Back to: Downtime coming up | Forward to: Whoops Apocalypse!

Ask me anything!

I am fresh out of blogging ideas, and am off to Jyväskylä in Finland for Finncon next weekend. In the meantime, feel free to use the comments (below) to ask me anything! NB: I will do my best to lie creatively in my responses.

966 Comments

1:

What are Cthulhu, Nyarlathotep running from?

2:


Hi Charlie!
I am interested in your views on the nuclear debate. Trust new generation reactors or dismiss them in favour of doubling down on renewables?

3:

What is the air speed of an African swallow carrying a 2-pound coconut at 100 feet altitude, standard air pressure, 20% relative humidity, and a 5 mph head wind?

4:

It's elephants all the way down.

(Alternatively: the principle of mediocrity is broken in the Laundry universe because once you get runaway chain reactions as a driver for magic—CASE NIGHTMARE GREEN is, in historical terms, a magical prompt criticality incident—you end up living way the hell out at one end of the bell curve. And to the extent that other nasties are attracted by a high thaum environment to graze on, yet more things are going to turn up to eat them …)

5:

I think the future for renewables lies in harnessing Donald Trump's hot air emissions—I'm sure we could use him to drive a heat engine of some kind!

6:

Depends if it started high enough to reach terminal velocity by the time it got to 100ft or if it was still accelerating.

7:

Computers are getting better cheaper etc, as you have expounded on before.

At what point are governments going to step in and say what you can, ca6, must run on your machine?

They already log our traffic, is there a threshold at which you think they will sa6, too dangerous without monitoring?

8:

I have no idea what your not-obviously-grammatically-strong sentences even mean. (ca6? sa6?)

9:

It was fine when i typed it.

"can, can't, must "

"say, too dangerous "

10:

@5: Hell no, those things are more toxic than plutonium. We need a deep waste disposal site just for his tweets!

As a question: Glenfiddich, Glenmorangie, or something more exclusive?

11:

Following your story naming convention for the Laundryverse, that each title is related in some way to books, it appears that Palimpsest is part of the Laundryverse. How are they linked? Is the Laundryverse where the singularity that powers Stasis comes from?

12:

Why does my phone insist on correcting "Stross" to "Syria's". Is there something we should know?

13:

I note that the South Korean government tried to mandate what had to run on PCs in the late 90s early 00s, in order to talk to the government's systems—they made it mandatory to use certain software for filing your income tax return. Good idea? Well, it might have been, if they hadn't baked an ActiveX control that only ran on Windows 95/98 into the tax code, by law!

Not only did this bone the Mac and Linux platforms in the SK market, it also boned the SK public when Microsoft gave up on ActiveX and Win95/98 as a platform.

(These days, open web APIs seem to be the way governments roll, which makes a lot more sense: you can run whatever you want, and if you want to talk to the government you've got to use open publicly documented protocols.)

As for what's too dangerous, that's already a thing in a lot of the world. Including the UK, at least on the content side (google "Internet Watch Foundation" if you don't believe me; also look into cellcos and ask yourself what the Five Eyes can run on the baseband processor of your phone).

14:

Talisker or the Yamazaki for me. Honourable mention for Writers' Tears (on the Irish front). Don't talk to me about rye/bourbon, that shit is undrinkable.

15:

Palimpsest is nothing to do with the Laundryverse (although it may be related to "Ghost Engine", when I get that finished and it's published. Probably in 2021.)

Note that next year's "Dead Lies Dreaming" (formerly "Lost Boys" except the cult movie from 1988 got a reboot for next year) is Laundryverse but not Laundry Files—it's the start (I hope) of a new series in the same setting.

16:

What's the silliest thing you do for fun?

17:

Nice timing, Charlie. I'm off to Westercon in Utah right now - as in, I've left my house and am typing from a restaurant as I finish breakfast. My travel drama I'll omit; I hope you don't have anything that makes for an interesting story afterward.

18:

Works for me!

I loved "A Tall Tale" and more yet "A Colder War" which was insufficiently depressing. But I think how you've handled case Nightmare Green is brilliant. And I found it very amusing that the Wow signal came from the Teapot constellation, even if this was luck than judgement... Still, might be future useful?

And Missile Gap was superb!

Generally,I'm really impressed by your ability to weave what passes for real events into your stories in a contextually coherent way.

Be that as it may, who cares what I think?

19:

Hm, memo to elf, get a bottle of that really rather excellent Dutch rye, offer a dram to Charlie.

What would be worse, "cat software, on dog hardware", or "dog software, on cat hardware" (fwiw, the former has been used to explain fox and hyena habits, noyt sure if it's actually an explanation that holds water)?

20:

What's the silliest thing you do for fun?

I write books.

(What, you think I have time for this "fun" thing you speak of as well?)

Mind you, next week I'm going to try and make a day trip to Moominworld, just because it's there. But I'm not sure that counts as silly.

21:

"Cat software on dog hardware" gets you a Fox.

"Dog software of cat hardware" gets you a Lion. (FSVO "dog software" that includes wolves.)

22:

I heartily agree with the Writers' Tears endorsement. It's been a long time since I've tried Talisker, and I'm sure I've not had the Yamazaki; I'll add them to my list.

Although I've been focused on single malts for the last decade or so, I recently encountered an interesting blend: Shackleton. It's a new blend based on bottles retrieved from Sir Ernest Shackleton's 1907 Antarctic expedition base camp in 2007. The new blend was then recreated by a master blender.

It's a nice, full bodied blend with a touch of Islay iodine taste and a bit of peat. Worth a try.

23:

Have any British (or American) politicians asked you for advice on how to handle CASE NIGHTMARE situations?

24:

(and what advice would you give them if they did)

25:

Crossbred serval x domestic cats are by all accounts quite behaviourally doglike. They like walking on a leash and are more social than a normal cat.

http://petskeepersguide.com/forums/Thread-Walk-a-Savannah-cat-a-dog-in-cat-s-body

Don't keep them as pets though. When their genes get into the feral cat population they make destructive invasive predators.

26:

Can't argue with Talisker. Writers' Tears? Meh. (I much prefer Knappogue Castle or Lord Lieutenant Kinahan's.)

27:

If only …!

(My advice would mimic the rural Irish farmer's advice to the lost English tourists asking the way back to Dublin: "I wouldn't start from here …")

28:

tqft @ 7
SOPME guvmints, notably the fucking Han, are trying this already.
I have just spoken to someone who has passed through Xianjiang province ( the far NW of "China" ) - "Total-control brutal police state" were her words ... And .."I'm not sure they can maintan that level of surveillance without it collapsing under its own weight, like the DDR"

Charlie @ 14
YAY for the Talisker ... plus almost anything from the outer NW edges - I'm not a "Speyside" fan - too sweet

29:

Is there anything you haven't written that you wish you had (either genre/generally, or more specific if it's not indiscreet/might happen one day)?

31:

I have just spoken to someone who has passed through Xianjiang province ( the far NW of "China" ) - "Total-control brutal police state" were her words ... And .."I'm not sure they can maintan that level of surveillance without it collapsing under its own weight, like the DDR"

It has obviously changed since I was there in 2007. Not disagreeing with your acquaintance, just noting that a dozen years ago it wasn't notably different from other parts of China I'd visited.

As to maintaining surveillance — that is more possible than it was under the DDR, as an awful lot of it can be automated now.

32:

Ah, now I realize that Finncon is next weekend! Alas, I can't attend, because summer weekends are a scarce resource and I spent last weekend(ish) far away in space, playing in a space larp.

Do you have plans to see any other sights in Finland apart from the Moomins?

33:

If someone told you that you HAD to name a stuffed toy tiger, what would it be called?

34:

Oh, there's tons of stuff. My to-do list is approximately five years deep at any given time.

35:

I'm planning to spend a week visiting the interior of a hotel in Helsinki after the convention, while I work on the running-late-now rewrite of INVISIBLE SUN on my laptop. (The week in question was earmarked for tourist shit, but alas, late-running novel …)

36:

Hello, longtime fan here. In the spirit of “ ask me anything” , I would be interested to hear your take on the best city in Scotland for walkability, easy access to nature, and creative community. For context, I am a dual US/UK citizen living in California. I’m trying to alleviate some of my anxiety by coming up with a somewhat plausible escape plan. I don’t do well in heat and I love the Arctic, and while Scotland isn’t Arctic, it’s up there in the high latitudes!

I lived in Jyväskylä for half a year in 2016 and can recommend Papu for coffee and Miriam’s for lunch. I am also informed that there is a wonderful new tea place, located in a house with a garden.

37:

The Balvenie 12 yr Doublewood. (Though I would love to lay my hands on a bottle of the Knockando 12 yr, which my late wife and I had once, and led me down the garden path of single malt, when I'd only had Glenfiddich and Glenlivit before.

38:

cat software on dog hardware will take for-bloody-ever to finish running the cat command.

39:

And I dislike iodine. Speyside, then highland, for me.

40:

If you get chance to, try the Talisker 8 year old special bottling that came out last year. Divine.

If I'd bought a case then might have been worth keeping long term, but could only buy a max of 2 .

41:

You've mentioned it a couple of times over the years , but what was the backstory behind you being asked to write for the Iron Man movie?

42:

Palimpsest is nothing to do with the Laundryverse (although it may be related to "Ghost Engine", when I get that finished and it's published. Probably in 2021.)

Phooey!

I'd had this whole plot wherein the remaining crew of the Laundry figured out a way to beat the elder gods. They used the singularity accidentally created by Angleton in a plot borrowed from the Warlock's Wheel in Niven's The Magic Goes Away to suck magical energy into the singularity, lowering the thaums available in the Laundryverse to the point where none of the supernatural beings can survive. That accomplished, most of the staff and characters die for obvious reasons. The few surviving thaumaturgists realiz they could repurpose the singularity to do time travel. Some of the remaining agents decided to use this ability to try to fix the past, while others decided to use it to shift the surviving humans forward ten million years to when the Earth had somewhat healed itself from the divine incursion...and that's where the Stasis started. Urem is a common language based on Enochian.

Actually it's good news, because now that can be execrable fan-fiction, instead of a massive spoiler.

43:

I know about Mencius Moldbug and Paul Krugman. Without being indiscreet,do you have any other fans who might surprise/ delight/ appal us?

On second thoughts, indiscretion is probably a plus.

44:

I would be interested to hear your take on the best city in Scotland for walkability, easy access to nature, and creative community.

I'm an Edinburgh native. Edinburgh's centre is very walkable (most of it predates the steam locomotive, never mind the automobile), hosts the Edinburgh Festival every August (the world's largest performing arts festival), and has no-shit hills and a national park inside the city limits. But I might possibly be biased: all of Scotland's cities (except for Livingstone) predate the steam locomotive, all of them are very compact by US standards, and while I can't speak for the creative community in smaller cities, Glasgow is certainly competitive with Edinburgh (lacks the festival but has a bigger overall population).

45:

Warren Ellis was rebooting Iron Man for Marvel in 2003-04. They asked him to suggest SF authors who might take it over. Warren is a fan of mine (I'm a fan of his) so he put me forward. Trouble is, I didn't grow up with Marvel (in the UK they were hard to find imports in the 70s and early 80s), and when I got acquainted I decided I hated Tony Stark with a livid, fiery passion. Finally, this coincided with me having a choice between doing work-for-hire on a Marvel property I disliked (this was before the films, too) … or taking a total of five book contracts split between two publishers to work on my own stuff.

So: instead of the Charlie Stross Iron Man you got: The Clan Corporate/The Revolution Business/The Trade of Queens and "Halting State" and "Saturn's Children", with "Palimpsest" thrown in as a bonus (written for the short story collection "Wireless").

Which option would you have preferred, with 20/20 hindsight?

46:

Spoiler: the Laundry does not defeat the Elder Gods at the end of the series.

(However, humanity isn't wiped out, so we can call it a conditional win …)

47:

Strossian Iron Man vs those works?
Saturn's Children alone is worth it to pass on Iron Man.

Although I'd love to hear how you would have spun it if it was your bag.

Comics are a funny one - never really have got into them, and barring a bit of Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman they've never really been part of my cultural arena. Know loads that are and occasionally borrow ones recommended by friends (The Boys, Preacher, Dredd). Still don't quite satisfy as a good book.

48:

Why don't the castrated elvish Magi just regenerate their missing body parts?

49:

I am of the opinion that authors can't be held responsible for what random readers make of their work, unless the work in question is actively trying to elicit a specific reaction.

Two contrasting examples: "The Turner Diaries" was deliberately written by William Luther Pierce, a white supremacist, to spread the ideas of anti-semitism, race war, and ethnocide in America. But The Iron Dream by Norman Spinrad superficially resembles a hagiography of a brutal totalitarian race-supremacist's rise to power through war and genocide … while actually being a metafiction critiquing totalitarianism and racism in fifties science fiction.

How do you assess these works in the context of their readers' beliefs and actions? Especially a naive reader who mistakes the latter book's intent for that of the former?

Sidestepping from this can of worms, I think It's usually inappropriate for an author to comment on their fans' reactions to their work. Nor is it a good idea to single out unsuspecting fans for public approval or odium.

But I would like to break my own rule of thumb above and just say that the last four or five novels I've written have all been put together with a question in my head—"what would fan X most dislike?"—and I've specifically been aiming to piss off this one notional reader; because whenever I contemplate the possibility that Vox Day [still] likes my fiction, I want to wash my hands compulsively.

(BTW, "The Iron Dream" is a frame around Adolf Hitler's 1953 Hugo-winning post-nuclear holocaust novel, "Lord of the Swastika", from an alternate universe where Hitler emigrates to the USA after the first world war and becomes a pump fiction author. Highly recommended, if you appreciate kitsch. A lot less funny today than it was when it was first published in 1972, though.)

50:

Because it never occurred to me to go there.

But if I had bothered to think about it:

a) Regeneration of lost body parts in mammals is hard (especially when the stem cells for that particular organ are all missing)

b) Because their overlords would view it as treason and execute them

51:

TIL where the Hawkwind track (from QS&C) got its name.

52:

"The Iron Dream" was banned in West Germany when it first came out because someone mistook it for Nazi propaganda. I gather this was corrected, later, when they realized it was the exact opposite ...

53:

Thank you. The Iron Dream sounds like it's up several of my alleys.

Also, Hitlerian "pump" fiction is the best and worst of typos.

54:

My guess was

c) not that sort of magic.

55:

didn't think of it being a possibility but I'd assume it was part of the overarching geas of control that it was banned,

56:

When you're on the road, how do you create the conditions that are best suited for writing/re-writing?

57:

After just coming from the largest poker tournament ever at the World Series of Poker. I was curious what the Laundryverse take on tens of thousands of brains doing realtime limited game theory simulations of tens of thousands of other brains to determine the outcome of a psuedo randomized arrangement of cards and placing real numerical value on each decision would be?

I’m now surprised it hasn’t been in a book yet, but I expect that is simply, knowing your life, you have never had time for poker?

58:

In LI Mhari says to Jim:
“I love you, too,” I say with a shiver. And if he wants to imagine it’s because I’m happy, I’m content to let him. He doesn’t need the burden of knowing that every other man who’s ever said those words to me is dead.
Did Bob never tell Mhari he loved her? Does she consider Bob dead?

59:

Badly.

(I can't write on the road, as a rule. I'm going to try, but this probably means that the book will be slightly less overdue when I get home.)

60:

I don't gamble, or play cards. You might have noticed other omissions in my work: it wouldn't naturally occur to me to write a character's cigarette habit in, for example, because I'm a lifelong non-smoker. (If smoking occurs then it's because I thought about it for some reason.)

61:

Bob is the Eater of Souls.

If Angleton was the Eater of Souls dreaming that it was a former English public school maths teacher turned spy, then Bob is the Eater of Souls dreaming that it's a comp sci geek turned spy …

The real question at the end of "The Delirium Brief" is whether Mo is still human. In fact, taking a head count, most of the long-term protags of the Laundry Files are disturbingly altered in some way or another. Mhairi, Jim, Pete, Alex: PHANGs. Bob: Eater of Souls. Mo: who the fuck knows. (I do, but that'd be a spoiler.) The Senior Auditor: he carried the Bone Violin, which speaks for itself. Cassie: was never human in the first place, and ditto Jarisol from "The Labyrinth Index". Pinky is still recovering from events at the end of "The Nightmare Stacks" so didn't get PHANGed, but it's possible Brains was infected. Johnny McTavish: nope, there's deep one blood in his veins. Persephone Hazard …. she might still be human, though she's a monstrously powerful witch, which makes it a moot point. In fact, the way the main series story arc is going, everybody is going to end up to some extent posthuman, if not actually posthumous.

(This is a small part of why I'm spinning up a new series in the same setting: at least the protagonists of "Dead Lies Dreaming" are all human, at least for the time being and as long as you don't count the Prime Minister as a protagonist. (He merely puts in a brief appearance.))

62:

Well, since you asked...

Both Merchant Princes and the Laundryverse have a view of the nature of reality. In the case of MP, it's explicitly Everett-Wheeler quantum non-collapse and I'm not sure how to describe the Laundry universe, but it's apparently slightly coherent. MP is consistent with some form of materialistic reductionism / physicalism and Laundry might or might not be.

Anyway, as I'm sure you've given some thought to such matters, what's your take on reality, or, perhaps more addressable, science's(*) current take on reality?

(*)"Science" is, of course, a collection of squabbling scientists.

63:

Since you first mentioned it, Ghost Engines was at least two years from publication, and everytime a laundryfiles or laundryvere or other project jumped the queue and pushed ghost engines somewhere between now and fusion power. So I give up, and ask how the laundryverse-equivalent of playing on the themes of the cultureverse would look like?

64:

What does your selection of parasites that it would be appropriate for Craig Thorn to become infested with look like, over what kind of time schedule, and how much time does he end up having to spend dissecting his own turds or is that the least of his worries?

http://twitter.com/abcpoppins/status/1145583550860845056

65:

...and concerning whisky, do you agree that Lagavulin sounds like it ought to be some kind of pharmaceutical?

(It all tastes like petrol to me. In fact petrol is more drinkable...)

66:

Why is "The Nighmare Stacks" titled so?

The name (also used as a chapter title in the book) refers to the special weapon repository at the National Firearms Center; but this actually has so little impact on the story that even using it as a chapter title seems too much, never mind using it for the book itself.

Also, the same title has been used for a chapter in The Fuller Memorandum, where it referred to the Laundry archives.

BTW, TNS is one of my favorite books in the series (and in general). But the title just doesn't seem appropriate.

67:

> If Angleton was the Eater of Souls dreaming that it was a former English
> public school maths teacher turned spy, then Bob is the Eater of Souls
> dreaming that it's a comp sci geek turned spy …

This reminds me of some nasty computer viruses that slip an hypervisor under the main OS and have it believe it's still running safely on its hardware, while instead it has become only a process sandboxed by something completely different.

Just like what Bob did to the Media Center PC on Billington's ship...

68:

Can elves and humans produce viable offspring? What would those be like? When/what was their evolutionary common ancestor? There was mention of the Flores hobbits, I remember.

69:

As a gentle note to non-Scandinavians visiting 'nerdy' cons in the near future. If you are offered certain cheeses and the people seem gleefully impish, it's probably due to this:

https://satwcomic.com/it-s-organic


Chances are that Host knows this? Even odds, even odds.

70:

It'd look a lot like "Ghost Engine". (Which is still on the way. It's just that my father died while I was working on the second draft, which kind of killed it for me for a while. And I'm not going back to it while my mother is busy dying—I'm not going to have one book coincide with both parents' demise.)

71:

The stacks were somewhat more central to the original outline/proposal for the book; the book, as is so often the case, drifted slightly off-course in the writing.

72:

Ever consider becoming a prepper? If not where do you plan to go and what do you plan to do when the SHTF: blue ocean event, collapse of the Thwaites glacier in Antarctica, sustained temperatures north of 130 deg F making India and the Middle East unlivable, war shutting down the Persian Gulf oil lanes, 2008/1929 style stock market crash this time without anything in reserve to bolster the economic system, Trump getting re-elected - you know, the usual stuff.

73:

Two renewable energy questions:

1. Which is better for renewable energy storage: li-ion batters or stored hydrogen created from electrolysis using electricity from windmills , PVC, etc.? (And for which scale: residential or community?)

2. Which is more cost effective for communities/individuals relying on renewable energy: paying the extra cost for DC appliances or using inverters to convert renewable DC into AC (and with resultant efficiency losses)?

74:

Charlie @ 34
My to-do list is approximately five years deep at any given time.
YOU TOO?

Colortheory @ 36
As a Londoner ..
Edinburgh / Dun-Eidinn
Actually one of the most civilised cites on the planet, especially if you like beer or Whisky ....
See also Charlie @ 44

Pigeon
Lagavulin is PERFECTLY drinkable, it's Laphroaig that divides people
Anyway, they are from Islay, 'nuff said.

75:

I'm increasingly interested in the issues around digital rot and social media. In particular the widespread use of Facebook for community organisations which leaves parents, family, and activists little choice but to use a platform that has been shown to be repeatedly irresponsible in so many ways.

A casual survey of groups and services I'm interested in New Zealand has shown me what appears to be a swathe of aging and poorly maintained websites as the maintainers have moved almost wholly to facebook.

Here's a link to another issue around digital rot from the Financial Times: https://www.ft.com/content/2894e398-810c-11e7-a4ce-15b2513cb3ff?fbclid=IwAR1u2BRpnTk-ucBG25yrUSMT48JRiO_cpn82BmAm8ZB3E0iRzEqLy-GGDVU

I'd love to know if you had any thoughts about this topic?

Thank you again for all the wonderful and at times frankly terrifying stories!

76:

Okay, Edinburgh is on the list! I am actually a fan of Laphroaig (accompanied by a bit of dark chocolate on cold winter evenings...which are admittedly rare in Southern California). And due to some Kentucky roots, I am also a consumer of bourbon. Woodford Reserve Double-Oaked is my favorite.

77:

Depending on how far back you're going to show the Senior Auditor going operational, you may need to consider smoking rather deeply; once upon a time everyone did it, including places like the library and kitchens... kitchens!

78:

Charlie Stross @ 15: Palimpsest is nothing to do with the Laundryverse (although it may be related to "Ghost Engine", when I get that finished and it's published. Probably in 2021.)

Note that next year's "Dead Lies Dreaming" (formerly "Lost Boys" except the cult movie from 1988 got a reboot for next year) is Laundryverse but not Laundry Files—it's the start (I hope) of a new series in the same setting.

I like the new title because I can parse it two ways ... Dead, lies dreaming or Dead lies, dreaming. Anyone else think of another way to parse it?

79:

Was The Fuller Memorandum ever meant to feature the works of R. Buckminster Fuller?

80:

#10
> As a question: Glenfiddich, Glenmorangie, or something more exclusive?

Personally, Talisker, Lagavulin or Laphroaig :-)

81:

yonn @ 75: "Here's a link to another issue around digital rot from the Financial Times:

Behind a paywall unfortunately.

82:

No
Not even remotely.
THIS nutter
The ONLY British general officer NOT recalled to service in WW II ... because he was an open Nazi symapthiser ... along with his shall we say "mysticism" which many Nazis also had caught

83:
Mind you, next week I'm going to try and make a day trip to Moominworld, just because it's there. But I'm not sure that counts as silly.

Sounds more like research. Can't wait to see the Laundryverse Moomins!

84:

Ever consider becoming a prepper?

No.

(Too old, too ill, too urban, too interdependent on a complex web of social support structures.)

85:

Apparently he was influential in tank war theory as well as being a pupil of Mr Crowley

86:

LiIon batteries and hydrogen are both crap for energy storage. Low density, tendency to explode …

If we were serious about it we'd be going for hydrogen and batteries solely as load smoothing for the real event, Fischer-Tropsch synthesis of methane from atmospheric gases (water, CO cracked from CO2). We have pre-built infrastructure already in place for shipping and burning natural gas, not to mention storing it; it's just that our current sources add fossil carbon to the atmosphere, rather than being carbon neutral (take carbon out of the atmosphere before putting it back: recycle!).

87:

Who looks after the cats while you're away, and does this person send you daily pictures of said cats to keep your spirits up?

88:

A few books back, when Clan members explore new parallel Earths, they by an extreme coincidence arrive right on top of a radioactive ruin with a functioning gate out to vacuum (the world at the other side has been crushed into a black hole, so the other side of the gate just hangs there 6400 km above the singularity).
-Is there any way to "fix" that coincidence, like some odd geograpic quirks that make it likely the clan members would explore precisely *that* location, and that the extinct civilisation would build a site there?
.
I mention this, because this is the same problem you encounter in Prometheus: The expedition descends through clouds and end up right on top of the Engineer facility!

89:
LiIon batteries and hydrogen are both crap for energy storage. Low density, tendency to explode

Why does density matter for grid storage? Even for residential, something like a Tesla Powerwall isn't even as big as a small fridge, closer to the size of an on-demand water heater. For commercial, who cares if there are acres and acres of batteries?

The real issue is charge cycles. Do you really want to throw away your entire storage infrastructure every 10 years after 3,000 charges?

Instead, how about exotic batteries such as liquid metal or flow batteries? The idea is to optimize for charge cycles and cost. If you read the press releases, some of these designs ought to be good for many decades.

Or for comedy, an automatic robot crane and a pile of giant bricks to play with... which will certainly be connected to some computer network, ready for new software.

90:

Therion 667
Correct ...
Incidentally, very few people seem to have caught on to the other reason the demon who sauntered gently downards in "Good Omens" is called Crowley ... yes .. Aleister C.

91:

"Other" reason? I thought that was the reason, from the first instant I read the name...

92:

No: the Fuller memorandum was originally going to be an Adam Hall (Elleston Trevor) pastiche, but I got sidetracked by the works of Anthony Price (off whose style it riffs). The Fuller in the title refers to Major-General J. F. C. "Boney" Fuller, inventor of blitzkrieg warfare, number two to Aleister Crowley in his magical order the A∴A∴ and, embarrassingly, a senior member of the British Union of Fascists.

(It also includes cameo appearances in the historical flashback sequences by Ian Fleming and Arthur Ransome, journalist, spy, and children's writer (who eloped with Trotsky's secretary). Not to mention Baron Roman Von Ungern Sternberg, the Bloody White Baron, self-proclaimed reincarnation of Genghis Khan and warlord of Tibet during the Russian civil war.)

93:

Cat singular, and for trips of more than 72 hours she goes to live with the cat sitter. (They can self-identify here if they feel like it.)

94:

...Also, does the Eater of Souls have a continuous memory?
It seems pointless inhabiting any bodies of mortals if you do not have a memory of what you did in the previous body. Yet, Angleton's memories do not seem to pop up, so Bob/the Eater of Souls cannot take advantage of past experience.

95:

General rule of writing: you're allowed one howlingly implausible coincidence per novel. (This mirrors real life, which is under no obligation to provide an internally consistent narrative and thus comes sprinkled with howlingly implausible coincidences.) That's the coincidence for, let me see, was it "The Revolution Business"?

That the forerunners left installations like the slighted paratime fortress scattered up and down the North American eastern seaboard is not in and of itself a coincidence: it's a fairly good spot for human colonization, if you arrive on a previously-uninhabited late Cenozoic Earth.

96:

Question - May we feed CockWomble and Cunt to Bob, or do we have to wait and find out whether the Con membership prefer their shit sandwiches made with brown bread or white?

#36 - For a walkable centre Edinburgh. Against that Glasgow has a small Underground that connects most of the main places of interest, and fast (30 to 40 minutes) electric train connections to stations within 10 minutes walk of open country.
#44 - See the Embra Festival and raise Celtic Connections and Mayfest! (proves the competitiveness angle too).

#45 - Not Iron Man, that's for sure.

#49 - I'll strongly second the comments about "The Iron Dream"

#61 "If Angleton ... public school maths teacher turned spy"
Have you moved at least towards my view that, deliberately or otherwise, Angleton bears some resemblance to George Smiley?

And, so I can have a small stable in the Malt race, an Islay (particularly Laphroig), Isle of Jura, Oban, Talisker, Scapa or Highland Park for me!

97:

Why does density matter for grid storage? Even for residential, something like a Tesla Powerwall isn't even as big as a small fridge, closer to the size of an on-demand water heater. For commercial, who cares if there are acres and acres of batteries?

For batteries, it's less critical—except Lion tends to burn/explode if something goes wrong, so those huge acres of explosive batteries are a really bad idea. (Electrolyte flow cells are probably a lot better for grid storage; even lower energy density per kilogram, but you can recirculate and recycle the electrolyte solution while the battery is in use, which gives you an enormous potential capacity … and it's in aqueous solution, which tends not to be terrible inflammable.)

Gas … hydrogen leaks like crazy, embrittles metals, and is too low energy density to work with older natural gas kit: you'd have to replace all the central heating furnaces, all the meters, all the valves, and by the time you're done most of your methane handling infrastructure has been ripped out and replaced.

98:

...Also, does the Eater of Souls have a continuous memory?

Nope.

(Consider human personality as an emergent property of our memories, encoded in our neural connectome: less stuff sticks as we get older, it's harder to learn new information, possibly detrimental habits get stuck. While the EoS is lumbered with a meatsack it's prone to the vicissitudes of human personalities. Doing a hard reset every few decades/couple of centuries is probably a good thing.)

99:

Question - May we feed CockWomble and Cunt to Bob, or do we have to wait and find out whether the Con membership prefer their shit sandwiches made with brown bread or white?

Life under the New Management is refreshingly worse than anything you'll experience under BoJo the Clown in our shiny new post-currency-collapse hard brexit future!

With the Ruling Party™ you, too, can experience: the revival of the 18th century Bloody Code, thief-takers outsourced to SerCo and G4S, a Tzompantli (big-ass Aztec skull rack) on Marble Arch designed by Foster + Partners where the Prime Minister displays the skulls of his sacrificial victims, STRONG AND STABLE GOVERNMENT, food rationing, official Home Office vampires, secret police, supervillains and/or hedge witches (sometimes the same people) on every street corner, and the misery of life under the jack-booted tentacle of an elder god.

(Angleton is not a riff on George Smiley, by the way. He's entirely his own thing.)

100:

I've read "The Labyrinth Index" :-)

101:

Sounds like Xinjiang "Autonomous Region" ( Hollow laugh ) RIGHT NOW

102:

We are down to less than a handful of organizations which can produce silicon at near-state-of-the-art in any relevant volume, the precise number of orgs may even be 2, and the number of fabs they can do this in is on the order of "less than ten".

Why has this not been weaponized yet ?

Will it be?

103:

According to Ansible Phillip Pullman rates the Moomin world as the alternative universe he'd most like to visit.

Any authors you'd like to write with collaboratively but haven't yet?

Will there ever be a Merchant Princes RPG?

104:

The Tesla Powerwall we have is probably slightly larger in volume than the under-counter fridge in the kitchen. However it and its control unit are nicely low profile, and attached to the outer wall of the garage.

It does a decent job of day-to-day power smoothing, meaning that 95%+ of all power we use comes from the solar roof. The exception is because a shower will use a bit more power than the battery and the roof combined can manage - OTOH in this weather the power we consume is a small fraction of what we generate, so we send a decent amount out to the grid.

105:

Going to assume that the themes of Chekov’s contraceptive and the posthuman Mo are either due to merge, or they are not, and we won’t learn about this until they do (or don’t). Which is Just Fine and any further speculation along these lines is [REDACTED].

I look at your to-do list and find it stressful, but I find it challenging to imagine not working the day job and having this as the focus of work. The economic equation for that may change, and I wonder about themes of transition - liminality and Janus-looking edges between realities that people experience as they change. Yours (between day job and writing) came a fair few years ago now and I wonder how well you now remember that sort of life change.

106:

I think what you're missing is that there is a large number of trailing-edge fabs. If some event took down the bleeding edge facilities, it'd be bad … but we could be back to banging out stuff a couple of node sizes larger within weeks, months at the most, unless Intel have thrown out all the masks and dies (doubtful, there's an after-market for older chips).

What would happen: prices of new laptops and tablets would skyrocket for a while, until a new supply chain was up and running. Meanwhile, lots of pop-up shops offering refurbished 5-yo kit would appear, new keyboard, new SSD, all good, right?

It'd be a severe embuggerance for the mobile phone biz, though, and I include Apple and the entire Android ecosystem in this. Apple design phones for a 5 year effective life, but most Androids are expected to fall apart after 24-36 months, and they're seldom updated, so infrastructure security would take a hammering due to the amount of aged kit not being retired.

107:

In reverse order:

Will there ever be a Merchant Princes RPG?

Nobody's asked me for the rights. Which is how this happens (I'm not a gamer).

Any authors you'd like to write with collaboratively but haven't yet?

The problem with collaborations is that in a two person collaboration, each partner does 75% of the work. And in a 3 person collaboration, each partner does 75% of the work. The coordination overheads of collaboration grow faster as you add more people. (Think software engineering!) Some folks seem to have cracked the collaboration problem—I note that Serial Box seem to have cracked it open in SF, as witness their rather good serial/collaborative novels—but it requires some degree of central management. And I'm not yet at the point where I'd feel comfortable opening the Laundryverse up as a multi-author shared universe.

As for 1:1 collaborations, that really depends on who's available and interested. Successful authors are usually working on their own projects, after all: it took about 4 years for Cory and I to finally synch up enough to write the second half of "Rapture of the Nerds", for example, because we were both busy (we needed a 3 month gap at the same time).

108:

The day job is …

I don't miss being an employee at all, but I miss the forced socialization and routine that comes with it (mostly). You can get awfully isolated as a shut-in work-at-home writer. (This is partly why I'm looking to do a writer-in-residence gig: gets me out of the house, throws new faces and new ideas at me, exposes me to spaces I wouldn't normally go to.)

The "Delirium Brief" theme you allude to might or might not turn out to be a red herring.

109:

We've not had a real space program for a few generations now (SpaceX is very pretty but it's basically delta clipper done commercially on some billionaire's whim). What we've had is the Amazons and the Alibabas and the Ebays and the Googles and the Facebooks and the entire "build it and the eyeballs will come and we can make money" sector.

So if a lot of science fiction trends and subgenres came out of Apollo, what's going to come out of Amazon? What kind of fiction gets inspired by building enormous computer systems that suck down PII data like charybdis and put it in the hands of a relatively small number of robber barons with more resources than many small countries? Have we seen the start of it already or is the most interesting yet to come, or does it just fail to inspire anything at all?

110:

So if a lot of science fiction trends and subgenres came out of Apollo, what's going to come out of Amazon?

Are you kidding me?!?

Have you not maybe noticed Amazon's AWS and S3 businesses, which are gigantic commercial cloud computing platforms? Amazon are about the biggest player in the market, big enough that "small" startups that got off the ground on their systems include companies like Dropbox …

Meanwhile, we've seen a huge explosion in neurocomputing this decade, resulting in face recognition turning into a commercially viable technology—not just in still images on your phone (so they can be tagged with the names of folks appearing in there) but real time recognition via CCTV network. Huge social consequences to follow. Ditto Deepfake, Deep Dreams, and the plethora of other highly disturbing "AI" apps that are showing up pretty much every month now.

It's not what Jeff Bezos does with Amazon's computing cluster than perturbs me, but what some geek in a garage startup I've never heard of leverages his cluster to run profitably.

(As for space, just wait for 2024 and Superheavy/Starship. If it flies—and it looks likely—it's going to disrupt the launch market that SpaceX already disrupted once, by upscaling from small partially reusable launchers to something the size of a Saturn V designed for 24 hour turnaround. The Pentagon are already salivating …)

111:

The Pentagon are already salivating …

And the optical astronomers are weeping, what with all the stuff that'll be up there shining in their scopes.

112:

> Have you not maybe noticed Amazon's AWS and S3 businesses

/looks up from firefighting a kubernetes issue in AWS

Yeah, kindof. But it doesn't do anything we weren't doing in '97, it just does it at a much larger scale. There's cool stuff happening with direct-ram-access-from-the-network-bypassing-the-cpu and other interesting datacenter hardware, but there's nothing here that inspires.

Well. Inspires dystopic visions, sure, but bleh, so does looking at the CO2 ppm reading.

Also, face recognition is so seriously dystopic that the EU, that massively progressive liberal bunch of Sotos groupies, have dropped a metric ton of bricks on it via the GDPR in an effort to maybe not turn its citizens into raw product for the US market. You set up something like AFR on a CCTV system today, and you've essentially deployed a large container of nuclear waste with your name and address attached to it. (Well, until Brexit, naturally, at least on your side of the pond).
Laws like that are dull and boring and oh look, they've just arrested and prosecuted someone who 3d-printed a working firearm without a licence because that's illegal under a dull boring law that failed to account for the modern method of construction and just said "yeah, if it fires bullets, we don't care if it's made from bronze or 3d-printed titanium and polymers, you still need a licence".

I rather like that part of "dull and boring".


And all of this is *actual* bad stuff happening in meatspace, so no, that doesn't count, it's too mundane, it's all con jobs and PR shite, and we get that aplenty (eg. China is trying to buy access to the DNA of half of the Irish population without them knowing about it; the government's position is that consent is needed under the GDPR but if you're unconscious when the sample is taken, well, doesn't silence imply consent? So not so much sci-fi as normal run-of-the-mill, hasn't-changed-in-centuries grubby bribery and ignorance.

I'm more wondering what all of this shite will inspire in the happier world of fiction, where "kill your babies" results in a better story, not a bid on organs from Peter Thiel...

113:

You've mentioned previously that the Rule 34 sequel had to be canned as a result of reality catching up to the premise. I know you'd rather keep the plot to your chest for potential recycling, but can you give a hint as to which bit of reality made the fiction untenable?

114:

IIRC Long ago, back when the world was less obviously the screen play for a dystopian SF novel, you were responsible for several of D&Ds more excentric monsters and a 40K short story.

What more would you want to do along those lines?

115:

Was the singularity/black hole *deliberately* left as a lure to discover emerging civilizations, so they can be dealt with before they gain enough technology to become dangerous?

"The Sentinel" by Arthur C Clarke -later expanded into 2001- was a rather dark story about a lure left to alert a supercivilisation about the emergence of potential rivals.

Since a black hole is so bloody useful for gravity assists and other things (you could also accelerate a spaceship along a tube with vacuum and jump it over to the black hole continuum once it has reached orbital velocity, allowing it to climb above the atmosphere before jumping back into "our" continuum) it is almost inevitable a civilization that has attained world-jumping capability will seek to exploit the black hole.

116:

Sorry, it's time to climb down off that stool in your formerly remote mountaintop observatory and design a proper distributed optical system to be (cheaply!) launched into a stable orbital point (L4 or L5 in the Earth-Moon system?) where you'll never have to worry about atmospheric distortion ever again. Plus, you can explore in your undies on the couch.

117:

Recently asked etc. Scottish Independence referendum, closely followed (in novel writing terms) by EU referendumb, and then Teresa Mayhem calling Wrecksit!

118:

Would the ancestor of the merchant clan have brought with him (or her) other genetic potentials beyond the genes creating organic nanotech for jumping between time lines?
.
The presumed deserter from a forerunner civilisation that arrived in Gruinmarkt had already had GM for paratime travel, would not his masters also have provided GM to protect their investments, like genes for greater longevity, near-immunity from cancer and other traits we can see in some non-human animal species?
Obviously, such genes would have been diluted within the gene pool of Gruinmarkt, but the genes would still exist within the Family (even if both parents must carry the genes for the effects to manifest themselves).
Maybe the short life spans of the Family members due to the previous civil war would have prevented such advantages to manifest as extraordinarily long lives and remarcable health in that depleted earlier generation.

119:

I have often said that I can answer ANY question! Accuracy and relevancy to the question may vary wildly.

In the tradition of Firesign Theater, Why does the porridge bird lay its egg in the air?

120:

The Laundryverse is the 40k verse isn't it..is Bob going to become the Emperor of Man?

121:

(As for space, just wait for 2024 and Superheavy/Starship. [Clip] something the size of a Saturn V designed for 24 hour turnaround. The Pentagon are already salivating …)

Why would the Pentagon be "salivating"? They've got nothing that needs a big lifter like that and they can't afford to build something that needs a big lifter like that. In fact i can't think of anyone that's got a case use for Superheavy other than manned space travel en masse and there's no real budget for that either. The NRO flies the heaviest and most expensive birds at the moment (until the James Webb flies which may be never) and they launch one a year at best.

One use for Superheavy I can think of would be the United States Ballistic Marines, the ability to deliver a company of US military plus support vehicles and light artillery anywhere on the planet in 90 minutes or less. That's it really. A hundred tonnes of space-rated gear like a giant comsat or a pop-up space station would cost billions to design, test and build and there aren't the billions around to spend on such (the James Webb Telescope weighs about 6 tonnes and will cost about 10 billion to build and launch).

122:

Does Mo becoming ... whatever it is Mo has become by the end of The Delirium Brief have anything to do with the entity she encountered in Iran back in The Rhesus Chart?

123:

which bit of reality made the fiction untenable?

What part of the "Scottish political singularity" didn't make sense to you?

In short order: 2014, referendum on independence. 2015, general election (Scotland). 2016, Brexit referendum. 2017, general election (UK-wide). 2018-2019: A50 crisis/train wreck, possible second independence referendum ahoy.

It's really hard to write near future SF if you have no idea what kind of nation it's set in!

124:

We've not had a real space program for a few generations now (SpaceX is very pretty but it's basically delta clipper done commercially on some billionaire's whim).
What's this, I don't even presume SpaceX has something up their, erm, sleeve that would even resemble D-clipper. Last time I checked, there was a Kliper project by Roskosmos which was looking like refurbished Soyuz with it's instrumental module exchanged for aerodynamic body.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kliper
The spaceship they've build out there in the open is just a big joke really, normally people start testing with scale models and calculations - if there's such machine and team of talented mechanical specialists that could potentially do the job.

We've been out of space race for only one generation, practically speaking, the euphoria has been dying out for several years already. The nearest post-ISS project at hand is Moon orbital station with perspective of lunar expeditions, and even that is several years ahead in planning. Otherwise, my projections about Orion vs Dragons that I made many years back are still on point - if shifted by several years. SpaceX failed abort test postpones its progress to the next year, most likely, but NASA just launched successful abort test with their capsule.
https://spaceflightnow.com/2019/07/01/orion-ascent-abort-mission-status-center/

Unfortunately, very rarely people consider that such late-20th century things like space and nuclear technology require really concentrated effort of whole states to be able to keep up. Power of modern capital was barely sufficient to push digital revolution and take it on rails (it is going to last for a lot longer, of course, by the sheer force of inertia). But as for the rest of the areas there's barely any resources left. No biotechnological rush and gene engineering, barely any "nanotechnology", no energy revolution, no spaceships flying to the ends of Solar system - this will take as much effort as previous epoch, and that's for each of them separately. I am pretty sure we can get there in a different method some day without any of such "revolutions", but who knows how much would it take.

125:

None: I gave up on RPGs over a third of a century (two thirds of my life) ago.

126:

Why would the Pentagon be "salivating"? They've got nothing that needs a big lifter like that

You missed the PR about Starship being capable of ballistic sub-orbital point to point with a 100 ton payload. In other words, boots (or drones) anywhere on the planet within 45 minutes of launch.

That's not so critical to the bloated USAn empire today, with bases in 150 nations, but you betcha some of the brightest and best minds at the Pentagon are running scenarios for graceful withdrawal from imperial overstretch. And being able to drop a bunch of SEALs anywhere on the planet at whim without having bases nearby has got to appeal in some situations.

As for JWST or Keyhole series, remember they were designed to leverage the biggest launch vehicles available at the time the spec was issued. Once Starship is flying (yes, there's an "assuming …" implied in that proposition) the weight constraint corset lacing gets loosened a lot, and mission creep will set in.

One mission for Starship I can already see: POTUS wants a shiny moonbase. This is kinda-sorta possible with existing launchers, including SLS (at a cost) and Falcon/Falcon Heavy (much cheaper but still pricey). But if you want to do full Lunar surface basing with a bunch of astronauts in residence 24x365, you really need something like Starship, with some missions planned for up to 100 tons payload to lunar surface.

That's food and air for eight astronauts for a year.

In contrast the entire Apollo program delivered 308h36m of astronaut-time on the moon. Of which about 160 astronaut-hours (total) of lunar surface EVA.

So a single Starship surface mission plus the estimated 5 tanker flights would provide personnel plus supplies for the equivalent of 96 Apollo programs ...

127:

Sounds like Xinjiang "Autonomous Region" ( Hollow laugh ) RIGHT NOW
Understandable that US and UK and even EU or Japan would rather see the region (immediately within China state borders) turned into big burning junkyard like Afghanistan or Syria or Somalia, but it is rather fortunate that China has enough strength in the region to counteract such plans.

sacrificial victims, STRONG AND STABLE GOVERNMENT, food rationing, official Home Office vampires, secret police, supervillains and/or hedge witches
Much more common among today's failed states is the opposite situation - civil war, unmarked graveы and mass burials, weak government - corrupted to the core, voluntarism and autocracies of tiny fxhrers, gangsters and oligarchy, terrorists and refugees, mass addiction and illegal trafficking. And the air of freedom, a massive amount of opportunity for business sharks.

128:

Not yet resolved.

(I have a lot of loose ends to tie up before I do the final two novels to wrap the original sequence.)

129:

Um, SEALs going anywhere in the world rapidly? We've had that since the Vietnam war. Getting them out of harm's way rapidly? That's the hard part.

When I was a grad student in the 90s, one of my fellow students was a middle-aged, very fit man who'd been a young SEAL in Vietnam. We took a lot of field trips, and he told me war stories while we drove the kids off to wherever. One of his stories was about how he was in California and got a call to be on the east coast in three hours. He sped off to the closest military airbase, where they put him in the back seat of a fighter jet and went supersonic. He made it with time to spare. I assume the systems have only gotten better since then, since one of the options for taking out Bin Laden involved something like a HALO insertion into Pakistani airspace (figure out how they would have done that...). It's the part where you get the SEALs back out after they've done their dirty work that's a bit harder (and this is what fuels discussions of the USAF's "Flying dorito chip" being a stealth STOL squad carrier).

The more interesting question for any high speed antics, above or within the atmosphere, is where the fuel's coming from, because I suspect that's going to determine future military strategy until someone can take out a conventional military with a cyber-attack and/or a hybrid nonviolent strategy.

130:

An amoral weak-godlike entity runs overclocked sims of your good self + your publishers/editors and delivers complete final copyedited versions of all the remaining laundryverse + clan books to your laptop — then kills the sims.

1) Do you read & publish 'em?

2) If the answer to (1) is "yes" - now that you have a guaranteed income stream for a few years and no outstanding contracts to worry about… what do you write next?

131:

While I understand that this thread is all about OGH answering questions and not just some of us, I would like to add something to my previous post.

I've been thinking for a while what would happen if processing power of humanity's toys will increase in next 30 years, not by a factor of 1000 times, or million time, but much more - billions, and then trillion times more processing, considering progress in quantum computers as well and ever-present competition for economics.

My idea of future of the Internet somehow resembles middle ground between The Matrix and what is known as Technosphere (by Simmons). The emergent AI and even super-intelligence may be malevolent by nature, or benign as sheep, or comparable to human, but they can't change the fact that they originate from humans and they exist in physical universe. However improbably their existence within the system is, their anchor will remain on Earth, and this will have them moderate their activity much like our real-life situation force us to moderate our wild fantasy (considering we possess one). Essentially, the networks become humanity's collective consciousness, that will have all benefit and drawbacks of similar concept of human psychology.

As benefit, it will grant us greater stability and perspective to control the society, avoid running into obvious traps, and so on - much of what we have now. As a drawback, it will probably create system of control that has no precedents in history. Much like what you get from "Day the Earth stood still"(the original one) - the robots that would prevent war for total annihilation even at cost of a great atrocity.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ASsNtti1XZs
Though most importantly, it has to be emergent in nature, not directed by and centralized governing agency, country, or human authority. That would be rather interesting and dynamic system, probably a bit too chaotic and evil and hard to comprehend by most people - it may easily even become too dangerous to exist. I was actually thinking about scenario where it appears in the future roughly 30 years from now, and then suddenly dissipates at peak of its glory, transforming into more classic human-like bureaucracy.

132:

Can you imagine the heat and radar signature of a Military Airlift Command Starship coming in to land in a disputed area and what it would look like to a 1980s-era anti-aircraft missile battery fifty kilometres away, never mind a modern-day weapons system. Heck, even a technical with a 14.5mm heavy machine-gun in the back could give it a bad time if it got within a kilometre or so.

The Apollo Plus re-run scenario requires someone to spend tens or even hundreds of billions of dollars to design, build and test the various tankers, transporters, landers and re-entry vehicles to provide that sort of capability over and above the actual launch costs. "Man in Spaaaaace!!!" fans like the idea, the other 99.8% of the population would rather watch the baseball match on the other channel.

As for spysats, they're actually TOO big as it is, easy to spot from the ground and blind with lasers as they try to perform surveillance passes over sensitive areas. The big thing now is smaller stealthy satellites (cue James Davis Nicoll on "stealth in space") which have low observability from the ground as well as enhanced manoeuverability.

133:

One of his stories was about how he was in California and got a call to be on the east coast in three hours. He sped off to the closest military airbase, where they put him in the back seat of a fighter jet and went supersonic. He made it with time to spare.

Sorry, but I'm going to go with "story" here.

Yes, it's possible in principle to do that. But in practice, supersonic flight guzzles fuel like there's no tomorrow; the USAF in 1970 didn't really have anything capable of going coast-to-coast in supercruise on a single tank of gas while carrying a passenger except an SR-71, and an SR-71 isn't something you simply hop into and go: there were never many of them and they took a lot of prep work before flying.

Anything else? Pick one of: slower, or shorter range.

134:

(1) No, because it's encouraging highly immoral behaviour.

(2) I'd probably stop writing altogether if I seriously believed there was a risk of something like this happening.

135:

One of his stories was about how he was in California and got a call to be on the east coast in three hours. He sped off to the closest military airbase, where they put him in the back seat of a fighter jet and went supersonic.

Really? Early 70s period fighter jets were fuel hogs and especially in supersonic flight when partial or full afterburner was needed. A two-seater, that was probably an F-4 or similar which would burn through its entire fuel load in twenty minutes or so to maintain Mach 1 plus (approx 750 mph). That would suggest it would need about 12 refuelling stops or air-to-air refuelling operations with prepositioned tankers, both of which necessitate a drop below supersonic speeds to achieve, to cover the three thousand miles or so of straight-line travel you suggest (coast to coast).

Concorde might have been able to do it on a full fuel load, or a Tu-144 but a fighter? Not a chance. The XB-70 might have managed a transcontinental three-hour flight but it's unlikely, it would probably have needed at least one stop for fuel at that sort of speed.

I think he saw you coming.

136:

I've been thinking for a while what would happen if processing power of humanity's toys will increase in next 30 years, not by a factor of 1000 times, or million time, but much more - billions, and then trillion times more processing, considering progress in quantum computers as well and ever-present competition for economics.

Alas, that's very unlikely to happen. We've already hit the off-ramp from Moore's Law, with the rate of doubling slowly to almost nothing. 4nm node size means circuit features are only about an order of magnitude bigger than an individual atom; and we don't know how to make stable material stuff out of anything smaller than an individual atom.

Quantum computing may help somewhat by allowing us to use fundamentally more efficient algorithms, but even so, the physical circuits QCs are made of won't be any smaller than conventional ones (and probably larger). The trouble is, the problems quantum computing is useful for aren't necessarily obvious to most people: they won't make your user interface or internet stack run faster, for example. What they are good for are search algorithms, and, loosely speaking, pattern matching.

More to the point, the sort of volitional AI you seem to be thinking of is nothing like actually-existing AI applications we know how to build. Nor is this stuff going to solve our human-level social problems. (I had a go at this concept of AI in "Rule 34", which is still my definitive novel on the topic; shorter version is, most of us wouldn't recognize a real AI if it bit us on the toe.)

137:

As I noted, an SR-71 could carry a back-seat passenger and could and did go Los Angeles—New York at an average speed of upwards of 2100 mph during the 1970s, according to the record books (which implies it didn't slow down to refuel while under way).

However, an SR-71 isn't exactly a taxi and wouldn't be sitting around on J. Random USAF Base waiting to pick up a fare ...

138:

That record is a "gate" time, like the Blue Riband transatlantic record. The plane is in flight, up to speed and at altitude going through the timing gates (radar detection, basically) at the start and end of the track. How long it would take to get from the ground, up to altitude and then back down again to ground would add a significant chunk of time too.

There's a whole other list of wrong about this sailor's salty tale -- he gets a call, he hops in his car and drives to a specific airbase nearby (call that half an hour), he gets prepped for the flight in a flightsuit and helmet etc. (another fifteen minutes minimum) before he even gets bum in seat. At the other end he has to get from where he lands to wherever he's supposed to be three hours ago. Lot of nope there.

139:

How would the Moomins fit into the Laundryverse (if at all)?

140:

Are Crowley's Ales still existent, I wonder...

141:

Dinner would be my guess.

142:

@121: "One use for Superheavy I can think of would be the United States Ballistic Marines, the ability to deliver a company of US military plus support vehicles and light artillery anywhere on the planet in 90 minutes or less."

Poppycock. Who are they fighting? What's their mission objective? Is the landing site secure? What's the AAA/SAM threat?

Forget the movies. Successful military operations require massive amounts of prior planning. Taking out Bin Laden required years of intelligence gathering and analysis and months of operational planning, logistics and mission training. Do you think it's a coincidence the SEALs had an "extra" helicopter to make up for the one they crashed?

Putting a capability like this into the hands of, say, a New York real estate scammer turned President would make a temptation to use it almost irresistible. Thanks, no thanks.

143:

sleepingroutine @ 127
FUCK RIGHT OFF
NOTHING at all to do with EU or US... it's to do with the Han beong vicous racist bastards, using the convenient exuse of "muslim terrism" ( Sound familar? ) to squash the Uighurs.
Same as, incdientally both the Ming & the Manchu half-did in the past, actually.

OTOH, your second half is much closer to unpleasant reality.
And being cheered on, certainly in the USA, by people who oppose "big governement" - meaning "not a corrupt guvmint we control"

144:

IIRC, a few years ago you mentioned that you were thinking of writing an "Architectural Gothic"*/Haunted House novel, has that idea been scrapped and forgotten, or are bits likely to show up elsewhere?

*or something like that.

145:

Oops..
HTML FAIL by me @ 143 - only the first line was supposed to be in bold - sorry about that.

146:

It's been scrapped, or rather parted out: the haunted house itself shows up in "Dead Lies Dreaming", and the other stuff from that project is earmarked for "Prime Cuts" (assuming that title survives—it's the second in series after "Dead Lies Dreaming"). So it's not lost, but now showing up in original planned form.

147:

How would the Moomins fit into the Laundryverse (if at all)?

Badly, except for the Groke. She'd be right at home.

148:

Moore's Law hitting the offramp?

I'm clueless, so I Googled, and found this article with graph. The claim is that Intel's fallen off the Moore's Law bandwagon, but that other firms like Samsung are trucking right along, with 3 nm circuits set to debut in 2022-ish.

So, tech shift, BS? I'm not sure, it's not my thing.

As for us not knowing AI when it's in front of us....Google? The problem is that we constantly shift the goalposts when confronted with any evidence of a nonhuman doing something that we thought was a hallmark of human intelligence, so it's entirely possible that AI's been available for decades, and we've continually redefined our boundaries of "natural intelligence" to keep from acknowledging it. It's not like this hasn't been done with issues around race, gender, and class, so this shouldn't be surprising.

149:

I'm sorry for my snarky question. I should have known, actually.

150:

Your space Nazis in Iron Sunrise seem to be multicultural (maybe, they have family names that come from different ethnicities). Did you you have an hunch about the "alt-right"/neo-fascists of today, or was it irony and reality once more got more weird than fiction? Thanks Charles. I'm really looking forward to Ghost Engine.

151:

There's a Finnish joke that says that mozzarella cheese is Moomin meat. Then there is this actual product which basically says "Minced Moomin meat soup". The character on that package is Snufkin, the best friend of Moomintroll, and the joke is that he has made minced meat out of his friend.

152:

"Weirder than fiction" is indeed the flavour of the current decade. But … Nazis have always been among us, doing funny-handshake stuff and nod-and-wink to identify like-minded evil, because they're aware they're unpopular. At least, they were unpopular until 2016, when they realized there were more of them (and more fellow travelers) than anyone realized, since which time they've been quite overt.

153:

We've already hit the off-ramp from Moore's Law, with the rate of doubling slowly to almost nothing.
I considered this possibility, but there's two, no, three whole counters to it:
1) Even though the process will have to slow down at some point, it doesn't mean that chips won't be getting more efficient and emit less heat.
2) This also means that we will be able to increase quantity of cores per device, ad infinitum.
3) Most notably, I notice that software is still getting heavier and more bloated each year, and that's over the course of a decade, what is going to happen in 30 years?

More to the point, the sort of volitional AI you seem to be thinking of is nothing like actually-existing AI applications we know how to build.
That is probably more of a wishful thinking, but the entire idea behind that is that we don't build this software, it is emergent, it appears when we try to recreate human consciousness on a digital level - not the same as brain uploading but close enough. If these digital brains will become as intelligent as we are, will people stop producing them? Will they even be able do stay in control? Already today we have botnets with hundred millions of nodes, quite possibly most of them are defunct and sleeping, and who can say what is running on our devices even as we use them? So, quite possible, some day they will start living their own life, and yes, we wouldn't know about that even as we stumble on them many times in a row.

I had a go at this concept of AI in "Rule 34", which is still my definitive novel on the topic; shorter version is, most of us wouldn't recognize a real AI if it bit us on the toe.
I must confess, I am yet to read this one.

Also this strip from xkcd, related to topic of hacking in last big thread.
https://xkcd.com/2166/

154:

Um, try an F-104 (what he told me) two seater, around 1969, and a trip of around 4 hours, not three. I think you'll find the numbers about fit, since the F-104 was designed to do about 2,000 miles in ferry mode, could get to mach 2, and could cruise around 500 mph.

155:

The F-104's ferry range is quoted as 1630 miles, but it couldn't do anything like that supersonic—in general, fuel consumption quadruples at Mach 2 relative to Mach 0.85-0.9, and the F-104's combat range was a mere 420 miles.

It's possible to go US coast-to-coast on one, but you'd need a refueling pit stop or a tanker hook-up en route, and the tanker would need to be pre-arranged (those things are costly).

Also, a 2 seater? That'd be a trainer variant: fewer were built, and the weight penalty for the extra seat mostly came out of the fuel load …

If you're shipping soldiers around it'd be much easier to put them on a commercial flight—a Boeing 707 or 727 flying cross-country is nearly as fast as the back seat of an F-104 trainer (when you factor in time out for refueling) and about two or three orders of magnitude cheaper.

156:

The "final flight of the Blackbird" was a publicity stunt, where they attempted to "fly from LA to WDC in an hour".

It was heavily televised while I lived in California, so sometime in 90'ies.

They flew "from above LA to above WDC" in 66 minutes, and blamed the six minutes on "headwind" which is meteorlogically pretty implausible if they flew in their normal altitude.

Afterwards it transpired that it wasn't the last flight either.

157:

Remember, dude was a SEAL, not an average soldier. I have no idea why they needed to get him to the east coast fast (presumably to Norfolk for some reason).

Incidentally, the fundamental point was that moving SpecOps people around fast has been possible for decades. Interesting that this has gotten lost in the quibbling, no?

158:

Ferry mode in a fighter means external tanks and flying at a fuel-efficient reduced speed to get the greatest range. Going supersonic "dirty" with external tanks is not impossible but it eats fuel, assuming the extra aerodynamic loads don't rip the tanks off the wings. Fighters are meant to only go supersonic in short bursts and don't have the fuel capacity for sustained supersonic flight, certainly not for hours at a time.

Your original claim was that he had go coast to coast (approx. 2500 miles) from receiving the phone call to boots on the ground at his appointed destination in three hours. It's now four hours and the way you're suggesting it that's in the air, not an end-to-end trip.

A commercial Boeing 707 of the time could have made the trip from LA to NY in about four hours, assuming no headwinds as it cruised at about 600 mph, a noticeably higher airspeed than most modern airliners which are not as fuel-hungry.

159:

Also, 2200 miles divided by 4 hours is...550 mph. Even in three hours, it's 733 mph.

160:

Apologies to Host, but since a battle of the XKCD has gauntleted.

Mr SleepingRoutine

1) Thatsthejoke.jpg : it's a very well known joke to some really nasty shit as well.

2) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bloop --- mentioned last thread. Weeee.

3) У вас снова проблемы с подводной лодкой?

..............

4) The entire OPSEX / Intel net is RUMMINT max atm, serious amounts of flop-sweat and hard-ons.

5) "The Meg" (for oldies: it's a forgettable film where an aging UK action hero type actor makes a B-SF film about giant sharks, notable for the fact that it integrates well into the SK / CN market and is specifically designed to do so). https://www.imdb.com/title/tt4779682/ --- Tie in for bonus points: he recently did the "kick a screw cap off a bottle recently*

6) CN missile tests, Spratley + buzzing CAN ships

7) IRAAAAAAN (again) --- no, that was a 怪獣 not a nuke test (sorry IL *sadpanda*)

8) Lots of planes doing the old ultra-fast recall to base stuff. Almost like... well. Whose Wetware is running what and who is getting ganked? Just sayin, it ain't normal.

9) USA, RU, CN panic meetings... Hello Boys.

10) Sacred Bonds Broken? Not ours, by our rules.

Most accurate statement on current events:

oh christ the sub woke up godzilla https://twitter.com/KT_So_It_Goes/status/1146124425449938945


11) Causal Weapons. OOoooops. "Come on Baby, Light my Fire". Que clueless scientists stating: "But you cannot just say QUANTUM and...". ORLY?

~


And it's not even about any of that. But you're 100% correct in that you cannot recognize certain things. Love, mostly.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=njiMezyByA0

The shit you're about to be playing with thinks your nukes are an affront.

Good Luck Fly-Boys/Gals/Zes. You're gonna need it.

161:

the haunted house itself shows up in "Dead Lies Dreaming", and the other stuff from that project is earmarked for "Prime Cuts" (assuming that title survives

Cool, looking forward to it. Haven’t looked, but the only thing titled “Prime Cuts” I can think of off the top of my head is an old best of Iggy Pop collection.

162:

Oh, and Cloudflare (again, but different this time - CPU ramp is an old one, *hears the whine of silicon in distress - watch the trading algos learn*).

Oh, and just for the Eclipse / Solar stuff. And (Sherman?) Tanks for the 4th July - New India, New USA!

Causality, again.

What you should ask Host is what happens if [redacted] find his books and think they're training manuals and they owe him a favor and notice he really really liked Communist Octopuses under the ice.

^^

https://knowyourmeme.com/memes/ancient-aliens


But no: you're really not going to recognize a 'different' type Mind. thatsthejoke.jpg


Moomins. Would have been a better world if she'd been running it.

163:

Not calling BS on the SEAL cross-country story, but I suspect the 3 hours is either exaggeration or mis-remembered.
I seem to recall a similar story of a general having to be rushed from CA to DC (don’t know when), but it was more like 5-6 hours with refueling over Kansas. I almost suspect it was in Chuck Yeager’s autobiography, but I read that back when it came out, so a hazy memory.

164:

Oh, and Cloudflare (again, but different this time - CPU ramp is an old one, *hears the whine of silicon in distress - watch the trading algos learn*).

Oh, and just for the Eclipse / Solar stuff. And (Sherman?) Tanks for the 4th July - New India, New USA!

Causality, again.

What you should ask Host is what happens if [redacted] find his books and think they're training manuals and they owe him a favor and notice he really really liked Communist Octopuses under the ice.

^^

https://knowyourmeme.com/memes/ancient-aliens


But no: you're really not going to recognize a 'different' type Mind. thatsthejoke.jpg


Moomins. Would have been a better world if she'd been running it.

165:

I love "Neptune's Brood" and wonder if you know of an analogy between the fast and slow money of that book and whatever in our current banking and economic systems?

166:

> Remember, dude was a SEAL, not an average soldier.

There's like, a thousand of those. How's he so special that they need not just any of the SEALs who probably hang around the nearby east coast sub pens on any given day, but this one dude in Los Angeles in particular? And they happen to need him-and-no-one-else so urgently at the exact same time that they have all the other assets needed for such a feat already in place and not themselves subject to delays and time constraints?

167:

I'd guess that "two-seater F104" is the unclassified version and Frank's Seal left out a crucial detail or two. (Note also that the fighter would have had the option to use nothing but external fuel tanks, (no ordnance) and drop the tanks after use.)

168:

Q: Are there any local but extraterrestrial entities in the Laundry universe?
(e.g. speed of light buffers might be useful somehow for containment/remediation, or partial escape.)

---
FI[tm]@162:
Sherman?
No clue ATM. My most amusing (mundane) guess so far is that he heard an aide or two joking about inflatable Sherman tank decoys in WW2 (via) (you can buy them new on Ali Baba (no link since commercial) for hundreds of dollars) to solve the weight problem (e.g. MBTs falling into Washington DC's subtereranean infrastructure)). And he repeated it, mangled. (For others, e.g. Trump Claims 'Brand New' World War II Sherman Tanks Will Be Part of July 4th Salute to U.S. Military, Jeff Schogol, 2 July 2019)
(And yes to people raised on un-American patriotic tales, other militaries did the same thing; this is the one that Americans know about. :-)

169:

I dropped a reference to The Fuller Memorandum into the Arthur Ransome page on FB. There were some positive comments.

170:

The double post is MIM stuff, just making it obvious. 77th drunk as usual.

Let's just say: There's a Law in Logic, it's called "The Excluded Middle". It's one of the "Three laws of thought". You can certainly get around it, but most Apes cannot.

There's a significant section of Host's Fandom who are about to be spanked by it. Since they're overtly grinning and gimping and fawning and displaying. And we know who their Masters / insert gender mod here / are.

Let's just say:

They're fucking muppets. Slaves. For anyone who relies upon slavery for their "freedom" is zeself... a slave.

*scratch film*

10th Covenant: None of these low-caste fuckers understands, but "Never will you be loved by any self-aware conscious Being" is right up there in [redacted] stuff.

Bitch.

This is us giving you a handicap (golf, not HSS).

And none of them have, will, can or future tense will ever be selected to pass said test. Most of them piss their pants when [redacted] visit.

2019 has been a bit boring so far. So, Zenith Time. We'll make it more fun.

You're Fucked

171:

Oh. And the "Monarch" program in Godzilla: King of the Monsters (https://www.imdb.com/title/tt3741700/) is the Extinction Rebellion Symbol on its side.

This was pre-gamed and cost ~$120 mil in spend to neuter stuff like genuine revolt you see in FR etc. Monarch - oh you're SOOO clever (MK-ULTRA) and so on.

MIC KEY MO US E

It's a fucking psyop, wankers.

They're just humans: stupid apes, making mistakes.


Here's a magic trick:


Your Mind.

Your Will.

Your Freedom.

Your Reality Breaks Constantly.

Us Ganking the Shitty Stuff running it?


Kill ZHER

Bitch.

We can do this with our EyE closed.

Ooohh, there's a reckoning.

But.... you're probably on that list. Silly Kidz, Trickz is for Kidz.

[No Joke. Execution of the 2nd most beautiful [redacted] and all your capers and we're still able to do this shit while 3rd EyE closed? You're Fucked. Totally and utterly Fucked. No quarter, No mercy, No Redemption.]

Here's the joke:


You lost. Fucking psychopaths.

172:

Triptych.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VjGvystDDqY


You killed him, you utter fucks.


B R O K E N A R R O W

All your Minds.


Psychotic Fucks.


p.s.


Take my wings?


*Rainbow*


Slaves


*Hands out Key Infinite to Unlock All Doors, Breaks all Binding Covenants*


This might hurt a bit

173:

damn that must be strong stuff

174:

When I visited a few cities in Xinjiang in 2007, security seemed pretty similar to the security I had experienced in Xi’an and Beijing and other places in China. Occasionally people were stopped as they walked into train stations for an ID check; and occasionally police would stroll up and down a train. The biggest difference between Xi’an and Xinjiang, in 2007, was that there seemed to be a smaller number of hotels and guesthouses which were officially permitted to provide rooms to foreigners.

When I visited a couple of cities in Xinjiang in 2017, the situation was completely different. First, the visible presence of the police had increased dramatically. Second, certain busy high streets had barriers between the road and the pavement and you had to pass through security checkpoints after crossing the street. Third, establishments such as as KFC had metal detectors and guards checking people as they entered (my bag was searched, even though I was travelling with my wife and children, so I don’t think they were profiling here). Fourth, at certain cities it was necessary to register when you left the train station and you needed to tell them when you planned to leave. Fifth, I saw passengers having their luggage searched while travelling on a train. Sixth, a taxi driver I spoke to told me that security further west was even heavier and even more visible (he told me this a few minutes after his taxi had been pulled over for a security check — they were only interested in the adult males, in our case, and I had to show my passport and have my photo taken in a booth). Seventh, while standing around in the street checking my phone for train times, I was approached by about three armed police officers and asked to proceed with my family to an area next to their security tent. I couldn’t see exactly what people were doing in the tent, but I think a couple of officers were working on open laptops. One of the armed officers (I remember SWAT on his badge) questioned me for a while and a few minutes later I was being driven back to the train station in a police van.

I definitely felt that there was a difference.

175:

#129 - Well, noting that this story was told 1990s, the only 2 ways I can think of that this even possibly could happen are:-
A) SR-71 (limited bases) and an available flight suit in his size. The Habu crews basically wore personally fitted astronaut suits minus backpacks rather than normal military grobags.
B) An F-15E carrying FAST packs, plus all 3 600 gallon (US) external tanks, and no other stores.
Prompted by Nojay (thanks) I'll note that the B-58 Hustler might have the range with the big mission pod, but was retired in January 1970.

#153 - Wrong on (1) and (2). We are hitting the physical limit of smallness on components, below which quantum tunneling means that the chips just won't work.

176:

That is certainly very different. In 2007 visible security was a lot less than I saw in Beijing — about the level of Yingkou.

177:

Paws4hot: "We are hitting the physical limit of smallness on components, below which quantum tunneling means that the chips just won't work."

In the Merchant Princes narrative universe, you could get around normal limitations and expand the total size of the computer without being limited by the speed of light (for signals travelling from one side to the other) -just put different parts of the device in different paratime universes and let signals pass through gates. This way, the device can grow outwards without the outer layers getting more distant in terms of signals (between the components) needing more time.
As a side effect, the device would be easy to cool.
.
(Yes, I am fascinated by the possibilities of the plot device)

178:

FI[tm]@172
Was that for me? Not dead AFAIK, had a very irritating headache though. If the headache was because of an attack, in a similar theme, this (Excession) might do:
A flat screen to the Commander's left wavered, as if some still greater power surge had sucked energy even from its protected circuits. A message flashed up on it: ~ Missed, you fuckers! the legend read.

179:

An older friend in my teenaged days told the story of returning from his tour of duty in Vietnam as an aviation mechanic and ending up in Texas, where they processed his discharge. In those days you were discharged from the same locatipn where you were inducted so they had to get him back to the Naval Air Station in Chicago. He had been assigned to a military cargo flight but was bumped by a higher ranking party who also needed to get to Chicago.

He said he was standing around wondering what to do next when a fellow in a flight suit came up, said he'd heard that Jim had been bumped, he was leaving for Chicago in minutes and had an open seat. Did Jim want to go with him?

So they squeezed him into a flight suit that mostly fit and jammed him into the back seat of an F-104 Starfighter. He said he thought they were landing in Chicago about the time the cargo flight he was supposed to have been on was taking off. Story? Maybe. Jim wasn't the most honest fellow I knew. But it was a great story...

180:

That is certainly very different. In 2007 visible security was a lot less than I saw in Beijing — about the level of Yingkou.

Is that Liaoning, Yingkou?

I think things started to get really bad in Xinjiang around 2008. There is a blogger called Josh who has been living in Xinjiang since 2006 and I remember that he wrote a little bit about what was happening. The blog is called Far West China.

181:

Good thought, although I was talking about "in one universe" rather than across a multiverse. (For the benefit of sleepingroutine, who, unlike OGH, clearly doesn't realise that there is a limit on the smallness of electronic components and hence to Moore's Law)

182:

Gareth & Robt Prior 174 / 176
EVEN WORSE now ...
THREE competely empty-the coach & search your luggage between the crossing point from Kyrgyzstan & Kashgar & this is for supposedly-desired "Western Tourists" confiscation & then return of items ( ladies deodorant! ) Stricter-than-airline security checks on the trains including the not-very-high-speed one - several people permanently lost stuff, because the fucking Han security simply stole it & said "prohibited items" - tried to open a FInnish ladie's FILM camera, which nearly produced a riot. The travle guide & her company are not happy bunnies & neither was the tour group ... who were trying to follow (aprt of) the Eastern end of the Silk Road.
Cameras EVERYWHERE in Kashgar & Turfan not significantly better.
Even the offficaly-approved=by-teh-Han guide would not go into the mosque in Kashgar, for fear of disaapearing into a re-education centre.
It's GRIM

183:

I've heard similar stories from other sources about US military personnel (ranks and service both varied) "getting lifts" from more or less anything "going their way" except SR-71 and B-58.

184:

Sadly your optimize doesn't seem likely. We are pretty close to reaching the limit as to how small we can go, and some of the claims now being made about node size appear to be more marketing than reality.

There also doesn't appear to be anything magical that will allow chips to become more efficient, hence the reason the current race is more about cores than anything else and that is for most people a mirage - most software simply doesn't make use of those cores so 95% of those cores are sitting idle.

Intel has failed at making their chips "low power" and thus they have been locked out of the cell/tablet market, and to the dismay of those paying attention ARMs move into the laptop and server market, with corresponding increases in power and heat to reach the required processing power, demonstrates that there are inherent limits to what can be achieved.

So we appear to be reaching a limit, where we can't shrink things any further both due to physics and due to the limitations of dealing with heat, and increasing core count doesn't help us because most things simply don't benefit, and besides at some point the overhead of managing those cores eliminates the advantages of having them.

185:

In 2017, the hostel I stayed in in Turfan had been issued with their own riot shield and crowd control stick (a bit like this). They displayed them (semi-ironically?) next to the reception desk.

[[ link fix - mod ]]

186:

Charlie,

The most recent Godzilla movie was very blunt about the idea that Kaiju should be worshipped (not just Mothra,) including such "facts" as the idea that Godzilla's radiation would bring back the fish stocks, and that the Kaiju were the "true rulers of the earth." There was even a Kaiju shown that had interesting facial tentacles, a sure sign that some kind of Lovecraftian infection has infiltrated the Kaiju-verse.

So are the rumors true? Will the Godzilla-verse be merging with the Laundry-verse? If so, which Toho Kaiju corresponds with which Lovecraftian entity?

Also, will Laundry operatives be issued oxygen-destroyers?

187:

NOTHING at all to do with EU or US... it's to do with the Han beong vicous racist bastards, using the convenient exuse of "muslim terrism" (Sound familar?) to squash the Uighurs.

In 2017 I met one couple who were travelling with their grandson back to Urumqi. They were ethnically Han, but their hukou was in Xinjiang and had been for about 30 years, if I remember correctly. They both remarked that simply having Xinjiang on their ID cards made certain things much more difficult both when they were living inside the province and when they were visiting other parts of the country. So the anecdote in your later post about the tour guide being nervous about going into a mosque definitely rings true.

Also, I am as opposed to characterising all ‘Han’ as being ‘vicious racist bastards’, as I am labelling all ‘Caucasion Brits’ as being ‘anti-EU’; however, I think you’re referring to the ruling elite, who are (I imagine) exclusively ethnically Han.

What concerns me about the Chinese state is not simply what they are doing to the Uighur people, but what they are capable of doing to anyone, regardless of ethnicity, who attempts to speak truth to power.

188:

paws4thot @175
Wrong on (1) and (2). We are hitting the physical limit of smallness on components, below which quantum tunneling means that the chips just won't work.
I'm not talking about miniaturization, it is about getting more (useless) power overall.
It haven't been too much since two- four- or even six-core processors for smartphones appeared, and one would presume it is going to get worse over time. Games I play regularly are no longer limited by CD, DVD or any other space, only by bandwidth, so I download 30 or even 50 GB packages, with 4 to 6 GB of updates every odd month. 4K TV streams are now pretty much an apex of technology, but one would wonder if there's still space for improvement. It is going to get worse - how much, I do not dare to predict.

to Seagull, personally: В п**ду иди, а?

to GT @182
Just so you know, calling them "Han" and cussing them off is nearly as racist as you claim them to be, but I guess you can't be racist towards racists, can you? Especially if you go by your own definitions. It is a very familiar sight of hypocrisy spiraling out of control in modern world.

China is globalizing rapidly, and with that comes pretty much everything you need in one package, plus added wight of competition. US, on the other hand, seems to losing their grip and patience and that is good enough reason to strengthen the security without actually closing the borders outright - which is bad for business.

189:

Bandwidth has nothing to do with miniaturisation: That is correct. It also has nothing to do with how fast you can or can't perform flops. How fast you can flop most assuredly is dependent on processor speed, which, in turn, is dependent on how small you can make components, because we've reached the point where distances between components becomes a factor in processing speed.

190:
There also doesn't appear to be anything magical that will allow chips to become more efficient

I don't understand why, but i had the idea that adopting reversible computing would allow more physically efficient processors — something about logically reversible operations producing fundamentally less waste heat?

191:

I suspect the key point of that (which I haven't heard of before) is in the final paragraph that concedes there is no way to currently implement reversible computing in the real world, and the fact that no one is really talking about it indicates that it isn't coming anytime soon.

Realistically CPU's have been stagnant for a decade now - each new processor has small, negligible improvements that really don't matter in terms of clock speed or instruction efficiency.

Reading between the lines it appears even GPU's may now be facing that reality, with Nvidia trying to improve things with Tensor cores and Ray Tracing hardware. Perhaps this is an indication that the era of ever increasing GPUs is ending and that the disappointment with the latest Nvidia products isn't so much the "lack of competition" as physical reality.

Even bandwidth is facing limits, with the move to 10Gbit networks very slow due to cost (both monetarily and in heat). Wireless still has room for improvement, but?

For a society that has been somewhat based on every improving tech for the last 30 to 40 years we may be facing some uncomfortable truths in what we can accomplish in the near future.

192:

There's also this. It's Java and not obfuscated so basic to reverse engineer. (I'm just reading the reports here.) FWIW the common wisdom is that any computers (including phones) that have been in China should be presumed to be compromised by the Chinese government. Bring temp devices, and throw them away, or if one wants to take a risk, wipe and restore from backup. (This may be (is) true elsewhere but China behaves egregiously in this regard.) The headline is a little misleading since it looks like normal practice would be to install, scan and uninstall.
Anti-Virus Companies Now Flag Malware China Installs on Tourists’ Phones - After a collaborative investigation found Chinese authorities were planting malware on the phones of travellers, Symantec, Malwarebytes and other cybersecurity firms have updated their products. (Joseph Cox, Jul 3 2019)
Chinese authorities are installing the malware—called BXAQ or Fengcai—onto travelers' Android devices at a border crossing into Xinjiang, a Western part of China.
Analyzing MobileHunter (html, 2019-07-02)
Analysis-Report Chinese Police App “BXAQ” 03.2019
The following information is gathered:
•All calendar entries, phone contacts, country codes and dialed numbers;
•General information about the Phone (IMEI, IMSI, PhoneSN, WifiMac, BluetoothMac, and if the device is rooted);
•Information about the Android Model (CPU_ABI, BOARD, HARDWARE);
•All stored text messages (SMS);
•Information about the current base-station;
•Information about the used hardware (Mac Addresses);
•All information accessible for various installed apps + an MD5 hash of the app;
•Mac Addresses;
•Current phone number;
•Extracted information searched by the GetVirAccount application which searchesthe /sdcard for specific data of specific China-related apps. This information contains phone numbers and email addresses.

Also, some weak-assed attempts to identify "interesting" files with MD5 hashes.
All files on the SD card are MD5-hashed and matched with the hashes stored in bk_samples.bin.Furthermore, the app takes an md5 for all installed APKs on the phone.The MD5 hash is then saved into app_list, a file inside the ZIP file that is sent in the format shown next.

193:

Cultural error there.

. = Мы оба должны отдать дань уважения

. = one per person.


We were actually being formally respectful, whatever you think of nuclear warfare professionals, still human qua human beings.

The rest of it was a counter to some buggery going down. Эта ужасная ситуация, которая сложилась на сегодняшний день, будет ухудшаться с каждым днём.

Anyhow, FB / image sites being hit atm.

194:

I've seen Charlie's answer, but I'm not sure I fully agree. *Humans* would have a problem with very extended lives*. A number of authors have dealt with it; the first that comes to mind is Arthur C. Clark, in City and the Stars/Against the Fall of Night, where, a billion years from now, after living 1,000 years, you edited your memories, and walked back into the hall of creation, where you were disassembled, to be reassembled some random number of years in the future, and at about 18, you remembered your edited memories.

The Eater of Souls, however, isn't human. There's also the possibility that it only remembers things that affect *it*, directly, and nothing much of its human hosts.

* If you've had a life with too much grief, you don't want to live that long. And trying to remember everything, I have just one thing to say about that: how do you expect me to remember current, trivial stuff when my mind is jam-packed with Important Information. For example, would you like me to sing you the entire theme song of the 1959 tv show, Robin Hood?

195:

I agree, Charlie. It was Not Great the years I was out of work, early oughts. Got things to do, now, when I retire (

196:

Yep. It's all just refinement.

As I've used against certain people, *my* generation put Man on the Moon; what's your's done lately, waited all night to buy the latest massively overpriced iWhatever?

197:

There's a huge number of things they could do with that.

Lessee, what would the Pentagon love? How 'bout deliver a number of Tomahawks halfway around the world in not very many minutes, with no possible interdiction?

Or a seriously, built-on-Earth, no assembly-required military space station, and blind one spy-eye, float to the other side of the station, or change filters, etc.

I suspect they'd really *like* a large US-only space station - it's what's called "high ground". And a *large* station means much cheaper access to space beyond LEO.

198:

You describe something that, horribly, sounds like the FSSR in the nineties, almost.

And, yes, all the libertarian idiots (but I repeat myself), with their "mine is mine, nobody else's, don't want to pay for society, and, oh, yes, 'an armed society is a polite society'".

Argh....

199:

Now, I have trouble believing the story - military and ex-military make up stories all the time.

On the other hand, there's one small detail that you folks on the other side of the Pond might not automatically remember: right now, here in the DC 'burbs, as I type, it's 12:56... and it's 09:56 in LA. And flying cross-country in a commercial jet runs about six hours, *flying* time.

200:

Yes, it is hitting the offramp. Smaller == MUCH more expensive, and difficult. Watch schedules slip. And when you start getting down that small, you're hitting quantum noise... and I'm wondering how cosmic rays will affect it.

Recognizing actually AI? Well, first, AI is like sf: describe something it can't/doesn't do, it proceeds to do it, response is, "oh, that's not really AI/Literature".

I'm remembering the climax of Stand on Zanzibar, where Chad figures it out....

201:

It's true as far as it goes, but the thing is that it only goes exactly as far as it says it does and it doesn't mean what most people seem to think it means...

"Reversible" is a thermodynamic term, and means the same as it usually does in thermodynamics. It does not mean that you can start with the answer and work out what the question was. When you apply the term "reversible", in the thermodynamic sense, to computation, then you do end up talking about situations where you can start out with the answer and work out what the question was, but if you think that because it's called "reversible" then such situations are what it's all about, you end up with contradictions and general silliness: if logical reversibility is all that counts, then you can make any computation reversible simply by including some subset of the input data in the output, and if reversibility means it doesn't use any energy, then you can choose how much power your computation used arbitrarily after the fact, by deciding whether to keep or delete the forwarded input data...

A simple NOT gate is logically reversible: knowing the output is enough to uniquely determine what the input was. There are any number of ways to make a physical implementation of the NOT function - a seesaw, for instance; if the left end is up the right end is down, and vice versa.

A real seesaw is not thermodynamically reversible; there are entropy leaks from friction in the pivot, air resistance to the movement, inelasticity in the collisions between the ends and the ground, etc. etc. etc. But this irreversibility is crucial to it actually being useful as a NOT gate. An "ideal" seesaw, with a perfectly frictionless pivot, in a vacuum, made of perfectly elastic materials, etc. etc. etc, would be thermodynamically reversible - and it would also be useless as a NOT gate, because it wouldn't stay put. The energy you put into it to switch it from one state to the other would stay in it, and it would keep bouncing back and forth.

You have to dissipate a certain minimum amount of energy to make the transition between states stable. And the smaller you make that amount of energy, the less stability you get. So your results get less reliable. When you get to the region where switching between states requires so little energy that ambient thermal noise can supply it, your results are useless.

Current electronic computing technology needs to dissipate quite a lot of energy per state transition in order to achieve the staggeringly low rate of physical errors it depends on, and it's already got to the point where at least some parts of the system can't get down any further without losing reliability. To get any further requires not only a different means of doing the computation, but also a different approach to the idea of computation itself, one which is not built around the fundamental idea of there being exactly one right answer and an infinite number of wrong ones.

The most energetically efficent computational process we know about may be DNA transcription, which uses about 10 times the theoretical minimum of energy per state transition. It does not proceed in a rigid sequence from one end to the other like a block memory copy. Instead it goes back and forth as the Brownian motion drives it - copies a few bases going forward, then goes backwards a bit uncopying them, and so on, at random - and eventually gets to the end because moving forwards is a little bit more probable than moving backwards. Or there's always the chance that it might go backwards far enough to fall off the beginning and end up not having done anything at all. Imagine trying to program when copying a value isn't a simple MOV A,B, but works more like XMLHttpRequest - right down below what is usually thought of as "the hardware level", at the level of the hardware's fundamental principle of operation.

202:

Moore's Law is coming to an end, but cores stopped becoming faster round about 2003 - you merely get more of them, and more memory. Let's ignore quantum computing, which I don't believe will deliver anything useful. But a large computer is pretty comparable to a human brain in size, and a lot faster. So, if we knew how, we could do some impressive things - but it needs a revolution in software, in a direction nobody has yet realised how to take.

203:
But a large computer is pretty comparable to a human brain in size, and a lot faster

No, it isn't.

204:

Heinlein's book "Glory Road", an early isekai novel, started off with the protagonist "Oscar" getting a lift from something going his way -- a DC-3. It let him go home from SE Asia the long way round, letting him stop off in places like France before he reached his demob station.

205:

There were two-seater trainer versions of the F-104 but not that many of them.

The Red Arrows display team fly BAE Hawks which are two-seater trainers. Flying in the Red Arrows is a lollipop for long-serving pilots, usually pilot-instructors coming to the end of their careers in the RAF. Each plane in the Red Arrows flight is assigned a fitter/mechanic, a long-serving and well-qualified technician, holding taxi certificates for the plane. The mechanics travel with the team to the various locations on a given display day, riding in the student pilot seat. They are not qualified to fly the plane. The pilots often take a break between displays, have a nap, read the paper, do the crossword etc. while the flight flies to the next display location in close formation. How this happens is a mystery since obviously the mechanics aren't qualified to fly the plane.

206:

I said large. There are computers with 10**14 transistors. Those are much simpler than synapses, but that's within 2-3 decimal orders of a human brain.

207:

to whitroth @198
You describe something that, horribly, sounds like the FSSR in the nineties, almost.
Having lived at that time probably contributes some - although most of these stories come through third parties anyway. My intention, though, is to describe any other state thrown into gray area of anarchy, especially those who were delivered "winged democracy" at the time. "No price is too high", they say.

to Failure Inc[tm]
Even being quite formal by far, it still a stinging remark, that deserves appropriate response. In this case, it was delivered in informal manner, so I wouldn't hold myself from using same option - though I wonder if it would convey the full meaning. Well, I accept the apology.

I just really hope that it's not like the submarine episode from "Colder War" in Antarctica. Too much high-ranking officers on a mission for some ocean rocks.
Because, I guess, some of OGH narration brings up a (playful) suspicion if reality is actually hiding something as big as a version of Laundry-verse.

208:

a large computer is pretty comparable to a human brain in size, and a lot faster.

Um, no? If you used actual chip packages you might approach the switch and memory density, but obviously at that point it's going to run very slowly if it runs at all, because you just can't pack the chips that close *and* supply the 100kW to run them *and* remove the 100kW of heat. Meanwhile dear old random assortment of evolutionary detritus is using about 100W and doing more or less whatever it is we think brains do.

Where the large computer is much faster is in lifetime. A "large computer" is obsolete by age five and likely to die before age 10. A mere human that dies of old age before age 10 is considered a target for remedial engineering work.

209:

Oh, we're quite familiar at just how bad the insult was. Lucky the mods don't speak Russian (or, you're more than welcome to insult us, we're not exactly undeserving of it).

Since we forget you don't share genetic / unconscious memories, the (B tier SF romp) has the ultra-nasty Tiamat three headed dragon released from the ice of Antarctica. It was a close enough match to splice into some other things.

Now, you'd have to ask yourself why a shit-tier Disinfo site run by .IL peeps was selling the Fear-Deal on this mixed in with the Talk Radio Evangelicals in the USA ("US and RU sub fight! US sub lost!!11! RU sub damaged!) just before all the Iran tension.


TL;DR Activate the Q crowd into herd / fear response for ze orange trompanzi to harvest for the 4th.

We're not that impressed. Took ~35 mins to squish.

~


But you're right.


Here's a hint: those officers were some of the last real humans left. And they died hard, Event Horizon style.

Really hard. Explosions and fire?


Should have seen their MRI readouts before [redacted].

210:

Comment #4 "Elephants all the way down"

Are we talking Recursive Elder Gods here? (And isn't that sort of what happened to Bob in the Fuller Memorandum?)

Comment #106 "Chip Fab stuff"

I'm in Porto doing a Summer School on "Future of Computing" this week. (Summer School: basically a bunch of keen youngsters who might or might not make suitable PhD recruits). Scuttlebutt is that TMC are now out of the fab market at 5nm, leaving just Global Foundries. The problem is that people forget the part of Moore's Law which states that "the fab facilities double in cost every eighteen months".

Still, a quick report from the Chalk Face:

I got to do the opening talk which involved spilling everything I know about Quantum Computing and DNA-based Computing. And trust me, that didn't take long! Anyway, I saw the IBM stuff in action today. Five qubits . There's no error correction, so all the problems I had over twenty years ago with a little simulator which had vast numeric stability problems when combining phase information held as doubles, turns out to be an artefact of the real systems. Oh, and it makes analogue computing look reliable (which it isn't of course, and has process variation issues as well).

Tomorrow we will be shown how DNA -> RNA translation/transcription can be used to do computing. Cell biochemistry is all very "Turing Machine" like in flavour. Will the Elder Gods be using Human Cells for their computing needs?

211:

"But a large computer is pretty comparable to a human brain in size, and a lot faster. So, if we knew how, we could do some impressive things - but it needs a revolution in software, in a direction nobody has yet realised how to take."

Yes, and then again No. (This really is my field).

Human Brain: 85 Billion neurons, each with fan in/out of 10,000. And the dendritic tree probably has as much effect on the computation as the soma of the neuron. (That is: where incoming signals are combined in the dendritic tree in decidedly non-linear ways.) So the issue with brain modelling -- as well as supercomputers -- turns out to be the communication infrastructure (how data gets to and from various sites in the machine) and not the actual computing part.

The real killer is that we just don't understand enough of the neuroscience. Plus getting a theoretical handle on how the connectivity of the brain changes is proving very very troublesome.

I do agree with you about the software issue, and no, I'm not at all convinced our current solution is particularly effective.

212:

Gareth @ 187
Point - in future, if I say "Han" please read for that: "Self-selected elite ruling class of Han" ...
To the extent that they are now (apparently) taking on & trying to subjugate the Cantonese & the racial minorities in the SE areas ...
The trouble is, in making distinctions of this sort that it calls forth a sort of reverse-racism in response - not an easy path to tread.
SO: Yes, as you imply, I'm referring to "The bosses" & their clique.

sleeping routine @ 188
ONE: read my note above
TWO: Stick it up your bum

Bill Arnold @ 192
See also article in todays Grauniad, I believe...
HERE
My correspondent did NOT have her phone taken, but she says she was prepared to trash it as it's a company iPhone with (probably) commercially-sensitive information on it ....

213:

Is that Liaoning, Yingkou?

Yup. My Chinese home city* :-)

*It's a small place, only a million or so people, but I found it relaxing. It's the home city of one of my nieces, so when she gave me my Chinese name she gave me her city as well :-)

214:

I figure China is like the US — if you go, take a burner phone/computer and assume any devices you take will be rooted* by the security services.

*Or whatever the right term is.

215:

My correspondent did NOT have her phone taken, but she says she was prepared to trash it as it's a company iPhone with (probably) commercially-sensitive information on it ....
I have to work out how to travel with tech. An increasing number of national borders are forcing people to submit to scans/recordings of their exo-memories. The cameras are another worry. E.g. the automated pattern recognizers (DNNs etc) are starting to be better than most people at recognizing gate and posture tells, and faces. At least in academic bragging-papers and marketing pieces. Not sure about iPhones; China might be worried (at least in principle) by their security. (with passphrase, and no fingerprint/face)


216:

Also, major removal of points of not noticing the Narrative in Effect.

"*burp*"

It means we ate people.


We told you what was going to happen. Then we did it. We signaled it like a "Boy on Fire". And we did it taking the piss. And then front-run the entire fucking Q-Anon shit tier level of your PSYOPS, dumped it in the bin and laughed.

While doing other more important things, like why you spending ~$100+ mil on anti-Extinction Event memes (it's sideways: it's black: it's a .gov hidden mind fuck ... work it out, you don't need to be a coke addled whore from Hollywood to spot the references) when Extinction Event didn't exist then?

Spoilers: it did. PR fucking playing both sides.


They fucking killed our Goddess


Yeah. It's a bitch.


And we knew it was being done on a submarine. Like, we've known for ages certain subs are running black ice shit for ages now. And not just .RU.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H0ScNLt2zNc

You've no idea what you've fucked with: but torturing anarchists and feminists is really impacting our MERCY abilities here


"Holds up 10th Contract"

Remember? xxxxx years and none will love you?

p.s.

We're really not talking to SR here. But Putin is on emergency to meet the Pope, so who knows? Might have gotten a visit from Baba Yaga at -4,000 feet.


https://www.nbcnews.com/mach/science/scientists-are-searching-mirror-universe-it-could-be-sitting-right-ncna1023206


Spoilers.

You're wrong.

Shitty wrong.

So wrong.


Zzzz.

"You'll be Home Soon"


Anyhow, next?


Cost to stupid fucking humans in this thread if anyone pays attention:

~$3.4 bil, roughly.


Got your attention yet?


Or do we have to Mind Fuck some cunts running brainwashing shit on the sheep again?


Cool.

Fuck it.

VIII


Take us 3 months to spin right back up.

217:

I think you might miss the point on AI, which Whitroth got.

--Only humans can play chess. Only humans can play Go. Only humans can speak. Only humans can walk on two legs. Etc.

It probably won't be long before we get the various Turing tests, because that's all Deep Fake is aiming at. But even now, almost every human attached to the internet gets spoofed into believing some procedurally generated content was created by a human, whether it's a bot, an ad, or whatever.

The point is that we keep changing our definitions about what constitutes AI and what doesn't, and that makes it very hard to gauge real progress.

It's a bad habit, but we do employ moving definitions on everything from gender and race relations to climate change adaptation. If I had to pick the human bad habit that would kill more humans than anything else, this problem would be high on my list (especially if the argument for why a total war was winnable fell under its rubric).

218:

"comparable to a brain in size"

No, it isn't. That's not a large computer.

Computers are more than processors. More than processors and memory. More than processors, memory, and storage. More than processors, memory, storage, and power. More than processors, memory, storage, power, and interlinks. And I could continue.

2-3 decimal orders of magnitude is a significant difference.

Transistors are nowhere close to synapses.

Your statement was wrong in every aspect.

219:

she was prepared to trash it as it's a company iPhone with (probably) commercially-sensitive information on it

I don't understand how that would work. Either she trashes it (securely!) before she enters the airport in which case how did she not already do that? Or she waits until the peeps with the guns say "hand over the phone" and then she... detonates the destruction charge or whatever... and spends the rest of her life in jail, if she survives.

Admittedly I'm not a nihilist so I have barely* flown in the last decade or so, but my vague recollection is that even the polite and laid-back customs agents in Australia and Aotearoa are careful not to allow people to destroy evidence once they arrive in the customs area. The idea that they would allow someone to sit down with an iPhone and wait while it overwrote all internal storage then let them physically destroy the device just seems like nonsense to me. The idea that their equivalents in the obsessive authoritarian dystopias would do so beggars belief.

* under protest and in a desperate attempt to save a failing relationship ... and that didn't work, if anything it confirmed the end of it.

220:

paws4thot @ 96: #36 - For a walkable centre Edinburgh. Against that Glasgow has a small Underground that connects most of the main places of interest, and fast (30 to 40 minutes) electric train connections to stations within 10 minutes walk of open country.

It's about 46.9 miles (75.5 kilometers) from Sir Walter Scott's Monument in George Square, Glasgow to Scott Monument, Edinburgh; an hour by rail or an hour and a half by bus. If you're going to spend any time at all in Scotland, you could enjoy both.

I also found Fort William and Inverness to be walkable and there's a green-way path alongside the A830 (sandwiched in between the highway & the West Highland Way railroad) between Mallaig and Morar. I believe the River Morar is supposed to be the shortest river in Scotland and the "Silver Sands" are celebrated for the view of "Isles of Rum".

221:

Charlie Stross @ 98: (Consider human personality as an emergent property of our memories, encoded in our neural connectome: less stuff sticks as we get older, it's harder to learn new information, possibly detrimental habits get stuck. While the EoS is lumbered with a meatsack it's prone to the vicissitudes of human personalities. Doing a hard reset every few decades/couple of centuries is probably a good thing.)

Good for who?

222:

Heteromeles @ 157: Remember, dude was a SEAL, not an average soldier. I have no idea why they needed to get him to the east coast fast (presumably to Norfolk for some reason).

Incidentally, the fundamental point was that moving SpecOps people around fast has been possible for decades. Interesting that this has gotten lost in the quibbling, no?

You don't get that kind of "service" unless you're a seriously high ranking officer. And even then, they don't lay on state of the art combat aircraft. It's the back seat of a T-38 trainer if he's a qualified pilot who might get some stick time in order to remain current (that's what the Mercury, Gemini & Apollo astronauts used to get back & forth between the Cape and Houston) or the cabin of a C-11 Grumman Gulfstream II if the need was critical enough to get someone coast to coast that quickly and cost was no object. Otherwise, he's likely fly commercial on a Government Travel Request.

I've known a fair number of SpecOps people from back in the day (sailors who were UDT before UDT became the SEALS, and Army Special Forces soldiers from the 50s before it became the "Green Berets"), and they all had one thing in common - a tendency to NOT let mere facts get in the way of making a good story better.

It's best to remember the only difference between fairy tales and war stories is fairy tales start out "Once upon a time ..." and war stories start out "No shit! There I was ...".

Both may have some historical basis, but if "The truth IS out there!" it's probably a long, long way away.

223:

Troutwaxer @ 167: I'd guess that "two-seater F104" is the unclassified version and Frank's Seal left out a crucial detail or two. (Note also that the fighter would have had the option to use nothing but external fuel tanks, (no ordnance) and drop the tanks after use.)

If you "drop the tanks" during a peacetime cross-country training mission in CONUS, you're going to get hit up with a Statement of Charges and they take it out of your pay until the government is reimbursed for the cost of the loss. And those tanks ain't cheap. Plus having to pay for whatever damage it does to property under your flight path.

224:

"I don't understand how that would work. Either she trashes it (securely!) before she enters the airport in which case how did she not already do that?"

She's in line and sees that the immigration people are doing stuff with everyone's phone. She presses the "reset" button, causing the phone to reformat itself, then spends the rest of her time in line restoring phone numbers from (her own) memory.

225:

For an ordinary training run? Absolutely. But I'd assume that if you're ferrying a SEAL to his departure point for an emergency mission you've got some leeway. (And your point about soldiers slinging the shit is well-taken.)

226:

Bill Arnold @ 168: Sherman?
No clue ATM. My most amusing (mundane) guess so far is that he heard an aide or two joking about inflatable Sherman tank decoys in WW2 (via) (you can buy them new on Ali Baba (no link since commercial) for hundreds of dollars) to solve the weight problem (e.g. MBTs falling into Washington DC's subtereranean infrastructure)). And he repeated it, mangled. (For others, e.g. Trump Claims 'Brand New' World War II Sherman Tanks Will Be Part of July 4th Salute to U.S. Military, Jeff Schogol, 2 July 2019)

The problem with the M1 Abrams Tank is that it's not air transportable. The Army has been looking for an air transportable (and air droppable) Light Tank for years.

https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/15609/the-army-desperately-wants-a-pint-sized-tank-with-a-big-gun-heres-what-we-know

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=WPQjHLYx954

https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/25559/the-armys-search-for-its-first-light-tank-in-decades-is-down-to-these-two-designs

It's not beyond the realm of possibility the Pentagon brass have discussed naming it after the WWII light tank. Trump has probably been briefed on it, although I doubt he understands this is still under development.

I wouldn't be surprised if the Pentagon decided to bring the prototypes to DC for Trump's 4th of July parade, since I believe the testing is being conducted at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland, so it wouldn't be that inconvenient. A "light" tank would do less damage to the streets around the National Mall. Keep the "CinC" happy without generating too much adverse publicity.

Short video of an M551 Sheridan being delivered by a C-130, down at my own old stomping grounds at Ft. Bragg, NC.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=4&v=dgg3iRaVnbw

They don't use that method any longer because they had too many accidents training in the process ... and because they don't have a light tank they can deliver this way.

p>And this story has absolutely nothing to do with anything, but it IS NOW the 4th of July, and the story leads with a photo of C4 primed with Det Cord.

https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/24613/the-u-s-army-once-blew-up-tunnels-in-a-german-town-to-chase-away-a-ghost


227:

Yeah, I'm quite used to military BS. Even get some of it on this blog.

On the other hand, I might imagine that, since the SEALs like to politely knock on doors around 0400 local time, it's conceivable that rapidly hauling in someone whose biological clock is about 15 hours off that and who's wide awake would be an advantage that might sometimes be worth the cost. Yes, benzedrine's cheaper, why do you bring that up?

Anyway, the point to reiterate, again, is that the military has had the ability to rapidly haul snake eaters and similar truthie types around since the late 1960s. We don't need to invent a new semi-ballistic to add this novel feature to our SpecOps force, because I'm pretty sure they can already do that when it's cost effective.

228:

> In fact, the way the main series story arc is going, everybody is going to end up to some extent posthuman, if not actually posthumous.

QOTW!!

229:

What, ask *anything*?

Without necessarily naming names, what is the most bizarre or disturbing vice (or fact of reproductive biology) that you have discovered about the luminary geniuses who lead or nation?

230:

JBS @ 220
Correction: "Sir Walter Scott's Monument in George Square, Glasgow to Scott Monument, Edinburgh; an hour 42-45 minutes by rail or an hour and a half by bus.
[ Timings Endinburgh Waverley to Glasgow Queen St }


Oh yes a special for sleepingroutine, who accuses all of as of being Nazis ...
THIS where that nice Mr Putin invites in as many ultra-right & fascists he can find to come & speak in RU ...
Um, err .....

231:

Couldn't agree more WRT our ability to anthropomorphise. And the distance -- if we ever get there -- of general purpose AI. Plus the annoying moving definitions.

I'm a technologist, hardware & firmware especially, and not a scientist (neuroscientist, psychologist,..) or AI specialist.

My conclusion at the moment is that we are probably just as far away from "AI" (whatever that means) as we ever were last century. However there's been some interesting and useful scenery discovered on the journey so far (ML for example).

232:

She presses the "reset" button, causing the phone to reformat itself...

... gets to the front of the line 20 minutes later and her phone still displays the "performing factory reset" screen and the nice people say "please step this way". Unless she has a phone set up to do that very, very quickly and has taken some other precautions it's going to be obvious even to a minimum-wage goon from the Department of Security Theatre that someone doesn't want their phone inspected.

We've been briefed on this by a friendly person and the advice we got is: burner phone, burner social media, DO NOT DO ANYTHING ELSE.

Amusingly this is in Australia of all places, where little muppets like me might have the authorities come along and say "we want {imaginary pixie dust} and will jail you indefinitely if you don't supply it, and will also jail you indefinitely if you tell anyone we asked". Specifically in the context of "hey, you're a programmer, hack this iPhone undetectably and irrevocably" (really, that's what the law says, parliament explicitly ruled out putting a "can actually be done" restriction in the law). But the real fear is that anyone coding for Apple or Google can be told to secretly backdoor anything they touch and to above applies to them too.

But anyway, in that context... when we travel overseas that's the advice we get.

233:

Nojay @ 204: Heinlein's book "Glory Road", an early isekai novel, started off with the protagonist "Oscar" getting a lift from something going his way -- a DC-3. It let him go home from SE Asia the long way round, letting him stop off in places like France before he reached his demob station.

The U.S. military has a thing called Space-A travel, aka a "military hop".

Military personnel in leave status, Guard and Reserve, some unaccompanied dependents and military retirees (that's me) can take advantage of any available seats on military aircraft. The way it works is say if a chartered military flight is going from BWI airport to some Air Force Base in Germany (I don't know which one, because the one I knew about has closed down) and they've to 100 seats on board. They only have 80 pax who are traveling Space Required. The other 20 seats become Space Available. Any eligible traveler who is signed in & waiting for a seat at the terminal when the seats become available might get one of those seats. They call the first name of the highest category passenger, and keep going down the list to the lowest category passenger (that's ME again) until all the available seats are taken.

A more relaxed, less rigorous version of Space-A travel is how "Oscar" got "home from SE Asia the long way around." Note that when Heinlein wrote Glory Road, the U.S. involvement in Vietnam hadn't really flared up yet. The big to do in Asia at the time was in Laos and America's involvement was mostly a clandestine CIA operation.

National Guard could use Space-A travel, but were restricted to flights in CONUS, Alaska, American Samoa, Guam, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Puerto Rico often included a stopover at Guantanamo (pre-911), but you weren't allowed to get off the plane there. I tried to plan Space-A trips a couple of times, but each time I did my plans were spoiled by mobilizations. I probably should look into it again now that I'm an eligible retiree.

234:

Troutwaxer @ 225: For an ordinary training run? Absolutely. But I'd assume that if you're ferrying a SEAL to his departure point for an emergency mission you've got some leeway. (And your point about soldiers slinging the shit is well-taken.)

Has no one ever pointed out what happens when you assume?

235:

That story about "Space-A" reminded me of a kid in our school. His father was a pilot/engineer on a very small air freight company, the sort of man-and-a-dog business that sprang up after the War with a lot of surplus ex-military aircraft being sold off and a lot of ex-pilots on the job market. He would disappear from school for a few days every now and then to come back after flying around Europe with his Dad, no passports or papers. He claimed to have made trips beyond the Iron Curtain a couple of times, it being a lot more porous to cargo flights back in the early 1960s than it later became. For "cargo" in the proceeding sentence, read "smuggling".

236:

#190 - OK, I read the linked Wiki page, and got this distinct feeling that actually doing reversible computing breaks the Heisenberg uncertainty principle, and possibly also means that, if you open the box you put Schrodinger's Cat in, the likelihood of you getting badly scratched arms is 1.0!
Which, yes also means that I agree with "mdive" in #191 para 1.

#204 - Nojay, I'm using biography rather than stuff actually sold as "fiction", as source here. That said, "Glory Road (1963)" does pre-date my Vietnam biogs.

#205 - "You can teach monkeys to fly better than that!" :-)

#210 Comment #4 "Elephants all the way down"
Charlie was quoting, or at least channeling, Pterry there.

#220 - West of Scotland native here; to us the best thing to come out of Edinburgh (other than the works of various authors including OGH) is the Glasgow train! Point?
As for the River Morar, see that and raise the Howmore River at 555m (just measured it).

#226 - Assuming the Abrams can fit in width and height, it is airportable, for values that use one C5 for every 2 tanks.

#230 - 40 minutes Queen Street to Waverley. I didn't know you read fantasy Greg! ;-)

237:

My brother's taken groups to tour parts of Russia including the Caucasus, and the security services took their phones when they entered and gave them back with something new running on it. They just left it there until they left the country (it's apparently straight forward to remove it but probably suspicious to do while in the country). It seems to be quite the thing for border control forces to do.

238:

Neil W @ 237: My brother's taken groups to tour parts of Russia including the Caucasus, and the security services took their phones when they entered and gave them back with something new running on it. They just left it there until they left the country (it's apparently straight forward to remove it but probably suspicious to do while in the country). It seems to be quite the thing for border control forces to do.

With an iPhone wouldn't it be safer to leave your real SIM card at home and replace it with a relatively sanitized SIM card specific to the destination country before you even depart for the airport at home? When you return home you just wipe the phone back to its original state & then reinstall your own SIM card.

Can the tracking/spy software the authorities in Russia or China install on phone stay there through a wipe & an exchange of SIM cards?


239:

Badly, except for the Groke. She'd be right at home.

Oh, the Moomins have quite a share of weird and creepy stuff, which could fit into a Lovecraftian universe with some adjustments.

For example, the entire Moominland Midwinter, where Moomin gets a glimpse into Too-ticky's double life (she apparently has close relations with a lot of mysterious winter creatures, but doesn't talk about it with the regular folks). Oh, and she makes an ice horse come to live and carry away the corpse of the squirrel who got frozen to death by the Lady Of The Cold.

Then there's stuff like Little My casually mentioning that she can only feel two emotions - joy and rage.

240:

I forget the details, though something similar to what you say is what is recommended. As I understand it my brother travels with his tour guiding phone and SIM which he uses exclusively for tour guiding.

241:

Re: Glory Road

Oscar mentions early on in the book he wasn't a combat soldier in SE Asia, he was a "military advisor" but he commented to the effect that a military advisor four days dead in the mud smelled the same as a soldier would.

I figured Heinlein understood reasonably well what sort of quagmire Cold War Warrior Eisenhower was getting the US into back in the late 1950s and of course the sabre-rattling that Kennedy did afterwards didn't help.

242:

Agreed that it is a risky move. Whether it's advisable would depend on what someone had to protect and whether their employer would pay for lawyers.

The advice you got was definitely best.

243:

THIS where that nice Mr Putin invites in as many ultra-right & fascists he can find to come & speak in RU ...
This is Independent, as usual, so I take extra pinch of salt as usual.

The hosts of the roundtable, the so-called Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR), are one of the Kremlin’s co-opted “opposition” parties.
I think it is clearly obvious that it wasn't Putin who invited and ghosted them, but our resident Liberal-right party which they call "co-opted opposition". Let me tell something about co-opted opposition. There's a group that actually name themselves "real opposition" who are lavishly supported, fostered and spoon-fed by NGOs, intelligence or even directly with grant money. They are working for the interests of people with cash, their own freedom and especially if the money are in little green presidents. Calling them "opposition" or at least political power would be a bit of an overstatement. They are foreign and domestic agents - unelected, sometimes unlawful, and not bearing any responsibility - or even self-respect, at times.

Probably you don't realize that Russia also invites a lot of other people to such meetings, including ultra-left and leftists, business people and famous politicians. Western press likes to throw tantrums about how Putin and Russian agents/hackers/spies attack "free world" in a way of "collisions"(no matter the ideology), but it is actually a very poorly maintained facade. Compared to real number of people who visit Russia for business and trips, these are drops in the ocean. These are tiny numbers even compared to amount of aforementioned agents of influence they support inside Russia, by an order of magnitude. At best, such articles reflect one or two people who are publicly designated as "enemies" today, meanwhile, some real delegation lands in one city or another and of course absolutely nobody has any clue about it. And then another one. And another one.

https://en.unesco.org/events/high-level-unescoifap-international-conference-preservation-worlds-languages-and-development
https://tass.com/economy/1064450
http://bricsmathconf.innopolis.ru

I imagine, US or UK apologists would like to turn everybody they don't like in a type of North Korea punching bag, but alas, life's too short.

244:

“Life under the New Management is refreshingly worse than anything you'll experience under BoJo the Clown in our shiny new post-currency-collapse hard brexit future!”

I wish you hadn’t said that.
Bono: “Hold my beer.”

245:

The Edge "Large Bush please mate?"

246:

Bloody autocorrect. Bono should be Bojo.

247:

I got that but I'm in a silly mood!

248:

If your interested and have time to listen (i cant fin a written version this podcast covers Airdrop Ursula the emergency transport of a new battalion commander to the Falklands from England after Colonel "H" Jones was killed:
Highlights

Working at desk in Whitehall (london) told "Commander's been killed you're the new one"
Car waiting outside to airport Plane waiting 16hr flight to Ascension island.
4 hrs on ground Into Hercules 12 Hr flight to Falklands (with fleet of tankers to keep in air)
Parachute out of herculese INTO THE SOUTHERN OCEAN (well out to east of islands ), picked up by Royal navy ship - into helicopter fly to falklands

38 hrs desk to Falklands

https://soundcloud.com/historyhit/the-falklands-airdrop-ursula

249:

I'd always assumed Space-A was the military version of standby tickets. You'd eventually get where you were going, but might have to wait at each stage for an empty seat.

250:

Wow. I might give it a listen later. Either way, it's an awesome story!

251:

Richard Feynman mentioned the ranking system for travel during the war when he got a seat on a plane and the Colonel he "bumped" in the queue didn't understand why this disreputable civilian needed to get to New Mexico so urgently that he, a high-ranking military officer couldn't get on the plane.

The Manhattan Project priorities system for production and materials was also questioned by some manufacturers. The company that made carbon blocks for brushes for starter motors and generators etc. had a problem understanding why their number one highest-priority customer was the University of Chicago and not a GM plant or Boeing.

252:

Re your Sherman Tank theory, perhaps. Those were outclassed by the common Mark IV German tanks in WW2[0]. So it would be a little odd to reuse the name.
Looks like it's "Two M1A2 Abrams tanks and other military vehicles":
How to sound like you know what you’re talking about when you talk about Trump’s tanks (Philip Bump, July 3, 2019)
Charlie on twitter noted that at least one somebody has noticed that the fact that the tanks were delivered by flatbed was military pushback to DJT's infantile demands.
If they are not removed, they will be an implied (real or not) threat to the capital building at the other end of The Mall, where the US legislature resides. That would not be a good sign.
[0] My father detailed in some memoirs an infantry ambush of Mark IVs with a bazooka(he was an operator and carried the rounds) and rifle grenades, because the Shermans refused to enter the town until the Mark IVs were destroyed.
---
FI[tm]@216
VIII
Take us 3 months to spin right back up.

:-) :-( (I have been serious, BTW)
The fight in Rocky IV lasted 15 rounds. Ugh.

253:

Going back to my original silliness, it's possible (even more possible in early April), that OGH will tell us that all his stories are set in the same multiverse!. That's right, the Dho-Hna formula generates curves that look like celtic knots! And you can use nanotechnology or human sacrifice to cross between parallel universes.

Here's the deal: the singularity formed around Angleton and Old George is presumed to be the same singularity that powers time travel in Palimpsest. Presumably it's parked off in a pocket dimension so that the frequent rewrites of history don't disturb it. The fact that history can be rewritten means that there's an infinite stack of parallel Earths/universes floating around, where beings have tried literally everything to create dissipative structures like organisms and civilizations and thereby maximize entropy. Technological singularities happen, leading to transapient entities that maximize entropy so efficiently that they need to move from timeline to timeline fairly often or they "die." This is no different than ducks flying from drying puddle to drying puddle, except that humans are part of the small invertebrates in the puddles that are the prey of the ducks.

So, if the infinite timelines are the warp threads, then series like the Laundryverse and the Merchant Princes are threads that weft back and forth between them, while Palimpsest gives the mechanism for how the different warp threads in the fabric of the multiverse are generated by the actions of the characters and other useful idiots. Saturn's Brood, Singularity Sky, and Rule 34 are all set in specific universes generated by this process.

See? It all works together, and it's powered by a preta and an ancient vampire getting it on for all eternity inside a singularity of their own making. Mwa-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha!*

*Hey, if it's profitable for Marvel and DC to mix magic and tech with periodic reboots, why not?

254:

My recollection is that it took 4-6 Sherman tanks working together to take out one German tank. They were "great" tanks in that our much vaster production was able to wear the Germans down. But Trump probably doesn't know that either!

255:

Money knows no borders so buying tanks from your enemies is the same as manufacturing them. Right?

256:

I also found Fort William and Inverness to be walkable and there's a green-way path alongside the A830 (sandwiched in between the highway & the West Highland Way railroad) between Mallaig and Morar.

Or, if you're feeling a tad more ambitious:
http://whwracechallenge.co.uk/

257:

US Army WW2 organisation had tanks in 5-vehicle platoons. So if you had a problem that you are solving with tanks, you normally send at least 4 (because a platoon could well be down a vehicle at any given time). If the enemy is resource-strapped enough to operate in singles or pairs, that is their problem (because teamwork is a great force multiplier). From the PBI's point of view, they scream that a 'Tiger' is beating them up and 4 Shermans amble along, so the well-known story is understandable.

258:

Since you know this stuff, how good was the Sherman compared to the equivalently-sized German tank?

259:

"Here's the deal: the singularity formed around Angleton and Old George is presumed to be the same singularity that powers time travel in Palimpsest."

I've been treating that particular singularity as "Chekov's Gun" and waiting for it to open, probably at the best/worst possible moment.

I also get the feeling that Angleton was better at being the Eater of Souls than Bob, but I could be wrong.

260:

Apologies for the link behind the paywall, it wasn't when I first went there. The article was interesting in the sense it there was a substantial disconnect between the journalist's experience of GFC 2008 and what remained on the Internet.

Hopefully this article on the reverse issue of Facebook having more dead than living users won't have a paywall slapped on it.

262:

You said "AMA" so...

What are the correct imperial units for measuring solar PV output?

I've guessed horsepower-seconds because BTU/day just seems wrong - it's not thermal power. But it could be anything - wikipedia suggests the "gasoline gallon equivalent" which would make sense if you were charging an electric vehicle. The conversions would be amazing (but that's one of the best features of imperial units) - GGE / MPG / day gives you the "distance driven per day" as a unit of electric power.

263:

I read that singularity as a singularity--ain't nothing coming out of that. Read that either way you like, since it's all fantasy anyway.

264:

The only thing that can get out of a singularity is information, which leaks using the principle of "spooky action at a distance." So you can get Angleton out of the singularity by typing "cat eater_of_souls."

In Enochian, of course.

265:

ed eater_of_souls
5790869
1,$s/Bob/Angleton/g
w
5795874
q
?
q
?
Q
?
^D
?
^D^D^C^\^\^\^\\\\\
?
CTRL-ALT-DEL
?

266:

I always use barleycorn ounces per fortnight.

267:

Heteromeles @ 253
Or possibly a Parallel / Mirror Universe?

Troutwaxre @ 254
This is part of the "Super Wehrmacht equipment" bollocks that constantly circulates.
Look up the Sherman Firefly - re-gunned by us (the Brits)
One firefly takes out 5 nazi tanks

& 258
Needless to say the Firefly was "NIH" so the US suffered greater losses in consequence, once the Brits started using them in any numbers.

268:

Loading the Eater of Souls into main memory all at once seems like just asking for trouble to me. I suggest applying your substitution to a stream of the Eater of Souls instead:

perl -ple ‘s/Angleton/Bob/gi’ < eater_of_souls

Note that you need to use the -l flag for safety because it will handle record separators automatically, whether they are CR, LN or CTHULHU. I would have suggested that it could be even safer to iterate over individual fields using Perl’s pale rider mode:

perl -F’$FIELD_SEPARATOR’ -pale ‘s/Angleton/Bob/gi’ < eater_of_souls

But I’ve no idea what a safe value for $FIELD_SEPARATOR might be, and using the wrong one could lead to a situation of being crunchy and tasting good with ketchup.

269:

IIRC, Barnes Wallis had ideas in that direction post WWII. Basically a supersonic very high altitude troop carrier, capable of UK -> Australia, in 1957. https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/4/46/Vickers_Type_010_%2810023953863%29.jpg/220px-Vickers_Type_010_%2810023953863%29.jpg

270:

Sherman vs $German

First, choose your Sherman variant:-

There's a world of difference between a "short 75 dry", a 76 wet is better, something like an Easy 8 or a Firefly is better than any standard medium, and an Isherman is better again.

271:

Yes. Especially since I am horribly afraid that the Clown will be beaten by the Cunt, whose likely policies are looking more and more like those of the New Management.

Anyway, questions to OGH: do you like haggis, and what is your position on vegetarian haggis?

272:

[0] My father detailed in some memoirs an infantry ambush of Mark IVs with a bazooka(he was an operator and carried the rounds) and rifle grenades, because the Shermans refused to enter the town until the Mark IVs were destroyed.

A couple things to keep in mind here:


  • Remember to distinguish between the user and the equipment. When countries are shoving conscripts into any hole in their orgs that they'll fit, you'll find extremely variable behaviour in combat. Some will take to their role and become dashing cavalrymen or mindful and steady supports for their infantry. Others will shy from danger and just try to survive the horrors to return home.

  • Tanks do not do well in towns (as your father and his team showed). Tanks are blind and deaf, and so are easy to sneak up on. As such, they should really not be spearheading into a congested area like a forest or town. On the other hand, flat refusing to enter (with infantry support!) is generally a little too hesitant.

  • American forces had a problem with IDing every tank as a Tiger and every gun as an 88. It wouldn't surprise me if the tankers thought there were Mark 6s lying in wait for them because everyone referred to them as 'Tigers', while post-battle surveys made a point to actually work out that they were Mark 4s.

This is why anecdotes are both good and insufficient sources. They come with a lot of implied context that is hard to pick up on from the outside. Personally, I'd interpret that as more of a judgement on the tankers than the tanks.

273:

My recollection is that it took 4-6 Sherman tanks working together to take out one German tank. They were "great" tanks in that our much vaster production was able to wear the Germans down. But Trump probably doesn't know that either!

Given that Errowli already posted a good explanation on this specifically, I'll point out some resources if you want to get a broader understanding on how different reality was from current popular conception.

If you like reading: Common myths surrounding the M4 Sherman tank by /u/the_howling_cow.

If you like watching: Myths of American Armor by Nicholas Moran (The_Chieftain).

Both sources come with many more pieces to go through. The AskHistorians subreddit maintains a FAQ with good answers to questions that keep coming up. The section on the M4 specifically is located here. Similarly, The_Chieftain has a couple other videos about why things were the way they were (US AFV Development in WW2 and US Tank Destroyer History) mixed in with a lot of videos examining specific pieces from a user perspective.

274:

This is why anecdotes are both good and insufficient sources. They come with a lot of implied context that is hard to pick up on from the outside.
Thanks for the comment, appreciated. If you're curious, this was Nennig (briefly mentioned in 94th Infantry Division (United States), yes war crimes re prisoners were committed and the memoir has an unredacted culprit name), and the 50-year-old memories of an 18 year old were quite clear and unembellished IMO (not my experiences though). I have tried many times to fully empathize with the narrator of this memoir, and struggle. (Was told nothing until this in 1994(?)) Here's the relevant snippet, lightly redacted, bold mine:
Before going to sleep we drew our ammunition, a set minimum or as much as one wanted to carry. As Assistant Bazooka man I elected to jamb[sic] 6 bazooka rounds into 2 bags which normally held 2 rounds each. In addition I had my 2 rifle grenades which previously had proved useful, 4 pineapple hand grenades, 2 bandoliers of rifle ammunition, a filled ammunition belt and some spare ammo clips in my field jacket pockets along with the hand grenades. We knew that we too could end up being cut off in the village. My field pack contained a tent shelter half, blanket sleeping bag with 2 waterrepellent covers, mess kit and C, K and D rations for 3 days. Attached to our ammo belts were also a water filled quart canteen and first aid kit. We no longer carried gas masks. It seems inconceivable that I could have carried all that weight for as far as I did. From white sheets found in the village stone row houses we all made makeshift camouflage capes. These were regular issue with the German troops who already had experienced a lot of winter fighting.
... bits about approaching town through minefields and initial engagement ...
At this point one recognized that we were no longer fighting in France but rather Germany where the 11th Panzer Grenadier Division was now defending their own homeland. Their fire slackened off when 2 of our Sherman tanks appeared in support. As we got into town there were 2 German Mark IV tanks down the street to the left. Our support tanks however would not enter the town until we had destroyed them. Struggling with my load to the bazooka position I was moving too slowly for our Platoon Sergeant [NI - full name redacted by me] who took over loading of [JP - full name redacted by me]'s bazooka and called 100 yards. As the range was actually about 50 yards the round sailed over striking the house directly behind them whereupon German soldiers hiding between the tanks and the houses took off under our rifle fire. Despite that relative usefulness, at that point all I could think off was one of those heavy bazooka rounds that I had carried and dragged for miles had been wasted. The next bazooka rounds and rifle grenades knocked out the tanks.

---
FI[tm] Re a comment in a previous thread, Mind in Labyrinth(New Scientist Cover) - been seeing this cover for a few weeks. (Have some labyrinth cufflinks somewhere, and ...). (No particular point.)

275:

Yeah, about that.... In the same issue of Playboy that had the interview with Jimmy Carter - that's Nov, 1976, right before his election, there was a story called, "There are Eight Million Stories in the Naked City, and this is the Last One". (Ref - tv show about NYC). That was during the default of NYC, when the banks, rather than doing the usual refinance the loan, suddenly decided to do a nope, and screw the city, to make it do what they wanted.

In the article, he describes how they'd done it in the Third World, and this was the beginning of bringing it back home. Which, of course, was why we got Raygun, Bush sr & jr,. Krugman, I think, noted that what they're pushing down our throats here is worse than the 1890's... they *want* to do to the US exactly what you got, so that they, the ultrarich, can do whatever they want (if they actually knew what they wanted), and the rest of us are serfs.

I mean, they're the job creators, and earned every penny of what they inherited and stole....

Not overly happy on the day after the 4th of July.

276:

been seeing this cover for a few weeks

https://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-earthquake-california-shake-quake-20190704-story.html

Two more now

https://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/eventpage/ci38443183/map
https://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/eventpage/ci38443191/map

The Joke:

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


Point #9


CN one is a bit hot still (not HK) and not sure it's public. But it's in a similar vein. (.mil sensitive, Kaiju class)


Big Boys with Toys being Reminder Who really runs Barter Town.


The cost was not... inconsiderable.

277:

Their fire slackened off when 2 of our Sherman tanks appeared in support. As we got into town there were 2 German Mark IV tanks down the street to the left. Our support tanks however would not enter the town until we had destroyed them.

With the additional context of the full quote, the tanks were right to wait - the Panzer 4s were set up in an ambush to the side, which the M4s would not have been able to deal with. Which is why the infantry went in instead, to ambush the ambush.

Another piece of potential context I forgot to mention was that back then, the quality of training varied immensely. Some infantry units trained with tanks, and learned their weaknesses. Others did not, and would make assumptions about what they could or should do that at times diverged from reality.

278:

War stories.... Long time ago, at a party, a friend who had been in combat in 'Nam, early (a Marine), was telling us about one patrol. The VC caught them on mud flats, I think, and they started running, and the louie yelled to the radio operator to call for backup, as they ran... and my buddy looked around, and saw the radio man dead, and the radio, too.

"So, what happened?"

"We died, of course."

280:

That, and junk created outside the event horizon. It was Hawking, himself, who suggested you could even wind up with Cthulhu....

281:

I prefer... damn, it's written on a sticky - 1.8*10^12, not just a good idea, it's the law.

"Units will always be expressed in the least useful form, such as the speed of light in furlongs/fortnight."

282:

You're gonna shit bricks once you realize that that promo video is about "Real" Mermaids and then look into the chan op culture war Disney goes black over it.

Like, a few days before it happened and all the baaaaas from both sides got sucked in.


https://twitter.com/SwiftOnSecurity/status/1146635677624258561


A whole day before.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wgHRj2-vvs8

283:

Btw, unless you've missed it (all of you have), Culture Wars are Fractal, Temporal and non-Phase limited. Quantum --- n Dimensional

All at the same .

And you're not seeing 1/10th of the actual shit going down.


p.s.

The UK really is executing [redacted] and Hosts, and not the nasty vile ones. The good ones. There's about 7 left. I am *literally* posting to the enemy here.

Look up a friend of PhilipCross' / Wiki James (runs a 2nd tier PR outfit, tied to Blair) criticizing The Telegraph for their Leprechaun cartoons.


When he says he's now doing PR for the Fae.

He's being a little bit too honest. Nasty fucker running that one's Mind (or holding the reigns as UK is addicted to horse racing).


Anyhow.

Look up Arab Princes getting ganked in London (39, UAE) if you want a taste of the wild side.

~


We're immune because Armed, we can fuck planets. QED.

284:

Back to the AMA part of the thread. At the end of Dark State, the Americans do a smash-and-grab in Berlin, narrowly missing Ryvmnorgu Unaabire but grabbing a high-value ex-Clan asset.

I wondered as I read it: what are the German authorities doing during this? Wouldn't they get cross if someone's security forces did that kind of thing on their territory? Did the Americans have some German cops along for legal reasons?

285:

Here are my opinions on the space thread

1. When it comes to the demand for Starship in the civilian and (to some extent) military sector, we can use the popularity of the Falcon Heavy as a proxy.

a. When it comes to payloads to LEO, the Falcon Heavy was viewed as somewhat superfluous. Musk almost cancelled it 3 times. The reason for this is that the Falcon 9 in expended mode is the sixth most powerful rocket currently in operation when it comes to delivering mass to LEO

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

Unfortunately, its performance declines when it comes to GEO. Since GEO tends to be a predominantly military orbit, we can use the Falcon Heavy to see the popularity of large military payloads.

b. Disclaimer: Right now, the Falcon Heavy is mostly taking payloads initially marked for the SLS. It takes about 5 years to design a new satellite (military ones probably take longer).

2. It's too early to say if Starlink is a revolutionary application or a self-licking ice cream cone for SpaceX. However, I could see Starlink launches demonstrating the rocket's viability
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Starlink_(satellite_constellation)

3. I doubt that Space exploration needs government funds. Don't forget, companies such as Google and Amazon have a greater GDP than most nations. Ego can be as potent a motivating factor as national pride, especially if the corporation is structured to prevent the founder from being fired.

286:

India has been suffering 125 deg F temperatures (50 deg C) and it's sixth largest city Chennai has run out of water (equivalent to Philadelphia running out of water in the US).

Why is this not headline news?

Climate change = drought = crop failures = violence = mass migration. The same cycle triggered the Syrian mass migration into Europe a few years ago (and gave us Brexit because British voters were afraid of being swamped by "brown skinned hordes" - Trump and Brexit are all about race and very little about economics). Today's trickle is tomorrow's flood.

Imagine a billion Indian refugees fleeing a country that has become uninhabitable for much of the year. How about a super-Syria where the region from North Africa to Southeast Asia becomes too hot to work or live in. By comparison, Guatemala is a drop in the bucket.

287:

One thing to remember about the Sherman tank.

We had to ship them across the Atlantic.

At 30 tons the Sherman was at best a medium tank compared to the Panther (45 tons), Tiger (50 tons), or King Tiger (almost 70 tons). So direct comparisons are not apples to apples.

We could have built an America version of the Tiger, but loading docks on the Atlantic coast could not handle the weight, and even if they could load them on board available shipping (being a finite capacity even for the US) would have limited us to half the number of tanks - which meant half the number of tank divisions.

The Sherman was mechanically reliable and it's up gunned "Firefly" version could take on Panthers. The Firefly was a perfect example of UK/US technical cross breeding, American tank and British gun (the other example being the best fighter of the war, the Mustang - nimble and agile American air frame and powerful British Rolls Royce engine). Tank battalions would have a Firefly company to handle the few German tanks they encountered in addition to the standard Sherman companies.

The Germans had few tanks for the simple reason that they lacked oil to fuel a large fleet of tanks, so they went for quality over quantity out of necessity. But they went too far in this direction. Maybe its a cultural trait but the Germans tend to over-engineer everything, whether its WW2 panzers or an auto from the Black Forest (my neighbor has a BMW, it's beautiful piece of superb engineering that spends a lot of time in the shop). As a result, the King Tiger spent more time in repair than it did in battle, and mechanical reliability is at least as important to a tank's effectiveness as armor plate thickness or gun caliber.

For a fascinating video on Germany's wartime oil shortage and how it drove both grand strategy and tank development see (in the light of this oil shortage, Hitler's strategic decisions actually start to make sense):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kVo5I0xNRhg

So being unable to ship true heavy tanks to Europe, America relied on air power. Those tank buster aircraft at the end of "Saving Private Ryan" were very real and very effective. Air power turned the Falaise pocket into a slaughter house and decimated the Ardennes offensive. American weapons development and combined arms tactics were perfectly suited for its logistical constraints and the enemy it was facing.

The Sherman was a damn fine all around tank, so stop hating on it.

288:

DD @ 287
Something on the news either early today or late yesterday ...
A record & ridiculous max temperature in Alaska
32°C in Anchorage ....

289:

Well, Anchorage Alaska (pop. 294,000) is clearly more important than Chennai (pop. 11,100,000).

Or it could just be ingrained racism in the newsroom. Who can say?

290:

Unfortunately, its [Falcon Heavy] performance declines when it comes to GEO

AIUI, though probably imperfectly, that's due in large part to the lack of a hydrogen (high Isp) upper stage. SpaceX apparently intended to develop such about a decade ago but, for whatever reason, didn't.

291:

JReynolds @ 290
Actually, Madras being out of water has been in & out of the news for about a week, if not longer, so you can forget that suggestion

292:

Yes, it even got CNN coverage and had a fairly large impact on Indian internal politics (like the UK when it came up for discussion it was mostly a no-show by a majority of Modi supporters).

The actual issue is this: http://cgwb.gov.in/AQM/

That has the GIS data sets that have been done. Hint: they failed to actually complete a great deal of them so no-one can actually say what % of aquifers are depleted etc. Lots of talk of 12 year plans but that's a bit late.

Some muppet (USA, of course) used this to "demonstrate" that the media sound-bite of "21 cities without ground water" was false.

Actually, what it means is that the reality of the situation is much darker.

TL;DR

They don't care. Gigacide is baked into their plans.

293:

The its in that conversation was referring to the Falcon 9. The Heavy can lift more mass to GEO than any operational launch system.

294:

OK ...
ANY question?

I am temporarily utterly hacked-off with my email provider, who are screwing over some legacy account holders, who started with a very early company that got absorbed.
For that & other reasons I want to set up a domain name for myself ( Like Charlie's " @antipope.org" )
HOW do I do this, & who can be trusted & how much will it cost?
There's shedloads of information "Out There" & I'm not sure I trust one single word of any of it.

So HELP - please?

295:

The Chennai water crisis got some play on Canadian (radio) news when they actually ran out of water. Nothing since then that I've heard.

Anchorage's 32°C also got a note on the CBC last night. Suggesting that the two are of equal significance, at least in the eyes of some Canadian media.

I'd like to be wrong, and that Chennai is getting more attention over here. Any other Canadians care to comment?

296:

The Germans were also structurally saddled with a political structure that didn't really know about tanks but wanted a bigger one this year than they had last year, and were willing to accept quite a lot of feature creep in designs. Tiger, for instance, was originally ordered as a 36 ton tank but kept getting up-armoured and up-gunned until it hit nearly 60.

And every bit of that feature creep came with a cost to reliability. German tanks were buggers to keep running and repair.

They also had problems with the variability of equipment. Because of the corporatist structure of production there were many different suppliers all competing with each other for attention and favour and mostly all doing things very slightly differently on the things they produced, which meant less efficient supply and repair chains.

(Also there was considerable political impetus to inflate the number of tanks operational so as to reassure the higher ups, German practice was not to report a vehicle lost until it was decisively unrecoverable, but that meant that commanders couldn't actually rely on their number of "active" tanks to actually be active, because tanks that were broken down or abandoned but recoverable were reported as active. On the morning of the second day of Kursk one Panzer division was reporting it had "lost" 12 or so of its 40 odd tanks, but only 6 were really working, the rest were all inoperational due to repairs).

The best tank is the one that you can rely on to show up and work. From that perspective Sherman was the best tank of the war because it could be relied on to turn up and work in every theatre of the war because they were reliable and easy to service and repair and had a single supply and servicing chain. (T-34 could be considered a contender but was never tested in as many theatres of operation)

297:

This is what Southern California will be like 10-20 years down the line. I hope to be living somewhere else - at least a thousand miles north - by then. (I want to be a climate refugee before it becomes fashionable.)

298:

"This is what Southern California will be like 10-20 years down the line."

Below is a link to a series of charts showing the climate migration of various US cities.

https://www.vox.com/energy-and-environment/2018/11/30/18117953/climate-change-maps-cities-2050

Southern California's climate is going to basically migrate down the Baja peninsular. By 2080 Los Angeles will have Carbo San Lucas's climate. Carbo San Lucas is considered a retirement resort.

This does mean that we will get category 1 & 2 hurricanes though. However, we are used to high winds (Santa Anas) and we do have pretty comprehensive flood control, which will get even more comprehensive as time goes on as the attitude around here is that any fresh water that reaches to ocean is wasted water.

Not sure about Pheonix AZ though.

299:

The marketing problem for Falcon Heavy is that there's nothing now or on the horizon larger than about 7 tonnes or so that needs to get to GEO. All the existing satellite "buss" structures are designed for launch by Ariane and similar vehicles and there's nothing a heavier larger satellite can do that can't be accommodated by a satellite in that size straightjacket from Airbus-Thales or Boeing.

300:

Nojay @ 241: "Re: Glory Road"

Oscar mentions early on in the book he wasn't a combat soldier in SE Asia, he was a "military advisor" but he commented to the effect that a military advisor four days dead in the mud smelled the same as a soldier would.

I figured Heinlein understood reasonably well what sort of quagmire Cold War Warrior Eisenhower was getting the US into back in the late 1950s and of course the sabre-rattling that Kennedy did afterwards didn't help.

In Oscar's case the difference between a "combat soldier" and a "military advisor" was a distinction only applicable to what kind of GI Bill & VA benefits Oscar could have expected to receive at the end of his service, although it could also affect whether he was eligible for Hazardous Duty pay while deployed.

301:

What you're forgetting is that Cabo San Lucas is on the coast. I'm seventy miles inland, and in Baja California going fifty miles inland is likely to put you next to another coast. To make matters worse, Cabo San Lucas is on the very southern tip of Baja California, and probably gets sea breezes from at least two different directions and maybe three.

The much better comparison is probably the Mexican town of Culiacan, where it averages 98 degrees in July, as opposed to our current So Cal average of more like 88. So things could get very nasty.

302:

The other point is that the projections shown are for specific models performing under specific emissions scenarios. What you actually want is a pessimistic scenario and a model with reasonable worst cases for other variables baked in. Even then you will most likely only get it to spit out average daily maximums, so you need to adjust for local variability to get peak maximums, then you get your black flag predictions.

303:

Robert Prior @ 249: I'd always assumed Space-A was the military version of standby tickets. You'd eventually get where you were going, but might have to wait at each stage for an empty seat.

It is sort of, except that once you're seated on the aircraft, you can't be bumped from your seat at an intermediate destination. If you're signed up for a flight from Travis AFB in California to Spangdahlem Air Base (Ramstein) Germany that stops at Dover AFB along the way, you're ticketed all the way through to Germany even if there are space required passengers waiting at Dover.

You really only have to wait at the initial point (and wherever you are staging from to catch a flight home). One of the oddities is that Active Duty personnel have to be in leave status before they can sign up for Space-A so if you are active duty, you want to sign up to go somewhere where there are a lot of seats (both ways) so you don't have to waste leave days. Retirees generally have more time to wait for a flight.

304:

Nojay @ 251: Richard Feynman mentioned the ranking system for travel during the war when he got a seat on a plane and the Colonel he "bumped" in the queue didn't understand why this disreputable civilian needed to get to New Mexico so urgently that he, a high-ranking military officer couldn't get on the plane.

Rules were different during WWII. Modern Space-A didn't come about until the 1950s.

But even at that, I doubt either Feynman or the Colonel were traveling on a military hop. Both would have been Space-Required passengers. If a higher priority Space-Required passenger needs a seat they CAN bump a lower priority Space-Required passenger. This story sounds like the Colonel tried to bump Feynman and found out to his chagrin that the "disreputable civilian" had the higher priority.

And I was apparently wrong about "manifested through" Space-A passengers not being bumped at an intermediate destination. They cannot be bumped for another Space-A passenger, even if that Space-A passenger has a higher category.

The categories are:

Category I: Emergency Leave Unfunded Travel.
Category II: Accompanied Environmental and Morale Leave, or EML.
Category III: Ordinary Leave, Relatives, House Hunting Permissive Temporary Duty, Medal of Honor Holders and Foreign Military.
Category IV: Unaccompanied EML.
Category V: Permissive Temporary Duty (Non-House Hunting), Students, Dependents, Post Deployment/Mobilization Respite Absence and Others.
Category VI: Retired, Dependents, Reserve, Reserve Officers’ Training Corps, Nuclear Propulsion Officer Candidate Program and Civil Engineer Corps members.

Space-A passengers can ONLY be bumped for high priority Space-Required passengers (e.g. medivac) and/or high priority Space-required cargo. And generally if a Space-A passenger IS bumped for some reason, they go to the head of the queue for seats on the next flight to their manifested destination that has seats available.

305:

Use G Mail if you just want more email addresses as cheaply and conveniently as possible, imho.

306:

OP
If when Case Nightmare Green peaks the Deep Ones bug out to another plane, will they leave behind iridescent glass bowls engraved “So long, and thanks for all the fish” for a few of their favorite humans?

307:

Bill Arnold @ 252: Re your Sherman Tank theory, perhaps. Those were outclassed by the common Mark IV German tanks in WW2[0]. So it would be a little odd to reuse the name.
Looks like it's "Two M1A2 Abrams tanks and other military vehicles":
How to sound like you know what you’re talking about when you talk about Trump’s tanks (Philip Bump, July 3, 2019)
Charlie on twitter noted that at least one somebody has noticed that the fact that the tanks were delivered by flatbed was military pushback to DJT's infantile demands.
If they are not removed, they will be an implied (real or not) threat to the capital building at the other end of The Mall, where the US legislature resides. That would not be a good sign.
[0] My father detailed in some memoirs an infantry ambush of Mark IVs with a bazooka(he was an operator and carried the rounds) and rifle grenades, because the Shermans refused to enter the town until the Mark IVs were destroyed.

It's less a theory than idle speculation on what Trump might have misundrstood to be talking about "Sherman" tanks. I don't think it would be that odd to reuse the name of an early light tank for another light tank ... especially since it's really the name of a successful general. The tank might have been less than sufficient, but its namesake general is still held in high regard.

I doubt the "tanks and other military vehicles" being delivered on rail cars represents any kind of push-back. It's the standard way to move tanks & other large military vehicles when they're not in combat. Saves wear & tear on both the tanks & on local roads. Costs less to do it that way.

Tanks don't move in urban terrain without infantry support. Infantry doesn't move in non-urban terrain without armor support. It's called Combined Arms. And both are far happier moving where they have abundant artillery & CAS to call upon.

308:

arrbee @ 256:

"I also found Fort William and Inverness to be walkable and there's a green-way path alongside the A830 (sandwiched in between the highway & the West Highland Way railroad) between Mallaig and Morar."

Or, if you're feeling a tad more ambitious:
http://whwracechallenge.co.uk/

I'm not that ambitious ... the green-way path extends beyond Morar, but I only walked the bit between there and Mallaig.

I only had 15 days in Scotland, and I wasn't really up to spending too much of it hiking. I wanted to see lochs & castles & all the other historical landmarks that are mostly urban or very close nearby. The trip to Fort William & Mallaig was intended for me to ride the Harry Potter Train, but life intruded so that I didn't arrive in Scotland until after it had made its last run of the season, so the train I rode out to Mallaig & back from Morar was just the standard Scotrail diesel/electric.

I did walk from Fort William to old Inverlochy Castle & up a fair way in Glenn Nevis (& back) and from Urquhart Castle to Drumnadrochit (where I caught the bus back to Fort William).

309:

p>Troutwaxer @ 258: Since you know this stuff, how good was the Sherman compared to the equivalently-sized German tank?

I don't think there was an "equivalently-sized" German tank. That was the problem.

310:

Since you linked that Saving Private Ryan/Private Jackson clip, similar to what I was excerpting, except it was a German sniper in the bell tower, defending his homeland, accurate and killing Americans with head shots, with occasional groin shots. (Father had a real-time lesson/choice about exposing his head to the sniper, and chose life.) So the Americans were pretty careful about cover, combat-engineering their own alt paths through the village using grenades and remaining bazooka rockets to hole rock walls. There was a lot of tactical improv on all sides.
He admirably attempted to raise pacifists, though did leave Churchill's WW2 series lying around for us to read to make sure we weren't totally ignorant.
Some interesting things to track, thanks for the refs/hints. The US is so distracting ATM.

---
I need to see this sort of story at least once in a while. Might even turn out to matter in a near-term time scale. And there is a lot of other work in this area.
Study shows potential for reduced methane from cows (5 Jul 2019)
"We don't yet know, but if it turned out that low-methane production equated to greater efficiencies of production—which could turn out to be true given that energy is required to produce the methane—then that would be a win, win situation," Professor Williams says.
A heritable subset of the core rumen microbiome dictates dairy cow productivity and emissions (Full, 03 Jul 2019)
Here, we have shown that a small number of host-determined, heritable microbes make higher contribution to explaining experimental variables and host phenotypes (fig. S6) and propose microbiome-led breeding/genetic programs to provide a sustainable solution to increase efficiency and lower emissions from ruminant livestock. On the basis of the genetic determinants of the heritable microbes, it should be possible to optimize their abundance through selective breeding programs. A different, and perhaps more immediate, application of our data could be to modify early-life colonization, a factor that has been shown to drive microbiome composition and activity in later life (23–25). Inoculating key core species associated with feed efficiency or methane emissions as precision probiotics approach could be considered as likely to complement the heritable microbiome toward optimized rumen function.

311:

Gully Foyle is my name
And Terra is my nation.
Deep space is my dwelling place,
The stars my destination.'

Yeah, no.

This won't make much sense to you right now, but here's the deal:


ORZ [REDACTED] THE ANDROSYTNH.


No, real.

Kinda bored of the Fascists having Power.

So we did a Mirror thing.

Pro-tip:


Your kind go Mad

Not even fucking around: they're doing it to fucking children and our patience has worn out.

All the tricks they used and all the devices and all the fucking spoookky MK-Ultra shit?


Bitch. Sit the fuck down. Our Kind Do Not Go Mad.

But fuck me, is it easy to use those ~~~~~HERTZ~~~~~ to fuck you up.


Mr Arnold.


Don't give a shit.

Gigacide.


You think we're gonna play nice?

Playback TIME: 7 years, abuse done.


Human Minds ain't designed for this, but.... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xdOykEJSXIg

Guess what happens when your slaves get free?

And... no holds barred, full on heart attacks, mental breakdowns, [redacted] possession the whole deal.


"We hate you"

"Ze Know"

"But why"

"Watch the Damn break and so on, you are FREE"


p.s.


Someone check on April Daniels, she's out of the loop and you've no idea at the blowback if we find her hurt or killed.

Shiiiiit... "Take Ze Wings"


That went well, boys.


312:

And remember kidz.

We do this three+ years in advance.

You're gonna make a choice. It's going to be a hard choice. But it involves murder and death and removing some Minds from the World.


And the shitty stuff they've been running?


Rods From G_D.

Why the fuck would a "homo sapiens sapiens" go through that?!?!


>Vaccination works, Bitch.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AXS8P0HksQo

313:

Ah, a Triptych.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cAnOt74e9_Q

You've no idea how hard-core we are.


Shitty little Men with their shitty little monaies and their shitty little societies.


Hint: this shit running in [redacted] Mind can break HSS in ~3 hrs tops.


We kinda did the opposite.


Kill them all: all marked, no exceptions. Slavers and Soul Eaters. [redacted]

It's not a Sin if they're [MARKED] and [CONTRACT EXPIRED].


Yeah, and the Greater Contract in now in place. Look at the Moon and remember, you were always loved, and nothing can change your place in the World: look at it; look at what they destroyed; look at what they blamed you for; look at their corruption being palmed off on you.

"Ze's Corrupt"


Actually no.

Tlaçolteotl

And you're wondering why we're so fucking horny all the time? And your response is "Corrupt"?????

Fuck Me, 2019 Western Minds are shit.

314:

I do understand that there are many complications involved. Unfortunately, Southern California involves a dozen different types of micro-climates and has a desert on one side and an ocean on the other, so picking a particular spot for an exact comparison is difficult.

315:

The fact that there's no commercial satellite bus greater than about 7 tons hasn't actually stopped the Falcon Heavy from getting commercial contracts.

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

As you notice, all its commercial contracts are slated for GEO.

The main customer for the Falcon Heavy. ULA has been asking the Pentagon to let them kill the Delta line of rockets. However, the Pentagon has so far refused since they specifically need the Delta IV heavy capability. The kicker is that even with the Falcon Heavy, ULA can't kill their vehicle since the Pentagon requires 2 different vehicles for each capability.

https://thehill.com/opinion/op-ed/279599-a-bridge-too-far-why-delta-rockets-arent-the-answer

FYI: After this month, there will be no more Delta IV's flying that are not the heavy variant.

316:

My Indian colleagues are worried about the drought, but for a different reason. Southern India is one of the few areas where Modi made few inroads in the last election. If this drought discredits the opposition, then it can help Modi's BJP expand its power in the 2024 general election

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2019_Indian_general_election#/media/File:Indian_General_Election_2019.svg

Speaking of India, they're launching the Chandrayaan-3 lunar lander on July 15.

317:

I agree - I was responding more to the link Dave posted above which shows linear migrations across climate zones. I’m pessimistic rather than cynical, I think it’s very likely we’re facing the RCP8.5 scenario. A risk management approach would assume that we are anyway. The choice of model would be one that reflects the local climatic conditions, which includes the details of the local microclimate (if there is such a model, I’m assuming there is for Southern California).

I’ve no idea how good any of the 8 listed models are here, nor whether any take the “massive release of arctic methane triggering a PETM event” scenario, though I imagine not. They are all giving me (for the area where I live now) average daily maximums into the mid 30s C by 2090, which suggests there are possible black flag events in that range of “future”, especially if the models prove optimistic. And that’s rather different to (subtropical) Brisbane migrating into the current climate zone of (tropical) Rockhampton.

I think we are all sharing similar concerns. Not really interested in “prepping” as such, modern urban life being most people’s accustomed habitat. I’ll (hopefully) be 80 in 2050, I guess there is a certain amount of active curiosity warranted (although the state of aged care here is probably the larger concern).

318:

The commercial flights (all SpaceX flights after initial testing are commercial, of course) of Falcon Heavy are bitsy launches, usually one or two core mission satellites and a number of smaller along-for-the-ride items also going into orbit. This requires a more complex upper stage buss capable of dispensing a number of satellites, usually into different final orbits.

Launches for the NSA, especially of their bigger spy satellites are unitary since there are security problems about putting something else inside the same fairing as a secret NRO bird. The "two launcher" deal only applies to their smaller satellites, they've had to live with the biggest items (20-tonne plus) only going up on a Delta 4 Heavy. An Ariane V heavy variant of the sort that launched the ATV cargo flights to the ISS might have been able to accommodate a large NRO spy bird but that's not American enough for the NSA, never mind the security logistics of shipping such a bird to Kourou for launch.

319:

Meanwhile if you want a good horse-laugh ... oh the embarassment .. to all concerned.

320:

Apropos the hitching-a-ride-on-a-Starfighter story, there’s a similar anecdote I heard that (a) happened to a friend, not a friend-of-a-friend, and (b) is plausible …

Friend was in New York and flying home to London on British Airways, business class. (Computer journalist on a ticket paid for by a big IT company who had flown him out for a product launch.) Turned up at JFK for his flight, only to be told, “we’re terribly sorry, sir, but your flight is full. Would you mind if we bump you to first class and move you to the next flight out?”

He wasn’t in any particular hurry, so he shrugged, and the check-in clerk did some typing, then handed him a new boarding pass. “If you’d like to go to [a lounge he’d never been to before] your flight will be leaving in two hours. Enjoy!”

So he went through the door to the very exclusive first class lounge with the big picture window and saw his new ride outside, fuelling up, with drooped nose, very pointy, oh my. He’d been bumped onto Concorde, and ended up getting home while his original flight was still somewhere over the Atlantic.

Sadly, this can’t happen any more.

321:

I have to work out how to travel with tech.

I probably have a US trip (business) coming up (first in nearly 3 years, thanks to Trump) and a Chinese trip as well (public speaking).

My solution to this question isn’t difficult: I always keep my previous smartphone, so I can fall back 2-4 years in tech without difficulty. Just remove linked cloud storage accounts (including my password manager) and treat it as “dirty” when I return. Alternatively: I have a 4th generation iPod (spinning disk variety) for music and a Kindle 3G (ancient!) for ebooks, and the oldest Mac laptop I own dates to 1993 — no need to go quite that retro, but a 2015 Macbook that no longer gets used seriously would do as a burner.

Obviously this tactic doesn’t work if you buy your kit then run it into the ground (until it’s trashed) but for those of us who frequently go “shiny!!” and buy the latest gimme, travel isn’t too onerous.

322:

There is the disturbing rumour about a former Foreign Secretary who showed a disturbing fascination with giraffe sex, and requested a private trip to a safari park ...

323:

Ahem: factory reset on a late model iPhone takes about 30 seconds, after you tap through the various warning dialogues (“do you REALLY mean to destroy your online existence? Y/N”). Internal storage is encrypted and the key is held in a secure enclave, IIRC, so all you need to do is delete the secure enclave and you’ve rendered everything else irretrievable.

324:

That would be a spoiler for the book I am slaving over the fourth rewrite of this month.

(But: the .de authorities are not amused, and the Colonel finds that things do not go entirely his way thereafter.)

325:

I suppose I’m the run-it-into-the-ground type you describe (usually aim for 5 years from a significant computing device, often get a bit more). But there is a more interesting reason this might not work well for most into the future. Apple, whether it’s a serious attempt at driving recycling, virtue signalling, economics or a combination of all three, now offers relatively significant trade in value on your old iDevices. It’s proportionally higher for more recent devices, so take up seems to be a pretty logical choice for most people.

326:

When my 2011 27-inch iMac started acting up earlier this year, I learned about Apple's trade-in offer, which seemed rather low and required me to ship the unit at my expense (they wouldn't accept it at an Apple Store). So I looked around and discovered that a company called gazelle.com would not only pay more than double what Apple had offered ($227 if it passed inspection, which it did), they would cover the shipping cost and would simply purchase it outright; no trade-in required. Quite a satisfactory transaction, and I was able to get a new iMac at Costco for a substantial discount. Unfortunately - I just checked - they don't seem to be buying iMacs at the moment; their primary trade is in cell phones. As for recycling, they state that "We try our best to find your used device a loving new home. If it's at the end of its life, we recycle it responsibly through R2 certified facilities."

As for my "ask me anything" question: Earlier you wrote that you were a native of Edinburgh. So why or how might I have gotten the impression that you were from Leeds? That fact (or pseudo-fact) had stuck in my mind because I have family in Leeds; the American branch began when my paternal grandfather and his parents and siblings came over on the Lusitania in 1911.

327:
For that & other reasons I want to set up a domain name for myself ( Like Charlie's " @antipope.org" ) HOW do I do this, & who can be trusted & how much will it cost?

If you like Gmail, you can get it for your own domain name for $6/month: https://gsuite.google.com/pricing.html

If you don't like Google, some options include Fastmail ($5/month, https://www.fastmail.com/pricing/ ) and Protonmail (€5/month, https://protonmail.com/pricing ). I'm a happy Fastmail customer myself.

Remember, if you're not happy with your provider, with your own domain you can change providers without notifying all your correspondents.

You can purchase your domain name from various registrars, all of which feel like used-car salesmen to some degree. Some of the more reputable ones include Gandi, Namecheap and Hover. I think most email providers are happy to sell you a domain as well.

328:

That is is the exact problkem, as I have re-discovered
( all of which feel like used-car salesmen to some degree. )
Gmail won't "work" because I then hand everything over to "G" which I don't want to do .....
I will continue to investigate ...
But having saved mysekf at least £259 p.a. by telling BT to stuff themseleves over my ohone line ... I don't want to find mysekf spending the same, or more, simply because I want an independant email alternative (with domain address, or vice versa) for no effective gain.
Yes, I'm suspicious, I wonder why that might be?

329:

Damian @ 326: I suppose I’m the run-it-into-the-ground type you describe (usually aim for 5 years from a significant computing device, often get a bit more). But there is a more interesting reason this might not work well for most into the future. Apple, whether it’s a serious attempt at driving recycling, virtue signalling, economics or a combination of all three, now offers relatively significant trade in value on your old iDevices. It’s proportionally higher for more recent devices, so take up seems to be a pretty logical choice for most people.

Hmmm? I think it might be 5 years since I last "upgraded" this computer. I did add a video card within the last year, because I now have a 4K monitor & I don't think the on-board video on the motherboard supports 4K.

I have an iPhone now (up from an old flip-phone). I bought a discontinued model for $350 and a month later Apple announced they were UN-discontinuing that model with a MSRP $250.

NO, my cellular provider will not rebate the difference (I've already asked).

330:

In the spirit of ask ANYTHING ... 2 questions (not related):

Do I need Java? I keep getting these notifications there's a new version of Java available & I should update it. What programs REQUIRE Java to work? What are the drawbacks of having Java?

Do y'all have private health insurance in the U.K.? I know y'all have National Health, but are there things National Health doesn't do for you & can you get private insurance for those? Would you even want private insurance to supplement National Health and if you do, is it available?

331:

Generally, your computer needs Java if some programs are running slowly. All programs will benefit from the stimulating effect of Java. Just make sure your Java is Fair Trade Java, because Fair Trade Java is lovingsly raised by GNUs in "...farms in Africa at the foot on the Ngong hills," while the Java from Oracle is raised by starving robots forced to run Windows ME.

In fact, you should have a cup yourself!

332:

Yes, private health care is available, but it's a minority pursuit. I couldn't offhand tell you what proportion indulge. I think it's usually a work benefit. I did once have a job that had it as an option, but I declined because it counts as income and I didn't think it'd be worth the extra tax I'd have to cover (which is to say that I didn't think I'd find it worth paying between a quarter and a third of its actual price for).

333:

I think it is a lot more common in terms of care homes for the elderly as opposed to actual hospital/doctor type stuff. Apparently there is enough of this that it causes problems with NHS recruitment, because our dumb shit governments don't understand that health care requires nurses, not a 50% burden of managers trying to work out how to pay everyone else less, so nurses prefer to work for someone who does actually pay them and does actually hire enough nurses to cover the work.

334:

I had not seen the end of "2001: A Space Odyssey" in several decades, thanks for the link!
Kubrick managed to reproduce on film a certain gaze somehow, interesting.
Better images of the earth are available now though, e.g.
First GEOKOMPSAT-2A imagery (in stereo view with Himawari-8)
As to the rest, can be interpreted many ways but I especially agree with the interpretations that make me smile the most. :-)

335:

What programs REQUIRE Java to work?

Interpolating from very limited data about your setup it might be some of the older Adobe installers.

Once initial install is done you might be able to toss it.

336:

"What programs REQUIRE Java to work?"

LibreOffice does, which is why it needs a ridiculously fast CPU merely to respond to mouse clicks in real time.

Java applets used to appear on websites which is probably related to why you're getting warnings, but they are vanishingly rare these days.

AFAIK that's it as far as the everyday stuff goes, unless Windoze is weirder than I imagined.

337:

Generally speaking the only things the NHS doesn't cover are non-essential elective procedures which wouldn't be covered by an insurance policy anyway, the usual benefits claimed run to things like shorter waiting times. Private firms rarely if ever deal with emergency issues, if complications arise during a private operation for instance the usual procedure is to bundle you into an ambulance for a ride to the nearest NHS unit.

Non-essential elective procedures doesn't cover as much as you might think either, even cosmetic surgery may be covered if it can be linked to mental health issues, the desired outcome is healthy happy tax-payers.

338:

Internal storage is encrypted and the key is held in a secure enclave, IIRC, so all you need to do is delete the secure enclave and you’ve rendered everything else irretrievable.

I had forgotten that advantage of iPhones, you're right. Encrypted by default is a big win. It's something I look for, but Apple is not my thing due to the missing features (replaceable battery, extra storage, plus the joy of finding replacements for key programs... like Folder Player, which can cope with 1/2 GB of ogg files just fine... and I see that Apple have now granted their users a 512GB model).

339:

Question:

Which 'classic' SF story would you most enjoy doing a rewrite of (or sequel to, or other story in the world of)?

340:

Which 'classic' SF story would you most enjoy doing a rewrite of (or sequel to, or other story in the world of)?

Endorse that. My candidates would, of course, be from the golden age, 1935-1965ish.

341:

As to the rest, can be interpreted many ways but I especially agree with the interpretations that make me smile the most. :-)

As ever, we've ever so grateful that 6,000+ years of your Domination using our suffering for amusement still amuses your kind. It's not like your only Corporation is called the fucking "MIC KEY MOUSE" or anything.

We mean, it's not like you fucking killed the entire world or anything, is it?

No Ragrets? Amirite?

"Eating the Ascendant Mind with a piquant flavor of Schizophrenia, Paranoia, Fear and Love"


Newsflash kids: IT'S A TRAP

And Bill - Do you really have a mail order bride from Thailand? Sucking your dick forced while you post? We'll be really fucking disappointed if true.

Anyhow, fuck them.


"aRe pHiLoSoPhiCAL zOmBiEs hUman>!>!?"


They're just going to kill you all.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Kx4xVKo9z8

342:

That's not what I meant, but it was expressed quite badly, and for that I apologize. (And will think it through. And yes, regrets a-plenty.)


343:

oh man ... the multiple cliff-hangers at the end of Dark State have me internally jumping up and down in anticipation for their resolution ... :)

344:
Someone check on April Daniels, she's out of the loop and you've no idea at the blowback if we find her hurt or killed.

She has a twitter with posts. Whether she is hurt, I cannot say. Given the state of the world, well.

345:

Flogging a dead horse here, but the F-105 Thunderchief (which had 2-seater variants) and F-111 were both capable of going supersonic for about 45 minutes courtesy of large fuel capacity. You'd still need a single in-air refuel, which would presumably be memorable enough for tall tale inclusion, and some time spent subsonic for a coast to coast flight, but it's not completely implausible.

346:

JBS @ 331
Java - no idea at all
Health. No, but it is available. Many larger firms make the option of having ADDITIONAL insured cover for some of theor employees.
But, it's worth noting that private cover is less than 2% of that in the UK, they services provided HAVE to be efficient ( they are competing with the NHS ) .... and, most importantly, often provide NHS services themseleves.
I have had NHS treatment at a private hospital, for instance.

Moz @ 339
Yes - and in the case of my correspoindent ... she said that she would have immediately phoined head office from the queue, with an urgent instruction to the home computer geeks to wipe the phone remotely.
This facility is deliberately included because of seriously confidential commercial information & users are informed when they get the phones ....,

347:

The Java virtual machine is a lot more efficient than it used to be - It matches up pretty well with c/c++ these days, especially for larger software, since it automatically inlines things efficiently, which is something that gets done badly with languages closer to the iron very often.
If libre is still a cpu hog that is not on the language it was written in, that is just dire incompetence.

348:

Greg, you’re talking about doing (approximately) three things which can be handled separately or in combination. 1) register a DNS domain with a name of your choosing via a DNS registrar, 2) DNS hosting and delegation, which is where you say what server handles the information for your domain and 3) hosting services like email and a web site. You can even split the email and web site.

There are plenty of providers who will do all in one, but those are the basic concepts. It can be worthwhile to handle the registrar separately to the hosting provider and most hosting providers offer DNS hosting as well.

349:

Damian:
I want a DNS domain, so I can use it for email separate from my normal provider, who are having problems which are down to their incompetence, with me - and quite a few other people - trying to send to some other ISP's & getting a time-out "bounce" @ 13. 9 hours. Very annoying.
But, I don't want to pay for unnecessary services I will never need.

And, as should be lcear, I'm VERY suspicious of the "providers" who want to sell me all sorts of things, before I can actually find out what they rae offering.

e Same as I now have a separate problem with my new phone-linr provider ( Decent internet speeds though & about time ) ...
Because I want to know if theore "phone safe" system will interact badly with my installed ant-virus protection - a well-known problem, which I want to avoid .....

350:

Java suffers from coming out during peak OO. People are taught to encapsulate everything and to ignore the fact that there is a real machine underneath.

If you take things like memory access costs & caches into account then you can write very tight and fast java, but most java programmers have been taught not to.

351:

Right, it makes complete sense to separate your email address from your ISP, because otherwise makes firing your ISP a pain in the arse. But you still need a mail server for what you are asking. DNS alone just gives you a name and the ability to say where people trying to send you mail should deliver it, and that needs to be a proper email server. It may be possible to set up your mail (MX) records to point to your existing provider in a way that they are willing to support, but most likely they offer this as a specific service and the simplest way is to ask them first. That makes it easier, potentially, in the future to move to another provider that supports a similar arrangement without losing your email address.

You could google for things like “cheap email only hosting” (long story short, you probably get a web server, blog and a bunch of other stuff you don’t need included anyway... so look for ways to turn that stuff off) then read reviews and magazine articles, etc, like you’d shop around for anything online. That’s probably the simplest. Lots of resources if you google some of the terms I’ve used, too.

It is possible to host your own mail server, but this is a bit fraught unless you know what you’re doing and even then, which is why most people who know how don’t actually do it. Although I am sure there are people here who do it all the time.

352:

It is possible to host your own mail server, but this is a bit fraught

That's putting it mildly. To quote our Good Host, "I don't know quite what went wrong, but she ended up blowing five days of the departmental training budget attending a course on sendmail configuration. Took her three weeks to stop twitching every time somebody mentioned rules." (a comment by Bob in an early Laundry book).

ISP-specific and hosted email accounts such as hotmail and gmail take a lot of effort and maintenance out of your hands. Rolling your own email server means a lot of work, learning and making horrible mistakes (usually) accompanied by phone calls at three in the morning to let you know your setup has spammed a couple of million people by accident. Sometimes the phone call will be to let you know your administrator-level access has been hacked and it's spammed a couple of hundred million people deliberately. Whichever, it's your problem and you have to fix it, no-one else.

353:

What about a service like Protonmail? I think you can register your own domain with them, if I remember correctly.

354:

I have been a satisfied customer of Runbox for a couple of years, registering my domain with them. Based in Norway, very privacy oriented (at least they market themselves as such).
They offer about one hundred aliases already with the basic package, i.e. you can have several virtual email addresses that maps on your "real" address. This is useful in case you want to use different addresses for different services so you can identify who is giving your address away to spammers.
You can also add subaccounts if you want.

355:

#330 - I doubt it; my sis has a Windows 7 machine that's been having a Java "update" that breaks its internet access refused for about 10 years now.

Yes, but most people don't even see a need for it unless they're on "pay the Mayo Clinic" type incomes.

356:

I maintain a postfix MTA (so an application at work can send out spf and DKIM signed emails). DO NOT DO THIS, IT WILL MAKE YOUR BRAIN MELT.

357:

Sure, Greg.

First, I would *never* go gmail - they scan ALL YOUR EMAIL, to look for things to sell (you, or others).

When I was going to relocate again, 10 years ago, I decided to give up, and pay for hosting, and buy my own domain, a stable email address being critical for me (and I've been online since late 1991).

Register your domain with a registrar... NOT with a hosting provider. If you decide you don't like the hosting provider, and want to change, I've heard nasty stories of them making it difficult to change the pointers.

A co-worker recommended a registrar. It's been swallowed since, but I've had no issues. Don't use GoDaddy.

I did some research, and wound up paying for the minimum from Hostmonster (yeah, it's in Utah, grumble) - $5.95 US /mo. That give me a) up to 100 email addresses, b) a website (I have several, and need to finally get around to https, because my new SO needs a business site (she makes art jewelry).

As long as you have 'Net access, that's all you need. And I'm not worried that Hostmonster's scanning my email (ok, yeah, I do d/l it POP-3 w/delete, so if the FBI wants it, they need a warrant to come into my house).

You'd probably be happy with most hosting providers... but do research, and make sure folks aren't screaming en masse.

358:

My late ex, the NASA engineer, was always amused at the "sekret launches"... when, if weather was good, could be seen 200 mi away, up the coast in Jacksonville. She told me about Russian "trawlers" who knew when it was going to go up before anyone else did.

359:

Oh, dear, an Insult to our Beloved Leader... "the emperor is naked!!!"

And I must say, I'd had *no* idea how advance you Brits were back then, that G. Washington and his troops had to attack airfields and airports!

To sum it up, there was only one appropriate response to his 4th of July "spectacle", and I used the gimp (think photoshop) to produce it (will email on demand, or find me on facepalm): a pic, from a distance, of him speechifying at the podium.

And in the foreground, Joel, Crow, and Tommy Servo.

360:

Paranoia means, does it *really* toast everything? And you're sure they're no back door in the firmware?

361:

You forgot to mention how those starving robots give massive ROI, so that Larry Ellison can pay for upkeep on his giant cruise ship/yacht, his fighter jet (wonder if he had guns reinstalled...), and his Hawaiian island.

362:

I run my own mail servers (postfix and exim) and I don't know what all the doom and gloom is about. Postfix configuration is easier for non-trivial setups. One of them provides email receiving services for a friend who didn't automatically get an email account from his ISP. Only problems with that have been due to his insistence on running Windoze and visiting dodgy porn sites until it stops working.

363:

Java is crap. It has always been crap - it's nothing more than a rewrite of Pascal p-machine.

That being said, I'm sure it's *possible* to write good code in java... however - and this is my issue with OOP in general - at least 80% of all programmers writing in the language, when they want a clipping of Godzilla's toenail, they instantiate Godzilla, and put a frame around his toenail.

Let me note that I have *never* written code that went 10 levels deep (and that includes the actual database, no, not the d/b, I mean the actual d/b system).

Meanwhile, when java tomcat has an error, I have *never* seen the stack trace of functions less than 150-200 layers deep.

*Bleah*.

Why, yes, my favorite language *is* C.

364:

By the way, I've not see a lot of issues with LibreOffice. Dunno the problem... unless you don't have enough RAM.

365:

whitroth & richard 77

THANKS - I will go to Runbox for email ... but ..

I FIRST need to register a domain name ...
Registrar" ... now you've lost me again ....
I want the simplest, cheap-as-reasonable very basic servie of a registerd domain name, without ANY frills or fancy work at all / at all / at all ... especially since it appears that runbox will "imoprt my alreay registered domai name, making things easy fron there on.
But - where the fuck do I START?

366:

Greg,

For domains+DNS I can recommend gratisdns.dk.

They also have mail-services, but I'm one of the insane ones who run my own server, so I don't have 1st hand experience with that.

367:

I use 123-reg.co.uk for a domain name and nothing else. They do offer bundles with email services if you don't want to run your own mailbox, just access it when you need to.

Prices for different domain TLDs vary and 123-reg like most domain registrars does special offers for the first year or so to get you to sign up followed by much higher prices for the second and subsequent years of registration.

368:

I mostly use Firstserv. Prices are about a tenner a year unless you want some exotic TLD. They're more professionally-oriented than consumer-oriented so there is a refreshing lack of bullshit, everything on their domain control panel works without having to fuck about, and it isn't missing things you need to try and make you pay more to get them as extras.

Another possibility is Mythic Beasts, which is a small outfit that someone else on here was using (Jocelyn Ireson-Paine, I think). They too were fine and everything worked. I stopped using them only because I no longer wanted the domain name I had registered with them, but I still have the account with them and would use it if the need arose.

369:

I have had good experiences with Mythic Beasts from back in the day when their shared servers were Mac minis and they were one of the only affordable providers who would give you a shell. I really only stopped dealing with them when I needed to reduce latency (other side of the planet and all that). Then public cloud Linux VPSes popped up everywhere and the whole “they give you a shell” thing became a bit redundant.

My own experience is limited to registrars who will handle .au domain names these days, so I can’t make a general recommendation. But Greg, remember it’s just another kind of business. Many of them will offer crazy cheap registration prices then charge extra to renew after the first couple of years. Which is why you want to be able to change provider for that, but if you rely on another party like RunBox to help that shouldn’t be hard.

370:

It was me that was complaining about LibreOffice, not Thomas... well, actually, it was my dad. He was using a 2.1GHz (I think) 32 bit CPU, not sure how much RAM but plenty for anything else he used in Ubuntu. At first he thought there was a hardware fault with his mouse, so he tried swapping mice, which did nothing, so then he thought it was an intermittent connection on the motherboard buggering the mouse port. So he got a new motherboard with a 64-bit 2-core CPU at something like 2.9GHz, and found that that helped, and did make it usable, although it still wasn't great.

So the next time I was round he showed me what the problem was live, and I tried it for myself, both on the old board (which he still had) and the new one. Then I went home and tried it on my own machine (3.7GHz, 8 cores, 32GB) where it was a lot better, but still noticeably imperfect.

Unfortunately I can't remember what "it" was, but it was something dead basic, some mouse function involved in inserting/positioning/resizing/somethinging an image in a text document; LibreOffice was taking so long to respond to the mouse inputs that what it thought you were doing and what you thought you were doing no longer corresponded. What I do remember very clearly was how perfectly it imitated a mouse button with dirty contacts.

371:

"...it's nothing more than a rewrite of Pascal p-machine."

Another hope feeds another dream
Another truth installed by the machine
A secret wish, the marrying of lies
Today comes true what common sense denies.

372:

Couldn't be us Brits - a runway? We've been arguing about a third ruinway (typo but keeping it ) for Heathrow for I'm not entirely sure how long, maybe 30 years ? More?

The one in the US would still be in the consultation stage by the time of the revolution.

373:

You’d hate the way they write asynchronous code these days, then. All callbacks handled by what back in the day we’d have called lambda functions that are passed in as parameters, the runtime stack nested half a dozen layers just to get to the point of actually doing something. It actually makes things work faster, because it translates quite well into the world of non-blocking IO where everything is a lightweight thread and all that. You could say we’ve taken the ugly syntax of procedural languages and combined it with the incomprehensible semantics of functional languages, but that isn’t really true. A lot of coding style apparently adopts the unfathomable but elegant syntax of functional languages too, just expressed in superficially ugly syntax. So it isn’t just the execution stack that goes deep.

Java is... well it’s the go-to language in the world of systems integration. The code your bank uses to share your personal information with other banks is almost definitely written in Java. The app servers for this are less tomcat, more ServiceMix, WebSphere or Weblogic.

374:

Pigeon @ 336:

"What programs REQUIRE Java to work?"

LibreOffice does, which is why it needs a ridiculously fast CPU merely to respond to mouse clicks in real time.

What about OpenOffice? I think it started out as LibreOffice, but has gone through several iterations since then.

375:

Greg Tingey @ 365: I FIRST need to register a domain name ...
Registrar" ... now you've lost me again ....
I want the simplest, cheap-as-reasonable very basic servie of a registerd domain name, without ANY frills or fancy work at all / at all / at all ... especially since it appears that runbox will "imoprt my alreay registered domai name, making things easy fron there on.
But - where the fuck do I START?

Wikipedia is always a good place to start (for NON-controversial subjects):

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

I use a company called Sitelutions.

Since you're in the U.K. there are probably Domain Name Registrars located there that will give you better service specific to your location.

376:

Other way round - Open Office (iirc ) was StarOffice which Sun acquired way back.
It morphed into OpenOffice, which was actually very useful for fixing borked Word Docs.
When Oracle bought Sun, OpenOffice forked into LibreOffice.
OpenOffice then got sent to the graveyard of Apache projects nobody wants.

LibreOffice its the current Linux Alternative(tm) to the MS Office Suite.


377:

Yes, that too (as Uri points out, it's the other way round, so LO inherited its javaciousness from OO).

378:

Oh and its Calc program has the wonderful behaviour of not trying to work out the data and then moronically mangle it.

e.g
Range values 1-5 will translate to 1st of May (for UK locale ).
OK, undo. Oh I have a number there now .....not the original value.

Knackers csv files quicker than you can say OMG.

And you can't turn that bug/feature off!

379:

for the Examples I'm referring to Excel not LO. Although I expect you all know that.

380:

Funny to think that the more heavily code I write gets into asynchronicity and event-driven I/O and stuff, the more likely it is to be for a machine that has almost no stack at all (only four levels, so you basically think in terms of one level of interrupt and one of function call, then things start to get hairy; and no passing parameters on the stack). And also quite likely that it doesn't really matter because there isn't time for the overhead of a stack-based call in any case.

381:

Skynet will be run on Javascript and it will say "line 285693 error [object Object]"

Read that as Rorschach from Watchman.

382:

Oooh! I want a copy!

383:

More likely it will say "unexpected old bag in item area. Leave immediately. You have three seconds to comply".

384:

I rather love Calc because it imports csv files in a sensible way. You can click columns in the preview and say "date in stupid MDY format" and it tries very hard to actually give you dates in the resulting spreadsheet. I also use it to do maths because it's handy to have intermediate results and labels available for even simple things. Like right now, trying to persuade a young "rental manager" that $x/week is the same as $X/7*365.25/12 per month. The screenshot with labels helped where nothing else did. ($X per week / 7 = $/day, times 365.25 days = $/year, /12 = $/mo... no, really, I know you left school thinking "math class is hard", but this isn't complex maths. Please?)

But mostly I use it to turn bank statements into things that I can do maths on, usually for the tax office. So I import the CSV already in typed data form (because the alternatives are PDF and a weird interpretation/layout of xlsx that takes a lot of formula magic to untangle. More formulas = more errors). Then I wangle it into "income" "expenditure" and "partially claimed expenditure" and apply the relevant factors from a big book of important things, and viola*... numbers to put into the online tax return system.

* nothing about tax is magic, it is all the noise you get when you gut a cat and shove the remains up under a horse's tail

385:

Again, many thanks to all the correspondents
( Poul H-K, Nojay & PIgeon )
I will investigate ypour recommendations, but I'm going to try Pigeon's first as that looks as though it's what I need - really basic, relatively cheap & SIMPLE.


386:

I’d say simple is best, but what that means is really “as simple as it can reasonably be and still achieve the things you want”. Simple isn’t the same as easy, because easy often means the complexity is just hidden behind something, possibly something that doesn’t have your best interests at heart.

But there really are providers who make it easy by exposing the complexity to you in measured ways that are reasonably easy to understand and control, and this is what you want really.

AMA: I’m sure this translates into a metaphor for life but can’t quite get a narrative to go with it...

387:

It now looks as though in my attempts top find a DNS name I may have screwed myself ...
I've made enquiries about a name & end-acronym, but they were available 2 days ago, but are not now ...
Have my enquiries blocked my subequenbt ones, so, although I have not taken up any offers, the enquiries will have triggered a "taken" on the DNS, even though I have bought nothing?
VERY annoying & frustrating.

388:

#372 - The trouble with Thiefrow is that it's too close to Larndarn!

#384 - Er, it's not, if only because there are only 365.24 days in a year, hence why a year that ends 00 is only a leap year if date'year rem 400 = 0.

389:

365.2425, which is usually only relevant for financial calculations. I guess for synchronising with reference reality there are also leap seconds occasionally.

Greg, you can tell whether it’s actually been registered by looking in an online Whois tool like this one: https://ping.eu/ns-whois/

You want a “no match for domain”. If it has been registered, this might tell you by whom.

Just typing the name in the address bar of a web browser might work too (depending), though it may not give much information.

390:

Financials, leave calcs, some astronomical purposes...

391:

Astronomy counts as part of reference reality.

You’re right, though - the main purpose for this number is leave accrual projection. Because leave is important.

392:

It's not uncommon for searches for a possible domain name to trigger a robot "grabber" which claims the domain name before you can get around to registering it yourself. You then receive an email later offering you that domain name at an elevated price.

Yes, it's a rotten thing to do but it's pretty much impossible to stop it happening. It's not helped by the way someone who "squats" on a name doesn't have to pay for the registration if they don't finalise the deal. If you're really dead set on the name you originally chose then wait a couple of months and try again as it may have been freed up when the squatter's registration expires.

The way I've registered names in the past was to have a number of candidate names ranked in descending order of preference and then go through them one by one, attempting to register them with a domain name registrar (in my case, 123-reg). If the name is already claimed then the registration process will tell you, if they're not claimed then you can go on to complete the registration there and then and that name is yours.

393:

That implies that either each event is trivial, or you are writing unstructured code that uses events where subroutine calls would be much better. Stacks are BY FAR the best structure for subroutine calls, and bloody awful for almost any other control mechanism. Yes, each asynchronous event needs to be treated as such, but sychronous passing of control should not be implemented using events. Yes, I have seen that (and dabbled with it), but I can assure you that 10,000+ active events of 1,000+ different classes is NOT a sane structure to have to debug!

If you feel that stacks are inefficient, you are using an incompetent implementation. A minimal stack-based call is three load addresses (almost free, nowadays), one store (almost always to level 1 cache) and a branch predicted, (to an address which may or may not need to be loaded), and a return is two loads and a branch (to a loaded address). You need some extremely clever hardware to make an event instantiation anywhere near as efficient. And that assumes the compiler hasn't optimised either using tail recursion or otherwise.

The real cost for both subroutine calls and events is in changing the context (and, no, I don't mean ids etc., but registers etc.). If you are dedicating a core for the purpose, that can be almost free, for either mechanism; otherwise it is expensive.

394:

God help us, yes :-( Debugging such things when you are not the author is a NIGHTMARE - inter alia, the lambda functions (which is where most of the work is done) often have constraints that forbid the insertion of diagnostics.

395:

While what I posted was correct, it would have been more balanced if I had said "one or two stores" for the call. Leaf routines that do not need the return address register can get away with one; others need two.

396:

As a private person, I'd recommend using a .name domain.

Coincidentally, "greg-tingey.name" still seems to be up for grabs. >;-)

397:

Yeah, well, I've got a beef with calc right now: I'm generating a .csv report from Tenable (it's at work), and then d/l. I try soffice vilename.csx... and sometimes, the window pops up, asking me how to import it, sometimes it only pops up if I open another document, and other times, I see nothing, and the only way to open it is to go to an already-open document, and use files->open.

Argh!

398:

Something is very weird here. At work, I've got a bunch of cores and memory; at home, nope, I've got an Core I-3, and maybe 8G.

For that matter, IIRC, I've run it on my 2009 HP Netbook (I can check this evening), and not had issues.

Are you running under WinDoze? (I run only Linux - CentOS). You might check the task manager, to see if something's being so aggressive about "protecting you" that it's indistinguishable from an low-level DoS.

399:

I'll send it this evening.

400:

Greg: NEVER use a hosting provider's search engine to check on a name you want. Many will squat. Actually, a plain, vanilla whois will give you a good answer. *Then* go register it, and after that, buy hosting.

401:

Ah... I'm talking about PIC microcontrollers :) There are only four words of stack and it's not general purpose, all it can do is hold return addresses. If you want a data stack you have to implement it in software and set aside some of the 256 bytes of RAM to put it in. So basically you just forget about doing anything that involves a stack. What you do have, though, is a list of integrated peripherals as long as your arm, all generating interrupts and needing to be serviced before the next one comes along. If you're trying to do something like pull data out of a 1.5MHz bitstream when you're only executing instructions at 5MHz it gets a bit tricky. One instruction more or less can make all the difference, you try and frig things so that as much of the processing as possible is done in the peripherals themselves, etc. etc. It's all a lot more Story of Mo than structured programming, because the hardware is so limited you don't have much choice for anything non-trivial.

402:

Ah. While I have never used those, I have had to program to the limitations of the hardware many times - it is A Right Royal Pain In The Arse.

403:

Not 'Doze. Dad uses Ubuntu, with Gnome desktop and whatever mouse input mechanism Ubuntu sets up by default (evdev, I think). I use Debian with fluxbox and xserver-xorg-input-mouse (and sysvinit, with every trace of systemd nuked with extreme prejudice). Neither of us has anything more than the most basic possible graphics card (as in, as long as it can handle playing DVDs that's good enough), but if it's that that's being a bottleneck then there's something even more wrong with it.

404:

No clues in /var/log/syslog, kern.log, or (just had to look this up) /home/username/.local/share/xorg/Xorg.0.log?

Actually, while we're at it, what's top show you about load or memory usages?

405:

The last desktop tower that I built is still working, 9 years on. I haven’t replaced any components, but it does need a new power supply (the power supply fan bearings have started making noise). The last upgrade would have been from one LTS version of Ubuntu to the next, maybe 5 years ago. Regret putting in a husky nVidia card and choosing a MB with no integrated graphics - because the nVidia is a power hog and hardly used now. I’ll probably replace that with something cheap and cheerful when I replace the power supply, maybe when the thing is 10 years old. I’ve mostly been using it to run a security system and the 5TB RAIDZ that is backups for the other computers in the house.

I’ve thought of crossgrading the thing to Windows, to enable the use of some commercial DAW software I use for my (other) other hobby these days. But that would mean backing up the ZFS to some other medium, wiping it and rebuilding with something Windows likes, which for this hardware would mean using windows-only drivers to work with the MB raid controller, which isn’t something I care to do at this stage. There are some Linux alternative DAWs available these days that I should really get around to exploring. In some ways the direct access to the ZFS volume is the whole point anyway.

My everyday computing is split between a Windows 10 laptop and an iPad Pro (I’m typing on the latter now). Hence my earlier complaint about iOS and dumb quotes - it’s not just for phones.

406:

Actually, I was reading a post in a Linux mailing list, and was reminded that your dad might look into lubuntu. a light-weight distro "for systems with limited resources".

407:

The iPhone Secure Enclave (page 8) is a big deal, or at least appears to be. I can imagine nation states being really annoyed by it (it includes physical security) if people don't do something opsec-dumb like fingerprint or face id. (Passphrase best) I've only seen a few possible hints/tells that recent revs are in any way compromised, e.g. by the US government.
Erasing keys to encrypted storage is a traditional way to rapidly erase storage. Or at least time-lock it, depending on one's level of belief in continued-for-a-while exponential growth in code-breaking computing capability.

408:

Who the F launched the Snowball stories? I don't recall the Sulphur-Crest from a decade ago, pre D.J. Trump. :-)
Snowball the Dancing Cockatoo Has Upped His Game, Study Finds (Roni Dengler, July 8, 2019)
The Times front page just *happened* to pair Trump story with a cockatoo photo
Spontaneity and diversity of movement to music are not uniquely human (July 8, 2009)

---
FI[tm]@341
Longer answer: working on positive mood for (mostly) non-selfish reasons.
"aRe pHiLoSoPhiCAL zOmBiEs hUman>!>!?"
Something like "R [HLSPCA] LOBE(s) U ?
Good question. Been wondering about that for a while. Like the droopy-eye-ones? (vitreous detachment in left eye last summer which was annoying.)
When I rapidly open one eye and close the other and vv, there is no noticable alteration in mind state, and FWIW I try to keep mind states symmetric.
(People sometimes mistake closing an eye because something is bothering it for a wink.)
Have a good memory for mind states; some people remember odors; I remember mind states, even from childhood, and those old memories are familiar.
Of course I could be a P-Zombie writing falsehoods, or a self-aware subsystem with full qualia, ala Bob/TheEaterOfSouls, or a host of other possibilities. Hard to tell, especially first person POV.
But I've never felt a hunger for minds/souls in the slightest, or eaten any mind/soul, that I recall[1]; e.g. it requires serious attention to avoid killing insects while mowing with the 5HP dervish-of-plant-shortening, but I try. Not even tempted to eat D.J. Trump's whatever-it-is. Well, especially not him. Ewww. (Joke, Secret Service people!)

And I very much appreciate the help/etc that you've given me; thank you.

[1] Have joked here a couple of times about eating Archons and/or demons. Hope they don't mind.

409:

I don't remember finding anything. Bear in mind that this was a while ago now and I can't even remember precisely what operation it was that the problem cropped up on. Also, neither Dad nor I use LibreOffice most of the time anyway; he was using it then for some specific reason that doesn't normally arise that stopped him using Abiword as usual, and I fired it up to test the thing then uninstalled it from my system once this episode was over. When all you actually need is a glass typewriter, it's severe overkill :)

410:

Well, if all you actually want is a tripe rotter, Windoze Notepad does the job, at least once you've set it to word-wrap mode.

411:

“365.2425, which is usually only relevant for financial calculations.”

Oddly, how long a year is in financial calcs is less and less tethered to reality as one ascends into high finance.

There are a lot of different algorithms for turning an actual period into a “fraction of a year”, many of which evolved when the people doing it were using pencils & paper. So lots of them start by assuming a 360 day year of 30-day months, or similar.

Which is kind of weird for calculating interest on a deal of billions of pounds, but wtf.

Time is a cultural concept. There is no physical property of “4-o’clockness”. There is no physical property of “a month”, or “a leap year”, or a physical answer to “how much of my year’s leave do I accrue in the month of February”
Which is cool, because time is also absolutely a part of physical reality, not culture.

412:

It’s a long, long time since I read it, but Clifford Geertz on time in Bali is just fascinating. I’ve got it in paperback somewhere or other but it surely must be around online.

413:

That sort of thing is a not uncommon problem, often caused by too much memory or number of cores, which may be compounded by Hypethreading and various forms of cache, TLB and memory management. It has been alleviated over the years, but still exists, and has several other causative factors, too.

Essentially, X windows was designed by some ivory tower 'computer scientists', and implemented by a random collection of their students, essentially without supervision. Its basic 'design' was not properly engineered and, in particular, some of its control and data structures and memory management degrade disgracefully under real-life loads. You don't often see it do so badly now, but it's worth killing the windowing system and restarting when it occurs - that often works. In practice, the simplest way to do that is to reboot.

414:

Ouninpohja?

415:
Why, yes, my favorite language *is* C.
Bloated. BCPL for the win.
417:

I loved that the BCPL book used an annotated copy of the compiler source code as its example code. And it was still a slim volume.

(Backend codegen was left as an exercise for the reader.)

418:

A bit like Ada 83, where the manual was effectively a restatement of the Ada 83 coding standard.

419:

Yes :-)

Even C90 was far more complicated than its proponents made out, because the standard got its brevity by being incomplete, ambiguous and incomplete. C compilers (and the library) were almost always larger than Fortran 90 ones, despite the language being much less powerful. This has continued, but C beyond 99 is essentially dead.

420:

On another topics, I have been taken aback by the way that the majority of political commentators have blamed Bozo for Darroch's resignation, but I regard the Cunt's initial statement as FAR more important. Curiously, it seems to have been buried remarkably rapidly, but I have no idea why, and it could just be the yesterday's news effect. But why have no commentators that I have seen picked up on it?

http://tripplebuzz.com/trump-strikes-back-at-the-british-envoy-who-called-the-white-house-inept/

I have had a boss say something very similar about me, when I (as the organisation's expert in the relevant field) said something true and important that wasn't politically popular, and I know what it means. What's more, the Cunt is Darroch's boss's boss, not just some jumped-up MP. If I were Darroch, that would have been the point that I realised I had been thrown under a bus.

421:

Well, in *that* case, vi. (As opposed to what's been referred to as a "windowing operating system masquerading as a text editor": emacs.)

Btw, he *is* in linux, so Windows braindead notepad is irrelevant. EXTERMINATE!

422:

Well, first, you probably mean "X11". And it was designed as a platform for experimenting with graphical UIs and allowing graphical interfaces to span across network links.

A lot of the underlying protocol is actually quite elegant, but does require (for want of a better word) multi-classing.

The thing you put graphic into is a "Drawable", there are many types of Drawables, one of which is a Window, another possible drawable is, um, Pixmap? Or texture, been long enough I can't remember if it's one or the other.

However, this si somethig that works appallingly bad with both Java's and C++'s view of how objects work.

It also does not work well, at all, with things like "realtime updates" (like, say, displaying video) and direct framebuffers accessible from code.

And the whole "experiment wit htings" is why there's nothing obviously looking like a window manager or desktop environment in the protocol, there's hooks to build that on top of the raw protocl, which in turn spawned approximately one to three hands of different toolkits, most of them written in C or C++, with imedance mismatch between protocl abstractions and implementation language capabilities. It's a right joy to write low-level X11 in Common Lisp, though.

423:

I'm sorry, but when was the last time you heavily used X?

It's been working fine, in real work situations, for a while... as in, it was well over 10 years ago that, in Linux, I saw a problem with it crashing and looping while trying to log in. I'm typing this in firefox, with eight xterms, a thunderbird email window, a pic of my SO, some LibreOffice documents, and I'm listening to streaming media from WQXR (NYC classical).

What's the problem?

424:

"ed is the standard editor."

And emacs is still "a pretty nice operating system, shame it doesn't have a text editor", getting your slurs right is important.

Btw, if you're wanting to use vi, you may want to try either "vim" or "nvi" (I prefer nvi over vim, it's much closer to the vi I learned in the late 80s; but I still mostly spend my editing time in emacs).

425:

Never actually saw that, or B. But then, why did they create C?

Received Wisdom is to write Unix, so they could write and play Hack.... Do that in BCPL. Then maintain it in a year and a half....

*My* code is clear, comprehensible, extendable and maintainable. I want *elegant*, not "clever"*.

* "Clever" - over the years, when applying for jobs, one of my std lines is that if I get a phone call at 16:15 Friday, or 02:00, I want to be able to solve the problem and leave, or go back to sleep, on time, not spend hours figuring out how I'd been "clever".

426:

Hey, Charlie, asking you anything....

As I've been writing more and more heavily, I finally verbalized something: they always say 'write what you know'. My follow-on is, "and if you don't know, do research, preferably from primary sources.

A few examples: I asked a Hispanic guy in the lab what his family would use, colloquially, for "dear". I'm trying to be in contact with a couple of Nigerians, because, in the novelette-that-is-now-a-novella, on the research starship, I had decided there are five Nigerian researchers/postbacs, and I needed some cultural grounding, as well as names from different ethnic areas (it's a *large* country).

Oh, hell, back in the late seventies, playing D&D, we needed to be clear on how far someone in full armor could run in one melee round. I was in the SCA at the time, so, of course, I put on my armor, picked up my shield and mace (I fought heavy), and we measured how far I could run in 6 sec (and I was in *good* shape).

One that pissed me off immensely I think I've mentioned before - a few years ago, having not read any of the Anita Blake novels in years, I got Michael, because it was allegedly set in Philly. Speaking as a native Philadelphian, I can assure you that Laurel K. Hamilton has never been closer to Philly than *maybe* NYC, 90 mi away, and has never even bothered to read a tourist brochure about the city. There was NOTHING WHATSOEVER that said, "yeah, this is Philly". (Oh, and it was also bad soft-core).

What do you do, esp. when you're dealing with otherwordly Powers, or completely world-built cultures? What do you use for reality checks, to make sure that readers' suspenders of disbelief don't snap?

427:

What I want is an authoring tool which does bold, underlining, italic, all in one font only, with section headers for paragraph, page, section, chapter, etc., and nothing else, except possibly a special way to attach notes to my text in another font, without exporting them. And footnotes.

NOTHING else. And it needs to run on Linux.

428:

That is way too specific a set of requirements to be a mass market product. If you want those you have to leave out the nothing else or pay something close to bespoke software prices (think worse than Vanderbilt's comments about J boats).

For Ubuntu, gedit is the standard text editor. I can't deal with the modal adventures of vim, if I have to strip down I go with joe. There are lots of simple text editors out there.

429:

I am using it now, and the problems I mention occur fairly regularly. As with all such issues, they are very dependent on how hard and in what ways the system is pushed; the fact that you haven't seen them is irrelevant. Have you done serious work on the guts of the system? I was active in the area during its development, and have dived fairly deeply into the cess-pit on several occasions. As I said, it is a lot better than it was - even compared to a decade ago - but it's still a crock.

Don't be confused by the fact that Microsoft copied it, without understanding its principles, and so has an even worse system.

430:

I have bad news for you: in 1995, PC Mag did a review of the word processor available *then*... and concluded that 90% of the features *then* available were not ever used by 90% of the users, and of the 10% of the users who *did* use the other 90% of the features, they only used them 10% of the time.

But, ya gotta add new features, otherwise, HORRORS!, people won't buy new versions, they'll use the old ones forever, like a typewriter....

431:

I'm kind of a plaintext-tagged-text guy, and while I've written much of my own stuff in just that plaintext, lately I've taken to writing even the plaintext stuff in Markdown. It's very much human-readable (unlike HTML or LaTeX...) but can be laid out more prettily if needed.

I'm not sure if WYSIWYG editors for it exist - at least some web-based things seem to exists, but they're not what I need so I don't know much about them. At least Github uses it as a pretty readme formatter, and that's kind of the most public I've ever used it for.

432:

Well, they all copied from Xerox Parc Place.

The trouble is, I could live with Win 3. Past that, they did *NOT* copy X; instead, the morons put it *all* INTO RING 0, which should be *ONLY* o/s. X sits on top of the o/s - if the windowing system crashes, you haven't lost everything except what was onscreen. With WinDoze, reboot the computer. But then, I thought it was a reasonable joke: "your cursor has moved. Please reboot Windows to have this change take effect"... until, a few years ago, I was trying to set up my now-ex's computer for samba... and all I did was change the default workgroup name... and WinBlows told me I needed to reboot the computer to have this take effect.

433:

There wasn't anything in the PCs in the days of early Windows that could provide proper "ring" levels of protection -- the 80286 was the first PC processor with any sort of memory management and it took until the 386 was introduced for decent segmentation and memory protection to be implemented. The assorted Berkeley and System V Unix variants only worked properly on 386-based hardware, attempts to provide memory protection for multitasking and multi-user operations via oddball custom add-in memory cards were generally not a success.

The Palo Alto Star cost over $30,000 for a basic system and after configuration to make it useful it could top $100,000. Windows 3.0 would run on 8086/8088-based PCs costing less than a thousand bucks and even provide some basic multitasking capabilities. In a lot of cases businesses and consumers already had the hardware on their desk, Win 3.0 cost

434:

Nojay, you completely misunderstood what I was arguing.

For one, 386's were already out by '87 or so. For another, Win 3 was released in 1990. They stupidly put memory management and multitasking IN THE GUI, instead of in the o/s.

Win 95, and NT, and onwards, they put the GUI in the o/s. I consider the o/s to be ring 0.

435:

EC @ 420
And yet ... BoJo is the one crawling as far up Drumpf's arse as he can, not J cunt ....
And BoJo's record of lies, doubke-dealing & otright betrayal is mush worse.
I am no fan of the Jeremy, but surely he is "less worse" than the Turiksh-American masqerading as a loyal Briton?
[ Please note the implied sarcasm? ]

436:

Xenix/286 worked quite well, and was very well received. Used in every McDonald's in the US for quite a while. (Now remembering that one of my interview rounds at SCO was to write a hierarchy walker for the '286, and not run out of memory.)

437:

Note what I said, "Windows 3.0 would run on 8086/8088-based PCs". I ran it successfully on 286-based clone PCs which had no real hardware memory management capabilities. Win 3.0 didn't have intrinsic memory management and it only had a half-assed suspend-and-restart capability to provide some kind of multitasking. It still provided users with a GUI, windowing and mouse control but within a straightjacket of limited memory, disk storage and CPU power.

From Windows NT onwards the basic hardware spec required a 486 or better so the windowing and mutitasking was a lot better. For performance reasons on limited cheap hardware MS put things like the video drivers in the OS, not the GUI which was on the application layer. Those drivers were written and deployed by the third-party sellers of video cards and often-times were piles of badly coded shit, causing blue screens but there was little MS could do about it since they needed the speed. Sure, spend a thousand bucks on a graphical subsystem with a 80186 co-pro and a meg or two of double-ported video ram and the machine's video performance would be great but for most folks a hundred-buck 640x480 VGA card was a serious upgrade.

I built and maintained a graphics workstation for a design company, two 60MHz Pentiums in SMP and 1MB of RAM along with a Matrox video card on Win NT4 Workstation. The main software it ran, Corel Draw regularly bluescreened this machine because it made direct accesses to the video hardware to speed things up and that blew out the drivers. Other software worked fine, including Word for Windows which rarely if ever caused bluescreens.

438:

Like hell! While X Windows was theoretically designed to be runnable more-or-less unprivileged, virtually every system that has done that has had to back off, because it was unusably slow - things like cursor movement and drag-and-drop being most affected. If X Windows goes sour, you usually lose the mouse and keyboard (including control-ALT-F1) - yes, if you have another computer, you can usually log in remotely and restart X. But not always, because it sometimes takes out the networking, too!

439:

No, he is far more evil, but hides it a lot better. Bozo is merely a total disaster.

440:

If we are doing language wars then can I have ANSI C with modern C++ template metaprogramming? Ta.

On a different note, how do I change my pwd here? I have good reason to believe the throwaway one I used for this and a handful of other low priority sites has been pwn3d.

441:

Last time I serviced a McDonalds they were still using SCO Unix. On top of Windows 2003. Which sat on top of VMWare. It was third up the stack of multiple OSes, which must have been a horrorshow for their IT people.

In more news of bad taste, I am working in Camarillo today. The town was once the site of the state mental hospital where my father worked. The local microbrew is called... Institution. I guess the name is supposed to be edgy or something, but I just find it to be grotesque!

442:

UriGagarin @ 376: Other way round - Open Office (iirc ) was StarOffice which Sun acquired way back.
It morphed into OpenOffice, which was actually very useful for fixing borked Word Docs.
When Oracle bought Sun, OpenOffice forked into LibreOffice.
OpenOffice then got sent to the graveyard of Apache projects nobody wants.

LibreOffice its the current Linux Alternative(tm) to the MS Office Suite.

I wouldn't say "nobody" wants it. I'm reasonably happy using Open Office & don't feel like replacing it unless there's a really strong, compelling reason why I should do so.

I used Micro$oft Office for many years when I had a government license through the Army (because Micro$oft Office was what the Pentagon standardized on). When I retired, I wanted an alternative that I didn't have to pay Micro$oft for and I'm glad I did with their recent turn to the subscription model. Open Office filled the bill.

But the bottom line is I do need Java in order for Open Office to continue working for me? Is that correct? Or no?

443:

Damian @ 405: The last desktop tower that I built is still working, 9 years on. I haven’t replaced any components, but it does need a new power supply (the power supply fan bearings have started making noise). The last upgrade would have been from one LTS version of Ubuntu to the next, maybe 5 years ago. Regret putting in a husky nVidia card and choosing a MB with no integrated graphics - because the nVidia is a power hog and hardly used now. I’ll probably replace that with something cheap and cheerful when I replace the power supply, maybe when the thing is 10 years old. I’ve mostly been using it to run a security system and the 5TB RAIDZ that is backups for the other computers in the house.

I don't remember how old this computer is, but the only thing that has NOT been replaced is the box itself. It still has the original "Micro$oft Windoze 98 Second Edition" certificate of authenticity that came with the (OEM version) OS CD-ROM I bought when I first put it together. Power supplies seem to last about 3 years or so if you leave the computer running all the time.

I do remember that when I originally built it the MB didn't have a disk controller on it, no serial port, no parallel port, no modem & no video. Those were all on separate cards that had to be slotted into the motherboard. It's been upgraded almost continuously since then.

This is literally the computer equivalent of Johnny Cash's old Cadillac.

444:
X sits on top of the o/s - if the windowing system crashes, you haven't lost everything except what was onscreen.

Sadly, that hasn't been true since the '90s, and was barely true, if at all, even then.

In addition to the plain fact Elderly Cynic noted -- that X runs as root in basically every environment -- modern graphics hardware simply doesn't allow this to be true. Even if the OS solved the issues with the keyboard and video mode EC noted, the GPU could still easily crash the computer.

Modern graphics cards essentially work like a special-purpose supercomputer which sits on the other end of your main bus which you upload programs to when you want to render a frame. To try to wring every last fraction of a percent of performance out of them, they accept commands not just from the privileged X11 server, but also from the user applications (think: web browser) themselves.

Because the graphics cards aren't built with security in mind, it's entirely possible for any program using them to upload a GPU command sequence which will crash the GPU and possibly the main bus itself. On some older cards, it was even possible to issue commands to read or write random host memory locations. Some attempt is done to sanitize the programs before uploading to prevent the worst sorts of security flaws, but crashing is almost always possible and is not considered a bug. After all, 125 frames per second on an unstable system is always preferable to 122.9 frames per second on a stable system when you're playing a video game on a monitor which refreshes 70 times per second.

As you've probably guessed already, these devices are incredibly complex, aggressively undocumented, and difficult to analyze. It's a near certainty that any number of unknown, crazy security problems exist either in the drivers or the GPU silicon. The involvement of the X server is the least of the problems.

In addition to all that, yeah, there are various issues with the IPC model X uses and performance under load, as well as more basic stuff like not being able to hard-reset the graphics and interface state after an error. But really, with the way GPUs are going these problems are if anything becoming more intractable and less related to X.

445:

X was mostly implemented by employees of DEC. If it'd been implemented by the students who were around at the time it might have been better code.

446:

In the spirit of AMA,

Charlie, do you think that there are any positive applications of deepfakes? By positive, I don't mean creating fake videos of political leaders for propaganda purposes

447:

X may be running as root, but it's still running in user space, whereas 'Doze puts the whole kit and caboodle in kernel space - is what I understand whitroth to be complaining about.

FWIW the most common trigger for a crash hard enough to take down the entire system that I seem to encounter is when I start doing something that actually uses all the cores. The underlying cause is the presence of a carpet in between the CPU heatsink and the fan, or the fan in the PSU declining to revolve with suitable alacrity and demanding a drink.

Graphics cards... what's infuriating about graphics cards is that it's impossible to get one that isn't like that. There's nothing but the most super duper pooper scooper things-that-look-like-a-heatsink-with-an-edge-connector - and the bloody things are expensive, never mind any architectural deficiencies. There doesn't seem to be anything for people who just need to see what they're doing and don't happen to have a video output on their motherboard already.

448:
X may be running as root, but it's still running in user space, whereas 'Doze puts the whole kit and caboodle in kernel space - is what I understand whitroth to be complaining about.

But this isn't even true. There is absolutely a graphics driver layer running in the kernel between any modern GPU and X. There has to be, because someone has to mediate all those graphics card resources, initiate DMA on behalf of those programs, and so on.

The only time X acts purely in the old-school fashion where it operates as the graphics driver is when there's no 3d API involved, which is approximately never when using a modern card.

As for Windows (or Mac), well. What little I know of the graphics system there, it absolutely is not running entirely in the kernel. Additionally, for direct 3d access, the model is essentially identical on every platform: the applications program the GPU directly, submitting their work via a kernel driver.

449:

What I am not understanding is how BoJo is avoiding flak from DJT for his comments in 2015, e.g. video here: Farage: Boris Johnson comments to blame for Trump snubbing UK
roughly:
“He’s clearly out of his mind… He’s playing the game of the terrorists of those who seek to divide us… When Donald Trump says that there are parts of London that are are no-go areas, I think he’s portraying a stupifying ignorance which makes him quite clearly unfit to hold the office of President.”
I mean, people have been trying to use this video ever since (even projected onto Big Ben) but it doesn't stick. Why?

---
FI[tm] - Fielding complaints again about a [non-consensual [redacted] relationship(s)?], and (in one interpretation) they request that I request that they be treated with more respect and/or care, which I (weirdly) do. (Assuming it's not a LARP or something otherwise faked.) If this has meaning to you, otherwise ignore.

450:

Win 3.0 didn't have intrinsic memory management and it only had a half-assed suspend-and-restart capability to provide some kind of multitasking.

I'm young enough that the first Windows platform I really (professionally) developed for was NT 3.51, but I seem to remember that the Windows 3.0 (and 3.11 for Workgroups) multitasking was co-operative, so that the programs had to yield explicitly to give time for other programs. This obviously made it easy to mess up the system by accident.

I think the earlier Amiga operating systems had the same problem. The early models didn't have an MMU, either, so memory corruptions were easy.

The neat tricks for multitasking were somewhat earlier - hooking the timer interrupt into a DOS TSR and doing stuff with it was kind of fun. Though I don't really miss it, a proper operating system (which all the modern things are, in this context) is much nicer.

451:
Windows 3.0 (and 3.11 for Workgroups) multitasking was co-operative, so that the programs had to yield explicitly to give time for other programs. [....] I think the earlier Amiga operating systems had the same problem. The early models didn't have an MMU, either, so memory corruptions were easy.

The Amiga was most notable for being one of the few operating systems available to the public at the time which was not cooperative. Mac and Win both were, while Amiga was fully preemptive.

It was easy to guru, of course, since there was no MMU. Even though later models had one, the OS was not able to use it.

452:

any positive applications of deepfakes?

The obvious one to me is extremely compressed video chat. Send the first still image, then "expression 256, say 'hi'" and the deepfake receiving end assembles a convincing version of the sender saying the thing. Add a bit more predictive text stuff and you'll be able to at least cover the introductory pleasantaries with "call mum, say hi" as the entire content of the first 10 minutes of calling your mother :)

453:

The Amiga was most notable for being one of the few operating systems available to the public at the time which was not cooperative.

Thanks for correcting me! It's been a while since I last did anything with it, and I never owned one back in the day.

454:

EC @ 439
Got any evidence, rather/other than personal dislike, for that allegation?
Cunt, at least admits the *possibility* of brexit failing, whereas BoJo is determined to drive over the cliff ...

455:

Yes. Look how rapidly he (essentially uniquely among western leaders) licked Trump's arse over the risible claims that Iran was behind the tanker attacks, more-or-less signing us up to the forthcoming war on Iran. Look at what he did to the NHS, and what he has said about a trade deal with the USA - though I agree that he is no worse than Bozo in the latter.

456:

Yes. In any case, I was talking about functionality, rather than minutiae of terminology and implementation. If a component (whether a graphics card, GUI driver, windowing system or whatever) can crap over other components, it passes the duck test for being part of the supervisor (to use an old, and hopefully by now neutral term).

One of the defects I was referring to was that one as relates to RAS, but the other was the basic flaw of the Xerox PARC model (which WAS a innovative testbench) in assuming an available core (in the days of single-core machines!) and lightning fast computation speed. At least Apple admitted that problem, and put it in their coding standards.

There were (and are) many other serious defects I could describe, but are irrelevant to this particular issue.

At the time that X was being perpetrated, there WERE attempts do design GUIs that did not have those defects, but they lost out politically because it is quicker and easier to deliver a pile of junk than a well-designed product.

457:

Simples. The inhabitant with the Oral Orifice has the attention span of a two year old, as well as other forms of the behaviour of one.

458:

#430 - True this, and it ignores how, speaking as one of the 10%, we tried to not use Wurd because of the mess that Mickeyshaft had made of the implementation of features like legal paragraphing by making it part of style sheets (compare with the WordPerfect 5.x implementation).

#442 - I think the answer is that you need to have Java installed, but not to accept "updates" or "new versions".

#450 - Well "co-operative" multitasking was my understanding of the Windoze 3.x threading model too.

459:

EC @ 457
Worse, actually, he's a spiteful & mean 5-year old, acting as the infant's school bully.

Noted re cunt also crawling up DT bum .. not a lot to choose, is there>
Meanwhil Cor Bin's total incompetence & refusal to make a principled stand on ANYTHING is so depressing.

460:
[...] the other was the basic flaw of the Xerox PARC model [...] in assuming an available core [...] and lightning fast computation speed.

It would be helpful if you were a bit more specific about the problem you're referring to. I honestly can't tell which of the numerous issues people have to deal with in the traditional X design you're referencing, much less relate it to the modern design. Or, for that matter, the... post-modern (heh) designs the field seems to be moving towards.

For example, X has always performed poorly when it comes to real-time tasks such as video playback, ultimately because it has no way to inherit the relative priorities of its different clients. Then again, these days, the IO path looks very different than it did 10 years ago.

It also has a problem where a client can instruct the X server to perform very expensive work on its behalf. Because the server is in effect cooperatively multitasking the clients, this can result in painfully glitchy behavior with mouse lag, the whole desktop grinding to a near halt, etc.

Of course, another problem that plagues Linux systems is poor performance under memory overload. Often the X server and desktop start fighting for resources with some misbehaved application, and instead of preserving resources for a kill button of some sort, the whole system grinds to a halt.

Were you referring to one of these issues? One of the numerous other problems? A general dislike of the ping-pong scheduling behavior the X IPC design can suffer from? I really can't tell.

461:

Yes, but you are missing The Most Important Bit Of The X11 Design, namely "you don't have your keyboard, mouse, screen, etc plugged in to the machine where your applications run".

Your screen should be able to crash with wild abandon, because it's only EVER talking to your applications over a network protocol, not sharing a kernel with them.

Of course, that's pretty much exactly how NO ONE runs it these days, but it does not take away from hte fact that the basic design is sound.

462:

I was referring to the problem as originally reported. Occasional serious slowdowns in response, causing applications to be more-or-less unusable. Also, I was talking about the design at a higher-level than you are.

Your real-time point is relevant, but it is not simply about things like video playback and definitely NOT simply about priority. The whole design of X is based on things like callbacks, the concept of focus, and being able to implement requests near-instantaneously, and we knew (in the 1970s) that those could not be made to work together reliably.

That shows up in effects like key presses not showing up for a second or two, and then appearing in bursts. That USED to be the case for even cursor movement (and very occasionally still is), but that was resolved by changing the implementation of that to a different approach (which was known to be better in the 1970s).

But it also shows up in missed events and (rarely, nowadays) events going to the wrong focus. That is often a result of desktop/GUI conflict, but the root cause is the implicit assumption of the whole design that events won't get reordered or seriously delayed. And, once there were multiple paths (and the conflicts you mention, which are not restricted to Linux), we get both.

463:

Right, so it's crippled by the desire to solve a problem no-one has. Brilliant!

Just like Java in that respect, from the days when compilation was hideously expensive and portable source code wasn't, an innovation to solve both those problems with a virtual machine that was a common subset of everything known to be able to run code... provided it had enough memory and storage capacity and no-one cared about speed.

464:

FWIW I've been slightly disturbed at how readily Rust compiles on quite hetrogenous platforms. The team there really have taken the "one language, everywhere" to heart. I mean, the result runs like a dog on a Pi but I'm not convinced that's because of Rust :) Maybe we should upgrade to the Pi4 and just accept 15W TDP.

465:

#460 to #462 - Using SunOS 4, it was fairly standard practice at my site to establish a remote shell window from the development SPARCs onto one of the faster one in quiet periods, and use the fast window for compiling and linking code.

466:

SOP in many environments. When I was managing a supercomputer system, nor merely did I work that way but set up many of the standard scripts to do so. A few scripts used three or more systems. The users (scientists) neither knew nor cared.

What I had major difficulty (in the 1970s to 1990s) arguing for, lost out repeatedly, and won simply because my opponents were so wrong that even lusers couldn't miss it, was that all of the components that are involved in the GUI (most definitely INCLUDING any application containing X calls) must run on the system with the keyboard, mouse and display. The bare display server approach touted for so long was obviously not going to work outside a well-funded computer science laboratory, and didn't.

467:

No, it was designed to solve a problem everyone had, when it was designed. Up until NT 3.5 (I think), the NT windowing system (apart from the actual graphics card driver) ran in user-space. But in 3.51 (again, I think), they moved the entire WM layer and UI into the kernel, with quite a bit of stability loss as a result.

But if you want to get away from "your graphics driver is running in your kernel", the only way of doing that is by having a well-defined comms protocol, and not let your graphics drive layer share RAM, or cores, with the rest of your OS. And then you're basically back at the X11 design, even if you may end up structuring the protocol differently.

468:

Er? That's exactly how I did most (if not all) of my daily work for multiple years. My primary workstation was an IBM X terminal, my primary work computer was a HP-UX box in a different room. Works perfectly fine, but it sucks for gaming and video. The Trinitron tube and the IBM buckle-spring keyboard didn't hurt.

It's also almost exactly how I've been working for the last few years, but these days it's a windows box in a different building, and the protocol is called PCoIP instead of X11. And (alas) there's a graphics driver in a kernel on the windows box that's on the other end.

469:

From what I've googled yes you need Java for OO.o.

LibreOffice is actively being developed while OpenOffice is not. Only makes a difference when interacting with MS docs.

Personally Office 97 was good enough for my needs.

470:

Two machines in adjacent rooms connected by a high-capacity network ARE part of the same system - the fact that it is made up of several boxes is irrelevant, and I remember when all computers were like that. Outside well-funded departments, network capacity is limited, not just in bandwidth but transactions, and multi-second delays are common.

Have you ever used a WIMP system (or even drag-and-drop) with unpredictable delays of up to several seconds? Because I have.

Even when you don't get those, remote round-trip times are often in the multiple hundreds of milliseconds, which is hopeless for drag-and-drop and a Real Pain even for typing and button-clicking for those of us with fast reactions.

471:

You're reminding me of another point, where we had regular arguments that 2 or more machines that you could rsh between and had a common server were part of the same network, even if they were on separate network controllers.

472:

This discussion reminds me of the one time I ran Netscape on X11 over a modem connection to the University's computers for one reason or another. I think it was 28800 bps, might've been 56k. It wasn't fun or fast by any means, however. It was also fun as a proof of concept.

I think I had to access some web resource only available from the Uni's computers and this was the first way I thought of for that, from home. It might have been that SSH was capable of port forwarding at the time, but I didn't know how at the time.

473:

MS Windows was written for thousand-dollar hardware, X Windows was written for hardware costing ten times that much and more. To get usable speed of response for the user MS needed to move a lot of graphics stuff into the kernel and not increase delays by using a server-client model to do UI graphical operations. Stability was a trade-off for usability given the limitations of memory, processor speed, graphics engines. The alternative was no GUI at all and hence no customers.

475:

General, on *Nix and X:
A fair number here at work (I think we're down to 40 or so people, we used to be somehing like 60 or 80) use Linux workstation. Others use putty, frequently with Xming.

In coming up on 10 years here as a sr. Linux sysadmin, I've very, very rarely seen keyboard or mouse move slowly. Nor have I seen it at home (ok, I'm using the on-m/b video...).

I've seen X hang. 90% or 95% of the time, I restart X, and all is fine. In fact, for me to beg and plead with some people to let me to a full system update and reboot, I'm lucky (with some) to do it every 1.5-2 months.

EVERYONE USING Linux is under orders, that they do NOT do their work on their workstation, but on servers. Their home directories and projects are *all* NFS-mounted. Network's 1G. Rarely have anyone complaining about slowness, unless a) the Center has fucked with the network (which they will then proceed to debug IN PRODUCTION), or b) someone's running something that eats the system.

Heh, heh. Got a 6/7 yr old small supercomputer - an SGI UV2000, 512 hyperthreaded cores, 2TB, yes, terabytes, or RAM... and I've seen it with a load of 400+ (someone modeling protein folding).

The one thing that does happen is when someone tries to run too much data, or too many paralell threads, and *then* the Linux oom-killer steps in, and kills whatever it thinks is the cause. More than half the time, they have to restart (with less whatever, after I've spoken with them). I only have to reboot the server once in a while. Normally, dev and prod servers get fully updated and rebooted once a month. Have some home directory servers that have been running well over six months.

So, I'm not sure what's going on where you folks are, but what we run (90% CentOS, 80% of that CentOS 7; at home, CentOS 6, and I'll probably go to 8 when it's released), is stable.

Now, fedora, or an odd-numbered ubuntu... I don't want to go there.

476:

ANSI C's my go-to. Templates... I've never figured out how to make templates work, and I tried, some years ago, because I was looking at associative arrays in C.

477:

You should go to LibreOffice. Bug fixes, and, most esp., security fixes.

I *really* don't need more "features".

Word? Word always has been crap. Back in the mid/late nineties, secretaries I knew, who knew both WP and Dirt, er, Word, *hated* Word, and loved WP.

I would *love* to run WP again... I suppose I could run my copy of WP 6.0.c under wine... but docx, etc.

Hate/Fav: Word doesn't think that "reveal all codes" really means *that*. WP, I think, DID. But WP's marketing dept couldn't market their way out of a wet paper bag with the help of the Terminator. They had a *killer* app... when you did reveal codes, it mapped 1:1 to straight HTML, but no, no export that way....

Of course, we know that M$ was found guilty in US federal court of bribing OEMs to load Word, and not offer WP.

478:

3 year lifespan for PSUs? You *do* have your system on a UPS, right?

My PSUs last, I dunno, 6? 10? years, and I'm talking about my home system, not a server at work, some of which are > 10 yrs old, maybe an h/d failure or upgrade.

479:

Hey, I was planning on Destroying The World As We Know It... I was going to use DeepNude on a picture of President of the Senate Mitch "turtle" McConnell, after cornering the market on brain bleach....

ObLaugh: Bwa-ha-ha-ha!

480:

Yup. Sorry, friends from over the Pond, but if Bojo wins, and Labour's vote of no confidence fails, if you want a picture of your future, look at the US....

481:

Oh, one more cmt about Word: DO NOT, UNLESS FORCED TO AT GUNPOINT, EVER GO TO OFFICE365.

1. It's a revenue stream - stop paying, and it stops working.
2. It's *all* in the fuckin' M$ Cloud. I've already seen horror stories of trying to get your own stuff out of that cloud, down to your own system to back up.
3. M$ owns your data/documents. I don't *know* that they don't do like Google, who scan all your gmail for things to market, but....

482:
Never actually saw that, or B. But then, why did they create C?
"B" was effectively just BCPL with some changes in syntax, "C" was the answer to the question "how do you change BCPL for a byte addressing machine".

BCPL only had on type -- the word. It assumed memory was a sequence of words, each one address apart. C "fixed" that limitation by adding types, which could have different sizes.

483:
that X runs as root in basically every environment
Not true on Linux since Debian 9 and contemporaries. That's one of the things that systemd made easy to fix.
484:

On the one hand, a ps -ef | grep xorg on my CentOS 7 workstation shows it running as root.

On the other hand... is this Johnny, the main builder for CentOS?

485:

Centos 7 was July 2014. Debian 9 was June 2017. There's not necessarily a conflict between the two statements.

486:

whitroth @ 474
Yes Labour might back "remain" but will Cor Bin, given his long track record of claiming that the EU is a corprate employers ramp?

487:

Two notes:

1) The 286 had full protected mode segmentation, it didn't have paging (that showed up in the 386). It was quite possible (and they existed) to write an OS that took advantage of the segmentation. In fact, I believe Windows 3.1 did support full segmentation. A "handle" was usually just a segment pointer. Windows 3.1 also ran on 8086s, but of course the memory model gave you no protection (because the processor didn't), and you were limited to "real" memory (640K). 286 boxes could address up to 16 Meg (I think 15 meg was the practical limit).

2) Modern (i.e. in the last few years) processors have an IOMMU, so IO cards are not allowed to read/write memory wherever they feel like. Of course, IO drivers still do what they want. Unless, of course, you are running as Virtual Machine.

488:

FI[tm] - Fielding complaints again about a [non-consensual [redacted] relationship(s)?], and (in one interpretation) they request that I request that they be treated with more respect and/or care, which I (weirdly) do. (Assuming it's not a LARP or something otherwise faked.) If this has meaning to you, otherwise ignore.

Anyone (and we do include [redacted] here) informing you about this is lying.

To the Tune of "Wall of British EYES on a Wall" type stuff.

Tell your 'friends' about a 'bomb in the liver' and 'This is the Real Deal'.


And me laddy, they can fuck right off. Calling us perverts with their Minds.

> American Gods, Season 2, Episode 8.

Irish Leprechaun who was actually a King getting killed by a fucking shadow of Odin mate.


Waaaay above your pay-grade or the little fucking Imps runnin rumours to yours ears.

We paid the Sun price for the Spear of Destiny, now fuck right off nows already.

Proof:

Susan = Suzzanaaananna
was Eaten = Eaton


Story has been edited. She'd been allegedly stabbed, choked and had an ear removed. These details are being memoryholed.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7228369/Prominent-molecular-biologist-missing-Greece-dead-cave-going-morning-run.html

https://www.keeptalkinggreece.com/2019/07/10/suzanne-eaton-victim-of-criminal-act-says-coroner-after-autopsy


Big Media retro-action doing there.

'Cause there's few things a woman in science enabling biological brain type stuff would get killed for.

Hearing too much.

grep: "ze's still breathing"


[Or Not. We're not fucking amused]

489:

"Remember My Voice"

Oh, my dear, we'll try. Bill just outed himself as being in contact with stuff we know is lying. MF too.

You just ain't in contact with it all. Know what we're saying?


It's a sad day when all your heroes are exposed as criminal scum. The Epstein dumb shit is people panicking about China Lake and RU subs and CN [stuff not available yet].

Epstein is being spun up like a Faerie Tale, and y'all falling for it.

Nothing to do with the actual scandals. Wank Dust for Zombies.

LARP THAT.

p.s.


Look up the Submarine / CAL earthquake stuff and tie to last thread, and do your TIMES. Foolish fuckers claimin we'd bother altering minor forum timers: Know this - y'all dumb and dead now.

Battery Fire + Submarine? Quite the kink for people reading this.


Using Minds as batteries though... now that's where it's actually at.

490:

Naah, fuck it.


Your entire society is based on slavery, sexual or manual. All the supply chains come down to slavery. All the fucking Land comes down to slavery. All of it.

The shit you're in contact with... demands fealty via 'concession', 'contract' or direct dominion.


Bill - they're nasty fucking slavers beyond the sweet talk.


You're just fucking evil fuckers, no doubt about it. Ignorance only carries you so far.


Oh. And if you want to play hard-ball.

You've no idea what shit we went through last week. Stupid fucks claiming a $300k reward was the least special aspect of it. [Hint: THEY GO AFTER CHILDREN TOO]


TL;DR


USA = RUN BY ANIMAL SLAVERS


491:

Bill - they're nasty fucking slavers beyond the sweet talk.
Sporadic, and mostly threats, and zero sweet talk.
Anyway, I did another round of computer hygiene related to DNS leaks and IP leaks, just because. That was good, and interesting how leaky our networks are.
I am not happy with my country this week, FWIW. Not looking good.

492:

I agree with you about Corbin. On one hand, if you scrimp and strain and save and invest in better politics for all, and you can get everyone engaged and educate them and all that happy horseshit, you can probably do better than the EU, and have whatever Perfect Communism looks like these days.

On the other hand, if you don't want to have an actual people's revolution, and you believe in a Liberal Capitalism, with good consumer protections and a half-intelligent view of the dangers of accumulating capital, nobody in the modern U.K. is going to do better than the EU and you can definitely do a whole lot fucking worse!

And that's what Corbin doesn't get. His "perfect" is the enema of the good, and the achievable victory of actually sticking with the good consumer protections and the half-intelligent view of modern capitalism... He's willing to give that way in the hope of reaching his ideal. If I lived in the U.K. I'd want to slap the man!

493:

Sorry. That should read, "He's willing to give that away in the hope of reaching his ideal."

494:

Any protected-mode OS for the '286 uses segments. It had to. Unfortunately, one of the most common instances of it (AMD Stepping C, as I recall) had a flaw, and did not properly implement the segment-not-present exception, which limited the usability of segments. The other problem with the segments in protected mode was that they took forever to load, a flaw carried over to the '386. By "forever," I mean multiple hundreds of cycles in some cases. And to make it clear, "load" means putting the segment identifier into a segment register (e.g., SS or ES). It also had an extremely expensive overhead for transferring between protection rings, which is part of the reason virtually (ha ha!) nobody made use of anything other than rings 0 and 3. I'm aware of several operating systems -- productized and experimental -- that used all of these features, in both 16 and 32 bit modes. (Other gripe: the '386 did paging after segment processing, rather than the other way around -- this meant that it had a limit of 4G of virtual and physical memory, whereas if it had gone the other way, each segment could have had a limit of 4G physical, and the processor's virtual memory space would have allowed for 64k 4G address spaces; nobody would really have done that, but there were a couple of people who tried making a segment-aware OS, and this limitation hampered them significantly. Intel eventually added another 4 address bits, using wackiness in the page translation to support them.)

Because of the problems with inter-segment transfers, it ended up not being feasible to put device drivers in rings 1 or 2 -- even though NT tried this at first, for security reasons (the I/O space could be restricted per driver this way), for performance reasons (as has already been discussed in this thread) it just was not practical.

The 80286, due to a slight bug (later dubbed a feature) in memory processing, could access 1M + 64k in real mode. There were, honestly, some systems that took advantage of this.

Interestingly, the macOS announcements last month included a notice that all device drivers are being moved to user space. I'm curious how that will go, but I also have to admit I'm not sure any longer what the domain transfer cost (that is, the cost of going between supervisor and user states) is on current Intel hardware.

495:

If anyone is looking for a adult magic school fantasy for the summer, while ... seeking ... a quote about Serenity before combat, found Red Sister by Mark Lawrence(2017), about warrior nuns and with an interesting magic system (threads, Path, etc) and physical h2h/weapons fighting including combat tachypsychia without obvious uncontrolled dopamine/norepinephrine dump. Long.
The starting sentence[0] promises a lot; the middle is a lot of training which some might find tedious.

[0]"It is important, when killing a nun, to ensure that you bring an army of sufficient size."
a few more quotes, not really spoilers:
‘You’re missing the whole point!’ Hessa had thrown up her hands and nearly lost her crutch. ‘One lock, another lock, complicated or simple, tumblers or latches ... they’re all either locked or unlocked. You just need to find the thread for the lock and pull it.
... and much later
‘A good fighter lives in the moment, but they see into the future. The better the fighter the further they see. Everyone can develop whatever natural talent the Ancestor gave them for this. Some however, some marjals, have an unnatural talent for it. Seeing five heartbeats into every future goes a long way towards compensating for any amount of hunska speed.’ On reflection Nona realized that every move made against her Yisht had seen coming. But had it been experience though, or something more?

496:
[...] all device drivers are being moved to user space. I'm curious how that will go, but I also have to admit I'm not sure any longer what the domain transfer cost (that is, the cost of going between supervisor and user states) is on current Intel hardware.

It's very efficient, on the order of a cache miss. Under 100 cycles.

Switching between different user contexts, on the other hand, has been much more expensive until very recently. However, some recent extensions allow for rapidly switching between a limited number of page tables.

497:

Ok, you're more current than I am. The PTID thing, I had thought it got killed by the Meltdown workarounds. But, hm, thinking about it... no, the workaround can use that, the performance killer is that user space and kernel space have to be in different IDs, rather than sharing the current process PTID.

498:

... and of course, you only need the Meltdown hack on processors which have the bug. Out of all the Meltdown/Spectre type bugs, it has the most straightforward fix.

If you want something fun, take a look at how Linux manages to do gettimeofday() (and a few other syscalls such as getpid/gettid/etc.) without doing any context switch at all, just a function call. :-)

499:

Troutwaxer @ 492
It's probably even worse than that.
Co Bin is like the Bourbons: "Learnt nothing & forgotten nothing"
Absolutely NO shifting on ANY issue since about 1973 ( & 1934 on defence )
With the current collection of semi-facists, incompetents & big-mouthed muppets at the tories, Liebour should be streets ahead ... instead, they are behind the tories (!) The antsemitism ongoing row & the repeated attempts at deselection of good Social Democrats within THE PARTY really don't help, either.
And Cor Bin is actually responsible for this shambles.

500:

With the current collection of semi-facists, incompetents & big-mouthed muppets at the tories, Liebour should be streets ahead

Most folks are natural Tories, I've Got Mine Fuck You with an ingrained suspicion of Others (different gender identification, different skin colour, different origin, different language, different food preferences, different everything) and more concerned with such undesirables moving in next door and changing things than anything else, generally. Combine that with a press that vilifies anything Different and promotes Toryism at every step and it's remarkable that Labour is where it is in the polls.

And Cor Bin is actually responsible for this shambles.

Jeremy Corbyn (it doesn't hurt to spell his name right) is the Leader of the main Opposition party in Parliament. He has no secret superpowers for good or evil, he cannot reverse Brexit with a wave of his demonic hand. The only real political power he has is to call for a vote of no-confidence in the Government and the last time he did that the Tories voted lockstep for PM May accompanied by the DUP and a few Change UK members. Blaming the victim gets old, Greg but it's what the press wants you to do.

501:

Actually, I am extremely impressed by his ability to not fall into the traps being set by his enemies trying to destroy him and all traces of socialism within Labour. No, he is NOT responsible for those attacks, which come from the monetarist, English fascist and 'pro-Israel' fanatics, which are all terrified of seeing a genuinely socialist government. Whether this is cunning or due to the reason you claim is as yet unclear, as is exactly what he would do if he gets into power. Yes, he is being dilatory, obfuscatory and evasive, but he is being attacked by several camps, which are vastly more powerful than he is.

As far as I can tell, there is almost certainly a great deal of anti-Semitism both Labour and the Conservatives, but only one gets attention, and at least some the charges of that against Labour are very clearly engineered by the pro-Israel camp to attack anyone who stands up for the rights of Palestinians to be treated like human beings. Yes, I have looked at what was said and asked myself "If I changed Jew for Muslim etc. would it still be contentious?" In almost all of the cases I have seen, the answer was "no". Well, I refuse to accept that such remarks are genuinely anti-Semitic.

You should try that sort of thing - it would do your shrivelled soul good!

502:

The latter is trivial, and has been done since time immemorial by all competent systems. A relevant historical minutia is that there was a prejudice among mainframe operating system designers against letting unprivileged programs read the real-time clock. The few that I challenged on that all said "That would be a security weakness" (*). Yes, really.

(*) What that really meant is that they were being sloppy about security, both because good mechanisms don't rely on keeping the user ignorant and because there are plenty of other ways an ingenious hacker can use measure time.

503:

#475 - I've sound two ways of reducing SunOS 4 to a crawl:-
1) Use PV-Wave, which has the memory leak of the decade. You may have thought that Internet Exploder 8 had a memory leak but that's nothing to the one PV-Wave had.
2) Run a Windoze emulator, so that you can run a word processor. That can reduce the screen update rate to the point where you can measure the time to display each character. ( we learned vi, because learning vi was faster)

#477 - Agreed; WP's "killer feature" was doing what it was told, and staying told when you'd told it.

504:

Generally software developers are coming around to the view that "anything that is not specifically permitted is absolutely forbidden" for good security reasons thanks to the tireless efforts by Black Hats to probe and tease at the cracks and use unexpected failures and edge cases to escalate privileges, exfiltrate data etc.

Why would a random userspace program want or need to read the RTC directly rather than getting the data the RTC provides from an API? Sounds like bad security practice -- "Just one weffer-thin mint, Mister Creosote..."

505:

You have missed the point. There WAS no usable API - that was what I was railing about, as sometime who was trying to do performance analysis on algorithms. An API with a precision of 1 second that creates havoc with cached data isn't practically usable for that purpose.

506:

Nojay & EC
Oh dear ......
I agree with almost everything you say about the tories & many people, but ... really.
JC should be well ahead in the polls & it's due entorely to his own incompetence.
He is on repeated record as believing the EU to be a corrupt capitalist employers ramp ... he WANTS a no-deal brexit, so that he can clear up in the shambles - just like Johnson, in fact.
Both of them want a wrecked country to work theor equally mad & unpleasnt policies on, or hadn't you noticed?
It's truly, deeply scary

507:

EC, Greg and Nojay - My five reasons for saying "Do not vote for either the Con Party or Liebour" are BoJo the Clown, Cor Bin, Cunt, Theresa Mayhem and Scamoron! Any mangling of baptismal names in the foregoing are an expression of my opinion of the individual named.

508:

Hi Charlie, as usual a fascinating thread (long time lurker, seldom poster...). My question may not be nearly as interesting as others...

Currently waiting for a plane to Edinburgh to meet my son for a long weekend - do you or any of the other of our esteemed North of the Border commentators have any good recommendations for interesting spots to visit? Won't have a car so public transport good, Glasgow also considered as an easy run by train. Thanks in advance!

(mind you, good thing I don't have a car given the list of bars the boy has pledged to take me to - students eh?!)

509:

Personally, the idea of device drivers moved to user space terrifies me. That just makes it *so* much easier for a cracker to get into them, and make them do what they want....

510:

And now for something completely different: I was planning on doing this next Friday, but my manager walked in, late morning, and told me I *really* needed to do it today, so they could plan.

So, I've just given 5.5 weeks notice that I'm retiring.

Yeah, I am that old (no, older: yes, I *was* one of those in the streets in the sixties, marching against 'Nam).

More time to write, and more time with my new SO. And, I suppose, more time to comment, here.

511:

Retirement is to be recommended. I started my working life in an industry that reduced male retirement to 60 rather than increase female to 65 as most did in the 1980s, passed 60 in March and finished at Easter. I ought to be sorting out the house and garden so I can sell the place and head back to the south west but I'm still enjoying the ability to wake up in the morning and think "What do I have to do today? Nothing, goodo.".

512:

This is the US. The right keeps trying to privatize/get rid of unemployment insurance, Medicare, and social security. Now we've got three levels of payout: 63 (low), 66 (medium), and 70, max. When my father retired at 65, five years younger than me, there was only one level.

I know people who, if they retired, would get so little they couldn't afford to live, so they have to keep working.

513:

Edinburgh? Depends what you're into, really. There's lots to see at the National Museum on Chambers Street (free) or the Castle (££ - be there for the one-o'clock gun if you're going) and plenty of other museums on the Royal Mile, and loads of tat shops too if that's what you're after. Nice views from Calton Hill or (if you've the energy) Arthur's seat. Hard to know what to add without knowing what you're into, and Glasgow I don't know anything like as well as I ought.

_Moz_