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A serious question

(Because I am still elbow-deep in the guts of "Invisible Sun", blogging is sparse right now ...)

I just asked a couple of questions on twitter, and I thought you might like to share the misery.

SERIOUS QUESTION for space geeks:

  1. The flight of Apollo 11. Postulate that Mike Collins is a werewolf. At what point during trans-Lunar injection does he go furry? And how many times during the mission profile is he forced to shapeshift by the light of the full Moon?

ANOTHER SERIOUS SPACE QUESTION:

  1. A full Moon must subtend an angle of at least 0.5 degrees to trigger shapeshifting in werewolves. A werewolf is aboard a spaceship bound for Ganymede, largest moon of Jupiter. In low Ganymede orbit, how many Jovian moons trigger shapeshifting?

Assumptions:

  1. Werewolves are real.

  2. Shapeshifting is not triggered by direct exposure to the light of the full Moon, but by the existence of a full, uneclipsed Moon in the sky (otherwise werewolves could just hole up indoors to avoid furry hijinks).

  3. Werewolves shapeshift involuntarily in an arbitrary short period of time (WARNING: any discussion of relativitic effects or the use of werewolves as an FTL signaling mechanism will be firmly discouraged).

  4. A Moon other than Earth's moon suffices, but it must be a primary Moon (by IAU definition) and not a Moon of a Moon, and also it must subtend an angle of no less than 0.5 degrees to be effective. Earthrise, from Lunar orbit, is not a lycanthropy trigger.

  5. The first rule of Vampires is: Vampires do not exist. (See also "The Rhesus Chart").

Have at it!

354 Comments

1:

Q 2) Is it "Jovian" or "Jovial" anyway? I've seen both terms used in this context.

2:

That's a hilarious question! This is my saturnine expression. (Points to face.)

3:

Are you exact about that 0.5° angular diameter? Because if so, then not all full moons on Earth will trigger lycanthropy — at its maximum separation from Earth, the moon’s angular diameter is 29.3’, just under half a degree.

4:

Huh: figure I found for the Moon was 0.518 degrees, so I was low-balling it a bit. Someone was probably averaging.

Let's go with "Earth's moon is never too far away to trigger shapeshifting, but anything significantly smaller won't suffice."

5:

NOTE: I specified Michael Collins because, as the CSM pilot, he remained aboard Columbia for the entire mission. He therefore performed 10-11 more Lunar orbits than Armstrong and Aldrin.

6:

Are we allowed to argue with your assumptions?

I note that there's no assumption about the reverse transformation taking time or a refractory period.

I shall argue that astronauts were so closely monitored that Mike Collins's lycanthropic status was observed by NASA, is the subject of many reports, and was eventually deemed acceptable. That implies that there is no lunacy or rage associated with the transformation, that Mike's mind is firmly in control the whole time, and that his dexterity and communication abilities were not significantly impaired.

My answer to 1, then: Mike transforms as soon as he is at a sufficient angle to observe the full Moon, and remains furry through some point before re-entry.

The mechanism of transmission should be studied.

7:

I like the idea that it's something about the specific shape/pattern of the (deliberately engineered?) surface detail of the moon that triggers the transformation; like a neural program that maybe was supposed to affect everyone, but the lycanthrope condition is susceptible to being triggered by - possibly even an originally unintended side effect?

Not being able to avoid by hiding from the moon is easy; the monthly exposure to the pattern over their lifetime induces resonant behaviour, that repeats even without exposure but would either decay (or drift timing?). Essentially transformation _by habit_, I guess.

Under this assumption, either he would only transform when entire front face of the moon was visible, or not at all if it wasn't nearly full-moon anyway. Orbiting the moon might not be exposed to enough of the pattern; but in any case trying to force a resonance condition out of synchronisation might have no, or even catastrophic effect.

Fun consequence; under Laundryverse, this would also potentially give an important _reason_ to change the surface of the moon in the first book; to avoid all the nazi werewolves.

8:

He doesn't, because unlike in every movie you've seen except for Apollo 11, the spacecraft wasn't pointed towards the Moon, but instead was vertical to it and rotating (otherwise the capsule couldn't expell enough heat), so light from the Moon doesn't go into the spacecraft except on two occasions: when the craft is rotated for lunar orbit insertion (you'll see part of the Moon in the window), and when they leave to head back to the Earth. During trans-Lunar injection you don't see the Moon as the craft is pointing to where the Moon will be, not where it currently is.

Now I can't remember if it was Apollo 11 but on some of the flights the astronauts could see the Moon while they were waiting on the ground for launch.

I suggest watching the full length version of Apollo 11 documentary has its highly accurate and show's exactly what the astronauts can see at all times.

Surely the bigger problem would be when he's picking up the astronauts, as every 25 minutes or so he's behind the Moon and hence changing back into a human?

Hope this helps.

9:

Then there's also the question of what percentage of the lunar disc has to be illuminated to be a "full Moon" rather than a waxing or waning gibbous Moon? This matters because Mike either might transform during the Lunar transit and injection, or not until the CSM is in Lunar orbit. A similar argument will apply during the Lunar ejection and transit. (all this to avoid checking how many orbits Mike actually made)

Also, please note that I have assumed that transformation is triggered by Moonlight being incident on the werewolf and/or the "structure" the werewolf is "in", and hence transformations not propagating above C.

10:

1: Zero, thanks to a complex and costly but ultimately workable pharmaceutical regimen developed in secret by NASA's Paperclip scientists and some of CIA's wilder elements to a plan originally established in a joint Ahnenerbe-RWO cryptid research project stemming from a drunken and rather silly chat between Hess and Himmler some time in 1937. The same project gave those Paperclip alumni the necessary knowledge and experience to recognize the signs in Collins, whom they approved for flight status in a quiet continuation of their prior work.

Following a 1968 in vivo test which both established the existence of side effects potentially severe enough to require a long period of recovery, and provided enough data to develop a modified method without the same risk, Collins was cleared both openly and secretly for the Apollo 11 mission, and injected just prior to flight with the new drug mix in a depot formulation precisely calculated to prevent any Haarwuchsvorfälle.

While this was regarded as an acceptable risk at the time, and indeed proved successful in practice, the events of Apollo 13 demonstrated the necessity of a backup plan in case of unforeseen mission time extensions; unfortunately, the early curtailment of the Apollo program, and NASA's highly secret but very firm "no werewolves in space" policy from 1972 onward, seems to have curtailed any possibility of further Western research into the subject.

11:

I assumed that, but I still think Buzz Aldrin is a better candidate for lycanthropy. Because of course it would be him.

Also see that you’ve negated some of the points made on twitter.

12:

It's not light that causes the switch; otherwise (as noted) werewolves could simply stay in a windowless room.

13:

Assumption 2 is bogus. There's always a full, uneclipsed moon in the sky (from some angle, and especially off Earth), so if that's the boundary condition set by the magical curse, then werewolves stay monstrous forever. The trigger has to be more complicated than that.

So light matters. Moonlight is just reflected sunlight as filtered through the Earth's atmosphere. If size doesn't matter, then light spectrum does.

Except that moons from Titan to Triton to Io to Luna trigger lycanthropy, so this can't be right either.

So we have insufficient information. Or it's psychosomatic. Or it's the result of a magical curse (see sufficiently moon-like object and change) that causes all sorts of embarrassing unintended consequences (like changing after seeing an advertising logo, a movie, or a piece of jewelry catching the sunlight, or whatever). Probably the reason we don't see this kind of magic in real life (or in non-movie folklore about werewolves, for that matter) is that setting up the full moon only condition is impossible to implement without it cocking up routinely.

Other possible issues include:
--Moons in space never trigger lycanthropy, because the light spectrum is wrong after it's passed through all the windows on the spacecraft.

--If the trigger is spectral rather than magical, sunlight reflected off pavement on Earth (or other surfaces) occasionally does trigger lycanthropy, because the size of the reflector doesn't matter, but the spectrum coming off does. If this is a known problem, werewolves aren't allowed to drive any more than epileptics are. Putting one in charge of a space capsule won't happen, because there are plenty of other candidates without that handicap.

--We haven't talked about the effect of the sun in reversing lycanthropy. What does it do to the poor werewolf do when the sun and full moon are both visible, other than half metamorphosing and dying horribly?

--Actually, what does the poor werewolf do on the few days every month when, at dusk, the full moon rises in the east while the sun sets in the west? Stay indoors?

--Oh, and the Apollo module orbited the moon about every two hours. This is another reason why putting werewolves in space isn't the brightest idea. If they can see a moon and a sun outide, they're transforming fairly constantly.

--And when does the sun become too small to trigger reversion to human?

--Where does all the werewolf hair go after he's changed back to human? Even assuming the spacesuit can accommodate all the shapeshifts (pray God there's no catheter insider the spacesuit, considering the structural differences between primate and canine penises), if Collins sheds one werewolf's worth of hair every two hours as he orbits the Moon, that's going to gum up the air filter like no one's business. And make it hard to see to drive, for that matter, with all that hair and other stuff floating around.

14:

Re: question 2. You have to decide how close to a full moon a werewolf must be to trigger the transformation. Because otherwise, well, there are billions of moons in the universe, so the sky is filled with fool moons all the time, they are just too faint to see.

15:

Sidetracking queries: does the required energy of the transformation consume extra oxygen? How much body mass is broken down and converted to energy in order to transform each way? It's possible he can consume the returning astronauts, if he doesn't die of thirst or starvation too quickly, and get by on the extra oxygen thus freed up.

16:

There may be billions of 'full moons', but they're too far out of range. Note the 'subtends 0.5°' part.

What could be interesting is if there's also a maximum size that has an effect. Perhaps the reason that the Earth in the Moon's sky doesn't have an effect is that it's too large, not that it's Earth, and that as future astronauts get further away on longer missions, they suddenly succumb. This would also save Collins from his orbital embarrassments — he'd be too close to the Moon.

17:

Re: penises, I don't know that I see why it'd be a problem. Both sorts have urethras, and catheter tubes are typically flexible, so assuming a continuous transformation from one sort to the other, it seems like it might at worst be uncomfortable above baseline - and, given that "baseline" presumably involves growing a baculum, the difference might not even be perceptible...

18:

"So light matters"

(For "light" read "radiation of some kind" with the footnote that all particles are waves when out of office.)

The full moon is characterized by the Earth being almost sandwiched between the Moon and the Sun, so the obvious thing to look for would be Fabry-Perot resonances, and since the Moon and Sun are both roughly spherical that is not even half far-fetched physically[1].

The question then becomes if the Fabry-Perot resonator is always there or if the Earths intrusion in the F-P cavity is what brings it to resonance[2].

In the former case, lycanthropy will be triggered whenever Mike is between the Moon and the Sun, in the latter case, as far as I recall the mission profile, it would never trigger.

However NASAs records about this would not help us much, even if they shared them with us, until we know what kind of waves or particles are resonating - and that can be literally anything from ELF radio through the bestiarium of particles and waves in the ridiculously named "Standard Model".

Neutrinos are a good candidate however.

Now that we have gotten rid of the "Neutrinos probably have no mass" fallacy, it is not far fetched to imagine them oscillating between Sun and Moon if the path-length is just right, and given the Suns gargantuan production of neutrinos, an amplifying medium (as in lasers and masers) hardly seems necessary to sustain a significant amplitude of resonance.

As for different planets and moons, the fact that resonance exists between the Sun and Earths Moon, tells us little about the necessary conditions for other such resonances to exist elsewhere, as long as both the nature of the wave, the reflection and the intensity are unknown to us.

Therefore we recommend that the staggeringly costly ZEPLIN-MAX[3] experiment's one-tonne vessel full of expensive Xenon liquid be cancelled.

Much better data on neutrino intensity will be collected by the capable, and periodically furry, hands of The Laundrys department of Wages and Compensations.

P. Stibbons
Dept. of Inadvisably Applied Particle Physics

[1] Surely there must be *something* in the stacks about lycanthropy during lunar ecclipses?

[2] like a piece of lower speed-of-light material, such as glass, can do in an detuned optical FPR. If you havn't seen this demo yet, find somebody with a good old fashioned Helium Neon Laser Physics Experiment.

[3] Google it.

19:

On second thoughts, no one would suspect Collins of being the werewolf, so never mind.

20:

Reminder that Collins wore a pressurized space suit for launch and re-entry only: Armstrong and Aldrin wore Moon suits (with extra insulation and an optional PLSS -- life support backpack -- the while in the LEM and on the surface). The rest of the time, while they were aboard Columbia, they wore flight suits.

IIRC the EMU suits didn't have catheters, but relied on diapers during EVA; the rest of the time the crew had a tube for urine (venting outside the capsule) and a horrendous plastic bag with various fittings to defecate into. (Self catheterization is awkward, uncomfortable, can lead to bladder infections, and if a non-medically-trained astronaut got it wrong then performed a multi-hour EVA the consequences could be life-threatening.)

21:

Based on Assumption 2, what happens to werewolves during a lunar eclipse?

22:

Sidetracking queries: does the required energy of the transformation consume extra oxygen?

Irrelevant. An adult human consumes roughly 0-8-1.0kg of oxygen per day; the CSM stack used LOX to power its fuel cells and provide breathing gas, and had two tanks each containing 320 pounds, so a little under 300Kg for the mission.

That's breathing gas for three astronauts for about 3 months, with all power systems turned off; there was a large margin of error. (The problem they had with Apollo 13 was due to one of the tanks exploding, and the other tank venting through the ruptured piping.)

23:

If "it's something about the specific shape/pattern of the (deliberately engineered?) surface detail of the moon that triggers the transformation" then does this mean that standing on your head during the full moon, thus putting the pattern the wrong way up, prevents the transformation?

24:

I, for one, welcome the chance to discuss a serious topic and move away from the special relativity back-and-forth that's mostly emanating from deep within the Swamp of Dunning-Kruger. (With a couple of honorable exceptions.)

25:

I don't know if they had them then, but external catheters (for men) are available, and largely problem-free. While simple internal self-catherisation isn't that bad, they would have had to use Foley (indwelling) internal ones, which are a lot tricker and associated with lots of problems.

26:

Like you, I immediately thought of biorhythm upset, possibly leading to a physiological breakdown. I have never liked the trope of the light causing the change, and there is another (VERY old-fashioned) fantasy trope that leads to a another conclusion.

Assume the change is caused by the domination of 'moonbeams' over 'sunbeams' - assumed to be some scientifically yet undetected form of radiation - the closeness of the moon would probably mean that the werewolf form was dominant for the entire time the spacecraft was orbiting the moon.

Incidentally, the angle of viewing of the moon doesn't affect whether it is eclipsed or not - only whether the eclipse is visible.

27:

Re clause 2 in the Rules: "the existence of a full, uneclipsed Moon in the sky", while Collins was orbiting the moon, he would not have had a full-full Moon in the sky; his orbit was only roughly 110(101-122) kilometers. Since that's true (to a lesser extent) even from Earth, there must be some threshold fraction of the lit surface visible sufficient to trigger a human to wolf transition. (Which might just be greater than zero.)
Picking another nit, the orbiter technically causes an eclipse when its shadow crosses the lunar surface: "An eclipse is the result of either an occultation (completely hidden) or a transit (partially hidden)."
If the orbiter shadow causes a wolf-human phenotype transition and/or blocks a human-wolf transition, then the "full, uneclipsed Moon" clause means that it would always be eclipsed while even arguably full.
So he might have been safe from human to wolf phenotype transitions when in lunar orbit.
Seems risky for a very high-profile mission though, unless any members of the crews of Apollo 8,9,10 were werewolves and these possible suppression effects were tested; are we sure that NASA didn't develop any other methods to suppress lycanthropic phenotype transitions as in Lexie's #10 telling? Especially re Heteromeles #13 : if Collins sheds one werewolf's worth of hair every two hours as he orbits the Moon, that's going to gum up the air filter like no one's business. (Or is the hair reabsorbed?)

28:

"I don't know if they had them then, but external catheters (for men) are available"

The've been around a long time; the Victorians used them for long train journeys. The difficulty is going to be making it stay in place during the transformation, but that's probably manageable with the right sort of glue.

29:

I don't see why keeping the arrangement in place during the transformation is a major concern. Given that the CM is a shirtsleeve environment throughout the mission, one presumes the necessary adjustments could be made afterward, discounting for the moment that the CM being a shirtsleeve environment, as OGN points out, obviates the necessity of a catheter of any sort.

That aside, glue in particular seems ill-advised. While available sources disagree on many matters of detail, those of the greatest apparent relevance seem generally to suggest that either a considerably larger device, or a degree of elasticity not likely in a stable and biocompatible adhesive, would be required after the transformation than before.

30:

Of course it would, but then the original discussion need only have been something like:

cstross "@therealbuzz Are you a werewolf? What was it like?"

therealbuzz "@cstross Fancy a drink some time? Say in a couple of weeks or so?"

And then our favourite author gets eaten, and none of us are happy, except Buzz.

31:

The "Motorman's Friend", IIRC.

32:

This is very much a spherical CSM in vacuum calculation, based on the Apollo 11 flight plan [1].

I take point 2 of the assumptions to meant that no unlit part of the moon is visible.

In a 60 x 60 nautical mile orbit, the moon subtends 140° for the CSM (Command Service Module), but the horizon is only 345 nm away from the CSM, so the CSM can only see 1/9 of a great circle of the moon. By convenient geometry, for 140/360 of an orbit, i.e. 46 minutes, the CSM can see only sunlit moon. This nicely mirrors the spacecraft night period provided in [1]. For 23 minutes before to 23 minutes after the subsolar point, Michael Collins is werewolfed, roughly every two hours.

Based on the umbra notations on pp 157-160 they approached the moon from the shadowed side. The first subsolar point is listed on page 164 of [1] at 76:16 GET (Ground Elapsed Time), so 23 minutes prior would be 75:53, about 90 seconds prior to the 75:54:28 six minute retrograde burn into a 59 x 170 nm orbit. (Sunlit calcs for this slightly elliptical orbit are within 2% of calcs above)

So: at 75:53 Collins sprouts fur, 75:54-76:00 retrograde burn, 76:39 Collins reverts when the shadowed portion of the moon (and also future Tranquility Base) come into view.

The second transformation is 78:03-78:49, which is almost all of the first eating period in lunar orbit.

There are a total of 30 transformations. 16 are when he is all alone. Two are with Armstrong but not Aldrin, because the Commander is the last to enter the LM and the first to leave the LM.

The final transformation is from 133:39-134:15 as they boost earthward.

page 25 of [1]:
Average Values for a 60 x 60 nm orbit:
Revolution duration - 1 hr. 58.2 min., or 1.97 hours
Spacecraft night period duration - 47 min.

[1] https://www.hq.nasa.gov/alsj/a11/a11fltpln_final_reformat.pdf

33:

All this leads to several interesting questions:
1. Are there female werewolves?
2. What impact does having a period during the full moon have on transformation?
3. For that matter, do female werewolves go into heat once or twice a year, or are they permanently in heat, per humans?
4. Would a female werewolf, transformed during her period, have a desire for meat/and or blood more than a male werewolf?

Conclusino: NASA should send a female werewolf to the Station to investigate all of these questions, all in microgravity.

34:

Well, "moonbeams" are one of those wonderfully problematic experiences that cause all sorts of trouble when you try to link them to anything non-magical.

For example, vampires don't exist, but if they did, then if they knew that the moonbeams they experienced were reflected sunbeams, would they burst themselves into flames?

For another, when you write the curse that creates a werewolf, how do you specify "moonbeam from a full moon, with victim returning to human form the next morning?"

It doesn't help that the full moon inevitably rises before the sun sets and in some cases the sun rises before the full moon sets, because that isn't covered by the folklore. Werewolves are not daylit monsters, but the full moon certainly is!

Anyway, I can imagine that a werewolf curse would probably be a thick stack of demonic legalese/programming language, specifying what constitutes a full moon for the sake of triggering the curse, what states are not allowed to trigger the curse, and what states release the victim from the curse. If it all has to be written on special vellum in ink that contains the blood of virgins, or some such, it would be a real chore to create said curse.

Probably better (and/or nastier) to make the curse triggerable by the victim worrying that they could become a werewolf for more than a specified number of times in a specified period, then reverting eight hours later or when hit by non-reflected sunlight, whichever comes first.

Oh well, I'm no help for the speculators at all.

35:

Correction to the suit wearing: According to the Apollo 11 flight plan Collins was suited from before undocking until after the ascent stage was jettisoned, as were Armstrong and Aldrin. Helmet and gloves were taken off at various times but the main suit stayed on. Later missions with longer surface stays had all crew members in shirtsleeves but kept the requirement to be suited during docking and undocking in case of sudden unplanned depressurization.

36:

Traditionally, one talks about a curse on the werewolf, not on the moon, so it seems reasonable that the activation of the "curse" is signalled psychologically rather than postulating a method of action from the imprecisely defined "full moon light" directly or indirectly touching skin.

Which is to say that so long as Collins's brain can avoid going "It is night and the full moon is out, therefore GRRARRRRGH" he'll be fine.

It's clear that the mere sight of the image of a very large full Moon isn't enough in itself, since Collins is an astronaut and therefore narratively required to have had posters of the Moon up from a very young age.

So a detailed understanding of orbital mechanics, and of the irrelevance of concepts like "night", "full", and "out" in his situation, would quite possibly stop the transformation entirely. Alternatively, a few weeks on a random schedule in a windowless room with no calendars, and possibly some neuroweirdness drugs, might screw things up enough that he wouldn't be subconsciously expecting it and a timer could drop a shutter down at intervals (or the mission controller can go "Mike, don't look at the sky for a moment, OK?").

37:

Speaking of no help, I should point out that at least one werewolf has already gone to the moon (Poul Anderson, Operation Luna, so the problem isn't a werewolf on the Moon, it's using the Apollo system to get him there and back.

38:

Well, yes. Is there a problem with that?

Because moonbeams (and werewolves) are inherently magical, the rules of magic apply - not the rules of conventional physics.

And have you seen any recent IT standards, financial legislation or (God help us all) the Javascript of most Web pages? Why should werewolves get off lightly?

39:

In the UK, a previous dictator (the Vicar, obviously) pushed through a law that equates pictorial porn with animals as equivalent to porn with rape or children. One wonders exactly where porn with werewolves would fit in .... Rule 43 applies, of course, but I am not, most definitely NOT, going to see if there is any evidence of there being real werewolves in the offerings that come up with quick Web search ....

40:

"Shapeshifting is not triggered by direct exposure to the light of the full Moon, but by the existence of a full, uneclipsed Moon in the sky (otherwise werewolves could just hole up indoors to avoid furry hijinks)."

So werewolves can't just hide somewhere it doesn't shine on them, OK. Hiding indoors, or, if there are no buildings about, hiding behind a rock, doesn't work. The rock could be a cave or cliff or boulder, or it could be a small one on the end of a stick to use as a paralun, or it could be up in orbit with the werewolf running really fast to keep in its moon shadow, but it still doesn't work. (At this point it becomes obvious that the "uneclipsed" requirement does not count for localised areas of eclipse.)

And it seems to me that staying in the shadow of the orbiting rock not by running really fast, but by going into orbit and landing on the shadow side, still doesn't work. Even if you choose a really big orbiting rock that takes a month to complete an orbit.

So where we end up is that a werewolf's transformation is related to the state of the werewolf's home planet's moon as observed from that planet's surface, whether by causation (eg. some kind of psychic emanation from the consensus of opinion acts as a trigger) or merely correlation (eg. werewolf biorhythms sync up with lunar orbits in a complex enough way to match the wiggles that cause eclipses as well as just the basic orbital period). (You could test which it is by seeing if a werewolf goes out of sync after travelling at r-l-t-v-st-c speeds.) Therefore the answer is that Mike's transformations took place on the same schedule as if he had stayed on the ground.

As for Jovian moons... their phases are only significant for werewolves of Jovian-moon origin. An object subtends half a degree or more if you are closer to it than 114.6 times its diameter, so working out which ones are significant is a simple matter of looking up sizes and orbits in tables of astronomical data, left as an exercise for the reader.

41:

Never, because three astronauts isn't sufficient to trigger a werewolf, the other absent conditions aside.

The largest crew in space according to Wiki was STS-61-A, the last successful launch of Challenger, with eight crew. The German astronaut Reinhard Furrer was the payload specialist.

42:

Given that hiding from the light of the moon cannot prevent the triggering of Werewolfism, this would suggest there is another factor.

I am going propose that it's some sort tidal mechanism triggered by the alignment of the Sun Moon, and Earth. The full moon is a spring tide. Now why a new moon, the other spring tide doesn't trigger it, I don't know, but a gravity field mechanism seems the best explanation to me.

So, whether Collins was triggered and how many times it would happen would depend on the gravitational mechanism.

I would point out that on July 24, 1969 the moon was on its waxing crescent phase, so they might have picked a launch window to coincide with his safe period.

43:

I recently learnt about the SPICE Toolkit, which is designed for spacecraft geometry problems and is perfect for this. You can simply ask it for the distance between Ganymede and any other object at any specific time. It has data for the orbits of dozens of Jupiter's moons for the next 180 years, and has approximate size data for the top dozen or so. Diameter divided by distance gives the angle subtended (or a good enough approximation).

The answer to question 2 is: None, without even considering the fullness of the moons.

The best is Europa, which hits a maximum of 0.44 degrees (and a minimum of 0.10 degrees) over the next few years. Callisto reaches 0.34 degrees, and Io 0.32 degrees. Amalthea is next at 0.016 degrees and everything else is even smaller.

You could relax the limit to e.g. 0.4 degrees. The fullness of Europa depends on the angle between the Sun-Europa vector and the Ganymede-Europa vector. Since werewolves on Earth are (I assume) only affected for a single day, that means the angle needs to be less than maybe 12 degrees to count as full.

If I'm calculating it right, those two conditions (over 0.4 degrees subtended, under 12 degrees illumination offset) coincide for a few hours per Ganymede orbit, for 4 or 5 consecutive orbits, about once per Earth year. So that's about one Earth month per Earth year, where you'll be exposed to a large full moon once per week.

If you relax it to 0.3 degrees, the pattern is similar but extends to 6-7 consecutive orbits of Ganymede. Callisto is perfectly safe for a year or two, then enters a year-long period where you'll get triggered once every 50 Earth days or so. Io is a bigger problem: it has a similar pattern to Europa but exactly 3x as frequent, so there's only a 4 month gap between the dangerous periods.

(I'm assuming the werewolf won't get triggered by Ganymede itself, perhaps by staying in a polar orbit that's always perpendicular to the Sun-Ganymede vector.)

44:

Yeah, Joe Casey did it with Full Moon Fever as well.

45:

To come back to the subject of the Jovian moons...

Their orbital radii around Jupiter and their diameters are (per wikipedia)

Io: 3660km -- 421800km
Europa: 3122km -- 671100km
Ganymede: 5268km -- 1070400km
Callisto: 4821km -- 1882700km

So at closest approach to Ganymede, the angular diameters of the other moons are (assuming I didn't screw up my small angle approximations):
Io: 0.32 deg
Europa: 0.45 deg
Callisto: 0.34 deg

which means that with the premise that the werewolf transformation is only triggered if "full moon" is above a diameter of 0.5deg, this would NOT be triggered in orbit around Ganymede.

Now, seen from Europa, Ganymede can subtend up to 0.76deg and Io would go up to 0.84deg, so from that point of view, if you NEED werewolf transitions for a story, you'd better use Europa (which is the more interesting moon anyway, if you ask me ;) ).

I've ignored the other Jovian moons, they're so small that they won't matter.

Now the interesting tidbit about the Jovian moons is that they're in resonance to each other, so Europa's orbital period is twice that of Io, and Ganymede's is 4x that of Io. This means that "full Io" or "full Ganymede" will happen in regular intervals - at what times depends on whether you really need to see 100% of the illuminated side or less than that - Earth's werewolves transform during the night of "full moon", but during that night the illumination of the moon varies by a few percent. So to make progress here, I'd need some numbers (and because there are also orbital oscillations around these resonances, one would have to run a proper numerical model, but that would be rather easy to set up [yes, I'm an astronomer...]).

Concerning Collin's and Apollo 11: He would not have transited during the flight to the moon, since all of the trips were done during first quarter (i.e., launch was close to new moon, then the landing was around the first quarter to ensure that there were enough shadows to allow manual landing). If you posit that for the werewolf transition one really needs to see approximately half of the illuminated sphere, then Collins would not have undergone the transition while on orbit around the Earth's moon, since he'd have been too close to ever get light from it. So I think if he wanted to, he could have hidden his "problem" (I'm not 100% sure about this, one would have to check the exact transfer orbits to see where orbit injection/departure from lunar orbit happened - it could be that during that time the critical illumination for the transition could be reached).

46:

And I just see that @Excors above got similar answers to mine using SPICE ;). Great! [yes, I started writing mine a while ago]

47:

If hiding indoors doesn't prevent the transformation, but the moon being below the horizon on earth DOES, that seems to suggest the transformation must be caused by some sort of emanation from the moon that can be blocked by a planet but not by an ordinary wall (perhaps due to differences in mass?). Someone with more physics knowledge than me could probably suggest some kind of radiation meeting those requirements.


@Heteromeles: My instinct would be that the reverse-transformation should be caused by the absence of a full moon rather than the presence of sunlight. This still leaves the problems of defining "full" and "sky" but it eliminates a bunch of other problems you've pointed out.

48:

Problem: How does all of this affect Captain Delphine Angua von Überwald.
And how about female weres, anyway?

49:

Before you can really get a satisfactory answer, you need to take a large step back and ask whether you want lycanthropy to be magic or science. Both are acceptable, but they lead to different assumptions and thus, different answers to your question. In the Laundryverse, you could plausibly say "both" (that is, science in a form that a typical physicist would call magic).

In any of these three cases, make whatever rules you want, so long as they're sufficiently consistent that you can write your story self-consistently. If it's magic, then the astronautical considerations are irrelevant: lycanthropy is a curse, and obeys the logic of magic, not physics. If it's science, there are contradictions in your assumptions. If we agree that the werewolf doesn't need to see the full moon to be affected, then the angle the moon subtends is irrelevant: wolfie can't know what that angle might be when he's hiding in a basement with no windows. The only thing that matters in that context is that a full moon exists, and that the key factor is distance, not vision (i.e., the subtended angle is irrelevant; it's a side-effect of the distance). You can then simplify your analysis: there are generally 12 full moons per year (1 per month plus an occasional bonus 13th moon). Then all you need to do is figure out the mean distance from Earth to the moon in each month. (That is, eccentricity of Earth's orbit requires you to account for a range of distances.) Likely the simplest solution is to use Earth's farthest distance from the moon as your "Chaney limit".

Charlie suggested: "A Moon other than Earth's moon suffices." Why? That is, what is the underlying rule that causes a subplanetary body to trigger the transformation? If you're going to write this, you need to know what that rule is. What weird Lovecraftian geometry causes any random rock body, when fully sunlit, to trigger lycanthropy?

50:

My bad... long, tiring day, so brain only firing on 3 of 4 cylinders.

It's the eccentricity of ***the moon's orbit*** that is the important point, not Earth's orbit, when you're calculating the distance of the moon from Earth. That being the case, "the Moon's center-to-center distance from Earth varies with mean values of 363,396 km at perigee to 405,504 km at apogee" (https://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/SEhelp/moonorbit.html). You could say half a million km for simplicity.

51:

She doesn't meet the conditions. She remained in human form in Carrot's bed until he went and opened the curtains. I agree this is a problem, but IIRC that moon is self-luminous rather than reflective, so maybe there's the key.

52:

By the psychic consensus hypothesis it's not so much whether the moon or sun are above or below the horizon for any specific observer, as about whether a useful majority of people overall think they are. In this regard it is important that Earth's land masses are nearly all round one side, and we are discussing werewolves according to a basically European model, ie. one that originated in an area roughly in the middle of that side, so local midnight occurs more or less when the largest majority of people think it's at least some sort of night.

One might therefore expect that among American werewolves, especially those in more isolated regions on the western side, there is some bias towards transforming a bit on the early side, while Chinese ones may exhibit some delay, but there doesn't seem to be enough accurate transformation timing data to make a proper analysis, presumably because anyone making the observation tends to get eaten shortly afterwards. (Much the same problem exists in the study of the mid-Pacific monthly blooms of flesh-eating plankton.)

53:

What weird Lovecraftian geometry causes any random rock body, when fully sunlit, to trigger lycanthropy?
Good question. On Earth, there are deities[1] (both female and male) closely associated with the Moon, and various religious calendars are lunar rather than solar. Does the geometry create/sustain the deities, too? And why are lycanthropic phenotype shifts associated with the full moon rather than the new moon? (And why not both?)

[1] Allegedly, for the atheists among us. :-)

54:

I've got a science-y no-they-re-not-a-werewolf, but you'll have to wait until I find a published for our novel Gray Dog.

Hopefully, you have no weird American affliction of disdain for anyone of French origin.

55:

Previous discussions on here have mentioned a different weird American affliction regarding the pronunciation of certain British place names.

I am now wanting to normalise one afflicted pronunciation by using it in my yet-unwritten bestseller about a colony of immigrant French werewolves a few miles north of Leicester, titled "The Loughborough Loups-Garoux".

56:

Charlie suggested: "A Moon other than Earth's moon suffices." Why? That is, what is the underlying rule that causes a subplanetary body to trigger the transformation?

Reflected light picks up some polarisation IIRC and that might be the trigger, or there may be some missing spectroscopic factors like UV which creates Vitamin D in humans on skin exposure. There is little or no UV in moonlight hence no Vit D production. Hey, a simple and cheap pharmaceutical preventative against lycanthropy!

Going father afield would a crewmember flying a lightsail/sunjammer be subject to the same problems as werewolf Collins experienced when he went cirumLunar? The sail's reflective surface would permanently subtend a lot more than 0.5 degrees as viewed from any attached capsule.

57:

Could lycanthropy be a tidal effect of some kind? It does depend on the relative positions of sun, Earth, and Moon.

58:

What happens when a werewolf goes through a Laundryverse gate to the plateau near the Sleeper?

59:

Earth-Moon werewolf triggers:

Does the apparent size of the full moon matter ... like a 'super moon'?

How about the moon's distance from the Earth which ranges from 225,623 to 252,088 miles away?

Can Fabry-Porot resonances add up/be re-inforced or amplified? If yes, under what conditions?

However ...
If this werewolf astronaut scenario occurred today then it is very likely that NASA via its many uni research lab affiliates would have come up with some sort of fMRI scan to detect which part of the werewolf's brain or other body part reacted/signaled immediately before, during and upon return to human form. Once the constituents and processes (including phases of the moon interactions) had been identified, implants and/or drugs would be used to control this region/reaction. (Note: If the transformation is indeed controlled by a brain region an fMRI could accidentally trigger and/or reset this mechanism as has been documented in a study among a group of schizophrenia patients. Therefore all werewolf astronauts interested in joining such a mission must be cautioned that by participating in this mission they risk losing any or all of their werewolf characteristics/abilities.)

Only ever saw one werewolf movie - think it said that transmission of the werewolf 'curse' was via saliva/bite - which makes me think it's likely a bacteria or virus. If so then there's a serious risk to the rest of the crew unless a vaccine can be found because even if all of the crew are wearing full spacesuits, given enough time the 'werewolf bacterial/viral load' would probably become large enough on any of capsule's/spaceship's surfaces. (Air filters/purifiers can only clean air, they cannot clean surfaces.)

Regardless, it would be prudent to have all crew members pre-screened for lycanophobia in addition to signing an NDA/security release prior to joining the mission. (It is assumed that the astronaut recruitment and training process ensures that all mission astronauts are able to tolerate stress well biologically/psychologically as extreme and especially prolonged stress is a well-documented factor in exacerbating adverse reactions to 'infection'.)

60:

“Conclusino: NASA should send a female werewolf to the Station to investigate all of these questions, all in microgravity.”
a) is a conclusino the fundamental particle the carries the donewithit force?
b) please, not again. The mess....

Also “. The German astronaut Reinhard Furrer was the payload specialist.”. Oh come on. Reynard the furry? Pull the other one, it’s got hobbits on...

Also “transmission of the werewolf 'curse' was via saliva/bite - which makes me think it's likely a bacteria or virus. ”
Oh dear, a non-virus, of course. Carefully tailored to humans by the aliens that built the so-called “moon”

61:

Bugger. “Nano-virus” of course.

62:

Well if you’d asked me this morning what I would be thinking about this evening, “do werewolves need to grow penis bones every time they change?” would not have been on the list (probably, I mean anything’s possible I suppose).

There is a question hidden here. Are we to assume that the subject has exactly two phases, one that closely resembles a consensus-normal human, and one that resembles a consensus-normal canis lupus? I mean because in that case wearing a space suit is right out. If not, is there some sort of third phase, a shaggy anthropomorphic with a snout, erect ears and a tail? Is this state transitional only, is it the target of the change from human, is it the usual state?

Also, there must be a way to bring Warren Zevon into this.

63:

There are a couple more points that jump out from the comments so far.

I think if the reference context has magic, then making a science vs magic distinction is meaningless: one is part of the other, although one may be “occulted” for some contexts.

Starting with the things we know, a full moon is a feature of a sun-planet-moon system and occurs when the moon is in opposition, a syzygy with the planet between the moon and the sun.

There is such a thing as an “opposition surge” which makes reflected light from the moon brighter when it is in opposition, but we’ve already been advised that the moon light itself is not required to trigger the change so, short of something where “hiding” is irrelevant, like neutrinos or something, which the moon would not be reflecting anyway, let’s rule that out as a factor.

Another thing about a full moon is that it is the only point in the lunar cycle when the moon is only visible at night.

I think “tidal” effects can also be ruled out, unless we interpret “tidal” very broadly. We’ve been told that the change is triggered when there is a full moon in the sky. That is, when the surface of the Earth is within a certain range of the centre of mass of the moon. Tides during lunar opposition are driven by a force trying to elongate the oceans in alignment with the syzygy, but we’re talking about a situation where the effect is from moonrise (around sunset) to moonset (around sunrise), which affects subjects on the surface out of this linear alignment. That means there are certain facts of geometry at work in our context. The surface of the earth is within a certain range from the lunar centre of mass, and outside a certain range from the solar centre of mass (slightly further than the distance between the solar centre of mass and the earth’s centre of mass). So we can perhaps say that magic takes over in these conditions? Without knowing what the magic is, we may have trouble making predictions. But we can make analogies.

A werewolf on the CSM would be subject to the change at all times they are within a radius from the centre of mass of the moon that is similar to the distance between the centre of mass of the moon and the centre of mass of the Earth (therefore containing all the places on Earth that can “see” the moon), so long as they are also outside a certain radius from the centre of mass of the sun that is slightly larger than the distance between the centre of mass of the sun and the centre of mass of the Earth. This means not at all if the module orbits a new moon, all the time if it is a full moon, and for quarter moons, around half of each orbit of the moon and if a space suit is required for re-entry, then the timing would need to be very careful.

64:

I amm being very good, and will treat myself to a GoodBoy!® Doggy-chocolate reward when the moon is full, for not repeating the most toxic responses I gave on Twitter before it occurred to me to come here.

However...

"Also... We're-WHAT? Could be 'Wolf' is just Luna; Phobos and Deimos, werepoodle and werechihuahua; Ganymede, some ancient prehuman evil; Io, the sulphuric were-amoeba; Callisto, the werecheese; and Saturn's rings... A were-eusocial-insect-superorganism"

There are limits to the evils I can perpetrate within the fixed length of a tweet, but I am attracted by the idea that different celestial bodies bestow differing blessings and curses.

So: differerent transformations, for each different moon; and decreasingly mammalian as the distance increases from Earth. And each object lends something of its character to the transformation; but not necessarily in a way that corresponds to human perceptions - hence the sulphuric protozoan transformation associated with Io.

Fragmented objects would be very messy: the swarm superorganisms associated with the Greek and Trojan asteroid clusters at the Jovian lagrange points are nasty, but what of Saturn's rings?

Bacteria do very strange things, to the point of building distinct structures with tubing and expressing a completely different 40‰ of their genome, when living as a cooperating colony instead of living as an independent individual. What kind of mind or madness would that have, with a human brain and personality redistributed through it?

The crew of a Saturn mission might go looking for a 'disappeared' mission specialist, not realising that the thin sheen of moisture on the walls, and lumpy dust with sticky strands in it, hidden out of sight in cable runs and grotty little nooks and crannies of the ship, is actually self-aware and watching them.

Hopefully, it is not the ravening wolf of mediaeval folklore, and satisfies itself with skin flakes, hair, and specks of sputum floating in the cabin: perhaps the ship and its air are very, very clean indeed, with an unseen crew member hard at work, and the spacesuits are miraculously fresh and free of sweaty odours after every EVA.

Perhaps, and perhaps not.

What would their hidden crewmate whisper to them in the night, while their skin was itching and they gradually lost weight, despite the careful dietary monitoring and increasingly intrusive health advice from Mission Control?

65:

Damian
That is, when the surface of the Earth is within a certain range of the centre of mass of the moon
AND the Priamry-facing surface of the moon is FULLY ILLUMINATED.
It's not just the proximity of the moon, its the 3-body problem of orientation, isn't it?

66:

And how about female weres, anyway?

This is a significant plot point in the Kitty Norville novels by Carrie Vaughn, where it turns out that lycanthropic regeneration has its limits: a fetus can't survive transformation and so no female lycanthrope is ever more than a few weeks pregnant.

67:

For etymological consistency, a female specimen should be called a wifewolf. (Don't expect this convention to catch on any time soon.)

68:

... there's a serious risk to the rest of the crew unless a vaccine can be found because even if all of the crew are wearing full spacesuits, given enough time the 'werewolf bacterial/viral load' would probably become large enough on any of capsule's/spaceship's surfaces.

One might think so. But is it really?

Consider the culture of safety at NASA and the great measures they were willing to take after the Apollo 1 fire. Nobody wanted to lose any more astronauts, they had a literally astronomical budget, and there's very little silver in an Apollo capsule. It stands to reason the flight crews were all werewolves. *grin*

69:

That should be “when the position of the subject on the surface of the Earth is within a certain range”, my error, I felt it was already getting too wordy.. But you’re right, I forgot to include the Earth’s centre of mass as part of the system. Though I’m not sure how to account for it... if it must be at that specific distance for magic to happen, then we have no magic in spaaaace, which is boring.

We are tentatively ruling out illumination as a factor because relying on it seems to break one of the stated laws. I suspect we could rules-lawyer around that a bit, but that’s where I left it.

The full moon also the point when the Earth is closest to the L1 for the combined Earth-moon system relative to the sun. The moon’s L4 and L5 would be outside the range of the moon that I suggest would trigger The Change and could be seen as safe from (or safe for) space werewolves. We clearly need to send a werewolf up to test this experimentally.

70:

Lycanthropy transformations are triggered by a particular geometry of spacetime involving massive bodies tracing circles about one another. The light is a symptom, not a cause -- photons trace null geodesics -- so blocking it doesn't help. If the gravity wells are very dissimilar the effect cannot happen: man made satellites are too small to bend spacetime enough, and Pluto/Charon is probably OK for werewolves to visit.

When you pass from the gravitational influence of the Earth to the Moon there may be strange effects at the boundary. The sign may flip: Collins' lycanthropy might be triggered the other way, so it only happens when he's on the far side of the Moon from the Earth rather than between Earth and Moon.

The Jupiter system may be too complicated a magical spacetime geometry for us to predict accurately -- even solving the 3 body problem is tough.

Utter nonsense in our world but might sound a little plausible in the Laundryverse?

71:

(Alto to erturs #70): see #26. Seeing a full moon (or not seeing, for a total eclipse) is almost equivalent to being at the lower limit of the moon/sun distance. I would have to do more work to calculate what sort of distance law would match that - or either of you could.

So what we REALLY need is a controlled experiment to see whether werewolves remain changed during a total lunar eclipse, to determine if it is light or 'forces' that control it :-)

72:

Not strictly related to Charlie's question, but a beautiful (and mildly scary) visualization of asteroid sizes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bSkPNMjRRio

Returning to the actual question, it occurs to me we could cobble together a Lovecraftian explanation that has both vague scientific plausibility and magical/mystical plausibility: when the moon is not "occulted" (sorry*), the space-time geometry is twisted in just the right way to open a gateway to a Lovecraftian parallel universe, thereby allowing some of its weirdness or some of its occupants to leak into our universe. Once there, they can corrupt those who are unfortunate enough to have a genetic mental or physiochemical weakness that makes them vulnerable. Said corrupting organisms would likely be able to sense their doorway closing, and return home before it traps them here. Our universe is probably not a very comfortable place for them, given the mismatched laws of (meta)physics. When they return, the wolf transformation ends. If we postulate that this happens on a roughly monthly schedule, this could explain the correlation** between bouts of lunacy and the full moon.

* No, I suppose I'm not.

** Spurious, but we're talking fiction here, so...

This eliminates the need to calculate the perceived size of the moon or its distance, not to mention issues related to perception or not of moonlight and the spectral characteristics thereof, and also answers another question: Would the phenomenon occur for other moons? Yes, if we set an arbitrary minimum mass required to open the gateway (let's say the mass of Luna for the sake of tradition) or an arbitrary relative mass (a ratio of moon to planetary surface greater than or equal to that of Luna) and an arbitrary geometry (the moon must be positioned such that it is fully irradiated when seen from the planetary surface (i.e., full).

73:

I don't see that pregnancy and birth is a massive problem, anyway. A wolf has a gestation period of c. 1/4 that of a human so, if they are changed for 5% of the time (3 nights a month), that reduces the period by only about 10 days. Similarly for post-natal development. Their litters are 4-7 pups of c. 1 pound (often for a smaller animal than a human), whereas humans have 1-2 of 5-10 pounds, and both are born essentially helpless. A birth of c. 3 babies/pups of c. 2 pounds (and an intermediate initial brain size) would be very plausible.

74:

Apropos The Bag, Jason Torchinsky (the best thing about Jalopnik bar none) hacked one together and did some experimental shitting in it For Science.
https://jalopnik.com/i-took-a-dump-the-same-way-the-apollo-astronauts-did-an-1836637152

75:

I don't see that pregnancy and birth is a massive problem, anyway...

Pregnancy for a wolf is relatively straightforward; pregnancy for a human is a bit more complicated for various physiological reasons but millions of women manage it every year.

But a wolf's womb can't support a human placenta or vice versa. The female narrator of the series missed out on proper werewolf sex education and it's several books into the series before another werewolf explains to her why female lycanthropes sometimes have irregular or heavy periods and what that means.

Unfortunately for Kitty's hopes of having a family hers is one of the settings where on the full moon a lycanthrope must transform, willing or not.

76:

Or we could just go with Poul Anderson's old explanation, which was it was moonlight triggering therioanthromorphic magic. In his setting for Operation Chaos and Operation Luna, weres were spotted when young (it was genetic and noncommunicable) and trained early on to get control over the transformation, using a flashlight that precisely mimicked the light of the full moon. So they could go out on nights of the full moon without transforming, and transform when they desired by hiding under a blanket and turning the wereflash on.

That really is the simplest explanation, sadly.

Scientists were studying moonlight in the 19th Century, because, once they discovered spectroscopy, they wanted to use moonlight to determine what the Moon was made of. Indeed, Svante Arrhenius used some of these data to derive the primary climate change equation that relates changes in Earth's temperature to changes in CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere. He used data from the moonlight spectroscopists because they had to subtract out the spectroscopic data of what was in Earth's atmosphere to figure out what moonlight was telling them about the Moon's composition.

If lycanthropy is triggered by the characteristic spectrum of moonlight shining through Earth's atmosphere, then Collins probably won't be triggered by it, or by the light of any other moon, or by walking on the Moon's surface, because the other necessary component (Earth's atmosphere filtering the light) is modified by the glass between him and the moon. I'd also add that if he has voluntary control over the transformation, then the bigger question is whether being shut up in a tiny ship will trigger his transformation (out of boredom, fear, or psychotic break), not what the moon has to do with it.

77:

Reflected light picks up some polarisation IIRC and that might be the trigger

That was the explanation in Poul Anderson's Operation Chaos (and sequels).

78:

Well, yes and no. Thing is, it's the atmosphere that's polarizing the light (through Rayleigh scattering, IIRC), so both sunlight and moonlight are polarized. That's why I went with the composition of the light, not its polarity.

Anyway, everything from bees to Vikings with calcite sunstones have used polarized sunlight to find the sun on a cloudy day and navigate therefrom. If you have polarized sunglasses, you can do it too. Under some circumstances, you can even see the direction of light polarization bare-eyed (Haidinger's Brush) but it's hard to see even on a white background (I've seen the brush, and it's around the size of a 10-point letter), so it's not that useful for navigation.

So if werewolves were sensitive to polarized light (mechanism is, what, polarized lenses in their eyes?), then either they couldn't wear polarized sunglasses (they could be blinding through cross polarization), or putting on sunglasses and staring at dark pavement (same luminosity as the moon) would trigger a transformation. While it's a fun idea to play with, the ramifications get kinda weird, because as soon as the sunglasses fell off the werewolf's transforming snout, he'd change back again.

79:

This brings up silver. What about platinum? palladium? Silver toned plastics?

Why does silver interfere with werewolf regeneration? Can this be immunized against?

Does turning werewolf suppress the endorphins, and that's why they're all so irritated and depressive? Can this effect be ameliorated?

80:

The question is whether the full-moon does the trick by itself or whether it triggers something else which does the trick. That is - poor example - does the night-blooming jasmine respond to the full moon by exuding some kind of pheromone which is responsible for the transformation? (Paging Heteromeles?)

If we're postulating something like V-parasites or K-syndrome being triggered by "a full moon" then you need to think about what that means in environmental terms? Do they seek to breed (by biting someone) every 29 days? Is breeding triggered by an outside signal? If so, which human sense are they monitoring regarding timing? Would the necessary stimulus actually exist in space (if the night-blooming jasmine isn't present.)

Is it really a curse? If so, how was the curse phrased? What happens if the lunar module is inside a protective magical circuit? (This would almost certainly be true in the Laundry-verse, also a spacesuit based protective circuit.) Maybe the problem with Apollo 13 was a breakdown in magical containment?

81:

Ya know, it's worth reading ol' Wikipedia on the subject of Werewolves. As with zombies and vampires, the depictions of them from Hollywood don't do justice to the traditions.

To give an example, here's the famous poem from The Wolf Man (1941)

"Even a man who is pure in heart
And says his prayers by night
May become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms
And the autumn moon is bright."

Sounds like we have ourselves a trigger, right? Wolfbane (Genus Aconitum) blooms in the summer. Idiot screenwriters. If they'd got their wife's gardening book out first, they could have filmed in the summer...

Anyway, the every full moon thing apparently first got going in Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943), where the Full Moon shining on Larry Talbot's body revives him (as the wolf man) when grave robbers remove the wolfbane he was buried with....Actually that's a slightly more interesting plot summary than I thought it would be, but still, but basically The Beast is immortal in the moonlight, and Talbot's along for the ride. Sounds like nanotechnology to me.

Quite honestly, the discussion of how it might work is right up there with figuring out how light sabers work, but we've got to keep it up for another 20 entries or so per blog rules. Then we can talk about the "real" werewolves, like the Navajo Skinwalkers, Chumash Bear Doctors, or Kanaima of the Wapshana people of Guyana (the last are real, as one went after an anthropologist studying the tribe. They're what you get when you mix shamanism with a fetish for transgressive violence.).

If Collins happened to be a werewolf more in the skinwalker tradition, having him piloting the capsule would be sort of like having Charles Manson as your expedition safety officer. Involuntary shapeshifting is *not* what you have to worry about.

82:

Somebody seems to have done that experiment already: the conditions as stated say that the moon must be full and uneclipsed. Unless I've missed some crucial bit in someone's reply, all of the hypothesised mechanisms based on geometry and orbital mechanics and similar fail to predict that.

The mechanisms based around spectral qualities, polarisation, etc fail to predict another point given in the stated conditions: that the werewolf can't avoid transformation by hiding from the moonlight.

All the data we have on werewolves relates to terrestrial, planet-bound ones. We don't even know if they are possible elsewhere, let alone how their transformation behaves (after all, that's pretty much what the question is about) - the conditions regarding the visual angle subtended by moons other than the familiar one are speculative reapplications of the constraints that seem to be important here, not actual observational data.

I still think the psychic consensus hypothesis is the only one so far that does not contradict any of the known data. The particular conditions it demands - such as a planet with nearly all the land round one side - are not an undue restriction, since they are true in the one case we actually know about.

83:

They've got it wronger than that. The point about wolfsbane is that it's a bane to (were)wolves. (And other things too, but it's not named for them.) It's what you use for getting rid of them, like fleabane is what you use for getting rid of fleas. Having it for something that makes them appear is completely back to front.

84:

I actually didn't see it that way. Were a using that verse as the basis for a lycanthropy curse, I'd want the werewolf to be triggered in the presence of something that could kill it.

Here's the kicker: if you're Christian, you probably believe that humans are unique in having souls. Animals don't have souls. By turning a Christian into an animal, you deprive them of their soul. By making it a contagious curse, you widen the chaos by destroying souls left and right. If you're a certain kind of evil, this looks like a desirable property of the curse, does it not?

85:

"if you're Christian, you probably believe that humans are unique in having souls. Animals don't have souls."

Well... FSVO. I don't believe that, and personal observation doesn't support "probably". But I accept the argument as relating to people who do, and also that such people used to be a lot more common than they are now.

The "curse" model has always evaded my awareness pretty much. The model that naturally suggests itself to me is "contagion", similar to rabies. But of course that too is a distinction which has not always been so clearly separated as it generally is now.

86:

I forgot to add the key point about the wolfbane blooming, assuming that the plant actually kills werewolves:

Making it easier to for someone to kill a Christian who, through a curse, has been deprived of their soul, is pretty evil. They don't even get to go to Hell, they're gone. It's even if the curse is contagious, so that to stop the spread, those living with victims of the curse, their friends, lovers, family members, and so forth, have to kill them to save themselves. Making the curse happen only when the monster(s) can be killed by the plant triggering it...

Nasty stuff indeed. If not for the "fact" that the gypsies who enact these curses tend to get massacred by the werewolves they create with them, I'd suggest that it's quite a vengeance to visit on a community of your enemies. Probably just as well that the curse tends to backfire dramatically.

87:

You have just shed light on a longstanding puzzle in lycanthropology: the occasional “dry moon.” But since that phenomenon varies among subjects it would appear that 30’ of arc is an average, but each individual has their own value. Perhaps those who suffer are at the tail end of a normal distribution, and all humans would be lycanthropes if the moon were 10% closer.

88:

This says the brush is 3-5 degrees: Haidinger's Brush - How to see polarization with the naked eye !!! (So does the wikipedia article.)
And what I see is about 5 degrees, faint yellowish lobes dominant/faint blue lobes barely noticeable, using the LCD monitor approach mentioned in the Wikipedia article. Confirmed that the monitor has a polarizer with polarized sunglasses.
Fun. Have seen it before but never bothered to characterize it. (Failure of curiosity; slaps past selves.)
Anyway, I agree that polarization of moonlight is unlikely to be causally related to lycanthropic transformations.

89:

Geoff Hart above has mentioned asteroids. Well! There are many (almost four hundred at present count) binary asteroids (and several triples). This suggests that a test mission could be sent by ESA or NASA far more quickly and cheaply to a binary asteroid (a "minor planet Moon" per wiki, so the terminology fits as well.) (And we could avoid the hazardous and possibly confounding effects of radiation in the Jovian system.) The quickest missions might involve a suitable Earth-crossing target. And there is 87 Sylvia, a main-belt triple whose moons have auspiciously been dubbed Romulus and Remus, whom as we all recall were suckled by a she-wolf.

90:

This brings up silver. What about platinum? palladium? Silver toned plastics?

I don't think Kitty and her friends ever checked. Silver and palladium are next to each other on the periodic table but there's not much reason to think they're interchangeable any more than silver and cadmium. Going vertically through Group 11 gives copper, silver, and gold; certainly someone would have noticed if werewolves reacted to copper.

Does turning werewolf suppress the endorphins, and that's why they're all so irritated and depressive? Can this effect be ameliorated?

In Kitty's world this seems to be an answer in two parts. Proximity to the change does get the hormones going so lycanthropes will be twitchy around the full moon anyway. (Consider how many reasonable 40 year olds were assholes at 17.) Also, people prone to excessively physical outbursts, antagonizing potentially dangerous opponents, and/or running around the wilderness at night are the ones most likely to have a life-changing werewolf encounter.

91:

One: The Moonlet of Discworld glows because of the plant-life on it ... I think
Two: Wolfsbane Aconitum napellus Wiki article here is deadly poisonous to just about everything ... but then, AFAIK with one exception all of the family the Ranununculacea ( Buttercups ) are poisonous
The exception is "love-in-a-mist" Nigella sp. whose seeds are used as a spice

92:

Apollo 11 went around the far side of the Moon before the lander was released, right?

Collins (after radio blackout ends): "Houston, we have a problem. We had an explosive decompression and Neil and Buzz are dead. Should I go ahead with the landing?"

93:

Elderly Cynic @ 25: I don't know if they had them then, but external catheters (for men) are available, and largely problem-free.

They had them. I'm pretty sure that's how they connected to the urine tube.

94:

Nojay @ 31: The "Motorman's Friend", IIRC.

Featured prominently in the film Semi-Tough

95:

If you want to highlight the potential of the moon missions as an extension of the surveillance state, astronaut-werewolves proved able to withstand however many degrees of moonlight as were necessary. Michael Collins became explicitly a symbol of American power, his retention of reason a statement of Progress.

Yet astronauts can rely on being prone to sudden and spectacular destruction as a matter of routine, even in their leisure time- Furrer was later to die in an airshow crash. I'm not sure that their societal condition lends itself to lycanthropy, as it also allows them to perform their normal tasks when under the monstrous attention of an entire planet.

Of course there were only three men in the spacecraft. The other response is that if you search the vital place, humanity would not tolerate both extension to the moon and psychiatric experimentation. The political consequences are still with us, as we struggle from the pyramids of the centralised media and the grasp of the clonies. 'Today a doctor must watch over those condemned to death, right up to the last moment.'

I can't pay no doctor bill
(but Whitey's on the moon)

Why does Rice play Texas? When the wolfsbane bloomed- in 1988 and 1989?

96:

"The use of werewolves as an FTL signaling mechanism" is what happens when "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas" gets rewritten as werewolf fanfic.

97:

@95:
I was there for Kennedy's speech. Many years later I worked at NASA for about a year.

Why does Rice play Texas?
1. They were in the same conference and contractually obliged to play.
2. Houston was the biggest city in the conference, and with the largest number of Texas alumni. So the game was always profitable.
3. Rice was the best academic school in the conference, so this was the big chance for the Longhorns to see anybody smart :)

I know nothing about wolfsbane - please clarify the reference.

98:

I'm still stuck on werewolves not being able to hide from moonlight, yet not shifting when the moon is on the other side of the Earth. So whatever it is that triggers the transformation must come from the moon and can penetrate buildings and caves and stuff like that, but not the whole planet, and we haven't detected it directly yet.

I think this mystery can only be solved like all great physics mysteries: By positing weakly-interacting particles. They pass through small amounts of non-werewolf matter with low probability of interaction, but not so low that they don't get absorbed after passing through a few hundred miles of matter. However, they interact with werewolf matter and, with sufficient intensity, trigger the change.

Something on the surface of the moon must generate these particles when struct by emissions from the sun. If the sunlit area of the moon faces away from the earth, these particles are absorbed during their passage through the moon, reducing the flux at the Earth's surface. Thus transformations only occur during a full moon, and only on the part of the earth facing the moon, which will be the night side when the geometry is right for a full moon.

Because werewolves aren't triggered by the part of the Earth that is in sunlight, we can conclude that either (1) the Earth does not have whatever mysterious material generates the weakly-interacting lycanthropic particles (WILPs), or (2) the solar emission (electromagnetic waves or energetic particles) are absorbed by the atmosphere before they can reach the WILP-generating matter.

Thus, to answer the first question, Collins will turn as soon as he is close enough to the sunlit portion of the moon to receive a high enough WILP flux, probably early during the approach, given the sharp curve of the inverse square law, and then whenever the command module is over the lunar dayside.

Answering the second question will require understanding more about the WILP-producing mechanism and the composition of the celestial bodies involved. It may be that the Jovian system is too far from the sun.

99:

I like that. It seems to be the first non-psychic explanation that handles eclipses properly.

It also allows to explain why werewolves don't change in the presence of sunlit moon-like rocks on Earth, without the problems of spectral hypotheses and similar: the atmosphere absorbs enough UV that the secondary emission is not significant, or the emissive mechanism is blocked by traces of water, or something along those (very general) lines.

100:

If a specific lunar-Earth alignment opens a doorway to some other universe allowing demons, alien critters and/or alien cosmic rays in that cause 'werewolf' transformation among susceptible humans then we need NASA to find out what kind of light/EM reaction could cause chemical bonds to change or break so that a commonly circulating hormone gets altered into something that acts like mega-minoxidil because even if the stimulus is magical it is nevertheless producing a 'real' biochemical effect. If you can figure out the biochem mechanism, you can control the 'magic'.

BTW --- According to Wikipedia werewolf syndrome is associated with cancer, some cancer therapy drugs, as well as the very common (OTC) male-pattern baldness cure (minoxidil, which a happens to be a very strong vasodilator). However the article doesn't say whether people exhibiting these symptoms are more or less likely to survive cancer. If more likely to survive, then the 'curse' is a blessing except that any deal with the devil has a hitch.

101:

And if your window to the other universe allows a stream of 4- or 5-quark particles to enter, how would this affect 3-quark biochemistry?

102:

I like the idea that something crashed on the moon, a long time ago, and when hit by sunlight it emits 'WILP's....

103:

Another possibility is that whatever signalling device on the Moon is triggering Lycanthropes on Earth, it is solar powered and stuck in a crater on the Moon where the sun only reaches during the full Moon. If we could locate the crater and destroy the device, we could make lycanthropy a thing of the past.

104:

Please. DAW just rejected the novel, so I'm back to looking, And yes, it's complete.

On the other hand, I have only one thing to say about your unwritten story:
"..a guru"
"What's an uguru?"
Michael Kurland, Unicorn Girl

105:

OUOOOOO, wereworlves of KSC!

And, of course, their hair is... *perfect*.

106:

An alternate possibility is that it needs there needs to be a certain relationship to the center of mass of the Earth-Moon system (which is about 1k mi under the surface of the Earth. Once he's well beyond that radius, it won't work.

Or another thought: it's only in the last century, century and a half that we could actually SEAL, hermetically, a door. We need put a werewolf into an airtight chamber, perhaps on a sub under water, and see if they change.

107:

Now that leads to a completely new question: are there werewolves that were born while the mother was a were? If so, do they turn into humans during the full moon?

108:

My thought is copper or nickel silver or gold - is it a level of electrical conductivity that's relevent here?

109:

I presume it depends on the cancer. I have a lot of hair on my chest, back, and upper legs and arms (it all fell down from the top of my head, that's my story, and I'm sticking to it) and I survived cancer, but that was one they could cure.

110:

I have an unpleasant thought concerning werewolves.

Let's think back to days of yore. Y'know, where there was a Jewish prayer thanking God (tm) for not making you a woman. Where women were separated, and put in special houses (cross-cultural there) during their period. And the lunar and period cycle being similar.

I don't suppose it could be a metafour (or metafive) about a man with a "woman's curse".

111:

Days of yore being 1943? Check out #81 above: the whole idea that each full moon triggers the transformation dates back to the second Wolf Man movie. It's a relatively modern notion. I'm puzzled that guys can be so unobservant as to think that every woman has the same menstrual cycle, and they all get their periods on the night of the full moon. Puh-leeze.

Lycanthropy comes from (among other things):
--Some forms of what's currently known as shamanism, both the curing and violent kind (violent kind being things like the California Bear Doctors, Navajo Skinwalkers, the Kanaima, possibly the Berserkers).
--clinical lycanthropy
--Inadvertent exposure to hallucinogens like ergot in a Medieval setting (go dig up the texts)
--"The Hounds of God"
--Rabies
--Lone Wolves killing livestock (or humans) and being impossible to kill
--Folklore about divine shapeshifting.
--A lot of interesting folklore where people play with transgressing the boundaries between human and non-human and obliterating both the humanity of the shapeshifter, and the shapeshifters obliterating the humanity of their victims, either through infecting them (a less common version) or the way they are killed (skinwalkers, kanaima).

Werewolves are complicated.

112:

It's a pity the Ruby-Spears research files from 1978 turned out to have been falsified.

113:

This has brought up a couple of thoughts:
1) Surely the Black Chamber would have been able to come up with some shielding for the CM to prevent Collins from transforming? (Presumably something that would be difficult to shrink to spacesuit size, which is why he never got to land on the moon). Perhaps silver plating the exterior? Gold foil was used as thermal shielding, silver probably wouldn't have been as good, but would still have had some effect.
2) Can moons be artificial? Would the sight of the CM orbiting overhead, have been enough to trigger the transformation in an afflicted astronaut (or cosmonauts I suppose) on the lunar surface?

And finally:
"external catheters (for men) are available, and largely problem-free."
Astronauts have run into a few problems with these, (even before we bring lycanthropy into things.) Firstly, there's the sizing problem. Astronauts are very competitive people, and this extends to all things, including penis size. (This has lead to NASA renaming their different sized catheters "L, XL, and XXL"), so most male astronauts will try to pick a catheter size which, ahem, 'does not have an optimal fit'. Secondly, even if they pick a size on the ground which does fit well, the stresses of launch can cause changes in penis size which lead to the urine collection device not performing well (ie it falls off and the piss goes in your suit). That (and the fact that ~50% of modern astronauts don't own a penis) is why modern astronauts use nappies/diapers.
(See "Riding Rockets" by Mike Mullane, and "Packing for Mars" by Mary Roach for more information than you ever knew you wanted on astronaut bodily functions).
And finally and somewhat back on topic, from "Packing for Mars": "Among the 106 items left on the moon’s surface by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin are four urine collection assemblies – two large and two small. Who wore which remains a matter of conjecture."

114:

Larry Niven had weres being animals that turned into humans in the Magic Goes Away universe (so when the magic faded they ended up as animals).

115:

May I further chip in a suggestion that perhaps the lack of lycanthropic activity noted in the modern world is due to the moon being farther out (and thus subtending a smaller angle in the night sky) than it once did (due to tidal drag boosting its orbit). Perhaps we've actually passed below the threshold needed to trigger transformation and only by placing a latent werewolf closer to the moon that the surface of the earth is it possible to trigger the condition :).

116:

The problem with that idea is that the variation in distance to the moon during the year (about 40,000 km) is somewhat larger than the distance it has receded in recent times (about 40 km in the last million years).

Or in other words, putting your lycanthrope on top of a decent sized mountain has more of an effect than lunar recession over all human recorded history.

117:

So, are you suggesting that the article or two I've read over the years, written by women, that have talked about how when several women share living quarters, their periods slowly drift to align?

118:

You are inventing factoids. The simple fact is that women's and lunar cycles have been associated in common usage for millennia, by both sexes - indeed, that is precisely the classical association of "menses". Facts are irrelevant in this context.

119:

The wolfsbane reference is from earlier in the discussion, it was observed that as wolfsbane was claimed to be a cure for lycanthropy, its bloom would be an odd signal for the appearance of the curse. There was a medical angle to the first televised candidates debate in 1960, Kennedy's victory was partly ascribed to Nixon being underweight and sweaty from a recent hospitalisation for staph. It was Kennedy who was dependent on illicit narcotics, though. Television always seems to like parallels.

I was curious why Kennedy chose Rice to make his speech on the Apollo missions, was Rice considered on a par with universities like Purdue or M.I.T.? The teams hadn't met that frequently up to the speech, with the record tied. Afterwards they played more often and Texas won repeatedly?

I understand that the founder of Rice, William Marsh Rice, had wanted to contribute to education in Texas, yet not to the then-new University of Texas- perhaps because the existing benefactor George Washington Brackenridge had been a Civil War profiteer? Rice's bequest was altered shortly before he died, suspiciously shortly, and his valet, butler and lawyer were convicted of murder and forging his will. It occurred to me that there aren't many universities founded by a murdered man?

120:

Nixon being underweight and sweaty from a recent hospitalisation for staph

Apparently Nixon also refused the attention of a professional makeup artist, while Kennedy didn't.

121:

Well, in this case, you can easily check your facts, there being a Wikipedia article on Menstrual synchrony, aka the McClintock Effect". The key sentence: "A 2013 review concluded that menstrual synchrony likely does not exist." Here's a link to the review article, and you can find a researchgate version of it if you want to read it.

Most of the women I've known whom I knew well enough to know their menstrual cycles were not particularly regular, nor was their average period 29.5 days (the lunar cycle), although it was generally somewhere in that vicinity. That's a small and non-random sample. The bigger point is that there are known problems with Martha McClintock's original work.

122:

That's a different thing. The whole reason it's called "menstruation" is because the cycle takes roughly the same time as a lunar orbit; that's what the word means. People have been trying to find something more than coincidence in that for as long as there have been people.

The notion that the cycles are exactly the same and maintain a particular phase relationship is just the sort of thing I would expect to arise through the usual human tendency to twist observational data to argue black is white because it's neater that way.

The notion that the cycles of women in groups synchronise with each other is of course similarly able to arise through that tendency, but a hypothesis that different instances of a more or less private phenomenon correlate with each other has far less practical appeal than one that undermines that privacy by stating that there's a great big sign in the sky that tells you when it's happening, especially when there are men around.

123:

I'm starting to think that I need to mark up some of my posts, at least, like hypertext. I think I need special marks for "more or less", "approximately", and so forth. Maybe a special one that is for "THIS IS NOT AN EXACT AND PRECISE, TO THE HOUR".

124:

If it only requires that all of the sunlit side be visible to the subject, then the timing wouldn't necessarily be tied to the phase as seen from earth.
Otherwise, I think there needs to be an explanation why there's no effect when it's in sunlight and the phase isn't full moon as seen from Earth (say, more than one or two days before and after full moon).

125:

Probably someone who's good at modeling can set up a scheme wherein individuals have a cycle that's between, oh, 27 and 33 days (30 +/- 3), with a period that lasts 4-6 days starting on day one of the cycle. They can run a simulation with N=3000, sample for random 3-6 period stretches, and see how often batches of several hundred have overlapping periods for three month stretches in a row (overlapping meaning they're active on a particular day, not that they all start and stop together).

My guess is that this will turn up frequently enough to make someone think that the sampled subset are simultaneously going into synch. In fact, it's just random sampling of an imprecise cycle with 10% variation on how long it lasts.

I agree that menstrual cycles were and are measured, because that kind of knowledge is important for both having children and not having children. What I disagree with are the notions that women's menstrual cycles synchronize, that menstrual cycles have anything to do with lunar phase, and most especially that they have anything to do with lycanthropy.

126:

I don't need to - I know that perfectly well. What you are imagining is that men are confused by it. As Pigeon and I are pointing out, the issue is FICTION, and hence the 'tropes' that people use, where women's and lunar cycles have been associated since time immenorial. It is completely irrevelant whether they are actually biologically or statistically associated.

And, as far as what you say in #125, that modelling is trivial - it is why 'sunspot cycles' got invented and is probably why women's and lunar cycles are associated in common usage. But the fact that it may be (and probably is) an imaginary BIOLOGICAL linkage remains irrelevant to whether they are linked in common usage.

127:

But the fact that it may be (and probably is) an imaginary BIOLOGICAL linkage remains irrelevant to whether they are linked in common usage.

It is, of course, worth checking with various menstruating individuals (of whatever gender) to see how much this trope matters to them. I do wonder whether the idea that women turn into man-eating monsters while menstruating might be just a wee bit problematic, even if it has been exploited by at least one cartoon I'm aware of.

128:

The birthday paradox?

In my limited sampling many women have a fairly regular cycle but the lengths are not the same. So there's a lot of beat frequencies as well, although in most cases the beat intervals are long.

(hmm, the language here is almost as problematic as discussing board games, where I would regularly give my ex the savage thrashing that she obviously deserved. Something that she has mentioned she misses... I am waiting for the new boyfriend to react to "I need to go and visit my ex because I miss the way he beats me").

129:

women turn into man-eating monsters while menstruating

One friend at uni used to say that she had enormous boobs, on the basis that "some breast tenderness can be expected" and the whole front of her rib-cage used to ache like a bitch when she was pre-menstrual. She was otherwise flat-chested.

I've seen/heard considerable gossip on both subjects, and the consensus seems to be that it is enormously fun to talk about in some situations. But for the most part that's where the fun side of pre-menstrual effects stops. Except for one woman I was involved with who was convinced that the best way to mitigate pre-menstrual cramping was a good deep orgasm. And if that didn't work it was because she hadn't had enough, or extreme enough, orgasms. As a ~20 year old boyfriend it was clearly not my place to object to being asked to help with that...

130:

In case you're wondering, the cartoon is man-eaters, and I don't know anything about it other than this review.

132:

According to Wikipedia werewolf syndrome is associated with cancer, some cancer therapy drugs, as well as the very common (OTC) male-pattern baldness cure (minoxidil, which a happens to be a very strong vasodilator). However the article doesn't say whether people exhibiting these symptoms are more or less likely to survive cancer ...

Another incident in the Kitty Norville books is when the protagonist's mother is diagnosed with hopefully-treatable cancer. Werewolves die of a lot of things, such as silver bullets, other werewolves, vampires, flaming demons, other werewolves again, lycanthropes of other types - but not cancer, because lycanthropic regeneration can handle that. She has an awkward conversation about her mother about contingency plans.

133:

Or another thought: it's only in the last century, century and a half that we could actually SEAL, hermetically, a door. We need put a werewolf into an airtight chamber, perhaps on a sub under water, and see if they change.

Ooh, that is an original idea! It might not have needed to wait that long, positing a scientifically minded investigator and cooperative werewolf.

Aristotle described the use of inverted kettles for diving back in the 4th century BC but diving bells as we know them today weren't perfected until the 17th century (for example, the early salvage work on the Vasa). Once the technology was commonly available it wouldn't be unreasonable to try it for werewolf containment. Too, after air replenishment systems were thought up circa 1690 experimenters could try that to see if moonlit air made a difference.

134:

With the note that I am picking numbers as "easy to work with" rather than "particularly observationally accurate", sunspot_cycle is REM (calendar_year / 11) = 0 is probably "about right", but that means there is more sunspot activity in years when the function evaluates as True, rather than that there are only sunspots in those years.

135:

Wereanimals: input from "Irregular webcomic" https://www.irregularwebcomic.net/4197.html
"This diversion into discussing werewolves and the possibility of domesticating them is brought to you by an actual conversation I had with friends. All of these points were brought up in the conversation."

136:

it's only in the last century, century and a half that we could actually SEAL, hermetically, a door. Oh, really?
Proper vacuum sealing ... publicly demonstrated 8 May 1654
See HERE

137:

Hmm….If we put an antimoon in orbit opposite the moon, will that improve the outcome.

138:

Re: '... but not cancer, because lycanthropic regeneration can handle that. She has an awkward conversation about her mother about contingency plans.'

If the cancer is leukemia then the mother's hematologist would ask all of her family to undergo testing to find a best HLA match for a bone marrow transplant. The chief hematopathologist could get an interesting paper out of this which would of course trigger military spending on research re: how to trigger/stop this phenomenon. Guess that children of werewolves would be told to avoid donating blood.

A cancer-resistant astronaut would mean less worry about rocketship shielding (skin cancer).

139:

Re: Menstrual synchrony

Wouldn't convents and girls' boarding schools have records of this?

Ditto families where daughters shared bedrooms or even where the whole family slept in the same room? (My impression is that separate bedrooms per household individual only became common in the late 20th century.)

140:

Hmm. A moon/anti-moon collision (assuming the anti-moon is indeed made of antimatter) would probably be visible from the M31 galaxy, never mind the next solar system.

We're talking roughly 2% of Earth's mass of matter annihilation: that's pretty much a total solution to the werewolf problem everywhere in our solar system, even if we're not quite into supernova territory: we're liberating on the order of 1025 megatons in explosive terms, or about 1040 Joules in one go, so about a thousandth of a Type Ia supernova. Earth probably evaporates: Venus, Mercury, and Mars may well be ablated down to the core (depending on where they are in relation to Earth at the time): I'm guessing Jupiter and the outer planets survive, although their hair gets mussed ...

141:

Re: Earth-lunar werewolf triggers (cont'd)

Fictional backdrop ....

Musk's plan to launch a few hundred small, specially designed satellites acts as a shield as well as refracts the werewolf-making cosmic/nether-dimensional werewolf waves. These satellites would also have real-time monitoring-reacting capabilities in case whoever is transmitting these signals starts messing around with timing and strength. Also, if these signals are in fact a type of weapon, then these satellites might be able to collect and return fire - so a nice defensive/offensive weapon.

Connection to reality ...

To minimize launch weight, 'starshade' satellites have an umbrella design: vanes of reflective/refractive material open up once the satellite has reached its destination orbit.

https://www.space.com/25172-starshade-alien-earth-exoplanets-incredible-tech.html


142:

If the cancer is leukemia then the mother's hematologist would ask all of her family to undergo testing to find a best HLA match for a bone marrow transplant. The chief hematopathologist could get an interesting paper out of this which would of course trigger military spending on research re: how to trigger/stop this phenomenon. Guess that children of werewolves would be told to avoid donating blood.

It shouldn't be much of a spoiler to mention that we find out some military units have indeed been experimenting with werewolf troops. Indeed, military lycanthropy was handled every bit as responsibly as exposure to radiation... A quick look at the series synopsis will show you were that tidbit comes to light.

Since lycanthropy does seem to follow most of the usual rules for infections, it's a matter of discussion whether it could be cured or at least vaccinated against. This never happens during the book but it's one of those things people should never stop trying.

Imagine an emergency crew arriving at an accident scene to see someone bleeding out. The EMT might grab the lycanthropy syringe, inject the victim, and then just wrap up whatever bits are convenient; given food and rest the victim would eventually regenerate from their traumatic injuries and could be given the cure as convenient.

143:

The werewolf astronaut would be pretty useful to have around when the facehuggers and/or predators show up.
.
Going off on a tangent; Did anyone mention shapeshifters?
.
"Who ever heard of a liberal arts college as a setting for drama?" https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2020/02/25/who-ever-heard-of-a-liberal-arts-college-as-a-setting-for-drama/
"Imagine an academic dramedy that takes place in an isolated antarctic research station; we’re the closest thing to that you’re going to get, academic life enclosed in a tiny, remote bubble. We’ve already got a wild cast of extras to fill in the gaps, and all you need to do is add a CGI shapeshifting alien, and the story writes itself."

Actually, in academia eldritch horrors are nothing compared to your co-workers and management. But I digress...

144:

Re. Soldiers with transhuman abilities; Canadian author Peter Watts has already been there with "Crysis: Legion". Not as cool as supernatural abilities, but plenty alien biotech implanted in a mostly dead body.

145:

Re: ' ... military lycanthropy was handled every bit as responsibly as exposure to radiation..'

That article is chilling. Whoever thought that experimenting on uninformed soldiers (and then threatening them with everything up to a firing squad if they ever talked) was a monster. But seriously: who was the decision-maker for these tests?

146:

Didn't they call this (John Carpenter's) The Thing?

147:

Y'know, I misread that at first glance. I overwhelmingly support putting up an antimoron moon. Let's see, for a couple days a month, all the morons stop and use their brains, and set themselves up for the next month not to do stupid things....

148:

Sure - I can see it told from the point of view of some undergrad who's been hired to spend 9 mos as the trashman for the Antarctic base.

Unfortunately, the only monster suit available is a giant carrot, and that was fit for William Shattner....

149:

If your werewolf were to go there, Saturn has Janus and Epimetheus, moons which exchange orbits- aren't astronomers cruel? Saturn might be too lycanthrope-friendly for science, though?

There's an antimoon story which places a penal colony at L2 for enthusiastic psychiatric guards to smash the alterity out of Spartacus and the rest, though they weren't all Norwegian, pity. Also, the version of KL Aconit presented wasn't overtly claimed to support a geriatric politico-medical order and the virtualisation of a dying earth. There wasn't even a David Kelly unit as a tribute to degraded journalistic standards. Then again perhaps there's no need to elaborate, it didn't mention that it was an expensive technological alternative to lobotomising the wrong patient, either.

150:

My brother and his friends made a short called "Red Moon" about a Communist werewolf submarine captain about ten years back:
https://vimeo.com/37565848

Definitely a universe that doesn't follow the axioms stated at the beginning of this post.

151:

A metapolitical observation about werewolves etc., which I'd be interested to see comments on here. (1) Vampires really got big time in America during and after the 2008 Recession, as Wall Street was drinking the blood of Main Street in America. This being America, half the time in the Wall Street funded books, movies and TV shows the vampires were the good guys of course. (2) Then we had the zombie explosion, which began in 2010, as the Tea Party was stalking the American political scene, devouring the brains of a significant sector of the populace. (3) Then we get werewolves, who have not gotten nearly as big. What is noteworthy about werewolves is that in the TV shows etc., they all seem to be working class types, and they always truly hate the vampires, half the time they are at war with them. Hmmm...

152:

I could be wrong, but I got the impression that werewolves are kind of 5-10 years ago too, coinciding with the vampires. Certainly Universal movies' attempt to bring back the first shared universe of the monsters (Frankenstein, the Wolf Man, The Mummy, Godzilla, King Kong, etc.) has faltered except for the Kaiju.

Where we are at the moment is peak superhero, which also has some interesting subtexts about the wealthy and powerful.

Not sure what the next huge trend is, since it should already be here and I'm not wired in enough to see it.

If I had to guess, though, if we get into a time of pandemics, then superheroes, which tend to do best at big movies and big conventions, are going down big time. What plays well on smaller screens?

And if we're really unlucky, the next big thing will be films glorifying hybrid war spun up by national propaganda divisions.

153:

Apropos of nothing, after thinking that, if the President got Covid-19, that I hope he'd get the best of care, especially if the case turned serious (and do look up what I mean...), I found myself wondering (in a probably unworthy fashion) what covid-19's going to do to the 2020 election season. Hard to kiss babies through an N-95 face mask.

Oh well. There's no help from a cursory search of the 1918 influenza pandemic and what it did to that election.

154:

A couple of rich dudes have apparently got the funding quest under way to build one of those Amazon-style "solar generator" things in Queensland with the extension cord running off to Singapore. Somewhat larger than the ones Bezos sells to preppers, but the idea is the same - some solar panels, a battery, a control system, and an inverter. For those unfamiliar, 3.8Mm is a bit over 2000 miles, or almost the distance from the Canadian border to the Equator. Sadly that doesn't mean Canada could use Venezuelan solar power because the US is in the way.

https://theconversation.com/it-might-sound-batshit-insane-but-australia-could-soon-export-sunshine-to-asia-via-a-3-800km-cable-127612

155:

Oh well. There's no help from a cursory search of the 1918 influenza pandemic and what it did to that election.

No parallels are possible. The Spanish flu came hot on the heels of a disastrously expensive world war, and the war had already shut down much international trade. What we currently have is a 7x greater global population and an international trade system that even Trump's sanctions have barely dented (because Trump is too clueless to understand how to wreck the system he wants to wreck).

Random numbers: if the pandemic peaks at 60% of the population (some commentators are suggesting 70%), that means 4.5Bn cases. If the mortality rate is 1% (again: it's been suggested that it's as high as 2-2.5%: a normal winter flu season is 0.1%) then we're looking at 450M dead worldwide, of which 2M in the United States alone.

But for every deader there are going to be at least 10 downers -- people with severe illnesses and stuff like secondary pneumonia who end up clogging up hospital beds for weeks or months. There may also be long term post-viral effects like sleeping sickness (from the Spanish flu) or CFS (aka post-viral syndrome, for which recent research shows there's a definite immune component, despite a widespread belief that its psychosomatic).

The dead represent a drop in demand (for food, clothing, ipads, basically everything except coffins). The sick represent a spike in demand for medical/nursing supplies but nothing much else. They also represent a 10-30% cut in the available workforce for a period of 1-6 months.

Conclusion: if Covid-19 goes pandemic, the economy will tank some time after April, and stay tanked through at least September. We'll see widespread shutdowns to air travel (especially international -- I'm now holding off on booking my Worldcon trip this summer, which I'd been looking forward to for five years: I might not be able to get home afterwards), lots of small businesses going bust (if you've got five employees and one dies, that's bad news: if one dies and two others get long-term sick, you're outa business), lots of factories closing for months (this is already all over Kickstarter and Indiegogo -- crowdfunded tech toys are announcing multi-month delays because their manufacturing suppliers are on lockdown), and so on.

It's going to look a lot like a late-hitting but extremely savage recession, and it's going to arrive just in time for the presidential election campaign, to Trump's detriment.

A real wild card is, what happens if the Democrat candidate and VP candidate both catch and die of Covid-19 during the campaign? (They're likely to both be elderly.)

156:

Another thought: the Spanish flu took 1-2 years to spread because it moved on the back of troop ships returning home, in an era where circumnavigating the globe by air wasn't yet possible and doing so by rail and steam packet took months. Many people didn't travel and remained unaffected in relatively isolated villages and towns for months to years.

Today we can fly to the antipodes for a vacation in 24 hours. And there are barking presbyterian nut-cults out there who think that Covid-19 is their friend, because Jesus/End-Times/Rapture/Slay the Unbelievers bullshit is a thing. (This is allegedly why there are so many cases in South Korea, a particularly weird hot-bed of cults.)

Upshot: assuming similar infectivity and incubation period, this pandemic will ramp up at least an order of magnitude faster than the Spanish flu. We're probably past the tipping point already, and by "we" I mean Europe and North America. I've seen reports of cases in South America already: news from Africa gets selectively filtered out of the western media but I'm guessing it's there too by now.

157:

I've seen reports of cases in South America already: news from Africa gets selectively filtered out of the western media but I'm guessing it's there too by now.

There's a realish-time outbreak map based on information from WHO, CDC and others availble on

https://hub.jhu.edu/2020/01/23/coronavirus-outbreak-mapping-tool-649-em1-art1-dtd-health/

It's not showing anything in the Americas south of the MXUS border yet. The Brazilian case that flew in from Italy is still absent, or is being counted as Italian rather than Brazilian.

158:

The portion of northern hemisphere I live in has a lot of upper respiratory distress just now, with the added fun of a health care establishment whose use invites financial distress, when COVID-19 hits the (Not very) United Staes, how soon would it be noticed? How many cases will be untreated?
The SCROTUS relies on talking heads who can make expert-like noises, but have no expertise of their own, the results are similar to when, as a child, I attempted to make pancakes without knowing about measuring cups and spoons.

159:

P.S.: One factor in limiting the spread may be the apparent preference of the broad class of coronaviri for lower temperatures and humidity.

https://www.hindawi.com/journals/av/2011/734690/

160:

Re: ' ... what covid-19's going to do to the 2020 election season'

Based on a CDC news update yesterday with lots of emphasis on 'containment' and self-quarantine, I'm imagining a bunch of voting poll greeters with thermometers checking potential voter's temps and refusing anyone with a fever entry to the voting booth area.

BTW - there are something like 40 clinical trials underway including a much publicized one for a vaccine. However, even if the vaccine trial is a success, it would still take about a year (at best/earliest) to scale up production and then distribute.

There's also talk about canceling the Tokyo Olympics.

161:

Chralie
We are WELL PAST the "tipping point" - the incubation period with no (Or almost zero ) symptoms is two weeks or more.
Quarantines, now are stable-door bolting wanking about, I'm afraid ....It's "just" amtter of what the "real" fatality rate of those infected is & what sort of victinm it "Prefers"
[ Young/old? : Male/female? : Cold/Warm climate? : Low/High humidity? : State of health of potential victim(s) is vitally important, too. ]

Let's do the numbers for the UK
60 million people, 50% infection rate, 1% fatilities ... being "optimistic"

6*106 * 0.5 * 10-2 = 300 000 possible stiffs

Meanwhile - utter idiot politicians are opening mouths, making noises & ignoring the medics.
It will be interesting ( For certain values of ... ) to see how countries with established universal health care of some sort ( Like ALL of W Europe) cope, compared to the USA....

162:

I've been watching MedCram. The video creator-speaker is a California-based MD (respirologist and med school prof) who's been uploading a 10-minute video each day for the past 25 days on this virus. Suggest watching the videos in chronological order because he tosses in a few different topics/findings as they come up. He also references a variety of sources. Below is his most recent coronavirus video:

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


And if you've got 2 hours free, suggest watching this media conference with one of the newly returned 25 medical experts (this one's Canadian) that the WHO sent to China to check out the situation, esp. procedures. (Personally, preferred this presenter to the CDC presenters re: content and 'openness'.)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1vwshXayRQE

163:

re: 'Low/High humidity?'

Seriously - suggest you watch the MedCram videos. Not being snide, but this guy does explain well. :)

For example about the 'humidity': mostly the humidity relates to 'transmisibility'. Virus particles are tiny and are likelier to mix with water droplets in very humid air which means the virus will be more likely to drop to the ground instead of continuing to waft around and be inhaled/transmitted to someone else. Also - higher humidity typically occurs during warmer weather - when humans are less likely to pack themselves into a room. (Don't remember if he mentioned at what temp the virus explodes/implodes.)

164:

Here's an Australian virologist talking about what to do during a viral pandemic. (Mostly common sense, except an awful lot of people have no common sense at all when it comes to diseases.)

Meanwhile apparently the Trump White House is apparently giving a press conference about COVID-19. Welp, that's it for the stock market, I guess.

165:

Depending on how long it can remain asymptomatic in people who are resistant or who have had it before, the infection rate could easily approach 100% - hermits living in Fair Isle and not talking to their neighbours excepted. From what I have seen, the death rate is likely to be significantly higher than 1%, but the pneumonia rate significantly lower than 20%. In any case, young and healthy people usually survive pneumonia without treatment.

Short-term chaos and worse? Yes, we are going to get that, and I agree with you that it's now an inevitable pandemic; it's not just the travel and that most people now live in cities, but that (in the 'west') we no longer have the mechanisms to isolate large populations without disaster, and it's unclear that the UK, USA and many other countries have govenments still capable of handling a real crisis. It's 150+ years since the USA had one, and 70+ since the UK did. I am definitely 'at risk' (72, with breathing problems), as probably are you and OGH, so am taking a personal interest.

If it kills or disables only a few percent of economically active adults and children, even if it kills large numbers of the elderly and invalid, it will be a short-term problem only, though with consequent economic ripples lasting decades. The key long-term question is how many younger and healthy people will be left disabled by it.

166:

High absolute humidity is associated with high temperatures, but high relative humidity is associated with low, but not freezing, temperatures. My understanding is that most microorganisms are sensitive to dessication, to that it is the effective evaporation rate that matters - and that is lowest with low, above freezing, temperatures. For example, in much of the UK, it is close to nil for much of the winter.

167:

Let me first point out that I’m not the Mike Collins referred to in the question. Nor am I a werewolf.
But Mike Collins was the command module pilot. Assuming that werewolves are anatomically correct wolves he would be colour blind - or rather dichromatic - like all canines.
So if NASA rules were followed and they knew he was a werewolf he would not be eligible to be a pilot astronaut.

168:

"Nor am I a werewolf."

Are you sure?

"Assuming that werewolves are anatomically correct wolves he would be colour blind - or rather dichromatic - like all canines."

See I'd always figured that the colour receptors changed back and forth along with everything else, therefore in human form he would have normal human vision. But your default assumption seems to be that this is not the case. So it makes me wonder a bit.

169:

Are you sure? I know one guy who's dichromatic, and only figured this out in his 30s, when his wife asked him "Why are you painting that wall green and purple?" :-|

OK, seriously I know NASA actually do give astronaut pilot candidates an Ishihara test, but the Wikipedia article I looked up (for spellings) does also explain stuff like why werefolk tend to come out at night...

170:

Re: ' ... most microorganisms are sensitive to dessication,'

I'm not an expert on things medical (or science or tech) so typically try to find articles/videos that explain in everyday language: I'm not sure I understood what you said but the below does also mention dessication, etc. :)

That said, most of what I heard about seasonality/humidity was in relation to transmissibility, i.e., airborne/traveling viruses.

Note: The below is about flu in general and not about this specific coronavirus.

https://www.nih.gov/news-events/nih-research-matters/flu-virus-fortified-colder-weather

Excerpt:

'Their findings were published online on March 2, 2008, in Nature Chemical Biology.

The researchers discovered that at temperatures slightly above freezing and below, the virus's lipid covering solidified into a gel. At about 70 degrees Fahrenheit, much of the lipid was still in gel form. At warmer temperatures, however, the gel melts to a liquid phase. At temperatures of about 105 degrees and higher, the coat was all in liquid form.

The virus's rubbery outer coat, the researchers believe, allows it to withstand cooler temperatures and travel from person to person. In the respiratory tract, the body's warmth causes the covering to melt so that the virus can infect the cells of its new host.

“Like an M&M in your mouth, the protective covering melts when it enters the respiratory tract,” explained Dr. Joshua Zimmerberg, chief of NICHD's Laboratory of Cellular and Molecular Biophysics and the study's senior author. “It's only in this liquid phase that the virus is capable of entering a cell to infect it.”

To me, this sounds as though keeping your temp below 105 is key. (Unfortunately part of the usual/automatic immune response is to ramp up the body temp.)


BTW - WaPo --- the first coronovirus case has just been reported in Brazil.

171:

Apropos of nothing, after thinking that, if the President got Covid-19, that I hope he'd get the best of care...

Hypothetically, what would someone do if they had the power and wanted to make the US population as vulnerable as possible to pandemics?

To lay the groundwork, fire the entire pandemic response chain of command back in 2018, including the leader, because President Obama set up an ebola prevention system and some people want to smash anything Obama touched.

Chop 53% out of World Health Organization funding because fuck humans.

Some doctors are still out there so cut funding to the Center for Disease Control too.

And it's so in character for 2020 that I expect I've missed something.

172:

The thing to realize about winter temperatures is that air below freezing is pretty dry: the water crystallizes and tends to fall out of the air.

If you take that cold air inside, it may become warmer is still dry (and has even less relative humidity), which is why (at least in Midwestern winters) humidifying the inside of a dwelling in winter can make it much more comfortable, although it sometimes results in ice building up on the inside of the windows.

The bigger problem is that, when you have a lot of people crammed into indoor spaces that are kept fairly warm, and the air is very dry because it is winter, the conditions for spreading airborne viruses are quite good.

Unfortunately, as the weather warms, things like Covid-19 can spread in more places, such as outdoor gatherings. Also, where I currently am (San Diego), it's in the 20s C, so if the virus gets loose here, it can spread through any group of people.

It's too bad it's a baby-kissing and crowd-raising year for all the politicians. Hopefully we can at least get our primaries done on March 3 before the virus starts spreading person-to-person here.

173:

The Brazilian case that flew in from Italy is still absent, or is being counted as Italian rather than Brazilian.

OK, now Brazil shows one case.

174:

Possibly you missed the part about enraging your friends and enemies so much that they spent lots of time packed in meetings figuring out what to do next, with, about, or to you?

Oh, and there's this. Hard to tell which way that propaganda is supposed to fire.

175:

While closures and cancellations are possible, they are by no means a sure thing. We don’t know how mild or severe SARS-CoV-2 will be, and each region will make their own – probably slightly differing – decisions about what is appropriate – and enforceable.

Based on experience with SARS and H1N1, I'd anticipate that schools* here in Canada will remain open, and quarantine measures will be unenforceable.

I'd also expect that the rich and famous will get first crack at any vaccine. (Here in Toronto the Raptors got vaccinated ahead of health workers and teachers, on the "grounds" that they saw a lot of people on game days so were more at risk.)


*Which make excellent vectors for infection. Lots of people in close proximity, not much in the way of sanitation**, sick children sent to school "because there's no one at home to watch them", etc.


**After years of cuts, cleaning is mostly limited to wiping up obvious spills and garbage.

176:

To lay the groundwork, fire the entire pandemic response chain of command

Harris did that in Ontario just before SARS.

Saved $200k, cost the Toronto economy billions. But Toronto doesn't vote Tory, so that was OK. :-(

177:

Here we are having an English winter ie. basically manky all the time, and so few days when it's not widdling with rain that every object out of doors has been dripping continuously for months. The occasional bits of sunshine can't dry anything more demanding than a piece of thin black plastic suspended in direct sunlight, and it's been getting damp inside the house not because it's leaking but purely because it's coming in on the air and there's never any drier air to ventilate the place out with. Condensation running down the inside of the windows, which doesn't usually happen unless I'm in the bath. (Ice on the inside of windows when it does get cold enough to freeze stopped happening when double glazing came in, though it used to be common.)

178:

Re: ' ... power and wanted to make the US population as vulnerable as possible to pandemics?'

Hmmm ... based on historical behavior, I'm guessing the following scenario will unfold:

Do nothing and let the most vulnerable (esp. the elderly, folks with serious chronic medical conditions and/or no private extensive health insurance) take their chances with the virus. Then next fiscal year when the number of social aid recipients 'miraculously drops' take credit for reining in 'unnecessary' medical spending.

Also based on history - steep increase in the number of quacks peddling miracle cures.

179:

See the link posted by Allen Thompson in #159.

As Pigeon points out in #177, the UK's climate in winter is almost entirely dank, and we get 3-4 months when the dew rarely evaporates off the grass and it needs unusual conditions to dry clothing. Specifically, it needs a dry day with a wind (the sun is too feeble to do much for most of that time). Also, we get condensing atmospheres near ground level essentially every night (and in almost all summer ones, too), including in almost all unheated buildings. Traditionally, in much of the UK, fires were used solely to keep the house dry, not to heat it.

180:

Vote-by-mail would be an excellent idea to encourage, everywhere, with no reason required for the voter to use it. (Oregon already has universal vote-by-mail.)

181:

@180: Colorado also has and encourages vote by mail.

Hmm - how does the crew of the ISS vote while in orbit?

182:

Me @181: If Michael Collins was on the ISS, would he shift of every orbit? I think he'd find that kind of tiring. Plus, there's the whole excess hair (or is it fur?) problem.

183:

We wouldn't want it, anyway. We only want Real American (ignoring that Canada is in N. Am) Electricity, with tiny little flag pins (made in China, of course) on every electron!

184:

The DC area has been like that. I've *never* seen so much rain - it's overcast, sun not visible, about half or more than half the days, and rain at least half the week.

Global warming, fake news... (yeah, right)

185:

Re: SARS & humidity

Thanks for pointing me to that link!


Dumb question time:

A previous article I read said something along the that lines that this coronavirus lived longer on hard surfaces, my question: Is hair (including beards) considered a 'hard surface'?

Was thinking about how hospitals and regular folk might go about cleaning hard surfaces and whether reducing total surface area for the virus to land/embed on would be a strategy.

Was also idly wondering what habits/customs might be impacted, i.e., bowing & waving instead of shaking hands, increase in wearing gloves when out and about, touching/handling store goods esp. foods becomes a big social no-no, goggle-like sunglasses, etc.

186:

Dumb answer: my guess is that the surface related to the water absorption, so hair would count as semi-hard.

I have absolutely no idea whether this will trigger long-term social changes, but it's a good question. If it does, they won't be particularly rational.

187:

@185: Was also idly wondering what habits/customs might be impacted, i.e., bowing & waving instead of shaking hands, increase in wearing gloves when out and about, touching/handling store goods esp. foods becomes a big social no-no, goggle-like sunglasses, etc.

(N.B. I worked on pandemic response planning for H5N1 influenza, aka "bird flu," at U.S. Northern Command and U.S. European Command 2007-2009. Also, I Am Not A Doctor.)

One of the key concepts in containing the spread of a pandemic is Social Distancing, that is, minimizing close personal contact with others. Going beyond avoiding voluntary travel to impacted areas and participating in mass events like concerts and sportsball games, ideas include massively increasing telework (and teleschool, as previously mentioned), limiting/scheduling access to shopping, and preparing for the prolonged absenteeism of key personnel (police/fire/medical/utilities) due to illness and caring for ill family members. The knock-on effects are manifold, including the likelihood of increased utility failures and shortages of food, fuel, and other necessities due to absenteeism and disruptions to the supply chain. These are made much worse with the rise of just in time stocking and reliance on rapid distribution through swift transportation of needed goods.

To put it simply, life is gonna suck, hard.

188:

IMHO the critical number is the infection rate, not the fatality rate.
IF 100% are infected ( even if they show no symptoms ) as opposed to only 50% are infectd, then your pool doubles & so does the death numbers. AFAIK no certain information on that one - lots of guesses, though

189:

I’m pretty sure I’m not a Werewolf. When I was looking at the last full moon through my telescope My eye was still the correct height and I managed the controls OK so I must have had hands not paws.
I didn’t assume that the cones don’t change. But there’s no was NASA would not know he was a werewolf after so many years training.

190:

My father was colour blind and knew it from an early age. His hobby was electronics and I had to check the colour codes on resistors and capacitors for him.
My Uncle only found out he was colour blind when he finished training for the paratroops in WW2 and they gave him a colour blindness test then threw him out (not of an aircraft).
My father used to see green cats.

191:

Semi-hard to some level of soft. The basic point, I think, is that is the surface sufficiently porous or complex that a virus can be missed by a solution washing over it, due to surface tension or similar phenomena letting the fluid pass over without contacting the virus (that's my best guess, anyway). Hair's notorious for sheltering bacteria and mold spores, so I don't think it counts.

I'm not a virologist, but culturing fungi has an analogous problem. Many fungi (those in lichens, for example) grow really, really slowly in petri dishes with suitable media, while stuff in the air (Penicillium, Aspergillus, Rhizopus) grows really rapidly. Someone who has hairy arms (like me) tends to do worse at culturing than someone with hairless arms (tend to be more female, but not exclusively), simply because we hairier hominids shed more crap into petri dishes, even if we're gloved up.

Also, culturing hoods tend to be made out of stainless steel. The way you sterilize them is to spray them with alcohol and flame them off (yes, the entire inside of the hood). That's sort of the epitome of a hard surface treatment, at least for mold spores, and I don't think you'd want to treat your hair that way to prevent covid-19...

192:

There are some bee diseases for which the treatment is burning the combs - with the bees - and scorching the inside of the hive. My father had to do that once with one of his; he was up all night doing it, because night is when the bees are in the hive and relatively quiet.

And speaking of culturing: the scientist finally got some archaea to grow. They realized, finally, that they're not fast-growing critters. It took 12 years to get a colony.
https://www.sciencenews.org/article/microbiologists-grow-microbe-tied-complex-life-origins

193:

In on-topic news a tiny second moon has been spotted: 2020 CD3, a rock estimated at 6 to 11 feet across.

I just woke up; someone else want to do the math to work out how close you'd have to get before it triggered lycanthropy?

194:

#180 and #181 - The UK has universal postal voting available, but not compulsory. One (anticipatable) side effect of this is to shorten election campaigns by 2 to 3 weeks (or should be, once the politicritters catch on that many voters have voted that early).
As for the ISS, if you maintain the principle of a terces ballot, I think the astronauts need to apply for proxy votes.

#182 - When we get a "full Moon" depends on Sun - Moon - Earth aspect, and that's not that much different in LEO from on the surface (except for reduced cloud occlusion of the Moon).

Mike Collins - I, at least, was joking (except about the purple and green wall; that actually happened, so yes I believe you about the green cats).

195:

I would consider beards as soft surfaces for this, akin to fabric (if not so tightly structured).

As for the social constructs, I was in a clean room a couple of weeks ago1, and I commented that shaking hands in there was rather an odd thing, all considered, and maybe a fist bump would be better. I note though the suggestion elsewhere that the elbow bump might be better yet.

1Hospital pharmacy, one of the ones where they actually do formulations. I was in the outer room, whereas there was a second, inner room with glove cabinets. I was in shoe covers, head covering, beard covering and coat, even though I was just there to type on a keyboard.

196:

SS
The last asteroid to get caught in Earth's orbit was 2006 RH120. The space rock, which orbits the sun and passes close to Earth every few decades, was captured by the planet's gravity in June 2006 and stayed until around September 2007, before it swung back out into the solar system.
"Asteroid"?
Or observation craft, from a mothership, out by Jupiter somewhere?

197:

Here we are having an English winter ie. basically manky all the time, and so few days when it's not widdling with rain that every object out of doors has been dripping continuously for months.

If you ever come to America you're welcome to visit the Pacific Northwest; that's our winter too.

I remember Neil Gaiman talking about his first winter in the American Midwest and his surprise that after the temperature dropped below freezing and the snow fell, it got even colder. And then more snow fell. And then it got colder than that...

I've got a friend who was so fed up with "basically manky all the time" that she moved to the Nevada desert.

198:

My father used to see green cats.

You know people like us will be curious and want to know more. Which cats are the green ones?

199:

I've always loved this idea although I would have thought Darwin or the Pilbra would be a better bet. I assume its Queensland because you can plug into the east coast grid. Once you have a power-line (and the technology proven) to from Australia to Singapore you can extend it all the way to Portugal via local high tension grids, with paying customers along the entire route (hand waves and engineers away coronal mass ejection issues).
Of course electrons swing both ways so Spanish summer days (or Iceland geothermal) can power winter nights in Melbourne... nice.

Now if we could do something around the Pacific...

200:

I know one guy who's dichromatic, and only figured this out in his 30s, when his wife asked him "Why are you painting that wall green and purple?"

That can work just fine in monochrome. For my first computer I had an old black & white TV as the display; my custom video settings were revealed as garish and clashing the first time I connected a color TV.

201:

COVID-19
Now appears that death rate is closer to 2% than 1% & somoenone has now had a recurring case, after being infected & then declared "clear" - she's now got it again ....

202:

Yeah; green and purple worked fine for him (he actually thought it was 2 shades of blue) but it's a generally unusual choice unless you're doing a model of (or homage to) Porsche 917-021; the so-called psychedelic or hippie car.

203:

Seattle has twice the insolation of Manchester in December, and nearly 70% more than even London (a very bright location by UK standards). Scotland is worse! People from the PNW are often taken aback by how gloomy and dank our winters are, even by comparison with theirs. But at least you do understand the issues we have, which is often not true for people from most of the rest of the USA :-)

204:

Somewhere between 400 and 200 metres, roughly. So there's a good chance you'd have something else to worry about. Though of course it probably isn't made of silver so you could always regenerate.

205:

Re: Beards, coronavirus & face mask guidelines as per the CDC

Thanks to everyone who responded to my hair/beard question!

Apparently the CDC has guidelines for this. Note: It's more to do with whether the beard will properly fit/interfere with a respiratory mask than my question of whether hair/beard provides more 'friendly' surface for a virus to settle on/attach to.

Bottom line:

Beards interfere with the mask's seal. Depending on style/size/shape - mustaches won't. (Reason the CDC came out with these guidelines: 'Movember'.)

https://blogs.cdc.gov/niosh-science-blog/2017/11/02/noshave/


Why this matters (excerpt):

'Research tells us that the presence of facial hair under the sealing surface causes 20 to 1000 times more leakage compared to clean-shaven individuals.'

206:

Kipling described the treatment for wax moth infestation as being similarly drastic, at least from the point of view of the bees. The story is notable for its politics being really fucked. He's gone on the notion of the reproductive individual of a bee colony being called a queen and totally misses the whole eusocial thing.

207:

Kipling died in 1936; the term eusocial dates from 1966, and recognition of the phenomenon wasn't much older; that WAS the scientific consensus when he wrote it. In any case, I read that story as being a fable about parasitic politicians, rather than a semi-realistic story about bees.

208:

Those doctor mask things are almost entirely useless for keeping stuff out. Their usefulness is at keeping stuff in, or at least redirecting it into the doctor's eyes/hairline/collar rather than over the patient. Directing the airflow through a beard probably improves the filtration, and at least for keeping stuff in that's not a bad strategy. It also tends to trap exhaled moisture and heat so you can breathe it in again, which is useful in cold and dry conditions.

To be sure of a mask being able to keep stuff out and maintain a good seal, it's necessary to get one that's designed to keep out gases so that it's valid to test it by wearing it to do something smelly, like spraying paint. People who do wear masks to spray paint tend to find that the only way to make it properly effective is to keep the inside under positive pressure by pumping in air from somewhere clean through a tube. This method of course is not really portable.

You could probably do pretty well by making yourself a suit from bin bags taped together and wearing a scuba tank underneath it to supply the positive pressure. You'd only need kitten breath pressure so it would last much longer than it ever does to actually dive with it.

209:

Oh, I didn't realise that. I read it as a polemic against the growing socialist movement's "corruption" of the social values beloved of a bourgeois imperialist who thought universal suffrage democracy was a dangerously revolutionary idea. The political aspects of Kipling's stories grind a lot more when they appear as (often heavy-handed) foreground prescription than when they are part of the descriptive background, and I found it something of a lubricant that he'd made what looked like such a daft choice of species to carry such a message. I suppose I should have known better than that he should so fail to maintain his usual standard of accuracy.

Either way, though, it can't match the epic self-awareness failure of Robert Holmes's attempt at writing a pro-Tory anti-taxation polemic, which actually came out as thoroughly pro-Marxist with the Doctor leading the revolution.

210:

Interesting... setting your hand on fire by putting alcohol on it and waving it over the bunsen burner is a pretty standard act of pratting about, and not usually catastrophic; sure the hairs go, but the evaporative cooling saves the skin itself from damaging temperatures. I'd have thought a metallic surface would be even less likely to cook. Perhaps the sterilisation is mainly down to the alcohol as a liquid, and having setting fire to it afterwards included as a standard part of the procedure was done to have an official excuse for pratting about... :)

211:

What are the comparative specific heat capacities of homo sapiens sapiens and steel? I know that my roasting tin cools down much faster than the roast sirloin I cooked for Ne'erday lunch!

212:

Actually, he was rather more socialist than, say, Blair and his acolytes. But, yes, I read it as also an attack on the way that many 'socialist' politicians were happy to destroy their 'class enemies' even if the change harmed the people they claimed to support. Nowadays, that attitude has been taken up by the neolibertarians, even more than by the 'socialists'.

213:

Random thought: Although the number of genes present in canine DNA but not in human DNA is probably A Lot Less Than You Might Think&tm;, it's also probably still a decent sized chunk, enough that you could see some chromosomal abnormality just by looking at them through a microscope. But werewolves don't seem to be detected by genetic testing. This implies that they don't simply have both sets of genes in their genome and switch them on and off according to some trigger related to the lunar cycle.

Perhaps one possibility for what they might do instead is that they have some ability (not necessarily as a conscious function) to scarf up DNA that they find lying around the place and use it, sort of like bacteria do. Human habits regarding companion animals mean that wherever humans exist in sufficient numbers to report a werewolf observation there will be enough dog DNA scattered about that you can pick up hair samples without even noticing even if you don't have a dog. This would explain why, for instance, Alsace is a good place for werewolves. It might also mean that there would be some correlation between reports of "pit bull" attacks in thoroughly urban areas and lunar phase, if you could be arsed to look for it.

It also raises the question of what happens when there really isn't any dog DNA around. They may simply be unable to werrify at all, but it's possibly more likely that they just use what they can get. This would explain why you get were-bears in the more isolated regions towards the north pole, and were-penguins towards the south one. It could also mean that, assuming NASA kept the Apollo assembly facilities pretty clean, Mike simply transformed into a were-Neil or a were-Buzz. He would then of course be able to switch places and not have to miss out on walking on the moon after all.

214:

The only thing you're cooking are microscopic spores, which is why running your tools through an alcohol flame works so well: the heat destroys stuff. If you're being careful, you flame the surfaces of the hood, flame the tools (dip them in alcohol, run them through a flame, even heat up a wire loop and quickly sterilize the agar surface. And you cool things like scalpel blades or needles by dipping the tip into the sterile agar, not into water that might be contaminated.

Seriously, look up surface sterilization. This is pretty common stuff. The nice thing about flame is that it's both non-selective and ephemeral, so it kills everything and goes away, unlike bleach or antibiotics.

215:

According to this Web page, some dogs have more human than wolf DNA, which shows that dogs clearly derived from werewolves :-)

https://gnosticwarrior.com/dogs-human-dna.html

216:

Which cats were the green ones? Sorry but we never found out.

217:

It's an alien drone, of course. They're watching to see how we're going to annihilate ourselves, and let me assure you, it will *make* that alien's doctoral thesis.

218:

Argh. One of my favorite jobs, we had a device driver writer who was legally blind. I can't remember if the cones or rods in his eyes never developed. He could see his CRT (this is '89-90), if he made it purple on black.

219:

No. I am not shaving off my beard and mustache. I haven't done that since, mmm, 1979, and I'm not doing it again.

Did it in Louisville, at the NASFiC, and Wilma Fisher, when I pulled off the mask (I one an award in the Masquerade) fell backwards on the bed at the room party, and nearly had palpitations of the heart....

220:

@181: [H]ow does the crew of the ISS vote while in orbit?

Answering my own question, U.S. ISS astronauts vote by absentee ballot, at least those who are residents of the state of Texas. For those not following the link, ISS mission participants coordinate ahead of the mission to apply for absentee ballots, with their location listed as low Earth orbit. Within the voting period, the ballots are sent to the Johnson Space Center in Houston, then scanned and transmitted to the station. The astronauts mark their ballots and send the responses back down to JSC, where the ballots are physically mailed back to the voting authorities.

I imagine ISS crew members from other nations follow similar procedures.

221:

[g]
One thing that struck me, hard, was a year or two ago, someone going on about why Americans are so hot on nobility, when we are the descendants/heirs of the first country to completely throw them out.

Of my two fantasies that I'm trying to sell (well, one, I'm still waiting on cmts from my reader), one, at least, I make a point of hour heroine's parents, who unlike most nobles, actually mean the feudal oath to care for their people.

222:

- from "The Atlantic" on Maduro & Trump & Chavez & Corbyn - & the very disturbing similarities between all of them.
( Oh & Putin too ... )

223:

Huh. I remember microbiology lab classes at uni in the late 70s - we were taught to sterilise the spreaders by dipping them in alcohol ad introducing them to a lit Bunsen burner.

224:

Rice is (currently) ranked ahead of Purdue, but behind MIT. I had assumed that Kennedy chose Houston either because there were plans to have NASA in the Houston area, or he wanted to carry Texas again in 1964.

225:

Now if we could do something around the Pacific...

... ring of fire? Hmm. I wonder why it's called that :)

The real problem is that the Pacific is big and there's not a lot of people. That is helpful in that many Pacific island nations can go solar relatively easily. But it's a bit of a pain when it comes to running cables across it. OTOH it's not as though there's much need to ship electricity per se across that ocean. Much more reasonable to use substitution and ship cement, steel or aluminium (demand shifting) and hydrogen or ammonia (portable energy).

226:

And insofar as "around the edge" is useful, Australia to Singapore is near enough to that as makes not much difference. Shipping electricity from PNG to Malaysia would be closer, but I can't see much point.

The real wins are shipping it from the equator to non-equatorial, and from west to east (the duck curve peaks in the evening)

227:

I don’t know about that but it certainly makes me wonder just how much some people love their dogs...

228:

To continue that analogy, it's what you need the energy for. An example is the argument about shipping food to the Middle East, or to any desert for that matter. Why do we ship them water and let them grow their own food? Well, it turns out that food is much more concentrated than water, so if they're short of water to grow food, sometimes it's cheaper to just ship them food than to try to make sure they get enough water to grow their own.

This is a basic economic argument about relative advantage. If we applied it to power, the argument would be to move factories for stuff that could be made on islands with solar power to those islands, if that's cheaper than wiring the place to ship power off island.

Now, with Covid-19, we're getting the counter-argument, resilience. That is, if someone's the only supplier of something, and they get knocked out by an epidemic or pandemic, then we're all SOL, unless we can make our own at greater cost. Resiliency is almost always more inefficient. It just breaks down less.

The general problem with climate change is that we need to engineer our global supply chains to simultaneously be more efficient (e.g. adjust production functions to appropriate maxima) and more resilient (e.g. bet hedge production functions, either by diversifying or by setting it so that production never falls below a set minimum). That's not easy.

229:

ATTENTION.

As the storm clouds continue to gather I'm thinking about doing a blog entry prognosticating about the likely consequences of COVID-19. (Probably not before next week, though.)

Today's news that the Tangerine Tyrant has put Mike fucking Pence[*] in charge of coronavirus preparedness and control in the USA fills me with boundless optimism that Everything Is Fine. Not.

[*] This is the same Mike Pence who, while governor of Indiana, triggered a local HIV outbreak by opposing a (successful) needle exchange program. And kept opposing it even when it became clear that people were being harmed, because Jesus Hates Drugs.

230:

@229: Don't Panic

From the USAian film Animal House.

231:

I'm not sure Fucking is something Pence engages in so much any more, but the sentiment is appreciated.

Since everyone's freaking out, to the point where there were no face masks at all left in the local BigBox Hardware store, I'm not sure there's all that much utility in feeding the flames.

The rather more interesting question right now is the entirely non science-fictional one: if you're a politician who needs to be out with people and get out the vote to get rid of Agent Orange and His Minions, how do you campaign in a time of novel respiratory viruses? It's not just about not dying yourself, it's all the poor, overstressed volunteers who believe in your dream. How do you keep them from hacking a lung out and being of no use to you or themselves?

That would appear to require some innovative thinking.

Or if that's to hard, answer the question Covid X Brexit =? (And by X, I mean the cross product)*

*For the physicists, is this crossing a vector and a scalar?

232:

Lunar ones. Cats are well-known to be associated with the moon, and the lunar variety has evolved to be green, so that they can hide among the cheese and pounce on the mice that come to eat it.

233:

simultaneously be more efficient and more resilient

... while operating within the capitalist and fascist political systems. The core problem there is that even if there's no cost-of-production advantage there is a monopoly preservation advantage that makes any new producer worth more to the existing providers than it can be as an independent business.

Someone pointed out to me that fascism is traditionally when the state takes over business, when what we have now is business taking over the state. It's all about who is the dominant partner (and with fascism it's important that there be a dominant partner...) So perhaps we need a new name, if for no other reason than to shut up the "but American police don't wear jackboots" types.

234:

Or if that's to hard, answer the question Covid X Brexit =? (And by X, I mean the cross product)*

*For the physicists, is this crossing a vector and a scalar?

No, the cross product is between two vectors. Could be the scalar product of a scalar with a vector, but Covid and Brexit are both multidimensional, so I'd go with the cross product metaphor.

https://www.mathsisfun.com/algebra/vectors-cross-product.html

Tensors lurk in the wings.

235:

Re: ' ... not shaving off my beard and mustache'

Okay ... curious about what external signals people are going to react to.

Idle thoughts about how events shape social hygiene/grooming customs. Specifically wondering: given the increasing numbers of cases in Iran, the news that people who've traveled to any of the coronavirus hot spots will be barred from visiting certain holy sites in the Middle East, at what point would the Ayatollah shave off his beard if the data said beards are risky? There's now one COVID-19 case reported in Israel which triggered a pretty quick 'containment, etc.' reaction, so the same question applies re: Hasidim.

Both religions/cultures (esp. their more orthodox/traditional members) follow rigid rules about personal grooming and hygiene that -- I'm guessing here -- were instituted as sensible community health best practices in reaction to some previous health threat.


236:

Re: 'Tangerine Tyrant has put Mike fucking Pence[*] in charge of coronavirus preparedness and control in the USA ...'

Classic case of DT opportunism ... Tangerine can blame Pence when everything goes splat (distancing*). Or, if things don't go too badly, DT will take the credit (smart manager knows how to delegate).

Mostly I think this is about saving money by having Pence tell the masses to pray away the virus instead of providing sufficient funding at the research and community levels.

* Also means that DT won't be expected to meet any front-line caregivers who apart from the people who've tested positive for this virus are the likeliest to pass on the virus. If Pence catches the virus before August, he'll probably recover - he's pretty fit and not that old - and he'll leverage that to the full. If Pence doesn't fully recover, then DT will still have enough time to pick another running mate for November.

237:

I think you got it about right. My hope is that one of the Youngest Offspring of Orange (such as Trump's youngest son) catch Covid at school, transfer it to their parents, and sneak it into the White House over Easter. It would serve him right.

238:

Basic trigonometry tells you the distance is about 115 times the moon's diameter. Sin = O/H or Tan = O/A. So 200-400 m in this case.

Round that off to 100 diameters and you've got an easy rule of thumb to use.

239:

Or most of California, where winter, while the "wet season", tends to have low humidity between storms - especially in the L.A. area, where the "wet" season is when you get to deal with humidity under 20%, sometimes down to 7% (the Gobi is nice, I hear).

240:

I have a suggestion for the full moon thing (because I don't want to keep thinking about covid-19).

It seems the main difficulty is with it working without moonlight, underground, etc.

Here's a thought: the moon is full when the moon and the sun are at roughly opposite directions to you, i.e. when you are somewhere near the line drawn between the moon and the sun. Some magic along that line could be what causes this change.

Another thing that goes on is that the tide is maximal (it is also maximal during the new moon).

I think the condition can be detected from the shape of the gravitational field around the werewolf.

As for the moon having to be above the horizon, that could be made a gravitational effect, to remove reliance on the actual horizon. When the moon to the sun line is tilted downwards, the moon is above horizon.

I think the whole thing could be specified as a set of inequalities on the gravitational field around the werewolf. I'll give it more thought tomorrow; I think I could literally write a set of inequalities that would tell you if it is full moon above horizon, from gravity alone.

241:

So you're talking about tidal werewolves? Okay...

242:

I think you are onto something.
Maybe is not the moon that triggers the change into werewolf, but the sun!
I.e. the sun emits some kind of particles that cause the change, and the moon acts as shield as long as it is not completely opposite to sun.
Transformation does not occur during day because light blocks it somehow it because the particles must be activated by interacting with earth crust to trigger the change.
That would mean that probably Collins would never change during moon orbit, since the shield effect must extend for some space around the moon (otherwise transformation would occur also with quarter moon).

243:

Tidal werewolf paranoia is a good enough reason for the police to press the rack back into service. Waterboarding is sooo 2005!

244:

Gross typo:"somehow it because" should have been "somehow, or because"

245:

Tidal werewolf paranoia is a good enough reason...

Tidal werewolves are straightforward but less threatening, merely waxing and waning taller and shorter on a regular cycle.

Someone should get a science grant to check on whether this is diurnal, semidiurnal, or monthly.

246:

Well, we’re missing some data.

We’re given that a moon rise with a full moon will trigger a change. We’re not told whether, for instance, the occasion every 8-9 years when the moon’s apogee aligns with the full moon is an exception. That would provide an empirical test for my hypothesis above, without having to send a werewolf to L4 or L5.

Why? Because the difference in the distance between the centre of mass of the earth and the centre of mass of the moon from perigee to apogee is similar to the difference in distance between the centre of mass of the moon and a location on the earth’s equator from midnight to midday. If we’re talking gravity, then distance is amplitude, and phase is direction or angle.

It’s not entirely correct to say that the full moon as described in the problem statement is the time when the moon‘s and sun’s gravitational forces are exactly opposed: that is only true near the equator (well, between the tropics, at a latitude depending on the season) at the two points where it is solar midnight and midday at the instant of the full moon. The “from moonrise to moonset” window gives a cone between the moon’s centre of mass and a hemisphere of the earth, and another between the sun’s centre of mass and the other hemisphere, and for a given longitude it gives a similar cone defined by latitude and the earth’s rotation. It is correct to say that the full moon is the time when the angles described by or contained within these cones are least (or greatest, depending on what you measure them from).

So there’s a whole tidal debate about whether it’s angle or amplitude. Both very geeking diversions.

Also: what happens when the full moon aligns with apogee aligns with the earth’s apihelion?

247:

Scientific American provides sound advice on preparing before Covid-19 begins spreading faster:

https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/preparing-for-coronavirus-to-strike-the-u-s/

Re. Masks: A full self-contained deepwater diving hardsuit with a filtered oxygen supply is, of course, most effective, but overkill for most of us. The experts are currently suggesting that N95 masks (which have been tested and shown to filter out 95% of particles larger than 0.3 µm) will work just fine for most people. Those of us with beards can't use them very well, if at all, but trimming the beard and stash may restore some functionality if it reduces air leaks sufficiently. If you're really worried or in a high-risk profession, you'll need to shave. Sorry! (I've also worn my beard for 40+ years and would hate to lose it. But...)

The ethical point to keep in mind is that these masks are in short supply, and if you start hoarding them, you're making them unavailable to healthcare workers and others who really need them. That's a short-term problem, of course, until the suppliers ramp up production. Your call on the ethics of that choice.

248:

I gather that washing your hands and not touching your face appears to go most of the way. A full face mask will protect against most of the face touching ...

249:

Re: 'Transformation does not occur during day because light blocks it somehow it because the particles must be activated by interacting with earth crust to trigger the change.'

Alternate explanation: The werewolf transformation is due to a type of iridescence similar to that on birds and butterflies: requires that light rays be bent at specific angles. So you're looking for a special combination of two distinct wavelengths and/or particle(s)-wavelength(s)/fields. (Could be either re-inforcemnet or cancellation, so need to check both.)

Iridescence also explains the 'fur' as in: the fur is an optical illusion, a type of holographic side-effect. There is no sudden growth/loss of hair/fur follicles therefore no need to resolve or figure out a work-around of a physics cornerstone, i.e., conservation of mass/energy. (Downside is that if the source of matter to sprout werfur had been some biological tissue like excess fat, werewolves would be able to keep in trim by changing back and forth a few times. Lots of scam opportunities for the greedy/unethical wer-.)


250:

Actually, you may be on to something here. What we don't know is *where* werewolves come from/form. Also, it clearly needs a magical component, and here's the most obvious one: at least for the first transformation*, not only does the moon have to full, but, in addition, the proto-werewolf needs to be on a ley line. The aligned Sun, Earth, and Moon provides extra power to the ley, and that's when they transform.

* Whether they need that extra magical power or not is a detail to be researched, as is whether some weres are more susceptible to transformation than others (a more virulent magivirus?), and if they can transform the first time without that.**

** And do they transform as a child, or only after puberty? Women on the blog with children, have you ever gone to breastfeed your infant, and discovered a puppy in the crib?

251:

Masks: if I use one at all, it'll just be a cheap disposable paper one. No need to go for serious filtration.

Why?

Well, it's almost impossible to filter out virus particles that are exhaled -- and rather difficult to stop aerosolized capsids being inhaled, either.

The real problem is skin to skin transmission, and especially skin-to-mucous-membrane transmission. I tend to touch my face a lot, and have found it impossible to break the habit. If I'm wearing a paper mask and my hands are contaminated, the mask catches the contact transfer rather than my lips or nose. And that's a significant win.

252:

Maybe the alignment creates a temporary (very fat) ley line between Earth and Moon?

253:

Werewolves and coronavirus aside, there's a bit of sad news today:

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/28/science/freeman-dyson-dead.html

254:

Some (maybe all) of the instant bandage liquids sold in the US have a nasty smell. One smells like cloves, one like something nastier and more chemical-ish. I'm quickly aware of a liquid-bandaged fingertip near enough the nose to smell it.

Re twitter, there is no excuse for the CDC fails re test kits, but the US is not (yet) a major spreader, and the patient zero transmission(s) to humans (probably) didn't happen in the US. I do expect that the US situation will be similar to in the democratic developing world because US healthcare sucks in the key aspect of universality(/affordability) and many employees do not have paid sick leave.
Lots of antiviral trials; any success could be a wildcard:
Coronavirus puts drug repurposing on the fast track - Existing antivirals and knowledge gained from the SARS and MERS outbreaks gain traction as the fastest route to fight the current coronavirus epidemic. (Nature Biotech, news, 27 February 2020)
In particular see "Table 1 | Selected repurposed drugs in clinical development to treat COVID-19"

255:

It would appear that this particular zoonosis ( COVID-19 ) works both ways - that animals - ( specifically just dogs, so far ) can get it as well.
IF it's transmittable to other mammals, besides dogs, life ( & death ) could get "Very Interesting" )

256:

Here's a simple Alt.werewolf curse (hopefully there's not an actual alt.werewolf? Or is that a stupid question).

Anyway, assume magic works like computer programming. For the 2-dimensional model of the solar system:

IF the Earth is within 12 degrees of being between the Sun and the Moon AND the sun is below the local horizon THEN thou are cursed to be a wolf ELSE thou are cursed to be a man.

The point is that tides are insufficient to keep from being wolfish with the sun up, therefore you also need a sunlight component.

The reason it works is that full moon happens when the moon is about 180 degrees from the sun in Earth's sky. Since the Moon traverses 360 degrees over the course of 29.5 days (12 degrees/day), by the time the Moon's away from full, it's also out from behind the Earth

In reality this won't work, because the Moon doesn't orbit in quite the same plane as the Earth around the Sun. However, I don't feel like doing the trig right now to figure out how far off the Earth-Sun line the Moon can be vertically and still be full.

By this logic, incidentally, it's perfectly okay to send Collins to the Moon, so long as it's not a full moon on Earth.

257:

Re. werewolves and menses, I don't think I saw anyone mention "Ginger Snaps" (https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0210070/). It's been a long while since I saw it, but I recall it being better than the IMDB rating, which is confirmed by Rotten Tomatoes (https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/ginger_snaps).

258:

It would be interesting to find out how well a wool scarf (or a shemagh or bandana folded twice) worked as an air filter. Obviously the answer is "not as well as an N95" but how close to good enough is it?

Anyway, unless there's a major mutation, it looks like even the most at-risk groups have somewhere around a 5/6 to 9/10 chance of avoiding hospitalization if they get the coronavirus, and an equivalent chance of not dying if they do get seriously ill. Could be worse.

259:

You should be able to perform that calculation in 3d just fine. Forget about using angles directly and think in terms of normalised direction vectors and their scalar products.

260:

That does actually induce another fun problem: what happens if the evil magician pronounces the dread Verevolf curse on some neb, and the neb looks puzzled and says, but when does it happen. And then the curse speaks up and says, yeah, but when am I supposed to invoke this thing?

For some reason, curses are thought to be more omniscient (and better educated) than either the person invoking the curse or the victim of the curse. Thinking about it, that's an odd omission. Almost as if the people writing stories about curses had been directed by their editors to leave out the normalized direction vectors and their scalar products, and to focus only on the full moon rising...

Suspicious, that.

261:

(hopefully there's not an actual alt.werewolf? Or is that a stupid question)

I’m quite sure it depends on where you get your usenet feed*. Do you want there to be one?

* As they say, “Oh, those Carpathian Mountains; oh, those Transylvanian news servers.”

262:

I've always thought they basically behaved just like computers, and assumed it meant the underlying mechanism was plain old boring malignant software. It's probably made by IBM, it doesn't have DWIMMERLAIK and it gets confused about evenings in general, which is a particular problem when you're doing things that take effect after dark and instead of the desired output you get an incomprehensible error message.

263:

No, no no. It's made by M$, and they have yet to acknowledge that it is a bug.

264:

In the original short story and film the thing was an alien who had crashed much better then the frankly MEH later remakes.

265:

“any discussion of relativitic effects or the use of werewolves as an FTL signaling mechanism will be firmly discouraged”
You don’t want werewolves for that: Gypsy curses, like most ordinary spells, propagate at c. If you want acausal time loops with predestination, you need a prophecy or oracle

266:

RE: 'IF it's transmittable to other mammals, besides dogs, ...'

Yeah - like rats and mice - commonly used in labs to test potential cures for humans and found pretty well everywhere, esp. major urban areas. Haven't seen any reports whether the Chinese have been trapping and testing. Wonder if the widespread 'street spraying' is partially for this reason.

267:

"Were-rodents"?, gets amusingly close to "Curse Of The Were-Rabbit". Can this be extended to invertebrates? What form might a were-roach take?
And has Gilbert Shelton been there already with "Fat Freddie's Cat"?.

268:

... has Gilbert Shelton been there already with "Fat Freddie's Cat"?

The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers were suspiciously furry, weren't they? Those three alleged humans often displayed little better than animal intelligence, while Fat Freddie's Cat was articulate and cunning.

You may be on to something!

269:

For some reason, curses are thought to be more omniscient (and better educated) than either the person invoking the curse or the victim of the curse. Thinking about it, that's an odd omission.

You're going to enjoy "Dead Lies Dreaming" then, is all I can say ...!

270:

"Were-rodents"?, gets amusingly close to "Curse Of The Were-Rabbit". Can this be extended to invertebrates? What form might a were-roach take?

Go directly to Amazon, sign up for a (the first is free) month of Kindle Unlimited, and throw yourself into the flaming dumpster fire of shifter romance that is to be found on KU.

(Well okay, some of it isn't flaming dumpster fire worthy -- some of it is by pretty good authors trying to earn a living on the side -- but there are heaps and drifts of every possible kind of shifter you can imagine, getting it on with every other kind of shifter and human. Were-armadillos, for example. Or hot gecko/dragon porn.)

271:

You don't even need to sign up to KU to get lost in the dreck - just doing searches seems to bring it up (literally). Unfortunately, I prefer my kink to be less extreme so I avoid the romance genre like the plague these days. Mostly, I stick to Georgette Heyer.

272:

Not quite the angle I was thinking of... but, that sounds more like rule 34 fanfic involving telepathic giant lizards, or Flesh Gordon. I needed that laugh, thanks.

273:

You can just have a fat line between Earth and Moon, and another fat line between Moon and Sun, and the lines have to overlap to trigger the change.

I think the cool thing about using gravity though is the whole "werewolves are transformed by the full moon" being a simple rule of thumb that people came up with, which approximately fits the very complex reality.

Could even throw in acceleration as well.

Lets suppose you have to be approximately in-between the sun and the moon. And you have to be experiencing a G force (whether due to gravity or acceleration) which has positive dot product with the sun to moon direction vector.

And it works like sunburn - small exposure won't change you, so being on an accelerating train wouldn't change things - a train can't accelerate for long enough to trigger a change. A rocket, however, can.

So in the end you get this cool world where what is a simple rule like "apples fall downwards" or "werewolves are transformed by the full moon" becomes something complicated and different once you leave the Earth.

274:

Speaking of shaving one's beard to let one wear an N95 mask safely... It me:
https://www.thebeaverton.com/2020/02/men-scramble-to-find-a-personality-after-cdc-suggests-shaving-beard-to-stop-coronavirus/

In terms of transmission, I keep misreading Covid as "corvid", leading me to wonder about the possibility of transmission by birds. Given the way the virus keeps popping up far from previous centers of infestation, it almost seems like it's being transmitted by wild birds migrating westward from China, with secondary transmission via humans. Which isn't crazy, given the fact of avian influenza (with a different virus) and the fact that the original Covid outbreak seems to have begun in or near a wildlife market.

There are now signs the virus could incubate for up to 24 days, not just the 14 previously expected. If so, the likelihood of transmission by a human vector without it being possible to track the chain of transmission increases greatly. If you know transmission happens within a day of symptoms manifesting, it's relatively easy to backtrack the chain of infection to patient zero. But if transmission could happen up to 24 days later, in someone who's traveled to half a dozen cities during that period, it seems computationally infeasible to track the chain back to its start.

275:

whitroth @ 123: I'm starting to think that I need to mark up some of my posts, at least, like hypertext. I think I need special marks for "more or less", "approximately", and so forth. Maybe a special one that is for "THIS IS NOT AN EXACT AND PRECISE, TO THE HOUR".

Have you considered just adding a standard disclaimer?

https://www-users.cs.york.ac.uk/susan/joke/disclaim.htm

276:

“any discussion of relativitic effects or the use of werewolves as an FTL signaling mechanism will be firmly discouraged”

Who'd want to use quantum-entangled werewolves to transmit information anyway? The byte transmission rate is too low.

277:

...Of course, if you fired a werewolf into a black hole, you'd give the black hole lycanthropy as the tides tore the werewolf apart and infected it. Thereafter, the black hole might either have no hair or hair depending on what day it is.

278:

Do they have higher and lower tall heights and short heights, like the tides in some areas have higher and lower high and low tides?

279:

I've met some decent shifter romance, but it's by a fairly good writer. They manage to make the shifter part work reasonably sensibly. (Not just wolves, but also bears and mountain lions.) I have more trouble with the backstory.

281:

Sorted, thanks. (We're usually faster on the trigger around here but I've been AFK for most of the day ...)

282:

>280 The nearest thing to a shifter romance I've read and kept is The Edge series by Ilona Andrews. Others dealing with romances between shifters and humans I would consider fall more into the Urban Fantasy genre rather than the paranormal romance genre - more Ilona Andrews, Patricia Briggs, Charlaine Harris and Sarah A Hoyt.

But, as I said before, I've never been into the romance genre much at all - although I have a soft spot for Regencies. Generally, I find them soppy at best and frankly coercive at worst.

283:

Re: ' ... transmission by a human vector without it being possible to track the chain of transmission increases greatly.'

Dr Aylward (head of that specialist panel of experts sent by WHO to China) mentioned at the Geneva media conference that China basically leaned on the cellphone companies to hand over customer location tracking records specifically so that authorities could locate and test likely contacts. Doubt this will fly in the West.

284:

Heteromeles @ 125: I agree that menstrual cycles were and are measured, because that kind of knowledge is important for both having children and not having children. What I disagree with are the notions that women's menstrual cycles synchronize, that menstrual cycles have anything to do with lunar phase, and most especially that they have anything to do with lycanthropy.

Everything I know about it is of apocryphal based on a couple of conversations I once had with a girlfriend while I was in college (I think "at university" is the accepted term on that side of the pond).

What she told me was that over the school year the young women in her dormitory would come into alignment, usually with a socially dominant female, with the strength of that alignment being related to the proximity of the other females in the dorm to that dominant female. These were dorms divided into "suites" - four rooms & eight females sharing a bathroom, with another "suite" across the hall along a double loaded corridor. There were 8 "suites" on each floor of the dorm.

Over the summer, while the young ladies were scattered to their homes & summer jobs etc, the alignment would fade, so that at the beginning of the next school year the cycle would begin again (with possibly a new "dominant" female if the previous one had graduated.

I thought it was probably pheromones and living in close quarters.

Don't know why it would mimic the cycle of lunar phases, except to note the human race apparently has a few million years of evolution living with the moon & tides and whatever effects it might have had on that evolution. One thought occurring just now was that menses might have made our grassland dwelling ancestors more vulnerable to predators & those females whose menses occurred at the full moon might have had an observational advantage (better able to see predators & avoid them) that they passed along to their daughters in their DNA.

Obviously I'm lagging behind again and someone else may have already suggested this. I've had to spend the last week or so working on my kitchen, installing dry-wall & additional cabinets. Hopefully, I'm almost done. I get my new gas stove installed next Friday and after this go-round the only thing I'll have to do in the kitchen is enjoy cooking in it.

285:

Rice University was instrumental in the deal to bring the NASA Manned Space Center to Houston. The Humble Oil Company donated 1,000 acres of land to Rice. Rep. Albert Thomas (Rice '20) and Vice President Johnson used their influence to have Rice selected. Rice sold the land to the federal government for $20. Rice desegregated. Kennedy made his speech at Rice. NASA built the space center. Humble Oil made a bundle developing the adjacent land that it still held.

286:

The only thing that worries me about the Covid-19 thing is if I get sick, who's going to take care of my little dog?

287:

“What I disagree with are the notions that women's menstrual cycles synchronize, that menstrual cycles have anything to do with lunar phase, and most especially that they have anything to do with lycanthropy.”
I’m a bit puzzled by the “most especially.” That review article you linked had lots of support for your first two points, but (unsurprisingly) I found nothing in the article either for or against correlations with lycanthropy.

288:

What I disagree with are the notions that women's menstrual cycles synchronize

You need to talk to women who work in call centers where they typically occupy the same small bay of 4 to 12 seats each time there.

289:

if I get sick, who's going to take care of my little dog?

You're made of meat, the dog will be fine for a few weeks.

290:

You're made of meat, the dog will be fine for a few weeks.

"I expect to die and be eaten by my cats. If I am very lucky, it will happen in that order." - James Nicoll

291:

That’s a Nick Lowe song.

I only fairly recently read Lowe’s account of how he wrote ‘(What’s so funny ‘bout) Peace, Love and Understanding’. Doesn’t mean I will remember it that well, but what I remember is that It pretty much stayed being a joke song right up till he played it in front of someone else, at which point his thought process was: well actually, isn’t that really what we’re all after and what IS so funny about it? So he did it straight and it stuck that way.

292:

The only thing that worries me about the Covid-19 thing is if I get sick, who's going to take care of my little dog?

As there are reports of a dog testing positive for Covid-19 in Hong Kong (and it's known to have jumped species at least once already -- it didn't evolve in humans) that may be more problematic than you think.

293:

Re: ' ... jumped species at least once already -- it didn't evolve in humans) that may be more problematic than you think.'

Agree - mostly because of the impact on urban and suburban areas via rodents. This would be a great time to test out automated* rodent catching, testing and disposal by incineration in the municipal sewage system (aka the great rodent freeway).

The other creatures that I'm concerned about are gulls and pigeons because they'll poke at and eat just about anything - and defecate anywhere.

Next - we've had lots of precipitation this past winter and the weather forecasters have already said there's a higher than average risk of flooding all around the Great Lakes which often translates into a mosquito bumper crop. No idea whether mosquitoes are another potential vector but I think it's possible since they seem to pass on everything else.

* Good opportunity for any org already listed on the stock market to diversify into 'community health infrastructure and maintenance support systems'. The markets could use a winner and at least some gov'ts might be willing to test such an obvious approach. (Municipal archives suggest that infrastructure often gets improved after a pandemic.)

294:

Is it faecally transmitted? I don't think respiratory illnesses usually are.

Also, when the bird flu scare happened, it turned out that pigeons could not catch it; it wouldn't surprise me all that much if such results were found with this one too.

By far the worst infectors will probably be dogs and their habit of slobbering a paste of live virus particles over humans' faces.

295:

Not in the sense that gut infections usually are. What it's more likely to be is via inhalation of aerosolised dry faecal powder. Given that bats are thought to be (one of) the initial vectors, this would make sense given the usual conditions found in caves with large bat colonies.

296:

Few of the coronavirus group survive dessication.

297:

Re: ' ... faecally transmitted?'

It's shed feacally, and based on the cruise ship infection/transmission levels, looks like a definite 'Yes!'.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-02-20/fecal-transmission-may-be-behind-coronavirus-s-rapid-spread

Excerpt:

'The novel coronavirus is shed in the feces of infected people, which may help explain why it’s spread so fast, according to Chinese researchers.

The finding of live virus particles in stool specimens indicates a fecal-oral route for coronavirus, which may be why it’s caused outbreaks on cruise ships with an intensity often seen with gastro-causing norovirus, which also spreads along that pathway. More than 600 Covid-19 infections were confirmed among passengers and crew aboard the Diamond Princess, the ship quarantined for two weeks in Yokohama, Japan.'

Google turned up a few science journal articles but they were pay-walled. Weird because the top-tier journals (i.e., Nature, Lancet, Science, and other) made a point of making everything re: Covid-19 open. (Pay-walling in this case is a total-jerk move.)

298:

Re: 'dessication'

Serious request for elaboration because niggly details might matter here.

1- What exactly do you mean by dessication?

2- How does this differ from 'droplets with this virus can land and survive on hard surfaces for several hours therefore can be picked up by others touching that contaminated surface'? (The 'several hours' makes me think that the water droplet would have evaporated, i.e., dessication had occurred.)

Thanks!

299:

Apparently there are rumors flying around about "Wuhan Bat Soup" being the source of the outbreak. These are apparently crap, as eating flying foxes is something done more in the Pacific (as on Palau).

I'm not sure about dried bat guano being a major source of infection. It's been used for centuries as fertilizer all over the world, and there's not a known pattern of virus infection linked to it.

A rather better bet is from bat urine. David Quammen flagged flying fox urine in spreading Nipa virus in Spillover. He gave a recent interview about how viruses can spread in wildlife markets, and he pointed to simple bad hygiene, where cages are stacked, and feces and urine from the animals on top contaminate all the other animals in the stack. Apparently SARS got started that way. The civets that infected people weren't the reservoir host, but rather the amplifier host, with a bat species being the reservoir hosts. Apparently the civets got infected in a market somewhere and passed it to humans.

Good interview. One point he made that I strongly agree with is that bats are 1/4 of mammal species, so bat is analogous with "rodent" not with "rat." Not all bats have all viruses, it's just that their diversity can, erm, rub off on us the wrong way. Additionally, they have some immune system weirdnesses that mean they're disproportionately likely to host viruses, which is why kissing a bat or ingesting bat bodily secretions is sometimes a really bad idea.

300:

This is why it's so important to wash your hands thoroughly, and do it frequently.

301:

Bats apparently have immune systems that are really fast to adapt to new pathogens - not a surprise, as they live in places that are generally damp and warm. But that means that pathogens that infect bats also are going to change and adapt quickly. Humans get caught in the middle of that little war, and we lose.

302:

Mere evaporation of surplus water is not the same as dessication, which is why the UK has so many rot problems and one reason it has so many winter infections. 'Dry' in a UK winter is often wet enough to allow fungi to rot materials, algae to survive, and iron to rust. See, for example:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2863430/

For bat faeces to be breathed in as dust, they must be dessicated, ground down and disturbed, which isn't likely to leave the virus intact. Far more likely is that a dog ate or touched a nose to something on the floor of a bat cave, which happened to be contaminated with fresh faeces. We shall never know for certain, of course.

303:

'Dry' in a UK winter is often wet enough to allow fungi to rot materials, algae to survive, and iron to rust.

"Basically manky all the time," as Pigeon put it. I think most of us are aware that excessive dryness is rarely a problem during UK winters.

Years ago I was at a gaming convention in Portland (Oregon, not Dorset) where on the last day I heard a local fan telling an out-of-state visitor that we were a bit worried about the ongoing drought. The visitor skeptically looked out the window to see that it was raining, as it had been raining nonstop the entire weekend. I said, "Yes, I know. That's what a drought looks like in Oregon."

304:

Fortunately for the most part heat and humidity have an inverse relationship. While we might get 80% around 30C (and mist in the mornings), when the temperature really rises, especially past 40C, the relative humidity drops. There were at least a handful of such days here this last (southern) summer, with the daytime heat in the low 40s and the relative humidity in the 20s, having been over 80 in the morning. I remember a summer road trip with 45C but such low humidity you could singe your nostrils taking a deep breath, and that was in the 1980s. Wet summers can turn dry in the heat, just as drought can turn to flood really quickly.

Of course stuff rots when it’s hot and humid too: black mould loves the condensation under a tine roof for instance. Part of getting used to sweating nearly all the time is getting used to everything being a bit damp, relatively speaking, all the time, and things that emit steam in the sun. The grass in my backyard grew a foot in a week, the hibiscus and duranta in the front yard have been flowering for months, Birds drink from anything that can hold water and bicker around feeders.

Not clear what will happen with the UK, whether the guild stream will go and the termperatures drop to latitude-appropriate ranges, or this ultimately won’t matter as the region heats with the rest of the world. I think it’s fated to always lean to dampness, though.

305:

Yes. The UK doesn't actually get much rainfall - indeed, some parts almost fall into the 'arid' category - but the evaporation is low, even in summer, and almost non-existent in winter. Conversely, 80% and 40 Celsius has a fairly large 'evaporative window' (is there a proper term?) This has BIG consequences on the survival times (high) and growth rate (low) of many organisms. God alone knows what effect the UK/USA differences will make.

306:

Re: 'Mere evaporation of surplus water is not the same as dessication, ...'

Thanks for the explanation and link - much appreciated!

307:

_Moz_ @ 289:

if I get sick, who's going to take care of my little dog?

You're made of meat, the dog will be fine for a few weeks.

Dog does not live by meat alone ... !

He needs water, petting & walkies; a warm bed to sleep in. I'm not just thinking about what will happen to him if the Covid-19 kills me. If I get sick enough I have to be hospitalized, someone's going to have to take care of him until I get better; if I get better ... or if I don't.

308:

Pigeon @ 294: Is it faecally transmitted? I don't think respiratory illnesses usually are.

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

Also, when the bird flu scare happened, it turned out that pigeons could not catch it; it wouldn't surprise me all that much if such results were found with this one too.

By far the worst infectors will probably be dogs and their habit of slobbering a paste of live virus particles over humans' faces.

I already don't let him lick my face (or anyone else's face) because it's ICKY!, so no problem there.

309:

Got a bed thought for all of you: as I've read a number of times, what's closer than rats or mice to humans are... pigs.

And there are morons in the last 15 years or so who talk about "rare" pork....

310:

On the other hand, a) cats are a lot smarter than cat-dislikers think... it's just that they have their own agendas, that are *not* yours; b) Scat is the most realistic cat in all comicdom, and c) not all the Freak bros were not smart - Phineas, with his technical and chemical doings? Frank the cynic?

311:

Hey, Flesh Gordon (the first one) is a lot of fun (and did you know the stop motion was done by Harryhousen?). Even the actors look like they're having fun with it.

My late wife and I found a copy of the sequel, made in the early nineties - we saw it, you don't have to. It wasn't funny.

312:

Way too long. Let me just quote my late wife's disclaimer: this post does not represent the view of my employer, myself before coffee, or the view out my window.

313:

The kitchen - argh! I really need to a) replace the two stupid small cabinets beside the stove with one single one, with a drawer big enough for a regular silverware tray; b) the rack with a cabinet that's my height, and which will hold more; c) build the damn island and redo the kitchen table for my son, and d) (which may come first) call the plumber and get a real estimate for them to run a damn gas line from the meter to the other side of the slab, so I can put in a gas stove, and get rid of the electric, that I hate.

314:

Re. "what'll happen to the dog?"

As my parents' generation has aged, this has become a significant issue as one of a pair of spouses passes, leaving the other alone. And it's not just for the elderly. It just takes one injudicious step onto that pat of butter you dropped on the tile floor in the kitchen to leave you helpless and dying or dead. (My wife travels a lot, and I'm sometimes a sloppy cook, so the thought has crossed my mind...)

People who live alone should arrange with relatives to check in on them periodically, or to call if they don't receive an e-mail every couple of days. If there are no relatives nearby, set up a buddy system with friends. Such systems have provided a great easing of fears for the elderly relatives in my family. I know of at least one friend of a relative who fell and lay on the floor for 2+ days until someone happened by to check on them.

There are hardward/software solutions. For example, the Apple Watch has a fall-detection system, and there are commercial services that do this for an ongoing fee; my grandmother and stepfather-in-law subscribed to different systems and were happy they did. So it's well worth looking into, covid, werewolves, and other inconveniences of modern life notwithstanding.

315:

.If I get sick enough I have to be hospitalized, someone's going to have to take care of him [the dependent dog] until I get better...

So you need to take some actions in advance to ensure that happens, no? Arrange it with neighbors, friends, relatives, property management, animal protective associations, animal care companies or whatever. Hopefully, those would be the same entities that are checking up on you yourself, or linked to them.

Note the two different cases: 1) I'm really sick but can still activate the save-the-dog protocol and 2) I'm out on the floor and nobody knows it until and if a check-up protocol finds me and takes subsequent actions, which should include activating save-the-dog.

316:

Correct. And I'm thrilled to have this thread diverge to include my alma mater. Class reunion coming up this year!

And I believe it would be appropriate to refer to Congressman Albert Thomas as class of 1920, as opposed to the 2020 class.

317:

People who live alone should arrange with relatives to check in on them periodically, ...

Sure. But most elderly refuse. Or at least all the ones I've interacted with. My mother, mother in law, all my friends parents. They can't stand the thought of being THAT dependent on someone and go so far as to disconnect such things after they agree with them and they are set up. IF they agree with them. And most of them got very ugly about the entire subject. In the US you can take over for someone who needs such but it requires lawyers and judges and as my brother once said "If you plan to pull the pin on the nuclear hand grenade you really need to be prepared for the results." Most of the ones in these situations were born in the 20s and 30s. Which in the US meant they grew up in very strange financial times. Which I suspect led to many of them deciding to NEVER be dependent on anyone.

With my mother in law, she fell once (not really hurt but too overweight and weak to get up) and spend the next 1 1/2 hours crawling around trying to figure out how to pull herself up. Totally ignoring the several phones next to her. (We had cameras on her so we got to see how she deal with it.) Later in assisted living she was wearing the pendent and had pull strings around her unit. Still would not call for help.

For example, the Apple Watch has a fall-detection system,

I've had mine, with fall detection, for about 6 months. I just went off the other day for the 3rd time. You have 1 minutes to cancel it. Each time it seems to be the result of rapid arm movements for me. We were taking down about 20 feet of very temporary fencing.

318:

David L noted that most elderly refuse aids such as fall detection systems.

True enough. But you can always provide information on the available options and an argument in favor of using the technology. It can be portrayed selfishly ("I worry about you, and I'll sleep easier if..."). A mutually respectful discussion worked for 2 of my relatives -- one of whom was anxious and didn't need much persuading and one of whom agreed to the tech to spare us from worrying. Different strokes! Hasn't been necessary for Mom (80) because it's a rare day when she doesn't call or e-mail us; if we don't hear from her for more than a day, we know something's wrong. But I've been thinking of suggesting the Apple Watch to her.

Anyway, my main point in posting my suggestion was to reassure the person who was worried about their dog. They may now be aware of options they didn't know about before. It's up to them to decide whether those options are appropriate for their situation.

319:

There's the cognitive decline issue, too.

In later years both my parents had call pendants. Did they ever use them, even when they'd fallen and were on their own and hurt? Nope, they didn't remember what the pendant was for.

Thing is, as we age our short term memory declines, and stuff gets memorized through rote repetition. But you can't repeatedly test a call pendant that phones through to a switchboard service until they get it down to a habit!

(During her last year in the nursing home, my mother had a call button clipped to her nightie. But the only time she used it was an accident, as she shifted in bed and pressed it against something.)

320:

Apple Watch would have been a disaster for my parents; you can't lock the interface to prevent swiping by accident, which they would totally do, and then get confused and distressed by. (Dad died at 93: mum made it to 90. Both had medium-severe cognitive decline in the last couple of years.)

Also, Apple, Google et al keep meddling with the look, feel, and behaviour of user interfaces. This is useful to use young 'uns, but absolutely terrible practice for the elderly who can't remember how anything new works. Unfortunately the design life of personal electronics (2-5 years) is user-hostile for most folks over 60-70; and the companies who serve the geriatric market are typically 20-30 years behind the curve in terms of functionality.

321:

Correction: it's terrible practice for everyone, and not useful for anyone. If only the bastards would just learn to let well alone it would save an immense amount of pointless arseache.

Comment from everyone when these sorts of changes happen is negative. Nobody ever says how great it is. Anyone who cares enough to express an opinion says something about it being a confusing pain in the arse, usually with some addendum about something or other that no longer works at all. It isn't just "the elderly"; everyone hates it, including people who write software themselves. (Perhaps especially them. When you download an update to get a bug fix you do not want to have to spend several days fucking about trying to work out how to do everything you usually do all over again.)

When some widely used package that I don't use at all myself gets an update, I still know about it because of the way the internet fills up with people complaining about it. There are even packages for which this is the only reason I know they exist at all.

And when this commentary occurs on the package's official support forum, the response from the perpetrators is that theirs is the only opinion that counts and that of anyone who doesn't like it is fit only to ignore on the grounds that they must be too ignorant to know any better. Sometimes quite explicitly, with no attempt to dress it up in diplomatic language. (It was exactly that plainly-stated naked contempt for the users that finally got me to give Ubuntu the push.)

322:

whitroth @ 313: The kitchen - argh! I really need to a) replace the two stupid small cabinets beside the stove with one single one, with a drawer big enough for a regular silverware tray; b) the rack with a cabinet that's my height, and which will hold more; c) build the damn island and redo the kitchen table for my son, and d) (which may come first) call the plumber and get a real estimate for them to run a damn gas line from the meter to the other side of the slab, so I can put in a gas stove, and get rid of the electric, that I hate.

I am almost done. I finished up the sheetrock (drywall) behind where the new stove is going to go on Sunday. My brother came over & helped me hang the last two cabinets. I finished up the filler strips between the cabinets (because I couldn't find a 32" wide cabinet, only a 30") and between the bottom of the cabinet over the range hood & the hood itself. The new gas range gets delivered Friday.

Which brings me to the AGGRAVATION!!! The gas is already piped into the kitchen. It's been there & capped off since before I bought the house in 1974. I need to have a gas shut-off valve installed in place of the cap. I explained this to the big-box home-improvement store where I bought the range; even showed them a photograph of the pipe with a ruler for scale and paid them to send a plumber out to install the valve before the stove was delivered.

The plumber they sent out gets there, takes one look at the pipe and informs me that the gas company will not allow him to turn off the gas at the meter & install the valve. I'll have to call the gas company to do it. The gas company says that's not true, there's no problem with him installing the valve; plumbers do it all the time. But IF I want them to install the valve they can do that.

They'll have to get a building permit from the City of Raleigh and have it inspected & approved by the city inspector ... at $200/hour + parts & fees.

Fuck it! I will do it myself.

323:

Geoff Hart @ 314: Re. "what'll happen to the dog?"

As my parents' generation has aged, this has become a significant issue as one of a pair of spouses passes, leaving the other alone. And it's not just for the elderly. It just takes one injudicious step onto that pat of butter you dropped on the tile floor in the kitchen to leave you helpless and dying or dead. (My wife travels a lot, and I'm sometimes a sloppy cook, so the thought has crossed my mind...)

People who live alone should arrange with relatives to check in on them periodically, or to call if they don't receive an e-mail every couple of days. If there are no relatives nearby, set up a buddy system with friends. Such systems have provided a great easing of fears for the elderly relatives in my family. I know of at least one friend of a relative who fell and lay on the floor for 2+ days until someone happened by to check on them.

There are hardward/software solutions. For example, the Apple Watch has a fall-detection system, and there are commercial services that do this for an ongoing fee; my grandmother and stepfather-in-law subscribed to different systems and were happy they did. So it's well worth looking into, covid, werewolves, and other inconveniences of modern life notwithstanding.

I've been looking into that. Looking for some kind of service I can purchase to have them check in with me daily. My closest relative is 62.7 miles away ... my brother who is 63 years old himself.

We both lived 30 miles from my Mom during her later years. My brother had one of those systems with an emergency button on a pendant installed for her. If she pushed the button, the service would come on over a speaker attached to her phone to ask her what help she needed.

Unfortunately the button was very sensitive and could be set off by the cat jumping up into her lap while she was sitting there reading and since she lived alone she didn't put her hearing aids in unless she had visitors and couldn't hear the operator asking if she was all right.

My brother & I both made many a trip late at night only to find my Mom sitting in her favorite chair reading with the cat contentedly asleep in her lap.

324:

Geoff Hart @ 318: David L noted that most elderly refuse aids such as fall detection systems.

I'm not like "most" elderly. I have a background in security & life safety systems and I'm aware of the hazards from living alone so I've already been thinking about what I'm going to need as I get older.

Anyway, my main point in posting my suggestion was to reassure the person who was worried about their dog. They may now be aware of options they didn't know about before. It's up to them to decide whether those options are appropriate for their situation.

I already know there are options. I'm trying to figure out the ones that will work best for me. What will I need & where will I get it from?

I'm not really "worried about the dog" as much as pointing out the concerns I needed to deal with (and am making preparations for).

325:

It can be portrayed selfishly ("I worry about you, and I'll sleep easier if..."). A mutually respectful discussion worked for 2 of my relatives -- one of whom was anxious and didn't need much persuading and one of whom agreed to the tech to spare us from worrying.

Great. Worked for you.

But my experience and that of most of my friends with elderly parents is not such.

Condensing down most of the comments we all got basically resulted in "Get out of my life you terrible person."

Until we get the phone call, often from THEM, asking for help as they don't want to call 911. From 200 miles away.

Sigh.

As I said there seems to be something with people who grew up in the US in the 30s and 40s. My experience with later generations is thin so maybe it is more universal but I don't know.

And to Charlie's point cognitive decline does add to the "fun" but it only seems to ramp up the "get out of my life" situation. Not cause it.

And to be honest I can see the feeling of lose of control being big here. Especially for those who grew up in hard times. My mother family was basically poor in the US born in 1932. And my mother in law born in 1928 in southern Germany. Think of your teen years in that situation. And Catholic to boot.

326:

Comment from everyone when these sorts of changes happen is negative

When Pinochet retired there was tremendous whining about how great he was and how he'd be missed. I expect the same was true of Stalin and Truman.

When Charlie releases a book the paid shills get excited and publish measured reviews, and the rest of the internet complains about how the book isn't available in Lower Transylvania yet, or the translation into Finnish is slap-dash, and we haven't even got started on the people who hate the content yet. "purile garbage", "nonsensical characters" "missing plot"...

You could be mistaken for thinking that a lot of people don't like change, and the people who dislike something are more inclined to post about it than people who do. You just don't get a series of heart-felt posts across social media saying "the new thing is mostly ok".

327:

"You just don't get a series of heart-felt posts across social media saying "the new thing is mostly ok"."

Well, quite. That simply goes to show that there was no point doing it in the first place. Both because nobody cares enough to think it worth praising, and because "mostly ok" is too lame a target to justify a release. (After all, the old version was also "mostly ok".)

Books are a completely different kettle of fish. Being new is kind of the point, and reading a book is an end in itself. If you don't like the book you don't have to read it; you can just put it down, and reset the world to where it was before you started.

Software is a means to an end, and whether or not you use it isn't an isolated choice like reading a book or putting it down; it depends on whether or not you want to achieve that end. If the means becomes crappy and you bin it, it means also having to bin the end which you presumably still want. This is not such a free choice as discovering the end itself is crappy and declining to pursue it.

A more appropriate analogy would be that Invisible Sun has appeared and you're absorbedly reading it, then you get half way through and someone takes the book away and replaces it with the same text in the form of a scroll, because books with pages are sooo yesterday, dahling. And when you complain and want the book back, you get told that scrolls are "our vision for the 21st century" and if you don't like them it just proves you don't know what you're talking about so you're not worth listening to.

328:

I was thinking more of all the people who didn't respond to the killing of Google+ with "oh, I never used that anyway" rather than thew storm of whining from users.

That's absolutely typical of software in general. I no longer even bother caring that when we fix bugs (especially user interface bugs) no-one cares. We might notice that the error rate on an operation has gone from 30% of users to 0.1% of users, but even the people who experienced the problem every day, when we ask them either haven't noticed or vaguely remember that it used to be different. The one user who can no longer user the program because we broke their autopilot ... they *really* notice. And sometimes ring to demand that we break the program for 30% of users. It makes sense to them, because from their point of view it used to work, it no longer works, and they do not give a shit about any user other than themselves.

329:

My wife deals with this as an interface between business groups and developers at a big company. I see it in my work of managing small business and home tech users.

Give me all the new features but don't change the way anything works please. Or I'll hold my breath until I turn blue.

330:

Give me all the new features but don't change the way anything works please.

Ah, the lovely "why bother involving anyone else, I can be contradictory all by myself" user. I love those ones.

Our latest one is iPhones that allow complex emoji in the phone name. Since have to save the phone name we have to deal with the way Apple do "combining emoji" and it is not really great. Loosely, if you want an emoji that's a a dancing dinosaur you can have it. But that's not in unicode so non-iPhones won't render it if Apple use a private codepoint. Instead they emit "dancing people" plus "lizard" codepoints, plus a non-rendering private codepoint. I think the theory is that Apple phones go "hey, combining codepoints, dancing+lizard" then draw a dancing dinosaur and other phones draw two glyphs and ignore the non-rending point.

As you can imagine this causes immense trauma when users visit our website and see a phone labelled "Wendy the 💃🦎"

331:

Wendy sounds like an interesting gal.

332:

Apparently 🏳️‍🌈 comes through as 14 bytes. I haven't actually seen the breakdown but that's what we're seeing.

The good news is that Apple lets you have 30 of those in your phone name. But the Android kids tell me Android doesn't do that. Only... I can do that to my Android phone. So maybe I know tricks they don't know (I don't use the google stock keyboard, for example)

333:

Whatever happened to the internet enabled kettle? We were going to be able to tell our folks were okay because they were still drawing hot water for tea and instant soup. It seemed like just the right level of intrusive surveillance - enough to do the job but not too much. Now I guess it's going to be Alexa and Google Home looking after us.

334:

I have a SF novel question.

Decades ago, in the 1990s, there was a novel where the starship left Earth using a "Light Speed" drive.

The ship literally moved at the speed of light by acting like a photon. Time stopped during the transit. They arrived at the target star to find that it was inhabited by aliens.

As usual, I cannot remember the title or author.

Thanks for any help.

335:

Charlie @ 320
Also fucking stupid "ultra-clever" developers & software people etc et bloody cetera ... INSIST on "designing" ( Cobbling-together-from remnants ) user intefaces that simply either DO NOT WORK, or go backwards.
Many supermarket "self-service" chekouts had ( It's been fixed now ) user-interfaces that STARTED with "finish-&-pay", I kid you not. If you actually followed the instructions on the screen in front of you, you would never be able to make a purchase ... I had several very loud shouting matches in-stores about this, for condescending fuckwits trying to "help" the "old man" SNARL.
Eventually, every time, I manged to get through to them ( Because they were trying to "help" by doing it for me ... ) "LOOK, I'm following your instructions, now watch"....

Pigeon
And when this commentary occurs on the package's official support forum, the response from the perpetrators is that theirs is the only opinion that counts and that of anyone who doesn't like it is fit only to ignore on the grounds that they must be too ignorant to know any better.
Yup
TfL are particularly bad at this - they will NEVER, EVER accept that their passengers know better than they do about what travelling conditions they would prefer ... they are about to introduce shiny new superb trains ( technically speaking ) on our local ines - ship spoilt for a hap'orth of tar by the new utterly shitty seat layout.
Will be made worse, probably , because ORR have also fucked-up, so they can only be used (at the moment) as 4-car units, not 8's The AM peak into Liverpool Street is going to be ... interesting.
... "Scrolls" - yes, that's it exactly.
Fashion, rather than actual utility

JBS
Fuck it! I will do it myself. ... been there, done that ... sooo many times.
Reversing the input polarity of my house mains electricity was the fun one.

336:

Reversing the input polarity of my house mains electricity was the fun one.

Step 1.
Get 2 2 liter empty and dry soda/drink bottles.
Get one large pair of gloves that are big, thick, and extend up to the elbows.
Clear the working space around the breaker box.

337:

A few years back I was at an Internet of Things (IoT) meetup where the theme being discussed was medical tools for monitoring older folks needing remote care. The goshwow Great Ideas for this came thick and fast, not limited to anything sensible -- swallowable implants, anyone? -- but one of the more rational speakers ended her presentation with a five minute video (I think it was on Youtube), quite well produced.

Grandpa is living independently, his son and wife Skypeing in regularly to check up on him. He has an IoT-connected fork that monitors his eating habits, lots of vegetables and nothing bad for him like bacon as well as an IoT walking stick to make sure he's getting exercise.

By the end of the movie we see him sitting down to a plate of eggs and bacon, eating with one hand while stabbing the IoT fork into a bowl of broccoli and other greens. The doorbell rings, he gets up and answers it. There's a young man there, Grandpa hands him his walking stick and a four-pack of lager and the door closes as he heads back to his breakfast.

I would really like to find that video again.

338:

#321 - Yes THIS! I am apparently a "bad user" because I only use 10% of the "features" of $package, and want them to be in the same place in Release N+1 as they were in Release N!

#328 - Yes, but if I don't use $feature I won't notice it not being there (well unless I have some personal code that relies on some other feature being next in line). What I would notice is it being randomly moved from Menu_1 to Menu_2 "to create an illusion of progress from Release N to N_1".

#329 - Adding $new_feature is fine, as long as you don't delete or move $existing_feature in the process. Simples!

339:

#329 - Adding $new_feature is fine, as long as you don't delete or move $existing_feature in the process. Simples!

Getting back to my wife's job. Old line experts want it to work they way they have memorized things. Staff with under 5 years experience (which can be 50% at times) want sanity in the screen flow. They don't have the years of bad over patch UI burned into their memories.

The problem is the old line folks are the ones on the product improvement teams.

340:

And when this commentary occurs on the package's official support forum, the response from the perpetrators is that theirs is the only opinion that counts and that of anyone who doesn't like it is fit only to ignore on the grounds that they must be too ignorant to know any better. Sometimes quite explicitly, with no attempt to dress it up in diplomatic language. (It was exactly that plainly-stated naked contempt for the users that finally got me to give Ubuntu the push.)

Sounds like Gnome 3. Except in their case, it wasn't just a mere opinion, it was design theory that dictated that common work flows should take more effort than before. So there!

341:

I had a thought this morning (don't laugh, it could happen to you!)

Could the Trumpolini administration deport Superman as an illegal alien because he has no visible means of support?

342:

It might be better to ask whether they could let him stay, since he's an undocumented alien with a history of serious criminal offending.

343:

Judge Dredd to Bruce Wayne/Batman: "Vigilantism. Twenty years in the iso-cubes."

344:

It was so much easier to create a fake paper trail or just claim it was lost "back in the day".

Now days if you want to exist without docs you'll be regulated to hanging out in a corner of nearest Home Depot/Lowe's parking lot at sun up.

345:

Seem more appropriate here than the next thread.

We were talking about using garlic rubbed on finger tips as a smelly training aid to teach oneself to stop touching your face for Covid-19 reasons. Which got me thinking. Can Vampires get the flu? Are they immune to all infectious diseases? If they could catch HIV or CJD mad cow disease, I think we would have heard. And they are supposed to have miraculous healing powers and so a super-powerful immune system. I get the impression they generally avoid bodily contact and self-isolate except with their few victims. So presumably they don't spread diseases much except for their own. So are there any written descriptions of Nosferatu or any of his minions catching a cold?

346:

I thought they were an infectious disease.

347:

I am apparently a "bad user" because I only use 10% of the "features" of $package...

You are a completely normal user.

This observation goes back at least to the makers of Word Perfect, which was an excellent word processor in its day; they observed that 90% of the users only used 10% of the features (and that they could ship a much smaller product if it had been the same 10%). Pretty much any large system will be able to do many things that most users need rarely or never, for the few who do want them.

Wanting an outrageous example I thought up writing boustrophedon text in landscape mode - and then, curious, I googled. It turns out that LibreOffice has been asked about that more than once. It does both LTR and RTL just fine but word wrap doesn't yet handle realtime boustrophedon typing and users must flip alternate lines manually. This is, amazingly, a known request and on their to-do list, presumably very far down.

348:

I know! :-) Oh and I had to Wikipedia "boustrophedon". I think I may have found a use for it, probably combined with phonetic spelling, in role-playing games!

349:

I've written text wrapping/layout code1, and now you've given me nightmares.

As far as code support for features is concerned, I'm supporting code that includes what we call 'mosaic printing' - i.e. it prints a single 'image' over more than one sheet. I think we had one customer in the late 1990s that needed this, and I don't think they still use it, whoever they were. But it'd be more work to take this feature out than to leave it in. At least, more work if we don't factor in the test costs for each release ...

1The text may well be a different font size for every character, so can't use the built-in OS support. I think Qt actually has the support I'd require.

350:

Heteromeles (@153) said:

I could be wrong, but I got the impression that werewolves are kind of 5-10 years ago too, coinciding with the vampires. […] And if we're really unlucky, the next big thing will be films glorifying hybrid war spun up by national propaganda divisions.

Hmm, that's also kind of 10-20 years ago. There was this drama series which was basically one long national propaganda advertisement for torture and any other crime a big state actor could commit during asymmetrical warfare.

351:

Oh and I had to Wikipedia "boustrophedon"

I first came across the term in the Korbluth-Pohl novel Wolfbane, probably when it was first published. Still worth a quick read.

352:

Could the Trumpolini administration deport Superman as an illegal alien because he has no visible means of support?

Could they? Probably not, if only because shipping anyone to Krypton is problematic at best. (What do they do with former Soviet Union citizens who have never been to the Russian Federation? It must have come up.) Would they? Probably; the whole "truth, justice, and the American Way" schtick labels him as disloyal to Donald.

Naturally this has come up before; the lovely Law & the Multiverse blog addressed Superheroes and Immigration Status and could hardly have omitted Kal-El's case.

There's also this essay which helpfully brings up the Nationality Act of 1940 and related legislation. Of particular interest is 8 USC § 1401(f) which establishes that infants of unknown parentage found in the US are presumed to be US citizens. If a baby is found in Kansas, rocket or no rocket, the kid's American and Lex Luthor only has until Clark's 21st birthday to prove otherwise.

353:

There was some interesting stuff on this subject in Supergirl Season 4. (which may be continued in Season 5).

354:

It seems to me it is the tidal force,or gravitational tug thats pulls the wolf out. The light of the full moon ( inthe sky ? )interacts with his soul and not his eyes.Therefore he must have knowledge that the light is there.So Collins transforms when he knows a moon is lit up and he is at the exact point of gravitation tug equal to being on earth .Please forgive me if thiz is redundant as i have not read all 300+ posts.

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This page contains a single entry by Charlie Stross published on February 21, 2020 2:42 PM.

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