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So you think you can be a reality TV producer

I watch as little television as I can, and most of it by accident.

Whenever I do catch an eyeful, it usually consists of one of three things: a talking heads news channel, organized sportsball, or a Reality TV show. The first I try to ignore (they're usually triangulated on the tabloid newspapers with added eye candy, then dumbed down: as information sources this century, TV news channels are useless). The sportsball I leave to my spouse (who is prone to lecturing me interminably about Manchester City). But the latter phenomenon—Reality TV—has all the grisly attention-grabbing potential of a flaming school bus careening out of control into a public execution: I basically have to leave the room in a hurry to avoid having my eyeballs sucked right out of my head by the visual media equivalent of internet clickbait. (Luckily, my glimpses into this surreal hell-world are usually transient, a side-effect of my spouse channel-hopping between football matches.)

What makes Reality TV shows so addictive?

The sector is dominated by a couple of competing recipes. As in so many mature markets, there's an 80/20 split between a dominant incumbent and an insurgent that isn't quite successful enough to overturn a monopoly but is too tenacious to die. Think Android/iPhone, or car/pick-up truck (that latter died about a decade ago in the US).

In the case of rTV shows, the 20% insurgent is about people demonstrating competence. Mythbusters was the classic competence-porn show (although it deteriorated into the explosion-of-the-week club after a few seasons): using science!!! and workshop/lab work to evaluate the plausibility of urban legends is basically the Lawful Good of Reality TV AD&D alignments. Other competence rTV shows include: a team of dudes acquire a car wreck and restore it to good-as-new condition, a former special forces soldier/scout troop leader is dumped on a desert island and demonstrates survival skills, and so on.

But the other 80% of rTV shows are incompetence porn.

Incompetence porn Reality TV, as pioneered by Big Brother, usually aims to get the audience to laugh at or mock the participants in a contest designed to humiliate the subjects. Instead of dropping a fit expedition leader on a desert island, the show dumps a bunch of washed-up B-list celebs in a wilderness of mosquitos and no soft toilet paper. Or perhaps it's a bunch of Armani-suited sociopaths in a boardroom where they're expected to pitch business start-up proposals at a washed-up B-list business celeb like Alan Sugar (or, in the American version of "The Apprentice", a certain mobbed-up New York property speculator with shady Russian banking connections). Back-stabbing is a given in the celebrity/sociopath driven variant of rTV, as incompetent contestants are shoved out of the show at every episode until only the most obliviously egocentric remains.

(Note that regardless of anything else, the survivor selection criterion in all Reality TV isn't "competence", be it at wilderness survival or boardroom brown-nosing: it's entertainment value. Because these shows, despite the name, aren't about reality, they're showbiz.)

But these aren't the worst.

Here Comes Honey Boo Boo is a depraved abyss of egocentricity skull-fucking the dessicated remains of bad taste, featuring the family of child beauty pageant contestant Alana "Honey Boo Boo" Thompson, a participant in another rTV show titled *Toddlers and Tiaras". Wikipedia goes on to note, "On October 24, 2014, TLC cancelled the series after four seasons after cast member June 'Mama June' Shannon was seen with the man who molested her oldest child and is father to another of her children, prompting Shannon to admit to Entertainment Tonight that the two men are both registered sex offenders." It was followed on TLC by Mamma June: From Not to Hot, which "documents June "Mama June" Shannon's weight loss transformation from 460 to 160 pounds (209 to 73 kg)."

(I think you can see where this is going.)

On the UK side of the abyss we still have some pretense at documentary film-making, but it's implausible to claim that such delights as Big Fat Gypsy Weddings (which, by the way, is racist as fuck) and Benefits Street (TLDR: poverty porn) are anything other than an attempt to spray-tan the hellish prurience of American cable rTV with a thin veneer of voyeuristic enquiry.

And I've barely scratched the surface. Reader, I have not watched these shows: but for every Say Yes to the Dress—which serves at least some social utility function, even if it's only to encourage the conspicuous consumption of couture products—there's a Three Fat Brides One Thin Dress (presented by the odious lifestyle/diet grifter Gilian McKeith) which is basically undisguised goggle-eyed fat-shaming with a side-order of cat-fight enforced heteronormativity.

So, where am I going with this?

I present, for your delectation, my pitch for the ultimate rTV show:

Pitch Me is "The Apprentice", only for sociopathic Reality TV producers.

In "Pitch Me", five deranged low-rent cable TV showrunners compete for network funding to make their show.

The show itself follows the tried and tested reality TV format of targeting a despised demographic, whose humiliation the audience can delight in —television producers. In a straight-up rip-off of the format of "The Apprentice", six showrunners are are forced to compete for the approval of a successful producer. (Jamie Hyneman would be a perfect choice to act the role of "successful producer"—his sardonic wit would be perfect for savaging the contestants and his track record in co-fronting "Mythbusters" through an epic 17 seasons gives him the necessary profile). The contestants are required to jump through increasingly humiliating hoops as they select showrunners and would-be stars, arrange studio and location shoots, deal with the inevitable messy melt-downs of industry outsiders who are frankly not bright enough to see past the temptation of being on TV to the reality they're basically on display to be mocked, and to willingly abase themselves in pursuit of a prize—backing for the first season of their reality TV show.

Yes, the ultimate rTV show is about the producers. Only one of them can win! Their career in TV is at stake! Roll up, roll up, to see the Hollywood sharks tear into one another at full throttle! There's blood in the water and it's going to be brutal!

I have some example pitches to share with you:

On Incel Bride Hunt, six committed incels—two anti-feminist fans of Jordan Peterson, two misogynistic homophobes in total denial of their own Tom of Finland fantasy lives, and a pair of plain old-fashioned quiverful alt-right white supremacists—compete to marry a real live woman: the losers get blow-up dolls. (Reader: there might be fewer than six losers, but it's not a safe bet.)

So You Want To Be President is simply a re-cut (with sarcastic commentary and jokes about breeding a bulletproof Kennedy) of the US presidential primaries for whichever party doesn't currently have custody of the nuclear football.

My Big Fat Gastric Bypass can usefully repurpose the Gillian McKeith formula, but generalize it by not requiring the contestants to want to look good in a posh frock: the winner gets a bypass, the runners-up get tapeworm eggs.

Three EU Citizens, one Permanent Right to Remain features sensible, young, well-educated and personable foreigners who are forced to spend lots of money and squirm through the napalm-coated burning tunnel of Kafkaesque Home Office paperwork required of every successful consultant neurosurgeon or professor of international relations wishing to live in the UK for more than five microseconds after Brexit. Thrilling reality TV as a 5am raid by Border Force agents grabs an eminent Canadian law professor, who failed to punctuate a submission using the Oxford comma rule, and packages him for deportation to Nicaragua via cruise missile! Enough said.

On My Fur Baby's Wedding, contestant's cats and dogs get the full Bridezilla treatment—especially thrilling when we match a Leonberger with a barely-housetrained Cheetah.

And then there's Pitch Me Again, a pleasingly recursive entrant to the competition which serves as a benchmark for the other contestants—if you can't beat the show you're appearing on, then obviously what you're pitching lacks mass audience appeal!

So.

What's your submission for a slot on Pitch Me?

(Please leave your entry in the comments below. Maximum length 50 words—this is your attempt to get a toe in the door, not a detailed submission—we want the sizzle, not the steak. Submissions welcome from everyone regardless of prior lack of TV production experience: in fact, contestants with prior experience will be handicapped).

1360 Comments

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1:

Heal Thyself

Think a combination of Dr Phil, Hoarders, and Ninja Warrior

Mentally ill contestants discuss their troubles with pseudo-doctor, show documentary-porn of their problems, then they run through a brutal obstacle course to win a year's worth of therapy from a real doctor if they complete it in time

2:

Obviously my pitch only works in America for now, but soon Boris will sell off the NHS and then we can roll out a UK version

3:

I am repulsed by reality porn more than you are by sports on TV. I'll pass on this one for now. [eyeroll]

4:

Take Off...
Take an existing show (see above), and have the contestants compete to be the ones who take off and nuke the site from orbit!

5:

Shhhh: Sixteen publicity seeking hate mongers (Katie, Piers etc.) shut in solo hotel suites for four months. Only interaction via custom mobile app — faked to convince each one they're winning. IRL none of this is broadcast — the show is them recovering their audience after 4 months of radio silence.

6:

Ick. I have the same reaction to incompetence porn that you and I have to boiled Brussels sprouts. Mythbusters and Dirty Jobs at least had some entertainment and social value. Survivor and Big Brother et al kick off my gag reflex and make me want a memory wipe.

7:

[Not part of the 50 words, but I'll be checking in again around 200. I prefer nature and science porn as brain bleach.]

The pitch, and this is from a real TV show:

"We will spend US $20 billion in ad buys, about $10 billion to re-elect Donald Trump, about $10 billion to unseat him. You [the TV industry] get to figure out how to use it effectively, and for every failure, we give more to the internet and social media."

Background: yes, the buzz is that the US presidential campaign will blow through US $10-20 billion by November. If (like me) you've made the mistake of getting even minimally politically active, most of your email time has for months been devoted to deleting emails pleading for more donations.

This is by far the biggest reality show on television right now, and until Citizen's United is overturned, it will keep growing by each cycle.

I'm just unclear on who is pitching who in this.

8:

Adrian: I wouldn't watch it, but I really want somebody to make your show for us all!

9:

The USAian version of Changing Rooms, Trading Spaces, was also fun, if formulaic.

10:

Inside the Senate Cloakroom

Watch 53 U.S. Senators pitch the best excuses not to present evidence or witnesses during the 2020 Impeachment trial.


Bonus Round: New evidence refuting central defense of the incumbent president is released during the trial.


Winner gets no-expense paid access to the winter Whitehouse in Mar-a-Lago.
If Senate successfully votes down witnesses, winner will be in consideration as the VP running mate for 2020!

11:

Casting Couch STD on Love Island

Six producers -- male and female -- are asked to guess what the diagnosis is for each image in an edition of "The British Journal of Sexual Medicine", and whether any of their fellow competitors have it.

Much amusement is derived from the "will he? won't she?"

12:

After Trump won the 2016 primaries, I remember thinking that the 2020 Republican primaries would be a not very guilty pleasure, as every swivel eyed, bigoted lunatic in the GOP competed to replicate Trump's strategy and complete the destruction of the party.

Because of course Trump couldn't win the 2016 general election.

Sigh.

It's all fun and games until someone loses an Iowa.

13:

So, you want to live?
Have a bunch of death row inmates abase themselves for a chance to be represented by a competent lawyer. (actually use a gloryhound instead of a competent lawyer)

So, you want do die?
Have a bunch of terminally ill patients, in constant pain, abase themselves for a chance to be euthanized.

Rip-off the fur
Take an already existing rTV show, and do everything the same, only everyone is wearing a fursuit. For extra points, use the above described shows.

14:

Come now, there are far worse than TV producers .... either or both of Politicians or Estate Agents
"Estate!" The Sharkiest gets to win, by competing to sell to the marks the gottiest, most run-down, but suoerficially-impressive heap of mouldering real estate they can find
OR
"Politicos!" Where the competition is to "sell" ( get most viewer-votes ) the worst possible either Fascist or communist or "relgious" meme as an deliberate piece of party policy.

Problem is that I think the second one is already running, just that we haven't been told it's actually a TV ramp, yet.

15:

Who Wants Club Fed?
Convicted or soon-to-be convicted high-profile sleazeballs (e.g. Harvey Weinstein, Roger Stone, etc.) compete to see which one of six will go to a minimum security prison, while the others get special sphincter training. Crocodile tears and fake soulful confessions every week!

16:

My pitch is to make this, but as a Black Mirror episode.

17:

Can I nominate Weinstein as the winner of this show, right now?

18:

Wrt. Politicos, I believe the past three-plus years can be best explained by the parsimonious assumption that Donald Trump only ran for President to bootstrap his next Reality show ("So you want to be President") only he accidentally overran the target and now he's left owning the franchise. Which is extremely expensive to maintain -- $10-20Bn for a successful re-election campaign -- hence the extra special heaping serving of grift.

19:

Don't you mean the loser (only the winner gets minimum security)?

20:

@18: And as with his other business ventures, he's using other people's money and will walk away from the debts he leaves.

21:

YELLOWCAKE: based on "THE AMAZING RACE" but recruit teams of alt-right/Qbert competitors and use conspiracy theory material as clues. Over the course of the season teams compete to find and open a buried treasure chest The chest contains a prize rarer than gold itself; used reactor fuel rods.

-- Steve

22:

Three MPs, one brown paper bag: The Fake Sheikh is back and this time it's competitive!

23:

Reading the description for Benefits Street has finally cured me of my long-lingering Anglophilia. Not even Boris Johnson completely eradicated it, but Channel Four just managed.

24:

Harvey Weinstein is dead! Point?

25:

Crosstown Traffic

Australia's six state government public transport ministers have their chauffeur driven ministerial cars removed, and are forced to get around exclusively on the buses, trains and trams they neglect administer.

Snigger as their factional rivals plot against them in meetings they're an hour late for.

Thrill as they're crash tackled by thuggish ticket inspectors.

Gurgle with delight when a cancelled train means they're one minute late to connect with a bus which only runs every 90 minutes, triggering a psychotic break, or at least some questioning of the merits of privatisation- much the same thing to Australia's political class.

26:

That's news to me - when did that happen?

27:

You got the wrong abuser: Jeffrey Epstein is dead, Harvey Weinstein is very much alive and standing trial.

28:

Yeah, I didn't list Epstein because he's no longer a player.

29:

You're welcome to delete or change the relevant posts then.

30:

*You’re Stupid Because You’re Poor*

A sham court room show, in which a rich white lady hears both sides of a small-claims court conflict, then roundly castigates everyone involved for at least ten minutes. In exchange for this ritual humiliation, all damages are paid from the show’s budget.

(I may have just been at the laundromat while *Judge Judy* was on again...)

32:

I don't have a show yet, but one of the celebrity contestants needs to be Chuck Tingle.

33:

The Virtue Signal
Six contestants try to be the best possible enlightened tolerant human being. Competitive categories include:

micro-scale environmental responsibility
macro-scale environmental responsibility
economic inequality
racial tolerance
lifestyle tolerance
cultural tolerance
political activism
educational outreach

34:

@33: Only interesting as they fail.

35:

A sham court room show, in which a rich white lady hears both sides of a small-claims court conflict

Let's pick an easy starting topic: the Romance Writers of America v. Courtney Milan racism dust-up. Our rich white lady rTV judge should be able to settle it all in just one episode!

(Bonus points if she's a blond from Alabama who says "bless my soul" a lot and declares that she can't possibly be racist, she has a black nanny.)

36:

I fail to see why you hold virtuous actions in contempt. Are you by any chance auditioning for a slot on Fox TV?

37:

@36: Honestly, isn't this just the setup for every episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation?

38:

Virtuous actions that you do to make yourself look wonderful, not to actually accomplish anything useful.

39:

You're assuming that people who sink considerable effort into virtuous actions do so out of a narcissistic impulse rather than because they think they're doing the right thing.

I call bullshit on your concern trollong, and here is your yellow card.

40:

Righto. Delete them if you want.

41:

Nope, not deleting: leaving them in place as a useful lesson in things that don't quite merit a red card (but are still questionable).

42:

24 Hours To A&E

Phone vote triage. Who gets a bed? Who gets judged fit to work?

43:

Who (the f---) Do You Think You Are?

An unrestrained attack on the lives of the -vict- contestants, unclear as to whether points are assigned for stamina or messiness of exit.

44:

@42: Please forgive an ignorant USAian - I assume you're not talking about the Arts and Entertainment Network?

45:

Given that I have just had to do it, take 6 CEOs of 'modern' electronic/Web retail organisations, given them a pseudonym, and working through each of those systems in turn, require them to set them up for a user with slightly unusual requirements - e.g. someone partially disabled. Then ask for their comments on the process, and how well they did. Extra giggles occur when they fail as dismally on their own system as on their competitors.

First 6 programmes (my task). Buy and set up a smartphone that is capable of talking to hearing aids via Bluetooth, for an occasional mobile phone user (i.e. one who might use it only in bursts, every few months).

Later programs could be to find out what product or solution best fits a requirement from Web pages concerned mostly with marketing. And so on.

46:

Accident and Emergency, ER as it would be there.

One more while I'm at it:
Gogglepox: Aspiring cub reporters bid for a career with a major network by reporting on a major pandemic.

47:

Dave P @ 44
A&E Stands for "Accident & Emergency" the outside-admissions section of any UK hospital. ( You call them "ER" ?? )

48:

Then there's the truly sick & entirely-questionable version of @42
"Repeat sessions with UC"
Where contestents have to beat the arseholes from Crapita (etc) to get their Universal Credit/Disabilitypayments.
Extra points & benefits for excessive grovelling & subservience.
Useful training for post-Brexit Britan, come to think of it ....

49:

'scape the matrix: Six B-list genre SF writers attempt to (i) confirm that we're living in a simulation and then (ii) prove that they're right by escaping. Losers get "left behind" (TM).

50:

I WANT TO BE AN ASTRONAUT:

Each season 6 trainees compete for a seat on a SpaceX Dragon into LEO/visit to ISS. Each episode would highlight an aspect of training, physical and psychological testing, SCUBA qualification, jet piloting, EVA training, etc. Behind the scenes, bunk rooms and locker rooms.

51:

That's actually (a) interesting and (b) plausible, not to mention (c) being entirely practical -- you'd go talk to NASA or SpaceX and do a fly-on-the-wall documentary about astronaut selection and training.

Alas, I'm going to disqualify this one for not having the essential rTV trait of contempt: at worst, it might be framed as competence porn.

52:

@46 and 47: Thanks - our equivalent is the Emergency Room (ER). Which gets me considering:

Satan in Hell
Six health care executives are infected with treatable chronic diseases. They then, without assistance, have to negotiate their own bureaucracies to attempt to get payment for their treatments approved. The losers go through their savings and investments leaving their families destitute.

53:

This is currently a US-only program, but it might be coming to the UK soon!

54:

That proposal is great ... but only in America. It won't fly in the UK, or indeed most of the rest of the developed world: too implausible ("bureaucracies ... get payment ... treatments approved" -- treatment approval is the job of doctors, not executives, and is delivered without regard to ability to pay).

55:

Actually Dale’s suggestion should be disqualified since it was already done, more or less. Remember the ‘Brit to Mir’ project from circa 1991? The one that provided Helen Sherman with the ride of lifetime? I was particularly pissed because I made it through several levels of selection for it. I got to move to Silicon Valley by way of compensation, so there was that.

56:

Real Wealth.

A cross-Pond show. Six couples, all of whom have been required to show their federal/national income tax forms to prove they are each worth over $10M, compete to come up with the sleaziest scheme to scam people with an income half the median income or less out of half a year's income. The winners must reach $10M in one month.

The losers become the actual slaves of the winning couple for one year, living in low-income housing on the back 40 acres of the winners' estate. Sex, or anything else, on demand is what the winners get from the losers.

First show: the Trumps, the McConnells, and Lindsey Graham and wife, with Bojo, Smaug, and May....

57:

The Naked Royal
(The lions, tigers and bears edition)
Three teams of paparazzi are given assignments in different locations around the world with the goal to deliver the title photo-essay. A savanna in Tanzania, a jungle in Malaysia and a forest in British Columbia deliver on the parenthetical subtitle. The Canadian target is promised to be a shirtless Harry Windsor, chopping firewood. Only at the end to we learn this is actually a local namesake, a spring board champion and recently paroled violent offender. Similar twists occur in Kuala Lumpur and on the Serengeti.

58:

Dreaming Of A Better Time

We use the promise of a soapbox to lure a bunch of slavery apologists into reconstructions of the Confederacy, classical Sparta, and Plato's Atlantis. The soapbox is, of course, used to give them something to stand on so the other contestants get a better view of the floggings.

Who will give the safeword first?

59:

Pleeeeeeease let the final episode surprise reveal be the lovingly-maintained guillotine the production crew have gifted the "slaves" in order to make their gratitude to the winning couple appropriately clear?

60:

@54: Actually, one segment of the US population had "socialized" medicine for a long time - the US military, where indeed treatment approval was the job of doctors and treatment was not based on ability to pay. That system, too, has been degraded over the past twenty years by the beancounters.

Our experience of the German healthcare system proved the superiority of what we call in the US single-payer healthcare. Although still covered by a private insurer, the Foreign Service Benefit Plan, they were hands-off for the treatment of my wife's breast cancer, including chemotherapy and surgery, totaling billing in excess of 50,000 Euro.

61:

Not at 200 yet?

Okay, here's another one:

Take two teams of reality show creators (equal in number and roles). The teams take turns: For two shows (presumably two weeks), one team is running the show, the other is the contestants. Then they switch. Format of mini-contest (aside from no one getting eliminated in any way) is entirely up to the team running the show that week, within the constraints of a budget controlled by the real showrunners.

At the end, the winning team is determined by independent analysis of viewership and social media response. Whichever group created the more popular contests wins. The winners get a cash prize and the opportunity to come back and defend their title on the next series. Winners of three in a row (teams or individuals on the teams) are permanently disqualified from future competitions, to keep it fair.

62:

OUT!
A twist on big brother: Ten same-sex contestants. Each is told there is one gay contestant, but there isn't.
Daily challenges: Successfully completing them as a group raises the pot of money the final winner takes home.

Each week, they vote secretly to eliminate one contestant. If they choose the gay one (there isn't one), he/she wins the pot, otherwise, the last straight contestant wins the pot.

(slightly too long with 71 words)
----
The mechanics incentivize the contestants to behave in a way they think is gay, for the laughs of the mentally corrupt on the other side of the screen.

Added spice: The challenges are things considered by the contestants to be either stereotypically straight or gay for their sex. (determined by extensive survey before the contest)

More spice: If a contestant actually comes out during the show, the rules do not change.

This show possibly already exists, but I was too chicken to check. Or I want to preserve my last shreds of faith in humanity.

63:

Firstly, your pitch is almost terrifyingly well optimized to foster homophobia. Secondly, it's rooted in the false premise that homosexual/heterosexual is a black/white binary choice, rather than a gray-scale spectrum. (Hint: bisexuals exist. So do asexuals. And intersex. And trans. And for example men who have sex with men (MSMs) who self-identify as straight. And so on ...)

64:

and Lindsey Graham and wife

*cough* Lindsey Graham famously has never married and has a lifestyle and mannerisms that are recognized as the classic "southern dandy".


Read between the lines.

65:

Another one, this one promises to be entertaining in contrast to just plain horrible and depressing, which was not my initial idea, but it turned out that way. Sorry to each reader to have been subjected to my idea of what I thought a professional rTV producer might cook up if outrage and hate-clicks was the optimization goal.
(As I said, my faith in humanity runs low these days...)

Now, hopefully more entertaining:
GO BROKE, WIN!
Well-to-do executives trade their position with the lowest-paid person in their company.
They are cut off from all their liquid assets and old income, put into a trust, with exception of one provided credit card.
They need to cover all their expenses with their new income.
If they use the card before X time has passed, they lose.
If they get fired by their manager, they lose.
Losing means losing everything in the trust.

---
The trust accumulates interest, paid by the show.
They can go into debt via other channels, but are not allowed to borrow against hard assets (e.g. their house), so only payday lenders are an option.
If they earn a promotion, the can work with the higher income.
Falling behind on payments has the usual effect: turned off gas/electricity/phones, etc.

Note the difference between "lowest paid person" versus employee.
The cleaner employed a subcontractor of a subcontractor also counts.

The escalated version has the people also switch their living situation with the lowest paid person. (Which they potentially lose)


66:

Yes! And the real surprise ending is that the entire crew of the show put *all* of them into the Humane Invention!

67:

Contestants take the role of newspaper reporters, competing to deliver eyeballs to advertisers. Each week, they're matched up with a specific advertiser and their target demographic, and their success or failure is determined algorithmically by a "special blend" of ad impressions, clickthroughs, conversions, and organic recommendations, coupled with originality and real-world effects (ie. bonus points for actual riots, spikes in hate crimes, and lynchings).

It will be judged by a panel consisting of Piers Morgan, Philip Green, and another algorithm.

68:

Celebrity Shit Bucket - oh no, hang on, Roger Mellie's already done that one.

Your Host Tonight Is... - Glossy political arseholes are marooned on an island in the middle of a festering tropical swamp. They are given no equipment other than a closed circuit TV to appear on to prove they're still real. They must survive by drinking the swamp water and eating whatever they can manage to catch out of it, raw. They are scored day to day on who can manage to display the most gruesome lesion, and the eventual winner is the one who acquires the most impressively varied collection of simultaneous infestations by unrelated species.

Watch Out Mate, Yer Arse Is On Fire - Two teams of Australian politicians in open grassland each trying to round up and corral the other team using nothing but a box of matches.

69:

@ 55: “Actually Dale’s suggestion should be disqualified since it was already done, more or less. Remember the ‘Brit to Mir’ project from circa 1991?”

I do vaguely remember something about a civilian going to Mir back in the early 1990s, but none of the back story. Googling around I found some articles and interviews about Helen Sherman (the first Brit in space).

A private British space program called Project Juno put a call out for applicants to become an astronaut. Four candidates out of 13,000 applications were selected to train in the Soviet Union at Star City. Project Juno was to be funded by British corporate sponsors and a lottery system. Juno came up short on the funding and the Soviet Union nearly scrubbed the mission, but that Mikhail Gorbachev directed the mission to continue.

Helen Sharman went to the Mir on May 18, 1991 and returned May 26, 1991.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NL3a7SG-KO4

70:

One of my friends would occasionally go house-shopping for fun. She had a lot of trouble with one realtor who, when told "NO POOLS", would show her *only* houses with pools. They'd be interesting on your show.

71:

They actually did this, the BBC did it, sort of, in 2017 autumn. They took a bunch of scientists, engineers and explorers and had them put through some mock exercises involving some visits to a few of the actual training centres for ESA and NASA. The lady who won was a Plasma Physics Prof at the Uni of Leicester, a very capable lecturer too from personal experience.

Oddly on the topic of "reality" TV, I've tended to see the "20%" (or so) focused on competence not as reality TV but as soft documentaries, having watched a very small number of shows from the 20% one tends to watch not caring for who wins, loses and who gets humiliated but to be impressed by what competent people managed to do. Anyone remember scrapheap challenge from (UK) channel 4 a decade back, a celebration of classic boffinry? or several science series's with kate humble focused on putting some scientists in a harsh environment and having them rig up equipment, there was one on a desert island where they tried to build an ROV with a magnetic clutch through the hull to power the props and one in the canadian rockies where they made a generator for a handheld wind torch to go down a mineshaft with? I can proudly agree with Charlie that I've never conciously witnessed te 80% variety of "reality" TV.

72:

So You Want to Move to the US/UK post-Brexit! (Scams-R-Us)

Individuals wanting to immigrate to the US/UK compete for the services of a panel of immigration experts including:

1- cryptobanker to provide enough $$$ in any offshore bank account for the nanoseconds needed to provide a certified affidavit of your wealth;
2- family tree tracer to document family roots/cultural background as needed (official photos, documents as needed)
3- criminal/international lawyer to clean/hush up any embarrassing records
4- plastic surgeon to alter appearance as needed
5- neurosurgeon to implant a device that can mimic a conscience in case the winner has to undergo a personal interview and answer such ethically challenging questions as: How would you contribute to our society? When was the last time you ran over an old lady?

Season 1: Contestants would be pulled from ex-CEOs, ex-heads of states, failed heirs of real estate fortunes, etc.

Season 2: Contestants would be pulled from next levels down: senior Fortune 500 ex-execs, gov't dept heads, grandchildren of failed heirs of real estate fortunes, etc.

Etc.


Because these shows - well, the house improvement shows I've seen - usually do a reveal after the project has been completed ...

Season 1 follow-up/reveal: Interview winner if still alive/not in jail and do the usual before and after lifestyle comparisons.


73:

Or have another where the CEO of intel has to try getting rid of the IME/AMT management engine from his PC's CPU, the CEO of microsoft has to try fitting a new battery in a surfacebook, the CEO of apple has to swap out the harddrive on a 2012 retina macbook pro, the CEO of google must find the history of tianamen square in 1989 using the .cn version of his search engine, the CEO of facebok must find an honest piece of political information on his platform, the CEO of amazon must get his IoT gear working again after the backend server has been shutoff and the CEO of any company which ships laptops with locked secureboot must try installing linux. I think however that were the CEOs massive failings and embarassment followed with detailed directions and explanations this could become a socially useful tech support and "don't buy from X" consumer advice show, so might not fit the 80% category of "reality" TV we are trying to design for here.

74:

Why limit it to computery? Plenty of other fields that would greatly benefit from the same treatment.

CEO of asshat car company that makes changing a bleeding headlight bulb a "dealer operation" because it takes 2 hours and involves taking the whole front corner of the car to bits - Has to change the offside headlamp bulb using only whatever toolkit is supplied with the car, at night (of course), on the hard shoulder of the M1, in thick snowfall, with lorries thundering past every few seconds each throwing up a deluge of filthy icy muck.

CEO of toilet manufacturer that makes that bloody stupid design where the tank is bolted directly to the po with no connecting pipe - Has to replace the flush valve on a toilet that's been there 15 years so both those bolts and the ones holding the tank to the wall have become shapeless lumps of rust with the appearance and properties of rivets, using ordinary hand tools and without damaging anything (no smashing the pottery to get the bolts out).

Town councillor with painful back ailment - Has to get from the residential outskirts into the town centre and back on a mobility scooter.

A certain politician whose name is impossible to pronounce as spelt - Gets cancer, has to cure himself with homeopathy.

The possibilities are, unfortunately, endless.

75:

You don't need a genealogist so much as a good document forger. (Many pre-1800 genealogies are based on forgeries and family legends, anyway.)

76:

Scrapheap Challenge: More Reel.

It's the same show. But this time they use second hand reality TV contestants. They have the UK moustache present it because he's enough of an arsehole, but US-style decorations/secondary presenters.

I think it would be quite hilarious watching airheads try to make machinery work as they are mocked by a moustachio'd git and encouraged by equally air-headed co-presenters. You might have to extend the build time to a week though.

The winner is the one with the most body parts left at the end of the show. Even if they're dead.

77:

Ever since I read the article linked below I can’t watch any of the “80%” . The human cost is too high.
https://www.salon.com/2018/02/17/i-am-a-master-chef-survivor/

78:

That was interesting. Not surprising, and mostly for the fact that they didn't have a process in place to say "no, not until the paperwork is done".

But yeah, it doesn't matter how nice the greeters are up front, if you know they torture people don't get in the van. I read a similar article about one of the British journalists who was invited into Iran just before the recent piracy problems. At the time he thought "that's odd, why just me, why now?" and shock, horror, he was held as a political prisoner until the crisis was past. And luckily Boris didn't try to help him.

79:

I have been a fan of competence reality shows to a small extent, with the exception of Time Team which I still rewatch on a regular basis (Mick Aston was awesome) because I really like it. Pretty much without exception, I hate incompetence reality TV.

Some shows would tread the line before toppling over, I am looking at you Trading Spaces, but watching artificially induced train wrecks doesn't do it for me.

Do home reno shows count as reality TV (if stated earlier, I apologize now, I have a bad habit of skimming at times)?

80:

Pigeon
ACTUALLY ... slight modification
Get fucking arsehole Cllr Loakes of LBWF & incompetent shit Khan to travel by bus from (say) Hackney Downs or Chingford to the centre of Walthamstow, whilst artificially rendered "disabled" - i.e. slightly bent-over, must walk with cane & carrying a large shopping bag or two.
Their virtue-signaling by prioritising bike lanes, baecuse all cycling is good, right ... has resulted in the REMOVAL of bus lanes & ridiculous journey-times by public transport, over hideously uncomfortable road humps, hurting people with bad backs & necks & hips, whilst increasing the atmospheric pollution.
Wankers.
The, get them to admit in public that they fucked up.
The last is the difficult bit ... so you just make them do it again ....

Moz
They have the UK moustache present it because he's enough of an arsehole Uh / You what / you who? Explain please.

"Incompetenc Reality"
Is a sub-set of the brand of "humour" where stupidity &/or incompetence is supposed to be funny.
It has always made me steaming/shouting/raving-angry.
Because that sort of stupidity/incompetence KILLS PEOPLE
Far too many examples to name - perhaps fortunately

81:

I've tended to see the "20%" (or so) focused on competence not as reality TV but as soft documentaries, having watched a very small number of shows from the 20% one tends to watch not caring for who wins, loses and who gets humiliated but to be impressed by what competent people managed to do.

I'll go along with that. One night someone had left on a TV showing a rTV program about blacksmiths, Forged in Fire, which I could not be arsed to turn off before it won enough of my interest to watch. The formula is, well, formulaic, but it was interesting to watch competent people do their thing and everyone was professional and respectful to the contestants who were eliminated.

Such competence porn is obviously incompatible with anything that would attract Donald Trump or Honey Boo Boo.

83:

I blame Angel for the change in Dick S...

84:

So You Want to Move to the US/UK post-Brexit! (Scams-R-Us) ... Season 1: Contestants would be pulled from ex-CEOs, ex-heads of states, failed heirs of real estate fortunes, etc.

Disqualified because it's utterly implausible: people from that tier just pony up £3M for an "Investor's Visa" and a £10-25,000 application fee and are given their own personal Home Office immigration service concierge to help them fill out the paperwork. Raise it to £5M and they get permanent right of residence after something ridiculous like two years.

Any ex-CEO or HoS who has the money for the sneaky back-door rTV immigration show can afford to waltz in through the front door at the head of a marching band of Tory MPs.

85:

Or have another where the CEO of intel has to try getting rid of the IME/AMT management engine from his PC's CPU...

Disqualified (as are all show formats in this vein) because basically it's boring to look at for 99% of the population and rTV is, primarily, about mindless entertainment for the masses.

Competence porn has to involve big noisy machinery, and a choice between arc welding, bombs, guns, and DIY orbital laser death rays. In other words, spectacle.

86:

Evangelical extremists from various faiths compete to convert a studio audience. Same audience every night but they don't get to vote on who's best, success is measured by number of services of each faith the audience attend. Audience is chosen by scoring high on a "no formal religion, just spiritual" quiz and encouraged to ask questions of the evangelical of the day.

87:

Blacksmithing competitions happen in real life away from the cameras. I remember seeing farriers working at the Royal Highland Show when I was a lot younger, making and shoeing horses against a time clock with judges awarding points for the quality of work.

88:

Competence porn has to involve big noisy machinery...

That put me in mind of motor sports in general which in turn reminded me that someone actually got a Worst Driver show for incompetence porn (in British, Canadian, and international flavors, no less). I can't even be surprised, since cars are the biggest and most dangerous machines the average rTV moron will routinely operate.

Offhand I'm not sure how to make such a show practical yet louder, more dangerous, and more dramatic.

Maybe some kind of complex race event where contestants are plopped into vehicles they don't know how to operate and made to compete against each other while also doing stupid stuff between races.

89:

Celebrity Brexit

Part one is a survey (suckers pay £1 a minute to phone in their answers, with a minuscule chance of being selected for studio audience but no other benefits). The ostensible goal is to identify Britain's top celebrities - in fact it's to identify the top ten (or whatever) who are British resident but EU citizens, not British, and might not be eligible to stay in the UK post Brexit.

Part 2 is a series of shows in which celebrity panelists (some of whom are on the list but don't know it) are given all of the negative facts about one of the celebs apart from who they actually are, and with the help of the show's crack legal team have an arbitrary period of time to come up with a reason to have the celebrity denied British residency, deported, arrested, or whatever else seems to be appropriate.

Hilarity then ensues when the MC reveals who they are trying to get rid of, and promises that since the panelists have made a case for it the legal team will continue to follow through unless the phone in audience votes against it. Of course, people can phone in to vote either way... Cue more calls at £1 a shot.

Nobody benefits apart from the lawyers and TV companies, but what else is new...

90:

Omni-racers!

Contestants should know how to drive ordinary cars but not have experience with exotic machinery.

Bring on the exotic machinery! Racers will try to out-do each other in cargo trucks, motorboats, snowmobiles, motorcycles, cars with trailers, bulldozers, forklifts, whatever we have the budget for. They're in new vehicles every episode!

Contestants will face both driving and stationary challenges. Someone good at one style could still fail at the other.

Thoughts: This is too close to plausible for humor; such a show could really work. Actual title will be determined later, as "omni-" is too highbrow. Expect to loose at least one person at 'back up with a trailer.' No airplanes, not for safety but because it's hard to film them dramatically.

91:

... come up with a reason to have the celebrity denied British residency, deported, arrested, or whatever else seems to be appropriate.

Would "appeared on a stupid reality TV show" count?

92:

Actually, there was a show along these lines on the BBC, but they didn't vet contestants.

The result in one case was Rowan Atkinson (IRL HGV1 (US Class 8) licence holder because he wanted one and could afford the course) reversing a truck!

93:

Competence porn has to involve big noisy machinery,

I've become a fan of a few Youtube engineering channels and the best of them for me are the ones that make you think the person has sold his soul to Satan to do what they do on camera. Stefan Gotteswinter, for example...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qQ_1ju9tfh0

That's the Devil's metal, titanium he's machining to tolerances that terrify me.

94:

New Middle East: Mission Impossible

Ten contestants must pitch Peace Deal proposals to a delegation of angry Israelis and Palestinians. Winner is the one who ends with the least amount of bruises after the inevitable beating they receive from the judges. Provoking the delegation into fighting each other gets the contestants bonus points.

95:

That's not going to work when one delegation have access to rocks and the other has nuclear-tipped cruise missiles. It's basically a football match where one team consists of above-the-knee double leg amputees (without any rule changes to permit wheelchairs or prostheses on the pitch).

Also, I should note that diplomatic negotiations are incredibly tedious and boring to watch.

Also also, rTV shows aim to mop up residuals on the export market, and this one is a non-starter for about 50-80% of the planet; not every nation shares the USA's weird evangelical-inspired obsession with Israel (or is sympathetic to Israel).

96:

Re: ' ... at the head of a marching band of Tory MPs.'

Yeah ... My original idea for this scenario was: 'Who's Your Next GOP US Presidential Candidate/Tory Leader'. But figured there'd be a really good chance for high ad revenues from some of the scummier outfits wanting to target similar psychographic/demo segments therefore switched to a more business-y scenario.

97:

Also: it's been at least attempted - Michael Moore's TV Nation had a "CEO Challenge" segment.

(The only one to rise to the challenge was the then-CEO of Ford, who changed the oil in an Explorer.)

98:

Re "Rip off the fur", this already exists. Apparently there are tabloid papers questioning "who is Hedgehog?"

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-50841954

99:

Also at least suggested - Mars One was going to fund itself by making a reality TV series of astronaut selection that would continue through the colony's founding. Is there a genre of "watching competence hit hard limits" reality tv?

100:

>That's not going to work when one delegation have access to rocks and the other has nuclear-tipped cruise missiles.

The delegation doesn't have access to weapons.

101:

The delegation doesn't have access to weapons.

If you're going to be pedantic about it, neither do the individual members of the governments they report to -- but collectively, those governments can issue orders to soldiers/militias, and may well do so in direct response to input from the negotiating delegations.

Another strike against diplomacy as rTV fodder (besides the current comedy of errors now happening c/o Jared Kushner) is that diplomats who are actually, y'know, negotiating (as opposed to posturing for the cameras) like to work under conditions of near-secrecy -- all the public get to know about is the final outcome of negotiations, the negotiators need to be free to discuss hypotheticals in private without risking outrage on the home front.

(Which is what makes the Kushner/Trump "peace" proposal so stupid: they've gone public with an opening position which is obviously a non-starter for the Palestinians, to whom it is totally disadvantageous -- and it's not a viable starting point for negotiations now that it's public, because if they walk back any of the more extreme land grabs in search of a workable compromise it'll make Trump look weak to his base.)

102:

I have both suggested this idea elsewhere and seen it afterwards in mainstream circulation, but I truly think this would fly in our insane era.
RACE TO THE EDGE
A team of dedicated Flat Earthers are followed by a team of enabling, desperate hosts, whose goal is to stretch the show out into as long as possible in order to get their SAG guild cards and health insurance in the US. The Flat Earthers can fly anywhere in the world, and whoever finds proof that the Earth is flat wins $1000000, which is physically present and shown to them regularly.

The catch is that the Flat Earthers have to pay for their own travel. When they run out of money for travel, they have to beg the audience to call in on 1-900 numbers, and promise to share their winnings with their audience benefactors.

The season ending twist is to up the prize for $5000000, then actually send the last remaining competitors up on a SpaceX flight, which should bankrupt the lot of them.

Alternate versions include a mythbuster knockoff for Fox News true believers, with prize money for "proving" their most insane theories, countered by a detailed forensic analysis of the origins of the misinformation, or an "Own The Libs" tourism show where radical right wing folks get matched with the authoritarian dictatorship that most closely matches their ideology and arranges for them to get into hilarious kerfuffles with their paramilitary police.

103:

How about:
Space: 2029
A head to head competition between Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos to create and execute a mission to:
1) Build and fly a crewed lander to the Moon, and
2) Construct and inhabit a moon base for six months, with
3) Only two resupply missions

The kicker: Musk and Bezos THEMSELVES have to fly the mission, construct the base, and live in it. The loser, most likely, dies. The winner is King of the Moon Men (strictly honorary).

104:

Are you aiming for competence porn or incompetence porn here?

Your task (2) is a suicide mission, with or without two resupply missions. Radiation levels outside the Van Allen belts are not healthy, and if there's a solar flare on top of the regular high energy cosmic rays you're going to have dead astronauts. We're currently in a solar minimum, but moving towards a maximum from roughly 2023-2026, and another minimum around 2030. But a minimum may mean fewer coronal mass ejections ... but the reduced solar activity results in more high energy cosmic rays making it inside Earth's orbit.

Finally: by 2029 (target date?) Elon Musk will be 58 and Jeff Bezos will be 65. That's a little on the old side for starting a new career as pioneering homesteaders on the high frontier, and a lot unsexy on the rTV front.

105:

@104: This idea kind of walks a fine line between competence porn and incompetence porn.

Re: Radiation exposure - this is certainly a valid concern, and one of the chief criticisms of Musk's Mars colonization idea. Effective radiation shielding will be required for any mission outside the Van Allen belts and should be part of the base design.

As for age, John Glenn managed a Shuttle ride at age 77. Many NASA astronauts are in their 40s and 50s. Musk and Bezos would have to pass qualifying physical exams to make the show possible, but they both seem healthy for their age. I don't see this as a show stopper.

Some amplifying ideas:
1) Each participant gets extra points for maximizing the use of their space hardware.
2) each team is limited to four crew members, the other three doing most of the real work.
3) the landers must have the ability to return the crew at a minimum to LEO in case of catastrophe.
4) Points will be awarded and success judged by a panel including representatives from NASA, ESA, ROSCOSMOS, the China National Space Program, and the Indian Space Research Organization.

This is a put up or shut up proposition for Musk. It is also NOT a serious proposal; I realize it's wildly unlikely and WAY too dangerous.

106:

Two other thoughts: Space: 2029 is an obvious callback to Space: 1999, and when did we start judging on real-world executability? We've already instituted slavery and infected people with chronic diseases as part of the other proposals.

107:

Roman Resort:
Contestants from all walks of life are tasked with living in and operating a tiny Roman town for a year. They have to grow food, run shops, Roman baths, make tools, etc. with Roman-era technology. After a start-up period where the producers supply period-appropriate food and tools, they begin hosting tourists who expect a luxury vacation. (Note: participants aren't allowed to get any modern food or tech from the tourists, but them getting it secretly and hiding it will probably be a major plot point.)

This is sort of borderline competence/incompetence porn that should be pretty entertaining to watch. There were three shows that did similar things in the early 2000s--Manor House (upstairs/downstairs with real people--highly entertaining), 1900 House (an Edwardian London middle-class experience), and Pioneer House (three families building neighboring cabins in the American west). All were great television in addition to being actually educational. I was sorry to see the genre die.

108:

Radiation exposure - this is certainly a valid concern, and one of the chief criticisms of Musk's Mars colonization idea.

Yup. If I was Musk, I'd be planning on building my habitats at the bottom of Vales Marineris (about 7km below mean surface level, so higher atmospheric pressure -- thicker, less radiation at ground level -- and drilling horizontally into the cliffs so that colonists can bed down with bedrock for radiation shielding).

John Glenn managed a Shuttle ride at age 77

Yes, but he was in excellent physical shape for his age, and spent most of his ride in microgravity -- the shuttled maxed out at 3G on the way up, lying prone, and about 1.5G on the way down, seated. Glenn exercised as part of his mission tasks, but under controlled conditions -- not required to actually build or manhandle habitat components, even in 1/6 G, while wearing a 100kg space suit.

As for Musk, I suspect he's going to actually do something like this, although not as a reality TV show and he won't be along for the ride: it looks like a fairly reasonable early surface mission suitable for Heavy/Starship to fly in the 2024-28 time frame, if everything comes together.

109:

We're looking for plausible reality TV show ideas. Which means TV on a tight budget, and carried out within the constraints of terrestrial legal systems. (In other words, "so you want to be a bank robber" is right out; so is "how fast can you spend a billion dollars".)

110:

There's a related sector; experimental archaeology, in which researchers take what we know about a particular period's habits, customs, artefacts and lifestyle and try to re-create it and live it. Not just 100-300 years back, but 1000-3000 years, and as a practical research area (which sometimes gets documentary filmmakers involved).

111:

Re "unsexy", how old are Sean Connery, Harrison Ford, Liam Neeson, Stallone, Arnie, etc.? We're in a society where rich and powerful can buy older guys a lot of sexy, especially if you're in shape (required for flight), talented and relatively charismatic.

And re the suicide mission, I remember seeing a survey about 20 years ago. Turns out a *lot* of people would happily take that one-way trip. Some were up for having their names remembered forever alongside Gagarin and Armstrong; but some were just up for it being a space flight to Mars. Especially if it was a suicide mission with a purpose, paving the way for the next guys to settle permanently, you'd get a *lot* of takers. Bonus points if you have a slow-progressing but terminal illness, because it'd be a much better way to make your exit.

112:

How about we take six rich, American racists and inject each one with a disease which negatively affects reasoning capabilities, such as rabies or syphilis. They compete against each other in making incoherent proposals about how to fix the world's problems, with the answers judged by randomly selected people who are already heavy reality TV show viewers.

The winner gets to be the Republican candidate for president in 2024.

113:

So You Want to Be a Useful Member of Society

Six to ten contestants from strict racial demographics based on the potential contestant pool (school-leavers/high school dropouts) compete for admission to a "prestigious" high-demand university/college course, including completion of all of the prerequisites that they didn't do IRL. One contestant is a ringer — fits the racial demographic, but actually comes from privilege (parents probably in entertainment industry or organized crime*). The "prize" is $100,000US in student debt (and equivalent in UK, hard to calculate an equivalent!). The "five years after" reunion shows visit the squalor of the nonwinners, and possibly the winners. Or their gravesites.

* If anyone can tell the difference, please tell me.

114:

Side comment on John Glenn:

You're also forgetting the most important aspect: John Glenn was relearning an awful lot of skills from his first career as a test pilot and astronaut. He already had relevant muscle memory and subconscious thought processes, so his age was much less of a barrier than it would be for Musk or Bezos.

Which would make an aged/aging (but much less prominent!) astronaut an excellent ringer in the proposed show...

115:

Have to admit I was pretty much the same -sucked into FiF despite it being terribly formulaic. I think the fact that it was done under such time constraints made everyone go 'yeah that could have been me' towards the loser - one minor mistake at the wrong time and it was over.

I was fascinated with the types of blades they got the contestants to produce - some were really obscure/incredibly specific.

116:

@109: As to the budget, we go to Bezos and Musk. The one who kicks in the biggest amount gets top billing as executive producer. Their egos will do the rest. For the "terrestrial legal systems", this isn't horribly far away from the mission goals of NASA's Artemis Program. I make no judgement as to the executability of that program.

117:

I remember Living in the Past, made in 1978 - an early version of the form. A bunch of people spent a year living as Iron Age people. I saw a follow up doc a while back, where one of the participants was asked what they most missed of modern life. It turns out that the greatest invention of the last few thousand years is wellington boots.

118:

Re competence porn, I have to recommend BBC's The Repair Shop. People bring in treasured but knackered family heirlooms, then lovely and very talented craftspeople restore them, with very little jeopardy or hype. Proper nice cosy telly, about as far from the screaming fake tanned hyperbole of certain reality nonsense as you can get.

119:

A Slush Pile of Infinite Awfulness

Ten aspiring male writers must simultaneously:
1. Attempt to sell their first novel to a group of ten female literary agents.
2. Attempt to win the hearts of the aforementioned literary agents.

120:

(114 continued, had "help" and hit submit too soon)

For non-aviators out there, the single most difficult skill is the combination of learning to run a checklist in an emergency, and developing the judgment to know when to skip steps in that checklist. Exhibit A: The 737MAX crashes (Boeing screwed up and did not ensure that checklist items were, well, on the checklist; then the aircrew didn't have the experience base with the airframe — they thought they did, but didn't — to skip checklist items that were in front of them).

And it's orders of magnitude harder for test pilots and first-of-its-kind airframes. There are some non-scary (because they're actually less fraught than reality; unlike the producers, I know how to read between the lines of post-flight reports, it was part of my job as a maintenance squadron commander) examples of how this might translate to TV in The First with the F-15, Gemini, and the Lunar Lander incidents. Everyone on the crew has to participate; there's no space for "along for the ride passengers" in a test vehicle. By definition, even today, all space vehicles are test vehicles.

121:

@119: Fine if you remove the gender constraints, but probably pretty boring rTV.

122:

That sounds like fun, if only to watch. (Participating would be difficult, as I'm already married.)

123:

Charlie @85 - “a choice between arc welding, bombs, guns, and DIY orbital laser death rays. ” wait, why can’t I have all of them you meany!
It would be a great tie in with @104

124:

It would be perfect for PBS.

125:

I quite like the competence reality shows
I had a friend on a reality cooking show and they edit you into the drama
And perhaps to the point of parody, but what about the biggest poo show, contestants would compete to deliver the biggest one, there would be dieticians and chefs
Sadly, I think people would actually watch that

126:

I'm sorry, they already, long ago, made a movie of Heinlein's Man Who Sold The Moon, and called it Destination Moon.

Oh, and IIRC, Harriman does die after reaching the moon....

127:

I have only one question: where is the line of people I need to beat up to get to the front of that line?

As long as I can take my late wife's ashes with me.

128:

I don't understand. Why inject them with something when they already have the problem....?

But, here we go, a new contest to select either the next GOP presidential candidate, or the next PM: the swimsuit competition.

Of course, I can see Sarah Palin going for that one....

129:

Tolerances that terrify you?

How 'bout this: back around '70, when I was young and working as a lab tech, I was hotpressing a *very* hard and tough plastic. The dies gave us something about 1"x1/2" cylinders.

For a while, my boss had me cutting them down on a lathe to meet spec, to be a small tube, to be used with replacement heart valves.

130:

How about '3-D printing for real-life home-making'?

Search turned up pix of several 3-D printed houses, so now it's time to get the insides done. This show could be set up like 'The Great British Bake Off' where each week the contestants are given a specific challenge - in this case, a different room. Most of what I've seen about 3-D printing makes me think of it as an expensive toy/single-use gadget - not worth buying.

Consider it practice for aspiring Lunar/Mars colonists.

131:

XKCD also has an entry in this contest: https://xkcd.com/2261/

132:

Sigh.

Your first challenge is trivially easy (hint: my literary agent is female) (... well okay, probably not trivial for most people, but I'm an existence proof that it's possible!).

But your second relies on a couple of false assumptions, namely that authors are young and single (some are, most aren't: typical age at publication of first novel is somewhere north of 30), and also that agents are young and single (again: it's typically a secondary profession after a previous incarnation as an editor or publishing professional: I've never met an agent with a list who was under 30, and -- like most adults -- they're seldom single either). So you've basically got an impossible format -- at best, middle-aged folks looking for a hookup that also requires one of them to engage in gross professional misconduct (sex with a client).

133:

I'd have them do ordinary stuff that they probably hand off to assistants. Use a dumb phone, send email, install a new software package, order something online....

134:

Well, Charlie, there ya go: same format, except all the authors are incels, and all the agents are older, and just *love* watching the incels crawl....

135:

I remember getting some curly beryllium-bronze shavings from something my father was machining at home for his job. (No, I don't know what it was - probably thoroughly classified.) 36x9-inch "South Bend" lathe. He also had a drill press and a bench saw - with more equipment acquired later.

136:

My father said, when the photos from Viking on Mars came back, that if they got the bugs out of the life-support systems, he'd volunteer to go. (He was 60 at the time. Also a good BSME and a long-time SF reader.)

137:

Oooh, I like the way you think!

138:

Biosphere 2.X (first season is Biosphere 2.1, second is 2.2, etc.)

Refurbish Biosphere 2. Wire it up like Big Brother house(cameras everywhere). Raise funds to keep the experiment running through social media and TV ad ratings. Subjects can vote themselves out, and when the crew drops below sustainable staffing or a filming season passes, they wrap the season with a lessons-learned/dish dissection episode and start over again with a (partially?) new crew the next season and hopefully an upgraded Biosphere.

The show ends when/if they start doing it right (no one leaves), and is followed by a feature film showcasing 2-5 years of constant habitation.

Oh, and make sure the University of Arizona and other entities working there get prominent billing.

139:

A version of The Apprentice except without private companies.

All your friends are on a train and you have to decide how naughty you are prepared to be to get them safely to their destination.

140:

That's actually a very good idea and I hope someone does it for real.

141:

Martin H
AND CONDOMS

142:

How tight were the specs for the heart valve tubes you were machining? In that video I referenced Stefan is manufacturing 2mm metric screws -- they're roughly US #4-40 sized, but in titanium which is really tricky to cut. He's machining the tops of the screws to take a Torx T8 screwdriver using a solid carbide endmill that's 0.6mm in diameter, thinner than a 1/32" drill bit. He is doing this repeatedly to an accuracy of fractions of a tenth of a thousandth of an inch when regular machinist shops figure they're doing really well finishing a job to plus or minus a thou.

I'm getting the parts and tools together to do cut some gears using a CNC mill -- I'm planning on using a really fine endmill for some of the operations, well I thought it was a fine endmill at 1.6mm in diameter until I rewatched Stefan at work. Now I'm sure I'm working with, to quote Spock, "flint knives and bearskins".

143:

There's a difference between shaving half the visible width off a small part, and getting the same accuracy over 1000x the distance. Some of the CNC jobs I've been involved with we farmed them out to people who could do 50 microns (0.05mm) along 5m of travel when cutting harder grades of steel. Given what they charged for the service I can only imagine that the machines cost millions. I would struggle to get that accuracy on a simple straight edge a metre long.

But if you say "cut something a torx driver can turn, and the hole is about 0.5mm across", I could do that freehand if I had a cutter small enough. Same precision, completely different situation. I made a rotary broach to create an allen key head for a 0.7mm allen key in a similar fashion. And no, it is not easy to make a hexagonal pyramid oriented 1 degree off axis on the end of a 2mm shaft. But it's possible to do it largely by eye.

(the 1.3mm version of that part is a "micro" broach and is ~$US50)

144:

Which is not to say that Stefan isn't terrifying to watch and incredibly skilled as a craftsman.

Just that precision is more than "I can eyeball tiny things". To me the thread cutting and finishing he did was actually more impressive.

145:

My sis worked for a while at a place that built VADs (ventricular assist devices). She was putting a blood-surface finish on pieces (her words; she explained it as a surface with nothing big enough to catch a red blood cell).
Later, she worked at a company doing extreme-precision aspherical optical parts; she ran polishing machines, which required setting up the programs. (Some of the parts she worked on spent several years in orbit and are now in the Air&Space Museum.)

Part of my job with maps was, at one point, quality control on computer-printed output, where we were checking stuff to 1 foot accuracy. It was like fuzz in some places, but visible (0.01 inch, at our usual scale of 1 inch=100 feet).

146:

... a mythbuster knockoff for Fox News true believers, with prize money for "proving" their most insane theories ...

Okay, I think this one could have legs - but it's not a horrible reality show, it's Politifact. For drama and incompetence porn, flip it around to encourage the dingbats.

Call the program TRUTHING in total defiance of accuracy and grammar.

The easy part is recruiting swivel-eyed lunatics; teh innerwebs are full of them. Filter out the boringly crazy and pick some entertainingly crazy ones. Contestants will be given a soapbox upon which to expound their favorite conspiracy theory or other crackpot idea and 14.999 minutes of fame, which is all the motivation some people need.

One feature should be constant audience feedback on their favorite conspiracy theorists. (Allegedly for "fairness" or "persuasiveness" or something, obviously actually to make the audience keep coming back.) The least exciting theorist is retired back to obscurity and Facebook.

Episodes early in the season should also feature one-shot aspiring demagogues; the audience will be allowed to pick one to return as a regular contestant, in an online poll that totally isn't rigged, honest, trust us.

The season finale can involve making a pilot episode for their Fox News late night opinion program.

147:

Call the program TRUTHING in total defiance of accuracy and grammar.

Naah, needs to be Truthseeker to get the correct implication that the conspiracy nonsense they're chasing is real.

Tag line: "the truth IS out there — and we're going to find it!"

Episode plots delivered monthly by QAnon.

Hosts will be a pair of distinguished-looking Suits, one male and one female, who claim to be ex-FBI investigators; this is a deliberate attempt to leverage the X Files (for those members of the audience who were born when it aired).

Bonus points if the investigation of the week inspires a spree shooting (in a pizzeria accused of hosting satanic child sacrifices to the Dread God Billary, or similar).

148:

Regarding checklists, I like rule 3 in this list: https://www.netmeister.org/blog/ops-lessons.html

It reads:
The severity of an incident is measured by the number of rules broken in resolving it.

The whole list bears reading a few times, I reckon.

149:

If we're doing tolerances, I'm afraid I've pretty much got that beaten, since I'm currently the software engineer on Queensgate nanopositioning systems. Machining tolerances need wire erosion. *Positioning* tolerances, though...

The company had been selling kit to Seagate for testing hard disk heads since the mid-90s, and they wanted a next-generation version. The mid-90s kit had a resolution of around 200pm with 15um travel, linear to about 10nm max error, and we needed to improve that. Our next-gen one ended up with 28um travel, linear to 2nm max error, and a resolution between 50pm and 150pm depending on the tuning. We have some other kit which is used to fine-tune particle-beam accelerators, where we trade off speed versus resolution and get down to about 20pm resolution. For comparison, the covalent distance between two hydrogen atoms is 75pm.

Sometimes I wish I was back working on tolerances I could see. :)

150:

#104 Para 3 - Yes, but several Shuttle crew are on record as saying that John Glenn's trip was a publicity stunt and would never have been done had he been anyone else.

#142 - Model shops (all types, not just train shops) regularly stock steel drill bits down to 0.3mm diameter, and people use them.

151:

I think you just won this war!

Get back to me when someone asks you for tolerances best described by analogizing to inter-quark distances ...

152:

Tag line: "the truth IS out there — and we're going to find it!"

Episode plots delivered monthly by QAnon.

I like it! Hired lawyers can settle any legal problems, right?

For totally recursive conspiracies, the show should have sockpuppets inside QAnon feeding them "information" and "clues" then play off of whatever catches the interest of the barking masses.

It seems to me that to keep the legal department appeased the hosts will have to put on serious expressions of pro forma disapproval while bringing up the week's mass shooting or pedophile pizza place bombing, before moving on to long loving coverage of the dramatic event, with gory photos and plenty of talk about the independently minded individual who did this thing without any outside motivation whatsoever. (To the target audience violent mass-murdering white guys are unpredictable lone wolves, while brown people and Muslims are extremists and terrorists.) Conspiracy theories linked to dramatic current events would get a definite advantage over their competition.

As for the FBI angle, they could use a lot of FBI imagery without ever actually claiming anything, the way Mike Pompeo did not technically lie that Mary Louise Kelly mistook Bangladesh for Ukraine.

The Suits will probably have to remind contestants that they are competing and need to ask questions of the current presenter rather than just getting wound up and excited. The well known quirk of crank magnetism will hopefully be on full display here.

153:

Belatedly I think of the title Wake Up, Sheeple!

154:

The title is self-explanatory: "So you want to be cannon fodder".
Low-information, low-income physically fit people are sent to Aghanistan to look for land mines with their feet.

155:

Many of the best ideas would be illegal (except possibly in Alabama), or have already been used by Trump or Boris.
-Can we grant the contestants the same de facto immunity of prosecution BoJo and Trump appear to enjoy?

156:

@21 yellowcake:

This makes me think:

Welcome to the Nuclear Family: n tin-pot dictatorships/dubious countries compete to get the bomb. The winner doesn't get glass carpeted.

157:

I have concluded that there are two ideal television shows. They are both reality shows. One of light one of darkness.

The ideal tv show of light is the UK version of "The Great British Baking Show". A bunch of lovely brits in a garden making cake.

The ideal tv show of darkness is the "Deadliest Catch". A bunch of american thugs caging crabs for money while the ocean and the cages try to kill them.

158:

"Great British Bake-Off" doesn't work for me, because in otder to bake well you have to really know your oven, and work in a controlled environment. The show provided the ovens, and is set in a tent!

"Deadliest Catch" is out-pointed by the BBC's Trawlermen/Fish Town, which has similar risks but a likable cast.

159:

157/158: In terms of dangerous, what about "Ice Road Truckers"?

160:

"Bake Off" is a bit of an outlier. Strictly speaking it falls within the "incompetence porn" category, but seems to have taken pains to remove the hyper-competitive and confrontational aspects.

I suspect it is highly successful by tapping into the same sort of emotional seam as "Downtown Abbey" (*ack* *spit*), where people watch for a bit of drama, but know that everything is all OK and nothing really bad happens that can't be fixed with a quick cuppa and a group hug.

161:

Both of the shows (bake off, crab fishing) mix 'competence' and 'incompetence'. Bake off always has whoever fails, and the extreme competence (but also difference competence) of the hosts. Crab fishing often has a 'new guy' and the general messed up lives of even the expert crabbers.

I find the un-likability of much of the 'deadliest catch' crews to be part of its dark perfection. At least one of them ended up in prison, and not for a property crime.

I have seen Ice Road Truckers, certainly similar.

In the first season or two of 'deadliest catch' there was also a game-show aspect to it. The old crab fishing management scheme was that the government would open the season and declare a number of crabs that could be caught. When that number had been caught the season would be closed. This made it a race to get the crabs for yourself. In the northern pacific. In winter. So the crabbers were taking huge risks to bring in the crabs quickly. This was, of course, madness. And the system was changed to some kind of per-boat quota with the season being a fixed several months (I believe having to do with the crab life-cycle). The whole thing became less insane.

162:

Sorry, I can't seem to find the specs laying about, I was doing this a couple years ago... like 1970.

Please note, btw, that I was doing this on a lathe whose bed, IIRC, was about 3'? 5'? long, and it was *all* manual. I had to be really careful, since the cylinders were hard... meaning that when they got thin, they were brittle, at least in terms of steel lathe cutting tools.

I'm thinking back.. I'd guess the final tubes were... just under a cm wide, and the walls...couldn't have been more than 1mm, maybe less.

Great fun. Crack. Another multi-hour hotpressing session for another sample, and yes, we had one (count them) press/furnace.

163:

Y'know, there was a newsgroup for that... until the horrible Eternal September begain, when AOL got Internet access, and autosubscribed *everyone* to certain newsgroups... including alt.best.of.internet, where we used to repost posts from other newsgroups, from people being really funny... or, more often, from people who had no clue just how that read to anyone else.

164:

Speaking as someone who, starting in '95, slowly moved from programming to sysadmin, which is what I did the last dozen or so years of my career... ROTFLMAOKMFITA!!!!!

I esp. like rule 79... in fact, I liked it so much, I sent the link to my old manager at the NIH. He'll get a laugh out of it.

Btw, I almost never printed out and put up cartoons at work... but since about when he published it, I had of the shelves for everyone to see who came to see me what I referred to as "my personal mission statement (as a sysadmin)", which was xkcd/705.

165:

Really? Ugh. I hate electric stoves... and I've been stuck with one in this house. I think I'm going to spend the money this spring to have them run a gas line from the meter to the other end of the slab, so I can have a gas stove.

Current electric stove:
1) is not level
2) burners are on/off, not a rheostat, which means they keep getting hotter, and I have to turn them down, and down....
3) The oven, at a guess, is 10F-15F hotter than it claims on the electric temp on top of the stove.

166:

Dave P @ 60: @54: Actually, one segment of the US population had "socialized" medicine for a long time - the US military, where indeed treatment approval was the job of doctors and treatment was not based on ability to pay. That system, too, has been degraded over the past twenty years by the beancounters.

"THEY" (in this case Dick Cheney) cut Veteran's medical benefits in 2004 when they saw how much medical care for veterans of the Iraq war was going to cost. It was going to create a deficit that undermined their tax cuts for the rich.

167:

Charlie Stross @ 104: Are you aiming for competence porn or incompetence porn here?

Your task (2) is a suicide mission, with or without two resupply missions. Radiation levels outside the Van Allen belts are not healthy, and if there's a solar flare on top of the regular high energy cosmic rays you're going to have dead astronauts. We're currently in a solar minimum, but moving towards a maximum from roughly 2023-2026, and another minimum around 2030. But a minimum may mean fewer coronal mass ejections ... but the reduced solar activity results in more high energy cosmic rays making it inside Earth's orbit.

Wouldn't that just mean that whatever moon base they built would have to be designed & constructed including adequate radiation shielding? Land at lunar sunset, dig a trench, assemble a pre-fab base & pile several feet of lunar regolith on top of it before the sun rises again. Just adds a bit of a time constraint to the contest.

For bonus fun, restrict them to only one set of tools, so they have to share & cooperate or else neither one gets their base built before sunrise.

168:

"THEY" (in this case Dick Cheney) cut Veteran's medical benefits in 2004 when they saw how much medical care for veterans of the Iraq war was going to cost.

One of the US veterans I know can't talk about McCain without losing it — hated the man for talking respect for veterans but voting against spending money on their medical care almost every chance he got.

This site has a summary of his voting record:

https://history.howstuffworks.com/historical-figures/john-mccain6.htm


This does suggest a totally illegal and unethical RTV show, though.

Contestants are all politicians who have made a name for themselves extolling 'our troops'. They are provided with fake IDs (and their real ones blocked) and carefully injured in the same manner as many troops are. They are then turned lose to navigate the VA (or equivalent) on their own.

169:

whitroth @ 126: I'm sorry, they already, long ago, made a movie of Heinlein's Man Who Sold The Moon, and called it Destination Moon.

Oh, and IIRC, Harriman does die after reaching the moon....

Destination Moon wasn't Heinlein's "The Man Who Sold The Moon", it's more akin to "Rocket Ship Galileo" (without the space Nazis). For one thing, the scientists who build the rocket "Luna" aren't con men who would "cheat, lie, steal, beg, bribe—do anything" to fund their venture.

Plus, the short story "Requiem" where D.D.Harriman finally does make it to the moon and subsequently dies (because by then he was too old and frail to make the journey) was written 10 years before "The Man Who Sold The Moon" inspired by the Robert Louis Stevenson poem of the same name.

"Under the wide and starry sky
Dig the grave and let me lie:
Glad did I live and gladly die,
And I laid me down with a will!

This be the verse you grave for me:
Here he lies where he longed to be;
Home is the sailor, home from sea,
And the hunter home from the hill."

"The Man Who Sold The Moon" just sort of retcons how D.D.Harriman created the moon colony & why he'd never been there.

It would be like if OGH were to now write the story telling how Bob got recruited by the Laundry after "almost landscaping Wolverhampton".

170:

whitroth @ 128: I don't understand. Why inject them with something when they already have the problem....?

But, here we go, a new contest to select either the next GOP presidential candidate, or the next PM: the swimsuit competition.

Of course, I can see Sarah Palin going for that one....

Not anymore. She hasn't "aged gracefully" ... and besides that photo was a Photoshop fake.

(Link included for those who might not know about the "Sarah Palin" bikini/rifle photo.)


171:

@169: It would be like if OGH were to now write the story telling how Bob got recruited by the Laundry after "almost landscaping Wolverhampton".

I'd enjoy reading that. Simpler times (at least for Bob).

172:

@128: But, here we go, a new contest to select either the next GOP presidential candidate, or the next PM: the swimsuit competition.

Ack - more mind bleach, stat!

173:

So you think you can coup or Tour d’Etat
6 teams are provided with all the CIA assistance they can eat, with the goal to overturn the legitimate government in their assigned country out of 3 selected countries (to make things interesting, 2 teams per country are in direct competition with each other). The timing between filming and broadcast must be managed exquisitely, to balance the outing of the teams to their targets and maintaining the surprise ending for the finale.

174:

There is some background filling-in in progress in the Laundryverse!

I've got one or two final novels to write to finish the series. However, the novella that's coming out later this year on Tor.com sits right before "The Nightmare Stacks" and explains precisely what Bob was doing instead of fighting off the Alfar invasion on Leeds (spoiler: he was in Tokyo, helping his Japanese opposite numbers prevent something truly horrible from leveling up from Yokai to Kaiju).

So, never say never.

But the main series story arc has only one or two novels left to go to hit completion. (Although the new series, which starts with "Dead Lies Dreaming", shares the universe -- it's about civilians trying to get along under the reign of the New Management.)

175:

@174: Tangentially related reply - I know you watch almost no TV and are not a huge movie fan, but you might enjoy J. Michael Straczynski's autobiography Becoming Superman, his story of overcoming a truly awful childhood and eventually reaching great success in Hollywood and in graphic novels. The relevant point is his discussion of knowing when to move on from a series, theme or even career once he's reached his goal.

This discussion opened my eyes on the idea of ending a series - of books, TV or any other creative endeavor. I'm glad you've found a through line to conclude the Laundry Files story arc, even though I'll miss Bob, Mo, and the mob.

176:

Oh, I knew. Of course, I used to tell an ex-friend (he voted for the Orange Idiot, and after too many times talking about Mike Wiener, er, "Savage" ratio show, I'd had it), if McCain & Palin *didn't* win, he'd have a chance of going to Alaska and picking her up in a bar, whereas if they did win, he'd never have that chance.

177:

he was in Tokyo, helping his Japanese opposite numbers prevent something truly horrible from leveling up from Yokai to Kaiju

So, fighting off the Kawaii Apocalypse?
And now I’m picturing giant version of a certain creature—at least she doesn’t have a mouth (but she must scream?)

178:

Great British Bake Off / Great British Baking Show falls into the rarer third category of reality TV, which is neither incompetence porn nor competence porn, but learning porn.

You can generally spot "learning porn" shows because the contestants talk about having "been on a journey".

The idea is that there is some skill that any reasonably capable human can reach adequate competence at given X weeks full-time one-on-one training, where X is the length of a normal TV season. And it's something where viewers can tell the difference between useless and adequate, but only specialists can tell between adequate and actually good (and there aren't enough specialists for viewing figures to be affected). Viewers get to watch people learning something challenging but attainable in a supportive environment. The celebrity versions can generally get a slightly higher class of celebrity than an incompetence porn show with comparable audience figures because they don't involve ritual humiliation.

Examples include ballroom dancing (Strictly Come Dancing/ Dancing With The Stars), opera singing (Pop Star To Opera Star, ie starting with people who could actually sing), baking (GBBO), cooking (MasterChef, especially their "the professionals" version), pop singing (The Voice), etc.

The Simon Cowell franchises ([insert country here] Idol, X-Factor and [insert country here]'s Got Talent) are a combination of this with incompetence porn, in that the first half of the season is eliminating the utterly incompetent, and then the second half takes a group of basically competent performers and tries to put them through learning how to be better at it.

179:

I can’t come up with a rTV show that fits the bill. All I got is Furr’s Angels, possibly some sort of dating show involving rival gangs of Furry Bikers (motorcycle variety). A few years ago I saw a large group of bikers, in the middle of them was a motorcycle driven by someone in a black and white cat fursuit, I can’t remember what their passenger was dressed as. I hope they had helmets under their heads.

180:

I’ve seen at least one person riding with a full visor helmet made up to be a plush Grover the muppet head, where the black visor is an open mouth. So there is at least a small extent to which this is a Thing.

181:

We should all be terrified to post an idea here for fear some down-and-out rTV producer stumbled along to this page and finds a gold mine of ideas that just need to be tones down a little, or not at all.

182:

Quite, most irresponsible I thought. It's been bad enough already having cameras in the House of Commons aimed down Theresa May's cleavage. The possibility of discovering something truly awful, like Michael Gove needing to strap it to his ankle and what his face looks like when he gets to exhibit this on TV, is I think too much of a risk to take.

183:

Soooo.... none of you watched "BrexitCast" tonight, esp. with the fake ABBA tribute then.

After the BBC announced 450+ job losses, massive cuts (and !whoopsie! EU losses of ~£100 mil from losing special broadcast status on BBC-W which is already outsourced etc). Including axing the only popular day-time TV female lead show who actually told the truth once in a while[1]

After Susan and all the other wreckers announced they were quitting (probably to join M's new "TIMES" radio jaunt)?


Literally prime time telly?

Seriously.


Nothing you have suggested was a gruesome and banal and evil as the reality.


[1] Alexis Sayles: good bloke,find the video where he states "My career is over anyhow, so I'll tell some truths"

184:

Actually ... the WHOLE COUNTRY is involved in asuch a disater-porn show ... called "brexit"

Comparisons

How about another end of January ... actually the 30th .... a few things changed, but life went on ( more or less, for most people ) as normal ... until 30th June the following year.
After that, there was no going back & it got very dark & unpleasant indeed. [ Work out where & when that one was? ]
Second historical comparison ... about the length of a parliamentary term.
Again, very little changed in the first 6 months or so ... then it got steadily worse & the country lost a war, was bankrupted & the torture squads were loosed.
[ 1553 - 1558 ]

185:

There are conflicting accounts stating Mulder has a Jewish background, we might put this through to casting to trigger[1] parts of the audience.

Hm come to think about it, could the female lead be played by Joanna Angel?

As for my personal incompetence porn, I have long said I want to maroon some of the higher-ups in social work and politics behind a big city train station with only an empty telephone card[2].

[1] I guess I'm not the first one noticing people bemoaning "snowflakes"[1a] are easily triggered themselves.
[1a] And may I add "Fight Club" is not meant as a script to be emulated...
[2] With nods to the final exam in "Starship Troopers".

186:

Reality TV show: Former tory ministers/retired businessmen are tricked into joining a reality tv show about surviving on a tropical island, using local resources. They end up dumped on Rockall, where they must either catch fish with their hands and eat it raw, Gollum-style, or aquire a taste for "long pig" to survive.

187:

Replying to points as bulleted:-
1) Stove not level is an issue of installation, not fuel.
2) Radiants being binary is a model design issue, not a function of fuel used.
3) That's just agreeing my point about knowing your oven properly. It's an issue of thermostat calibration, not fuel.

188:

I'm not sure the Cowell franchises qualify as "learning". The participants don't get better, they just get more time put into the stage production.

It's certainly true for the British Masterchef versions though, as well as GBBO and a lot of other shows like that. It's noticeable that the competitors all come away saying they had the best time and how all their fellow competitors are their best friends.

And ironically it's also somewhat true for the Gordon Ramsey "Kitchen nightmares" shows. In spite of how grotesquely unrealistic and confrontational they are, his focus is clearly on setting each restaurant on a course which gets them selling food that people will pay for, and a lot of that is about setting them straight on hygiene and cooking skills. It's very noticeable on those shows how Ramsey does pull up people for praise who are doing a good job.

The American Masterchef though is a shame for the brand. It's all clearly scripted, and it's been constructed to favour spoilt toddlers competing for attention, both the competitors and the judges.

189:

[ DELETED -- for crass racism. Mods. ]

190:

A man runs into a screen door.

He is hospitalised with strained muscles!

191:

In the same way that Steven Colbert used to play the right wing "straight man" to John Stewart, there should be a rational, lab coat wearing orator who dissects the various conspiracy theories. "This first originated on twitter at 3pm on Weds Jan 31 as 5000 bots posted links back to a story on the English version of RT. These talking points were then distributed to ALEC and wound up on Fox News once they knew Trump was awake and watching."
This character breaks everything down, and then the camera turns to show the frothing reactions of red-meat eating red staters.
If I believed in Hell I would go ahead and forward my mail there after considering the effects of this program on the world.

192:

Actually, Comedy Central (home of the Daily Show), tried something like this with a spinoff The Opposition with Jordan Klepper. It wasn't the same as your idea, because it was parodying the alt-right the same way old Colbert had parodied the Neo-Cons.

It lasted one season.

Much as I loved old Colbert, I couldn't watch this thing. It was a good lesson that there's a point at which parody, sarcasm, and truth telling are not sufficient to deal with a deeply divided society, especially when there are so many people for whom hate and bigotry are the only things they have left that they consider of value.

Were I going to propose a reality show for the Blue/Red mess in the US, I'd pitch a truth and reconciliation commission, set up to reunite families and communities after what I hope will be a truly devastating 2020 election for the Republicans, to program to be developed in parallel with a blizzard of criminal prosecutions for varying aspects of political corruption.

Or, if things get worse, something like the Nuremberg Trials, pitched as reality TV only because CSPAN covers them in their entirety.

Or, if things get *really* bad, a programme called "The Peacekeepers," broadcasting the actions of the UNPKF in the US and Russia, marketed in the EU and China (hat tip to Daniel Keys Moran).

193:

Heteromeles
Or here after about the middle of 2022, when evrything really is falling apart & the brexshiteers are blaming everybody, anybody else.
( Probably Geo Soros & "the Jews" if previous runs-through of this are anything to go by )
Which reminds me, some of the very oldest living in Britain want nothing at all to do with brexit - & good luck to them.
Actually, I think the majority of the shitters are younger than me, in the 40/45 - 65 age group ...
Or maybe that's just the people I mix with?

194:

Nope, sorry, I'm picturing another creature, and it *can* scream....

https://boingboing.net/2019/10/09/theres-a-car-horn-that-roars.html?fk_bb

Oh, do I want that, on a separate switch....

195:

90% of the people who refer to "snowflakes" also toss around "sjw". I will note that 99% of the people on the right (which is 99% of people noted above) are *all* snowflakes, triggered 99% of the time by the counter-proposal.

And my answer to "sjw" is, "I see, so you're vehemently against social justice, and pro-racism."

196:

Find *one* electric stove with a rheostat, rather than an on/off temperature.

I cannot.

"Design issue"? That's "we only make them cheap.

197:

This is only sorta-kinda on thread, but... it seems Roku is halting broadcast of Fox stand alone channels tonight. May be contract negotiation, but it's late in the game if it's reached this point. On slashdot, where I read of this, one commenter trashed all major US news channels... but the cmt I liked was "Fox and Friends: so white and rich I occasionally mistake it for the cheesecake in my freezer".

Oh, there we go, Faux and Friends as one team, and a team of people who have applied to be on the other team, with the requirement that all of them earn under the median income. Both teams are dropped in the middle of North Dakota in the fall, and have to survive the season, with nothing airdropped or delivered, only what is within 100 mi.

198:

There are 7 (or more) Fox channels that can be streamed or found on cable in the US. Fox News is just one of them. Fox broadcast, sports, FXX (or FFX) movies, business and some more I don't remember.

Fox has a lot of the leverage here with the Superb Orb[1] this Sunday. If course I have to wonder just how many people get their foxes this way.[2] I guess Fox and Apple and Amazon are not at the end of a contract as AppleTV and Amazon Fire don't seem to be on the brink. And then there is Sling, Direct (err AT&T) TV, various cable companies, and whatever.

[1]Don't want OGH to get sued for trade mark infringement.

[2]TV in the US is an absolute mess in terms of "how can I watch xxxx?" The answer is typically there are 10 ways. But you might not have access to any of them.

199:

Well, I think from what Charlie has said about the story in the past, and since he spent time in Japan a few years ago, that a certain feline will feature prominently.

200:

And may I add "Fight Club" is not meant as a script to be emulated...

Wasn’t “Fight Club” about a deeply closeted gay man retreating into über-machismo fantasies?
No, I haven’t read or seen it.


Unrelated, I forgot to share this yesterday: Reality Bites, or how to commit career suicide for the entertainment of others. A look into the making of an early ‘reality’ show, that lead to the creation of “The Apprentice”.

201:

Birger Johansson @ 186: Reality TV show: Former tory ministers/retired businessmen are tricked into joining a reality tv show about surviving on a tropical island, using local resources. They end up dumped on Rockall, where they must either catch fish with their hands and eat it raw, Gollum-style, or aquire a taste for "long pig" to survive.

Could we make that a trans-Atlantic show by introducing a competing team of former GOP politicians ... or even current ones?


202:

whitroth @ 195: And my answer to "sjw" is, "I see, so you're vehemently against social justice, and pro-racism."

Thanks. I think I'll use that line.

203:

No spoilers please! (But the title alone, "Escape from Puroland", should tell you something -- with a bit of googling.)

This is all my wife's fault for asking, many years ago, "... but what if the color out of space was pink?"

204:

BEIGE?
"Taupe" ( A very slightly pinkish-gret colour )?
Terracotta?
... I think you get the idea

205:

Not an official reality-TV entry, just something that I'd expect to see on British TV.

Poetry Corner (Ode to Brexit) --

Well, the Brits are officially out of the EU so it's time for some good old-fashioned English poetry to mark the occasion! Or maybe a musical from Andrew Lloyd Webber provided his duties in the House of Lords isn't keeping him too busy.

206:

Oh phooey, now I'll have to get around to rewriting that story.

Admittedly I like the Dreamlands part of HPL's legacy more. Here's where my head was.

Thing is, in pre-1930s (and 1930s) Japan, the Dreamlands/Otherworld critters were yokai, raccoon dogs inflating their testicles into fake trains and so forth.

Anyway, then came the War and its aftermath.

Then in 1954 came Gojiro and other Daikaiju (who may have been inspired by King Kong from 1933), and they have been with us ever since.

But in 1960, GeGeGe no Kitaro by Shigeru Mizuki was released, and the old Yokai not only came flooding back, they grew even more diverse and popular than they had been before. Do the yokai share a world with the daikaiju, or are they on parallel planes?

If you're a fantasist who thinks that what happens in the various realms of the Dreamlands interacts with what's going in their respective realities to some large degree, the era of the 1940s-1960s in Japan is about as drastic a revolution as one might want to pirate from chronicle.

Anyway, my entree to this world is a little-known OSS training center, which was set up at the Dunwich Biological Field Station of Miskatonic University.* Some bright bulb thought that getting agents into the Dreamlands was the ultimate in psychological warfare. Unfortunately, bright bulbs among all the major powers had similar thoughts. And most of them had never been in the Dreamlands. But some of the people they recruited as agents had been. And thereby hangs a tale or two.

*Why wouldn't Miskatonic set up a biological field station in a place like Dunwich, or a marine biology lab in Innsmouth? That's the kind of thing they did back then. Take cheap land with unusual stuff adjacent to it, buy it up with a grant and make science there. Totally normal.

207:

“Rehab!”
Offer uninsured Americans with substance abuse problems a free residential treatment program in return for relinquishing all rights to privacy. It’s Big Brother House with drug addicts. Hijinks ensue.

208:

“Rehab!”

Are you sure that's not already a thing? It sounds far too plausible.

209:

Replacing substance addiction with media addiction?

If you want to go down the reality rabbit hole, take people who have diagnosable media addiction issues, then put them in Big Brother Rehab. With psilocybin treatments maybe? What could possibly go wrong?

People successfully kicking their media addictions in a panopticon will make for some really interesting TV, possibly with a sideline of camera sabotage, nonviolent protests within the Rehab facility, and so on. The relapses and failures will make for really interesting TV too.

210:

Sorry! I hope that wasn’t much of a spoiler, I certainly look forward to reading it.

211:

Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew ran 2008-2012, with followup series. Just showing how hard it is to come up with something original—or maybe how showbiz doesn’t bother trying for originality.

212:

Unfortunately, if I found you one with a simple rheostat for each hob, I would also have found one which dissipates large amounts of power in its controls.
Most I've encountered have a thing called an 'energy regulator', which is effectively a long cycle PWM controller, usually incorporating a small heating element and a bimetal strip, rather than a thermostat for the hob itself. I do wish they'd use shorter cycles though; I've even seen induction hobs with purely electronic controls which won't maintain a stable simmer.
They make cheap gas hobs which can't be effectively controlled too. I think most hob zealots have been mostly exposed to bad examples of one type, yet own a good example of the other.

213:

Meanwhile DT continuies on his world destroying course
Land Mines to be used by the US again, several countries under the "travel ban" including Nigeria & of all places Kyrgistan, which actually WELCOMES tourists
AND it looks as though because his "trial" has neither witnesses nor documantary evidence the shit will be "acquitted"

Here, I feel like a London protestant in mid-1553 - waiting for what the next 5 years wil bring in disasters.
THAT failed attempt to recreate a golden age that never happened took over 350 years to heal ( Still hasn't in NornIron )

Quote from the "Indy":
Brexit’s ultimate tragedy is that it has broken the very thing it imagines itself to have restored: national identity, national cohesion. There is none at all. There are just two huge tribes set against each other, and the mutual loathing is as fierce as ever.

214:

Shouldn't JAXA (the Japanese space agency) be judging that too, they've pulled off some pretty impressive work with both the IKAROS sola sail craft and the recent asteroid lander.

215:

Much sympathy on your Breakshit.
Seems the slogan for the Tories and our so-called Republicans is “Move Backward and Break Shit.”
Been seeing videos of the idiots dancing around in their Union Jack clothing, blissfully unaware that they’ve wrecked it. Feels kind of like one of those “End of history” moments.


Semi-serious question: how long should I wait for the £ to collapse before ordering the left handed electric guitar from the UK I’ve been keeping an eye on?
I’ve been waiting until Spring for reasons. It had a reasonable price in the fall,about $775; then BoJo the clown became PM and it went up to $820, was coming down again but is now up to $791.

216:

Bear in mind that Trump is a tariff enthusiast, and the UK is about to lurch incontinently into trade negotiations with the United States without the assistance and shelter of the EU. The EU has a similar-sized economy to the USA, and so has a ton of bargaining leverage: the UK on its own is an also-ran.

I expect Trump to make unacceptable demands of the UK (chlorine-washed chicken, hormone-laced milk products, and triple the price for NHS medicines), Boris will blink, and the upshot will be 50% tariffs on a wide range of UK exports ... electric guitars likely included.

217:

I was partially inspired by “Dr. Pimple Popper.”
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dr._Pimple_Popper_(TV_series)
America’s lack of access to health & social services creates lots of opportunities for exploitation that have only begun to be explored.

218:

it seems Roku is halting broadcast of Fox stand alone channels tonight.

Crisis averted. The viewing of the Superb Orb on Fox via a Roku in the US will be allowed.

Now the world is a better place.

[/sarcasm]

219:

IIRC, Johnson will sign whatever deal Trump puts in front of him. He will badly need one by the end of the year.

All that it will cost is screwing over most of the UK population. Most oppose him anyway, and most of those who support hom will still support him, even after they get their first US-style hospital bill for a few thousand (one overnight stay, and no operation).

Congress will be another story.

220:

Barry
So the death-piles won't be like last time, protestants burnt alive IN Smithfield & Stratford & Lewes & Oxford & Ely & other places ... but people unable to get hospital treatments or killed by food-poisoning.
For comparison 227 men & 56 women 1553-58 - including at least one pregnant woman ...

Mind you the backlash at the 2024 eklection will be frighteming & justified ... unless, of course Labour fuck themseleves over AGAIN & pick a corbynista s their next "leader". In which case the descent into actual fascism will continue.

Which reminds me - predictions for this autumn's US election?
I would think the dems will win provided they pick anyone at all who isn't Biden?

221:

The first rule of Fight Club is don't ever fucking talk to me about Fight Club.

222:

I got an emailed request for donations from Biden last month. It referenced, so help me, the "No Malarky Barnstorming Tour."

I wrote back with the words "OK Boomer." And I was born in the early sixties. If he's elected we're all doomed, but somewhat slower than we're doomed with Trump.

223:

Greg Tingey @ 213: AND it looks as though because his "trial" has neither witnesses nor documantary evidence the shit will be "acquitted"

The outcome was a foregone conclusion even before the House began hearings on whether or not to impeach Trumpolini. But sometimes you have to stand up for truth and justice even knowing you're going to lose and suffer adverse consequences for that loss. Being a decent human being isn't always easy.

My only complaint is that knowing they were going to lose, they should have thrown the book at him and impeached him for all of his "High Crimes and Misdemeanors", as well as for Bribery (both for offering and for soliciting them) and probably Treason.

A strong case can be made that Trumpolini has offered aid and comfort to enemies of the U.S. (NOT just Putin) and unlike a criminal charge of Treason, impeachment would not require testimony in open court from two eyewitnesses, although ...

Pile it on and put the RICO GOP on the spot by requiring them to go on record a roll call vote condoning each and every one of Trumpolini's corruptions.

And if Trumpolini manages to steal the 2020 election but the Democrats somehow retain control of the House, they should impeach him again, and again, and ... however many times it takes.

If a Democrat does win the White House in November, first order of business in the new administration has got to be prosecuting Trumpolini AND his co-conspirators for all the crimes he committed before he gained office and all of the crimes he's committed while in office ... they shouldn't make the same mistake Clinton and Obama made of hoping the RICO GOP will reciprocate conciliatory gestures.

The only way to deal with the RICO GOP is "war to the knife, and that to the hilt!"

224:

Charlie Stross @ 216: I expect Trump to make unacceptable demands of the UK (chlorine-washed chicken, hormone-laced milk products, and triple the price for NHS medicines), Boris will blink, and the upshot will be 50% tariffs on a wide range of UK exports ... electric guitars likely included.

I understand the objection to "hormone-laced milk products" & allowing U.S. drug companies to set price of drugs for the NHS would be incredibly stupid, but the "chlorine-washed chicken" thing mystifies me. It appears to me cleanliness standards in U.S. processing plants are as high as those in the EU and the final chlorine wash is just an added precaution; no different than chlorination of drinking water to kill germs. Don't y'all use chlorine in water purification?

While the U.S. does seem to have a higher incidence of salmonella outbreaks than the EU, my impression is that in almost every case recently they've come from improperly washed lettuce out of California (water shortages from drought) rather than from poultry. From this side of the ocean, the "chlorine-washed chicken" thing appears to be some kind of stealth protectionism simply aimed at keeping U.S. producers from competing in EU domestic markets.

I will note that in last few years in the U.S. there has been a large movement away from feeding hormones (and antibiotics) to cattle by both beef and dairy producers. It's one of the few instances where I can see the "free market" actually working in consumer's favor. Consumers will buy hormone & antibiotic free meats, so that's what farmers are producing. It also appears to be linked to a movement for more humane treatment in the raising of food animals - "free-range" chickens & "grass-fed" beef.

225:

Greg Tingey @ 220: Which reminds me - predictions for this autumn's US election?
I would think the dems will win provided they pick anyone at all who isn't Biden?

A lot more depends on how far the RICO GOP and Trumpolini are allowed to go in corrupting the election process than who the Democrats pick for their candidate.

226:

"My only complaint is that knowing they were going to lose, they should have thrown the book at him and impeached him for all of his "High Crimes and Misdemeanors", as well as for Bribery (both for offering and for soliciting them) and probably Treason."

We needed something simple and clear.

And note that the right was happy to obfuscate that, with a barrage of BS.

227:

"A lot more depends on how far the RICO GOP and Trumpolini are allowed to go in corrupting the election process than who the Democrats pick for their candidate."

Agreed. The GOP was running at warp speed beforehand; now they'll go to transwarp.

228:

Salmonella outbreaks in US poultry production facilities are treated with drugs added to feed. Salmonella in EU poultry flocks is a notifiable disease like hoof and mouth and all the affected flocks are destroyed with a compensation scheme in place. That's one reason why US salmonella infections in humans are over ten times that in the EU.

EU salmonella cases in 2018, 91,000. CDC reporting of salmonella cases for the US, 1.35 million cases each year.

The chlorine wash treatment is a last-ditch attempt to keep the deaths and illnesses from salmonella infections in the US down below the point where folks might notice and stop buying chicken, turkey etc.

229:

My recollection, which may not be accurate, is that EU poultry is vaccinated against Salmonella, which is too expensive for U.S. producers. If I'm incorrect, hopefully someone from the EU will correct me.

230:

JBS
You think the vote-suppression & stealing will get even worse?
Even so which Dem candidate gets elected makes a difference - afterwards.

231:

Bear in mind that Trump is a tariff enthusiast,

Not that he actually understands them. I admit that’s all a bit over my head too, though I knew enough to see that China wasn’t going to be the ones paying the tariffs he imposed. Considering Donnie’s short attention span, it’ll be a while before he gets around to paying attention to US/UK trade, or maybe someone competent will end up with the job of handling negotiations (yeah, right).

232:

Robert van der Heide@217: I was partially inspired by “Dr. Pimple Popper.”

Eww, glad I’ve never heard of that one, and that I don’t waste time/money on cable, though still watch way too much TV.


Troutwaxer@221: Since I’m not a member of the club, I’ll talk about it all I want!
Which is not at all.

233:

I understand the house is going to continue investigating, and there's no actual law that prevents them from impeaching Himself again - even though the results will be the same, unless at least 20 senators figure out they're not winning voters. (I consider that to be a doubtful proposition; they were able to say that "yes the case was proved, he's guilty, but I'm not voting to convict", and do it with a straight face. And the ones talking about how there was no evidence and no witnesses, and doing that with a straight face after voting against having both - those should have their heads examined for memory-holes big enough to drive a train through sideways.)

234:

You think the vote-suppression & stealing will get even worse?
Even so which Dem candidate gets elected makes a difference - afterwards.

We're not at 300 yet, so I'll keep my opinion terse (still too long sorry):
- Joe Biden is one of the safer non-DJTrump candidates; IMO most of the opposition research against him has been exposed, to little if any effect. He's fairly old and on the right side of the Democratic party, but he is not DJT; a good young vice president running mate will be important if he's chosen. (Female I hope.) The impeachment was literally about a plot to extort Ukraine into announcing on CNN an investigation (didn't need to be real) into Burisma/Hunter Biden; i.e. DJT was worried enough to risk it, and got a whistle blown on him.
- The impeachment acquittal (to be)/sham trial with no witnesses was/is a Republican exercise in attempting to minimize damage to the Republican Party at the time of the 2020 election; not just to DJT. (The Democrats were/are/will be attempting to maximize damage.)
- Vote suppression and stealing will be worse, and more complicated, potentially involving false flag hacking. There's been some limited pushback by the courts on suppression/gerrymandering and (somewhat) better election security is in place, in some places.
- The US press is a bit more aware (realtime) of attempts to manipulate it than 2016. (i.e. somewhat less pathetic.)
- The influence ops using social media and other media are and will be considerably larger than in 2016, and the Democrats are/will be playing this time.
- "Ratfucking", American political term, will be rampant and bipartisan.
- There are other plays happening or available; some are less obvious, some blatant.

235:

The obvious (not very funny joke) suggestion is to wait 6 months when the pound is worth around 15 cents, but of course there’s an inflation genie in that too, so it would not mean that the price could be that much less.

236:

“hormone-laced milk products"

It isn’t so much that the hormone supplements get into the milk. Hormone-fed dairy cattle develop more or less permanent mastitis, which is treated with antibiotics. There is inevitably a small proportion os pus in the raw milk, and while pasteurisation kills any live bugs in that, and there is a certain amount of filtration, it does mean that in countries that allow hormone-feeding dairy cattle, milk that isn’t certified organic will contain pus residue.

The UK can take some comfort that Australia doesn’t allow such treatment either, so probably the UK can resist it too without the EU agriculture rules to protect it. It does not follow this will necessarily be the case, of course. The UK has a huge legislative and regulatory backlog of rules to recreate, and the pointy fulcrum where the process will find balance is fully owned by the monstrous super-villain lobby, so there are interesting times (very possibly including pus-containing milk) in the UK’s future.

237:

Oh - I mentioned but failed to expand on the bit about antibiotics.

The thing about pus is really just a nick factor. A bit of pasteurised pus won’t hurt you after all, and our American cousins have (presumably) been thriving on such milk for [however long the hormone regime has been in place]. The real problem, adding injury to insult, so to speak, and this affects meat as much as it does dairy, with with the antibiotics.

I mentioned growth hormone induces mastitis in dairy cattle. It also affect beer cattle who suffer higher rates of infection which are also treated with antibiotics. The antibiotics make it into the food products. As careful as we might be with antibiotics resistance due to over medication among humans, the overuse in agriculture is massive.

No cites, I’m sure others here are much more knowledgeable on the specifics, especially US vs EU vs pUK, etc.

238:

"The obvious (not very funny joke) suggestion is to wait 6 months when the pound is worth around 15 cents, but of course there’s an inflation genie in that too, so it would not mean that the price could be that much less. "

However, there will also be the 'buy expensive antiques during the Great Depression' effect. A lot of small UK business will desperately need cash.

239:

My understanding is that mastitis is a problem for all dairy cows.
I understand, also, that they may start feeding them antibiotics as calves, because they grow better/larger with them.
The hormone stuff is fairly recent, after the antibiotics became a big factor.

240:

mastitis is a problem for all dairy cows.

Yes, but... in the US it's a larger percentage of the herd more often and a major cost to productivity. Mastitis is a major problem in dairying generally, and there's a huge amount of research. The high-tech approach is to monitor every cow at every milking and treat early. But that means not only sterilising equipment in milking machines, but also sensors. So a lot of countries choose to change their food standards instead.

241:

You do realize that while reality shows are technically unscripted, all the lines and action are written by writers who specialize in writing "unscripted" shows. While the pay isn't as good as for a scripted show, the unscripted writers' guild does get the writers decent pay.

There are an increasing number of jobs like this. For example, you could get hired as a driver for an driver-less car.

How about a reality show set in a reality show writers' room where the writers compete to have their lead character win the episode's challenge. It could be like an RPG with NPCs.

242:

Don't forget the employee-less employer. That one's getting very popular (with the sharemarket, despite the most notorious practitioners not actually making a profit. Bah, profitability... so last century).

I'd suggest this as a reality show but it's just reality. If it wasn't for abusive working conditions I'd be quite happy to take money from rich wankers by using subsidised/loss-making services like Uber. But since they're virtual slavers you can fuck right off with that idea.

I dunno... real reality show: old geezers ranting about how it wasn't like that in my day?

243:

I'm pretty sure that one has already happened here...

244:

It's called a simmerstat, which is an extremely silly and misleading name, but there you go...

There is an almost perfect correlation between energy source and control model. If it's electric, despite continuously variable control having been practical since at least the 70s, you're pretty well certain to be lumbered with the deficiencies of a bang-bang model, and this remains true even in the case of a device which is fancy-arsed enough to already be using some kind of converter which could trivially be made continuously variable by sticking a pot in somewhere.

With gas, though, the model you expect, with even more certainty, is a continuously variable one, and this remains true even if it has crappy burners that can't maintain stable combustion over the whole range of flow rates. You also of course have essentially zero thermal inertia, so the heat input to the pan immediately follows your twiddling of the knob. Hence "cookability, that's the beauty of gas".

Ovens using either energy source use closed loop control, but hobs of either type are always open loop. There's a whole raft of practical difficulties concerning the sensor, and even if you did manage to sort that out you'd still end up with the user fighting it all the time by turning the knob all the way up or all the way down and wishing it didn't have it.

245:

We needed something simple and clear. And note that the right was happy to obfuscate that, with a barrage of BS.

Yes, this. Complicated charges only help the GOP/Russian core tactics of lying, distracting, and goalpost moving. It should be very easy to understand bribery but we still hear complaints like, "He never actually said 'quid pro quo.'"

246:

Pigeon
Hence the apparently-really-good-idea of having composite domestic ovens with gas rings & an elecrtic oven.
Only apparantly, because you then have to have not only a leakproof, secure gas feed, but a high-current, separately-wired spur for the oven, not running off the normal power ring.
Game not worth candle

247:

Bah, profitability... so last century

Profit-taking can be traded off against investment in growth.

If your company makes a profit, the profit is taxable. Whereas if it makes a tiny loss on paper, it pays no tax ... and the "loss" might actually be a 10% profit for a business that's putting all its income into growth.

I once worked for an outfit that started as a father-and-son consultancy and grew into a multinational with 1200 employees and $300M annual turnover. It never made a profit on paper until six months before it IPO'd, at which point it needed to show a profit to the investors. IIRC it exhibited a 10% compound growth rate for 15-20 years.

If you want to kneecap business models like uber's, the logical solution is to tax gross turnover not profits. Inefficient companies that are really losing ground will be in trouble, but they're in trouble anyway: more to the point, it'll hit asset strippers particularly hard.

248:

Actually, that's exactly the sort of domestic oven I have: electric fan-assisted oven underneath (plus electric grill in a separate compartment) and a bunch of gas hobs on top. Bonus: the fan assisted oven does not have a glass front door, and is therefore properly insulated: comes up to working temperature rapidly, and I can run it at 220 celsius for an hour and a half and it doesn't noticeably warm up the kitchen.

(Sacrificing the glass front means having to rely on a timer and guesswork to some extent, but my wife doesn't want dead animal products in her oven so there's no risk of undercooked meat, and meanwhile: less cleaning, much higher thermal efficiency, and more reliable.)

In the past year we acquired an alternate-brand version of an Instant Pot, which I will swear by for soups, stews, and similar. Basically an electric pressure cooker with a timer and controller than can handle various programs, including browning vegetables in oil, simmering, reducing, and slow cooking -- as well as "autoclave until mush". Highly recommended.

249:

Basically the set up my mother went for in 1964? 1965? She made my father pay to have the kitchen remodelled and she had a New World gas hob with eye level grill, and off in a unit to one side at the same level, an electric oven (she hated having to bend down to check progress). The neighbours were well impressed.

We kept things running until we couldn't get spares for the hob anymore, and replaced it with a Potterton Dual Fuel cooker (gas hob and eye level grill), fan oven underneath. My current set is similar to Charlie's - Neff gas hob (new), built-in double oven underneath (small oven/grill, large fan oven). I need to replace the oven/grill bit at some point (but I need to replace the built-in fridge/freezer first).

250:

I dunno, most houses that have gas at all seem to provide both types of cooker feed. Either they were built like that or someone who preferred one type sold it to someone who preferred the other at some point.

251:

Can Fat Teens Hunt?

"Ten dangerously overweight teenagers embark on a perilous journey that could save their lives."

In the first episode the muslim teen is forced to hunt wild pigs with a tribe in Borneo and almost dies from heat exhaustion. Then things go downhill ...

My apologies. It's already been done.

Available for your viewing pleasure from the BBC, youtube and also so-called amazon prime.

252:

Oh god and by god I mean Cthulhu it's real.

253:

and even if you did manage to sort that out you'd still end up with the user fighting it all the time by turning the knob all the way up or all the way down and wishing it didn't have it.

Ah, yes. My mother to her dying day felt that an HVAC system thermostat worked like the gas pedal in a car. No polite (or sometimes not) discussion would convince her otherwise. You knew you had talked to long when her lips started to get thin.

In a family full of people with technical jobs and/or education.

254:

At the end of the previous decade there was a fun pair of programmes on UK TV. Moving Wallpaper vs Echo Beach. The first half hour was a sitcom about a group of bitchy and dysfunctional writers working on a soap. The second half was the deliberately cheesy soap they had authored set in a seaside tourist town starring Martine McCutcheon & Jason Donovan. Take the same approach. Reality show of Unscripted Reality Show writers working on the Reality Show that's shown immediately after. Recursively.

255:

Charlie @248, Greg -
Gas hob / electric wall oven is what we ended up with when I built this house (see rowledge.org/tim and the “building a timber frame house” tab) but we strongly considered an induction hob for the controllability. However, we live out in the back of ruritania - I literally have had underground laboratory in the rainforest on a Pacific island - and we get enough power outages to want heat/cook backup. So, heat pump plug one gas fireplace, electric oven plus gas hob.
Next time I hope to go loadsasolar plus powerwall plus EV.

256:

Tip-top Kipper Trip!

Six game-on-for-gammon Little Englanders compete to be The Next Leader of UKIP in 90-second speaking slots and a 2-minute biopic showcasing their Nationalism, xenophobia and "I'm nor a racist but..." dogwhistles, with the winner chosen in a live phone poll of politically-neutral members of UKIP and the EDL hand-picked by BBC News and Current Affairs and the producer of Question Time.

The winner gets to be UKIP leader until the next episode goes out on-air; two runners-up get talkshow slots on a prominent London radio station; and the losers get shortlisted as Prospective Parliamentary Candidates for the Conservative Party

For the super-duper season finalé, Jeremy Clarkson, Kate Hoey, and three washed-up ex-celebrities will compete against... Nigel Farage.

257:

Nile
Horribly true & not funny at all.

But that reminds me ... The Wee Fishwife is going all-out for Scottish "Independance" ( And Tusk saying we will welcome you )
SLIGHT PROBLEM ... I saw the numbers some time back, & they could easily have been wrong ... so:
Scotland: Percentage of UK population?
Percentage of Tax take?
Percentage of Tax spend?

IIRC the figures are seriously skewed in the Scots favour at present ... which would cease, immediately upon "Independance" - even without the disaster that is comoingpver brexit.
Opinions & INFORMATION - please?

258:

Re Scots exit and opinions and information, any o&i about Gibraltar?

The 30k+ residents there seem to be really, really unhappy about Brexit. Anything they can do about it?

259:

No Scottish tax payments to fund and base Trident and the QE-class carriers plus aircraft wings, no Scottish tax payments to pay for England's HS2, Crossrail, Crossrail 2, the Heathrow airport expansion etc. after independence. That will save a bawbee or two. Raising taxes to pay for improved social care, a National Health Service etc. is also possible once we're free of the Tory-dominated England and their obsession with low taxes for rich people and fuck the poors.

After rejoining the EU it's likely an independent Scotland would be eligible for a lot of regional development grants and support. Thee's a bunch of EU-centric manufacturing based in England that could well move north, like the Airbus wing plant at Winton and maybe Nissan, Toyota and BMW.

261:

For the super-duper season finalé, Jeremy Clarkson, Kate Hoey, and three washed-up ex-celebrities will compete against... Nigel Farage.

Better scratch Clarkson off that list; despite all his other personality traits, he's strongly pro-EU and campaigned for Remain and a People's Vote.

Strange and unexpected, huh?

262:

Nojay
oh dear ...may I suggest "not even wrong" ???
So Scotland doesn't have to part-pay for all of those things, big hairy deal.
I want SOME ACTUAL NUMBERS.
I am TRYING to construct a discussion (argument?) based on FACTS ... which neither of us have.

IIRC
Scotland's proportion of the UK population is about 8.5% ... right?
But they are contributing somewhere between 5%-7% of the tax INCOME
But reciving about 9.5-10.5% of the RECIEPTS. [ Maybe ] ... see *Note* below.
Howver, those numbers are almost certainly wrong, though the proportions are not too far out.
What are the actual numbers?
The, once we have the actual numbers .... where is an "independant" Scotland going to get the EXTRA money from, to maintain even their current standard of living, please?

And yes ... Scotland would get LOTS of EU regional support ... after about 10 years waiting, between leaving the UK & wading through the EU accession process - eventually.
Assuming, of course, that Germany & France are prepared to cerry on shouldering that burden, now a major contibutor to the EU total budget has just disappeared?

I agree with one thing though.
The utter fuck-ups that brexit has started will continue to make economic, never mind political chaos & trouble for some time to come.

NOTE: From wiki on the "Barnett Formula"
England spends/gets 97.1% of average tax output, but Scotland gets 116.1% - or - 19% MORE than England.
But I can't find a reliable figure for the tax take per country as a proportion of the whole.
CAN WE HAVE SOME RELIABLE NUMBERS ... please?
Then - we can have a discussion

263:

1) Sturgeon is keeping the pot on the burner but isn't going all out yet; I'm pretty sure she's playing a long game for independence.

2) In the past six years, Scottish oil revenues have fallen off (as was predictable) ... but Scotland exported £1Bn of power generated by renewables to the English grid in 2019, and is due to be net 100% renewable-based this year: the prospect is for Scotland to experience a second energy boom in the coming years, only this one will be zero-carbon and sustainable.

Finally, you can't trust the tax/spend figures out of Westminster: the books are cooked to support the worst possible outlook for Scottish independence, because why wouldn't they be?

I'm much more concerned that BoJo's just-announced £5M advertising campaign opposing Scottish independence is a sign that the Tories actually want to off-load Scotland after Brexit completes. £5M is almost enough to buy everyone in Scotland a can of Irn Bru; it's a sign that he's deeply unserious about supporting the union, but wants to be seen to be going through the motions on the cheap.

264:

When I was young, we moved into house (brand-new, we were the first residents) that had an electric oven and an electric cook-top where the controls had four heats: off, low, medium, and high. It wasn't long before my father replaced it with a gas cook-top (as the house already had gas for the water heater and a clothes-drier).

The next house had an electric cook-top, but the builder had put in one with continuously-adjustable controls, just like a gas cook-top. One of the burners had a thermostat, so we could keep a kettle of water at about 180F all the time. (Tea-drinking household.)

The second house was actually a year or so older than the first house - the difference was the builder on the first one was doing it cheaply, and the second house had been custom-built (with some very odd features, like steam heating in an area where it rarely got below 32F).

265:

The mere idea of a gas-fired clothes-drier boggles my (British) mind.

Yes, yes, I know, Americans and 110 volt mains current isn't conducive to electric kettles or washer-driers: but even so, I've never even heard of a gas-burning drier being sold anywhere in Europe!

266:

Oh Ghu yes. I tried explaining it as "the thermostat sets the end point, not the rate of heating/cooling". But the people I was explaining it to mostly had minimal technical background.

267:

I think electric driers run on 240V, like dishwashers. Gas driers are still fairly common - they can last 30 to 40 years - but they're not necessarily used every day.

My electric kettle runs fine on 110V. (Export-model Russell Hobbs, bought about 20 years ago. Works fine. My sister has a Zojirushi 3L hot water pot, also 110V.)

268:

Oh, they exist but they're not common. You're more likely to find them in a commercial laundry such as in a hospital where extracting a couple of tonnes of water from a week's worth of freshly washed bedlinen, scrubs, drapes etc. is necessary.

269:

Clarkson does have the best interests of the motor industry in mind: that's not necessarily a virtue, and some would weigh it alongside his vices and character defects...

...But I can well believe you, surprising as I find that news may be: Clarkson simply isn't *stupid* enough to overlook that Brexit is a disaster for the motor industry.

It's not a disaster for banking: we're all very mobile - witness the exodus of the entire bond market from New York when they tried a transaction tax - and my own job has simply gone to Dublin.

As have I: my flight from London City landed half an hour ago, and I am tapping-out this reply on the D700 Airport coach, taking me directly to my hotel, and my job tomorrow morning.

270:

Scotland exported £1Bn of power generated by renewables to the English grid in 2019, and is due to be net 100% renewable-based this year: the prospect is for Scotland to experience a second energy boom in the coming years, only this one will be zero-carbon and sustainable.

Problem is "renewables" is taken to mean generating capacity that isn't fossil-fuel based so the two elephants (actually pairs of elephants) in the room, the Hunterston B and Torness AGRs are lumped in with the wind turbines and the limited amount of hydro we've got here in Scotland.

The bad news is the 2GW or so of capacity they represent is very much life-limited due to cracking problems in the reactor graphite core structures. Right now, as I type this both reactors at Hunterston B are down for "graphite inspections". It's possible they will never start up again (I think one of the Hunterston B reactors was restarted in the autumn but if it was it's been shut down again). Torness might well follow suit within the next few years and it would take at least 6GW of new wind turbines to replace the loss of this nuclear capacity.

https://www.edfenergy.com/energy/power-station/daily-statuses

The Hunterston B outage is not a trivial matter; EDF makes great efforts to have as many reactors as they can up and running during the winter when there is the greatest demand for electricity, just like they do in France which is, as I type this generating 90% of its own electrical power requirement from nuclear (48GW).

Further on the horizon is the extra capacity that will be required to "fuel" electric cars. A back-of-the-fag-packet calculation suggests we'll need about 200W on average for each electric car going by average annual mileages and published efficiency figures.

271:

The joy is that we can build new wind plants a few MW at a time wherever we think we can get away with it, likewise they tend to fail a few MW at a time and can be patched up accordingly. As you point out, that's not true of nuclear. I suspect Scotland is not yet close to running out of places to put wind turbines, especially once the floating ones get off the ground.

272:

Americans and 110 volt mains current isn't conducive to electric kettles or washer-driers: but even so, I've never even heard of a gas-burning drier being sold anywhere in Europe!

You don't really understand.

99.9999% or more of all residences and smaller businesses in the US get their power at 220-240v (let's call it 240v) AC with a CENTER TAP.

So all of the low current stuff (lights and normal outlets) is at 120v. Basically split between the feed legs. 240vac is used for things like electric dryers, electric stoves/ovens, water heaters, HVAC, electric car chargers, welders, etc...

Gas dryers exist here due to the thermal cost of gas being 1/4 that of electricity for a long time in the past. And back when a lot of rural areas had houses with only 40 or 60 amp 240v supplies for the entire house an electric dryer was not reasonable. So the US got lots of gas dryers (well more than a trivial number) that could run off nat gas or propane from a tank in the yard.

I've never had one and don't want one. Too many issues with venting and fire safety compared to electric. And easier to get it too hot and melt synthetic fabrics as I did in college.

But back to your statement. Virtually all houses in the US have 240vac mains. Most places now require a 200amp service per code for a new house. I've seen 400amp like for my neighbor with the heated pool [eyeroll] but 300amp is not uncommon for a house with on demand electric hot water.

273:

Dishwashers
Totally uneceesary, unless there are at least 5 people in the household, I reckon. Wasteful of energy & other resources & NOT efficient at actually cleaning the dishes.
A small move for global energy saving (etc ) BAN fucking diswashers!

Nile
So you & your employers & fucking BOZO of course are making GW significantly worse ....

Nojay
in France which is, as I type this generating 90% of its own electrical power requirement from nuclear
Right, can we declare "open season" on the fake greenies RIGHT NOW?
Simply start building nuke plants to known designs, as fast as we & everybody else can do so.
It will slow down the rush to the precipice if nothing else.
However as Moz doesn't qiote point out, there are other possible solutions.
In Scotland I would have thought "wave" & "tidal" ( In one or more of its many forms ) was the obvious solution.

274:

Totally uneceesary, unless there are at least 5 people in the household, I reckon. Wasteful of energy & other resources & NOT efficient at actually cleaning the dishes.

Think outside your box Greg.

Mine runs maybe once a week. It is full when it runs. So there is one moderate amount of hot water to wash a full load of dishes. Not the more that would be used if I completely washed all of them as I used them.

For now I just scrape/rise (cold water) then stack them. Sometimes I was by hand if after a week there isn't all that much but typically it runs with a full load. And since I air dry there's no power there.

And most any modern dishwasher in the US does result in clean dishes.

275:

Simply start building nuke plants to known designs

Can you point to some of these "known designs"?

People I know who have looked come back to the one, solitary, design we have reason to believe will probably work: Westinghouse AP1000 which is the result of much inspection of previous similar reactors and careful thinking about how to come up with an evolution from there. But as noted by wikipedia, there are four under construction in China and some abandoned attempts in the US.

Per the discussion wrt to buchfires, the problem here is not "fake greenies" unless you're actually talking about people pretending to be greenies, and by that I mean the global financial cabal who occasionally try to look a bit green. The problem for nuclear power is that it's not financially viable, even if you exclude insurance and post-operational costs. That's why it's strictly the province of governments who don't care (they just want bombs, or want to make a point), and of madmen (who also don't care).

If you want actual "known to work" reactors, the answer is still no. With the singular obvious exception, of course, but that's not normally regarded as "proper" nuclear power by the fanboys.

276:

We could do a Greg-style reality show: nuclear fan-boys try to persuade a multi-billionaire that their plans for a new nuclear reactor will work, and also that their definition of "work" is useful. The prize is that the rich person will build the first copy of the proposed reactor.

One problem is that Putin might be a bit short with losing candidates, and someone like Jack Ma wouldn't necessarily be willing to leave China.

But since the whole idea is fictional anyway, you could build the show around Post-Presidential Trump being the billionaire. Fiction plans presented to a fictional billionaire for a Potemkin reactor.

277:

Going back to pop culture oddities: Suicide Boys is a band, Suicide Girls is a porn site. Does that signify something about our culture?

278:

Look for regional trade figures: last time I checked, Scotland had a net export surplus with the EU, for both manufactured goods and agricultural produce.


Also: they are actually exporting seed - mostly, I think, seed potatoes - and that is a very high-margin business. It is also a very technically-demanding and closely-regulated business: to the best of my knowledge, British farmers and commercial growers import *all* their seed from the Netherlands.

279:

Just for S&G, I'll pitch an idea I mentioned before:

Dronetrap.

One team has the drones, one team has the guns. The match is simple: if any drones are still airborne when the last shell has been fired, the drone team wins. Otherwise, the gunners win. The match could be held in a wide variety of conditions, with a wide variety of drones and guns, although aerial camera drones versus well-choked shotguns loaded with bird shot would be my default contest.

The problem with this idea isn't that it's more expensive for the drone pilots than the shotgunners, it's that it promotes evolution of anti-gun tactics among drone flying systems, and their tactical evolution will probably powered by machine learning, trained by watching episodes of the show. On the other side, you've got evolution of shotgunning strategy and tactics, probably mostly by humans.

I'd hate to see this reality show become the arena in which AI learns to make drones gun-proof, but that would be a likely outcome.

280:

Watched the cycle time on my electric radiant stovetop out of curiosity. It's obvious on those because the element glows bright red, then dims to near black in about a second. The cycle is about 5 seconds long, which is faster than I had expected.

Read some about induction cooktops. Their control systems are more diverse. Some seem to just regulate their magnetic fields. Some are regulating power absorbed. Some are reading the temperature of the bottom of the pan. Some have a probe you can stick in the food.


Re: dishwashers
I believe studies of what people do in the real world suggest that hand washing - as actually done - uses more water than a modern efficiency rated dishwasher.

Current US 'energy star' standard is 3.5 gallons per load. Even back in the day hand washing dishes with my grandmother in her double-sink we had to have used more than twice that, and it was never enough dishes to fill a dishwasher.

281:

A 'what a regular Japanese new house is like' youtube I watched once said the standard there is a 'one meal' dishwasher. That was pretty neat. Probably impossible to get in the US, but maybe Europe?

282:

DMV/DVLA Survivor.

283:

£5M is almost enough to buy everyone in Scotland a can of Irn Bru

As a side quip, this would not even in the top twenty stupidest things done with your tax money.

Would an Irn Bru reality TV show be in bad taste ... or just a peculiar taste? *grin*

284:

I suspect Scotland is not yet close to running out of places to put wind turbines, especially once the floating ones get off the ground.

I loved Big Hero 6 too but I hope Scotland's zeppelin turbines are well outside air traffic flight paths.

285:

I've seen counter top dishwashers (I was considering getting one for himself's mother but I suspect the plumbing arrangements for it might have been tricky).

We (2 people) run ours on average once daily - more often if I'm doing baking. It usually goes on after breakfast (the kitchen is south-facing so I don't like dirty dishes lying around in the summer).

286:

Moz
I wuz under the impression that the "style" of reactors that the French use ... actually work, as demomnstrated by experience....
I suppose I should repeat that "fake greenies" refers to those who, quite correctly want to stop fossil-fuel burning, but are against "nuclear" ( The Germans are the worst at this, I think ) ... emphatically NOT those engaged in greenwashing & other diversions from what they are really doing. ( You call them the "global financial cabal" - which will do for a label )

Nile
Classic misnomer: "Seed potatoes" ... which aren't, they are pregrown small tubers.
But modern Scottish weather conditions & quality control ( v strict ) are suitable.
Really new potato varieties ARE grown from seed & a long slow business it is too ... and Scotland is one of the few places that does that, as well.
I think you are wrong about Dutch sourcing of spuds, btw.

287:

... nuclear fan-boys try to persuade a multi-billionaire that their plans for a new nuclear reactor will work, and also that their definition of "work" is useful.

Can we Penalty Ninja the first person to say "pebble bed" please?

Concept taken from some faux-sport martial arts show I saw where contestants who offended the referee would get a 'penalty ninja' who would appear from backstage, pose dramatically, and attack them; the ninja had to be defeated before the contestant could continue.

For the nuke fans, there could be a rule that one could only pontificate on the benefits of pebble bed reactors while actually laying down on a bed of pebbles. If nothing else it might keep the presentations brief and to the point.

288:

Dronetrap. One team has the drones, one team has the guns.

Aw, hell yeah! It's loud, it's dramatic, it's a little dangerous, it gets more dangerous the stupider the contestants are; this is a made-for-TV sporting event.

Recruit experts from both sides. Humor and incompetence porn ensues when their expertise is mismatched with their tasks. (Hand a drone controller to any random person from Duck Dynasty and stand back.) Obviously moving people - other people - out of their comfort zones makes for the best television, so all contestants should have to try every role.

The only problem I see with this proposal is that it's a perfectly reasonable rTV idea rather than being in painfully bad taste and a horrifying perversion of human potential.

289:

There are no reliable figures for tax raised in Scotland, nor can there be without legislation first - we know how much profit e.g.Tesco makes (or doesn’t make, as the case may be) in a given year, but we don’t know (because Tesco aren’t required to report it) how that breaks down across their stores across the UK. We therefore can’t know much corporation tax is raised in each part of the UK.

See also VAT, petrol duty, tobacco duty, alcohol duty, insurance tax, etc etc etc

Even if we did know those figures for the latest tax year it still wouldn’t be a good indicator for the what the figures would be in an independent Scotland! Well, unless you think the purpose of independence is to make exactly the same decisions in every area? As soon as an independent Scotland makes any tax or spending decision that’s different from the UK then the economy is different (and for a hardcore unionist by definition therefore “worse”!) than the UK and the figures for the UK (which we don’t have anyway) don’t apply.

... and surely the entire point of independence is to do things differently?

290:

Can Fat Teens Hunt?

I knew I wanted to take time to address this. A rich subset of horrible rTV shows is the physical anomaly subgenre. (Are they called freakshows in the business? I’m not well enough connected to know.) Fat people are overly represented, either despite or because there are a lot of fat people in the viewing audience. Others that a quick search turned up include very tall women, little people, and pregnant women. The last at least makes sense because pregnancies are interesting and everyone loves babies at a safe distance.

What else could an unscrupulous rTV producer think up for rubes to gawk at? I'm blissfully unaware of anything with an all albino cast. Various physical handicaps suggest themselves, some dramatic and some not; it's probably only a matter of time before someone pitches Rollin', the wheelchair reality show. *eyeroll*

Other horrible ideas that made it to TV include Best Funeral Ever (you read that right), 19 Kids and Counting (formerly 18, formerly 17), Little Parents, Big Pregnancy (and, Dog have mercy, sequels),
and Mob Wives (exactly what it says on the tin, somehow; this also got sequels).

Imagine a momentary break while I wash my hands and bleach my eyeballs after that.

One lesson can be taken away from the rTV ecosystem: pandering to the lowest common denominator works fine but someone will figure out a way to go lower. Not only is it a race to the bottom but competitors are constantly inventing whole new bottoms.

291:

SS @ 290
"Freak Shows" yeah.
A C19th horror genre ... reproduced in modern times as ... "the Paralympics" - just anothe freak show, where disabled people are publicly exploited for money.
In other words & even worse sunset of the utterly revolting "Olympic Games" corrupt political & couuch potato franchise, coupled with lage doses of the "acceptable" face of fascism.

I WILL NOT rise to the temptations, double entendres & Julian/Sandy comments rising through my sub-&-conscious brain from your last sentence ....

292:

#196 - As written, I can't either, for certain values of the statement. Of course, as it stands, your statement excludes the use of thyristor circuits and timer circuits as methods of temperature control.

#212 - Cheers; I had realised that a 1kW radiant with a 6 position digital rheostat controller would be an effective way of dissipating something like 833W through the control!

#221 - The first rule of Charlie's Place is "Do not talk about 'Fight Club'."

#224 - Do you deny that chlorine-washed meat is an additional (and from your statement unnecessary) process?

#229 - Wikipedia suggests that most cases of salmonella are due to poor food hygene rather than infection of animal hosts. That says that ensuring that food industry workers wash their hands properly is the most effective prevention measure.

#244 - Sirislee!? I always thought that most (if not all) of the thermal inertia in a simmering pan of food was in the liquid in the pan, not in the burner or radiant.

Various on dishwashers - Owning a "large dishwasher" does not mean using it every day, never mind every meal. This is already well demonstrated.

293:

Hmm….a proper reality show should contain a mixture of misogyny, veiled racism and general contempt for the "out" group depicted. "Chavs" have alredy been in such reality shows, at this point I do not know what has been done and what remains to be tried.
Are there any shows about gypsies, pakistanis or jews? The problem is, there could very well *be* an audience for it out there, judging by social media.

MAD Magazine once featured the sport "stock-car minefield racing". This could be done , but I don't know how to recruit drivers.
People in debt, offered a modest sum of money might bite. The show would be a bit like Schwarzenegger's "The Running Man" but in worse taste.

294:

My electric kettle runs fine on 110V.

Yes, but it's slow. A UK standard ring main is fused for 13 amps at 230 volts; a typical electric kettle draws 2kW, sometimes up to 3kW. Whereas the same kettle in the US can't safely draw more than 15 amps, so maxes out at 1.65kW -- and in practice draws less. Upshot: electric kettles in the US seem to take about twice as long to boil the same volume of water.

295:

Greg: I have atopic eczema. Got a diswasher and started using it: eczema went away. Stopped using dishwasher, washed by hand: bits of my hands start falling off.

Meanwhile modern dishwashers use less water than a human washing by hand.

Nor does mine run after every meal; instead, it runs when it fills up with stuff that needs washing (typically 2-3 times a week). Crockery and cutlery sets for a family of six should last a couple of adults a few days before they run short, and that's what a dishwasher is designed to carry as a full load.

296:

The 'one meal' dishwasher exists in the EU; hell, the kitchen in my parents' retirement flat was fitted out in 1989-90 and they opted for a half-width dishwasher (because 95% of the time there were only two people using it and they had a small kitchen but a decent budget for designing/installing it). Trouble is, half-width dishwashers are about half-again the cost of a regular dishwasher (because of low demand for the product).

297:

I have no idea what you think DVLA is like in the UK, but it would be a very boring show. (You don't go in person; instead you do everything via the web these days, except for getting a photo ID driving license, which requires a visit to any Post Office counter and lasts for ten years so there's virtually never any need to queue for more than ten minutes).

Also, I've experienced both US and UK government paperwork, and the British stuff is designed to be easy to fill out. Shocking, I know! But instead of a giant wall of text in unreadably tiny font, with a "go fuck yourself" at the end giving some notional form-filling time based on a paperwork reduction act, the British version is typically a well-laid-out flow chart with numbered stages, arrows that direct you to what to do next, helpful footnotes explaining how to do it, and ... you get the picture: it's designed for average-dumb human beings, not bureaucrats.

298:

A C19th horror genre ... reproduced in modern times as ... "the Paralympics" - just anothe freak show, where disabled people are publicly exploited for money.

Again, you're missing the point: disabled people are no less likely to want exercise than anyone else, no less competitive than anyone else, and no less inclined to sportsmanship. Why shouldn't they have tournaments? And that being so, why should such games be hidden away? I know disabled folks who opine that the Paralympics are affirm their right to exist in the public sphere, and to have a life that isn't entirely defined by their disability.

299:

About nuclear power and the UK:

https://www.bbc.com/news/business-51233444


Manufacturer Rolls-Royce has told the BBC's Today programme that it plans to install and operate factory-built power stations by 2029.

[snip]

Rolls-Royce is leading a consortium to build small modular reactors (SMRs) and install them in former nuclear sites in Cumbria or in Wales. Ultimately, the company thinks it will build between 10 and 15 of the stations in the UK.

They are about 1.5 acres in size - sitting in a 10-acre space. That is a 16th of the size of a major power station such as Hinkley Point.

More at https://www.rolls-royce.com/~/media/Files/R/Rolls-Royce/documents/customers/nuclear/smr-brochure-july-2017.pdf

300:

The thermal inertia of the heat source, not that of the thing it's heating...

301:

The interesting one for me is The Last Leg TV show. It could be a freak show, but it isn't. Of the three hosts, two are disabled: Adam Hills is missing one lower leg, while Alex Brooker is not only partially legged, his hands are more like crab claws. Yet they'll take the piss out of each other, and everything else. The result is a sharp and witty topical comedy show that just happens to have disabled people involved.

The relevance? It span off from the Rio Paralympics commentary team.

302:

I saw that press report a few days ago and it left me scratching my head a bit.

The "Small Modular Reactors" RR are claiming they can build and deploy produce about as much power as a regular AGR or small PWR, 400MW or so. That's a lot more output than any other proposed SMR designs I've seen which are usually under 50MW. The only real SMRs that have actually been built and are in use are the two modified ship KLT-35S reactors on board the Akademik Lomonosov NPP barge the Russians have in service in the Arctic.

The Argentinians are building a 25MW PWR, the CAREM which is theoretically an SMR but it's being built conventionally, not from factory-made parts delivered ready-to-use on site which is supposed to be a big selling point for SMRs. The CAREM's completion date is stretching indefinitely into the future after construction started in 2014. In contrast the Chinese are bringing 1000MW conventional PWRs online from first concrete in that sort of timescale.

It's worth noting that fifteen 440MW reactors would just replace the capacity of the fourteen in-service AGRs which are all nearing end-of-life and which will be getting shut down and starting decommissioning by 2030. From the pictures in the glossy brochures from RR they look like small PWRs, nothing about molten salt or thorium breeders or even carbon nanotubes. For sure they won't be based on the submarine reactors which is RR's only real engineering expertise in matters nuclear.

303:

Re: ' ... disabled folks who opine that the Paralympics are affirm their right to exist in the public sphere, and to have a life that isn't entirely defined by their disability.'

Ditto for veterans (Invictus Games). The Paralympics/Invictus Games are at the opposite end on the dignity-exploitation continuum vs. the 'people with problems' bits of reality TV that I've seen.

It's really weird that while most of the effects (harms) of these shows are psychological, no one bothers to rationally talk about them from that perspective. (Why bother with psych when you have religion?)

304:

It's sounding like "small" and "modular" are marketing buzzwords in RR's lexicon. The real angle here is "built in a factory and shipped to the site" rather than "built in situ" which would, one hopes, lead to some economies of scale (i.e. make them cheaper over a long production run).

440MW is only small in comparison with a 1650MW EPR or 1100MW APR-1000 ...

305:

Charlie
Good luck to them - let them get on with it.
Same as football - you want to play it, get on with it.
It's the exploitation & the voyeurism & the sickening "public enthusiaism" for want of a better descriotion, that gets up my nose.

Bellinghman
Same as when M Flanders was talking about Guy Fawkes' day & commented that Swann had got 3/-4d ( Or some similar sum ) for him ... (!)

Allen Thomson
Interesting - given that it's R-R backing this I would assum it isn't a boondoggle, but are they touting for guvmint money, or "simply" permissions & offical backing?
Oh & how is/was the (?)Lockheed(?) Nuke-on-a-lorry project going ... haven't heard a thing about that recently.

306:

OK. I'll chime in on the original point of this post. Yes I have watched some episodes of some reality series. Mostly 5 minutes, maybe 10 before becoming repulsed and leaving the room or turning it off.

Way back when when there was all kinds of hype about them I watched one of the episodes of both DT's thing and the one about 6 year old girls in beauty contests. I was amazed that people thought these were worth watching and THEN discussing at length.

To me most of the draw of these shows is some combination of "let's stare at the gristly accident scene and maybe see something really gross or "These people are really smart? Wow, I must be a genius."

Sad comment on the human condition.

307:

shipped to the site" rather than "built in situ" which would, one hopes, lead to some economies of scale

A big problem with huge reactors built on site is that everything being done was being done in many cases for the first time by the labor force. Highly skilled but still. Which made for all kinds of training, planning, inspection, etc... costs ballooning upward.

And yes, there actually was sabotage. Some guys figured out that this really high paying job could be made to last longer if every now and then something done and CERTIFIED might get broken. Oops. Breaking one valve display by bumping it with a piece of pipe could generate a few 100 hours of more work for a group of people.

One of the most cynical hours I ever spend was next to a guy on a plane whose job was how to convince people building a reactor that their job was great and not to think about it ending in 2 years and they getting to go back to fixing a boiler in the local school.

308:

The "Small Modular Reactors" RR are claiming they can build and deploy produce about as much power as a regular AGR or small PWR, 400MW or so.

I likely read the same news. I did a bit of digging. That 400MW size is the upper end of what is considered small. Wikipedia has a list of them. Westinghouse and GE/Hitachi have designs which are 1/2 to 3/4s of that size.

A big advantage of such a setup is that in time of natural cooling water shortages you can turn off some of the units in a complex easier than trying to adjust the output of one or two big units.

Power companies really like to run reactor power flat out as the marginal cost are trivial once it is producing any power at all. Unlike coal and gas.

Locals involved in Duke power say the nuke run flat out if they are up. Gas is next for base load but with some in reserve for peaking due to costs. Then coal for base load only. Coal is just too hard ($$$) to turn up and down compared to gas so gas is used for the spikes. And of course day to day issues can override any of this. Especially during a heat wave when AC loads get really high.

309:

A lot of modern reactor components are built in factories and shipped to the site for final assembly, things like the reactor vessel, steam generators etc. They often mass a few hundred tonnes, a difficult but not insuperable problem given modern transportation capabilities. If you hunt around the web you'll see pictures of such items on the move.

The Hinckley Point site has the world's largest-capacity crane installed now. Part of its job is to lift these large factory-built components into place in the two reactor buildings as they reach completion.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-somerset-49673561

It's been a long time since reactor vessels and other such parts were welded together on-site in the rain and weather. There's still a lot of on-site construction, of course and SMRs will not be immune to that requirement either.

310:

"Wasteful of energy & other resources & NOT efficient at actually cleaning the dishes."

Can't agree with the last bit. They use higher temperatures and more vicious detergent than something you have to put your hands in. They can fail with the kind of baked-on deposit you get on cookpots that needs to be scraped off, but for non-encrusted cookpots and ordinary tableware they work very well indeed, and are noticeably better than hand washing.

How they compare on energy use per wash is not clear. Points such as more efficient water heating count in their favour, while things like the continuously running powerful circulation pump count against. And what you're comparing them against varies wildly depending on what the house's plumbing is like and how the people use it. I reckon you could make it come out either way just as easily depending on what examples you pick, and the most useful generalisation is probably to consider it as being about the same on the whole.

(Seeing as I'm not living in one of those places that has tried to export a lifestyle from rainy Northern Europe into the middle of a desert using brute force in place of adaptation, I don't really give a shit about how much water they use.)

But the point is that the frequency of washes is much lower with a dishwasher. You don't do it every time, you just collect the dirties in the dishwasher and then set it going once it's full. The wash uses about the same order of juice as a handwash, but you only do it once every few days so it adds up to a lot less.

(Ideally, of course, you have two dishwashers; you use one as the source of clean plates and the other as the destination of dirty ones until they're all in the dirty one, then you wash that one and start transferring them the other way, etc.)

311:

There's still a lot of on-site construction, of course and SMRs will not be immune to that requirement either.

Agreed. But the goal is to reduce it as much as possible.

312:

SMRs produce much less power than conventional PWRs -- the norm today is for PWRs to produce 1000MW to 1100MW with the outliers like the EPRs producing 1650MW of electrical power. There are some smaller PWRs being built in the 300-500MW region but they're few and far between.

The SMRs being promoted in PowerPoint presentations and press releases produce 30-50MW so the construction efficiencies are negated by the multiple construction site operations needed to match the equivalent amounts of power generated. SMRs are also expected to run for quite a short time since they're built cheap, typically forty to sixty years before they will be life-expired and need decommissioning and replacing whereas new-build PWRs have a life expectancy of a century and more. Even older reactors are being relicenced today for safe 80-year operation...

https://www.neimagazine.com/news/newsus-turkey-point-licensed-to-operate-for-80-years-7551852

313:

#293 - Well, there are UK shows advertised as being "about Gypsies". They are actually about Irish Travelers, based on testimony from actual Roma I know.

#300 - I hope this doesn't mean that you're blaming me for "some people" looking at the source rather than the food they're cooking!?

#311 - So the idea is to install a prefabricated but unfuelled reactor in civils built on site?

314:

Re stoves:
No love for induction? We've had an induction stove for a while, and now I don't see how anyone would want to use anything else. They're extremely fast, temperature distribution is very even, and temperature control very precise. And they're vary safe of course.

Re wave/tidal power:
Last time I checked, these were considered scams or dead ends. Has opinion changed?

And a completely off-topic question for someone (Heteromeles I think?) about a comment that was posted a year ago or something like that, that I haven't gotten around to asking about until now: A claim was made that Russia lost more people to starvation(?) after the downfall of the Soviet Union than was lost during Stalins regime. Do I remember that statement correctly, and are there sources available for further reading? Much appreciated if one can be pointed to.

315:

And a completely off-topic question for someone (Heteromeles I think?) about a comment that was posted a year ago or something like that, that I haven't gotten around to asking about until now: A claim was made that Russia lost more people to starvation(?) after the downfall of the Soviet Union than was lost during Stalins regime. Do I remember that statement correctly, and are there sources available for further reading? Much appreciated if one can be pointed to.

That wasn't me, because there was no starvation after the downfall of the Soviet Union. I even wrote a blog post about said lack of famine years ago.

316:

The only problem I see with this proposal is that it's a perfectly reasonable rTV idea rather than being in painfully bad taste and a horrifying perversion of human potential.

Well yeah, I have many shortcomings, and I'm naturally too good at painfully bad taste in real life to do it well online.

Anyway, there is the little problem that if you do droneskeet competently, inevitably the competition standard rises. Given that it involves drones, guns, and AI, a rising level of AI competence in this field is actually a "horrifying perversion of human potential."

I'll maybe hunt down the article again, but the boffins are already proposing, quite seriously, to train American soldiers in shotgunning (trap, skeet, and bird hunting) to deal with drones, especially when they're on duty guarding military bases and the drones are being used for espionage and sabotage.

Making a well-filmed contest out of this, something that gives oodles of training data to machine learning systems and rewards teams for using said data, would probably be truly bad, not just entertainingly bad.

317:

@214: Shouldn't JAXA (the Japanese space agency) be judging that too, they've pulled off some pretty impressive work with both the IKAROS sola sail craft and the recent asteroid lander.

Certainly. Leaving them off was an oversight on my part. Did I miss any other significant efforts, other than the Iranian and DPRK "space launch" programs?

318:
we know how much profit e.g.Tesco makes (or doesn’t make, as the case may be) in a given year, but we don’t know (because Tesco aren’t required to report it) how that breaks down across their stores across the UK
One of the anticipated possible benefits of Brexit is that we'll finally find out how much money Tesco makes in Ireland, because that gets rolled into the UK figures too.

Given Tesco's sharp practices have driven at least one supplying co-op here into dissolution, there's a little bitterness in some quarters about that.

319:

"Can you point to some of these "known designs"?"

Well, they're all over France, as has been pointed out. Lots of other countries, too.

"The problem for nuclear power is that it's not financially viable, even if you exclude insurance and post-operational costs. That's why it's strictly the province of governments who don't care (they just want bombs, or want to make a point), and of madmen (who also don't care)."

No, it's a problem for madmen because they do care. "Financially viable" is how we got into the present mess. We've had the technology to replace fossil fuels for long enough; if we'd started trying to do it when I was a nipper it would be pretty well done by now, but instead we just got arseholes whining about how much things cost.

It doesn't matter a tinker's fuck whether a nuclear power plant is "financially viable"; what matters is whether it produces energy without combusting carbon. Failure to realise this and act on it is why we are where we are now, and we certainly can't use the same dumb crap that got us here as an excuse for not doing things to sort it out.

It's not a condemnation of governments that they "don't care" about "financially viable" and so can build nuclear power plants. That's exactly what they should be doing: it's their responsibility to ensure the supply of energy to the place they govern, and it's their responsibility to see that things that don't make money get done because they're needed. The governments that deserve condemnation are the ones that renege on those responsibilities and encourage them to fall into the hands of those who see them not as a responsibility to be fulfilled but as a means of extracting money. I understand from things you and gasdive have posted that your government has seen to it that energy supply has become an extortion racket that threatens blackout to hold cities to ransom, and has a giant hard-on for coal. Ours likes gas and having a fleet of private parasites instead of taxation, and doesn't give a fuck what happens as long as they can duck the responsibility of paying for it. These are not models to be followed, but demonstrations of how not to do it. France with their fleet of nukes are much closer to the mark (as quite often seems to be the case).

320:

t doesn't matter a tinker's fuck whether a nuclear power plant is "financially viable"; what matters is whether it produces energy without combusting carbon.

"Financially viable" actually elides a whole bunch of baggage about public policy, neoliberal capitalist free market dogma, and so on. "Financially viable" is only a synonym for "best" if one uncritically assumes that market economics rules supreme without regard for externalities.

Such externalities could include, well, anything: unforeseen externalities of photovoltaic farms (e.g. pollutants from the PV cell factories, loss of biologically interesting/useful land, injuries and deaths to rooftop PV installation workers), wind farms (dead seabirds), and so on.

They also exist under artificial cost conditions: no fuel reprocessing pipeline because (hand-wavium free market shit), so storage costs rise over time, and no deep burial of high level waste because local geology isn't conducive to it within arbitrarily-delimited lines on a politically-imposed map. We basically can't estimate a true long-term cost for a nuclear power economy because our metrics are inappropriate and/or broken.

I tend to think, these days, that renewables are winning in all but a few edge cases -- but if we'd started 50 years ago, when the French program got rolling, and included a full end-to-end fuel reprocessing cycle and an international waste repository, we might have gotten somewhere by, oh, the turn of the century just past.

321:

I tend to think, these days, that renewables are winning in all but a few edge cases

They're certainly coming along. Checking the estimable https://www.gridwatch.templar.co.uk/ , it shows that of the UK's current draw of 41.64 GW, CCGT contributes 32.59%, wind 26.49%, nuclear 15.13%, coal 4.11%, biomass 2.79% and some other cats and dogs.

(Shouldn't biomass count as renewable, sorta?)

322:

(Shouldn't biomass count as renewable, sorta?)

Biomass is one of those examples of how not to do renewables.

The fundamental problem is that you're taking carbon out of the air when the plant photosynthesizes, then you're putting most of it right back into the air. That's the basic equation.

Then there's the problem of existing biomass power plants tending to be on the more polluting side, so you don't just get back CO2, you also get back NOx from combustion problems, particulates, and the other joys of soot and ash.

Then there's the problem that the biomass has to be harvested (almost always using a petroleum-powered device) from wherever, and trucked (almost always using a petroleum-powered device) to the power plant. There are smaller power plants, but they're still pretty huge (large truck size or larger), and they've still got to be hooked into the grid, wherever they are, to be of any use.

Then there's the problem that biomass plants are expensive to operate, compared with everything from wind and solar to gas and coal-burning plants.

Then there's the problem (in California at least) that the targeted biomass tends to be the highly diverse chaparral (adding to the biodiversity crises caused by development, fires near those developments, and climate change) and in forests that are, erm, supposed to be sequestering the carbon, not being burned.

Then there's the problem that the bureaucrats handwave all the previous problems away, using various questionable assumptions. These include:
--The carbon burned today will instantaneously be absorbed into new biomass, so that there's no increase in CO2 (they're burning 50-100 year-old plants to generate power, so guess how long it takes them to sequester that much carbon?)
--The dead logs after a fire "instantaneously vaporized" during the fire (per the models they created), so whatever wood that's left after the fire is fuel that can be used (burned snags and logs are critical wildlife habitat for a number of species and continue to store carbon in the landscape for decades to centuries)
--It supports rural jobs (well, only with massive subsidies. Biomass power plants have been shutting down over the last few decades because they're uneconomic).

That's just a sampling of the problems that biomass power plants have, but that doesn't stop greed-heads from working the system to get tax breaks and other incentives to build more.

Anyway, there's still the bottom line: solar, wind, and natural gas are cheaper now and still getting cheaper, and there's no way to scale biomass to compete, because you've got to spend energy to ship in the fuel for it to burn.

Anyone want to chime in on the, erm, minor issues surrounding cutting trees in the Americas, pelletizing the wood, and shipping it to Europe for burning? That adds just a bit of petrochemical costs to the fuel.

323:

Wind is variable -- right now we've got a series of strong cold fronts hitting the UK and our 22GW capacity of installed wind turbines has been producing between 6 and 12GW of electricity over the past couple of weeks. A year ago things were a bit different with a similar number of wind turbines producing less than a gigawatt for a couple of days straight as the wind died. We burned a shitload of gas back then to produce as much as 30GW of electricity.

The annual average for well-sited (i.e. cherry-picked) wind generation is 30% of the dataplate figure. Offshore wind gets up to 35%, but we depend on a shitload and three-quarters of instant-on gas turbines to keep the lights on when the weather gods roll snake-eyes. That gas has replaced coal, thanks to Maggie Thatcher but it's too little too late really.

It's taken the UK about fifteen years or so to build out the 22GW of grid-connected wind we've already got. Much of that existing installed capacity is reaching end-of-life and will need to be replaced starting about five years from now while at the same time we need to build a shitload more to make a dent in our gas-burning habit.

In addition the coming electrification of road traffic in the UK will need, if my back-of-a-fag-packet calculation is correct, at least another 10GW of supply == an extra 35GW of wind turbines. We could really do with not heating our homes with gas and move to using electricity like France does, mostly so add another 40GW of electricity demand for that over the winter months.

TL;DR -- we're going to be burning gas to generate electricity and heat our homes for the forseeable future while building and replacing wind turbines to pretend we're being "Green" and promising we're going to stop burning gas some time soon, when it's cost-effective, honest.

324:

"but if we'd started 50 years ago,"

This is a subject I've dived very deep into, and I think you underestimate how tangled up in military and political dogmatism the so-called "civilian" nuclear power have been, from day one.

50 years ago was 1970, and a that time nuclear power was certainly solidly on the rails it has been loosing momentum along ever since, despite various political "restarts."

The biggest problem for nuclear power is that the most sensible size is around 150-300MW thermal power and the most sensible fuel is 15-25% enriched uranium.

Neither of those ranges are politically feasible, the first because you'd have to build a shitload of the things, and they would still have the observed 1% catastrophic failure rate, and the second because any single rogue operator could melt a hole in the ground.

So nuclear has always been technologically handicapped, and since the majority of the costs are fixed costs, the spread-sheets have always favoured larger and larger reactors, despite the fact that things get exponentially more difficult as the thermal power rises.

If you dive into the technical docs of EPR, you will, again and again, wonder how on earth anybody could ever think it would be a good idea to build a single reactor with 4500 MW thermal power and four cooling circuits, rather than four separate reactors of 1200 MW, each with its own cooling circuit.

But that is how you have to do it, to be politically feasible and to amortize the armed guards and all the other politically mandated security padding.

One often overlooked aspect of Fukushima was that the operators fought heroically for hours on end, to save a reactor which had melted down long ago.

Just like Chernobyl.

Just like Three Mile Island.

The fundamental problem here is that nuclear plants are so expensive that they are worth trying to save far too long.

So to put nuclear on a different path, you would have to intervene no later than 1960 and make the world build small and cheap, 150-200 MW (electrical) non-refuelable nuclear reactors, running under fully automated control which assume that the reactor is melting down, and activates a final and irreversible SCRAM, the first instant measurements venture outside the proscribed envelope of allowed operation.

If the fuel never needs to come out again, that solves the spent fuel problem nicely: It is entombed in concrete before it even becomes fuel in the first place, and you just leave it there, forever. (After about 30 years you can drain the cooling water to minimize corrosion.)

We are literally talking tens of thousands of reactors, of which a handful will SCRAM every year, some of them needlessly, but since they are assembly line construction, you can go in and unbolt all the expensive parts, such as turbines and pumps, and use them for new plants, so the only actual loss is a moderate amount of concrete and 100x100m land.

Apart from the fully automated operation, that is how we build nuclear submarines now.

325:

No. Just *NO*.

I do not do *pink*.

326:

Greg Tingey @ 230: JBS
You think the vote-suppression & stealing will get even worse?
Even so which Dem candidate gets elected makes a difference - afterwards.

If the voter suppression & election stealing goes far enough, there won't be any Democratic (or for that matter "democratic") candidates elected.

327:

Yep. Dunno about the UK, but most animal raising in the US is factory raising, and the conditions are dreadful. To combat the disease that this causes (like chickens that never, ever get off the brood pad), they feed them antibiotics.

Which, of course, is why antibiotic resistant strains of diseases are getting more common.

Do. Not. EVER. bring "hand sanitizer" into my house. Use the damn soap and water.

It's only in the last few years that "non-hormone" chicken, etc, is becoming available (and by "available", I mean not twice or three times the price of regular).

I just paid $0.25 more for a dozen brown eggs at Aldi, for not only non-hormone, etc, but cage free.

328:

Hey, I've been talking about starting the ultimate American, MBA-approved business for 20 years or so: I'll pay an artist to design a really, really pretty stock certificate, and print off numbered copies, and sell *them*. And if you want to resell some, you have to pay me a cut.

See? Pre-downsized, pre-amortized, no employees, only a president/CEO (me). Doesn't produce *anything*, so it's all profit!

329:

Sorry, I don't get that. Every electric oven I know is the same as the stovetop, it's up and down/on/off.

I *really* want that gas stove, and I'm going to do it this year, come hell or high water (and, as we're about 2/3rds of the way up a hill, so, no high water).

330:

JamesPadraicR @ 232:

Robert van der Heide@217: I was partially inspired by “Dr. Pimple Popper.”

Eww, glad I’ve never heard of that one, and that I don’t waste time/money on cable, though still watch way too much TV.

You can find them on YouTube. I ran across them by accident (How else do you ever find anything on YouTube?) and was thoroughly grossed out, but it's like rubber-necking when you pass by a traffic accident on the road. You don't want to look, but you turn your head anyway.

It ain't the standard black-head and/or pimple you might have experienced during puberty ...

331:

As a one-time good deal, since we're buddies on the blog here, I'll trade 100 shares of your common stock for 100 shares of my premium stock even across, plus a transaction fee of $10 a share. I guarantee a payout of 5% on all net profits!

332:

Charlie, that's great. Thanks for the thought... now, to try to get it through to my legislators.

But then, one of the things that pisses me off about the GOP's "oh! raising taxes on businesses! raising the minimum wage! There'll be job losses" is that what they want to do is support, on my tax dollars, lousy and incompetent business owners.

333:

"Instant Pot"... nope. You'll get my late wife's pressure cookers (and my mom's) out away from me when you pry them from my cold, dead hands....

334:

A lot of modern reactor components are built in factories and shipped

Down here In Australia our 20MW reactor was built on site, including some bodging of the reactor vessel when some of the holes didn't line up. But that was before there was anything radioactive so it didn't matter. It was the problems they found once it was running commissioned ...


https://www.abc.net.au/news/2008-05-05/nuclear-reactor-design-flawed-from-start/2425980

https://www.smh.com.au/environment/reactor-leak-delaying-production-20080729-gdso4d.html

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-06-27/lucas-heights-nuclear-reactor-breakdown-medical-supply-shortage/9915242

https://factcheck.aap.com.au/claims/has-the-lucas-heights-reactor-been-operational-with-no-safety-issues

The factcheck gives you a nice overview of what "no safety issues" means in practice.

Now, you might well say that power reactors are much better built and yadda yadda, except that if we were to build them in Australia they would be owned and operated by the exact same set of muppets as managed to build the OPAL reactor above. The idea that given 20 or 50 much larger projects to be completed much faster, they'd somehow become hundreds of times more effective... that boggles my mind. Far more likely we would end up with 20 ten year projects (1 reactor complex per project) that each took 30-50 years and came in at 20x-100x the original budget. My bet is that they would achieve a combined 20% of rated output during their first decade of actual operation (not scheduled operation, the output during that will be zero).

335:

What, so the EU navy will blockade Gibraltar, until the UK, er, Great Britain, gives it up?

336:

Yeah, well, the electric ones, like mine, take for bloody ever to dry the clothes, esp. if it's a full load.

337:

"It doesn't matter a tinker's fuck whether a nuclear power plant is "financially viable"; what matters is whether it produces energy without combusting carbon."

Well, it does, though perhaps not in the way people usually mean that. Whatever plan we follow (or no plan at all) we have to grow the economy, by which I mean we must continue to add jobs and increase average payroll (while minimizing variation) by more than the rate of increase in the population growth world-wide, or it's no deal. No one will vote to downscale the economy, even if you could prove that a large human die-off is coming (and I don't know how you would prove that). But that doesn't mean that nuclear has to pay for itself--it merely means that when you factor in the tax burden, the power grid is adding more value to the economy than it costs. It is almost inconceivable to me that this wouldn't be true, regardless of what the things cost. Mind you, burning fossil fuel is even cheaper than that, so it adds more net value to the economy than nuclear could (unless peak oil does in fact one day come). But it also doesn't kill our grandchildren at nearly the same rate, so...

You could probably make a decent argument that global warming is going to seriously undermine US agricultural productivity, so if you subtract the amount by which food prices are expected to rise (and agricultural jobs lost), then nuclear power is still a good investment. Supplement nuclear with renewables about 50/50 (until that vaunted breakthrough in storage technology happens), add in a smart power grid, and you have plan.

338:

You don't need AI for this. Automatic target tracking against aircraft and gunlaying from the tracker have been solved problems for at least thirty years. That's how long ago it was that TI's LAV-AD prototype shot down two target drones during testing at Twentynine Palms.

We used a FLIR video target tracker and 10-round bursts from a Bushmaster 50 mm chain gun, since we were building something for use against full-size aircraft, not toy drones. In both cases, it took one burst, and we put rounds directly through the drone. The first time, we put a round through the engine. The second time, we got the fuselage, including the recovery parachute relay. Our prime contractor was not too happy about that one, as it resulted in total loss of the drone, not just disabling it and having to parachute it down and repair it. Those drones were EXPENSIVE!

Something similar was done from either an F-16 or an F-15, with a gun burst, at a 90 degree aspect angle while maneuvering, a few years earlier. I was not involved with that project, but I heard about it while I was at General Dynamics. I think that one used radar instead of video tracking, but the same principle applies. (The pilot who flew the test said he didn't know whether he fired the gun or the computer did, "... BUT WE GOT HIM!")

In both cases, the operator had to squeeze a "trigger", to give the final consent to fire against the target. I do not think you will ever see fully autonomous weapon systems, that fire on their own initiative, without a human actively giving consent by holding down a trigger, for reasons explained by example by Our Good Host when the anti-bad-guys system went crazy and annihilated the cosplay convention.

339:

Not just in the past. I would never buy a house with electric heat - I'd be paying 2-4 times what I am now, with gas heat (and, unfortunately, that's forced air, not the radiators that I would love).

340:

Oh, please Ghu, NO!

ALL the freakin' self-proclaimed "2nd Amendment Defenders" would be jumping up and down for that, and there'd be an immense amount of electricity wasted by them on eternal, huge threads *every* bloody where on why they should used this shotgun or that or that ammo....

Of course, right now, if they were actually honest, instead of liars, 100%, we'd see a reality show called "2nd Amendment Defenders of the Constitution vs the GOP retreat...."

341:

if we'd started 50 years ago, when the French program got rolling, and included a full end-to-end fuel reprocessing cycle and an international waste repository, we might have gotten somewhere

It's important to remember that multiple governments tried really, really hard both singly and in combination to solve that end-to-end problem, and the best you can say is that they came up with an interim solution that isn't terrible (storing high level waste in barrels close to or inside major cities where people can keep an eye on them).

There are a whole lot of attempts and they have a few things in common: they put out more radioactivity than they take in, they takle in phenomenal amounts of money, and they are more difficult to clean up than a normal nuclear reactor.

At this stage it looks as though using cyclotrons to break the waste down is going to be much easier than burying it or storing it, but obviously that's more energy intensive. A bit like CCS... you take a process that isn't especially viable now, add some expensive machinery that reduces the output, and oh well never mind.

The search for a waste repository has to date found as many unicorns as repository sites. It's sort of amusing that the various proponents of siting that in Australian can't agree on the money to be paid, let alone a way of dealing with the site owners that won't require another war to get access. For some reason a lot of Australian Aborigines still remember having British nuclear bombs dropped on their relatives and are still pissed abhttps://www.creativespirits.info/aboriginalculture/history/maralinga-how-british-nuclear-tests-changed-history-foreverout that. The Australian government has, as usual, said "fuck off and die" to them, which as the start of a "please can we use your land" negotiation isn't promising.

342:

One-meal dishwashers? I didn't know they existed.

A fast search (Ghu, google's "search" algorithm is an ad algorithm, with occasionally something you're looking for) shows me some things called "countertop dishwashers". Wonder if they'd fit in a shelf under the tiny counter (we have *crap* for counterspace).

343:

Yeah, um, I'll split the difference with you.

On the one hand, I agree that there are some kapomerdos out there who really shouldn't be building or running nukes at any scale. The scheisskopfs who screwed up San Onofre then bribed the regulators to pass the costs onto customers instead of investors are another example, unless they moved to Australia (or vice versa) in which case they're the same example.

And I refuse to insult muppets with the comparison. All Hail Kermit!

On the other hand, I don't think any naval nuclear reactor has failed quite so spectacularly, so there is something to be said for going small and expendable.

On the third hand, keeping power plants cool is one of those non-trivial problems. If your solution to the cooling problem is to take up the odd million dollars of shoreline (that's a per acre cost, and that's smaller than 100m X 100m) with a power plant sarcophagus, when said shoreline could instead be sold to some idiot bajillionaire with political connections instead, that's actually a major shortcoming for this solution.

And on the fourth hand, this is why local solar, large batteries, and sane energy use are probably going to win the race to keep at least some people powered.

344:

I think I prefer Old Peculiar.

345:

Off that subject, but I want the next person who says "but it's just a theory" about something scientific to be required to go into a live reactor to show that Einstein's Theory is "just a theory".

346:

P J Evans @ 239: My understanding is that mastitis is a problem for all dairy cows.
I understand, also, that they may start feeding them antibiotics as calves, because they grow better/larger with them.
The hormone stuff is fairly recent, after the antibiotics became a big factor.

Consumer demand for antibiotic/hormone free beef & dairy seems to be pushing American producers away from using them. As I noted, it appears to be one small place where "free markets" are actually working.

347:

I was actually thinking that, if the drone flyers started consistently winning, I've got some Deep Thoughts about what could be done with the Second Amendment crowd.

While I take your point, what else would they be doing with that time if they weren't outgassing. And we're better than them online because, well, we're cool and they're not?

348:

#257. Hello:
I'm a long-time lurker, and think I'm a first-time poster.
There's been a great deal of previous (and some current) discussion of a possible Indy Ref 2.
Please excuse this American for asking (and perhaps it's already been discussed), but what would be likely to happen if:
1) there were a successful (a clear majority of Scottish voters voting for independence) Indy Ref2,
2) the EU (as indicated) were open to accepting Scottish membership in it, and
3) the PM/Parliament says: "That's not going to happen. You're not 'Little Brexiting' on our watch!" (and maybe revoking devolution as a consequence)?

Thank You,

Keith Halperin

349:

"Rollin", the wheelchair reality show.

Um, 'bout that: I have, for decades, occasionally made jokes at cons when someone in a scooter goes by in a mobility about "bikers/biker chicks, not even wearing their colors, ready to run down innocent fen."

Back in, '05, I think, we were on the liana level at the LA Worldcon, and I made that comment (and the woman in one was smiling), and I added "probably trying to do wheelies"... and a guy in a mobility scooter behind us tried to. All four of us nearly died laughing.

350:

Had to think about this for a few days. I managed to come up with a reality TV show that can have both a US and a UK version, for a wider market.

Working title: "Shoulders of government".

Contestants play the staff for an erratic head of government, having to protect said head of government from themselves, and protect the country from the head of government.

Multiple ways to lose - if the head of government is removed from office, it counts as a loss. If the head of government dismisses you, it's a loss. If you end up being charged with crimes, that's a loss. If the country ends up in ruins, it is a loss.

Watch our contestants try to survive their boss's campaign promises meeting with reality. Watch them try to parrot the party line on camera, like a good little minion, while working frantically to reduce the dumpster fires behind the scenes. Watch them work hard to force other politicians to support their boss. And, just to make the US version a little different, we'll add a bonus 3 am tweet round, where our contestants get to deal with their boss addressing the public during a middle-of-the-night bathroom break.

Backstabbing others to save your own skin is encouraged, and we'll even overlook contestants distracting their boss from a bad idea until the boss finds something else to obsess about.

I am not sure who yet to cast as the boss in the UK version, but I can think of the perfect version for the US version, a previous reality TV star who may be willing to play the role, assuming his legal troubles don't catch up with him.

Now that I think about this, the franchise possibilities are endless. I'm told that the North Korea version will be especially brutal.

351:

Clarification: that included both the woman in the scooter and the guy who'd tried to do a wheelie.

352:

"known designs" are ones that are in production and can be built, not designs that were built 50 years ago, unless you have a time machine and can place an order for 50 years ago. My understanding is that the French are out of the reactor building game.

"financially viable" is the minimum measure of resources used vs resources gained. If a product can't even meet that hurdle there's no chance it will meet stricter hurdles around waste handling and input sourcing. Talking about EROEI as though it's some magic fairy dust that makes all the other problems vanish is naive.

In practice new reactors have problems that *start* with democracy (they're wildly unpopular) and finance (wildly unprofitable) and the further down you dig the less plausible they sound. The reason I was asking for designs is that the only reactors that are in production are in China, and China is explicitly building them as part of a "try all the things" approach to the many problems it's trying to solve simultaneously.

The true death of nuclear is that it's much, much cheaper both financially and politically to pave Syria or Algeria with solar panels and export that electricity to Europe, than to build a new nuclear reactor in Europe. When you start talking about building an army base on the site and putting the reactor inside the perimeter as "solving the political issues", just bribing an African nation to host your solar farms starts to look cheap.

353:

We had one (until it died), then bought another, for our "tea station", where I was working, for like 10 years. It took a couple-three minutes with a quart in it. Not a big deal.

354:

Wave/tidal power: scam? Not hardly. I believe either Scotland or Wales just brought a large one on line in the last year or so.

355:

Training American soldiers in shutgunning. Ok.

Let me note that I read, was it in the seventies? eighties? Certainly no later than the nineties that one of the real reasons for the introduction of the M-16 during 'Nam was that most US troops coming into the Army at the time couldn't hit the side of a barn, and so they gave them a fire hose.

A couple friends of mine who were there agreed.

356:

Pigeon @ 250: I dunno, most houses that have gas at all seem to provide both types of cooker feed. Either they were built like that or someone who preferred one type sold it to someone who preferred the other at some point.

You mean like places that have the hookup for a gas stove also have a plug for an electric range?

That's because in most places the electrical code calls for a stove outlet in the kitchen & you can't get a certificate of occupancy if it doesn't meet the electrical code. If you're building houses, you can't sell them without the CO. I know about older buildings that had gas lights before they got electricity, but I'm pretty sure most of those have been converted and had to meet the electrical code at some point.

357:

I refuse to insult muppets with the comparison

I was trying to be generous to the noble bureaucrats of ANSTO who I'm sure are doing their best with the limited finances and intellectual firepower at their disposal.

358:

Since we're after 300, here's a totally unrelated thought that came to me about writing last night: it struck me that there's two crafts (at least) involved in writing: the crafting of the story, and the crafting of the language.

I'm sure we've all read books that wee well-written, but terrible stories, and vice versa. I think I''ve managed to master the former, and I'm working on the latter.

What got me thinking was having at least three times in the last two days added either a scene, or a very minor character, so that there are *no* holes in the plot, no "where'd that deus ex machina come from?"

359:

Going back to reality TV for a moment, these negotiations would make great TV is we could get them broadcast. Trump vs Merkel... the final showdown.

http://www.theshovel.com.au/2020/02/04/trump-calls-for-us-to-leave-eu-too/

360:

Anyone want to chime in on the, erm, minor issues surrounding cutting trees in the Americas, pelletizing the wood, and shipping it to Europe for burning?

Hey look over here, he says raising his hand.

We cut down tall pine in our NC coastal swamps to pelletize and then ship to (mostly) Germany. For burning in personal homes mostly. They (Germany) then claim it as a part of their drive to get off coal and nuclear and be 100% renewable.

I've never gotten how this works at all.

361:

In addition the coming electrification of road traffic in the UK will need, if my back-of-a-fag-packet calculation is correct, at least another 10GW of supply

That's the big issue with electric cars anywhere. If they really take off and become a much bigger part of the personal/small business transportation network, none of us have the electric generating capacity to handle it.

It's a bigger version of the let people sell home roof top excess solar back to the power company but not have to pay for their grid connection.

362:

Yeah, this is the kind of stuff that gives renewable energy a bad name. Now if they carried the pellets in windjammers, or, heck, used the wood to build cargo ships that sailed across to Europe, there to be broken up for fuel, it would make more sense.

363:

Let me note that I read, was it in the seventies? eighties? Certainly no later than the nineties that one of the real reasons for the introduction of the M-16 during 'Nam was that most US troops coming into the Army at the time couldn't hit the side of a barn, and so they gave them a fire hose.

First, my apologies to Martin and other vets who have gone through this, but it's right and wrong. When I was in college, I had some gun nut friends who took me out shooting. One of the guns I got to try was a 1926 Lee Enfield with its brass butt plate. It hurt to shoot that thing. Another friend had an H&K assault rifle. My first shot with it I hit a bulls-eye. Same with most of the rest of the clip. That's one difference. The US Army always has issues with shifting to the next generation of technology, and I don't think the M-16 is a great gun due to its maintenance issues. However, improved accuracy does matter. The whole three round burst thing is, AFAIK, about trying to let the soldier get three rounds off without collecting a bullet when he sticks his head out of cover.

Bottom line is that there are multiple ways to deal with lack of aiming skill. One is to make the recoil more comfortable. Another is to minimize the time some stays vulnerable while shooting. The M-16 and similar weapons did both.

I'll leave shotgunning to the next post.

364:

Charlie Stross @ 265: The mere idea of a gas-fired clothes-drier boggles my (British) mind.

Yes, yes, I know, Americans and 110 volt mains current isn't conducive to electric kettles or washer-driers: but even so, I've never even heard of a gas-burning drier being sold anywhere in Europe!

I got to visit Scotland in 2004. By the time I got to Inverness, I was running low on clean undergarments & had to find a self-service laundromat. The one I found in Inverness had the same kind of big commercial gas dryers I've always seen in U.S. laundromats. They looked like the same driers & smelled the same. Didn't take American Quarters though. But they had the same kind of change machines - feed it Euros & it spit out the kind of coins I needed to dry my skivvies.

Maybe they don't have gas driers in homes in Europe, but I think they do have them in commercial laundries ... maybe just not in old Chinese Laundries.

365:

These trees they are taking down are 50 years old give or take. Or more. The tall pines around my neighborhood are about 100 years old. Which leads to one of your other points about how fuzzy (fake?) the math is.

366:

_Moz_ @ 277: Going back to pop culture oddities: Suicide Boys is a band, Suicide Girls is a porn site. Does that signify something about our culture?

Maybe your culture. I've never listened to the former & have no interest in visiting the latter ... or finding out why they call it that.

367:

Now about military shotgunning. So far as I know, there are two common roles for the shotgun. The major one is that combat engineers on assault squads use them to breach doors. The other one that I've seen floated is that they're used with less lethal armaments. I do know there are shotguns made with bright yellow pumps and stocks, to hold only non-lethal armaments, the color being there to alert the shooter to what he's using.

The third, quite serious, proposal is to equip some members of base security teams with shotguns, specifically to shoot down drones. This is an excellent idea in places where drone incursions are a serious problem, because bird shot is definitely less lethal and more effective on drones than rifle rounds are. You don't want E-3 GI Jose to open up with his M-16 to try to shoot down a drone, when the bullets fly for up to five miles down range and he's probably not thinking about that when he's shooting. Depending on the shotgun, you can also fit shotgunner Alejandro up with a nice bandolier of variably lethal rounds for a variety of situations (ball shot to pepper spray to dragon's breath), making him more versatile as a guard.

However, gunning down speedy flying objects takes skill and practice, and right now there's no protocol for training GI Jose to develop said capability. If you want anti-drone shotgunners, you need country kids who grew up duck hunting with their parents, and there are far fewer of those than there used to be. Also, getting a shotgunner to work as a low level security guard is problematic, because the soldiers with those skills probably can get a better job doing something else, like trying out for the Rangers or SEALs.

The interesting part about a Droneskeet reality show is that it could potentially solve a bunch of problems. If it's a hit (and many of us hate those effin' camera drones already), then it will encourage kids to go out and learn shotgunning. Or fly drones. It will also help DARPA/DoD figure out the best doctrine for defeating drone incursions (guns, shells, tactics, static defenses around buildings, etc.), as well as the best doctrine for infiltrating drones into guarded bases. On paper, there are wins on all sides. The ultimate danger is if the show produces drones that beat the gunners every time, because then we've created a weapon that we cannot stop. That's bad.

368:

There are places in the US where the electric-power companies have made it more expensive to install solar than it's worth: you have to pay for the connection every month, and then they charge you to sell them power. (This is both Florida and Arizona, that I've heard of, and other states want to go this route as well.)

369:

Maybe your culture

"Suicideboys is an American hip hop duo from New Orleans, Louisiana"

In 2001, Mooney returned to Portland, Oregon to study photography

It appears to me that the culture concerned is very USA-based, which IIRC makes it far more your culture than mine, but I was being somewhat generous by calling it ours.

370:

Madeleine @ 285: I've seen counter top dishwashers (I was considering getting one for himself's mother but I suspect the plumbing arrangements for it might have been tricky).

We (2 people) run ours on average once daily - more often if I'm doing baking. It usually goes on after breakfast (the kitchen is south-facing so I don't like dirty dishes lying around in the summer).

The way I used to do it when I still had a dishwasher was to scrape/wipe the plates and put 'em in the dishwasher. Don't run the dishwasher until you run out of clean dishes.

The way I do it now without the dishwasher is use the same plate over & over again. As soon as I finish cooking any pot I used goes in the sink & gets filled with soapy water. When I finish eating the plate gets washed with a scrubber sponge using the soapy water in the pot, then the pot gets washed with the scrubber sponge and both get rinsed & put onto a drying rack ... except for my cast iron, which just gets wiped down with a lightly oiled cloth.

371:

If someone can answer that, maybe you could tell me why, at one local major chain supermarket, they're selling European birch firewood.

372:

Madeleine @ 285: I've seen counter top dishwashers (I was considering getting one for himself's mother but I suspect the plumbing arrangements for it might have been tricky).

PS: They have them at Home Depot (& probably Lowe's or whatever big box home improvement store is in your area). Has an adapter that screws into your faucet that replaces the existing aerator. You fill it with dishes, add soap, turn on the faucet & push the go button. The water just drains out into your sink.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zhp3_H8fJu4

373:

witroth
re food
YUCK
Even our supermarkets, at the moment, don't go that low down the polluted-&-dangerous end of the spectrum
EU & Brit regulations ...
I can see why US rich shits wanted to help us out of the Eu if they are doing that. Euw.

@ 333
I still have two of my parent's wedding-present aluminium-alloy cookpots ... from 1936
ANOTHER reason for NOT going to induction is you have to change all your pots & pans ... & we have some seriously expensive, French-made copper pans with alloy linings, that will see us out - & will see out whoever inherits our estate as well.
And they are an absolute joy to use on an instant-reaction gas stove.
Hint - look up "E.DEHILLERIN" - in Paris.

JBS
When my house was built (1893) it, obviously, had Gas only. However, in 1905/06 the Walthamstow "Gas light & Electric Company" ( Or very similar name ) started up, at the same time as electric trams were introduced.
Powerd from the same source, of course. We think the house was wired up in 1907 ... it's still got some of the original light-switches, retrofitted with an earth cable, by me.
OTOH, before I rewired the house there was ONE upstairs electric socket - & that was a 2-pin round 5 Amp & a total of 12 sockets in the whole house. There are now 12 sockets in the kitchen alone.
Electrical Code? Standards?
Oh yes, that was when I found the whole bulding was wired-up back to front. Everything was "live" ... back to the socket. Correcting that was fun - broke seal on feed box, wore rubber gloves & used insulated pliers to cross back the input feed cables, which had been the wrong way around since ... well, before 1948 for certain.

David L
I'm afraid Deutschland is deeply hypocritical & suffering bad doublethink over "green" power - & that is just another example.

374:

@341: Here's the thing: Nuclear waste is very dangerous, and very expensive to store, and it's distribution has often been marked by middle class NIMBY (not to mention sheer racism). However, the question to ask is: is it *more* expensive, dangerous, and racist than the current storage, transfer, and waste disposal schemes currently in place with regard to fossil fuels? Given how little waste nuke plants generate in comparison to fossil fuel plants, I don't see how that could possibly be the case.

@352: ""financially viable" is the minimum measure of resources used vs resources gained." Given the energy density of nuclear fuel, I'm pretty sure all nuclear reactors produce more energy than they consume. I'm also sure that the energy they produce is used to generate more economic activity than they consume. They do not themselves make a profit, but neither do roadways, militaries or public schools. That's not the standard.

Popularity is essentially a marketing problem. Global warming itself has a branding problem, but we cant wait for the public to spontaneously see the light. We got desegregation passed despite it's unpopularity as a policy, we can do this.

OTOH, we can't import electricity from overseas because it doesn't transport well. High tension power lines lose too much energy over those distances, and batteries aren't cheap enough yet. That's why we need a breakthrough in one or both of those technologies, but until that happens, we have to find ways to provide enough alternative power in situ, more or less. We aren't doing that without nukes.

375:

Re: 339 - meh. Heat pump systems for the win. We spend, for all power for heating, lighting, workshop tools, computers (many), cooking, everything, C$1200p.a. That is in Canada, where we do indeed get snow and ice, and the heating part of that total is around C$500 because of the heat pump. Ours is forced air but you can certainly do radiators or floor heating. Oh, and our electricity is all renewables.

376:

However, the question to ask is: is it *more* expensive, dangerous, and racist than the current storage, transfer, and waste disposal schemes currently in place with regard to fossil fuels? Given how little waste nuke plants generate in comparison to fossil fuel plants, I don't see how that could possibly be the case.
Is the GHG-caused global heating that will (probably) result in mass death considered dangerous?
'Cause then a gigawatt plant burning 8-9K tonnes of bituminous coal per day[1] (say 45-85 percent carbon) is making a substantial contribution towards those future deaths. (My back of the envelope estimate, if our current path leads to a 50 percent reduction in global human population, is about 25 human lives per day for a gigawatt coal-burning power station. Corrections welcome.)

[1] e.g. the recently closed 2.5 GW https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Navajo_Generating_Station burned 22K tons (US) of bituminous coal per day.


377:

Scott Sanford @ 290:

Can Fat Teens Hunt?

I knew I wanted to take time to address this. A rich subset of horrible rTV shows is the physical anomaly subgenre. (Are they called freakshows in the business? I’m not well enough connected to know.)

You want a real freak show on TV, look no farther than Championship Wrasslin'!

But, you know something ... I'd pay real money to see a Pay-Per-View where Nature Boy Rick Flair smashed a chair over Mitch (Putin's Bitch) McConnell's head.

Especially if it was a "shoot" and someone sneaked in one of the real chairs from the Senate Floor just before the match.

378:

You funny!

Repeating what I said but somehow saying it proves the opposite doesn't make any sense. Energy is a resource, not all resources are energy. As you say, we can't do anything with nuclear waste except wait and hope someone else solves the problem.

The nuclear fuel cycle is long and complex, and much of it is very hard to electrify. Either way there's a huge amount of energy required to turn rock into reactor fuel rods. Turning nuclear waste back into minimally radioactive material is also energy-intensive.

But of course you can wipe all that stuff out by saying "the EROEI for a plant that turns free nuclear fuel rods into free-to-dispose-of spent nuclear fuel rods is *enormous*". Trouble is, the EROEI for a system that turns free solar panels into free-to-dispose-of second hand solar panels is almost infinite, so we're back with "solar beats nuclear" but with an insulting layer of bullshit.

379:

Nah. The ‘extra’ power generation required for EVs is not likely to be any problem. We have to build capacity any time new housing is built and somehow I never see massive wailing about how the poor, frail, worn out, impossible to improve grid prevents that.
And even if all the extra power were generated by oil powered means, the better efficiency of EVs (something around 3-5X) would still mean a large reduction in oil usage and pollution. Yes, even though sending power through the grid costs some power.

380:

I never see massive wailing about how the poor, frail, worn out, impossible to improve grid prevents that.

Come to Australia! We do get brownouts occasionally, but I'm told those are supply related not grid related. But we also have quite a bit of re-working of the distribution side as more people install bigger air conditioners on more numerous, bigger houses. Because Australians are, not to put to fine a point on it, morons*.

Actual homeowners are never required to pay for the grid upgrades, but they do pay for if they want a bigger circuit to their house (IIRC they're not even permitted to ask to be allowed to). The don't-ask-don't-pay also leads to waits for bigger circuits if you're profligate with energy (standard connection has gone from 60A in the 1950's to 100A today (possibly more) and at 240V that is a lot of power (24kW). You can also get three phase, which is a lot more power (120kW if you're determined). I can only assume the "150A 3 phase" people are running Telstra superchargers at home. Mind you, if it was me I would be running 150kW of PV and feeding it in 😍).

Admittedly a big chunk of the problem was stupid government decision that the grid operator was required to make a profit, and that profit was limited to a percentage of their assets, plus an allowance for building more assets. In shocking news the grid was built out and revalued and the grid operator made the legally permitted profit every year. Owner of grid? The government. Source of requirement to make the maximum permitted profit? Oh, the government again. But at least taxes are low...

* the latest poll still says 60%+ support for action to minimise climate change, dropping to 20% if it would cost $1/week. I too would like free stuff... but I am willing to pay serious money to avoid dying in a fire. Unlike 80% of Australian voters. Stupid or worthless... you decide.

381:

we can't import electricity from overseas

Not as electricity, but the USA imports significant amounts of electricity as refined metals (especially aluminium and lithium which are basically congealed electricity). Many other industrial products are very energy-dense and the energy is supplied as electricity.

Soon those products are likely to include raw steel and glass as well as all the downstream stuff made with those. And once we stop using the Haber process powered by natural gas we're likely to be eating electricity as well as using it for everything from explosives to cleaning (viz, any use of ammonia or urea).

There are even proposals to ship electricity in gas form, as hydrogen, ammonia or more complex hydrocarbons which will power fuel cells at the receiving end.

382:

timrowledge @ 375
Heat Pumps ... these are readily commercially available for domestic users?
Really? Show, please.
Your total fuel bill comes to £696 - just over half our electricity bill p.a. in London - & we have to pay for gas as well ... Um

383:

Working title: "Shoulders of government".

Contestants play the staff for an erratic head of government, having to protect said head of government from themselves, and protect the country from the head of government.

So basically a reality TV version of Blackadder the Third?

I'm on board, though you're right about the difficulties of casting the Hugh Laurie role. Either Laurie or Fry would be fine choices but really they should cast some C-list celebrity who needs the exposure; that guy from the executive assistant show would have been perfect.

Stephen Colbert might not be goofy enough. Maybe Tina Fey would like to revive her SNL Sarah Palin imitation.

384:

#323 - An argument that anyone who doesn't "save money" (read as "avoid fuel taxes") by using a Scal... "electric" car understands.

#338 - That depends on the value assigned to "those drones were expensive". A Meggitt Banshee drone is expensive relative to a car, but cheap relative to a range day or a prototype (or telemetry) weapon.

#364 - Well I call BS on the idea of you finding change machines that accept Euros in Inverness!

385:

This is wrong. The only part of the nuclear fuel production cycle which is energy intensive enough to be worth measuring at all is enrichment... which has both gotten massively less energy intensive with the advent of modern centrifuges, and also has always been electrical entirely by default (and in Europe, powered by the french nuclear grid) The next most energy intensive step is mining, and mining is also very straightforward to electrify - it very frequently already is electrified simply to make the ventilation requirements more manageable.
There is academic "work" out there that claims otherwise, but Storm Leeuwen is a goddamn liar.

386:

I can only speak for the research I've seen on the Australian mines, and they are anything but electric (they're off the grid, so burn diesel) and they are so environmentally disgusting that not even the operators claim they obey the loose agreements not to be too awful. Which means that we can't talk about how much energy they use outside the context of "it would take billions of dollars just to clean up the known problems" and the energy cost is a small-ish chunk of that. Billions * small is still lots.

As with all things nuclear, and all things mining, there's a lot we just don't know because it's cheaper to buy out of the law than follow it. So questions like "what would it cost to operate a mine lawfully" and "what would it cost to operate a mine without grossly polluting the area around it" aren't answerable in Australia. Except for the edge case of "when you are shipping hills made of iron ore to China, and the surrounding area is made of iron ore, it's cheap and easy to clean up". That's quite different from "how much energy does it take to get uranium ore dust out of a whole watershed in a world heritage area", just to pick one of the random questions that might crop up.

387:

Heat Pumps ... these are readily commercially available for domestic users?

I assume you mean other than fridges, yes?

In Australia at least reverse cycle air conditioners are common, and things like ground source heat pumps are available if you look. Weirdly they're more common the heating climate parts of Australian than the cooling ones, but they're definitely available. In terms of "readily available to domestic users" they're sold at the numerous white goods merchants with prices from ~$AU200.

388:

Also in Finland the air source heat pumps (term from Wikipedia, I know the Finnish one) are common. They see much use in single houses, either as an add-on installation or nowadays even built-in. Apparently (I don't have one) they can work well and save energy and money in temperature control.

Most of Finland can have a yearly temperature differential of 45-50 degrees Celsius, or even larger (from -25 or -20 in the winter to +25 or +30 in the summer), so passive houses have design difficulties. These help because they can be used either way.

389:

Heat Pumps ... these are readily commercially available for domestic users? Really? Show, please.

S'truth, gov.

A quick googling turns up this explanation and this one of the various breeds of home heat pump, to walk people through the basics of what's going on.

They're not the right tool for every residence but the technology is comfortably past the 'clever new thing' phase and is being sold to ordinary proles who want a box that Just Works.

390:

I have been thinking about linking to this video for some time, though...

This song is about Donald Rumsfeld meeting karmic (and secular) justice.

Given the Delirium Tremens' stance on landmines, add the Donald of your choice for a minestomping game show of your choice.

(Sorry, too little time at the moment...)

391:

"...unless you have a time machine and can place an order for 50 years ago."

No, sorry, I refuse to accept this point of view that nothing is possible unless you can order a ready-made mass-produced one out of a catalogue. Especially when it's still within living memory that we didn't even know it was possible to do it at all, then a couple of decades later the things were all over the place.

The same argument gets used to argue that we can never go back to the Moon ever because someone's lost the spec for one of the parts of the rocket. Apparently it's permanently beyond the reach of human ingenuity to recreate the lost information even though it only took eight years to create the entire bleeding rocket in the first place and fly it there too.

It's not a "can't", it's just a "can't be arsed", and usually a "can't be arsed because we might have to spend some money".

""financially viable" is the minimum measure of resources used vs resources gained."

It isn't a measure of anything at all. It bears only the most tenuous connection with actual resources used/gained and most of that is made up. Its use as a criterion is as likely to result in grossly excessive use of resources as in minimisation, and a great deal of the disadvantageous side of nuclear power is a direct result of "financially viable" and "resource use" giving opposite results and the wrong one being chosen. So is the continued use of fossil fuels.

"wildly unprofitable"

It's not supposed to be profitable. It's supposed to provide energy with a minimum amount of fuel and without producing gigantic quantities of gaseous exhaust. "Unprofitable" isn't a condemnation of the thing itself, it's a condemnation of the criteria being used to make decisions about it. We need to be making decisions on the basis of what something actually does, not on some irrelevant fiction about making rich people happy.

Heck, if we just dropped "profitable" we'd be a huge part of the way there at a stroke, even without changing anything else, simply by way of the loss of all the frantic activity which is "profitable" but doesn't actually do anything useful.

"pave Syria or Algeria with solar panels"

Solar panels are great, yeah, but they have this great big problem which is that they only work less than half the time. We can't get round that just with more paving because there's too much water in the way, and we can't get round it with storage because we haven't got anything that works on that sort of scale (regardless of the tendency of these threads to spew a plethora of silly ideas that I forlornly hope that comment won't trigger). One of the fine things about nuclear power plants is they're not afraid of the dark :)

"congealed electricity"

Ah. Are you a student of Doug Self too? :)

392:

"...it will encourage kids to go out and learn shotgunning."

...and that is a good thing why, exactly?

I'd happily see shotguns just as banned as any other sort of gun. Particularly since people are actually encouraged to discharge them at live targets.

Concerning military use of shotguns: they were found to be very useful in WW1 for clearing trenches, and I think it was the US who had the idea. The Germans freaked out about it - "you can't use shotguns on us! They're for animals!"

393:

Yes, they're what I'd expect to find in laundromats, and also in the laundry rooms in student halls of residence. Quick enough that you can actually wait while they do it instead of coming back later. Much more effective than the crappy electric things some people have in their houses, which are so slow you might just as well just hang the clothes up and let them dry naturally.

394:

That's from the Theakstons brewery, in Yorkshire...

395:

"Anyone want to chime in on the, erm, minor issues surrounding cutting trees in the Americas, pelletizing the wood, and shipping it to Europe for burning? That adds just a bit of petrochemical costs to the fuel."

Like this sort of thing? http://www.drax.com/sustainability/how-a-mississippi-wood-pellet-mill-supports-healthy-forests-and-rural-economies/ (waffle alert).

Drax is one of a set of huge coal power stations that were built in the Aire valley to burn coal from the surrounding Yorkshire coalfield. What it burns now comes in at Hull docks and is delivered in trains with guff plastered all over the side about how wonderful it is. Me, I'm not convinced.

396:

What, so the EU navy will blockade Gibraltar, until the UK, er, Great Britain, gives it up?

Gibraltar has a land border with Spain. Open roads (and IIRC rail).

These days most of the goods in the shops there -- and fuel in the filling stations -- cross that border. And a huge proportion of the working population cross the border to go to work (and the same in the opposite direction).

Gibraltar is so entangled in the Spanish economy that if Spain closes the crossings some very bad whackiness will ensue within days to a week or so, up to and including panic buying, shops running bare, businesses closing (because workers and/or customers and/or suppliers can't get to them), and so on.

It's no accident that Gibraltarians voted by over 90% to remain in the EU ... and were ignored.

397:

Surely solution is to change the status of gibralter to a reverse channel islands. Ie a uk dependency inside the EU

398:

Heat Pumps ... these are readily commercially available for domestic users?

Not sure of your question. In the US they are more and more the default. If you want an AC then you've paid for 70% to 80% of an HVAC heat pump system. A big knock against them is the air they circulate doesn't feel "hot". But they are more and more energy efficient as time goes by. And better and better at holding a house close to a set temp. And a heat pump system is about $5K (or more) cheaper than a gas heat / electrical AC system.

Now do you mean can you as a homeowner go buy one and put it in yourself? In the US sort of. You can buy all the bits but at some point it has to be charged with refrigerant and that requires special tools and permits to buy the stuff in more than a hairspray sized can in most areas. Depending. Also getting the local gas/electrical inspections can prove hard for most consumers. Electrical can be done in most areas. Gas permits required licensed folks most everywhere.

399:

The only part of the nuclear fuel production cycle which is energy intensive enough to be worth measuring at all is enrichment... which has both gotten massively less energy intensive with the advent of modern centrifuges

Yep. Our local gassious diffusion plant in rural KY had the capacity to pull around 800MW from the 3 grid feeds into the plant. Over the decades they got that down but still...

Centrifuges are cheaper to run. As most anything is when compared to a max power draw of 800MW.

Yes I know most people don't have such as a "local" thing. I did though.

400:

than the crappy electric things some people have in their houses, which are so slow you might just as well just hang the clothes up and let them dry naturally.

Just how ancient and terrible are these dryers you and others keep describing? Mine is efficient, quiet, and takes about an hour. Less if I want to run it hotter. It gives me an estimate of time remaining while running but uses a moisture sensor to actually decide when done. And I can also pick that setting.

The only time it doesn't do a good job is if I let link collect in the vent grill which keeps the outside life on the outside.

401:

Link

Those internet things that accumulate in my pockets after a day of browsing.

402:

Gibraltar

Some of the support for our current us Pres comes from people who feel he would have never let the UK/England surrender Hong Kong to China.

Just saying.

403:

Shotguns firing conventional ammo like birdshot, buckshot or even solid slugs are banned for use against combatants by the Geneva Convention since the ammo isn't jacketed. The Winchester 1897 militarised[1] pump action shotgun aka the Trench Broom was a case of America fuck yeah! basically plus being on the winning side after the shooting died down so no war crimes were committed honest.

[1]Occasional poster here, Chris Suslowicz once described someone he knew using an ex-US military Winchester 1897 on a clay pigeon shoot, complete with 17-inch sword bayonet fitted just because he could.

404:

paws4thot @ 292: #224 - Do you deny that chlorine-washed meat is an additional (and from your statement unnecessary) process?

I don't deny it's an additional process. Unnecessary or not, I don't know, but I don't think it's a harmful process. The objection based on the supposed "health risk" just doesn't add up for me because I don't think there is any greater "health risk" associated with it which is why I think there might be another real reason behind the EU ban.

405:

Or you could read one of the many, many articles explicitly explaining the reasoning - consistent since the ban came in in 1997 - for it, instead of getting all conspiratorial.

(TL;DR: different conceptions about food hygiene and animal treatment, EU banning what's seen as a cheap stopgap that papers over the problem rather than actually fixing it.)

406:

Specialist @ 338: You don't need AI for this. Automatic target tracking against aircraft and gunlaying from the tracker have been solved problems for at least thirty years. That's how long ago it was that TI's LAV-AD prototype shot down two target drones during testing at Twentynine Palms.

Last night I noticed a nearby church has a security camera mounted on the front of the building and it moves to track you as you walk across the parking lot (which I do a couple of times a week when I take the dog out that way so he can poop before we go to bed). It's one of those little ones with six LEDs on either side of the lens.

Looked something like this one - https://www.homedepot.com/p/GW-Security-Wired-4MP-High-Speed-IP-Network-Outdoor-PTZ-Surveillance-Camera-360-Degree-Endless-Rotation-5-1-51-mm-Lens-GW410IP/306644863

407:

Well, the Germans in WWI complaining about the use of shotguns against them, when they deployed poison gas and invented the modern flamethrower and deployed it in WWI, really is a bit rich.

here's a legal analysis of the German protest incidentally.

Here's an article on trench-broom shotguns and how the US used shotguns in war.

It may be odd for the people here to understand, but I'm actually pro-hunting. I've worked with hunters, both in a job banding ducks and in Wisconsin, and the ones I worked with were more ethical and hardworking conservationists than a majority of the urban environmentalists I work with. And they used guns for hunting. Now I happen to agree that human recreational hunters are a poor substitute for indigenous hunters or top carnivores in ecosystems governed by top-down trophic cascades. However, I've also seen the damage that deer can cause in the absence of intensive predation, so I'm pro deer-hunting based on the evidence. I believe that it's better for some deer to be shot dead than to starve to death after they've overgrazed an area. Better for the plants in the area too, and for the other animals that depend on those plants.

The problem with hunting is that there are fewer hunters these days, and so we're getting into trouble based on the resulting loss of hunting effects on natural ecosystems (the humans are only intermittently being replaced by natural hunters, like mountain lions and wolves), the loss of revenue from hunting licenses (which used to be the primary funding for conservation efforts), and the switch from hunter safety training to whatever-it-is that the personal protection crowd learns to use with their assault rifles.

I've been through hunter safety, and the overriding lesson is to know where your bullet is going to end up before you pull the trigger. Rifle bullets can travel up to 5 miles, and I do know of a case where someone took a "ridge shot" (standing in a canyon, firing up at a deer silhouetted against the sky above him), missed, and the bullet embedded itself in the bunk of a children's camp miles away. Fortunately there wasn't a kid in the bunk at the time. Shotgun pellets and slugs simply don't fly that far, and that's why in the eastern US, most deer hunting (within a mile or two of homes, farms, and fields) is limited to shotgunning.

That's also an advantage for home defense or military urban warfare. Shotgun projectiles don't travel so fast, so if they hit a wall they tend to stay inside the wall, unlike rifle bullets which travel through most house walls. If you're ethical about home defense with a gun, the first thing you do is figure out where you're likely to be shooting from and towards and what's downrange. Often times, what's downrange is someone's bedroom or something similar that you don't want to accidentally shoot into. That, again, is where a shotgun is better than a rifle. I'm a little contemptuous of the guys with the assault rifles. While they're easy to shoot accurately, I have yet to meet any self-defense rifle owner who's taken the time to figure out where the bullets they fire will end up as part of planning to defend themselves. Not sure where they learned to be so cavalier about their neighbors' safety, but they are.

Anyway, I don't think there's a problem with getting more people to use shotguns instead of military-style rifles, especially in civilian situations. Duck Dynasty not withstanding, it seems to be an ethical step up from the assault-rifles-are-fun crowd.

408:

@383: So basically a reality TV version of Blackadder the Third?

If you want comedy about the incompetent leading the incompetent while dealing with the evil, I submit for your approval Veep, a savagely funny and scatological portrayal of the public office once called by an incumbent "not worth a bucket of warm piss".

409:

Shotgun pellets and slugs simply don't fly that far, and that's why in the eastern US, most deer hunting (within a mile or two of homes, farms, and fields) is limited to shotgunning.

Must be more of a north eastern thing. Never heard of it from southern (eastern) US hunters.

I'm a little contemptuous of the guys with the assault rifles. While they're easy to shoot accurately, I have yet to meet any self-defense rifle owner who's taken the time to figure out where the bullets they fire will end up as part of planning to defend themselves. Not sure where they learned to be so cavalier about their neighbors' safety, but they are.

The movies of course. Because the way guns work in the movies is fully real life. With a bit of paint ball gaming tossed into the mix.

A friend (a couple) who got small hand guns and a concealed carry permit after a sensational home invasion a few years ago was convinced she could have made a different for the good in the Colorado movie theater shooting a few year back. I politely told her she was nuts. In the dark, confused situation, lots of noise and screaming. Yep, just what I want. Someone with nothing but a 4 hour gun course and some indoor target range experience shooting at what she thinks is the bad guy. And of course adrenaline doesn't matter at all.

PS: I've had up to 6 deer at once visit my yard at night. I have some friend who suggest putting out food. Others ask if I'm going to get a bow. I'll just settle for the status quo. I live in a suburban/urban divide going more urban all the time. But we have a green way, creek, and park with a lot of overgrown areas nearby. I suspect they sleep there during the day.

410:

@407: I tried skeet once - it's a LOT more difficult than it looks. Hitting a small drone using AI to create randomized movement would be even more difficult. This scenario looks like it could set up an AI versus AI competition that could rapidly get out of hand.

Re: Hunting and conservation, here's a very recent article in the Washington Post on how the decline in hunting is hurting conservation efforts, as many states have tied proceeds from hunting licenses to funding for conservation.

411:

@ 409: Yep, just what I want. Someone with nothing but a 4 hour gun course and some indoor target range experience shooting at what she thinks is the bad guy.

I never had any trouble qualifying with the M-16 or the .38 on the (USAF) range. If I'm ever attacked by a stationary paper target at 15 or 100 meters, I'm good to go.

412:

Welcome!

what would be likely to happen if:
1) there were a successful (a clear majority of Scottish voters voting for independence) Indy Ref2,
2) the EU (as indicated) were open to accepting Scottish membership in it, and
3) the PM/Parliament says: "That's not going to happen. You're not 'Little Brexiting' on our watch!" (and maybe revoking devolution as a consequence)?

I think you got those questions in the wrong order.

The PM has already said he's adamantly opposed to issuing a Section 30 order, which is a prerequisite for holding a binding referendum on independence. (However, this PM is notoriously unreliable/prone to lying, so it's anybody's guess if he can make it stick.)

If such an order is issued, then a referendum would be legal and potentially constitutionally binding, no question.

It might even be possible for Holyrood (the Scottish Parliament) to hold a non-binding referendum without an S30 order. And while it would be non-binding, remember that the 2016 EU membership referendum that gave us Brexit was also non-binding: the government was totally unable to walk it back after a bare minimum vote in a consultation exercise (52/48 for Leave).

The EU has already said they're leaving a lamp burning for Scotland; the mooted Spanish objection (setting a precedent for Catalonia) no longer applies because the UK is now outside the EU, and Scotland would be welcomed with open arms -- it's already in alignment with EU regulations (having been part of the EU for decades), there's a strong moral argument for not denying the benefits of EU membership to former EU citizens involuntarily alienated from the EU by English voters, and it's a thumb in the eye for the aforementioned separatists. So basically Scotland could have EU membership for the asking. (Whether it's a good idea to ask for it is another matter.)

Three Scottish opinion polls in the past week have returned a 50/50, 51/49, and 52/48 result for independence/remain. It looks as if the balance of Scottish public opinion is shifting towards independence.

(I think massive constitutional change should require more than a 52/48 vote in a consultative referendum. But at the current rate of change Scotland will be nearing a 60/40 plurality for independence within 3-4 years -- if not sooner, when the Brexit transition period is up.)

413:

For shooing deer away, I've had good luck with modern flashlights or headlamps like a Petzl.

Thing is, many LED lights now have an SOS or strobe setting. If you get two or more bright flashlights with different flashing patterns, it's seriously annoying for any human, and the deer don't like it either. Combining a bunch of differentially flashing lights and humans making noise, and the deer leave. Not rapidly, because they can't easily see where to bound off, but they leave.

It's a question of what you're after, deterrence or absence. I've seen plants show symptoms of carbon starvation due to chronic deer browsing (basically, they're all respiring root, and the deer browse the photosynthetic shoots off too fast for the plants to fix any more carbon), as well as a site where, a month into spring, nothing bloomed and there were no buds because the deer had browsed them all. A couple of my grad student friends became hunters because their work documented the damage caused by deer in the north woods. This damage is along the lines of "the forest will die when the old trees die, because the deer are eating all the seedlings that would otherwise replace them. And eating all the understory too, except for a few weeds." Ideally those woods need mountain lions and wolves more than recreational hunters, but you've got to use what's available.

The only reason I don't hunt is that I've got a long list of mammal allergies. I don't think I'm allergic to deer, but I don't want to find out otherwise when I'm halfway through dressing one out after I've killed it. And deer allergies aren't something they test for at the clinic.

414:

Honourable Mention: I totally forget to mention "My Cat From Hell", which is (a) Reality TV, but (b) nowhere on the map of stuff we've covered: while it might qualify as competence porn for its' housecat-whispering presenter (who goes in and solves tricky behavioural problems between domestic felines and their human toilet slaves), it's really about understanding cats and how they're affected by their human-determined environment. It's notably short on condescension and mocking, and long on helpful information for cat owners. Also traumatized cats coming out of their shells and turning back into friendly fluffballs.

So there's that.

415:

whitroth @ 355: Training American soldiers in shutgunning. Ok.

Let me note that I read, was it in the seventies? eighties? Certainly no later than the nineties that one of the real reasons for the introduction of the M-16 during 'Nam was that most US troops coming into the Army at the time couldn't hit the side of a barn, and so they gave them a fire hose.

A couple friends of mine who were there agreed.

Nice story. It would be even better if it were true.

The problem was the M-14 was uncontrollable when fired full-auto. Plus it was heavy and the ammunition was heavy. The M-2 carbine that replaced sub-machine guns had an under powered cartridge, so the Army was looking for a select fire rifle with a smaller bore, but higher power cartridge.

The M-16 is a dumbed scaled down version of the AR-10 (7.62x51 NATO) rifle Eugene Stoner designed for ArmaLite Corporation chambered for the .223 Remington (5.56x45 NATO) cartridge. The M-16 doesn't have the AR-10's adjustable gas system or "Hollywood" flash suppressor.

All of the problems encountered during the introduction of the M-16 in Vietnam were a result of faulty assumptions that it would not require cleaning & lubrication in the field due to the Teflon coating on the bolt.

The acceptance trials had been conducted with ammunition having high grade commercial smokeless powder. Standard Army ammunition uses "ball powder" which doesn't burn as clean & leaves behind a nasty, gunky residue. As soon as the Army began issuing cleaning kits for the M-16 & changed procedures to require lubrication of the bolt, the problems went away. But by then, the M-16's reputation had already suffered.

But what it really boils down to is the Army adopted the M-16 for logistical reasons, the individual soldier can carry more ammunition than he could with the M-14. It is actually easier to teach someone to shoot well (rifle marksmanship) with an M-16 than it is with the M-14. I learned to shoot both & I was a trainer coaching others to shoot well with both.

For ranged fire in open country (out beyond 300m) the M-14 is incomparable. But at close quarters (under 300m), and especially when full-auto is needed, the M-14 loses all of its advantages, and the M-16 is the superior weapon.

Additionally, our training for full-auto emphasized trigger control. You don't use it as a fire hose. That wastes ammo & in a fire-fight you don't ever want to do that. You might need that ammo later.

I don't need the mechanism introduced with the M-16A2 to achieve a 3 round burst.

I learned to do it the hard way in Basic. We were issued a 20 round magazine with 10 rounds loaded & had three timed targets for which we had to fire 3 round bursts. At the end of the timed portion the Drill Sargents eyeballed your bolt, and it better be locked in the forward position. You were then ordered to fire the last round and it had better be the only round, so that your bolt was locked back after firing. Get it wrong & you were a NO GO subject to getting said Drill Sargent's boot up your ass.

416:

David L @ 360:

Anyone want to chime in on the, erm, minor issues surrounding cutting trees in the Americas, pelletizing the wood, and shipping it to Europe for burning?

We cut down tall pine in our NC coastal swamps to pelletize and then ship to (mostly) Germany. For burning in personal homes mostly. They (Germany) then claim it as a part of their drive to get off coal and nuclear and be 100% renewable.

I've never gotten how this works at all.

It's "renewable" because tall pine trees grow back fairly quickly in NC coastal swamps ... "renewable" if you don't count that the bulk carrier transporting those pellets to Europe is probably burning some kind of heavy crude in it's diesel engines.

417:

You might think that; then you're going to run up against Spain's long standing (some centuries old) territorial claim to the rock, the the realities of European Commission voting politics.

Have a nice time ...!

418:

It's a question of what you're after, deterrence or absence.

I guess it wasn't clear. I don't mind them at all. Kind of like it. Mostly it is only 1 or 2 at a time. Maybe once a week.

My back yard is one of the few around me they can get into from the front and my yard is nothing at all like a golf course. Plus it add excitement to my daughters dogs when they visit. All kinds of scents they normally don't encounter. Plus racoons, foxes, and possums.

We are no where near overrun. If they start to get too plentiful traffic will take some out.

Now an hour or so east towards the NC coast they are a problem. Driving that stretch at night is dangerous at times. Speed limits is 65 or 70 and looooooong stretches of nothing but you and the road. You have to really watch for the headlights reflected in their eyes.

419:

We had to put down one of the 2 cats my wife brought to the marriage. These cats started as German barnyard cats and had crossed the Atlantic multiple times. One was the storybook description of a cat. The other full of piss and vinegar. The later told us with our 2nd child it was the baby or the cat. In no uncertain terms. So ....

420:

It's "renewable" because tall pine trees grow back fairly quickly in NC coastal swamps ...

Depends on how you describe 20 to 40 years.

421:

was convinced she could have made a different for the good in the Colorado movie theater shooting a few year back.

Yeah, nope.

There are two questions to ask such a person, without impugning their aim/competence/common sense (which deserve to be impugned, but hey):

a) How do you know you're the only Concerned Citizen with a CC license in the cinema? (What if the shooter you're targeting is actually another Concerned Citizen and on your side?) Worse, how do they know you're not the spree killer?)

b) The Police will be on the scene fairly fast, and when they get there they'll be looking for a civilian shooter in a darkened movie cinema. That's a fair description of you. How do you stop the police from shooting you?

(With a side-order of "congratulations, you just gave the spree shooter an opportunity to throw down their gun and leave with the stampede, while you take the fall -- unless you're lucky enough to both survive and be exonerated by ballistics/forensics.)

Something may be legal: it does not always follow that it's sensible, and concealed carry in places like shops, restaurants, and cinemas is just plain dumb.

422:

@421: Many years ago my Browning Hi-Power was stolen from my apartment in Colorado Springs, along with many other valuables. Four months later I was notified by the Denver police department that the pistol had been recovered. Apparently, the very successful burglar lost his fence, and had been warehousing goods in a duplex in the Denver suburb of Aurora. Neighbors got suspicious and called the police. There was a room full of weapons; one of jewelry; one of cameras, . . . . He was a VERY organized burglar.

There were so many items the Denver PD moved them all to the PD headquarters auditorium (post cataloging, of course), and walked victims through, by invitation, for a full week. I recovered the pistol and almost everything else stolen.

Here's the point: when I picked up my Browning, I did what any trained person would do and cleared the weapon. This immediately drew a LOT of attention to me. Moral of the story: law enforcement reacts VERY quickly and forcefully to the display of firearms. Proceed at your own risk.

423:

headlamps like a Petzl

Off topic, but I discovered headlamps of the modern LED variety(*)(**) a few years ago and am totally won over by them. Adjustable brightness white and night-vision red are standard in most brands. And SOS in both colors. If you don't have one, put it on your list of things to buy.

(*) I have a different brand than Petzl.

(**) Back when a much younger version of myself was a spelunker, we used carbide/acetylene gas lamps attached to our hard hats. Not at all the same thing.

424:

I meant to imply everything you said and more. Armed conflict in indoor environments with lots of people around is something you need to train for. A LOT. Both in terms of shooting and legal issues.

425:

Heteromeles @ 367: Now about military shotgunning. So far as I know, there are two common roles for the shotgun. The major one is that combat engineers on assault squads use them to breach doors. The other one that I've seen floated is that they're used with less lethal armaments. I do know there are shotguns made with bright yellow pumps and stocks, to hold only non-lethal armaments, the color being there to alert the shooter to what he's using.

The shotgun is useful in "house to house" combat in urban conditions, particularly those battles where you're tunneling from one building to another rather than crossing into the open streets. Short range, but powerful within that range and because there's no trigger disconnect, they can be "slam fired" as fast as you can pump rounds into the breach. They first came into use during WWI for trench warfare. They're still called Trench Guns in the U.S. military.

The third, quite serious, proposal is to equip some members of base security teams with shotguns, specifically to shoot down drones. This is an excellent idea in places where drone incursions are a serious problem, because bird shot is definitely less lethal and more effective on drones than rifle rounds are. You don't want E-3 GI Jose to open up with his M-16 to try to shoot down a drone, when the bullets fly for up to five miles down range and he's probably not thinking about that when he's shooting. Depending on the shotgun, you can also fit shotgunner Alejandro up with a nice bandolier of variably lethal rounds for a variety of situations (ball shot to pepper spray to dragon's breath), making him more versatile as a guard.

I arrived at AIT (Advanced Individual Training) about two weeks before the next school cycle started. Instead of just letting you go on leave, the Army used trainees to perform various details around the post. After one day painting rocks along the driveway at the General's quarters, I discovered "Guard Duty". Guard duty was cool. You had to be at Guard Mount at 5:00pm; first relief went on duty at 6:00pm (two hour shift) and when you got off duty at 6:00am you had the rest of the day off & didn't have to go back to duty until the following morning (where if you were smart, you volunteered for guard duty again). Second relief was 8:00pm - 10:00pm and 2:00am - 4:00am. It was actually possible to get adequate sleep if you took second relief. Which I did.

But the best part was the Ammo Dump. Whoever was guarding the ammo dump was armed with a shotgun and 3 rounds of ammunition.

They strongly emphasized that the ammo was not for you to protect the ammo dump. It was so you could protect yourself long enough to get to the duty phone on your circuit & call for QRF (quick reaction force) to come deal with intruders. "Oh, and do not, I repeat, DO NOT shoot the goats!"

Now, picture if you will, the process for "qualifying" trainees to use a shotgun. Two Drill Sargents & three trainees out on the pistol range with two Model 12 (Winchester 1912) trench guns & a big box of shells; just taking turns until everyone is comfortable with the weapon & all of the trainees can hit the target at 25m.

However, gunning down speedy flying objects takes skill and practice, and right now there's no protocol for training GI Jose to develop said capability. If you want anti-drone shotgunners, you need country kids who grew up duck hunting with their parents, and there are far fewer of those than there used to be. Also, getting a shotgunner to work as a low level security guard is problematic, because the soldiers with those skills probably can get a better job doing something else, like trying out for the Rangers or SEALs.

The interesting part about a Droneskeet reality show is that it could potentially solve a bunch of problems. If it's a hit (and many of us hate those effin' camera drones already), then it will encourage kids to go out and learn shotgunning. Or fly drones. It will also help DARPA/DoD figure out the best doctrine for defeating drone incursions (guns, shells, tactics, static defenses around buildings, etc.), as well as the best doctrine for infiltrating drones into guarded bases. On paper, there are wins on all sides. The ultimate danger is if the show produces drones that beat the gunners every time, because then we've created a weapon that we cannot stop. That's bad.

During WW1, American soldiers who were familiar with skeet shooting were stationed along the front line trenches, armed with Model 97 & Model 12 Trench Guns, to shoot German hand grenades out of the air before they could land in the trenches & injure/kill other American soldiers.

Still, my favorite is the Dutch (I think it's Dutch) company that has acquired Bald Eagles, training them to hunt drones and take them out of the air.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tKNN49idCUo

426:

to _Moz_ @275:

Per the discussion wrt to buchfires, the problem here is not "fake greenies" unless you're actually talking about people pretending to be greenies, and by that I mean the global financial cabal who occasionally try to look a bit green. The problem for nuclear power is that it's not financially viable, even if you exclude insurance and post-operational costs. That's why it's strictly the province of governments who don't care (they just want bombs, or want to make a point), and of madmen (who also don't care).
I would put it to a rational conclusion that there's not such thing as "fake greenies", all "ecologist movements" are here for a purpose and one purpoase only - to save the environment. Not the humans, not the human population - only the environment, and preferably in the same condition that they know it. And this is easily explainable. The environment is useful and profitable for corporation well-being, and it shall be there so that corporations can enjoy it. Not so much for people - people can go away if they disturb the environment. Governments can go away if they disturb corporations, so what is the difference?

@378:
Can you point to some of these "known designs"?
It is called "4th generation reactors" and they are a result of a steady and purposeful development and practice over decades. In any case, they are much more successful than fusion power as for now. There will be, I am sure, many models, and many corporations that do it, but so far there' only one leader and US is generally rather nervous about it. The point of this reactor is actually making the nuclear waste to be reusable again, solving the problem of storage.

As you say, we can't do anything with nuclear waste except wait and hope someone else solves the problem.
The problem of nuclear waste is rather serious, though compared to problems of regular waste disposal are much, much more enormous, because people can no longer export their trash into 3rd world countries. If they can't just reprocess their own high-tech scrap and plastic, how they are going to fair with something that requires actual brains to work out? Oh, you can offload it into some East European country for some time, until they figure out how to make actual use of it. Anyway, that's not the point. The point is, nuclear energy is REALLY powerful, and that means that you don't need to burn MILLIONS of tons of coal if you can reprocess several tons of fission material. And with ability to reuse the waste, it is going to be even greater. And if you did not know, several reactors are also capable of producing of new isotopes, used in all sorts of technology (not only smoke detectors, ofc) and without them... well, you will have to buy it somewhere?

The nuclear fuel cycle is long and complex, and much of it is very hard to electrify. Either way there's a huge amount of energy required to turn rock into reactor fuel rods. Turning nuclear waste back into minimally radioactive material is also energy-intensive.
Most importantly, it is knowledge-intensive. It requires to produce a steady stream of very educated, very cultural, disciplined and developed cadres that can deal with a complexity of nuclear energy production, reprocessing and so on. MOst liberal governments moved on, assuming that it is no longer their responsibility to maintain the infrastructure, the industrial economy is so 20th century, and of course postindustrial is so much more profitable. What, you can just hire some immigrants from the countries where people are still doing primitive things like teaching actual useful knowledge and producing actual physical goods. Developed countries have already moved into the next stage of organization, they can sell pixel spaceships to consumer for thousands of dollars. Ok, enough with sarcasm, I'll get to the point.

But of course you can wipe all that stuff out by saying "the EROEI for a plant that turns free nuclear fuel rods into free-to-dispose-of spent nuclear fuel rods is *enormous*". Trouble is, the EROEI for a system that turns free solar panels into free-to-dispose-of second hand solar panels is almost infinite, so we're back with "solar beats nuclear" but with an insulting layer of bullshit.
Because it is. Really high. Even though many people say that there's infinite amount energy in fusion, it is no less impressive for fission too. The major problem of nuclear power is that it is no longer sustainable for nations who are abandoning their industrial potential in the favor of fraud and thievery of globalized world. They want to believe that their "solar will beat nuclear" and they can just sit on their asses and do nothing, and then accept the generous profits and tax returns and whatever they write down to the rest of the people.

This has worked way too well for the last decades, and it is not going to stop now. There are people who plan to increase carbon tax many times and weaponize it to the point you will not be able to breathe without paying. This is where real free energy lies - in total financial slavery, that is.

427:

My 2 cents is that if you're going to do concealed carry in a movie theater, the thing you maybe want to be concealing is an anti-ballistic vest or a bulletproof backpack. The point isn't to shoot the attacker, it's to make yourself a more effective shield in case something bad happens. They're cheaper than guns, if maybe less comfortable to wear.

428:

You're obviously not of the right mind set.

"I have a gun. I can fix this."

429:

Wood pellets from NC to Germany

If you're interested here's a report on this interesting industry.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/business/article238397398.html?

Apparently NC is the US leader in wood pellets. But except for some small amounts for consumers it mostly all is shipped overseas.

430:

"I think electric driers run on 240V, like dishwashers. Gas driers are still fairly common - they can last 30 to 40 years - but they're not necessarily used every day."

All of the ones which I've seen (USA) take a radically different plug than standard household plugs. They're not on the same type of circuit.

431:

paws4thot @ 384: #364 - Well I call BS on the idea of you finding change machines that accept Euros in Inverness!

November 2004. I stopped at a bank (might have been RBS, since they were active in the U.S. then & I was familiar with the name) when I arrived in Glasgow. I got some "walking around" money because I hate using a credit card for small purchases (like a coffee). As I remember it was some British Pounds (paper), some Euros (paper), some pound coins (don't remember if they were British or Scottish or if there was any difference) and some Euro coins ... plus some coins I got in change from purchases. The money changer in the laundromat took Euros (paper) and gave back Euros (coin) or fractional Euro coins. Or it might have been pounds. Some places took either pounds or euros, some places took one and not the other.

All I remember now is the paper money I had could be converted into coins that would feed the drier and when I was done I had clean, dry underwear again. The driers looked like the same commercial gas driers we have at laundromats here in the states. When in operation they smelled like them too.

432:

I do know of a case where someone took a "ridge shot" (standing in a canyon, firing up at a deer silhouetted against the sky above him), missed, and the bullet embedded itself in the bunk of a children's camp miles away.

Decades ago when I worked in Ottawa one of my colleagues lived across the river in Hull, and had a small cabin somewhere in the Gatineau. before hunting season he and his girlfriend removed any valuables, and after hunting season they went and repaired the bullet holes in the walls and patched the mattresses and blankets.

Hunting and booze don't mix, but apparently they are a fine Québéçois tradition (according to him, a Québéçois).

For entertainment:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PBU4lcmbh-c

("Goin' Huntin'" by the Arrogant Worms)

433:

radically different plug

2 pole + neutral + ground

240vac 30 amp
NEMA 14-30R

Some older houses will have an ungrounded outlet. (Long discussion about the neutral as a ground can be had but let's not.)
240vac 30 amp
NEMA L6-30R (I think)

434:

"Most of Finland can have a yearly temperature differential of 45-50 degrees Celsius, or even larger (from -25 or -20 in the winter to +25 or +30 in the summer), so passive houses have design difficulties. These help because they can be used either way."

That's it? I can get that much in SE Michigan (add a few to the bottom and the top; we're warming). And SE Michigan is not considered an extreme weather place by continental US standards. We are buffered by the Great Lakes.

435:

David L @ 409: I'm a little contemptuous of the guys with the assault rifles. While they're easy to shoot accurately, I have yet to meet any self-defense rifle owner who's taken the time to figure out where the bullets they fire will end up as part of planning to defend themselves. Not sure where they learned to be so cavalier about their neighbors' safety, but they are.

Well, me. I'm pretty sure at least once in conversation after TMUG I've explained why I don't keep a gun for "home defense" (even though I like guns), but if I did, it would NOT be an AR-15 or some other "assault rifle" style gun (even though I like the M-16 a lot and always enjoyed when I got to fire one). I do have at least some concept of how many layers of construction materials bullets of certain caliber will penetrate & that is a consideration I'd have if I was going to have a home defense weapon.

Mostly I object to having a gun around the house because I don't want to come home some night and find an intruder already in there who's going to shoot me with my own gun.

The other thing is I'm a guitar player and for what I'd have to spend on an AR-15 I could get a really good second-hand Martin HD-28, and there's a lot more places around here where I can use that.

436:

My electric dryer runs on 240 — same type of plug as the electric stove.

I run the washer once or twice a week: small load for clothes, larger load for linens/towels as required. I use the dryer for bedsheets because I don't have room to hang them inside and outside they get noticeably dirty too quickly; everything else is hung to dry.

Dishwasher runs on 120. I use it once or twice a week when it gets full (depends on how much baking I'm doing), in energy saver mode, air-dry. Gets dishes noticeably cleaner than hand-washing, and uses less than a sink-full of water.

437:

I was going to make some points about carbines vs sub machine guns here, but I realized that the only two things worse than such a thread would be 'what computer system should we have adopted?' or 'gas vs. electric washers?'.

So I won't.

Because I'm morally superior :)

438:

David L @ 420:

It's "renewable" because tall pine trees grow back fairly quickly in NC coastal swamps ...

Depends on how you describe 20 to 40 years.

Twenty to forty years is fairly quick when you're talking about growing trees. If someone is dumb enough to cut down all of their trees at once they deserve to go broke. You cut some down this year and plant 'em back. Cut a few more next year and plant 'em back. You just keep doing that until the first part is ready to harvest again. You have to think ahead, maybe even a little beyond your prospective life span. That's why when you drive along NC 11 down near Ahoskie you see all those sections of tree farms with different size trees.

439:

I refuse to accept this point of view that nothing is possible unless you can order a ready-made mass-produced one out of a catalogue

When you're trying to compete with a multi-supplier market of commercial off the shelf products that have a lead time of less than a year, that's what you need to do. Saying "oh we might have a prototype available in ten years, or maybe twenty" doesn't make you a competing product, it makes your sales arm part of the deny/defect/delay team.

To me, the reactors being built in China are a part of the solution, the people saying "forget solar, wait twenty years and hope the nuke fairy comes" are part of the problem.

440:

@ OGH 412: Thank you for the welcome and the clarification.
Had there been a Section 30 order in the 1770's, much unpleasantness could have been avoided...
Do you believe there will be a wait for Indef2 until it is closer to that larger majority, or is there pressure to hold it soon?

Cheers,

Keith

441:

My electric dryer runs on 240 — same type of plug as the electric stove.

Most places in the US require 50 amps at 240vac for an electric range. So a similar but different plug. Now older houses, well, buyer beware.

Sure you could replace an ancient electrical range with a new one and swap the plug but pulling 30+ amps on a 30 amp circuit is not advised. Especially since I'm sure there are a few out there that "fixed" the issue by swapping out the breaker. "That wire looks big enough."

442:

Agreed. If you've got to carry a penis substitute weapon, you'd do better with a pepper spray or a taser: lower inhibition against use, lower harm if you hit the wrong person, doesn't project as far (which is not a drawback in the cramped confines of a darkened room full of seats).

But really, a bullet-resistant backpack or jacket is better because it doesn't reply on you keeping your shit together in a chaotic, fluid, dangerous situation.

443:

1. Euros are not legal tender in Scotland. (You might have been confused by the variety of banknotes in circulation here: not just English ones -- issued by the Bank of England -- but also notes issued by the Bank of Scotland, Royal Bank of Scotland, and Clydesdale Bank. Yes, we have three banks up here that are licensed to print money. The fourth -- Linen Bank -- dropped out of the banknote business some decades ago. Causes endless hilarity with tourists, including the English.)

2. Launderette driers are not gas-powered, AIUI. They are big-ass electric driers and they run on 415 volt 3-phase AC rather than domestic mains current (230 vAC). Nobody in their right mind would mix gas-burners with dry cleaning solvents (mostly carbon tetrachloride) and many lanuderettes hang off the side of a dry cleaner.

3. Launderettes are getting kind of rare these days anyway, even in tourist traps like Edinburgh, because domestic washer/driers are ubiquitous. If you don't have one, you're poor (they cost about as much as a regular-sized TV). As usual, being poor is expensive (because the home washer/drier is vastly cheaper to run than paying through the nose at a launderette).

444:

One upstairs socket. This place was built in '57, and the entire upstairs is on one breaker (which is, at least, 20A).

I've pulled cable up alongside the ductwork, and one of these days, I'll finish, install runs to the hall and to my study wall, sockets, and put in another breaker, so all my computer equipment (and the cheap network printer we need to get) will be on that.

Among the 3 pages of reasons that the former owner's "wonderful handyman" will never set foot on my doorstep: painting over sockets.

446:

The timing of Indyref2 is a game of political chicken.

On the one hand, the Tories are (seemingly) reluctant to allow it -- after all, their full name is the Conservative and Unionist party. Despite which, if Scotland pissed off it would make their life vastly easier by giving them an entrenched majority in England. So their actual reluctance is not as obviously adamantine as it might be. (Labour can be discounted for now.)

On the other hand, we've got the SNP (and the Scottish Greens, but the SGP align with the SNP on independence, vote with them, and can be discounted for most purposes). The SNP is dedicated to Scottish Independence in principle. In practice they're the current party of government up here; if independence happened, who knows what would follow? Yes, Fine Gael and Fine Fail still exist a century after Irish independence -- having outlived their original objective of Irish independence handily -- but if the SNP dog caught the car, the next question is what they'd do with it.

My personal belief is that Nicola Sturgeon is the most competent political leader in the UK right now (which isn't saying much) and is playing a long game: keeping up the pressure for Indyref but not actually wanting it until the Brexit mess is contained and can be blamed on the Tories -- and acts as an additional driver for Scots voters to go for independence so they can rejoin the EU.

So my money would be on a referendum some time in 2021-22 ... anything beyond that is imponderable because our political future is utterly opaque at that remove.

Note: most parties with "National" in the name are fascists. The SNP march to a different drum. They used to be nicknamed the Tartan Tories into the early 1980s, but these days they're a centre-left EU-aligned social democratic party, somewhere to the left of where Tony Blair's new Labour stood (but to the right of Jeremy Corbyn). This is why Labour can no longer get much traction in Scotland: the SNP ate their lunch. They emphasize civic nationalism (as in, taking pride in civic virtues, democracy, liberalism, and so on) rather than the more-commonly-encountered ethno-nationalism (see: the Fash) or lumpen exceptionalist nationalism of someone like Trump. Which confuses the hell out of many onlookers.

447:

One upstairs socket. This place was built in '57, and the entire upstairs is on one breaker (which is, at least, 20A).

Breaker?

I had a similar in my split level. 3 bedrooms and 2 baths all on one 15 amp breaker. Hair dryers not allowed. Or even vacuuming with the lights on in 2 rooms. Now there are breakers for each room. Plus CGFI in the baths. (Yes Greg they are safe around water. That the point.)

448:

I think there's a kit for home brewers.

449:

Right, as I said, the EU Navy... that is, in vehicles, etc, blockage the crossings....

I can just see the Royal Air Force doing food drops.

450:

Fewer hunters... yep. The idiots with guns, pardon me, "2nd Amendment Defenders", are all buying really expensive firearms and shooting them at ranges with targets that look like, say, Obama (they *were* selling such).

Meanwhile, what my late wife used to refer to as "range rodents" are all over. There was some fuss when they had to shoot a good number in Rock Creek Park, here in the DC area. They did give the meat to local food banks, though.

451:

Given that people at an Orange Idiot rally think we should leave the EU, too (ok, it's a satire mag called The Shovel that reported this), I'm just wondering if my lady and I can join the EU.

452:

Well... one friend that is an ex-Gyrene and was in 'Nam early said he and his buddies loved their M-14s, and hated, passionately, the M-16 (when you could do maintenance, think doing it in very high humidity and mud).

Also told me that a) when the grunts first got the M-16's, a lot of young guys, firefight, and they were out of ammo, completely, in one minute flat.

Another buddy, IIRC, said that they'd happily grab AK-47's.

453:

Launderettes are getting kind of rare these days anyway, even in tourist traps like Edinburgh, because domestic washer/driers are ubiquitous.

Laundrettes are not THAT uncommon in Edinburgh but they've evolved to meet a new demand. Commercial AirBnB landlords, the ones who cater for the hen parties and Festival/Hogmanay visitors need to wash and dry a lot of bed linens, towels etc. in a very short time to prepare a flat or house for the next occupants and so the street-front laundrette with a service wash operation (bring in four large bundles of washing in the morning, pick them up clean, dried and folded in the afternoon) caters for that market quite well. It's for sure that the tenants won't have cleaned up after them and run the bedding through a wash before they depart for the tram out to the airport while downing an Irn Bru to kill their hangovers.

Regular B&Bs and small hotels have contracts with a collect-and-return linen service but the laundrettes supply a just-in-time capability for ad-hoc fast turnaround washing that's keeping them afloat.

454:

Quebecois? Hell, I read the same thing in Readers' Digest in the early 80's, people coming in drunk, having shot their decoys, their dogs, their kids.

Then there was the case in Maine a few years back, where the jury let some SoB off, even though he had shot and killed someone's wife, because he thought he was shooting at a goose.

455:

Yup.

And if I ever had an intruder, and woke up to hear them downstairs or on the stairs. I'd have one question: how do they feel about two and a half feet of good steel going through them, or having their hand cut off?

Why, yes, I *do* have a real sword (I do not do wall hangers), and I did used to fight heavy in the SCA....

The real trick is in convincing them you're crazier than they've ever dreamed of being... and even crazies are afraid of crazier crazies.

456:

Spears are cheaper. And I did have one for apartment defense for years, because if you're engaging at 1-2 meter distances in the dark, in a place you know intimately and the intruder does not, cold weapons start getting towards parity with firearms.

457:

Cut them all down at once....

In '96, one of the two best vacations I've ever had in my life, my late wife, our son, and the dogs drove from Chicago to worldcon in Anaheim via the Great Northwet. Visited friends in Spokane, then west and south. About half an hour west of Spokane, we turned off the Interstate to cut diagonally down to Oregon. The ENTIRE FUCKING CENTER of Washington State was clear cut.

Driving on the Oregon side of the Columbia River, the high cliffs on the Oregon side were heavily wooded, while the Washington side was *bare*, rock and dirt.

458:

A new idea: a reality show where the Palestinians force the illegally settlements of Jews out of the West Bank, with no violence!

A friend in Chicago, a seriously heavy-duty consultant, has a client who's an Orthodox (I'd say ultra-Orthodox) Jew who wants a shabbos-compatable surveillance system. My friend offers this link as to things he needs to consider with this request....

https://www.star-k.org/articles/kashrus-kurrents/2148/insights-from-the-institute-4/

See the Palestinians put up surveillance cameras everywhere....

Robert Prior