

211:

"BMI is competing against the ideology of "anyone who doesn't work, starves"."

It is high time that that fly-blown rotten corpse finally realised it was dead and stopped zombling about the place dropping bits and making bad smells. It has only managed to keep moving this long because nearly all work serves no purpose other than to prop it up, and has a value comparable to people continually birching each other's backs in order to ensure that people's backs continue to be birched.

In proportion as the need for useful work has declined with advances in technology etc, so useless work has been devised to take its place, thanks to the endemic blindness to the putrescence of that ideology. People have been commenting on this (and been ignored) since Victorian times at least. Now - as has been pointed out - we are reaching the point where that particular Peak hits the nuclear flask. So far it has been possible to invent useless work by thinking up something only humans can do. Now that category is disappearing, and the people who have remained wilfully blind for so long are about to have the clue stick whack them in the face. The slower they are to open their eyes, the harder they will get whacked.

213:

Indeed, I meant fusion, as Fission is great if you want a horror.

Fusion can lower the flight problems a few ways. Lockheed Martin already intends to fly it in C5's per their ad materials (but that may just be copy for the brass to pay for it). External mounted pods for crew and passenger safety, as well as strict guidelines for replacement parts to minimize radioactive materials. Really going to depend on the final engineering as to what parts that are readily exposed, as well as the relative amount of gamma and relative neutrons flux.

Hmm the flux still would be always be an issue and limit the use in practice. Still could be useful for certain applications (especially a scaled up white knight where the mass of shielding is a trade off in exchange for not needing tonnes of fuel. (for example, 60 metric tonnes of fuel for a 787 versus say, a few metric tons of water for shielding).

Probably not going to work anytime soon to retrofit existing planes. Using brute force power to make high quality jet fuel via Fischer-Tropsch probably will still use methane/ethane depending on price. Methane will stay cheap, and its easier to make CH4 into C6H14 usually than break off the oxides.

As for heat dissipation, I'm in favor of building bigger with large radiating surfaces. Works better in the lower light regions beyond Mars where solar is less efficient. Heat sinks might interesting enough be the big limit for how fast we can push something. (BattleTech/MechWarrior save us!). Otoh, we have interesting uses for these still in deep space where we have mass. Especially moving asteroids and other similar stellar bodies.

Heat dissipation will likely need to be part of any decent size ships radiation protection system anyway. Produce the power in a external pod, include a water layer to act as a thermal conductor, uses a mixture of passive and active features to circulate the water in a cooling cycle. Big thin radiator trying to exchange heat with vacuum aren't awesome, but seem easiest to build. An emergency situation may even intentionally vent water from the system, but that would be bad for long duration flight between places with cheap water. Still would have the issue we could create much more heat than we could dissipate barring a material science breakthrough.

214:

Really? Pope Francis is a Neo-Nazi?

There's something about Christianity that has to do with things like mercy, compassion, charity, the imperfection of all human beings and their common siblinghood, and so forth that's totally anathema to Neo-Nazi values.

What I'd like to point out is that fascism can swipe just about any religious vernacular and repurpose it to its own ends. There has certainly been fascist Shintoism (cf: Shinto in WWII Japan), fascist Buddhism (Zen in WWII Japan), and so forth. The fact that a religion can get its symbols and rituals hacked to espouse fascism doesn't mean that it is, in itself, fascist.*

That said, I like your story about the Australian racists.

*Oh, and Nazis aren't pagans either, nor are environmentalists Nazis. These two remarks were common back in the 1990s, because the Nazis passed a few laws to protect native German wildflowers, and some Nazi mythmaking seemed to deride Christian morality as being weak and decadent, not fit for the master race, and similar garbage.

Anyway, shall we get back to the news, so Charlie has something non Nazi-related to read when he gets off the plane?

215:

On the list of teh Crazies, it looks like Hyperloop One, a company founded to make Elon Musk's (editorial comment: totally ridiculous) hyperloop concept a reality, is turning into a circular backstabbing and litigation squad.

http://gizmodo.com/the-hyperloop-lawsuit-shitshow-just-got-more-insane-1783927281

216:

and has a value comparable to people continually birching each other's backs in order to ensure that people's backs continue to be birched.

I wonder whether the youngsters understand that ancient phrase "taking in one another's washing" from the days before laundromats much less home washing machines.

For of course, if you do my laundry and I do yours, behold, we have just increased the size of the economy. Which I would humbly suggest ought to have been a clue stick to the effect that there was something very, very wrong with our economics.

217:

A couple of points:

First, fusion does not have to mean neutrons. Tokamak fusion (the one that's getting 99.9% of the money for fusion - I wonder why that is?) certainly does; in fact the waste problem could be even worse than fission reactors' waste. Polywell almost certainly means neutrons in abundance, too.

But there is a third possibility; DPF (dense plasma focus) fusion which could use the p/B11 reaction, which is aneutronic. Its products are gamma rays (nasty but shieldable), neutrinos which waste energy and nothing else - and high-energy helium nuclei, which could with proper design have their energy converted directly into electricity for the very simple reason that they are charged.

In addition, according to the DPF group, with a bit of tweaking the reactor geometry could be altered to produce asymmetry in the helium nuclei flow - and that could create thrust directly, with astoundingly high Isp. Yes, a real fusion torch drive. The radiator would be the exhaust - better not look at it! Only usable in space, though.

I find it significant that tokamak is getting just about all the money, despite having been tried unsuccessfully for 50 years - while polywell, so much better, is struggling for funds and the DPF group (much better still) is almost literally begging. One might almost think someone or some group doesn't want cheap, clean energy in small units, wouldn't one?

Try this for a possible future, or part of it. DPF gets some money, and comes up with a reactor that (if built in volume) costs $50,000 and could run a large truck or street full of houses. Wouldn't you like to set up a neighbourhood committee, get one (or maybe two - redundancy) of these installed and tell the power company to stick its bills where the sun don't shine?

218:

Charlie - I would absolutely agree that "islam" != "islamism" and apologise for not proof reading the previous post.

The wider point I was trying to make is that if you are looking for potential states that might act a bulwark against Islamist creed, the one that already embeds discrimination against non-muslims and whose political elite accepts large sums of money from KSA may not be your best choice. As you note....

"So the big issue is how to contain islamic radicalism. And the west is gradually realizing that the Iranian shi'ites are pretty harmless in this context -- a case of chickenpox compared with the virulent smallpox pandemic that is being exported from Saudi Arabia by way of Da'esh"

I would suggest the overt closeness of Malaysia to KSA disqualifies them from potential bulwark state status

219:

Tx, yes very interesting. (Alzheimer’s disease AdvaxCpG- adjuvanted MultiTEP-based dual and single vaccines induce high-titer antibodies against various forms of tau and Aβ pathological molecules, if I've found the right paper.)
(No Alzheimer's history in immediate family, but get upset seeing any sort of progressive dementia.)

220:

What am I missing?
This - also for your self:
ee: Theresa May and the Home Office deradicalization campaigns
Which are pigshit
If you really want this, then atheism is the way to go, but nobody's touching it.
Pathetic, isn't it?

P.S. Goatfucker Erdogan had obviously already-prepared lits of people to arrest, most noticeably the Judges.
It was a set up, if not planned, then deliberately waiting for an suitable excuse .....

221:

The USSA is NOT the whole fucking world.
Please accept this fact & stop ranting at the great majority of us who are not in said country, huh?

222:

So
It's an ENGINEERING problem & therefore solvable ....

223:

there's something about Christianity that has to do with things like mercy, compassion, charity, the imperfection of all human beings and their common siblinghood, and so forth that's totally anathema to Neo-Nazi values.
REALLY?
Tell that to anyone following Jean Calvin or the RC church 1932-85 (Franco, too)
I don't believe you, what a surprise ....

224:

Really? Pope Francis is a Neo-Nazi?

Yes, in the same way that [INSERT MODERATE ISLAMIC LEADER] is an islamist and Da'esh supporter or apologist. The analogy is with the generalisation, not with any accurate representation of the entities involved. I was sort of deliberately misunderstanding OGH's footnote that of course such a generalisation is ridiculous - as a jumping off point for my own anecdotes.

But also I wanted to draw out how ubiquitous the underlying prejudices are - and how apparently easily addressed when engaged with reasonably and tolerantly. So maybe the happy news story I'm angling here is the one where this reasonable and tolerant engagement is actually a thing that people are talking about in the news.

225:

Yeah, got to agree with Greg here. Christianity is a brain virus. It co-opts parts of the brain that evolved to help a tribe survive. The will to 'love thy neighbour' is an evolved trait. Religions feed you the idea that supporting them is a charitable act and that you're supporting your neighbours by proxy. Then they divert the resources that you would otherwise have directed toward neighbourly works into their own ends. The workers within justify that to themselves with the same principles. We're diverting resources away from the needy because the church is 'charitable' and it will be better in the end.

It's about on par with fish that gape their mouths at birds and trigger the feeding reflex. The birds think they're feeding their young and the fish get fat. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tKI1deEWx5Q

226:

Tower block construction of residences got a really bad name in the UK in the 1960s-1980s period

There were a lot of tower blocks constructed for social housing in Oz in that same period, and with similar outcomes. (Though many of the ones in Melbourne seem to have been rehabilitated through community-lead social initiatives... residents get allotments where they can grow their own veggies, that kind of thing; but that's an aside). Brisbane had an almost opposite problem - social housing has been mostly 3-4 bedroom detached houses, but concentrated in specific burbs which seems to be a recipe for entrenched intergenerational disadvantage. Both are in a long process of being replaced with unit blocks of the sort you describe.

For other-than-social residential construction, for some reason there is currently a boom for tower blocks, at least in Brisbane. Not sure if there isn't some specific legislation-driven rent involved. No idea who is buying all these units either, scuttlebutt has it as mostly overseas investors but that only makes sense up to a certain point.

227:

There's something about Christianity that has to do with things like mercy, compassion, charity, the imperfection of all human beings and their common siblinghood, and so forth that's totally anathema to Neo-Nazi values.


Someone really needs to look up the history of Christianity in Nazi Germany.

Hint:


The White Rose were executed and were mostly kids. That's the "good" Christians.

The much, much larger body of Christian Nazis [go look it up, you'll find they have a specific name] were the core of the party.

Sorry to burst your bubble and all.

228:

And yes: this is akin to Zionists stating that no Jew ever helped the Nazi regime. Sorry, they did. Either under duress, threat of torture / deportation / death, or just plain greed.

It happened: deal with it.

229:

And, for the three: I'm sure that no devoted Sunni / Shia helped the Americans in their invasion of two separate countries which lead to the death of 500,00 - 1,000,000 of their fellow natives.


Not that the US / UK didn't totally screw over their translators or anything when it came to exiting, but that's a different story.

~


Hint: People are people.

Ideologies, Religions and so on... well, they're not. And they tend to like to re-imagine the past to erase their mistakes.

230:

Forget p-11B fusion in any reasonable timeframe... Reason being it's a couple of orders of magnitude harder than D-T fusion to light off. Any configuration potentially capable of sustaining p-11B fusion will attain the ability to sustain D-T fusion at a much earlier stage in its development, and when that happens, it'll get used like that; further development may still carry on, but it'll be a much lower priority. Also, it's kind of daft for any magic new configuration to claim p-11B capability when it hasn't even managed break-even with D-T yet. (The Polywell bunch were doing that too at one point, I don't know if they still are.)

Certainly having the energy produced in the form of charged particles is very convenient, but once D-T fusion is achieved I can't see people being all that bothered about having to waste two-thirds of the energy converting it in a heat engine instead of being able to get it out electrically straight off. Look at how we waste 99% of the energy in uranium rather than do a proper job of things.

And the neutrons from D-T aren't waste, nor are they merely the carriers of most of the energy: they're part of the cycle. You want to capture them in lithium to breed more tritium. Sure there are more of them per unit energy, and you won't be able to catch all of them, but the breeding requirement gives you an extra incentive to do as well as you can.

231:

Hint: People are people.

Well, yes. Yes they are.

Ideologies, Religions and so on... well, they're not. And they tend to like to re-imagine the past to erase their mistakes.

I think Hetero was emphasising how Christianity likes to present itself as uniquely a religion of compassion - ignoring that "compassion" is suposed to be the most frequently occurring word in the Koran, that "karuna" is the equivalent to the categorical imperative in Tibetan Buddhism in terms of what it says about living one's life, that the messages about compassion from pretty well all major belief systems say that it's a pretty good thing. The odd players out, that is the belief systems that portray compassion as a bad thing, seem to be Western-protestantism-derived market capitalism and the its subsequent derivative big-L Libertarianism. Not that finger-waggling over that makes a lot of sense... it just leads back to the need to engage and educate without judging. Which is at least as hard as it sounds.

232:

It's worth making two points:

1. A surprising number of Christian fundamentalists have never opened the Bible. They have no clue what the Golden Rule is, and believe that whatever the dude in the pulpit is telling them is true. To quote GK Chesterton, "The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult; and left untried."

2. A number of pagans make a useful distinction between Christian and Xtian. Christians, who are very rare, have read the Bible, try to practice the golden rule, and do crazy things like work in Ebola clinics, help the poor, and generally make nuisances of themselves being genuinely non-violent and compassionate. There's a reason authoritarian rulers since the Roman emperors have persecuted and killed them whenever they raise their voices to demand justice for the poor and an end to violence and war. Xtians are that too-common group I mentioned in #1, who call themselves Christians and claim that Christianity is whatever they happen to be doing at the moment. They include, among others, the Army chaplains who tell soldiers who have lost a comrade, "don't get sad, get even," and that those who cry are weak, and the Popes who sided with the fascists.

A useful hint: I'm not at all Christian because I happen to agree with Chesterton.

233:

Leaving aside the "no true Scotsman" stuff, I think you're mostly right. But true believers come in good and bad varieties, while half-arsed believers, associates of convenience, agnostics and fellow travelers come in infinitely many varieties. I'm not sure I'm confident to say that the type of true believer who comes with fire and sword isn't a true true believer, while an Albert Schweitzer, for instance, is. Chesterton (who was a contemporary with Schweitzer, though he died younger) has always struck me as less an idealist, more a pragmatist who would disassemble any belief system he and rebuild it in a way that preserved its important characteristics, but is now mysteriously focused on compassion.

Separately it is starting to look like forgiveness and reconciliation will be the driving virtues and direction without which it is impossible to arrive at peace.

Personally, I take far more after Douglas Adams' dilettantes, eccentrics, layabouts and fartarounds.

234:

Including atheism, of course. If atheism were Islam, I would be a westernised Shiite and Dawkins a Wahhabist.

I've heard it said that atheism is a religion like bald is a hair color. And as a matter of taxonomy that's probably on the money. But you're right--there are some folks who rally under the banner of unbelief in a way that screams "religious identity" even though it's clearly not a religion. Perhaps a broader category of Metaphysical Assumption Affinity Group (or something else if you can get a funny acronym out of it) might be useful here instead.

235:


I've a better way.

Quit beating 'round the bush and upload us all already. Fuck's sake, woman...

236:

Precisely. The French Revolution, Hoxha, the Khmer Rouge and more. In some cases, they elevate a mystical and mythical concept (like the State or Proletariat) to the status of godhead.

237:

A surprising number of Christian fundamentalists have never opened the Bible.

Heard from a preacher-man (not a seminarian, the Elmer Gantry type): "What, you mean that St. Paul was a Jew?" He had no idea.

I mentioned confusing the Africans, who had never met an atheist. What confused them even more was that I knew the Bible better than any of them.

Another GKC fan here. He was very good at mocking his own time's woo-woo. Like the patented health-boosting "Mountain Milk" whose top-secret added ingredient was water.

238:

But true believers come in good and bad varieties, while half-arsed believers, associates of convenience, agnostics and fellow travelers come in infinitely many varieties

There's an implication there that there's only two varieties of true believers. The histories of both Xtianity and Islam show that there is often more than one variety of bad ones.

239:

GKC was also a bigot (e.g. against Jews). And it is NOT true that true Christianity (i.e. as in the Gospels) has been found difficult and not tried - it has been tried and followed, by a few. The reality is that much of it has been found inconvenient, and selectively ignored - Quakers and a few others excepted. Exactly like Islam (i.e. as in the Koran). You are perfectly correct about the ignorance of even quite moderate extremists - I gave a couple of Jehovah's Witnesses an education some decades back.

240:

[shrug] I was working entirely from the publicly available material from the main group working on DPF fusion. Web: http://lppfusion.com/

The point is (or may be, my physics has decades of rust on it) that DPF fusion uses electrostatic confinement and also isn't a continuous process; either or both of these might well affect how easy or otherwise it is to light off the reaction and/or keep it confined.

I think it's worth noting that both polywell and (of course) tokamak are supposed to be continuous processes; one of the biggest problems with both (AFAIK in the case of polywell) is keeping the plasma stable for long enough to be useful. Not a factor in a pulsed process like DPF - or with laser fusion, which is in my admittedly unqualified view even less practical than tokamak.

241:

I don't like absolutely everything he said. He could be so fond of his paradoxes than he became just silly.

His anti-semitism is an aspect of GCK I find difficult. In his defence I would say that it seemed motivated mostly by his hatred of plutocracy rather than racial purity and stuff. To identify plutocracy with being Jewish was of course wrong, and if I could get at him I would remind him that the Anglo-Saxon feudals he also so hates are definitely gentiles. This is all very topical again...

As a quip to annoy Xtians with, his "untried" line may be good enough for government work. I think he meant it as a principle of socio-political organisation rather than personal piety, and then we might agree that it ought not be tried anyway, like political Islam and so on.

242:

Afterthought, EC:

GCK surely deserves a nod for rooting for the Boers in the eponymous war. Not because he liked their attitudes to the Africans, but because he abominated British predatory imperialism, Rhodes and all that. Took guts. Respect, as they say.

243:

...They include, among others, the Army chaplains who tell soldiers who have lost a comrade, "don't get sad, get even," and that those who cry are weak

Even as the duty Regimental Atheist, I feel I have to step in on that one. In forty years of meeting them, and twenty years of sharing a Mess with them, I have never met a member of the Royal Army Chaplaincy Department who would do either of those things.

They are generally very good at counselling and welfare - it's their primary role. These were good men (and occasionally very physically hard men), in every case I knew - and now they even have female Padres...

244:

If Lockheed Martin has the breakthru they claim, and it's just pure engineering work from here on, we've got a wonderful future opening up.

Because this isn't just commercially useful fusion, it's also portable. Even if its semi-truck trailer size rather than pick up, it will be portable enough for Pan-Max and larger ships as well as powerplants. If some scaling is possible, we can also run electrical airplanes.

I frankly do not buy it, because to go from "We can't get fusion to work for more than a brief moment and then only at tremendous cost" one decade to "Minovsky density rising!" the next is some sci-fi shit the likes of which simply does not happen outside the onanistic fantasies of the space cadet corps. Lockheed trolling for grant money makes more sense in the world as we know it.

245:

It makes for very impressive power point slides though doesn't it?

246:

You have been taken in by the modern politically correct revisionism, and that is almost entirely the converse of the truth. The causes of the Boer war were NOT that simple, there was significant political opposition to it (and even support for the Boers) in the UK, the establishment was solidly against Rhodes' expansionism (and he risked being hanged for it), and he was a surprisingly liberal imperialist by the standards of his day. Why do you think that the Matabele broke tradition and gave an outsider the bayete at his funeral? Because they loathed him?

247:

I looked at the LPP fusion site, and retreated rapidly—it had "perpetual motion machine" written all over it.

My plasma physics is very ropy—one course as an undergraduate, which was longer ago than I want to admit—but a few seconds' searching turned up this blog post, which appears to be by someone who knows what he's talking about.

The general point is that small-scale fusion isn't hard—we've got a DT fusion tube in a building next to this one; it's used as a pulsed neutron generator—it's scaling up to the point where the machine produces rather than consumes energy that is difficult. Whatever they claim, I don't think LPP fusion know how to do that. Tokamaks get most of the money (almost certainly not 99.9%, since the US is quite heavily into inertial confinement fusion) because there is a reasonably clear path to scale-up. As Pigeon said, the neutrons from DT fusion in a tokamak are actually useful: you want to line the chamber with lithium, and use the neutrons to breed more tritium using the reaction 6Li(n,α)3H. This is challenging—you probably need isotopically enriched lithium, for a start—but under serious study.

248:

Some of the previous generation WERE like Heteromeles said; I was inflicted with a couple at school.

249:

Oh fuckin' A, top of the tops.

250:

I appreciate that things may well have changed - and I also accept that things are different from Army to Army. Out of curiosity, were these ex-Army Chaplains? Or Chaplains who had once been in the Army? (A subtle difference, you'll agree).

Our (Military!) school had two ex-Naval Chaplains while I was there; after I left, a TA Chaplain took over. All gentlemen, who I respected deeply.

As an aside (250 posts in, so it's open season), the Russian army apparently found in the 90s that as they no longer needed Political Officers to ensure the ideological correctness of the unit, and that their secondary Welfare role might be their future. If you were open-minded, you might even think that this had always been the bulk of their workload, contrary to any of the more swivel-eyed Western fictional depictions of them existing solely to spy on the CO and purge them on failure...

251:

An entertaining use of electrical engineering:
http://arstechnica.com/cars/2016/07/the-flux-capacitor-is-now-the-worlds-fastest-street-legal-electric-car/
A modified Enfield 8000 that can run a 1/4 mile acceleration trial in less than 10 seconds.

252:

After well over half a century, I can't remember whether they were regulars or not, but they had acted as chaplains in the British Army during the Second World War.

253:

...Because this isn't just commercially useful fusion, it's also portable.

For a given value of "portable", perhaps - the lead designer was talking about 300 to 1000 tonnes back in late 2014, depending on shielding.

254:

Anyway, here's another happy thought for the optimists. Apparently, the funding has started to flow to Reaction Engines Ltd to build a demonstrator of their SABRE engine.

http://www.reactionengines.co.uk/

255:

Which even if true is still first generation tech for their ideal output aimed at small cities. Wonderful portablish system fine to be transported onsite. Basically the same range as the SSTAR fission concept, which weighs in at ~500 tonnes (although a 200 tonne version is also being developed).

Fusion might still be an easier sale for commercial fishing if the costs get down. The problem from what I understand has been reading on the previous attempts with fission has been lack of trained nuke tenders and oil prices combined with the lead time. Will depend on how much maintenance and watch required to see if it works. By comparison, a decent size cruise ship can require 3,000 metric tons of fuel for a 10 day journey, making a 1,000 metric ton reactor actually pretty reasonable. Then it comes down to actual operations and how often an overall (including dealing with built up radiation) is required. Turns into a bunch of nitty gritty details. Assuming 1 dollar a liter for diesel as a base cost, we're talking 100 million dollar range for a cruise ship per year in fuel.

256:

"Sigh. What part of "islam" != "islamism" don't you get?"

The bit you missed was Sharia Islam ie Muslims who want Sharia Law implemented. That's the intermediate and crucial step between Islam and Islamism.

257:

There is only one question to be answered with LPP, and that is whether the intense magnetic fields generated can suppress Bremstrahlung radiation dissipation. Jury is still out on that, because experiment rules - not theory

258:

they had acted as chaplains in the British Army during the Second World War.

But in those days everyone had been "in the war", and those who worked at home in tail functions were by far the noisiest about it.

My school chaplain had sky-piloted with the Desert Rats; though he wasn't at all like the arse quoted up above, he was a weird Theosophist.

259:

The bit you missed was Sharia Islam ie Muslims who want Sharia Law implemented.

Hmm, what I don't get was how someone can be a Muslim without wanting Shari'a implemented, for values of "wanting" not necessarily covering imposition to replace civil law in host countries or imposition on other communities. But this religion is surely all about living by a particular law – it's about praxis not "faith".

As I understand it, Islam has not historically had to deal with Muslims being a minority in states of the Dar al-Harb, much less an immigrant minority.

When the phobes carry on about them voluntarily moving to our side of the fence and then demanding Muslim law, it has to be said that by their own lights they aren't supposed to do that. According to traditional law, Muslims are supposed to leave for the Dar al-Islam if overrun.

When someone else was the minority, these were dhimmi and often given over to the archbishop to govern. Dhimmi live by their own family law, don't they?

Whether and if so how any modernising theologians in al-Azhar etc. have addressed the question of migration to secular-law countries, I do not know, or expect to see accurately reported in our dailies.

260:

Source for the chaplains saying "don't get sad, get even" is Jonathan Shay's Achilles in Vietnam: Combat Trauma and the Undoing of Character.

Shay's a psychologist working with Vietnam vets. This book is a comparison of Homer's Iliad with the accounts of his patients, and he talks about how Achilles' tragedy of losing his entire moral compass and ultimately going berserk as a result of first dishonor, then the death of his closest friend, is paralleled by the experiences of far too many vets, who then come home with severe PTSD, black-out rages (going berserk again) and so forth.

It's worth reading for its own sake. I'll admit that I was more trying to understand Bronze Age warfare through the lens of something I thought I understood a little better (the Vietnam war), but I ended up learning something about the Vietnam war too.

At this point, I see no reason to assume the stories are fictional about (presumably some) Vietnam chaplains and superior officers saying, "don't get sad, get even." I'm glad this practice isn't widespread, and I really hope no military chaplain ever gives that advice again. Incidentally, the source quote ("don't get mad, get even,") supposedly originated with Joseph Kennedy, and both his sons John F Kennedy and Robert Kennedy used it in public speeches, so it was current at the time of the Vietnam War (started by JFK).

261:

Back to the original topic: This news is two months old, but NASA put 56 of their patents into the public domain: http://technology.nasa.gov/latest/public_domain/

There's some interesting stuff here, including technologies that might be useful in a (totally hypothetical) nitrogen/ammonia based culture, and a dusty plasma thruster that could be fueled with lunar regolith.

262:

Not a neuroscientist so missed this interesting science developing over the last several years. (Also, any real neuroscientists, please feel free to weigh in negatively or positively. Perhaps this has been linked on this site but a brief search found nothing.)
While poking through a few of the many references for Interoceptive predictions in the brain about active inference (sample):
"interoceptive experience may largely reflect limbic predictions about the expected state of the body that are constrained by ascending visceral sensations."
I found a big review paper which is thoroughly tickling intuitions (or maybe confirmation biases),
Predictions not commands: active inference in the motor system, and personal subjective observations about proprioception in particular, but also up the mental stack. Sample:
The brain can minimise prediction error in one of two ways. It can either change its predictions to better cohere with sensory input, or change the sampling of the environment such that sensory samples conform to predictions. The former process corresponds to perceptual inference—discussed in the previous section as predictive coding—the latter to action: together, they constitute ‘active inference’ (Friston et al. 2010).

263:

"1. A surprising number of Christian fundamentalists have never opened the Bible."

It's worse than that. Unlike most atheists I've never read the whole bible. I've managed a couple of chapters but it's excruciatingly dull.

But what's worse in my opinion is that most (for values >99.9%) christians haven't spent even 3 seconds thinking about what they do.

I hear all the time, from christians, how barbaric (insert any 'other' group) are. Yet every Sunday they line up for their cannibal ritual without even 3 seconds thought. They eat the human flesh and drink the human blood. Most of the Christians are ritual cannibals, who call everyone else barbaric.

I continue to remain gobsmacked.

264:

I think you'll find that you're a bit biased by your ignorance. For example, the Salvation Army, which is a Christian denomination, does not practice communion. As to what communion actually entails, whether it's transubstantiation or mere symbolism, that varies immensely among Christian groups, and I'm pretty sure the different interpretations go back to the Reformation if not before.

Of course the pagans who celebrate a lord of the grain who dies with each harvest and is reborn from the sacred Earth (goddess) with each new crop, see absolutely no problem with consuming their god. It's just part of the cycle of life, after all, just a reminder that it's all sacred. I suspect most Christians would be appalled to see Jesus in the tradition, of say, ol' Dagon or Osiris, but there you have it.

265:

Where's CD when we need her.

Meta meta meta

I'm complaining about the bias of christians due to their ignorance of their own faith and others, but it's dismissed due to my ignorance.

266:

Margot Adler suggested in "Drawing Down the Moon" that contemporary churches might provide more clues to pre-christian worship than folklore and having witnessed a latin mass I tend to agree.

267:

And back to upbeat news, researchers at Tufts University are working on smart sutures:
https://now.tufts.edu/news-releases/researchers-invent-smart-thread-collcts-diagnostic-data-when-sutured-tissue
Heard a fragment about this on BBC overnight (Here, Morning there) and found more later, online.

269:

Yes, I'm very much a fan of Drawing Down the Moon.

The sad part about this is that there are thousands of different sects/denominations/cults/churches/ministries/etc. that consider themselves Christian. They differ and often contradict each other on most aspects of their beliefs, practices, holy books, and so forth. And there's allegedly a billion Christians out there, because it's always good to count everybody who might be considered as Christian as part of the faith. For political reasons, of course.

Yes, it's a mess. Indeed, it's such a mess that I don't know of a trustworthy account of how many different groups there actually are or how many practicing Christians there are. IF you want a meta meta meta mess, this is the reality.

And then there are the people who proudly proclaim both their ignorance of Christianity either in theory or practice, and their disdain for what they think "Christians" believe or practice...

270:

"people who proudly proclaim both their ignorance of Christianity either in theory or practice"

Is that me?

If so, *you* labelled me ignorant because I didn't know (I did know but didn't say) that the para-military sect of christianity gave up ritual cannibalism, oh just *ages*[1] ago.

I'll try to make my point again. Maybe clearer this time?

The press has told christians to be scared of Islam (today, yesterday it was communists, before that Jews, I think it was Chinese before that) because they're *BARBARIANS*.

The point is that the christians don't even take three seconds to think about the following questions.

1) are they any worse than us? This requires that you think about what 'us' means, hence bringing up 'ritual cannibals'. If an uninitiated, cherry picked, reading of the Islamic holy books makes them look bad, how would we look if someone did the same with our book and our practices.
2) none of us follow what's in our holy book, is there any reason to think they follow theirs any more than we follow ours?
3) are they all the same or are they like us in that there are, 'thousands of different sects/denominations/cults/churches/ministries/etc. ... They differ and often contradict each other on most aspects of their beliefs, practices, holy books, and so forth.'

This has some serious consequences. I'll discuss my own country Australia because I know it. We pride ourselves on giving everyone a "Fair Go". Yet we have created concentration camps. We have a very very thinly veiled anti-islam task force that's cost 30 billion dollars. It hasn't prevented any terror attacks and appears to have actually generated one that resulted in 2 deaths. By sopping up 30 billion that could have gone to better roads (particularly the Pacific Highway http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/nsw/pacific-highway-decades-on-and-its-still-taking-a-high-toll/news-story/a30148eb22409e7018bf9e9408ef387c ) or hospitals, it's probably killed around 300 Australians.

271:

So. In an attempt to cheer myself up ... what am I missing that is outside the prevailing media narrative but is still worthy of reportage?


You spent considerable social capital to bring numerous women SF writers to blog on your website in 2015-16 and share their views of the world.

While your core like guns, military tech and hard-nosed real-politik, don't think it wasn't noticed.

They (and you) already won: shine and sing, don't worry about us who have to chivvy along those stuck in the mud.

3>

272:

Grrrr, Malformed link in previous comment. It included the close bracket. Should be http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/nsw/pacific-highway-decades-on-and-its-still-taking-a-high-toll/news-story/a30148eb22409e7018bf9e9408ef387c

[[ edited, but it still leads to a paywall - mod ]]

273:

What's the difference between Sharia Islam and Westboro Baptist Church?
Apart from one gets a free pass from liberals and the other doesn't.

274:

I don't see much difference. Neither should be an excuse for persecuting the overwhelming majority of people who belong to neither organisation. Putting USAians in concentration camps because of Westboro makes no more sense than putting journalists in concentration camps because they have Arabic sounding names and are fleeing the equivalent of the Westboro Baptist Church in their own country.

275:

OK, back to the main subject. I've found some good news in 2016.

Tesla has announced that they're developing Semi Trailers and "high passenger-density urban transport" (Bus? Trolley bus with batteries?)

276:

Actually the description of the Tesla bus sounds more like a roaming horizontal lift and the Tesla semi trailer will be 'really fun to operate'

277:

Apart from one gets a free pass from liberals and the other doesn't.

I feel bitten by this one myself, so let me look at it. If we assume two tribes, one of the things people regularly do is to hold the Other to a higher standard than themselves. A macro example is a superpower preaching liberation only for the other superpower's camp of subject peoples. You know that "we" have done that and it isn't attractive.

Repenting of this, we may overbalance into the opposite asymmetry and give the Wahhabis or whoever the free pass we deny to the WBC, or the RCC. That's wrong, yes, but I still feel that the first sin is worse and that we have a duty to fight the default position of Our Side being the Cosmic Goodies, Just Because.

And then we have old-fashioned racism. I have mentioned a dickhead who cusses about all black people he sees because he believes that all Africans are Muslims. When Breivik was banging on about the Gates of Vienna and Eurabia, and talking about Christians, he meant the melanin-deficient. He was not a Christian in any other sense; his tribe was whitechristian, in one word. (I believe that you get the same thing among the Southrons, who despite all the black churches use "Christian" to mean white?)

So, I would suggest that in such an atmosphere, being just as hard on Muslim takfiris as on the Christian takfiris of Westboro (it's the same conceptual world) is actually rather difficult for an entity of goodwill. One may call it political correctnesss, I would call it not wanting to be taken for a fuckwad.

278:

But Lockheed Martin ( Who are very big, wealth defence contractor, remember? ) stand to make seriously, SERIOUSLY LARGE amounts of moolah out of their portable-fusion project.
Who is going to be able to, never mind want to stop them?
If they have even a slight edge, that needs a lot of tweaking & serious engineering, then it really will change the planet.

279:

Err .. Norway isn't in the EU ... we are supposed, maybe, to be leaving the EU.
Somehow I don't think a Brexit is going to affect that one ....

280:

(Sorry I almost missed this)

I think I hear you saying that because monocultures destroy diversity, the time to not do that is right at the beginning therefore we want to say monocultures are bad per se. I agree. Actually I seem to have talked myself around to that idea in the comment you replied to - I could probably have gone back and removed the per se bit, but needed some kind of jumping-off point. I'm a slave to my own style guidelines.

281:

Apart for anti-semitism, of course.
GKC was a devout RC ......
Oh yes, a link I've mentioned before, about christianity, esp RC version & the Nazis ( someone else mentioned them waaay back to it's not Godwinising ... )
http://www.nobeliefs.com/Hitler1.htm

And for some delightful pictures:
http://www.nobeliefs.com/nazis.htm

Euw

282:

More nonsense on stilts.
Even by the standards of the time, the brits regarded the "blacks" in SA as like little children, to be "guided" & not allowed to run their own affairs - totally reprehensible by modern values - but ...
The Boers regarded them as disposable materials, effectively slaves.
Remember that the "great Trek" away from the autocratic British, was because the Brits had finally got around to eradicating all slavery in all of their dominions, & the Boers weren't standing for THAT.

283:

300 tonnes can be put onto a specialist railway wagon, even in the UK.
Ditto, specialist road vehicles, with suitable police escorts & flashing lights ...
1000 tonnes, not so much, unless you can bring it in as a breakdown "kit" & then plug it together ... um err ...

284:

so it was current at the time of the Vietnam War (started by JFK).
Err - NO.
The Vietnam War started sometime shortly after 1945, actually.

285:

Again, you have swallowed the politically-correct revisionism. There is some truth in both of those, but they are simplistic exaggerations, and were a very small part of the situation and reasons for the Great Trek.

286:

Weighty evidence of shock-horror:

Note the Christian cross on her monument.

Good grief, what would we expect to be put on the grave of a pious Austrian woman in 1907? The hammer and sickle?

287:

You spent considerable social capital to bring numerous women SF writers to blog on your website in 2015-16 and share their views of the world.

While your core like guns, military tech and hard-nosed real-politik, don't think it wasn't noticed.

Indeed, it was greatly appreciated from my point of view.

288:

Which totally justifies all the killing?

289:

I thought it was pretty cool too, though I can't speak for anyone but me, non-woman non-writer. Greatly expanded my reading list in a good way, which I am still working through.

290:

Does the Lockheed fusion reactor comes with any experimental test results at all? Or is this just some overhyped PR BS - a bit like "NASA planning manned mission to Mars!" (For the past 50 years)

291:

If that were true--and I remain intensely skeptical that it is--it would certainly open up a range of possibilities, especially if the design were modular enough to lift on a C-5 or similar heavy lift aircraft. Or, the Air Force's experimental super-heavy lift blimp might be able to shift it if it were at the lower end of the scale. One immediate use that comes to mind is as a power supply for disaster relief operations--blimp it in, set it down on the outskirts of town, and start running cable.

Pity it's almost certainly vaporware.

292:

Absolutely so, and according to Giap's (credited as) autobiography, as a war of independence from French colonial rule.

293:

While your core like guns, military tech and hard-nosed real-politic
I'll cop to liking all those things, but I don't see how that necessarily means that I don't read stuff by women as well.

294:

Hell, look at Lois McMaster Bujold! A winning combination of all of the above.

295:

Indeed. A (relatively!) light fusion reactor would be very useful in disaster relief situations. A couple of comments on that:

First, it would appear that most of the 300-1000 ton mass of such an item would be shielding. It turns out that the best shielding materials against neutrons (which are the main bugbear in fusion reactors) are those high in light nuclei, especially protons. I would think that one way of sorting out the weight problem would be to make the shields hollow, and fill them up with water on site. It doesn't even have to be particularly clean water.

Second, another way of dealing with power needs where there isn't any would be carried onn the back of an already existing SPS network; basically, transport a portable microwave rectenna and aim one of the beams from a powersat at it. I'm told the US military is looking seriously at this idea, partly because one of their major costs for setting up a remote base (and running it) is diesel fuel for the generators - and the weight of the rather large generators themselves, for that matter.

296:

1) American cultural hegemony broadcasts the specifics of the latter's beliefs a lot further.
2) WBC are part of WEIRD culture, as are we (mostly). We're being good Christians*: "And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?"
3) WBC's fellow-believers have a lot more impact on our (or at least my; Greg's fulminations about priest-ridden Ireland are only wrong by being out of date) culture than those attempting to bring sharia do.
4) Ludvig's second point. It's always worth asking "if I stand for this, who am I standing alongside?"

* 100% seriousness not guaranteed.

297:

Which international institution do you anticipate everyone with satellite-killer munitions allowing to control the powersats, and why would they compromise their neutrality - and trigger the shooting down of the satellites - by supplying power to remote US bases?

Powersat above about a GW = space-based death ray, remember? They're a MAD risk.

298:

Here's one that won't be popular: the collapse of capitalism as it is practiced today.

There's method to my madness here. My take on history is that whenever a system (any system) becomes so oppressive to the majority of society (today, the 99%), this leads to a rebellion, and often a bloody one. It also leads to reformations and counter-reformations, but given the rising tensions everywhere around the world and in each nation, I'm fearing the bloody option is becoming increasingly likely.

The 1%, not being students of history, undoubtedly think that they're somehow special and therefore immune to history. They aren't. My ecological metaphor would be that successful parasites are the ones that neither wipe out their hosts nor annoy their hosts sufficiently to incite catastrophic reprisals.

To be clear, I think that appropriately regulated capitalism is (to steal and repurpose a phrase) "the worst of all possible systems except for the alternatives", but it works reasonably well when some sort of balance between the richest and the poorest is maintained. Of course, your definition of "appropriately regulated" is unlikely to agree with mine. For the sake of argument, I'd say the balance is "appropriate" if the hosts aren't starting to think seriously about eradicating the parasites.

299:

I don't know about international institutions, but I immediately thought of Elon Musk, for added Bond Villain points.

...or Richard Branson? There's something faintly amusing about the idea of 'Virgin Power'...

300:

I'm fearing the bloody option is becoming increasingly likely.

Damn, and I can't knit. Do I have time to learn before we set up the guillotine, do you think?

301:

And remember its Lockheed Martin, so defense contracts are their bread and butter. If they can produce a 300 tonne fusion plant, they can take 10 of billions in contracts to refurbish the nuclear fleet. The navy could get rid of the refueling concerns that limit the spread of reactors, and retrain their nukees on both aircraft carriers and subs to use their plant. Additionally, they'd be able to make the case that conventional powered guided missile cruisers should convert.

Combine that with the potential market for pop up power plants as well as further goals like air and space flight, and Lockheed Martin has a clear market in the government. Especially since its cleaner and potentially much better for naval power than nukes, navy development cash is a gravy train.

Which as people points out allows them to play a bunch of games that make it easier to doubt. But I want to believe.

Also re: Norway, isn't Norway never in the EU, but longterm EFTA member, making it effectively in the EU.

302:

Member of the EEA, which essentially means Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein subject to the Four Freedoms and competition rules and much else but not the CAP. Effectively in the EU, you could say that, just not with a vote; and it's even in Schengen.

303:

About 'Nam: wonderful cmt... but hides all reality.

1. After Uncle Ho and his folks had fought and helped push the Japanese out of Vietnam, he turned to the west, and esp. the US, to help them gain independence from France. Truman suggested the French take it back. It *was* the French fighting, but the US started funding it, to the point that by the time of Dien Bien Phu, the US was paying 80% of the French military budget for that.
2. The UN arranged a DMZ, with Ho and the Viet Minh north of the line, and the French and their allies south. There was *supposed* to be a free and fair election, run by the UN, in '56. *That* was when Ike and Dulles stepped in, under the Domino Theory, and brought in an academic who'd been in the US for 20 years, and set him up as ruler of "South Vietnam". Ike is famously quoted for saying that if we (the US) had allowed free and fair elections, 80% of the populace would have voted for Uncle Ho, who they saw as their George Washington. Then we started giving them money to fight.
3. The lead up to the War was when JFK sent a rather small number of "advisors" to 'Nam.
4. It *really* started when MacNamara, who confessed this before he died in the nineties, didn't have the cojones to tell LBJ that we couldn't possibly win on any terms we could live with (the Bomb was not an option). A month later they admitted it to him... *after* he'd order 500,000 troops there.

mark "why, yes, I *do* have my own version of Alice's Restaurant"

304:

273:

What's the difference between Sharia Islam and Westboro Baptist Church?
Apart from one gets a free pass from liberals and the other doesn't.

I *beg* your pardon? Can you point to one single solitary "liberal" media or website that doesn't despise the Westboro Christian Satanists "church"? One?

mark

305:

Can you point to one single solitary "liberal" media or website that doesn't despise the Westboro Christian Satanists "church"?

I think that's precisely what Dirk meant, actually.

I read him as saying that the liberals despise WBC but give the shari'a folks a free pass. My own relative apologia for them is at 277.

306:

I'm pretty sure he's claiming that Sharia supposedly gets a pass from Liberals, not WBC. Bullshit either way, and ignores that there are various schools of Sharia, some more liberal than others. Most of what gets called Sharia is actually pre-Islamic tribal law.

307:

No
This continued to play out in SA, until Smuts lost the election in (?) 1949 (?) and the Afrikaner party led by Verwoerd took power & instituted Apartheid ...
Long long history of very different comparative treatment of the indigenes in SA by the Brits & the "Dutch"

308:

And which totally-irrelevant black hole did you draw that conclusion from?
I was merely pointing out the difference in approach, that was clearly noticeable, even before 1898.

309:

Very slight correction:
Greg's fulminations about priest-ridden Ireland are only wrong by being MOSTLY out of date....
Meanwhile, try to get an abortion in Ireland, especially "the South", right, not priest-ridden at all is it, oops.

310:

Very slight correction?
The 0.1%, please, or even the 0.01%.
??

311:

I wonder if Lockheed-Martin are not angling for $Money & $Grants, so much as for access to OTHER research materials & "classified" stuff that they don't currently have ...
Because, if, as you say they really think they are on to something, then they can make serious quantities of money, but it would be a lot easier, with help - & that help does not, actually, have to be guvmint money - it could be other things ....

312:

Yes - I knew all that, but I wanted to keep the cmt short, to start with - maybe not such a good idea.
Ho actually told the Froggies that if they would leave, or guarantee to leave, in a fairly short while, they could be friends.
The Frogs didn't buy it, so Ho went to the Commies as the only other game in town.
Compare & contrast with Burma.
[ Which went sour later, for other (?) reasons. ]

313:

As I understand it, Sharia is about things like what to eat (halal meat, for example), when to pray, when to hold Ramadan, what to do during Ramadan, and other stuff about how one is supposed to conduct one's life as a devout Muslim.

This is no different than devout Jews trying to keep kosher, honor the Sabbath, and obey the Ten Commandments, or Christians following the Golden Rule.

In the US, Sharia should get a free pass (along with Christianity, Judaism, and other religions) to the extent that it's about personal practice, not civil authority. That's the essence of our Constitutional divide between church and state. According to the Constitution, we're not a Christian society, and that grew from the Revolutionaries' very public split with the head of the Church of England.

Where it gets hinky is when a CIVIL authority decides to use their interpretation of Sharia as the basis for their local laws. It's similarly wrong when an American judge puts up the 10 Commandments in his courtroom and says that this is the law he follows. If you believe in the split between civil authority and religious authority, then you've got to tolerate people practicing Sharia or any other code of conduct, so long as they're not civil authorities using their personal belief as the basis for determining how to enforce civil law.

And yes, we always have problems with this for at least 2000 years. Those problems have played out in ways like the witch hunts (which were largely prosecuted by civil authorities using their interpretations of Christianity as an excuse to kill people), and even the origin of Christianity, where a number of Christians martyred themselves rather than follow the laws of Rome and sacrifice to the genius of the emperor. Under Roman Law, this was treason, as the imperial genius was the guardian spirit of the empire, and refusal to sacrifice to its continued well-being meant that you rejected the empire.

314:

So far as the fusion plant goes, I looked at it back when they first announced it.

The tl;dr version is that Lockheed also has a civilian power plant manufacturing division, and that appeared to be the group that was trying to develop the fusion reactor. While I'm not suggesting for a second that they're not thinking about potential military applications, the way it was positioned in the company seemed to be for the civilian power market, not the military.

If you think about it, the market for civilian fusion reactors, especially small ones, is a lot larger than the military market. Moreover, they're most likely to cross where militaries want to power isolated installations with a fusion plant, and a modified civilian reactor in that situation will work just as well. To be blunt, the market for purely military fusion reactors among the US and our allies is pretty small, but there's a huge global market for clean civilian power.

315:

Recreational cannabis will likely be legal in California, the world's seventh or eighth largest economy, if the next U.S. president doesn't clamp-down on the states' acting so.

Good in itself and as a marker of sanity.

(I'm not as sanguine about Massachusetts, where a similar bill will, I fear, fall victim to the conservatism of much of the state and heels-dragging by the implementing authorities—we've many Democratic politicians who really ought to be Republicans.)

316:

As I understand it, Sharia is about things like what to eat (halal meat, for example), when to pray, when to hold Ramadan, what to do during Ramadan, and other stuff about how one is supposed to conduct one's life as a devout Muslim.

The biggest category seems to be about inheritance, which in Islam (and also Continental law) is not at all discretionary. A lot of Agatha Christie's plots wouldn't work. Indeed, as an only unsatisfactory child I was totally disinherited by my father, which shocks the Norwegians and French Africans alike, because under all systems but the Anglo-American you just can't DO that. Reading about the fiqh of who gets what under the four Schools of Jurisprudence (Mahdhab) is really good for making your head spin. Our magazines give advice about our modern quiltwork families, but families have been quiltwork in all cultures other than perhaps the Eisenhower Fifties: read De Toqueville on American divorce, for example, or Latin canon law. Dealing with the inheritance of the children of your last wife by her third husband is actually the human norm, and the tries to give predictable answers for all possible cases.

But, Heteromeles, when people get antsy about the alleged imposition of shari'a in the West, this stuff is not what they are talking about, or begin to know about. If all it meant was that the imam gets his say on the inheritance of the children of your last wife by her third husband, I don't think most people would even care too much, especially if this was by voluntary arbitration and not the final and enforceable judgment of a Crown or federal court.

But, rightly or wrongly, what they really fear is their cousin who married the Arab being stoned to death for her adultery, or their light-fingered other cousin losing his hand for thieving. That no one is actually proposing this won't be after stopping them, will it now?

317:

Recte to 316:

Formatting blunder, Read: "and the fiqh tries to give predictable answers".

318:

I agree that most seem to be reacting to a bogeyman, the "sand niggers" as they were called right after 9/11, not to the realities of Islam.

Still, I see no reason why false claims about any religion need to be slung here. For me, there's plenty to dislike about authoritarian fundamentalism all over the world without having to bring bigotry and slander into it. For me, the authoritarian fundamentalist category that also includes authoritarian fundamentalist atheism and scientism, incidentally.

319:

Note it effectively already is, but this way will make it so the fig leaf is off, and there can be a real discussion about it.

Like I posted before crime is down. The fear that was pushing big drug sentences is down too. In places like San Jose, with drug courts, treatment models have had much better (as well as cheaper!) effects than punishment models.

320:

Powersat death beam - not actually true; the beam dispersion is too great.

In any case, it's the US military proposing to build its own powersats for this purpose. And even if they don't, the use for power supply in emergency situations still holds. Emergency organisations need just about as much fuel as military ones do, for their generators. (Might be able to cut down on vehicle fuel requirements, too; electric vehicles have easily enough range for use in most disaster zones.)

Heteromeles - I know it hasn't been so in the past but authoritarian atheism is a dead letter for the most part right now. Atheists don't usually yell "There is no God!" just before letting rip with an AK47 or blowing themselves up; ditto scientists. Or mow down dozens of people with a stolen truck, either.

321:

Heteromeles - I know it hasn't been so in the past but authoritarian atheism is a dead letter for the most part right now. Atheists don't usually yell "There is no God!" just before letting rip with an AK47 or blowing themselves up; ditto scientists. Or mow down dozens of people with a stolen truck, either.

Perhaps they don't anymore, but IIRC, the suicide bomber attack was first used in the late 19th Century, and it has been used by everyone, from fascists (Germans and Japanese kamikazes) to Maoist rebels and communist forces. There are plenty of godless commies being forced to die for the better future of humankind in there.

Also, note the difference between scientism and science. Scientism is a belief, often espoused by bureaucrats and politicians, in capital-P Progress and in the ability of capital-S Science to solve all problems, regardless of the evidence. In the case of authoritarian fundamentalists, this faith can lead to real horrors. A key point is that belief in scientism is very far from universal among practicing scientists. This isn't pounding on scientists, this is pounding on their idiot bosses who want technological solutions to sociopolitical problems.

322:

authoritarian fundamentalist atheism
STRAW MAN
Please produce a real actual example.
[ Hint: "commonism" won't wash, since it's a religion ... the give-away being that it persecutes all the competing religions... ]

323:

There are plenty of godless commies
Who believe, instead in their actual "god" ...
The holy books of Marx, which are just as much bollocks as the bible & koran & make predictions & give directions for futures of humanity & society that are just as wrong & deadly as those of the openly "religious"
Oh & they have sects & divisions & heresies, too - & as usual, the heretics are worse than the unbelievers, because they should know better.

Please, Mr Landis, I would have expected better of you than this.

324:

Ludvig noted: "Damn, and I can't knit. Do I have time to learn before we set up the guillotine, do you think?"

What do you mean "we"? *gdrlh*

But slightly more seriously: I suspect you've got plenty of time to learn to knit. The "Occupy" movement is pretty good evidence that the revolution isn't yet ripe. Still... in 100 years, when I'm proven right, remember me as a prophet!

If I'm wrong? Beer's on me. *G*

325:

Update-comment on goatfucker Erdogan:
Begins to look like a Reichstag Fire, doesn't it - so convenient, with all the arrest-lists prepared in advance, for some gullible idiot to provide an excuse .....
I wonder if the apparently real "plotters" were given a "false flag" to enable them to go at the "right" moment, rather than the whole thing being an actual false-flag.
Probably doesn't matter, now.

326:

I was thinking about the Indonesian coup in 1965. Hopefully the Turks won't kill as many people.

327:

Who believe, instead in their actual "god" ...

Well, that's a straw man that will surely never kill again.

328:

That's how the Reichstag Fire ploy works. The world is full of idiots with matches: you just have to let one through when you're ready. Cut a budget here, have an attack of Pearl Harbour Syndrome there. Something'll work. As long as your plan is framed so as not to be time-dependent and

329:

Re Lockheed Vapourware (LVW).

If anyone gave the slightest shit about emergency relief then yeah, a 300 tonne transportable power plant would be just dandy.

Of course if there was the slightest indication that there was any will to create 'International Rescue' then 300 tonne power plant solutions already exist and they'd already be sitting in a warehouse ready to go. You could buy 300 of these solar power plants: http://www.renovagen.com/?services=rollarray-multigen-air-pallet-pv-generator

300 of them would have 5.4 MW of solar and 17 MWh of storage.

I'm sure they'd be a lot cheaper than the Lockheed Vapourware. They hook to the back of an SUV to be towed anywhere as needed. They actually come in small enough packs (standard air pallet size) to be air freighted on planes that are small enough to land in bad places or even be carried in helicopters. Rather than being one large central power station that needs to be connected to a large area with power lines that take weeks to build, these can be dropped into villages or hospitals and hooked up within minutes.

Cheaper, lighter, faster to deploy and set up. All round win over LVW solution for disaster relief.

LVW will never be deployed for disaster relief because the fact that there's already a better solution that hasn't been deployed shows there's not the slightest will to create a disaster relief solution.

330:

What's the difference between Sharia Islam and Westboro Baptist Church?

WBC is a group of about 40 people who seem to be running an extortion ring. Most of them are members of the extended family of Fred Phelps (now dead). They spend a lot of time suing for damages about being denied their free speech rights (in the US) and winning many times against various local governments. This seems to be their main source of funding. Their religious basis is either just plain bizarre or a useful cover for their actions under the laws of the US.

Sharia Islam is something quite different.

331:

Google have used quantum computing to simulate the QM superimposition states of a hydrogen molecule H2 :

http://www.tomshardware.com/news/quantum-computer-google-molecule-simulation,32278.html

extend that into more complex atoms and molecules and things can get very interesting a variety of directions.

332:

And there's a slight chance that if the research below pans out, I may get paid for letting someone else mow my lawn and take away the grass clippings.


https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/07/160721072755.htm

'A team of UK researchers, including experts from Cardiff University's Cardiff Catalysis Institute, have shown that significant amounts of hydrogen can be unlocked from fescue grass with the help of sunlight and a cheap catalyst.

....


In the first round of experiments, the researchers combined the three catalysts with cellulose in a round bottom flask and subjected the mixture to light from a desk lamp. At 30 minutes intervals the researchers collected gas samples from the mixture and analysed it to see how much hydrogen was being produced.

To test the practical applications of this reaction, the researchers repeated the experiment with fescue grass, which was obtained from a domestic garden.

Professor Michael Bowker continued: "Up until recently, the production of hydrogen from cellulose by means of photocatalysis has not been extensively studied.

"Our results show that significant amounts of hydrogen can be produced using this method with the help of a bit of sunlight and a cheap catalyst.

"Furthermore, we've demonstrated the effectiveness of the process using real grass taken from a garden. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time that this kind of raw biomass has been used to produce hydrogen in this way. This is significant as it avoids the need to separate and purify cellulose from a sample, which can be both arduous and costly."


333:

Greg,

We know why many people believe Cameron is self fellated by a pig, but why is Erdogan a goat fucker? You have used that expression twice and a little explanation would be useful.

334:

Still... in 100 years, when I'm proven right, remember me as a prophet!

OK, in a hundred years we shall have the Tricoteuses of the Order of St. Geoff, knitting neck-stump-warmers.

335:

Search on Boris Johnson, Erdogan and competition.

336:

In 100 years decapitation will be seen as an unremarkable lifestyle choice, seen in the same way as heat vision and acid resistant skin are now.

337:

@ Heteromeles:

authoritarian fundamentalist atheism and scientism

Lewis has a good word for your policy scientism, "Wellsianity".

But like others, I'm totally baffled by your "authoritarian fundamentalist atheism" in the present world. Never mind 19th-century anarchism, you do make it sound as if we face Dawkinsite suicide bombers at public gatherings, and I really don't propose to worry about those.

(PoI: those anarchists accepted being caught after shooting their target, but they didn't explode. The so-called Hamas Vest is copied from the Black Tigers.)

338:

You've been given several examples, from the French Revolution to Hoxha. Just as with any form of religious fanaticism, it is usual for the (a)theistic theme to be associated with several other bigotries.

339:

A German comedian is being sued, by Erdogan, through the BRD's courts for suggesting the same.
There's a very obscure law about "insulting foreign leaders", to which Merkel rolled-over on ridiculous "demands" from Erdogan, probably in the hope that the court will collapse in laughter & Erdogan gets to be an OFFICIAL goatfucker! ( Ziegerficker )

Try HERE ??

340:

Jan Böhmermann is great - if for nothing but this sketch/music video targeting the new right but playing up how far we have come in the last 60 or so years. I've had it as an earworm off and on for the last several weeks, I don't see why anyone else here should be spared.

I trust the courts in the BRD will through the case out.

341:

Or throw, even.

342:

decapitation will be seen as an unremarkable lifestyle choice

"Son, we want you to get ahead"

"It's OK, pops, I don't need one"

343:

People will be unable to afford their own heads by then anyway. the .1% will have 99% of the worlds craniums.

344:

Made available to you on an demand-based leaseback model. Based on the average usage of cranial content we estimate that a 20:1 contention level is more than adequate, at an affordable monthly fee.

345:

I have got hold of a legal copy, taken a look, and here is a brief review.

It's at least as significant as the title implies, yes, but not all that much of an advance in understanding the development and use of the brain. And it's damn-near irrelevant in an IT context. What is good, is that the paper is pretty clear about what the work has and has not achieved, except that it is misleading about using no parameter tuning. There was at least one major finagle factor used for the PSPs (see bottom of page 468 and top of 469).

What they did was to take some measurable properties of the neurones, (e.g. types, connections and their distributions), build an in silico model, and investigate whether it behaved like brain tissue in response to some relevant stimuli. It did, to a great extent, so they have definitely made a major advance in emulating the biochemical / electrical behaviour of one particular type of brain tissue (which point they stressed), and the importance of the structure in that area. My understanding of such issues is pretty limited.

What they did NOT do is consider either the development of that structure or its actual functioning (i.e. to do anything useful). So, from an IT point of view, it's little further forward. Tough. Miracles, you want?

346:

Yeah, they will go over from an ownership to a licensing model, as with everything else, software showing the way. Some pluto(*) will bribe his way to a judgment for his owning the IPR to heads, those of us who have them have to pay him royalties. If not, enter the repo men, with a new meaning for "headhunting". How they will charge for empty heads may be the big question.

(*) it may make for good memewar that Greek "plutos", the wealth, is the source for Latin Pluto, the god of the underworld. Because precious metals are to be found down there, natch. So the 0.1% can be named as if infernal.

347:

Sorry, Khedron, looks like I plagiarised you but in fact 343 was the last post I could see, and you must have posted yours while I was writing my 344.

348:

Re Merkel, Erdogan and the goatfucking: Erdogan already wants to tear up his refugee-repatriation deal with her. Is he capable of finally doing it because of the goatfucking? Reckon he is. Will she roll over harder to prevent this?

And if freedom of speech only extends as far as someone's hurt feelings, there are progressives who may have difficulty arguing for it, as Erdogan must be deemed to have feelings too. Or what?

Of course, pigs are haram, so no pointers there from callmedave.

349:

I wasn't drawing a conclusion, just completing your thought bubble because it didn't seem to make sense otherwise. Why would you mention the relative treatment of black Africans by Brits versus Boers in the context of a discussion about a British public intellectual who was outspoken against the British treatment of the Boer population, if not as some sort of excuse for that treatment?

350:

It was the natural end-point :-)

351:

Sorry, you've lost me.
I think we'll stop, now, before we get even more confused ....

352:

At which point in the process do they get the chocolate orange/mars bar treatment.

"I'm sure they are smaller than they used to be."

353:

"Good" news?

Possibly this - admittedly journalistic kite-flying, but one does begin to wonder ...

354:

Think more bandwidth and data capping limits. "Unfortunately you have hit your 1TB limit for higher cognitive function this month. eMind our Sales Team for add-on options."

Surely the whole point of being a 99%-er is no longer having the ability to have any creative thought about it? Your cranium is now part of a wider solution driving the CranioCloud(TM), anyway, there is no actual 'cranium' per se.

...Jesus, this is elephants all the way down.

355:

No. It's elephants all the way down until you can't afford the memory.

At least the system will be stable - revolutionary thoughts are only available to subscribers, and it doesn't occur to anyone to subscribe.

356:

And one of the conditions of subscription is no revolutionary thought that might actually change anything.

357:

I wouldn't regard Communism as a religion as it lacks any supernatural element -- personally, I quite like Craig Schumacher's three-phase classification of ethical systems. (He's a neo-pagan who initially devised the system to classify trends within neo-paganism, but realized that it could be extended to cover all ethical systems.)

Phase I ethical systems are the oldest type of ethical system, designed to further the interests of their originating ethnocultural group.

Most pre-Christian and Oriental religions are Phase I, along with nationalism and fascism in their various guises. Phase I systems tend to be parochial (to the extent that their interactions with "outsiders" are driven by purely pragmatic rather than ethical considerations), and the archetypal Phase I hero is the conquering warrior.

In Phase II ethical systems, it is the system itself (rather than its originating culture) which is the highest object of loyalty -- while Phase I systems may or may not be expansionist, almost all Phase II systems are, as they try to impose themselves on as much of humanity as possible.

Zoroastrianism was the first Phase II ethical system, while other major examples are Christianity, Islam, Communism and Objectivism. Phase II systems tend to be messianic with a desire for justice as their leitmotiv, and the archetypal Phase II hero is the redeemed martyr.

Phase III ethical systems place their highest value on a search for truth via objective competition (such as via democracy, free markets or the scientific method). Modern secular humanism is the best example, while Bahai and the Church of Satan are also possible examples. The archetypal Phase III hero is the scientist.

358:

One immediate use that comes to mind is as a power supply for disaster relief operations--blimp it in, set it down on the outskirts of town, and start running cable.

I'd also expect it to be getting huge influxes of R&D money from the US Army, because a 200Mw power pack would be dead handy for electrolytic production of hydrogen in the field. Industrial electrolysis plants consume on the order of 50kWh per kg of hydrogen produced, so a 200Mw reactor (like the claimed output of the LockMart design) should be able to produce up to 4 tons of H2/hour in the field. If you think of it as an air-portable vehicle fuel synthesizer, then a double-handful of such devices would be able to keep a mechanized brigade in go-juice in the field, thereby shaving kilotons per day off the mass their logistics tail would need to haul in, which would be a pretty significant force multiplier. (Money saved on logistics arm = more money available for offensive arm.)

And that's before we get onto the prospect of the navy being able to nuclearize their entire fleet of larger surface ships -- the HEU that naval reactors run on is near-weapons-grade and much more expensive to produce than the low-enrichment uranium used in land-based PWRs, to say nothing of the training and operating issues. (A naval fusion reactor wouldn't be inherently safe, but the potential consequences of a reactor failure max out at the low end of the consequences of a fission reactor whoopsie.)

Leaving aside entirely the utility for providing power to disaster-hit areas, this alone suggests to me that it's a low-credibility proposal -- or at least low enough that it's considered a long shot, too far out for DARPA funding. Which is kind of a shame, because the humanitarian applications (not to mention the getting-us-off-carbon applications) far outweigh the not-inconsiderable military utility.


359:

I am unconvinced purely because they are going with a cusp + magnetic mirror design. The problems with those are well known, and unless they have found radically new physics they haven't gone away.

There have been some real advances in stellerator designs that are worth keeping an eye on - modern numerical modeling seems to be turning their unrealised theoretical advantages into practical ones. Maybe enough to kill the tokamak at the expensive end.

360:

Leaving the 99% with no option but to take a flash-mob lo-fi approach to protest, gathering in public spaces and moaning "Braaaains..."

361:

The problem I have with this is that LockMart know how to extract money from the US government for research -- they're primarily a defense corporation. And compact fusion is such an easy sell that I'm finding it hard to believe there's any substance to it if they can't get at least paper study funding out of the US government.

First-hand apocryphal story: when my brother-in-law was doing his PhD in non-Bayesian probability at Rochester U in the mid-to-late-80s, he was surprised to discover about 50% of the philosophy department funding came from the Pentagon via ARPA. The dollars were going into reasoning under conditions of prior uncertainty, i.e. where Bayes theorem breaks down. Reasoning: funding a philosophy department costs about the same as funding a rifle squad (wages are slightly higher, capital expenses on gas and bullets are significantly lower) but a breakthrough in non-Bayesian logic would give them an incalculably valuable strategic edge on a global scale. So: the Pentagon doesn't just pay for soldiers and missile technicians, it pays for philosophers ...

It might be that they figure development will be an order of magnitude cheaper and faster without oversight and external accountability, but it's nuclear research: all the usual oversight and regulatory requirements for playing with neutrons must be observed anyway, because it's the law.

362:

Per John Ranelagh's history of the CIA, in the early 1950s all reports of Vietnamese news media going into the CIA's analysis process went via translators in Japan, and across the desk of a key employee ... who was in the pay of the Soviets.

So of course any public appeals for US assistance that Ho made in the press were filtered out and the whole coverage of North Vietnam was spun as anti-American, because it pushed NV towards relying on Soviet assistance and adopting an anti-western stance.

Forget Burgess, Philby, and Maclean; this was the most disastrous outcome of penetration of a western intelligence service by the Soviets during the cold war, bar none -- on the same level as Brezinski's play to get the Soviets to invade Afghanistan.

363:

the HEU that naval reactors run on is near-weapons-grade and much more expensive to produce than the low-enrichment uranium used in land-based PWRs, to say nothing of the training and operating issues.

The US fleet carriers don't use HEU in their reactors, at least not at the level of the submarine reactors. They can be refuelled "conventionally" as there is space around the reactors (the Enterprise had *eight* reactors, the rest have two) to work on them. The subs are different -- refuelling them involves cutting the hull in two to get at the working spaces and it's cheaper to use a higher-enrichment fuel which will power the vessel for its working lifespan than carry out a cut-and-shut operation in a drydock which costs megapennies and takes the hull out of service for an extra six months or more.

(A naval fusion reactor wouldn't be inherently safe, but the potential consequences of a reactor failure max out at the low end of the consequences of a fission reactor whoopsie.)

Science fiction tells us that fusion bottles in a naval vessel explode "in a sun-bright boil" when hit by practically anything in a firefight (missiles, lasers, hard stares etc.)

364:

Magnetic mirrors work at low density and temperatures so they're tempting for someone looking at the problem, just increase the temp and density of the plasma and Hey Presto! breakeven! Then the plasma leaks out at the ends and it quenches, often destructively...

There's a reason tokamaks took the fusion crown back in the late 50s, they don't have ends to seal. The Stellarator is making a comeback but it's more complicated compared to a tokamak (the Heinlein quote "it looked like a hatrack making love to an octopus" springs to mind) but we know a lot more about high-temperature plasmas and their manipulation today thanks to the work done on tokamaks and the engineering we can throw at the problem is better by an order of magnitude.

365:

Greg, there's a plurality of support for legalizing abortion in the south, with support as high as 78% in rape/incest cases, 58% for the same conditions as in the UK, and 41% for abortion on demand.

The problem is, per wikipedia, "The Eighth Amendment of the Constitution of Ireland introduced a constitutional ban on abortion. It was effected by the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution Act, 1983, which was approved by referendum on 7 September 1983 and signed into law on the 7 October of the same year."

Obviously public opinion has shifted a long way in over a third of a century, and will continue to shift (public opinion on this, as with many other social issues, correlates with age, so the Irish electorate will continue to become more pro-abortion-rights). But to fix the mess requires a constitutional amendment as well as an enabling law, and the leading politicians in the Republic trend older and more conservative than the average demographic, and easy access to the UK serves as a pressure relief valve (middle class women can get an abortion relatively easily).

366:

Wrt. Erdogan: it's much simpler to assume that his folks were already drawing up their Little Lists of academics to purge, when somebody got wind of the coup attempt he'd been doing his best to provoke. At which point they took the necessary steps to suppress it ... then activated their CASE REICHSTAG FIRE contingency plans.

In other words: half-assed coup provides excuse for activating the half-baked machinery of repression.

367:

Oops! Posted this in the other thread, when I actually meant to post it here (as hopefully cheerful news, specifically for Charlie):

It looks like Scrivener for iOS is available in the App Store now.

368:

Yes: I've been one of the beta testers, and I enthusiastically endorse this app.

If you use Scrivener in your work, then the iOS app is a good, solid, take-it-with-you solution on that platform.

(The only caveat is, if you want to sync projects between Scrivener on iOS and Scrivener on the desktop, you must update to the latest version of the desktop program before doing so. Older versions of Scriv didn't support syncing, and in an attempt to make the sync process invisible and transparent, iScriv lets you edit projects that the desktop program has opened and is working on. This is great and works just fine for the new point release of the desktop program -- which is a free upgrade for existing users -- but if you meddle with a project that is open for editing in an older version of Scrivener, exciting and unpleasant forms of file corruption may ensue.

369:

...he was surprised to discover about 50% of the philosophy department funding came from the Pentagon via ARPA.
I have to ask; is this at least part of the inspiration for "combat epistemology"?
General question: do/did any other countries do this, e.g. the UK?

371:

Yeah, I caught that too!

372:

You've forgotten the Communists too, I take it.

The broader point is that the ol' ploy of, "I'm not authoritarian fundamentalist, only people with [SOME CHARACTERISTIC] do the authoritarian fundamentalist thing. I'm not one of [THEM]" gets silly and obvious, especially when these people do exactly what [THEY] do.

We've already had several test cases (USSR under Stalin, China under Mao, and Kampuchea under Pol Pot, among others), and demonstrated fairly strongly that atheists can be every bit as militant, doctrinaire, destructive, and yes, fundamentalist, as any religious group has been, and possibly more so. And no, I'm not talking just about their leaders, I'm talking about what their people did to others while they were in power.

And yes, I'm quite aware that no one here who hates religion here is a practicing commie, either. It's that little word in front of the religion that I've got a problem with, specifically in how that hatred is being trumpeted (perhaps TRUMPeted?). It's just fine to not like something. It's a lot less cool to proclaim ignorance as understanding and use that as an excuse to attack.

373:

atheists can be every bit as militant, doctrinaire, destructive, and yes, fundamentalist, as any religious group has been, and possibly more so.

We all know that, but I thought the issue was not revolutionary millennarians(*) who happen to have an atheist political ideology but atheists per se, and I'm still waiting for the examples of merely not believing in god leading to acts of terrorism.

(*) It's worth remembering that the original communists were Christians. It was Marx who put the atheism into it, or took the god out if you prefer. That means that what we are dealing with is a de-godded Christian eschatology, so that commies doing the same thing as the Inquisition should not surprise anyone.

Your second paragraph I do not comprehend at all.

Kindly explain how exactly I am doing an authoritarian-fundamentalist "ploy", what little word in front you are talking about and how I am proclaiming ignorance as understanding, on pain of being considered a graduate of the Greg Tingey School of Manners.

374:

That's why I brought up all the DoD uses. LockMart knows the game, they know how to get congress to write big checks, and know how to break up the jobs to make this into pork.

Still, I've got hope. This fusion design would be a game changer in so many ways and open up a golden future.

BTW, look at army funding for advance solar. Since the US conflicts are all in Warm Sunny Places, and the logistical complications and cost, as you mentioned are insane, the Army is looking at shorting their logistics. So there's been lots of push for hardy fuel cell tech that can break down anything from biomass to hydrogen, as well as looking into on site hydrogen. But AC for tents is something that has been a guarded privileged due to the fuel costs. So the Army really wants cheap solar tech to power AC as well as gear. Even if it only mitigates their fuel budget, its a success. And although the defense contractors will soak the army, it means portable rugged solar power suitable for use over a good chunk of the earth.

375:

Damn, I meant fourth paragraph. Stroke patient, no fun.

I've decided not to wait around and pursue this argument, I'm de-bookmarking (POUF as Mac users say) and leaving. Pigeon, you seem the nicest guy here, I'll miss you. (Thought about Pigeon this lunchtime hand-feeding his namesakes, one of whom was standing on me.)

376:

THANK YOU
I might buy that.
Can I exchange email addresses with you via Charlie or some other method?
{ I have a modified but old essay on this subject that might get modified in the light of your thoughts ..... )

377:

Yes ... and?
The RC church STILL get to screw (you should pardon the pun) all the women in the "South"?

378:

Fazackerly! ( As Ken Dodd would say. )
Goatfucker now, however, has a clear run to set up a perfect fake democracy, Chavez/Putin style, with added islamism for extra fun, especially if you are female.

379:

I don't hate religion, I'm disgusted by it & my immediate reaction is to poke sarcastic & scatalogical fun at it, (note)including the classic (stage-II) religion of communism/marxism.
Sorry, but you still don't seem to "get it".

Note: which of course immediatey provokes demands for death &/or severe physical punishment for muttering a few words, which ALSO tells you it's a RELIGION (stage II).
Um err, as I often say.

380:

Logistics isn't as simple as providing a bunch of solar cells to power AC for a Warm Sunny place (especially when it can be 35 deg C at night when the sun don't shine).

I discussed this sort of thing with someone who used to do logistics planning for a living, oil exploration mainly with a side-order of mercenary military work in Africa (sometimes it was the same thing). He said it came down to three curiously-named steps:

1. Break Trail. Create a route to get from a supply point to wherever the logistic endpoint needs to be. That can be a road, a river, an air route. You might have to kill a bunch of people to do this, or buy them off. Cheaper in the short term to kill them, he said but it might cause problems later. I think he was being sarcastic.

2. Rail. This doesn't mean an actual railway line although that might be the best way forward in some circumstances. It means improving the trail that was created in the first instance, grading the roads, building bridges, creating protected caravanserai points for convoys, killing people or buying them off to make the route safer. The Rail stage means being able to carry more for less cost and effort than the initial Break Trail stage.

3. Train. Keep a flow of stuff moving towards the endpoint as it is getting used up there. At this point the amounts don't matter as much as getting the right stuff moving so delivering five hundred tonnes of fuel for vehicles, aircraft etc. is about the same cost and effort as delivering six hundred tonnes, and some of that fuel can be used for running generators all night for AC, perimeter lights, electrified fences. Adding more infrastructure such as solar cells is not really ongoing logistics, it's a one-off extra load. However infrastructure needs to be guarded and maintained and solar panels aren't going to replace the generators which have to provide the total electricity demand of the site on demand whether the sun is shining or not, and they have to have fuel reserves for contingencies anyway.

The US Army experimented with deploying small nuclear reactors to provide heat and electrical power at places like the South Polar research base and even in Greenland (the Iceworm project, something that should merit at least a sidebar in a Laundry novel sometime). The reactors worked but the bases still had to bring in fuel and other supplies for vehicles, aircraft etc. and the effort to keep the reactors operational was much greater than the logistical costs of bringing in a little extra fuel to run generators and provide heating once the Train was running.

382:

Quality response, thank you very much.

I still wonder how much the vulnerability of their trail is still in the thinking of the military.

383:

Some pluto(*) will bribe his way to a judgment for his owning the IPR to heads, those of us who have them have to pay him royalties.

All ideas have been thought of before. This was a plot point in the old D&D comic Yamara, where a villain copyrighted his skull logo. He and his lawyers could then go after anyone using an unlicensed skull...

384:

Thank you! I have enjoyed talking to you too. It is a shame to see you go. And good on you for feeding my friends :)

385:

Re: patents.

Bob Shaw wrote a story about ultra-rich people, the sort of people who no-one has ever heard of because they're rich enough to afford true anonymity. One of the side characters owned the basic patents on water.

386:

Are you really saying you're simply unaware that the treatment of the local population during the Boer War was in any way reprehensible? Fair enough in that case and apologies for any confusion. You might look at the linked article, particularly under "Concentration Camps (1900-1902)" and "Effect of the war on domestic British politics".

387:

Well bugger - I for one will miss you here. I've not engaged with your comments much, because they often express better something I would have tried to express (and subsequently don't have to).

388:

I found this summary of trends in coal production

http://www.businessinsider.com/coal-set-for-a-comeback-after-five-years-sliding-prices-2016-7

My biggest problem with recent reporting about coal is that it triumphantly assumes coal is at death's door as a global energy source. Finally found a report which examines the big picture. The section on SE Asia was illuminating. Wish they would have covered L. America, S. Asia, and Africa as well.

389:

I think there's a cause and effect relationship between low oil prices and the rise of Da'esh, since much of the Islamic world's livelihood depends on the margin of petroleum revenues over costs. Margins shrink as price drops, livelihoods get squeezed and the impact flows downhill to the weakest or most easily replaced. Refugees from the vortex of ruin then make ready cannon fodder for the fanatics, on an increasing scale as the numbers mount up. And the downward spiral of economic despair could militate against having children, resulting in adverse demographic trends for whole regions. But this seems so obvious, there's got to have been serious articles or discussion about it somewhere in prominent view. Seen any?

390:

I'm not sure this is really true.

First, not all Arab states have oil, or at least outside of miniscule amounts (even Israel, Ireland, and Japan produce oil). I'm not sure that lower birthrates correlates with oil production

391:

AIUI the real issue is water and climate change. Oil provides revenue for underdeveloped nations to pay for the services and food their growing populations need(ed)[1], but water is the limiting constraint on agriculture.

To some extent Turkey is to blame for the Syrian civil war and the rise of Da'esth. In the late 90s/early 00s they dammed strategic rivers (in Turkey) feeding the headwaters of the Tigris and Euphrates (in Syria and Iraq) because those rivers flowed through Kurdish territory outside Turkey, and Turkey has a big fat genocidal obsession with not allowing Kurdistan to ever be A Thing. But during the noughties the worst drought in more than a century hit the region, along with a brisk spot of murderous invasion and occupation (creating refugees and damaging infrastructure). Then the '08 financial crisis hit, and a lot of soft money that had been hiding in CDOs and CDSs sought shelter in commodities futures, driving the price of wheat through the roof. This sparked the Arab Spring -- never underestimate the price of bread as a driver for revolutions: it was also one of the proximate causes of the French and Russian revolutions -- and tipped the area into catastrophe.

[1] Most of the middle east is now post-demographic transition, with plunging birth rates, but they're still in the demographic overhang with the rest of us.

392:

Oh do GROW UP.
Of course I know of the appalling gross incompetence of the Brit supply-&-medical "authorities" which resulted in large numbers of unnecessary deaths to the interned Boer population.
[ Who had been interned, because they couldn't be trusted to stay out of the war, as civilians ... ]

I was talking about the comparative treatment of the indegenes-&-previous-immigrants ( The Zulu were imperialist invaders, too, remember ) by the "Brits" & the Boers.

Like I said, the first time, can we now leave this subject?

393:

Perfect, Charlie.

As a follow-up, might I suggest that people go & read "The Long Summer" by Brian Fagan.
There's a LOT in there about the changes in climate 10 000 - 2 000 BP. With the changes in vegetation, agriculture, as it developed & the surrounding vegetative cover.
And how that often acted as a driver for cultural/military & social changes.
A N other good author on this subject is Chris Turney

394:

I don't hate religion, I simply describe it in a way that would lead any reasonable person to believe that I do. Sorry, but you still don't seem to "get it".

Glad we cleared that up.

395:

No, you didn't clear it up & I don't appreciate the snark, because it's completely untrue.

I feel very sorry for the millions gulled by the lies of the "priests", & those oppressed, at least 75% of them women, by the actions of those in control of their respective BigSkyFairy systems, even if the BigSkyFairy is the "economic" doctrines of marxism.

I certainly hate the results of religion, like, say Magdalene Laundries; or the murder of Quandeel Baloch (See my last link in those posted not too far up; or the systematic murdering of secularists in Bangla Desh; or that of homosexuals in Iran; or, or, or .....

What's YOUR apologia for tolerating this sort of murder, torture & oppression, then?

Like I said, it disgusts me, that supposedly intelligent people can do these things.

396:

It's a lot less cool to proclaim ignorance as understanding and use that as an excuse to attack.

I'm quite sure that isn't what LH was doing (wouldn't say the same for everyone). It's more a Dawkinsian thing.

And I would still rise to the same point as LH: Christianity has all the negative stuff we've been discussing in it, painfully obviously so. Yes, it also has some positive messages and even better, inspires some marvellous individuals to acts of extraordinary compassion, heroism, grace, whatever you want to load onto that taxi. The whole point is - none of us get a free pass on nano-fascism in our own communities. The acts you will walk past without stopping are the

397:

[Bugger - bloody trackpad]

The acts you will walk past without stopping (stopping to do something about) are the ones you promote as being acceptable. That's a huge thing, and everyone's usually guilty to some extent in this regard, but that no-one's perfect is the point sometimes too (though leave the "perfectibility" argument out please, that's always been a false dichotomy, though that's another discussion altogether).

398:

Greg, I think the problem is that your generalisations are so broad they don't encompass the lived experience of people here. You're basically telling several of us that we don't exist, the things we grew up with never happened. Are you able to get that?

399:

We can decline to take action about something we disapprove of because we know we have to prioritize as a practical matter. Or rather, the action can be simply to note that there's something here you disapprove of and to keep in mind to do something about it when possible. Think of it this way. Your home is a mess, you had a party with a bunch of guests who trashed the place. The next morning you get up and decide to get cracking on fixing it all up. You can walk past an overflowing ash tray on your way to get the mop to clean up some spilled beer because you can't do everything at once. Thinking you have to is the same mistake the US is making in trying to optimize outcomes throughout the whole world, trying to have a finger in every pie, a permanent base near every trouble spot. You have to accept that imperfection exists and it's not worth correcting everything.

400:

I agree you can't do everything, and you definitely can't do everything at once. I still suggest that it is often possible to do something, and that sometimes it's obligatory.

401:

To Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot you can add Calles, who wasn't really a communist.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cristero_War

402:


What's YOUR apologia for tolerating this sort of murder, torture & oppression, then?

I don't. But neither do I blame all people of faith for the actions of a few. As for supposedly intelligent people falling for stuff, I have to say it's quite something seeing that come out of your keyboard. You never met a logical fallacy you didn't like, as long as dumping on the entire concept of religion was the end result.

403:

Before the Syrian uprising that began in 2011, the greater Fertile Crescent experienced the most severe drought in the instrumental record. For Syria, a country marked by poor governance and unsustainable agricultural and environmental policies, the drought had a catalytic effect, contributing to political unrest. We show that the recent decrease in Syrian precipitation is a combination of natural variability and a long-term drying trend, and the unusual severity of the observed drought is here shown to be highly unlikely without this trend. Precipitation changes in Syria are linked to rising mean sea-level pressure in the Eastern Mediterranean, which also shows a long-term trend. There has been also a long-term warming trend in the Eastern Mediterranean, adding to the drawdown of soil moisture. No natural cause is apparent for these trends, whereas the observed drying and warming are consistent with model studies of the response to increases in greenhouse gases. Furthermore, model studies show an increasingly drier and hotter future mean climate for the Eastern Mediterranean. Analyses of observations and model simulations indicate that a drought of the severity and duration of the recent Syrian drought, which is implicated in the current conflict, has become more than twice as likely as a consequence of human interference in the climate system.

http://www.pnas.org/content/112/11/3241.abstract

TLDR: drought worsened by climate change coupled with unsustainable aquifer-based agriculture.


As for Daesh, I'd put the cause more on the Iraq War. Smash a country and then abandon it, no surprise that violent groups bubble to the surface.

404:

"But neither do I blame all people of faith for the actions of a few."
Now, this is where the problem arises. Is it only the ***actions**** of a few, as opposed to the beliefs of the many? When they share the same beliefs, ideology etc, is it only acting on them that is the problem?

405:
I like Dark Matter, too. It's not Great Science Fiction, but it's good fun storytelling with developing characters and a constant air of suspense and mystery.

In addition after last year's awesome Jessica Jones and how that approached women's issues I am also thoroughly looking forward to see what this September's Luke Cage series comes out like.

A full budget, full PR, Marvel superhero series.

About a black man.

Who is immune to bullets.


406:

That really, truly wasn't aimed at you, and I do apologize if you took it that way.

For another example, other than the obvious candidates, let's look at Dirk's message in #404:

"But neither do I blame all people of faith for the actions of a few."

Now, this is where the problem arises. Is it only the ***actions**** of a few, as opposed to the beliefs of the many? When they share the same beliefs, ideology etc, is it only acting on them that is the problem?

How many times must non-violent, practicing Christians, and non-violent, faithful Muslims say that they detest the actions of "Christian" bigots and monsters like Da'esh before people like Dirk (or Greg, or Gasdive, or the others) get the message that they don't share the same "beliefs, ideology, etc." and that what they share mostly is a label that ignorant outsiders choose not to look beyond?

To me, this kind of simple-minded categorization is far more in line with what "Christian" bigots do than it is with what real, practicing Christians do. Remember Pope Francis' "who am I to judge?" line? Anyone? That's what April_D is talking about.

And note, yet again, I do not claim to be Christian. Or Muslim. Or Jewish.

407:

You're basically telling several of us that we don't exist, the things we grew up with never happened. Are you able to get that?

No, not in the slightest.
I haven't the faintest fucking idea what you are rambling on about.

I'm supposedly telling people that they don't exist ...
Uh?
You what?
What PLANET are you on?

I think you had better:
either try to explain in plain English
/ OR /
agree to drop the whole thing.
Your call as to which, entirely.

408:

Did I say I blamed all "people of faith" (Other than being gullible/stupid that is) ?
BUT
Watch what happens when people of faith do evil things - they get, if not a free pass, a slight slap-on-the wrist, compared to a straightforward criminal.
Or the way guvmints & the media are so fucking delicate, tiptoeing around the "believers", even when it's screamingly obvious that (a section of/the hierarchy of) said believers have done something really nasty.
E.G. Magdalene laundries, the child-emigrants to the Dominions etc ....
[ In the latter case, the Brit guvmint knew it was a crock by 1951-2, yet allowed it to continue, because they were privately threatened by the churches & religious organisations involved.

409:

Tricky, tricky (!)

410:

I agree, but I'd also point out that the Ottoman Empire (and the Byzantine Empire, and the Caliphate, and the Sassanids, and the Romans) all have a hand in this mess, because it was the common practice of all these empires to resettle parts of populations hither and yon as a way to break up troublemakers. As a result, there are little enclaves of different peoples all over the Middle East and Asia Minor (aka Turkey). One other imperial factor is that big, trading cities tend to become more cosmopolitan, especially as minority groups settle into them and then intermarry.

None of this should be surprising to anyone. Big cities get a lot of minorities in their own neighborhoods, refugees settle where the welcome, and over generations, people intermarry across religious and ethnic boundaries. As an American, I'm the product of about ten generations of this kind of intermarriage.

Unfortunately, this mingling all becomes very problematic when racial and ethnic factionalism become rampant.

The problem, in places like Syria and Iraq (and Turkey) is that the last (Ottoman) empire got split up by outsiders into these things that were supposed to be nation-states, contiguous blocks of land (the state) holding something resembling a unified people (the nation). Unfortunately, there's no way to unscramble the egg and reassemble the peoples of the Middle East into homogeneous little enclaves that can each have their border, their own state, and their own autonomy. Even "Kurdistan" is a mix, since (IIRC), it's basically the mountains where all the minority groups stayed at arm's length from the Empire. That's why people like the Yezidis are considered Kurds by some and their own people by others. There are people called Kurds, but they're not the only ones in "Kurdistan," and worse, "Kurdistan" has been split among at least three countries, and so forth, just as Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq were all carved out of the old Ottoman empire back after WWI.

That's part of the problem with Syria and Iraq: so much of the violence we see is them trying to unscramble their eggs, enclaves working violently to kick out the outsiders that they've been living alongside and marrying with for generations, and become more unified so that they can control their land. It's a brutal process, and from what little I know, it seems to be a not uncommon process for an area where central authority is failing, where people are competing for control of what's left.

It's also a mess that might strike a little closer to home, with things like the BRexit, or if Trump wins the Presidency and the US starts to fall apart.

411:

Almost.
You have a very valid point.
But
The majority of christians & probably muslims moan & wring their hands when evil is done in their name.
But, then, what do they DO?
Nothing.
What do they do when people like me come along and ask very pointed questions & mock them & ridicule their gullibility for being in the same boat as those they claim to despise?
Close ranks & accuse me & others of being "militants" - when all I am doing is uttering critical words.

Double standards & hypocrisy.

412:

The majority of christians & probably muslims moan & wring their hands when evil is done in their name.
But, then, what do they DO?
Nothing.

I've always liked Peter Watts phrasing:

Edmund Burke once said that the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. I think that begs a question.

If you do nothing, what makes you any fucking good?

http://www.rifters.com/crawl/?p=5370


That said, there's a limit to how much any one person can do. If a person is already doing what they can to make the world a better place, it seems churlish to condemn them because they disagree with my priorities.

Are a majority silent? Or are they speaking in places that we don't hear? I don't know enough to make a call one way or the other.

Mind you, some attention to actual evidence when choosing what causes to support is, I think, part of being an adult.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KmK0bZl4ILM
(Arrogant Worms, for Greg and other gardeners. Music starts about a minute in. Beware the VLF!)

413:

Environmental degradation, warming climate, ethnic conflict, resource squabbles and a power vacuum are all valid contributors to instability in the Mideast. In one form or another, though, these factors seem to have been present for decades if not centuries. So maybe the reason Daesh didn't emerge in the 50s,60s,70s,80s or 90s was the gusher of terrabucks from Islamic area petro-states spreading oil money over troubled waters. What's changed recently is now the money's cut way back.

414:

Favoring the faithful is an aspect of the fact that in what somebody is calling Phase 2 or religions, or whatever, the service of the faith becomes a moral act in and of itself. There is no purpose to the religion other than the furtherance of the religion, it is completely content free other than meaningless passcodes, like calling God by the correct name and assenting to some nonsense that nobody understands much less finds persuasive. Once a religion gets to that stage, orthodoxy becomes a perfectly acceptable substitution for morality. This aspect is most fully exemplified in Christianity, where the CORE is acceptance that somebody else will suffer for your own sins. Let somebody else be the whipping boy, that's the price of admission. Moral irresponsibility convoluted into ultimate morality. Let that sink in: it's a club that you get into by admitting you'de rather an innocent suffer so you don't have to. Acceptance of orthodoxy at lost one hundred percent having replaced any other content. Not to pick on Christianity, because other religions have other aspects of corruption they have focused on. Islam has well known flaws, being based on aggression and enslavement. Buddhism is cool though, right? Karmic faiths believe there is no such thing as injustice. The poor deserve it. Problem there. But that doesn't mean people don't have a drive for religion. It's a need that humans will fulfill, and removing it is impossible. To do so you have to become an oppressor. The best idea is to formulate religion such that it fills the need harmlessly, even productively. Which is hard if you're trying to design something also acceptable to grandma. Religion IS being reformed, but unevenly, and it's a process.

415:

"If a person is already doing what they can to make the world a better place, it seems churlish to condemn them because they disagree with my priorities."

Maybe. But what if they have a different definition of making the world a better place from yours?

I would venture to say that the perpetrators of each and every terrorist atrocity for the last hundred years (or more!) thought that they were working to make the world a better place. Apart, of course, from those who were just using such a professed desire as an excuse for rape, murder and general mayhem.

The problem is that it's impossible for anyone but a telepath to tell. So what it boils down to is for Britain (for example) to use the generally agreed definition (which doesn't include beheading off-duty soldiers in the middle of the street, or murdering young women for not wanting to be married off to a smelly dirty old man) and punish, severely, those who stray from it.

Personally, I don't really care if Saudis stone women to death for being raped. I do care when they want to spread such practices, and general murder and mayhem, to the country I live in. Whether they think such things are holy or not.

General Charles Napier had a very good point.

416:

You're talking about different things. It's churlish to chide someone for inadequate positive efforts, seeing as how you have different ideas about what's most important, as long as you share values regarding the kinds of things that are good to do. Counterproductive actions that work against one's values are always fair to criticize on the basis that they are based on different values. Which makes the moral argument one about values. What's more problematic is the assumption that we all have to give our all for making the world a better place, though we may have different priorities. What if I just want to refrain from making it worse and do something, not 100 percent effort, but something now and then to make it better. Do I have to be a fanatic?

As for fear of cultural subversion, international alliances, supreme among them the UN (lame though it is) are there to prevent nations from formally imposing on each other. Nations protect themselves from less formal forms of imposition with varying types of immune systems. One strategy is a code, or relatively rigid constitution. I suppose the monarchy may serve some similar purpose in Britain, a failsafe. Not that there's anything wrong with either belts OR suspenders.

417:

"If a person is already doing what they can to make the world a better place, it seems churlish to condemn them because they disagree with my priorities."

Maybe. But what if they have a different definition of making the world a better place from yours?

That's a different issue.

Suppose someone is a big supporter of a charity that raises money to send kids with cancer to summer camps, so they can have some fun they otherwise couldn't have had. I'm not going to condemn them because the same amount of money, given to a different cause, could have saved other children's lives. Both are good causes, although personally I support saving lives over summer camps.

I may disagree with someone's priorities for what good cause(s) to support, but that doesn't mean I support someone committing evil as long as they say they believe it's good. Call it cultural imperialism if you want to.

So stoning rape victims, burning widows, and strangling your sister the blogger are all evil acts that should be opposed. (Ie. opposing them is doing good.) Decarbonizing, helping famine victims, saving street kids… there's a nearly endless list of things that good people can be doing. I'm not going to consider someone "not good" because they don't do everything. But I agree with Peter Watts in that if they do nothing, I don't see why I should consider them "good".

418:

Back in my earlier comment, I was thinking of a much lower level of engagement. Workplace stuff: calling out the arsehole who makes sexist (or racist or homophobic) jokes, tackling the bullies and narcissists, that sort of thing. Not necessarily making the world better, but not tolerating people making it worse within one's own sphere of influence.

I dislike prescriptive frameworks, because there are always loop holes and other issues that people get into silly arguments over, but I do find the Kantian categorical imperative helpful here. For any particular action (or even inaction) - what if everyone did it?

419:

What do they do when people like me come along and ask very pointed questions & mock them & ridicule their gullibility for being in the same boat as those they claim to despise?

That they are "in the same boat" isn't something such people would automatically accept, and in this context it's something you are imposing on them.

Say I am an atheist and I lean to the left by our usual standards (I oppose those who argue inequality is a good thing). Does that mean I am "in the same boat" as Stalin (and it's only my inaction differentiating me from him) or the Chinese Communist Party and I should be wringing my hands whenever they shoot or imprison another generation of democracy activists?

Or say, when Richard Dawkins publically ridicules a young woman for her short talk about how not to be the creepy guy at conferences, thus making himself the model for creepy guys to emulate. I'm supposed to race into discussions about how I distance myself from that sort of bullshit? Because somehow Dawkins and all his appalling behaviour represents me?

The point is that to make that case requires a bunch of hasty generalisations and incorrect assumptions. These are elementary errors of logic and people pushing this stuff about muslims or even Christians are not rational. I would call it an expression culturally-specific prejudice through selective, motivated reasoning.

420:

Perhaps I should have said: "What if someone else has a diametrically opposite view of what is a good act from yours?"

Most people in the West think that killing people because they disagree with you, stoning a woman to death for adultery after she has been raped, and letting rip with an assault rifle in a crowded bar because you disagree of the patrons' lifestyle are all evil acts.

However, there are those who think all those are not only good, but holy enough to guarantee entry into Paradise if you die while committing them.

Should we in the secular West, therefore, let them carry on doing such things? Cultural relativity only goes so far.

421:

Or consider an Anglican church I know, who's congregation is mostly anglo retirees. Should they be condemned because they don't write "shocked and appalled" letters to the editor about Westboro Baptist Church every time those crazies pull another stunt? Or because they don't march in the Pride Parade? To an outsider they look like they don't care.

Yet they have a visible minority priest whom they've welcomed, along with his husband. They sponsor refugees without worrying about what religion they are. Many members work hard on environmental issues, as well as food banks and open-access health care. Quiet impact, but for the good.

Should they be condemned because they are officially of the same religion as WBC? They don't seem to share many beliefs, and they don't engage in the same actions.


And the CPC* isn't particularly left wing anymore. Social control, market freedom (with advantages for those with connections to the government). Bad problem with corruption, but I wonder sometimes if that's because their 1% haven't bothered to rewrite the laws to make it legal the way our's seem to have…

I wouldn't want to live there permanently, but I wouldn't want to move to the USA either.

*Communist Party of China, not to be confused with the Conservative Party of Canada** despite overlapping policies in many areas.


**Originally the Canadian Conservative Reform Alliance Party, until someone noticed the initials after a day or so…

422:

Perhaps I should have said: "What if someone else has a diametrically opposite view of what is a good act from yours?"

Oppose them, of course. That's why I wrote:

"I may disagree with someone's priorities for what good cause(s) to support, but that doesn't mean I support someone committing evil as long as they say they believe it's good."

Maybe this is clearer:

I don't support someone committing evil, even if they believe they are doing good.


Is there someone else arguing for cultural relativity? Because that's not what I've been advocating. (Hard to tell as you're not using the reply function.)

423:

Since we've veered off heavily into old waters muddied by old pollution, here's some re-thinking.

#1 Trump / RNC : having read far too much totally clueless commentary (both paid and unpaid) on it, the take away is simple.

The WWE (back when it existed, and yes, Trump has appeared on it YT: TV: 3:32) runs a better show. It also creates more money. [ooh, burn]

Bonus round: features Trump shaving the head of the WWE guy... and we all can think of somewhere that was common, can't we? [Both during and after, by both sides]

#2 Germany, another 5GW. Iranian ancestry, history of bullying leading to mental illness, Chan, allegedly revered Breivik (launched on the 5 yr anniversary, natch).

I warned you not to use these types. Notes from the field: no Chan warning [as is tradition, non-normies get a "don't go to X" post - if it ain't there, something's fishy, ffs even the FBI checks them these days] and where the fuck does an 18 yr old get a gun?

Bonus round: three shooters reported, the GSG9 was called. [Ho-hum. Guess I jumped the gun on that one or was just a bit too early]. Also the accents are all wrong in the video - check your Bavarian vrs High German accents. Unless our 18yr old went to a German Erstazschulen.


#3 Wikileaks / DNC. Oh, the simple souls shouting out how it's now a Putin lead conspiracy (the same who imagine that Putin is funding Trump - he's not, but he has no love for Mrs. H. Clinton either, look to Serbia for an explanation that doesn't revolve around crying misogyny]. No, the emails are real, that's how politics work.

The fact these types are running it all on their unsecured iPhones / Galaxies is just a symptom of how lazy / coddled they all are.

Bonus round: instead of using Bernie as a weapon and an ally, they all look scared of him. Not a great look.

#4 The Great Barrier Reef is over. Sections of Great Barrier Reef suffering from 'complete ecosystem collapse' Guardian 21st July 2016

No bonus round.


~


Upshot.

Time for rather different thinking to get deployed. Debates about vapid nonsense like balloons and Bellamy salutes mean you're not playing the actual Game.

But you do get the greatest accolade of all: the moniker, The Failed Generation.


2020 - forget Cruz, you're looking at P5 emergency group. EU, UK, USA have all failed to engage with the issue - at least the CCCP built buffer cities.

424:

Oh, and the fact that in a thread of 3,000+ responses no-one was able to source a genuine Fascist Theatre of the Spectacle moment that takes 5 seconds to grab shows the weakness of all of the commentators.

Dank Memes Melt Steel Beams.

~

And this is positive, by the by.


Brexit, EU, Turkey, USA... it's shown that none of you[1] are up to the task, so I suspect other alternatives will be used.


Oh and Starbucks. Sigh, you really should know whose Logo that is.


[1] You know who you are.

425:

And, a tryptich, with something actually positive (the whole saga started in early 2015 and took the murder of a leading Pakistani feminist to close the deal, but they say the good ones die young):


Pakistan bills tackling “honor killings” and rape convictions unanimously passed NYT 22nd July 2016

Source is irritating and probably not nice if you're not running a lot of uBlock / Noscripts.

Included for the photon stating:

I will burn your honor to the ground and then smile as I walk through the gates of Heaven.


Beats piddly little nothings of the RNC/DNC.

426:

(Meta note: in each case of 1-3, the message is simple: you got slow, you got lazy, you got sloppy. In trade craft terms, you're not even trying anymore.

That's always the moment you look behind you to see whose using Egyptian stones as marker points. Eye of Horus and all


What will it take this time? We've already got double-rainbows).

427:

Is there someone else arguing for cultural relativity?

He might have meant me - there are particular viewpoints from which arguing for self-awareness and being aware of others' perspectives looks like relativism. My response would be very much in line with yours. I'd suggest even more though: broadening one's perspective can change how an argument looks. It can even change the direction of onus.

I think that many on the populist right have in fact embraced exactly the sort of cultural relativism we were so leery of in the 80s and 90s when it was seen as a left thing.

428:

I think that many on the populist right have in fact embraced exactly the sort of cultural relativism we were so leery of in the 80s and 90s when it was seen as a left thing.

No.

Just.

No.


"Cultural Relativism / Marxism" is from the old far non-alt right, who are looking to inject it into the modern alt-right and places such as Reddit. FFS, it's a term linked to the Von Mise lot.

They're being humored and behind-the-scenes referred to as "cucks".


p.s.


This is why I know Breivik was not a 'true' 5GW (apart from you know, that whole getting weapons and C4 thing, the fake facebook, WoW account and trappings of Masonic identity: nice little OP there, I suspect they even did a few fake ceremonies to bind his loyalty and show his BrotherHood). I've read the doc: it wasn't written by a modern mind. [In fact, it was written by someone ~ 50-70, who if they want to play hardball should stop XXXXX to attempt to threaten me. But hey ;) ]

If you're not into your conspiracies, that little Man had a very old-skool mentor steering his rudder - none of it was from the cutting edge[1].


We See You


[1] Who, as our HARD BODIED WRITER, Mr CHUUUUUCK TINGGLLLLE knows: requires a different type of anti-venom.

429:

Btw ~

When C. Tingle wins a HUGO and we all know the state of play when you mess with things we love.

Please play this:



A Knights Tale: You have been weighed
YT: Film: 0:35

430:

Tryptich: מִיכָאֵל‎ and גַּבְרִיאֵל


We were lesser things back then. This philosophy of yours is enchanting and we see nothing wrong with it.

Too much Dante in the house.


Five to One [YT: Music: 5:56]


~

We're used to 10,000 vrs 1 odds. This is intoxicating.

431:

*Shrug*

It's a bit beyond just breaking the old Formal Logic Rules, boys.

And, yes, I'm sure you can label me insane or a fraud. [hello DPB]


Until it's reality.

Google boys have me hitting 73% accuracy, even with drunk and fuzzing. The more paranoid have me at 39%. While drunk. And fuzzing.

This is still better than your G_D.

Their Law (YT: Music: 4:07)


p.s.


Greg, cool it. They lie and they threaten. And they threaten your son. Just tell them I Value your Oasis of Life in the Desert as a Testament to our Vision.


No shit, I prepped that one. And it's dynamite. [1st Son Rules, ooooh, that's an old one]


432:

there are particular viewpoints from which arguing for self-awareness and being aware of others' perspectives looks like relativism. My response would be very much in line with yours. I'd suggest even more though: broadening one's perspective can change how an argument looks. It can even change the direction of onus.

ὁ δὲ ἀνεξέταστος βίος οὐ βιωτὸς ἀνθρώπῳ? [1] Not certain I'd go as far as Socrates, but I'm all for broader perspectives. One advantage of getting older has been that it's easier to see them.

Thinking of ancient Greeks, Hippocrates was onto something with his "first, do no harm" thing. Which is why I tend to default to "do nothing" until I've had a chance to learn about the issue. Which often annoys people who already 'know all the facts they need', but I'd rather avoid doing active harm. (I'm not that keen on passive harm either, but given my limited resources there's no way I can avoid that.)


I think that many on the populist right have in fact embraced exactly the sort of cultural relativism we were so leery of in the 80s and 90s when it was seen as a left thing.

Got examples? I'm drawing a blank, but I'm not that familiar with populists of any stripe.


[1] "The unexamined life is not worth living" is the usual translation.

433:

Ah, just checked.

Most paranoid and skeptical: now 57%. And this is with sticking a fork in my third eye and a spoon in my heart.

Je ne baisé le chat, je l'aimev [YT: Film: 2:38]


~~


Shame. Shame on you [who are involved] shame.

434:

Ignoring someone who knows a lot more about the subject as a political / social snub says it all about your actual desire to learn about the reality of the situation.

Ignorance and Elitism and Stupidity: that's why you lost.

435:

Oh, and if you're doing Greek:


ἄρχουσιν οἱ ἐπιεικέστατοι, ὅταν ἐθέλωσιν ἄρχειν. ἢ οὐκ οἶσθα ὅτι τὸ φιλότιμόν τε καὶ φιλάργυρον εἶναι ὄνειδος λέγεταί τε καὶ ἔστιν;

ἔγωγε, ἔφη.

διὰ ταῦτα τοίνυν, ἦν δ᾽ ἐγώ, οὔτε χρημάτων ἕνεκα ἐθέλουσιν ἄρχειν οἱ ἀγαθοὶ οὔτε τιμῆς: οὔτε γὰρ φανερῶς πραττόμενοι τῆς ἀρχῆς ἕνεκα μισθὸν μισθωτοὶ βούλονται κεκλῆσθαι, οὔτε λάθρᾳ αὐτοὶ ἐκ τῆς ἀρχῆς λαμβάνοντες κλέπται. οὐδ᾽ αὖ τιμῆς ἕνεκα: οὐ γάρ εἰσι φιλότιμοι. δεῖ δὴ


Natch.

436:

Plato's Republic (§347b - SP)


Sigh.


Hands up who wants to discuss the death of honor killings in Pakistan?

Ok, fuck it, back to outclassing people on Plato.

437:

Some good(ish) news for Charlie, in case you haven't seen it. (I'm a bit behind with the newsfeeds.)

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-pakistan-honourkillings-idUSKCN1001HQ

Pakistan's ruling party plans to pass long-delayed legislation against "honor killings" within weeks in the wake of the high-profile murder of an outspoken social media star, the daughter of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said on Wednesday.

The law would remove a loophole that allows other family members to pardon a killer.

So, step in the right direction.

Will it make much difference? Maybe not, but hopefully it will save at least some lives. According to Aurangzeb Qureshi (writing in al Jazeera), the death toll is 1000 women/year, so even a 1% reduction is 10 lives saved.

http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2016/03/defending-pakistani-women-honour-killings-160307075135769.html


438:

#425


I guess this is what pretending to ignore posts gets you.


LOL.


Hint: Check MF, not a snifter, Mr. Man.


[passive-aggressive dishonesty at it's finest]

439:

In our next installment, We'll not read My posts, but secretly read them to garner some kind of kudos...


5P.


These fuckers are done.

440:

"We create Reality"


"But we need to leech off others to do so"

And that, kids, is a meta-meta-meta lesson.


Thanks for playing.


OH, and the Plato I quoted: actually anti-Trump. The Plato s/he quoted: not anti-Trump.


These Fuckers Are Dumb.

441:

Oh, and while I'm sure Mr R. Prior has me on "IGNORE" so he's a genius to just copy everything I say...


Meta, meta, on the wall.


These are lessons on how to beat them all.

If you've not noted, a major factor of "American Capitalism" is the above: see a good idea / concept / design, then pretend it's your original idea, patent it and so on.

Anyone up for a history lesson or a little foray into YouTube monetization space?


Lol..

They're silly little predators. It only works if [as RP showed above] they control the information stream.

LOL.

But they summoned some right old nasties, ooops. Who even read Plato when he was alive and didn't give some little pathetic mis-reading of him.


Nasty YT: Music: 3:41


We're... going to ruin them.


Not even MBA from Harvard could imagine the ruthless kill zone we're gonna do.

They fucked the world for profit: we're gonna make sure they can't breed.

442:

Look, given we have Americans watching.

That the actual Plato exchange:

That's your RNC/DNC right there.


Mr. R. Prior, all proud and vain uses it.

Actual scholar points to reality of it.

Mr. R. Prior doesn't even know enough Greek to see the car-crash he invited and was saved from...


Hostory Today (YT: Comedy: 3:20)

Fucking Hilarious.

443:

Thousands of insulated water bottles designed for children and sold by L.L. Bean are under recall for lead content because the Chinese manufacturer used the wrong kind of solder material.
Insulated water bottles designed for children are being recalled because of lead contamination. The four above patterns and one below are all included in the recall.


Insulated water bottles designed for children are being recalled because of lead contamination. The four above patterns and one below are all included in the recall.


About 6,700 of the recalled bottles were sold online, at retail stores and through the L.L. Bean catalog from July 2015 through May of this year, according to the recall notice on the Consumer Products Safety Commission website.

Lead contamination spurs recall of water bottles from L.L. Bean Food Safety News, July 21st 2016


And before you reach the wrong conclusions: Lead Solder costs more than the non-lead alternative.

I'm guessing you should probably check your Mineral Water sources right now as well ;)

p.s.

Not even being funny. These fuckers have proven their stupidity and inability to rule.

Guess you shouldn't have to tried to break my Mind, eh?

Babylone is Broken? [YT: Music: 2:30]


Yeah, no.


Lost in Translation

444:

Hint:


If your balls feel funny and all the hairs go white and brittle.


Chances are, it's a weapon they're using. Oh, and say goodbye to having children.

You know, since reality requires a physical explanation and all. Not just faith.


[Hint: Passover. You did it to the wrong Angel, little men. But thanks for showing us how to do it!

You. Will. Not. Breed.


C H I D R E N O F M E N
H
I
L
D
R
E
N

O
F

M
E
N

Thanks for playing. Utter scrubs. You will not breed and your seed will be barren.

As done to the Avatar, as done to those who willed it. May take a little while, but we've 40 years or so to play around with.


We passed upon the stair
We spoke of was and when
Although I wasn't there
He said I was his friend
Which came as some surprise
I spoke into his eyes
I thought you died alone
A long long time ago

The Man Who Sold The World YT: Music: 4:05

And well done Mr. Prior.


You broke the last chain.


*slow clap*

445:

So maybe the reason Daesh didn't emerge in the 50s,60s,70s,80s or 90s was the gusher of terrabucks from Islamic area petro-states spreading oil money over troubled waters.

Not exactly.

The rise of islamism in its modern, toxic form can more or less be laid at the door of Sayyid Qutb and his followers. But it's a side-effect of moves by the west to support anyone who was anti-communist in the developing world. First the UK and France established puppet monarchies in charge of dysfunctional nation-state-shaped objects (with a quiltwork of ethnic groups and tribal regions stitched together to ensure they could be run using the 19th century colonial 75/20/5 administrative split). Then when the USA took over in 1945-56, pan-Arab nationalism (early Ba'athism) got a shot in the arm, because monarchism was un-American (and so was communism) -- yes, the likes of Alan Dulles and Kermit Roosevelt went in and pushed Ba'athism in the early days.

Dictatorships (accepted as necessary because anti-communism) gradually deteriorated because they're crap at handling feedback: repression of dissent meant that the only safe avenue for social and political disagreement was inside the mosques. So gradually all civil opposition to the dictatorships was trashed, leaving room for the islamists to flourish, with the results we've seen.

In 20/20 hindsight, Iran in the late 1970s was merely a couple of decades ahead of the curve compared to the Arab world, and with its own distinctly Persian spin on things.

To avoid Da'esh you'd need to go back to 1918 and ensure the Anglo-French secret treaty on carving up the Ottoman empire wasn't a mendacious hack designed by 19th century imperialist bureaucrats to set up the usual weak puppet states. And that's a minimum.

446:

That they are "in the same boat" isn't something such people would automatically accept,
No true Scotsman, huh?

447:

I'd have thought that crushing the Iraqi state, then banning former (even nominal) Ba'athists from participating in the new post-Ba'ath Iraq may have contributed to Da'esh in recent years.

448:

Thank you.
That is the exact problem, coupled with the eternal philosophical query of: "How do we know we are "right" ( Or even merely "less-wrong" ) & they are wrong & evil.

What is good & what is not good Phaedrus, & who is to teach us these things?"

449:

Bit slow off the mark are you not?

I posted that to everyone back @ #381 ....

HINT: Some of us males are disturbed by the drift (push) back to C19th treatment of women, or even Dark-Ages treatment, as in islam.

Provided, of course, we are certain that we are in the right, see my previous post.

450:

A N other possible break-point might have been to ensure that the utterly insane Qutb didn't have a "spitual" mentor & model to follow.

Should have been shot out-of-hand when he arrived back in (what was then) Brit-controlled Palestine in Feb/March 1945, having fled Berlin.
This piece of shit
For more emphasis - Try this Euw

451:

No true Scotsman, huh?

Not sure what you're getting at there but I'll work through it.

It isn't no true scotsman that I am complaining about specifically in the sentence you are quoting, rather it is a pattern of hasty generalisation that appears to rely on conterfactual assumptions. Someone might go on to use no true scotsman to defend the generalisation, though.

Are you suggesting that I'm making a no true scotsman argument here myself? I'd suggest the role I'm playing is that of a man from Scotland saying he'll wear whatever he damn likes under his kilt and that doesn't change his nationality one bit.

In relation to muslims, the no true scotsman argument is to say that those who don't believe the same things as Beardy McBombface are not really muslims. And it's more or less equivalent to saying that if you don't want to murder a couple of million Ukrainian Kulaks, you're not a real atheist.

452:

Yes indeed, but that's very recent -- past decade, basically. The real roots of the problem go back a century (at least).

453:

I quite agree with the notion of cultural relativity. Everyone is a hero in their own stories.
I even wrote a post here a few months ago extolling Islamic State and explaining why it is so attractive to young recruits. Naturally Charles deleted it - having a PR post for IS on your blog is probably not good for business.
However, while I can quite see why IS is attractive in so many ways, it wouldn't stop me putting a bullet in the head of an IS soldier.
While all cultures may be "relative" from a god's eye perspective, they are not relative from mine. I will fight my corner, and the others can fight theirs, and may Darwin sort us out...

454:

If you want to help close the stable door after most (but not all) of the horses have bolted lobby the govt to treat donations to religions like donations to political parties. Anything over £500 to be declared and donations from non-citizens made illegal.

455:

ISTR someone here is an avid cyclist. (Greg maybe?) Here's an interesting article about bicycle design:

http://www.nature.com/news/the-bicycle-problem-that-nearly-broke-mathematics-1.20281

457:

To change the conversation, I have a question I've been contemplating.

People say that the current smartphone is as powerful as a desktop was in 2011. Do you agree that it is true? If not, what year? I ask this because I sometimes wonder if perhaps this spread has been narrowing?

458:

Depends on how you define "powerful".

My 8+ year-old desktop has a mere 16GB of RAM, but 12 TB of internal HD space (not counting the various external drives connected). It has a bigger screen (both dimensions and pixel count) with better colour rendition. It happily handles multitasking unless the programs are memory hogs.

In terms of benchmark MIPS, maybe the cellphone has it beat. But I can't see doing what I use it for (video and photo editing and digital asset management) on a cellphone — so for my purposes the cellphone is less powerful.

459:

Ahh, hoisted by my own petard.

Glad to acknowledge my own cardinal sin of hubris.

So, to make amends:

Ankara mayor suggests Gülen uses genies to ‘enslave people’ Hurriyet Daily News, July 24th 2016


And no, that's not a Turkish version of the Onion. That's a well respected news source, the video is genuine and the interview occurred on a major (pro State) TV network.

Whether or not the mayor was using really dead pan humor to accuse the 3-letter-agencies (USA) of the running the people being targeted is unknown at this time. (A dangerous version of Homer Simpson).

That said, 2016: don't say you weren't warned about Islam and the Djinn.

460:

"As powerful as a 2011 desktop" is a bit too strong a claim, bit "comparable to a laptop, from some time in the period 2006-2011" is probably defensible. Certainly we had some pretty feeble laptops back then: clock speed isn't everything and modern mobile cpus have been catching up fast. (ISTR Apple made a reasonable claim that an early 2016 iPad Pro is nearly 75 times as powerful as a first-generation 2011 iPad, which says something suggestive about that.)

An 8yo desktop with "a mere 16Gb of RAM" and multi-TB of storage isn't a run of the mill desktop; that would have been a top of the range workstation back then. A more typical personal computer from 2008 would be 0.5-1Gb RAM and maybe 300-600Gb of disk (not SSD) storage.

461:

Note: the assumed joke / word play is Üç Harfliler ("Those with three letters") but they're a popular enough Turkish superstition for it to be taken literally (Muslim Archive forum 2012 post, typical mixture of Western / Eastern mythology on the subject. In Turkish).

Turkey had better hope it's a Deep State wink.

~
Taksim Square, like much of Istanbul and other cities, is awash with Turkish flags and CHP supporters were also carrying pictures of their hero Kemal Ataturk, the soldier who founded the secular republic on the ashes of the Ottoman Empire in 1923.

Turkey ruling, opposition parties rally together after coup Reuters,24th July 2016.

A dictatorship based on the contents of the Mind (prove you're not hearing the Djinn nor harboring one in your body... just try it: it also leads to a paradoxical breakdown in the Islamist narrative in that such claims go against the Qur'an) is possibly the darkest timeline.

If you want hope, look back to prior Turkish protests that saw the Communists [they're old school Communists], the Liberal [US usage] Intelligensia and the Wolves [right-wing nationalists] all align together.

Hopefully some will take the threat of torture (Turkey: Independent monitors must be allowed to access detainees amid torture allegations Amnesty International, 24th July 2016) and existential non-existence seriously.


462:

I file that one under the heading of "panicky divots grossly overreacting".

Somewhere a long way down that article it does actually say where the lead solder is - and it's on the outside. I was expecting it to be on the inside, where it would be potentially susceptible to leaching by whatever drink you put in it, because otherwise why bother making a fuss. But it turns out they're reacting to the possibility of people merely touching it, which is, to put it shortly, bleeding ridiculous.

Also, lead solder not being cheaper than non-lead solder may well not be true, at least not for them. I buy lead solder from China because even with shipping it half way round the world it's still a third of the price it is to buy it here.

463:

Wasn't baseline, no, but not top-of-the-line either. I could have spent 2-3 times more to get that, but didn't.

But this rather begs the question: what do we mean by 'current smartphone' and 'average computer'? The latest iPhone vs a dirt-cheap laptop?

Would a fair benchmark be price? What would $800 buy you in a phone today vs. $800 in a computer N years ago?

464:

Exactly backwards & upside-down, but I see what you are claiming to be driving at!

465:

You can GET Lead solder still?
If you are not breathing the fumes all day & you don't want it for drinking-water applications it's so much better than the shite "replacement" versions ....

466:

Lost in translation joke:

Western person in charge of supply chain adds note in bad Mandarin[1] - "Hey, remember to use the cheaper solder". (Because engineer's cultural expectation is that unleaded solder is the cheaper one and he lacks the knowledge of the different Chinese for the two). Chinese factory gets note, follows the spec by adding Lead Solder (which to them is cheaper).

It's also a play on the joke that outsourcing to China results in sub-par equipment due to cost-cutting.

And yes, the other joke is about trade, cultural snobbery / racism (lead in the water, cannot solve; lead in the solder, terrible indictment of industrial poisoning - involving something that holds water).


[1] And yes, that's deliberate conflation as well.
~

I'm finding the fact that Ideological Purges are literally being blamed on Djinn to be a bit much so expect the jokes to require a closer reading, which you did.

I'm also finding it darkly comic that the next biggest scam business opportunity will literally be Djinn detector wands (c.f. ADE 651).

467:

Bonus round: features Trump shaving the head of the WWE guy... and we all can think of somewhere that was common, can't we?
Thanks for that. Friend badgered me into listening to Trump's RNC acceptance speech. Read it first for content (grr) then watched/listened for emotional/thought rhythms and showmanship; was struggling for a decent analogy.

No, the emails are real, that's how politics work.
There's an easily-believed narrative being spun up here. (Russia<->Trump)
That's also politics. (I'd be singing praises of Wikileaks if they had made even token attempts at redaction of personal information.)

But you do get the greatest accolade of all: the moniker, The Failed Generation.
Fair enough. Serious question: what can those of us in The FG do going forward? (e.g. personally, have been looking for a starter project; only really started to wake up politically in the last several years.)

468:

Again, mostly everyone is reading the RNC wrong (including Rolling Stone).

If it had been played as a WWE affair, with the heel Cruz attempting to spike the Belt Winner, and Trump had just ad-libbed for 30 mins of rah-rah after the touching humanity of his daughter, it'd be over. [Zeus, Demeter and Persephone, come on now, learn how your catharsis works]

Trump would have come second, probably 7 points close, but the voters of dissent would have left feeling self-satisfied enough in being in the crowd to have forgotten politics by 2020. Or at the very least, to have their baying edges dulled.

DNC is running the politics of yesteryear as well: nice safe Catholic choice, white cis rural friendly choice, virtually the definition of a Democrat who could be a Republican, Ordo Ab Chao, yawn.

What was done was the actual politics of fear (not the mystery play children's stories of MSM): the RNC and DNC both lost their convictions in the Spectacle they help create.

And bottled it.

~


You've heard it here first: what actually happened (and is about to happen with Bernie / DNC kow-towing) is the death of the spectacle.


That's the lesson from WWE.

2020. It's gonna be fun.

(AND NO, YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND IT YET. YOU PROBABLY NEVER WILL)

Like the legend of the Phoenix
All ends with beginnings
What keeps the planets spinning (uh)
The force from the beginning


Daft Punk - Get Lucky (Official Audio) ft. Pharrell Williams, Nile Rodgers YT: Music: 4:08

469:

There's an easily-believed narrative being spun up here. (Russia/Trump)

Ratfucking in progress, film at eleven.

If they'd been doing due diligence the RNC would have ratfucked Trump off the nomination shortlist back in January and they wouldn't be in this mess. But apparently T was seen as such an outsider that none of the other candidates bothered sending minions out to dig the dirt on him; they just assumed he'd implode.

I'm pretty sure Hilary didn't make that mistake. Although making dirt stick to Trump that his base will notice let alone pay attention to, is doing to be verrrry difficult; the normal slings and arrows aren't applicable because they're designed to find the weak spots in a normal politician's armour and Trump isn't a normal politician: he's a demagogue and a shit-stirrer and he's still managed to rally a base even though he's quintessentially what they hate (billionaire New York property developer with a track record of fucking over the Little Guys at every opportunity).

All the Democrat campaign can do now is try to convince the Bernie supporters to knuckle under and "vote for the crook, not the fascist" -- and try to persuade the undecideds. I don't see the Trump base shifting for anything short of The Donald having a fatal coronary on the golf course or being caught in bed with a dead boy and a live goat (and he might survive even the goat at this point in his campaign -- see also how David Cameron slithered past a small matter of alleged oral sex with a dead pig).

470:

You've heard it here first: what actually happened (and is about to happen with Bernie / DNC kow-towing) is the death of the spectacle.

Welcome to the first true post-mass media election, huh?

Obama ramped up the social media to dizzying heights and Bernie surfed far past where an also-ran could be expected to wind up, but Trump is kicking it, and he's tapped into something utterly terrifying. Sort of like an unholy, ghastly hybrid of Nigel Farage, Boris Johnson, and the late Sir James Goldsmith, rebooted in New Jersey and sent on a daikaiju rampage through the American Id.

471:

Go watch the WWE video.

There's a reason I chose it as a munition. Hint: 'BBC'[1] helping Trump shave successful White Warrior.

Now, WWE has a long history of players throwing a certain victory or the belt for nefarious gain...

And yes, that's the cuck-killer, the final joke on the alt-right from the ones who are above the Kochs.

Or a sign the Real Deal[tm] turned up and is...

DISAPPOINTED YT: Tv Series: 0:25

[1] Note: if you're fighting these kinds, don't expect Ponies to work. But do try to remind yourself they're human too, not monsters. Leave the monsters to us. And yes, it's the Big-Black-Cock meme come home to roost. You're welcome.

~

Obama Wins! ... Ad Age's Marketer of the Year Advertising Age, Oct 2008


I've always been a fan of giving people what they need, rather that what they want. 2016 is all about giving people what they allegedly want, but find out they don't need.

Irony.

472:

(((And yes, it's a rather vicious ironic reversal of our friend 88 / Big H and his usage of 'stabbed in the back')))

Note: this might spoil a few well laid plans, but you really shouldn't threaten me.


Now I have to go find those using Chan confused Minds as weapons, and remind them what ya'ar malka means.

473:

Oh yes... I got some only the other day. Still seems to be being made even by people like Ersin, although theirs is three times the price of Chinese stuff of the same composition. Ebay, wey-hey. I use it for electronics, but I'm pretty sure I also saw some plumbing alloy while I was going through the listings. Plenty of people want it, because the non-lead replacements are indeed, as you say, shite.

474:

Fair enough. Serious question: what can those of us in The FG do going forward? (e.g. personally, have been looking for a starter project; only really started to wake up politically in the last several years.)

You start by bringing the preppers out of the cult of predatory plants like Alex Jones and back to the real world [tm].

They have a lot of skills and local communities will count, alot[commonintarwebmeme for oldies], soon. And you probably don't want them to shoot you.

But then again, you're all deluded.

So you need to purge your systems of an entire life-time of propaganda. You know, the kind that can make you forget your system is based on blood for the blood G_d.


Btw, did you understand why I said the 'Failed Generation' and who I was referencing?

I suspect you think it's just slang for the Boomers or Gen X earlies who double-downed on irony with their disappointment, or Millennials who bought into the Dream[tm] and who are willingly blind to the Spectacle.

Nope.


I'm amused. MF has finally run the story on how lichens and symbiosis are a little more kinky than you thought.

"This is Hell", she said.

I looked at her in askance, debating whether or not she was referring to the grey rain, the odious airport security of the modern world or looking after an aged disabled mother in a wheel chair.

"No, this is hell", she repeated.

I looked around.

Later on I helped the aged mother out of the free comped bus. She whispered to me: "Please, don't hit me this time".

A young woman came to help, after it had all been done, to show us the lifts. I waited long enough to be last and made her laugh. Her head scarf was regulation deep blue, corporate brand.

Nice woman. Shame her scent and aura showed the taint of those around her, but a smile is a smile and a laugh is a laugh.

In hell I suspect you don't get such reliefs


~

Ulver laughed. "It looks," she snorted, "like a dildo!"

"That's appropriate," Curt Lyne said. "Armed, it can fuck solar systems."

475:

Ha, I've experienced the Chinese spec-changing thing myself - don't know whether it was language or culture or what that made things go wrong, but wrong they went. I designed a radio-controlled lighting gadget for a chap who sent off to China to get them built. But they kept altering my PCB layout in really stupid ways (dead short across the power rails was probably the worst), and it took several iterations to get them to stop doing this and just build it the way it'd been designed.

I don't know whether to laugh or cry at that ADE651 thing. On the one hand there's the hilarious sales pitch which is so blatantly daft you wouldn't expect it'd even take ebay punters in, on the other hand it did take in numerous government and security buyers who then kept on insisting it worked even when it was shoved in their faces that it was total bollocks. Homo stultus stultissimus, what a species...

476:

(the meta joke being it's written in the style of your average 10 yr old or Gawker journo - trust me, it reads better in other styles.

For instance, the setting of standing on a raised platform of a passenger jet, dull metal with it's jagged safety lines inscribed and waiting for the bus to arrive while protocols were followed).


Yes, I'm taking the piss.


On the one hand there's the hilarious sales pitch which is so blatantly daft you wouldn't expect it'd even take ebay punters in, on the other hand it did take in numerous government and security buyers who then kept on insisting it worked even when it was shoved in their faces that it was total bollocks


Look at the money it generated.


Now, if Turkey gets serious, there's at least $200 mil to be made from Djinn wands. [Note: we'll be running actual Djinn cloaks on the off side to double the profits]

477:

Aurora's Heart.


You really don't want us to go black and cold, we're so much better at your games than you. We leave you gasping and run reality into rings as you make bold proclamations about defining reality. I mean, a year's payoff on a gag is a second in your comedy clubs to us.


Your G_D turned them to salt: I only wanted to share love (not demand it).


But then again, Purge.


It means a different thing to every culture.


Stardust [YT: movie: 2:42 - because American Gods could be so very, very exciting]

478:

Oh, and your final irony lesson of the night.

The DNC would pay me ~$120k / annum for this

The RNC would pay me ~$180k / annum for this

The [redacted] would pay me ~$280k for this.

And the other side? ~$379k.


You come to me, not vice versa. And all the prices just doubled.


American Gods. Too cheap to even employ the best.


479:

Not sure the RNC could have shut out Trump, because they've been working on Politics of Fear, with a side of power at all costs, and slavishly (pun intended) following the Southern Strategy, since the Nixon Administration (many of the current chief troublemakers started their careers in the Nixon Whitehouse). They trotted out way too many incompetent candidates, Trump played the field on charisma alone, and now they're stuck with him.

At this point, Trump could, I guess, win. On the other hand, I still remember a bunch of stalwart republicans in my family voting for Bill Clinton because they simply couldn't stomach the Bush family.

I suspect the same thing will happen for Hillary Clinton, that a bunch of republican women (and men) who will quietly vote for her. She's basically a moderate (conservative by UK standards) as is her VP, and while she's not a great liar, it's becoming increasingly clear that most of the crap about her is smear tactics not based in reality. I mean, heck, she even forgave her philandering husband. Publicly.

Right now we're in an annoying smear tactics period, where the Republicans seem to be using Wikileaks to embarrass the DNC, while the Democrats are documenting Trump's screwed-up business past to see if his connections with Putin and the American mafia will pull him down.

If you want to understand Trump's supporters, go (re)read Altemeyer's The Authoritarians. I feel like I'm getting deja vu watching the Trump campaign, because it seems straight out of Altemeyer.

The other thing to worry about is an October Surprise a la Reagan. If Trump really is connected to Putin, I wouldn't put it past them to try to trash Obama and friends starting around September. That could get bloody.

480:

(And yes: that Plato thing. Oh, the moment the DNC faithful got bitten by their own meme. Clinton Foundation, yo: these fuckers are slow and dumb and without self-awareness)


You fuckers are slow.


More insultingly, you weren't adept enough to run reality games and when it came down to the test, you failed them.


And then you applied force to a Mind who is a little bit surprising.

And then did it in meme form (badly molded) in the real world!

And then ran Games in reality space to produce something.

And tortured some folk to make it happen.

So be it. Your Reality 101.


Vahalla Rising [YT:Film:1:38]

You want weapons?


As host noted, be careful what you wish for:

“Everything was a metaphor; all things were something other than themselves. The pain, for example, was an ocean, and he was adrift on it. His body was a city and his mind a citadel. All communications between the two seemed to have been cut, but within the keep that was his mind he still had power. The part of his consciousness that was telling him the pain did not hurt, and that all things were like other things, was like...like...he found it hard to think of a comparison. A magic mirror, maybe.”

You summoned weapons, little Men, Women and Trans. Old, old weapons. The kind that win.


Denying that you did is the ultimate in horror. You unleashed the void only to fear it, to scarper off and treat it like a wounded animal.

That's not how this works.

481:

Trump Cuck Meme Killer

5 seconds.

Your minds are slow and shit and boring.

But it took you 3,800 replies not to notice it.

~

You tortured some folk, including our kind. We'd like you to stop.

Oh, and DPB - go look up the lichens. It's kinky. Your surprise will take about 8 months, that's less than a second in our world, little child.

482:

P.S.


Not a smart move to attempt to blind me in the right eye, esp. after outing the entire meta-network rooting for Hillary as a total joke. It's not funny and you don't want Odin back.

But then again, the punk didn't understand the physics behind 5' woman and knife and knowledge of veins. I left, I'm sure he bled out: turns out a shallow sweep and leg artery is a dangerous mix.

Two Crows are my friends.

Don't want to be blind in the right eye again.

OH, but hilarious.

You don't get to assassinate the incarnate after summoning them.


You fuckers are slow.


And Mr. R. Prior apparently allowed war to be cast upon us as the D. win came in.

This was not a sensible move.

Poor little white boy, bleeding in a gutter. Took my right eye again, I refuse to /..... aww, there's the ravens.

483:

If you mean what I think you do, it's too demented to engage with and I give up. So maybe you would care to explain what you understand a no true scotsman fallacy to entail, and why you think you see one.

484:

Nah, you're just a white man living in a white world in a white reality whose only challenge has been a bit of politics or his only version of the old "ultra-violence" is seeing it on the TV.

Some fucker just tried to stab my Right Eye out.


He's bleeding out as we speak. [Reader: I didn't feed from him].

Grow up.

485:

P.s.


In Rio for the Olympics.

Trolololol.

486:

blind me in the right eye

I woke up with severe conjunctivitis in the right eye this morning. Who are you working for, Ms IfThat'sYourRealName?

487:

Humanity.

You might not imagine it, but I am. And I really hate the old ways of doing things. [Including sending fucking slaves as assassins you cunts]

At the top of the world a climate disaster is unfolding that will impact the lives of more than 1 billion people.

Deep in the Himalayas sits a remote research station that is tracking an alarming trend in climate change, with implications that could disrupt the lives of more than 1 billion people and pitch the most populated region of the world into chaos.

Crisis on high ABC, 25th July 2016

488:

Ahh.

The DNC just declared war on reality and myself.

Top Kek.


Hint: Plato's Republic has a few more million readers than thou, and my quotation was better than yours.


Spoilers: it's not about faith, it's about reality. You total dumb cunts for doing that spell.

489:

And for the record, I was replying to Greg there.

490:

All things are not merely relative to each other. There are fixed truths that they are also relative to, which can stand in for objective standards. So,
you can objectively evaluate moral systems based on the breadth of what their principles serve. Purported "principles" that serve only entities whose existence is unsupported by evidence are worthless. Principles that only actually serve real entities without providing adequate evidence for why they should be served are worthless, and thus cannot justify any cost to anyone. Principles that only serve to further themselves are worthless. Principles that arbitrarily serve minorities at the expense of minorities are worse than worthless. Breadth is what matters, universality. Claimed hidden information cannot be counted until actually verified. Tian shall be defined as loving all, and therefore Tian should be held paramount over all other authority.

491:

And in a seriously hard-water area (Like London) Lead in the solder isn't going to matter, because of all the Calcium salts in the supply. And, of course, provided it's COLD water, not hot. Or, if your water is soft ( Say Welsh from reservoirs in Bormingham) then Lead is a serious no-no.
[ There's a couple of very short lengths of the ( original, 1893 ) lead cold-water pipe left in my house, f'rinstance ... ]

492:

I feel like I'm getting deja vu watching the Trump campaign, because it seems straight out of Altemeyer.

AIUI, Drumpf is proposing to ignore or alter "The Constitution" from his speeches & statements.
Specifically the first section of the First Amendment.

493:

Yeah, lets give up, shall we?

{ Oh, the Catholoics aren't REAL christians
Oh, the Protestants aren't REAL christians
Oh, the Sunni/Shia aren't REAL muslims
Oh, Stalin wasn't a REAL communist

And of course, the mirror-image ...
"We're different, it will be so much better this/next time when WE are in charge"
Which is the scariest of all, of course, because they seem incapable of fucking learning .... )_

494:

I'd agree with that.
Such as the observed (apparently) fact that altruism & sympathy has a greater evolutionary advantage than selfishness.
A suitable base for an empirical fact-based morality, perhaps?

Claimed hidden information cannot be counted until actually verified.
Like BigSkyFairy in any form?
What a surprise!

495:

I don't think anyone here is making claims about REAL Christians, muslims, atheists, communists. I'm certainly not claiming to be a REAL anything (except perhaps a REAL small green furry creature from Alpha Centauri).

Someone (A) says: Those Gondwanalandians are strange and terrible people, it's a fact that they all eat babies.
Someone (B) else says: Hang on, I'm from Gondwanaland and I don't eat babies.

Are you telling me that for all instances of this thing, B is saying that only REAL Gondwanalandians don't eat babies? I don't think you really are, but you're saying something like it and I suspect you're really just confused.

496:

And what if they put diluted orange juice in it? That's the problem, even in soft-water areas.

497:

I think we can actually agree on a few things based on your remarks here. I've a few comments:

Such as the observed (apparently) fact that altruism & sympathy has a greater evolutionary advantage than selfishness.

This begs the question about why we should regard evolutionary advantage as inherently good. I think it's not a bad approach to understanding why it is that we think some things are more moral than others in terms of our wiring, but for working forwards, I suggest many people might think there is more to it.


A suitable base for an empirical fact-based morality, perhaps?

I think prescriptive concepts like morality can't be strictly empirical, and in some ways there's an category error there. Empiricism is a form of knowledge and as such can really only be descriptive. If you mean making your ethical tests for any given situation based on evidence and facts about the outcomes you expect for each possible action, that's consequentialism and perhaps utilitarianism, depending on how far you go (I think these are good things, btw). But the evidence and facts about those outcomes don't say anything about the ethical system itself and they don't give universal principles.

Kant's categorical imperative[1] is a universal principle, as is the imperative of utilitarians like Bentham or Mill[2].

It's also quite common to distinguish between ethics, which is usually a system based around principles which enable the individual to make rational decisions about what is right or wrong, and morality, which usually involves a moral code that specifies specific things that are right or wrong (no user interaction required).

[1] Act in such a way that your action might become a universal law - which is a slightly sneaky way of saying: Act with the question "what if everyone did this?" in the back of your mind[3].

[2] Maximise happiness and minimise suffering[3].

[3] Yeah and any actual philosophers and/or ethicists here will cringe at my misrepresentation of both, but I'm trying for "pithy" here (no, "pithy", with a T and an H).

498:

Yes. Not all aspects have increased at the same rate and, for over a decade, actual computation speeds have remained constant (you can just do more, often in parallel). I use the example that my hearing aids have 10,000 times as much CPU power as the first supercomputer I used - well, all computers were supercomputers, then :-) But, in terms of memory capacity and speed, thefactor is a lot smaller. The one constant is that bloatware and gimmickry have kept pace, so response times are not reliably better than they were in the 1960s on the first interactive systems.

499:

Agreed, but I am not entirely sure that he wouldn't be a better choice for the rest of the world than Clinton. What I hear is that she is far too close to the hegemonists and militarists. Yes, what they say is not what they mean, but such statements have a tendency to get out of hand and make policy (especially as such politicians are very good at convincing themselves). For example:

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-politics-iran-idUSN2224332720080422