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I ain't dead

... I'm not even ill.

However, I'm unproductive because I'm mildly depressed, and mildly depressed in part because I'm unproductive. Also the world is a flaming dumpster in a toxic waste site next to a reactor meltdown and I want to get off.

I think I wrote almost a thousand words last week. (About 15-20% of my normal output.) But that may be optimistic.

On the productive side: I suddenly realized my public profile had dropped to zero these past couple of years so I've done a couple of podcast/interviews and have a couple more lined up over the next week or so.

And who knows—maybe tomorrow I'll mop the kitchen floor then write another thousand words.

(This blog entry exists to serve notice that I'm not dead, and because the comments on the previous blog entry have become way too cumbersome and slow to load. So feel free to chat among yourselves in the comments on this entry instead!)

1534 Comments

1:

First!

(Is that too old a meme?)

In possibly better news, it turns out that Lord of the Flies was overly pessimistic about human nature

Short summary - 6 (Tongan) boys got wrecked on a tiny island. Outcome: by the time they were rescued over a year later, they were well on the way to reproducing civilisation.

2:

Hope this isn't too off-topic or anything. But it makes intresting reading:

https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/oureconomy/neoliberalism-is-over-welcome-to-the-era-of-neo-illiberalism/

Prehaps the flaming dumpster is illibrealism?

ljones

3:

You're not dead. You're still alive!

(Link is to the closing credit song of the game Portal. Song by Jonathan Coulton).

4:

Surprisingly the whole lockdown thing has made me less depressed, although I'm not sure why. It helps we live somewhere we can take long walks without feeling we're pushing the limits of what we should do.

But I also keep having to remind people who say 'it will all be OK in the end' that it doesn't say that anywhere, an in fact there's no reason to believe it will be: exponential processes (human 'progress' in various forms) in bounded systems come to an end at some point, and there's no reason to even suspect that we're not looking at the start of that process (not CV19 particularly, but other stuff), that it will be survivable for most humans or that some whacky scifi physics will be discovered which lets us carry on in our comfortable exponential ways.

But, but: there are two naked-eye-visible stars in a nested binary with a black hole being the third object. I can't see why, if they sort out the orbits, they should not be able to have a good hard look at where it is and detect it by gravitational microlensing (or perhaps it even is accreting tiny amounts of stuff so we'll be able to see the accretion disk). We live in a golden age of astronomy & astrophysics.

5:

And, by the way: if you are depressed you are ill. It took me a very long time to realise that depression, including my depression, is an illness, but it is.

Sorry for the second comment: I forgot to add this to the previous one.

6:

I thought I was doing OK until I realized that I was having severe difficulty motivating myself to do some technical book reviews -- a task I usually look forward to and can accomplish in an hour, plus however long it takes to read the book. I've been doing these for my professional society for decades, but now, I just can't get myself to focus long enough.

Having similar trouble with fiction. I can focus well enough to revise, but am having enormous difficulty ending new stories, even when I know where I want them to go. (It doesn't help that I'm still very early in my fiction career, and still a toddler/preschooler writer.

Stressful times. We need to make a conscious effort to be kind to each other, but also to ourself.

7:

I've been working from home for over a month, which means my life has been running on autopilot even more than usual, so I'm with OGH on the depression front. On the writing front (not the job, sadly) I managed to write 1/3rd of a chapter last week, but that was Wednesday. Since then…

I guess the point is that I empathize (and sympathize, which is a similar but distinct concept).

8:

So am I and so do I, despite the fact that I am retired. All we can do is bull through.

9:

One coffee later, and had a few more thoughts about my suggestion (in the previous blog entry) that we'd need to rent large monitors and keyboards if we travel and use a smartphone as our primary computer.

In hindsight, a short-sighted description. It seems likely that Apple is working on their own version of Google Glass, and that we'll soon see good-quality, highly usable virtual screens of any arbitrary size available. And there are already virtual keyboards that project the keys on a desktop and use finger-tracking software to see what you're typing. So it seems likely we'll see a powerful smartphone-based computer running some flavor of OS X paired with glasses that handle the screen and keyboard issues.

I don't expect the first versions to work well for someone like me who requires eyeglasses (me and contact lenses don't get along well). But eventually!

10:

Re quarantine.

We're doing it in Australia. Obviously it's a shit storm. They're being put up in five star hotels. So everyone thinks they're in the lap of luxury and have zero sympathy. But, it's Australia, so they're in closed five star hotels. So the air conditioning is off, the windows don't open, there's a meal 3 times a day, but no cooks, so you get a microwaved frozen meal left at you door that's still frozen in the middle. If you're vegetarian you can eat around the meat. If you have strict dietary requirements, well, it's only two weeks. No one actually dies in two weeks. No deliveries from local eateries are allowed and there's a cop in the hall making sure you don't go out.

In New Zealand they are also hosting in closed hotels, but you can order anything from the normal menu. If you ask, the staff will buy you whatever you want from the local countdown (you have to pay for that). You get an escorted walk outside every day. Laundry every day, delivered back the next day cleaned and pressed.

11:

There's another approach, which would be similar to what my office does now:

With the exception of a few developers who require heavy-duty machines for number-crunching, every employee at my office gets a laptop... and a docking station with a full-sized keyboard and 1 or 2 big flatscreen monitors.

I could easily see the same thing happening to smartphones. There was a reply on the previous thread about Nokia doing it, but I think the Appledroid phones probably have a stronger ecosystem.

12:

Glad to hear that you have not joined the Status.Dead == True ;-)

I have no wonder answers, except to enjoy what you enjoy and exercise if you can (I go on my bike...).

Read a few books? I've just read the latest Murderbot book by Martha Wells and enjoyed it thoroughly... throughout this endeavor, my washing and cleaning went to pot... definitely worth it, even if the cleaning effort is more later on.
- There is a great interview with her last week on Tubby & Coos with John Scalzi... very interesting as Martha had a fallow period a while back...
(I'm not linking it here - go google. This is the Blog of Stross...)

Best wishes and stay safe,

S.

13:

Carrying over from the previous thread:
Was that the longest set of comments "EVAH" on this blog?

[[ No: of the three posts that got over 2000 comments, it was only the second longest, being about 100 behind CASE NIGHTMARE BLOND - mod ]]

Charlie
@ old 2359 - Arianespace ... hows what-used-to-be-hotol doing?
[ "Reaction Engines"? ]

@ 2352
Agree that it's meaningless posturing, but it's VERY threatening. It aso postures for the benefit of The Gammons & it worries me.
Also, most places that are not the USA now have lower rates than we do, anyway!

Phones...
Because I'm not going out, except to the shops & the Allotment, I'm not using the real reason I bought that fancy phone - it has a Real KeyboardTM - I had just got started to be used to be able to search for things on it & actually TYPE messaging, when everything fell apart.
Bloody good camera, too - the only things it won't do is real close-ups or ultra-wide angle.

Geoff Hart & Charlie & everybody for that matter
It's the lockdown ... it's getting to people - even I, who am managing 3 multi-hour excursions every week ( On the plot, of course ) am feeling it.
I MISS not going to dance practice / going into town / meeting the railway layabouts in the pub, etc ...
We are a social species.

14:

I had to drive 90 minutes to see my ear/nose/throat doc for a CT/culture for a sinus infection last week. Went to a big box store to pick up a pre-order: my wife said maybe 20% of the people in it were masked/gloved. She showed them my phone with the barcode, they gave her the good, then she got the hell out of there.

Here in New Mexico we're still on the upswing of exponential case growth. And I'm supposed to go back to the library in early July, though we're not reopening until late August when the fall term begins.

And yes, people are clamoring to go back to work. And die.

Morons. It's the richest of the rich who want you go get back to work, the type who could burn money and not notice it. I'm not leaving the house. But I have a strong incentive not to leave: my body stopped producing antibodies eleven years ago. We don't know what will happen if/when I get the virus: supposedly because I have a normal T cell population, I won't have an increased morbidity chance.

Eventually it'll happen and we'll find out.

15:

Not to be (too) nitpicking...

Shouldn't it be

"I ATEN'T DEAD"?

16:

Greg: Reaction Engines is in my opinion a dead end -- assuming SpaceX get Superheavy/Starship flying, which seems like a winning bet at this point (they're hot-testing tankage/motor integration right now, which means it's not a paper study any more, here's actual hardware). HOTOL/Skylon required lots of liquid hydrogen handling, expensive ground infrastructure, and has a pathetic payload (IIRC about 2-4 tons to LEO: Starship promises 100 tons per flight and a faster flight tempo at much lower cost). However RE may yet fly because they've got one very valuable capability -- they're an obvious route to high-hypersonic in-atmosphere flight, which has military implications. So lots of Pentagon money to mop up there.

But at this point SpaceX has cornered 50% of the planetary launch market by matching and overmatching the reliability of the commercial competition and massively undercutting them on price, and that's with their last-generation product. Their next-gen product is solid enough that NASA have begun talking about using it for Artemis (their next-boots-on-the-moon program later this decade) despite being heavily invested in the SLS white elephant, and Musk's actual design target is to build something that can plant a million pairs of boots on Mars within 3 decades. Even if it falls short, it's going to be spectacular.

17:

Diminishing tagline recognition, I'm afraid.

18:

Indeed. Some uses are very close to that already, especially for the people who use smartphones for work, which is increasingly common. It will be slower coming (if it does) for private users, who use the smartphone as a social media hub, camera and television (as OGH) says, plus a identification, payment and ticket/invoice mechanism.

Geoff Hart's comment may well be right, but that approach has not succeeded so far, and that's not from lack of trying. Of course, a lot of of that is because of technological limitations that are slowly being eroded. I am not holding my breath, but am not ruling it out, either.

There is another possibility, especially when people use 'the cloud' for all storage. All that the smartphone does is identify and authenticate the user to the 'desktop system', which then proceeds to establish a virtual environment for the user (whether one with a user interface like the smartphone or not). This is very plausible for Apple, who are keen on BOTH using the cloud that way AND on sticking a CPU in their screens.

In that, it's essential to note that the user neither knows nor cares where the actual processing is done: on his smartphone, on a virtual system in his screen, or in the cloud. Indeed, one docking area might do it one way, and another a different way, with the user seeing the same result. The IT world has been moving in the direction of virtuality for a long time, and that's just another step.

19:

Agreed on the moron stuff. Guess we'll need second and third waves of coronavirus for people to learn.

As noted on In The Pipeline, the whole reason there's this complex set of rules and bureaucracy around things like drug and vaccine development (and, for that matter, airplanes, spaceflight, scuba, and many other fields) is that every extra procedure was created based on someone who suffered and/or died as the result of some avoidable problem.

Looks like we're going to write our modern pandemic playbooks in the ICUs and graveyards too. And don't forget, for every person dead of Covid19, there will probably be 4 or 5 who are permanently harmed by the virus, either through stroke or loss of kidneys at the extreme end, down to heart and lung damage at the more mild end.

Which is depressing, of course. Unfortunately, being depressed in response to people in power being stupid, greedy, and cruel, is perfectly rational. Even if it is counterproductive.

And now, I return you to the ongoing American horror/reality series, Masque of the Orange Death. In last night's episode, we found out that Covid19 is probably all through the White House, who have consistently failed to practice the recommendations that the CDC proposed. What will happen after the cliff hanger ending? Something surprising, but probably not the surprise you wanted. This new horror X reality TV format and it's "semiscripted" structure doesn't seem to be very entertaining.

20:

I'm reading The Nightmare Stacks and enjoying it. Thanks for writing it!

21:

Been seeing some stuff going around from various cognitive science sorts that reading requires an effort to construct the story; you have to sub-create to enjoy it. Since many people have the same cognitive machinery stuck trying to figure out how worried they ought to be, the impulse to read and the ability to read are presently diminished.

I expect this applies to writing, too, though I am personally blaming day-job deadlines at the moment.

22:

@Graydon: That's actually very interesting. Do you have links?

23:

Already used by a Pratchett fan group on Facebook, so probably not :)

24:

Maybe the cliff hanger will be that both Trump and Pence die of the virus
nearly simultaneously.

25:

In some of the previous journal entries people were talking about ticks and Lyme disease. Two (anecdotal) data points:

1: Living where I do (Dorset in southern England), this is tick season. If you're wearing trousers and in rank vegetation, expect to collect some - three or four seems normal. I'm not rash enough to try it with shorts.

2: My nephew was on holiday with us in Norway (an island in Stavangerfjord) in summer 2000; he was 8, I think. He went and jumped about in a bush there, being young and enthusiastic, for maybe 5 minutes. Sister and I took upward of 30 ticks off him afterwards.

26:

You were nearly right but, you misplaced the apostrophe...

I ATE'NT DEAD

27:
But at this point SpaceX has cornered 50% of the planetary launch market by matching and overmatching the reliability of the commercial competition and massively undercutting them on price, and that's with their last-generation product. Their next-gen product is solid enough that NASA have begun talking about using it for Artemis (their next-boots-on-the-moon program later this decade) despite being heavily invested in the SLS white elephant, and Musk's actual design target is to build something that can plant a million pairs of boots on Mars within 3 decades. Even if it falls short, it's going to be spectacular.
SpaceX is fascinating. Elon Musk is probably going to be this century's Howard Hugues. The perfect storm of technical bent, entrepreneurial chops, and the touch of batshit that you need to go from businessman to legend (the Tesla tweeting and the cant-help-myself provocation...). There's multiple books written about him already, and there will be more written, no matter what. Heck, there's a reason sci-fi authors are now putting "muskies" as names for Mars colonists in sci-fi (I'm looking at Greg Bear).


Even failure will be glorious, and told for decades to come.


The thing is, the Congress Committees pushing the Senate Launch System are becoming increasingly marginalized as it becomes more and more obvious to everyone that they are moving against NASA's interests. They keep trying to push it, but when you find out that each SLS engine will cost 146M$ (and be used for a single launch only and you need FOUR of them... plus the rocket), vs a Falcon Heavy reusable launch of 90M$ or an entire disposable launch at 150M$... it becomes increasingly hard to justify that your funding of NASA is contingent on providing hundreds of M$ to Boeing using cost+ contracts "or else".

28:

My money is on SLS flying once, or possibly twice at the most, before it's cancelled during a budget squeeze and the remaining payloads diverted to Falcon Heavy (because it exists and is flightworthy right now) or Superheavy/Starship (if SLS staggers on until Starship is also flying).

29:

I've been feeling much the same, although I'm similarly not sure why. Going out only to collect food and medicines and only at the maximum possible intervals is pretty much normal for me anyway, so personally it's made next to no difference. It's probably just down to it being springtime with the days getting longer, along with the weather happening to switch from piddling with rain nearly every day to being lovely and sunny nearly every day at pretty much the exact point things started getting serious. And as a bonus the clear blue skies don't have any aeroplane trails in them, there are a lot fewer cars buzzing about the place, and the longer it goes on for the more obvious the practical lesson becomes that most of the shit people spend most of their time doing is a pile of arse and we can get on perfectly well without it. I've thought for a long time that if I was a sufficiently powerful magic user I would wave my arms about and say "no, you all no longer have the ability to do this shit... (pause) ...and see, it doesn't matter!", so apart from the bit about the cause of the stoppage being people dying, it's like a fantasy come true.

30:

Sigh... who is ordering and buying Falcon Heavy launches? Where is the great pent-up demand for a fifty-tonne unitary payload into orbit? A quick check in the Googles says that after a decade of gestation for the Falcon Heavy, beginning in 2018 there have been a total of three FH launches -- the first was a test (Elon's Roadster), the second flight was the launch of a medium-sized communication satellite into GEO and the third an integration test carrying about four tonnes of cubesats and other small satellites.

Future planned launches for FH are all in the same size bracket -- apparently there's nothing even 20 tonnes in size like the ISS-resupply ATVs launched by the venerable Ariane V.

31:

Heteromeles
The real Masque of the Orange Death would be the replacement of the Orange by the grey ( Pence ).
What do the GOP do if DT keels over between now & November - especially if it's not until after the "normal" time for the party conventions ... say first week in Spetember?
...... Georgiana's take on that would be EVEN MORE FUN!
Any thoughts/predictions?
[ Afterthought - what do the D's do if Biden kicks the bucket? ]

Graydon
various cognitive science sorts that reading requires an effort to construct the story; you have to sub-create to enjoy it.
JRRT knew this & even wrote about it, with some perspicacity.

vincent.archer
Even failure will be glorious, and told for decades to come.
Which is why ( the younger ) Brunel is more famous than the Stephenson's, probably.

32:

Maybe the cliff hanger will be that both Trump and Pence die of the virus
nearly simultaneously.

This is what I mean by "probably not the surprise you wanted," sadly.

So far as I know, there are around 400 people working in and around the White House (Google lists 377 staff, plus the President, family, and whoever currently spends their lives there but doesn't get counted as "staff.")

I'm probably wrong, but so far as I can tell, Covid19 outcomes, statistically, are about:
--50% asymptomatic
--40% symptomatic but not sucktastic
--10% require hospitalization, of which
--5% survive with major and possibly lifelong complications
--1% die (I know it's probably less than 1%, but none of these figures are remotely exact).

While the Presidency is stressful and people being cooped up in close quarters with other infected people often have worse outcomes, I'm guessing that the result of the White House getting thoroughly infected will be something like this statistical profile.

So taking 400 people and running the stats:

About 40 people in the White House will go to the hospital. About 20 of them will retire/quit due to bad but nonlethal outcomes. About 4 people will die. Most likely, those dying will be ethnic minorities who are in the cleaning staff. Historically, the White House has employed a lot of African-Americans to keep the place going, and they're the ones who tend to get disproportionately hit by the bad outcomes. Which really, really sucks.

About 160 will be nonfunctional for a few weeks while they deal with the infection

And the rest will keep trundling on, quite possibly spreading the virus to others.

The odds of both the President and his Renfield kicking off look to be about 1 in 400. Since both of them, especially President. 45, have a history of taking bad bets, I can see why he thinks it's okay to not bother with a mask.

The best outcome, from a TV reality show perspective, would be if .45 took the next two weeks to fly to a bunch of campaign rallies, shake hands, kiss babies, and especially talk to wealthy backers at close quarters. Then the chance of something interesting happening goes up a bit.

33:

Heteromeles
And those numbers leave out those who don't "catch" it at all, or off whom the virus simply "bounces" - who are mostly the asymptomatic ones, but there will be some whom no-one will realise have been infected, unless an antigen/antibody test is conducted.
For instance, I now know that I was close to someone who almost certainly had the Corvid, back in early March. [ He had the broken-glass throat, ghastly headaches, an elevated temp ... & then it all went away. ]
For me, nothing, not even a hint.
Might have been something else, of course.

[ I find the report, previously, of people who have had Measles or been immunised against same having a lower susceptibility to C-19 most interesting.
Might be one reason that so few young people are getting it, of course - they mostly/all have had the anti-Measles jab
And - I've actually had all 3 of those, long ago: Measles & Rubella & Mumps. ]

34:

Thinking geopolitically and bloviating for a moment, I'd like to link to an interesting website: endcoronavirus.org

They've got a page up of countries that they claim are either: "beating Covid-19," "nearly there," or "need to take action."

It's far from an complete list, but the page shows running 10-day averages of new infections per country.

For the fun of it, let's assume two things:
--That the categories are accurate, even if the numbers inevitably change (meaning countries that beat Covid-19 once can do it again, even if they get reinfected)
--That it will 4-5 years for a vaccine to be created and for most people to get inoculated. I think this is optimistic, not because of vaccine creation, but because of the logistics of inoculating 7 billion people or so. That takes some huge supply chains, even if everybody altruistically cooperates to see this virus gone. It may well be more like 10 years.

With these assumptions, things get interesting in a geopolitical realignment sense, because of who is in the "needs to take action" category:
--Most of the western hemisphere, including all three countries in North America and most of central and South America.
--Russia
--UK
--South Asia.

In the "Beating it" and "Nearly There" categories are:
--Most of the EU (except authoritarian states like Hungary and Poland)
--Most of Scandinavia (except Sweden...)
--Most of Southeast Asia (except Indonesia)
--Australia and New Zealand
--China, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan.
--Oh yeah: Iran, Turkey, Israel...

So if the pandemic really starts reshaping who trades and allies with whom, what we may very well see is states that can control the virus working more with other countries with similarly effective controls, while countries that cannot control themselves either trade with other plague countries or get quarantined by the world.

This aligns the EU and China against Russia and the US.

It leaves control of much of the ocean in the feverish hands of the US and Indonesia (for shipping through the straits)

It also gives the EU more reason to push forward with modified Brexit to keep the infected of the UK away from the reopening states of the Continent. Not sure what's going on with Ireland, but they've effectively bent their curve, so maybe they will join the EU's "nearly there" contingent in a few weeks.

Interesting times. Of course, this is all overly-simplistic speculation. Comments?

35:

Alas, no. It went by, my confirmation bias nodded, and I didn't note the source.

Searches wander off into screens and screens about how your IT security team is being degraded by stress.

36:

Of course you're right Greg.

Thing is, I don't think anyone has good numbers on how many people can be exposed and not get infected, especially when we get into arguments about how exposed you have to be to be truly exposed and not catch it.

To keep it simpler, I assumed that in the close quarters of the White House, everyone got infected.

The bigger point was that, even if everyone in the White House does get infected, the chances of the people some hope will die actually dying are actually pretty slim. I do hate to be Dr. Buzzkill on this, but if everybody's mildly depressed now, might as well break the bad news so that we can recover from this reality failure too.

37:

Ah well. Perhaps I'll do a bit of Google-diving. Thanks for the pointer, anyway.

38:

I should point out that the odds of a Trump/Pence double payout in the Covid-19 lottery are actually 1 in 10,000 (1/100*1/100) not 1 in 400. This is why I'm not a bookie.

39:

meaning countries that beat Covid-19 once can do it again, even if they get reinfected

This will only be the case if those countries have a sufficient entirely domestic supply chain for everything they need.

That MIGHT describe China; it describes no one else. (I doubt it presently describes China, though I have no doubt at all they are working to fix it.)

That's all the PPE and all the drugs and test kits and gene analysis machinery, all the plumbing and floor cleaner and hand sanitiser and so on. There's going to be a global shortage for years even if no economic realignment events take place.

"Needs to take action" countries are headed at full-blown economic collapse. See, for example, https://www.calculatedriskblog.com/2020/05/april-employment-report-20500000-jobs.html where it's quite clear that the cliff-dive is still ongoing and it's also clear from other sources that no one has even started to articulate a sufficient response.

Are they going to get there? Hard to say. The Anglosphere ruling class has had no contact with reality for three generations, which is at least loosely associated with collapse.

Anyway, the other part of this is that nobody is beating COVID-19; they're limiting the first-wave infection rate. This leaves their population vulnerable to the second wave, which is the tradeoff for "and hardly anybody died". The only for-sure way to maintain this is to test everybody at least weekly forever. (or until vaccine, but for planning purposes that isn't going to happen.) (Since the co-ordinated global response that could actually extirpate the disease ain't happening.)

40:

Not likely, and not likely to improve matters.

The confederacy is trying to take over the United States Federal government and undo all amendments to the Constitution. (At least, I can't think of any they're actually going to support.)

They've been at this for a couple generations now and have a lot of success, mostly because way more than enough Americans agree with them and the ones who don't keep bringing reasoned discourse to an ongoing genocide.

Major election stressors are much more likely to be an uncertain food supply than any of the candidates dying; I'd be delighted in a "voice of heaven, can you hear it?" way if they all did, but that's not even really unlikely. It's a pipe dream.

41:

tfb @ 5: And, by the way: if you are depressed you are ill. It took me a very long time to realise that depression, including my depression, is an illness, but it is.

Sorry for the second comment: I forgot to add this to the previous one.

The first step towards healing, overcoming depression is recognizing you are depressed. Plus, I once had a doctor tell me that when your life sucks it's not unreasonable that you become a bit depressed. It's how you react to it and how you cope that matters. Life sucks for most everyone right now. We're social animals & social distancing is NO FUN.

I'm a bit down myself right now, but I know if I just soldier on, someday I'm going to be better. I hope y'all will too.

There is after all, a reason the cliché "Where there's life, there's hope" is a cliché.

42:

"I find the report, previously, of people who have had Measles or been immunised against same having a lower susceptibility to C-19 most interesting."

It didn't say that. What they did was to hack a half-dead version of the measles virus, used to make measles vaccines, so that it expressed the important coronavirus protein, and found that mice given the hacked vaccine developed antibodies that reacted to the coronavirus protein. It wasn't even this coronavirus, it was some other one from a few years back that I'd never heard of until this one came out. So it's a promising result from a very early stage in the development of a vaccine against a different virus which died out of its own accord before they got much further, but it doesn't mean in the least that having received the un-hacked measles vaccine is any help against coronavirus.

(I never had the MMR vaccine, only the M and the M separately. R I just had the disease, and it was bloody brilliant, since I didn't feel ill at all but I still got a few days off school for it.)

The existing-vaccine result I found interesting was the suggestion that having had the BCG shot might do some good. I don't see how it possibly could, but there are certain to be lots of odd effects that I have no idea about, and the suggestion did seem to have at least some respectability behind it. We all had the BCG at school so I'd just assumed it was universal these days, but apparently it isn't, and they reckoned that both people from places where it isn't usual and people from places where it is but who hadn't had it for some reason were a bit less well off than people who had had it.

43:

No. There is an illness called depression, but depression is not, in and of itself, an illness. It can be the appropriate reaction to a situation.

44:

Georgiana @ 24: Maybe the cliff hanger will be that both Trump and Pence die of the virus nearly simultaneously.

It has finally showed up in the White House, so I think there IS some hope.

45:

Those virtual keyboards give no tactile feedback. This makes them strongly inferior to an ordinary keyboard, though I admit they're better than the smart phone keyboard emulator...if you have a flat surface with reasonable smoothness and reflectivity for them to project onto.

46:

Sigh... who is ordering and buying Falcon Heavy launches?

NASA picks SpaceX to deliver cargo to Gateway station in lunar orbit.

They're going to pay for development of a new, larger Dragon cargo ship (Dragon XL) for Lunar Gateway supply missions, launching on top of Falcon Heavy. Minimum of two FH launches guaranteed, but it's being pitched as a cost-saving measure for the Lunar Gateway program so you should probably bet on FH becoming the main workhorse for that outpost on an ongoing basis (simply because SLS is ridiculously expensive and if NASA is on a tight budget there'll be immense pressure to go with the cheaper option).

Given that the lead time for developing a new class of comsat payload is multiple years, it's hardly surprising that there aren't many payloads so large they demand an FH launch -- yet. But FH has a niche and it's going to gradually expand (unless/until Starship replaces it).

Note that various NASA outer planets science missions are also drooling over Falcon Heavy's payload capacity, and SpaceX list at least three USAF classified missions (presumably NRO spysat launches, because Falcon Heavy is a hell of a lot cheaper than Delta 4 Heavy).

47:

One point I think you've missed is that there are two screaming correlations visible in political management of the pandemic (between success/failure):

a) Female-led executives generally do far better

b) Authoritarian (especially right-wing authoritarian) male led executives in nominally democratic countries do far worse

Examples of the former: New Zealand, Germany, Scotland (relative to England -- morbidity/death rate in Scotland is about 70-80% that of England, even though England dictates travel and lockdown timing)

Examples of the latter: Brazil (Bolsonaro), the USA (Trump), Poland, Hungary, etc

Exceptions: China (but China isn't remotely a democracy, even in name or outward form: once they started to act, they acted hard), who else?

Anyway: I hypothesize that authoritarians see opposition purely in terms of zero-sum game human-to-human competition and can't comprehend public health systems (which require positive sum approaches). And women are less likely to rise to positions of leadership in authoritarian/macho political cultures.

48:

Reminder that there are (at least) two types of depression: reactive depression and endogenous depression.

Reactive depression: something bad happened, so you feel bad about it. A family member died, your fellow nationals elected a poop-flinging chimp to high office and he's shitting copiously on everything you hold dear, you lost your job: it is normal to feel bad when these things happen, and in the fullness of time you will recover. Talking about it helps, medication is probably unnecessary (but if it's so bad you have suicidal ideation, seek help immediately).

Endogenous depression: nothing particularly unusual happened but you just want the world to go away and nothing means anything and everything is terrible and you don't even have the energy to get out of bed, never mind slit your wrists. This is an organic illness, medication probably is necessary, and it's almost certainly not going to go away unless you get help.

(What I've got is the former: lost both parents and a close friend in the past three years, government hijacked by utter flange magnets bent on destroying the economy and turning the nation into a haven for dirtbag poop-flinging nazis, other governments falling to a wave of similar extremists, then a once-a-century pandemic falls on us. I think being a bit despondent right now is perfectly reasonable, and I will recover as soon as Trump's head explodes, Boris Johnson chokes on his own lies, and COVID19 burns itself out or we get a vaccine. OK?)

49:

That's not completely true. They're both over sixty, so if they get the disease they've both got at least a five-percent chance of dying even without a pre-existing condition. If either of them has some combination of hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, or respiratory problems the chances of dying ramp up heavily - somewhere between 28 - 52 percent. Furthermore, Trump may (or may not) insist on being given hydrochloroquinine, and it's also possible that one or both of them will fall into the "too badly damaged by disease to perform their duties" category.

So the odds are better than you think!

50:

Pigeon @ 29: I've been feeling much the same, although I'm similarly not sure why. Going out only to collect food and medicines and only at the maximum possible intervals is pretty much normal for me anyway, so personally it's made next to no difference. It's probably just down to it being springtime with the days getting longer, along with the weather happening to switch from piddling with rain nearly every day to being lovely and sunny nearly every day at pretty much the exact point things started getting serious. And as a bonus the clear blue skies don't have any aeroplane trails in them, there are a lot fewer cars buzzing about the place, and the longer it goes on for the more obvious the practical lesson becomes that most of the shit people spend most of their time doing is a pile of arse and we can get on perfectly well without it

The question for most of us though, is "Where do we get the money we need to pay for that food & medicine (and rent and ...) if we don't go to work somewhere?

How do we get from where we are today with a lot of people who can't get to work and are piling up debt just to keep body & soul together to a society where we can "get on perfectly well without it"?

Like you, this hasn't changed my life all that much ... other than the few social engagements I had every week are now in abeyance and I used to do my grocery shopping on a weekly basis & I could run back to the store the next day if I forgot something.

But, the only reason I'm able to stay home all the time is I worked my ass off for 50 years to pay for my home, save for retirement & earn Social Security and my Army pension. I have an income to live off of.

What are the people who haven't had a chance to acquire the level of assets I have going to do?

51:

Graydon @ 40: The confederacy is trying to take over the United States Federal government and undo all amendments to the Constitution. (At least, I can't think of any they're actually going to support.)

They revere at least a part of the Second Amendment.

This is not your father's confederacy. Much of their strength is in the Old Northwest (Ohio River watershed) and the far northwest; states that were not part of the Confederate States of America.

They're fascist Neo-Confederates and hypocristian dominionists.

52:

What are the people who haven't had a chance to acquire the level of assets I have going to do?

Take whatever job they can get under whatever terms they are offered in the hope of starving a little slower.

Die.

Possibly die because they were shot for protesting under draconian curfews instituted under quarantine laws. (Most of the existing quarantine laws are plenty draconian.)

As Charlie notes above, authoritarians are doing a really bad job of responding.

If not the reason, certainly a big reason is that they're reducing everything to a social hierarchy about who can refuse, and framing things as "refuse to work". (Which is the sort of thing that sends a slaver round the twist at the very best of times.)

Cost-benefit analysis would point out that the only sane thing to do is test-trace-and-isolate; there are big parts of the US where you can't implement that because people feel duty-bound to oppose any such program as proof they have the standing (in the authoritarian hierarchy) to refuse to do what the government tells them.

Crisis of legitimacy, in other words.

The PRC, whatever its manifest and numerous faults, is seen as legitimate by its own population. The US feds, not so much. That's pretty darn worrying.

53:
My money is on SLS flying once, or possibly twice at the most, before it's cancelled
Twice. They already have a second core under construction so they will have two available to launch. (First one ordered in 2014 and one in 2020)


However, I think that covers only one test flight and one real flight in 2023.

54:

Here's a piece in the NYT saying part of what I was trying to say a couple of weeks back: -

How Pandemics End

In the end, everyone just goes "meh, I'm tired of this". (Or in the non-US idiom, "fuck this for a game of soldiers, I'm off".

And the pandemic is quickly forgotten.

This pandemic got such a strong response because it affected, old WEIRD males with delusions of importance most of all people.

(Disclaimer: old WEIRD male, moi. Not so much of the R though, thanks to depression. And I think flying should be banned in the interests of the people alive in 2100, so I don't partake.)

55:
Sigh... who is ordering and buying Falcon Heavy launches?
Apparently, people do.


There's only one for 2020 (USSF), but 2 for 2021 (USSF/Viacom) - maybe a third (INMARSAT) - and already two scheduled for 2022 (NASA x 2). Plus the Gateway Logistics future contract mentioned by our host.

It's not the market envisioned originally, because the F9 has proven capable of being powerful enough to offer the choice between a returning falcon heavy or an expendable F9 flights. A few recents F9 flights had no attempt to recover because they were in the lower end of the range originally expected for F Heavy.

But that's relatively irrelevant. Because the F. Heavy is a variant of the F9, based on almost the same hardware. The side cores are slight variants, but the central core is apparently the same version. So SpaceX can switch from launching two heavy per year to 6 or 7 per year relatively easily if needed.

56:

Charles H noted: "Those virtual keyboards give no tactile feedback. This makes them strongly inferior to an ordinary keyboard"

Very true, and I much prefer an external keyboard to my laptop's keyboard for that very reason; better finger feel. But a friend who used a projected virtual keyboard something like 10 years ago loved it, despite the primitive state of the tech at that time, and just as I can relearn the feel of my laptop keyboard well enough to be productive while I'm traveling, I assume I could learn a projected keyboard too.

OTOH, I have a clip-on Anker keyboard for my iPad that's pretty darn good. So maybe we'll just have to use a virtual Google Glass-style display, and carry a small but fully functional external keyboard in our backpack?

57:

Charlie Stross @ 48: Reminder that there are (at least) two types of depression: reactive depression and endogenous depression.

Reactive depression: something bad happened, so you feel bad about it. A family member died, your fellow nationals elected a poop-flinging chimp to high office and he's shitting copiously on everything you hold dear, you lost your job: it is normal to feel bad when these things happen, and in the fullness of time you will recover. Talking about it helps, medication is probably unnecessary (but if it's so bad you have suicidal ideation, seek help immediately).

Endogenous depression: nothing particularly unusual happened but you just want the world to go away and nothing means anything and everything is terrible and you don't even have the energy to get out of bed, never mind slit your wrists. This is an organic illness, medication probably is necessary, and it's almost certainly not going to go away unless you get help.

(What I've got is the former: lost both parents and a close friend in the past three years, government hijacked by utter flange magnets bent on destroying the economy and turning the nation into a haven for dirtbag poop-flinging nazis, other governments falling to a wave of similar extremists, then a once-a-century pandemic falls on us. I think being a bit despondent right now is perfectly reasonable, and I will recover as soon as Trump's head explodes, Boris Johnson chokes on his own lies, and COVID19 burns itself out or we get a vaccine. OK?)

I can't tell you what you should do, and I wouldn't even try. I can only tell you what I've been told and how it worked for me.

I didn't know depression came in two different flavors, but FWIW, I've had them both. Had them both at the same time even.

I never got as far as being suicidal, because I'm afraid of dying and because it's just NOT DONE! ... at least not for me. No matter how bad it gets, I just gotta' soldier on.

But I have been to the "don't even have the energy to get out of bed" stage. And oddly enough the medicine I was prescribed (not Prozac) only made it worse. On top of the "don't even have the energy to get out of bed", I had the feeling Pink Floyd describes in Comfortably Numb.

I seem to have had some kind of rebound effect when I stopped taking the medication (after discussing it with the doctor) that not only helped overcome the "comfortably numb" symptom but also helped break the "don't even have the energy ..." cycle.

58:

On the previous thread there was a discussion about long-distance HVDC lines.

Apparently they run about USD1M per km (2007 dollars) over land.

There's nothing unsolved about laying either undersea HVDC cables or or long ditance cables, so it's just a question of money.

And not very much money at that, in the scheme of things.

This piece from 2007 calculates the gross cost of powering the world exclusively on PV with HVDC backbone distribution at around 5% of global GDP between 2008 and 2050, using 2007 prices and efficiencies for PV panels. It's probably around a quarter of that now. Hybrid perovskite/silicon panels and/or superconducting cables would lower the cost further.

That's the gross cost. There would be savings on fossil fuel extraction and the deaths and ill health arising from burning them.

59:

Re OGH @ 16: Even if it falls short, it's going to be spectacular

My understanding of rocketry is that generally, given the energies and/or velocities involved, any sort of failure tends towards the spectacular.


60:
any sort of failure tends towards the spectacular.
Or, as some say, a "rapid unscheduled disassembly".
61:

Graydon @ 52:

What are the people who haven't had a chance to acquire the level of assets I have going to do?

Take whatever job they can get under whatever terms they are offered in the hope of starving a little slower.

Die.

Possibly die because they were shot for protesting under draconian curfews instituted under quarantine laws. (Most of the existing quarantine laws are plenty draconian.)

Yeah. I know. Please note my question was a response to Pigeon's "practical lesson ... that most of the shit people spend most of their time doing is a pile of arse and we can get on perfectly well without it" and I was asking how people are going to get what they need to survive if they don't have jobs to provide an income? If they don't spend their time doing things "we can get on perfectly well without", how are they going to get the money to pay for the necessary things?

62:

how are they going to get the money to pay for the necessary things?

Socialism!

Or, well, some kind of collectivism. Keep everybody not merely alive but able to spend a bit on stuff so the "everyone's income is someone else's spending" part of the economy keeps working.

You do this for, realistically, about a year; that's how long it takes you to get test-trace-and-isolate in place at a national scale. (Taiwan, South Korea, and Vietnam had the capability in place, they just had to turn it on.) Especially since testing is something of a market failure poster child right now.

You still can't treat the disease directly; you still can't prevent the disease. But at that point you can re-open the economy because outbreaks are guaranteed to stay small.

This is obviously massively worth it; complete folly to not have it in place at least since SARS. But there's an inability to cope with risk and spending that does not drive immediate return.

63:

What I'm not seeing in the speculative launch listings for Falcon Heavy are any fifty-tonne launch into LEO deals that were supposed to be happening by now half a dozen times a year as in the Shuttle era. Instead Falcon Heavy is covering the Delta 4 Heavy segment of the market, one launch a year of a super-heavy 24-tonne NRO satellite and nothing else plus occasional launch-to-GTO of conventionally-sized (4 tonne to 7 tonne) communications satellites.

Bigger satellites are a lot lot lot more expensive than smaller ones and really big unitary items that can only be launched on Falcon Heavy don't have a fall-back if something goes wrong -- at least one early FH customer had to buy an Ariane V launch back in 2016 to get their bird into GTO because it was needed in its GEO slot desperately. For everything else there's multiple launches of smaller units and docking in orbit, a solved problem these days.

64:

The second amendment is the right to carry guns. That would certainly be retained.

65:

I find I spend a lot of time scouring news feeds for the first sign of:

1, Trump losing the election, coughing unproductively or being arrested for fraud

2, Johnson being videoed drunkenly groping Nicola Sturgeon and being put on the sex offender list

3, Putin being attacked by a duck

and...

4, a vaccine


Yep, at this stage depression is almost the most rational response. My biscuit consumption has reached heights that brings tears to the eyes of McVities shareholders.

It would also be nice if NASA did launch a SLS with solid fuel boosters as it would be good to watch something as powerful as the Saturn V head for orbit.

66:

Repairing undersea power cables:

This is more of an overview of the whole idea:
https://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/bitstream/JRC97720/ld-na-27527-en-n.pdf

Advertorial description:

https://kis-orca.eu/subsea-cables/maintenance-repair-operations/

https://www.escaeu.org/articles/submarine-power-cables/

It looks as though there's a big jump in complexity between "we find the ends and splice in a bit of extra cable" and the full details, possibly with a big layer of commercial confidentiality and possibly just "first you buy a submarine cable repair ships, prices from $300M" which renders the details irrelevant to most people...

67:

I noticed a reference to a Tesla vehicle in a recent read by Richard K. Morgan, the book was set on Mars.

Not sure how i felt about it, sometimes i think contemporary references breaks the wall a little for me. Not sure if i would feel the same way if he had called the vehicle by some other extant recognizable brand name.

68:

One problem with Falcon Heavy is that the second stage is underpowered. It's great for getting a lot of mass into LEO, but it doesn't get that much even to GEO, much less to a TLI/TMI or other interplanetary transfer.

This is because the second stage is designed for Falcon 9. If FH was intended as a long-term workhorse (rather than the temporary stop-gap to SS/SH that it is), then they'd design an entirely new second stage - probably lengthen the one they have (to increase both payload volume and fuel tankage) and stick three Merlin engines on instead of just one.

But since SpaceX are going for SS/SH as their long-term heavy lift, FH only needs to be able to match the capabilities of other heavy-lift vehicles (Delta IV Heavy, etc), rather than massively exceed them as the raw surface thrust suggests it should be able to.

Obviously, it can be used for interplanetary launches - if NASA want to launch their next Mars rover on one, then it has plenty of power to do that - but it's not a step-change in capability beyond LEO.

Even SS/SH won't be a huge step-change beyond GEO until they get in-orbit refuelling working. All their plans for beyond-earth-orbit start with "launch a SS full of fuel, launch another SS with payload, refuel from the SS full of fuel and then deorbit and land the tanker".

Once you have a SS with full fuel tanks in LEO though, then you have an enormous amount of delta-v compared to anything that has ever been in orbit before. It's far more than even the third stage of Saturn V had (which is what was doing the TLI burns for Apollo).

And, of course, if you can do refuelling in LEO, you can do it in other places. Once you have the capability, you can fire off tankers to anywhere your StarShip can reach - refuelling in lunar orbit, or Mars orbit, or in a transfer orbit so you don't need fuel for the insertion burn on your payload starship (eg two starships do TJI, one tanker, one payload, the payload refuels from the tanker en route to Jupiter and then the payload has the fuel for JOI, while the tanker heads off into deep space - this would let you get to Jupiter a lot faster)

69:

It's not retained now.

The de facto gun laws are "only if you are male and white" and "it's OK if you are a cop". There's a death penalty for violating the de facto laws.

It's a bit like "unreasonable search and seizure"; it's a dead letter, but there's a habit of pretending it isn't.

70:

Could be. It could also be simpler: a "stay inside and wash your hands, dear" command is stereotypically a Mom command, while a "Shut up and fight on," is stereotypically a Dad command.

In this case, the Moms, excuse me, the female executives, are listened to better than the the dads are. It also turns out the Moms are more correct about how to fight this one.

The other thing is that authoritarianism (especially when it's by authoritarian strong men who have taken over weak democracies) tends to be more parasitic than mutualistic, and that doesn't help authoritarian regimes when their hosts get sick and the parasites know more about exploiting them than caring for them.

71:

Also, the "we're had to turn the machine off" has got stuck in my head. The latest "Honest Governmunt" ad covers everyone:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aWl7kQZHZE0

72:

Odds on Trump.

Well, if it's 1/100 each, that's 1/100*1/100 or 1/10000 for both of them winning the lottery.

If it's 5/100 each, that's 5/100*5/100 or 25/10000 for both of them submitting winning bids on their respective real estate deals.

And there's still a 50/100 or better chance they aren't noticeably affected (aside from testing), and a 25/100 chance that it's true for both of them.

It's worth being realistic about the odds, so that we can celebrate if something good does, in fact happen.

73:

Another country that is handling the pandemic well is Cuba. Of course what holds them back from being even more effective is the US embargo on Cuba for anything, including medical supplies and PPE. Nevertheless they've really kept the case load way down, and this despite the US having essentially sold Cuba back to Russia, and the vast pods of Russian oligarch plutocrat crime bosses' yachts that hang out in Cuban bays.

Cuba made a plan to deal with it, in place already early in January.

Here is more info -- though of course, since it's from mid-later April, it's already out of date:

https://www.businessinsider.com/cubas-isolation-could-endanger-its-reaction-to-coronavirus-outbreak-2020-4

In the meantime, the Cubans have faith in both their government and their medical system. (And though Cuba is prohibited from receiving medical supplies by the US, Cuba has a vital drug and medication laboratory that is both experimental and manufacturing. What they've developed they've been using in all these countries the Cuban medical industry has been helping all over the world.

Ironically, one of the places with very lowest outbreak of the virus is Haiti -- and Cuban medical teams were working there long before the coronvavirus pandemic, helping the Haitian people deal with the cholera brought to the island by UN troops out of Pakistan after the earthquake. Haiti had never had cholera before.

The western hemisphere country with the fewest cases is Jamaica, if I have that right.

74:

At the moment StarShip has flown exactly as many times as SLS has (zero). StarShip like the SLS is not a derivative of an existing flight item the way Falcon Heavy (and Delta 4 Heavy) are. The StarShip project has had some notable ground-based testing failures whereas the SLS motor tests have generally gone off without a hitch.

Scaling up to a big launcher has been a real problem in the past. The Saturn V was a technical abortion, an under-powered over-weight design only just capable of getting off the ground at launch and the Russian attempts at a similar launch vehicle, the N1 were not a success. I'm not sure why folks are so keen to build something like those dinosaurs today.

In-orbit refuelling and liquids transfer is a solved problem, thanks to the work done to build and resupply the ISS over the past few decades. It still costs at least $5,000 per kilo to get it into orbit to carry out the refuelling.

Regarding manned missions to Jupiter, the space around God's Vacuum Cleaner is not a healthy place for meatsacks given the radiation environment (from Wikipedia, Jupiter would deliver about 36 Sv (3600 rem) per day to unshielded colonists at Io and about 5.4 Sv (540 rems) per day to unshielded colonists at Europa,).

75:

Well, I still have to answer some questions about the German school system, problem is, I'm currently working in a warehouse again till I get a job in IT or somewhere related to biology. I'm not planning to stay longer than one month.

When I have time (and a computer) again, I'll answer either in the original thread or do an answer here, or just answer here if the old thread is closed; I really hate not answering if somebody posts me, especially since I have a problem procrastinating answers till heat death.

In other news,

a) I moved appartments in April and
B) my cohabitant/landlord gets 2 cats at the end of May. Guess I joined the club after all...

77:

Having been involved with designing & selling bits and bobs to both Boeing and SpaceX, my money’s on SpaceX having a better chance of success. My keyhole view into a corner of the SLS’s design process has not inspired confidence.

78:

I was born in the USA in the sixties, and after the sudden cardiac arrest last year, I decided to get all the backed up stuff done. The sixties measles vaccine wasn’t apparently that effective but they can do a blood test to see if you are still protected and I squeezed that in in January and looks like I am safe from measles and hopefully there is some protective effect against Covid.
The heart got a clean bill of health in January, but the train of dealing with all the secondary effects has sadly ground to a halt.

79:

Note that various NASA outer planets science missions are also drooling over Falcon Heavy's payload capacity, and SpaceX list at least three USAF classified missions (presumably NRO spysat launches, because Falcon Heavy is a hell of a lot cheaper than Delta 4 Heavy)

Just guessing, but I suspect it's now the US Space Force, not the USAF.

Also of interest: now we know what the 16 specialties are for the officers and enlisted of the USSF. The USSF is basically a satellite intelligence service. Just like the NRO, only entirely military. I'm probably wrong, but I have a weird feeling that most of the USAF personnel currently working in the NRO are being transferred over to the USSF. And the NRO is a very strange and interesting hybrid/multi organization in its own right. Saying that the NRO probably "sheep-dips" military personnel and operations into non-military and vice versa seems to be akin to saying that Circe was a decent shepherdess.

So it's *Interesting* what a new and independent US military force looks like, in these early days of hybrid warfare. It'll be even more interesting to see what Steve Carrell and company make of it on starting May 29.

80:

Charlie @ 48
Don't worry
( Or maybe do? )
I think we've all got the former sort of depression - I find it very hard to listen to the news on R4 any more as the idiots continue to fuck over everything...

Grant
I've taken to drinking GIN ( In small quantities, with fresh, homegrown limes, admittedly ) - as opposed to mass-consuption of bikkies, that is ....

81:

The western hemisphere country with the fewest cases is Jamaica, if I have that right.

Per JHU dashboard, cases reported as diagnosed:

Jamaica - 498
Venezuela - 405
Nicaragua - 16

Leaves out some microstates.

The "reported" and "diagnosed" are important qualifiers.


82:

FH Compendium response...

#55: the F. Heavy is a variant of the F9, based on almost the same hardware. The side cores are slight variants, but the central core is apparently the same version

Other way round, the side boosters are standard F9 cores with a nosecone instead of interstage. The two used for the first flight with the Tesla had both flown before. The core stage has had to be beefed up to cope with the extra stresses and would be pointless (considerably reduced payload) to fly as a single stick.

#67: new second stage - probably lengthen the one they have

Aero- and other dynamics make it tricky to lengthen the second stage, the stack is already as long and thin as it can be without starting to flex excessively. More likely would be to produce a 5m diameter second stage matching the fairing diameter but that would impact the aerodynamics around the tops of the side boosters.

Another problem with both FH and F9 that also answers part of #63 (where are the payloads) is that the launches are volume limited. Each Starlink flight carries 60 satellites because that's all that will fit. Rule of thumb for a fairing is that it can be up to about 1.5 times the diameter of the stage below (3.7m and 5.1m for the Falcons) and the fineness ratio means it can't get much longer. SpaceX are buying in a slightly larger fairing for the occasional US (Air|Space) Force launch but it will be more expensive and probably not recoverable.

83:

While I'm logged in, from the previous thread the Indian PSLV is quite a bit smaller than an F9 though it can throw a payload to Mars. Their GSLV is closer although still smaller but is quite happy throwing things at the moon.

84:

Rule of thumb for a fairing is that it can be up to about 1.5 times the diameter of the stage below (3.7m and 5.1m for the Falcons) and the fineness ratio means it can't get much longer.

I presume those limits are imposed by aerodynamic stresses during the early part of flight through the lower atmosphere -- would it help to launch from somewhere like, say, the Atacama Desert (altitude ca. 3000 metres, atmospheric pressure ca. 87kPa) so the fairing could be bigger since the launch vehicle would reach near-vacuum quicker?

85:

This leaves their population vulnerable to the second wave, which is the tradeoff for "and hardly anybody died".

IIRC, the logic behind the shutdown was to protect the health care system from collapse, wo when people did catch it they weren't left on a blanket in the hallway because the hospitals were full.

Assuming that logic still holds, we should be opening/closing so that our health care system is continually treating manageable numbers of Covid-19 cases, without it getting away from us. One of the assumptions behind this is immunity, so that we aren't readmitting people who are catching it again.

I'm a bit skeptical that this is possible, because I think it will get harder to get compliance for a second lockdown if it becomes necessary. Partly because people are wanting out, and partly because it will be summer and nice weather and people want to get out and enjoy it.

86:

The confederacy is trying to take over the United States Federal government and undo all amendments to the Constitution. (At least, I can't think of any they're actually going to support.)

Oh, I think they're OK with this one:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people* to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

*Possibly with the codicil that "people" really means "white people". Because I really think that if these folks weren't white they would have been arrested or shot.

87:

I once had a doctor tell me that when your life sucks it's not unreasonable that you become a bit depressed.

Reminds me of a line from one of the Spellsinger books: "There's nothing wrong with being depressed, as long as you enjoy it."

88:

It's supposed to be keeping the health care system from collapsing while test-trace-and-isolate gets put in place.

(Note that US policy is to collapse the health care system good and hard; the proles don't deserve one and shouldn't have one and never ought to have been allowed to get the idea that they could expect medical care.)

I don't think anywhere in Canada has put test-trace-and-isolate in place in any meaningful way.

Under conditions of ideal morale -- strong social consensus, clear expectation of victory -- the Western Allies felt you could get about fifteen weeks out of combat troops during the Second World War. After that, they'd be used up; you could get some low-intensity service from them after that, but their emotional resilience and capacity to handle stress was mostly gone.

The same kind of thing is happening to medical personnel, with about the same functional limits. The capacity of the health care system is dropping and will drop further with each wave. Also note that the training time for anybody in that system is long and expensive; no province has put an accelerated or expanded training program in place, either.

I don't think the first lock-down has worked; I would not expect a second to be attempted. (At least in Ontario.) I expect we're going to see a whole lot of ad hoc social adjustments meant to reduce risk of transmission, and for nigh-all of them to fail hard, because we still don't actually know how COVID-19 spreads.

89:

Graydon @ 62:

how are they going to get the money to pay for the necessary things?

Socialism!

Or, well, some kind of collectivism. Keep everybody not merely alive but able to spend a bit on stuff so the "everyone's income is someone else's spending" part of the economy keeps working.

You do this for, realistically, about a year; that's how long it takes you to get test-trace-and-isolate in place at a national scale. (Taiwan, South Korea, and Vietnam had the capability in place, they just had to turn it on.) Especially since testing is something of a market failure poster child right now.

You still can't treat the disease directly; you still can't prevent the disease. But at that point you can re-open the economy because outbreaks are guaranteed to stay small.

This is obviously massively worth it; complete folly to not have it in place at least since SARS. But there's an inability to cope with risk and spending that does not drive immediate return.

I agree in principle. I agree with Pigeon ... I just don't see how we are going to accomplish it here in the U.S. The people who control all the money are sure as hell fight it tooth & nail.

90:

Georgiana @ 64: The second amendment is the right to carry guns. That would certainly be retained.

Not all of it. They've already managed to conveniently forget and effectively nullify the parts about "a well regulated militia" and the "the security of a free State".

91:

Robert Prior @ 86:

I once had a doctor tell me that when your life sucks it's not unreasonable that you become a bit depressed.

Reminds me of a line from one of the Spellsinger books: "There's nothing wrong with being depressed, as long as you enjoy it."

Yeah, I guess. I wasn't enjoying it.

92:

You aren't a sentient mushroom.

93:

My feeling is, at least in Ontario, the lockdown has for the most part worked. There doesn't seem to have been an crisis in any of the hospitals.

The only area that has had a real problem in Ontario is the Long Term Care homes, and the cases/deaths in those have inflated the provincial numbers.

Now, obviously it is bad and tragic for the residents of those homes, and for the families. But is is also (as long as they remain closed to visitors) a self-isolating case.

Hence the cautious start to reopening in Ontario.

As for any secondary lock-down, it all depends on if the idiots in charge pay attention to the risk factors we now have a good indication of. Thus the continued stupidity of preventing people from enjoying the outdoors when it is on the whole apparently a very low risk activity.

If the mayors/premiers/pm get their act together and allow the outdoor activities that are low risk then a secondary lock-down would (for the most part) be accepted - the biggest push-backs at the moment are coming from the inability to exercise, particularly by young kids.

94:

I just don't see how we are going to accomplish it here in the U.S.

You can't fail if you don't try.

And right now not trying seems to be the strategy. Well, it might be more accurate to say that once "make more money" becomes your primary goal the strategies to accomplish that are generally obvious, and if you eliminate any that contain words like "long term" they're pretty simple too.

95:

An exception - Australia - doing about as well as New Zealand on a comparative population basis.

96:

the outdoor activities that are low risk

They're not low risk. They're relatively high risk.

Direct transmission between decently distanced people outside is low odds.

Transmission due to gas-station bathrooms on the way up to the cottage, public restrooms in parks, etc. plus concentration around chip trucks, etc. is NOT low odds. Plus the getting-back-and-forth steps; public transportation is outright high odds, in-a-car-with-the-asymptomatic is high odds.

97:
Reminder that there are (at least) two types of depression: reactive depression and endogenous depression.

Reactive depression: something bad happened, so you feel bad about it. [...]

Endogenous depression: nothing particularly unusual happened but you just want the world to go away [...]

This is sort-of right, except that I would not call the former 'depression': I'd call it, I don't know, being fed up or something. I get fed up when I think about Trump, or idiots on the internet, or having to reimplement something I've implemented ten times already because computers suck and no-one learns anything, and sometimes I get so fed up I don't do much for a while and drink too much or spend my time whining on the internet.

... Except it's not really right at all. I suffer from what you call 'endogenous depression', And, sometimes, it just happens as you describe. But sometimes it doesn't: sometimes some idiocy happens and I just fall off a cliff rather than getting fed up. And sometimes I get fed up and then fall over a cliff later. And the times when it happens because of some external event or sequence of events hugely outnumber the times when it just happens on its own in my case: it's not just a thing that happens: it's a thing that is happens because of something.

So it's just complicated, but I am glad you are not suffering from what I would mean when I talk about 'depression' but, I think from what I would eman when I talk about 'being fed up'. Because the former is hugely worse than the latter.

(And I now regret having mentioned this in the first place because people who don't suffer from it (not you) are going to lecture me on what it's like and I don't have enough bad words left in my stock to waste on them.)

One internet point for anyone who knows where 'fed up' comes from as a term without searching: someone will.

98:

"I don't think anywhere in Canada has put test-trace-and-isolate in place in any meaningful way."

It was done quite well in British Columbia and is still being done, thanks. It was the main strategy and worked fine until we got cases coming over the border from Plague Central down south. Since then we've added in social distancing as a main strategy and that has worked very well so far. We have far fewer cases for our population than either Ontario, Quebec, or Alberta.

On Vancouver Island where I live we benefit from miles of ocean around us and have had only 125 cases so far, and 5 deaths in a population of around 870,000.

99:

White Man Behind A Desk "Citizen's Handbook" is also quite good. How things work, explained. Perhaps certain national leaders should be encouraged to watch it?

"And if you don't fund all of these agencies by paying your taxes the IRD will hunt you down"...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=29eRJyRPJus

100:

There are signs that Trump might be losing the election. He's behind in the polls. (He was way behind Hillary in 2016, of course).

At the start of this year, I thought that Trump was nearly 100% to be reelected, with the benefit of incumbency. For example, he could have the Democratic nominee indicted on fake charges. I thought the only thing that could beat him was a "black swan" event. I stand by that statement.

However, I thought that it would be something involving foreign policy. For example, Putin invaded Ukraine and Trump sent troops in to support him. I was wrong about that.

Well, we have a black swan now, and Biden's chances are certainly respectable.

101:

BC was doing very well up to a point with tracing and has done quite well so far, no argument.

Problem is the location of the point; the test-trace-and-isolate we're supposed -- for the plan to work, supposed -- to be putting in would be on a scale to cope with open borders, regular air travel, and so on, that being the amount expected to resume the full customary range of economic activity. Several tens of thousands of people ought to just about done being trained as contact tracers, scale.

("Better than Ontario" is not so much "low bar" as "didn't fall in the pit".)

102:

JBS @50 We are in a similar position as you. We're helping out younger family members as best as we can, but also contemplating donations to our local health care district. One of our local county commissioners has promoted the idea of people who are in secure positions donate to a grant fund to help our local businesses. Not sure how well it's working as it's just started, but...we're trying to help as we can.

103:

In honor of Facebook's flagging The Lincoln Project's “Mourning in America." anti-DJ-Trump advertisement as "Partly False Information" (it is not, IMO), I've finally installed facebook tracker blockers in chrome and firefox.
I won't vouch for either of these, but F-FB:
Facebook Container for Firefox
Block Facebook for Chrome
(Facebook Container flags quite a few sites as having FB trackers not blocked by other tracker blockers.)
Seriusly, I'm a bit annoyed at lazy-self for not doing this a while ago.

---
Found while looking for old odds and ends - arguably the very best paper figure of all time. "Woman" for the win!
Agency vs Experience
(For those who must see it, Dimensions of Mind Perception, Heather M. Gray, Kurt Gray, Daniel M. Wegner, 02 Feb 2007, paywalled)
For those who hunger for more out-of-context images, search google images for quoted paper title.
(In context, there is some scholarship involved.)

104:

Depression is a rational response to the state of affairs today. I'm in a period between books and have tackled reorganizing my library--in part because I realized I don't know what I do and don't have in stock. All the same, much of April was such that I couldn't even get motivated beyond writing Book Two and working with the horse. Everything else? Pish. I did get some masks made but that was it. I'm still amazed at the intensity with which I was writing, and realizing that yeah, I desperately need down time before I get back to writing.

Ironically, because the chiropractor in my alternative medical clinic is more comfortable working with people (and does some body work), and my massage therapist is not, I've found a gentle chiro who is finding means to address pain issues which affect my sleep. The clinic has rigorous safety protocols--I go there for acupuncture as well, and between the two (well, and about three years of previous work), it's improving. I figure better sleep means better resistance, so it's well worth the hassle of masking up, multiple hand washes, multiple sanitizing wipes (the office manager and I both manage to sanitize my credit card...it's the cleanest darn credit card around!) and all to achieve a significant pain reduction.

It works as long as I try not to think about things too far ahead, like what I'm going to do about my World Fantasy Convention membership this year. Or what happens for our son when his short-term disability expires and he still can't go back to work (he has Crohn's and is on Humira. Biologics are wonderful in many ways, but when it comes to this stuff....). Then I have panic times, and I'm having far too many panic attacks. Oh well, the Forest Service handed out free wood cutting permits for the month of May, and as soon as the snow melts on the roads (isolated snowbanks of 2 feet deep and 12 feet wide are not a good idea to haul wood through even with a big pickup and 4 wheel drive) we'll be gathering winter wood.

But I am one of the fortunate ones, and damn well aware of it. And I expect our area to be in bad shape by June, because the crazy-ass tourists are here. Militia types with New Mexico plates in one instance, otherwise lots of California, Washington, and Idaho plates. Lots of complaints from locals about all the out-of-state plates at trailheads and closed park gates. And yesterday while riding my horse, I saw some idiot in a bright red convertible flying down the two-lane road at something close to 70 mph, guesstimate. Definitely faster than any local drives it (in part because deer and an elk herd frequently cross that road and the deer, especially the whitetails, pop up fast). I'm really happy to have moved the horse to a pasture which keeps me off of the main road if I road ride...which is pretty much what I'm doing now.

At one point the creators of Sun Valley were looking at the Wallowa Valley to develop--and chose Sun Valley instead. But some still remember that, and we're getting the summer and hideout population showing up now. Hope to heck our 25 bed hospital with no ICU doesn't get flooded.

105:

Meh, Australia likes to think so, but the actual facts say otherwise.

Last figures I saw, Australia was at a daily growth rate of 1.08 (this isn't the same as the R number, but like the R number, 1 is the point where it switches from "situation is getting worse" to "situation is improving") and averaging 21 new cases a day.

Aotearoa on the other ringaringa is at 0.88 daily growth (ie, shrinking) and averaging 1 new case per day.

Australia is talking up a trans Tasman bubble, but with cases growing, contact tracing a sad joke (see meat packing outbreak) and the populace basically ignoring restrictions as of last week, I can't see that happening.

The neoliberal idiots in charge are dead keen to roll back restrictions and seem to be trying to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.


https://mobile.abc.net.au/news/2020-04-10/coronavirus-data-australia-growth-factor-covid-19/12132478?nw=0&pfmredir=sm

106:

Don't recall if this has been noted here previously - side effects of COVID-19 lockdowns can be beneficial, including lower human mortality due to air pollution due to reduction in air pollution levels. (And lower vehicle-related accident deaths). Net effects on human mortality will depend on how effectively governments handle COVID-19 suppression etc.
Lockdown-Driven Boost to European Air Quality Saves Thousands of Lives (May 3, 2020)
Study: Coronavirus Lockdown Likely Saved 77,000 Lives In China Just By Reducing Pollution (Jeff McMahon, Mar 16, 2020)
Two months of pollution reduction “likely has saved the lives of 4,000 kids under 5 and 73,000 adults over 70 in China,” he writes on G-Feed, a blog maintained by seven scientists working on Global Food, Environment and Economic Dynamics.

107:

They seem to really like the second. For now, anyway.

108:

My antidepressant dose isn't quite enough this year. I keep trying to not turn into a lump on a log, but I seem to need more human contact than I've been getting.

109:

The things that worry me are that
1) Tara Reade's accusations against Biden gain standing
2) Trump/McConnell engineers some situation to defer the election
3) a flock of black swans

110:

"Charlie Stross is Undead" strikes me a useful compromise in terms of publicity and truthfulness.

111:

I wonder how the beneficial effects weigh up against the secondary negative effects on people with chronic illnesses, cancer or others requiring frequent/hands-on treatment? Do we know anything about first responders without PPE trying to deal with people in accidents/crashes? (Noting that these incidents have decreased with fewer people out and about).

112:

Transmission due to gas-station bathrooms on the way up to the cottage, public restrooms in parks, etc. plus concentration around chip trucks, etc. is NOT low odds. Plus the getting-back-and-forth steps; public transportation is outright high odds, in-a-car-with-the-asymptomatic is high odds.

Um, kids walking to a park to kick around a soccer ball, or to their nearest playground/schoolyard to shoot some hoops, isn't high risk.

Lining up 6' apart for a chip truck is no different than lining up outside a grocery store, or inside a pizza take-out place, so is irrelevant - not to mention food trucks last I was aware aren't really considered an outdoor "activity".

In-a-car-with-the-asymptomatic - well, again reality - if you are sharing a car then you are likely to be family, and getting exposed inside the house anyway.

Nobody is saying a total return to normal, but it is easy for the leaders (whether it be PM/Premier/or health dept. head) to tell everyone to stay home when they are living in a real house, with a real backyard, and aren't suffering from the other issues that a significant part of the population living in small apartments and condos are.

And kids being kids, many of them aren't obeying the isolation anyway but instead of being out in public places where people can keep an eye on them they have just found other more private places to hang out.

Now consider, less than 2 months to July, the number of people stuck in those same apartment/condos with no air conditioning and if you don't allow them to get out there will be an outright rebellion.

It is about managing the risk, and allowing people to return to using their local parks and playgrounds is low risk. To keep pretending otherwise is simply going to make maintaining control over truly high risk activities all the more difficult.

113:

What are the people who haven't had a chance to acquire the level of assets I have going to do?

They are going to go back to work and risk death, as Trump/Wall Street/and the billionaires want.

And to be fair, as Boris wants (he appears to have caved to the extreme right in the Conservative Party, a further sign he is losing control).

Or even as most other countries seem to want, as they all have created patchwork help systems that leave varying percentages of their population in financial distress.

114:

My money is on SLS flying once, or possibly twice at the most, before it's cancelled during a budget squeeze

Sort of like the Soviet copy cat shuttle. With all kinds of interesting parallels.

115:

Don't recall if this has been noted here previously - side effects of COVID-19 lockdowns can be beneficial, including lower human mortality due to air pollution due to reduction in air pollution levels.

Substantial cost to get those limited benefits though.

The linked study claims the UK gets to avoid 1,752 pollution deaths (and it is merely a guess).

Johns Hopkins website says the UK has had 31,930 deaths from Covid.

And lets not forget to add in all the not-directly-from-Covid deaths that will happen - suicide, untreated illness, undiagnosed illness(*), deferred treatments, etc.

And the poor nutrition many will be suffering, etc. that will lead to health problems down the road.

On the whole I don't think it is a great trade.

116:

One internet point for anyone who knows where 'fed up' comes from as a term without searching: someone will.

Falconry, IIRC.

Your falcon only hunts when it's hungry, so if you give it too much food it decides not to hunt anymore — it's been 'fed up'.

Can't remember where I read that, so might be wrong. Was back in the 80s, so pre-internet.

117:

So taking 400 people and running the stats:

But to muddy the waters, those there have an age mix that might move move people in the bad outcomes categories.

118:

I wonder how the beneficial effects weigh up against the secondary negative effects on people with chronic illnesses, cancer or others requiring frequent/hands-on treatment?
Don't know. I expect that statisticians and others will be quite focused on excess-deaths(/causes of death) statistics over the next couple of years. It's difficult (not impossible) to fake death statistics.
India is a big set of question marks. Government can't be trusted, huge population, extremely deadly air pollution levels in many cities normally, large crowded cities and poverty (and etc) make lockdowns very difficult, etc. (It has been reported that air pollution causes roughly 7 million deaths per year in China, and India is probably similar.[1])
And then there are the long-term effects on global heating, both immediate GHG emissions reductions, and potentially, due to political changes. These could be substantial, because global heating is a major threat to human (and other) life.

[1] Air pollution in northern India has hit a 20-year low, NASA report says (Swati Gupta, April 23, 2020)

119:

Vancouverites are relaxing social distancing ahead of the official relaxation, because hey, summer weather is here!

https://globalnews.ca/news/6926887/coronavirus-metro-vancouver-social-distance-scofflaws/


120:

Much of their strength is in the Old Northwest (Ohio River watershed) and the far northwest; states that were not part of the Confederate States of America.

Yes. It is interesting that while the old business leaders of the south want the new high tech and auto plants and such to move to the south, and the engineers and other STEM people have decided to give up on northern winters and California anything and move here..

Those business leaders don't know how to deal with the demographic shifts which are also becoming R to D shifts. They can all see the numbers and realize they have a problem over the next 5 to 20 years.

121:

And lets not forget to add in all the not-directly-from-Covid deaths that will happen
These are real, yes. There are also indirect reductions in deaths. For instance, it's been convincingly-documented that early 20th century US recessions reduced human mortality (in the US):
Life and death during the Great Depression (José A. Tapia Granados and Ana V. Diez Roux, October 13, 2009)
For most age groups, mortality tended to peak during years of strong economic expansion (such as 1923, 1926, 1929, and 1936–1937). In contrast, the recessions of 1921, 1930–1933, and 1938 coincided with declines in mortality and gains in life expectancy.
(Some argue that now is a different time. True.)

122:

I'm not sure why folks are so keen to build something like those dinosaurs today.

Jobs jobs jobs jobs, jobs jobs jobs jobs

Shutting down SLS could wreak the economy of Alabama all by itself, not counting Covid-19 issues. And not be good for multiple other states. It is a money train running on a cleared track.

Richard Shelby is the primary driver behind SLS. And will continue to do so as long as he can. Covid-19 might just upend his power. Or not.

123:

At the start of this year, I thought that Trump was nearly 100% to be reelected, with the benefit of incumbency. For example, he could have the Democratic nominee indicted on fake charges. I thought the only thing that could beat him was a "black swan" event. I stand by that statement...Well, we have a black swan now, and Biden's chances are certainly respectable.


Sorry to disagree, but Covid-19 isn't a black swan event.

Heck, we even have the originator of the black swan theory, Nassim Taleb, saying The Pandemic Isn’t a Black Swan but a Portent of a More Fragile Global System. He published a warning on January 26, 2020 that said as much. Heck, the previous fall, public health officials had gathered for a pandemic exercise about how to contain a novel coronavirus that spread at about the same rate as Covid-19 did. Their scenario had it escaping from a lab in Europe. Pandemic influenza or coronavirus was the standard scenario for those studying the most likely pandemics, and they were right to be concerned.

But I think Taleb has a very good point, which is "The great danger has always been too much connectivity.” Proliferating global networks, both physical and virtual, inevitably incorporate more fat-tail risks into a more interdependent and “fragile” system: not only risks such as pathogens but also computer viruses, or the hacking of information networks, or reckless budgetary management by financial institutions or state governments, or spectacular acts of terror. Any negative event along these lines can create a rolling, widening collapse—a true black swan—in the same way that the failure of a single transformer can collapse an electricity grid."

I happen to agree with this, because of a book from (IIRC) the anthropologist William Lessa back in the 1970s. He'd published a bunch of old school ecosystem flowcharts about which Pacific islands got colonized by humans and what caused the island cultures to get into difficulty and crash, and one of the problems he found was either when they were stuck on an isolated island, or contrarily, when they had colonized all the islands in a group, and were so tightly linked that a problem that started on one island affected them all. One example was, before Europeans, a pair of islands that were inhabited alternately (one island inhabited, one left fallow). When crops failed on one island, the islanders moved en masse to the other island. When the Europeans arrived, they of course thought this was incredibly stupid, so they split the surviving population in half and had half each settle an island. Then they ran into a bad year, and a lot of people on both islands starved, because they had no place to go to either make a new garden or eat the wild foods that weren't as affected by the drought.

Islands are microcosms that can point at essential processes, and one thing they pointed out decades ago is that highly connected systems tend to suffer in synch, whatever their scale. Whether it's a pandemic or a cyberwar, we're all at risk now from stuff that happens pretty much anywhere in the world. That's what this pandemic has made obvious to anyone who will look. Rushing to try to put things back the way they were in 2019 probably isn't a great idea either, because, now that we've lost large numbers of dollars, businesses, lives, etc., we're less able to deal with the next disaster propagating too fast through our over-connected world. Taleb wants more circuit breakers, others want fewer connections. We'll see what a viable solution looks like.

Heck, OGH predicted something like this back in Halting State. His pithy phrase was "systems fail, people die." That's where we are right now.

The sad part is that Trump's had every resource to be a truly effective crisis leader and win the re-election in a landslide. He's had access to a well-rehearsed crisis play book, the ability to throw trillions of dollars at the problem, offers of aid pouring in from all over the world, warnings well in advance, a public ready to follow him, four years to learn the ways of governing the US...and he's squandered all of it. He deserves to be thrown out, not because this was a surprise, but because it is a situation that continually shows how utterly inept he and the systems he's created are, with new, often fixable problems arising every day, and him failing to rise to the occasion every single time. What a waste.

124:

Elon Musk is probably going to be this century's Howard Hugues.

He's certainly working hard at it. Local government says he can't re-open his Tesla plant yet due to Covid-19. He says he'll be open. They say no you'll not.

He throws a hissy fit and says HQ will move to a more friendly state.

Stay tuned. This soap opera has more songs to come.

125:

Let's all re-open says the politicians.

I'm curious about how this is playing out in other parts of the world.

In the US each state is doing it's own thing with lots over similarities. One is politicians, especially Rs, saying we must get economy going again. Especially restaurants as they are one of the biggest drivers of people out of work. So (with lot of variations) the rules will be to Phase 2 (25% occupancy) Phase 3 (50% occupancy) and so on if things can continue to improve in any one state. Pols says we must support businesses.

Now it gets interesting. Many/most restaurant owners (McDonald's and similar excluded) say they will loose more money at 25% and 50% occupancy than if they just stay closed and concentrate on delivery and curb side pickup.

Plus, depending on the poll wording, it seems that 60% to 80% of the US population has no interest in going to a restaurant to "dine in" just now.

Grossly over simplified but you get the idea.

Pols don't know what to say or pretend to be deaf at times.

How are other countries/areas dealing with such.

126:

How are other countries/areas dealing with such.

Finland is a cautious re-opening of some things. Primary schools and kindergartens open mostly on next Thursday, and libraries are allowed to loan books and get returns (all the library book loans were extended to June, so no hurry, and the practicalities take some time). We have now a ban on gatherings of more than ten people, but from the first of June the bar rises to fifty people, and at least some restaurants and public spaces can open then.

In most areas in Finland the number of people in hospital care for COVID-19 seems to be stable or decreasing. This probably means the actions we've taken have been effective, and we might loosen the restrictions some. As I understand it, the government is looking at the data basically all the time and are ready to tighten the restrictions again if situation gets more dire.

The school vacations begin here in the beginning of June, or this year basically 30th of May. The situation with summer camps and such weren't clear until last week but it seems most of them are okay now. We'll see what happens, but at the moment things are not as bad as they could be.

127:

NZ has just moved to "level 2". Retail, cafes, restaurants open from Thursday 15th - restos with groups limited to 10 people and 2 hours max per group. Pubs and schools, Thursday week. Gyms, etc., back open this week too.

Unashamedly stealing everyone else's good ideas, as far as I can tell. (Right, Mikko?)

128:

In Denmark we are also slowly allowing more and more things, but not the things the neoliberalist commerciocrats want, so they're throwing daily hissy fits.

It will be interesting to see if the "You cannot prove this is harmful" argument will permanently loose traction to the precautionary principle, but it is certainly not having much grip in Denmark right now.

@122: I'm ¾ certain that Trumpolino gets reelected for three reasons.

A) Because the USA population as a whole suffers from deep Stockholm-syndrome after three decades of propaganda instead of news, there is no sign of, nor indeed any chance of the "enlightened revolution" it would take to have a fact based rational election.

B) Everything that could be manipulated R/Trumps way in the mechanics of the election has been, and every federal court that had a vacancy has been stuffed with "our people" by the republicans in the senate.

C) Getting enough enthusiasm behind Biden to overcome those disadvantages just aint gonna happen. Some of my USAnian contacts are feverishly speculating that Michelle Obama as VP would seal the deal, but I dont buy it, at best it moves my odds to ⅔ in Trumps favor.

As many has pointed out, Trumpolini is just the natural progression for a trend which was set on rails half a century ago, and if you follow where it points, he will attempt to put one of his spawn on the throne by 2024 - and USAs population will allow it and their much cherished constitution will be neutered before it turns 250 in 2026.

And that is the optimistic version: The pessimistic version points out that when lobbed an easy question about mothers day, Trump launched into a long rambling monologue about all the meetings he would have with the military at Camp David this weekend.

I wonder who he is going to bomb to get reelected ?

129:

UK gets to avoid 1,752 pollution deaths
Supposed / guessed / made-up / hypothetical "Pollution" deaths
Don't believe a word of it.
Those of us old enough to remember real pollution ( The great London Smogs ) simply don't believe it.
OTOH - those smogs killed a lot more people than the official figures - certainly if you compare ( As EC does ) the excess deaths in those periods, compared to other years.
Agree entirely with the lower number referred to - the excess deaths from deferred treatments / poor nutrition etc.

Meanwhile, our idiots are proposing to re-open schools - so the children will crowd together, but not restuarants & even - when restaurants open, pubs won't.
Which will cause riot & revolution.
I note slow rowing-back from the idiot "all nasty foregners to be quarantined" is starting, oops.

130:

I suspect you better understand the Ozzie situation being on that side of the ditch, however...

My comment was essentially that the web-site referenced in OGH's post # 47 showed the "countries doing well" - which included Australia where OGH commented that these generally also fell into his category "a) Female-led executives generally do far better".

However, I suggest that you can argue that Australia was more likely to fit more into his category "b) Authoritarian (especially right-wing authoritarian) male led executives in nominally democratic countries do far worse".

Certainly, Australian Government currently much more to the right of New Zealand's left leaning government, but of, course, from USA (especially) and UK current government perspectives probably both NZ & Oz could be considered to be fairly left wing.

Be nice of the ANZAC bubble things happens in a few months tho' if our local trends continue.

131:

Everyone under these lockdown rules is suffering from societal withdrawal symptoms, which leads to feeling more down than usual. Only those who have to keep busy don't notice them. Sending you comforting vibes...

My guess for what it's worth is that those writers with a vivid imagination are writing loads. Those that aren't are those who need an imagination refill (which is what I suspect you're also suffering from) or have very little capacity for imagination in the first place.

My further guess is that there are going to a load of stories of how lonely it is in space being written...

132:

True, but Australia is a funny system. It's really several separate countries welded together.

There's a right wing male religious nutjob in charge at the top, but while his party controls borders, laws around lockdown are run by the states. The biggest state by population is NSW with a rightwing female (who our American cousins would think was left of Chairman Mao). Victoria and Queensland both have labor (nominally left, actually right) with Queensland sporting a female head.

The feds have been pressuring the states to have minimal lockdown, particularly they want the schools open, and are quite open that they want them open so that the workers can work without being distracted by their children.

Our success is *despite* our federal leaders, not because. The male rightwingers are trying to undo all the good work as fast as they can.

133:

And yes, I'd love a shared bubble. Not least because I have a son who went for a month, but who is still there.

134:

It may help a bit, but probably not enough. A Falcon reaches 3km altitude about 35 seconds after launch, fairing is jettisoned around 3:50. There's also the flexing caused by the engines gimballing to worry about.

135:

I was thinking for a second of an actual falcon. They're fast, but not so much when climbing. A falcon with rocket assist would be both awesome and terrifying.

https://www.inverse.com/article/30095-millennium-falcon-peregrine-wildlife-star-wars-birds-han-solo-fastest-bird

136:

The StarShip project has had some notable ground-based testing failures whereas the SLS motor tests have generally gone off without a hitch.

Yeah, you seem to have missed the multiple announcements, up front, that Starship was pioneering a new construction technique (stainless steel is somewhat unprecedented for an orbit-capable launch vehicle) and they expected a number of "rapid unscheduled disassemblies" during development: it was factored into their methodology, and as of last week they managed to get a prototype to 150% of target pressure with cryogens on board and a working motor underneath the thrust dome.

No, Boeing/LockMart/etc don't develop boosters that way. If they did, they'd put a halt to all development for the duration of the post-explosion enquiry, then go back to the drawing board and re-design. SpaceX seem to be trying to apply agile methodology to booster development -- at least in the early stages -- with some success.

I note your "$5000 per kilogram" for payloads on orbit wrt. refueling. Musk's stated target for Starship is $10/kg on orbit, at least for fuel (probably several multiples of that for anything more complex to handle than bulk liquid methane, is my guess).

You're entirely correct about canned primates in Jupiter orbit: the only sane way to do crewed exploration there would be to build a base inside a lump of rocky space debris (for radiation shielding) and use it as a base camp for control of robots with a minimum of control lag (at least compared to the multiple hours of round-trip time from Earth). Whether it's even useful for scientific purposes is questionable.

137:

Anecdotally, the UK's ambulance services are seeing a massive spike in emergency calls where the first responders arrive to find the patient already in cardiac arrest and impossible to resuscitate. Fear of contagion is causing folks to hold off on calling an ambulance until it's much too late, and this is killing heart attack and stroke victims who might otherwise survive.

In addition a huge backlog of cancelled routine surgery is building up, and a lot of diagnostic procedures for cancer and other life-threatening conditions that require close contact have been postponed or cancelled. By some reports it'll take two years to catch up with the current backlog, and untold tens of thousands of premature deaths. (Consider the difference in prognosis between being diagnosed with cancer in stage I and stage IV, for example: most cancers identified in stage I can be cured -- definition: patient is cancer-free five years after the end of treatment, meaning it ain't coming back -- but in stage IV it's most often a holding action to buy a few weeks or months more life.)

138:

There were slaver's militias in the South to prevent slave uprisings, so this is the background to that particular amendment.

139:

I keep checking "medicalXpress" and there is some promising work on interrupting the "cytokine storm" caused by the innate and reactive immun systems interacting in a way that causes organ failure.
.
British news are depressing...so I watch "A Different Bias" at Youtube, the commenter Phil knows how to make sarcastic news coverage entertaining. This is the second best after Spitting Image.
.
Tara Reade's accusations are at least as credible as those against wossname, the beer-drinking judge appointed to the supreme court.
But the worst thing is the "enthusiasm deficit" for Grandpa Simpson. The only thing on offer is the same old status quo, but with less obvious crimes. "We suck less than the other team" will not get enough young voters out to dare the virus (mail-in voting will result in up to a quarter of the votes being discarded, usually in Democrat-dominated districts).

If the Dem establishment were rational, they would switch out Biden for some other establishment democrat, possibly Cuomo. But if they were rational they would not have sabotaged the candidate with the best grassroots support. They fucked up big in 2016 and they are fucking up right now. Yes, even a once a hundred-years epidemic is not enough to guarantee that the tossers will win, not when you factor in the systemic voter suppression.

140:

Elon Musk says a lot of things.

The $5000 per kilo figure for mass payload to orbit is actually down from the old days when it was (corrected for inflation) $10,000 per kilo. I just noticed that SpaceX has put up its prices for ISS resupply flights by 50% for their new Dragon 2 capsule -- some analysts think they were previously operating at a loss per resupply flight but using the original Dragon flights to test and qualify the Crewed Dragon capsule design. I was sort-of wondering why they were flying cargo with a complete manned-flight abort system as parasitic weight on each launch, apparently the Dragon 2 cargo vehicle will have a lot of that stuff ripped out to save weight and cost.

141:

Also to Bill Arnold. The other reason that excess deaths (and similar overall measures) are the best measure of the effects of things like COVID-19, smog or the car culture is that the direct deaths and other medical harms are often dwarfed by the indirect ones.

My wife got me to listen to David Spiegelhalter on the Andrew Marr show a day or two back, and I was a bit chuffed - he both analysed and presented it a LOT better than I did, but at least I haven't entirely lost my grip! His utterances are well worth looking for, as he is excellent at making it clear what we know and don't know, and the other issues involved.

142:

As are the USA and UK, and even Germany :-) I don't know how many other countries have significant amounts of the systems of their previous components still operational, but I would be there are quite a few.

143:

re. Excess deaths: On the discouraging side, this approach probably provides an optimistic estimate because some of the excess deaths due to air pollution, street crime, car accidents, etc. have decreased under the lockdowns. How much that decrease affects the actual death rate is a tricky calculation.

144:

If the Dem establishment were rational, they would switch out Biden for some other establishment democrat, possibly Cuomo.

They are *very* rational.

The Dims business model is to collect money from donors for as long as possible while delivering as little as possible in return.

Donald Trump in the White House simply is the best advertising there is for "suporting the struggle", no way the consultants living off "resisting Donald Trump" want to cut that short.

They are running Ancient Relic Biden for two reasons:

First, *because* the guy is just a moron with lots of skeltons in his closet who will get kerb-stomped by Donald Trump so that the consultants running the Dims can go on the next four years whinging about how Hard They Tried and "Now, We only need this Final Push".

Second, if Biden finally loses coherence after being nominated as presidential candidate, the DNC can pick a successor adminstratively - and Who would they pick, given that the "DNC Services Coporation" is currently owned by Hillary Clinton (who would also lose to Donald Trump, but, nobody dares say that to her face)?

(Third), Bernie Sanders would have *changed things*. When you are the ones sitting well at the adult table, change is not what you want to have!

145:

-He has finally gone round the twist...
‘Oldies Will Have To Die’ Tweets Trump https://www.patheos.com/blogs/laughingindisbelief/2020/05/oldies-will-have-to-die-tweets-trump/

146:

From that, not really. He merely does regard getting his hair cut as being of more importance than the deaths of a few hundred thousand other people.

147:

Have you finally drunk all that bleach? -Before you die, you might want to cheer yourself up with this article.
"Channel 5 launches new series of Coastal Ramblings with Nigel Farage" http://www.newsbiscuit.com/2020/05/10/channel-5-launches-new-series-of-coastal-ramblings-with-nigel-farage/ In a new series for Channel 5, self-appointed UK Coastguard in Chief and Immigrant Finder General, Nigel Farage, is to set off on the walk of a lifetime along Britain’s south coast....

148:

I think you will find that that URL (www.patheos.com) is a parody/comedy site and the supposed tweet by President Trump is a hacked-up image. Besides, "Demokraps"? That's not one of his standard slurs, it sounds something like what a Sanders supporter would call the sixty million folks they want to vote for their Godhead to get elected Space President.

149:

Combining two comment streams, I see following the adventures of Elon's Rocketeers a suitable antidote for the depressing stupidity and backwardness of so much of the rest of the world (reopening things when you still have thousands of deaths a day? Nuts)

I think one of the things most people don't get about Starship etc. is they aren't building spaceships, they are building a machine to churn out spaceships, at pace, and low cost, week after week. They are iterating designs at the moment, but only doing a few tests with each before moving onto the next. Currently SN4 is getting ready to hop, SN5 is getting ready to be stacked into the next version, and SN6 pieces are coming together - all at the same time. If they didn't blow them up they would end up with issues of what to do with the cast offs.

Once they have something that works, they won't have any hassle churning out a spaceship a week from a production line, one after the other, a few million a shot. In comparison they will be turning out engines at $143m a piece, at a rate sufficient to build one SLS per YEAR, with a price tag measured in the multiple billions per launch. It's a whole different ethos.

It's entertaining, and it's a positive programme to follow as an antidote for the usual pain of anything big and positive happening at all, let alone fast. Their bid for the NASA lunar lander is supposed to have a demo landing on the moon in 2022. That's a 15 storey tower, in two years.

Win, lose or draw, it makes you feel positive about a balls to the wall attitude.

150:

I think you will find that that URL (www.newsbiscuit.com) is a parody/comedy site.

You might want to engage your critical faculties sometime, preferably before the election in November (assuming you're actually an American citizen and entitled to vote rather than a Russian disinfo troll).

151:

On the other hand, it's horribly difficult to tell that its articles ARE satire :-( I could easily believe that some television channel would produce something on coastal ramblings by Farage, mostly about the need to defend ourselves against an EU invasion and bemoaning the closed pubs.

152:

I *know* this is a satire site.
I thought most Britons knew about satire sites like Newsbiscuit and The Daily Mash. Jeez I will add "satire" to all such links in the future.

153:

Patheos: This is the site that tricked me


MayraMM • 18 hours ago
"I checked the Twitter archives. This isn't real. It needs to be labeled as parody."

In my defense, this is only marginally worse than the reality.

154:

Reading the text accompanying the Newsbiscuit article it was incredibly obvious to me, at least, that it was satire, and bad satire at that, even before I read other parts of the page like the strapline, "the news before it happens". Your Mileage May Vary, but as Barnum never actually said, "there's one born every minute".

These sorts of supposedly-humourous webpages often appeal to people's fixed ideas and canalised thought processes, the credulous reader will agree with the tone and flavour of the writing and hence accept the incredible and often impossible claims of fact made, and so the circle of confusion and delusion makes another turn. See also Qanon et al.

And for God's sake don't mention closed pubs, that will set Greg off again...

155:

"The sad part is that Trump's had every resource to be a truly effective crisis leader and win the re-election in a landslide. He's had access to a well-rehearsed crisis play book, the ability to throw trillions of dollars at the problem... ...and him failing to rise to the occasion every single time. What a waste."

My view exactly. He's a gigantic, colossal, unrelenting screwup (I literally haven't seen him do one thing right about COVID-19.) Are you tired of winning yet?

156:

Men's blood contains greater concentrations of enzyme that helps COVID-19 infect cells
https://medicalxpress.com/news/2020-05-men-blood-greater-enzyme-covid-.html
This is sufficiently boring to be a bona fide article and not satire. -So, can we block this enzyme? Or will people die if the enzymes are too efficiently blocked?

157:

"Getting enough enthusiasm behind Biden to overcome those disadvantages just aint gonna happen. Some of my USAnian contacts are feverishly speculating that Michelle Obama as VP would seal the deal, but I dont buy it, at best it moves my odds to ⅔ in Trumps favor."

Hopefully Biden will have the good sense to pick someone like Warren, who appeals to the Democrat's Left Wing, as his VP candidate.

Otherwise, I'd think you were utterly correct in any other election year. This year, however, the real driver will be the economy and the number of deaths. I think it's perfectly reasonable to imagine that if Trump keeps screwing up where the COVID is concerned he won't make it through this term. (That's not an optimistic assessment, but a cynical one - once the rural Grandparents start to die Trump's support will tank very, very badly.)

158:

Re. canalised thinking; This is what brought us "Death panels". Because everyone knows libruls want to kill grandma.
-In regard to Trump, things are not so easy. He tends to "say the quiet part loud". and also say things like "can we drink bleach?"
.
With BoJo it is easier to spot satire. he generally thinks a bit before delivering lies, unfortunately he does not think enough, but that is another matter.

159:

The Democrats are definitely disappointing. I'm not sure Tara Reade is credible - she's made a number of posts on Twitter praising Putin, among other things - but the Democrats were perfectly capable of screwing up an election against Donald Trump, so who knows how badly they'll do running Biden?

160:

"Virus mutations unlikely to mean stronger strain: experts" https://medicalxpress.com/news/2020-05-virus-mutations-stronger-strain-experts.html I certainly hope this interpretation is correct.

161:

But I didn't! I read the 'tweet', thought "Oh, God!" and did something more interesting. And, like so many 'world leaders', past and present, he has made it clear that he is a sociopath.

162:

Possibly and yes, respectively. Blocking it is contra-indicated for anyone with hypertension, anyway.

163:

B.C.'s approach is working as well as it has due certainly to local situations that are unlikely to be fully replicated elsewhere. Most of our cases are in crowded institutions such as nursing homes and meat packing plants that can be dealt with by aggressive government intervention including but not limited to contact tracing. We have a government at the moment which is willing to do those interventions.

Social distancing has very high compliance even after a couple of months. The economy was never totally shut down, either, yet our case loads continue to fall.

We have only 73 people currently hospitalized with 20 in ICU, mostly frail elderly people (like me except I'm in my own home). That's for a pop. of about 5 millions.

Our chief medical officer is a superb communicator and people are listening to her advice, which of course based on the actual science. The government understands that science is pretty well the only available tool at the moment and is following the advice of the C.M.O.

The hot spot in Canada, BTW, is Quebec, not Ontario.

The question here is of course how long this can last, and the jury is out.


164:

I would prefer if this *was* satire...
"New Covid Formula Doesn't Actually Work" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yGyPIj0JvnA

"A Different Bias" has a good track record, so I am not afraid of forwarding the link.

165:

Charlie @ 137
At which point one starts to wonder, seriously, maybe, if simply taking reasonable precautions, but opening "society" up ... might, just might be the course with the lowest fatality numbers.
Um / err / maybe / maybe not / dither etc ...

145/146
But doesn't DT realise that HE is one of those "older people" - hge's 73 ffs...
Assuming it's not a spoof, of course?
Also "newsbiscuit" is a spoof site.

166:

ATM Falcon 9 is aimed mainly at the commercial launch market plus Dragon plus internal use for StarLink.
Falcon Heavy is mainly aimed at NRO/USAF/Space Force and NASA lunar stuff, you are correct to say that there is not currently a large commercial market for FH.

But SS/SH is trying to be orders of magnitude more efficient and capable than the Falcon family. If it succeeds then its revolutionary nature makes it very difficult to predict what the launch market will be like in 10 years time.

167:

At which point one starts to wonder, seriously, maybe, if simply taking reasonable precautions, but opening "society" up ... might, just might be the course with the lowest fatality numbers.

If you are willing to tell anyone with Covid to skip the hospital and just die, perhaps.

There is no escaping the reality that enclosed spaces are where Covid spreads - pretty much all the data and case studies so far demonstrate this.

South Korea allowed night clubs to re-open, and very quickly they have had to shut them down again.

The page linked to at the end of the previous topic was the same - the spreads were all enclosed spaces where people remained for extended periods (restaurant, call centre, etc.). The call centre example was particularly notable because despite having a large number of infected people, in didn't spread to other floors of the building via the lifts/elevators/stairs - so brief contact doesn't appear to create much of a threat.

So we can't just say whatever and re-open society without either telling Covid infected to die elsewhere, or crash the health care system.

Oh, and China is now getting new infections in 2 cities...

168:

Gotta watch the confirmation bias there; notably, that you're emotionally convinced you live a healthy life and won't get it.

We know three things about transmission; the mechanism hasn't been identified, enclosed spaces bad, aerosols very bad. (As in, environments which produce aerosols are worse than environments which don't irrespective of what's getting turned into the aerosol.)

"Regular life" depends on a whole bunch of enclosed spaces. (public transit! restaurant kitchens! garment manufacturing! hotels! et multi cetera) Food processing, lots of cleaning (pressure washers, carpet steam cleaning), and various industrial processes involve aerosols.

The only way to do "open society up" involves accepting that we'd be shovelling people into environments where they've got this expanded threat surface and (apparently) greater risk of serious infection and thus death. Plus "recovery" is not "fine now" and we don't have the stats for that yet; who gets the systemic damage, what kind, and how much are unknowable today.

There are two things going on with greenfield diseases; one is how an immune response gets developed. Two is how it functions as a selection mechanism. We don't have facts about either. The breadth of responses to COVID-19 and the uncertainty of the results of both single infections ("did you get kidney damage?") and multiple infections (no-one knows) strongly suggest it will have selective effects.

"Selective effects" = "some portion of the population will die if they get this", and we only just maybe sorta know how many people that could be; those are the six and seven percent prompt mortality rates. We don't actually know the excess death rates; we would be looking at 20% of infected slowly succumbing to kidney failure over the next five years. (There's no particular expectation of that, but again; we don't know. We're going to find out.)

The only responsible approach at this time is to minimise the rate of infection and to try to keep the total infected low until effective treatment or prevention or ideally both are available.

Since that would involve some economic reorganisation and doing much less capitalism, it isn't going to happen in the UK, the US, or (probably) Canada.

169:

Getting enough enthusiasm behind Biden to overcome those disadvantages just aint gonna happen.

As has been pointed out, to an extent it isn't a question of getting enthusiasm behind Biden - much of the enthusiasm in voting for the last 3 years in the US has been to thwart Trump.

Some of my USAnian contacts are feverishly speculating that Michelle Obama as VP would seal the deal, but I dont buy it, at best it moves my odds to ⅔ in Trumps favor.

Michelle Obama as VP would guarantee a Trump re-election. There is nothing that would energize the racist GOP/Trump base more than a black woman as VP, with the Obama name as a bonus. And more importantly the DNC would throw away any chance of taking the Senate.

Birger:
"We suck less than the other team" will not get enough young voters out to dare the virus

The young voters are unlikely to turn out regardless, so pinning hopes on them to win an election is a good way to lose.

If the Dem establishment were rational, they would switch out Biden for some other establishment democrat, possibly Cuomo

Cuomo, like Giuliani before him, is getting a crisis surge. It is equally as likely that the popularity surge won't last, and won't translate federally - and certainly Cuomo "abandoning" NY to run for President wouldn't play well.

But if they were rational they would not have sabotaged the candidate with the best grassroots support.

Did the DNC sabotage Bernie in 2016 - yes.

But 2020 has been fair, with the DNC being hands off. The reality, hard as it is to accept for his die hard supporters, is Bernie's popularity was largely that he wasn't Hillary. Without Hillary, and with more competition, he did worse on his second round than his first attempt.

170:

So we can't just say whatever and re-open society without either telling Covid infected to die elsewhere, or crash the health care system.

I expect to get Covid-19. I just want it to be later rather than sooner. And maybe by then they will know how to treat it better than the somewhat educated guesses that are being used now.

Of course a miracle could happen and we get a vaccine in 6 months. But that is a bad bet if the goal is to stay alive or not live the rest of your life crippled.

171:

Um, kids walking to a park to kick around a soccer ball, or to their nearest playground/schoolyard to shoot some hoops, isn't high risk.

There will be physical contact. Of course it's high risk. You can't play anything two metres apart. You could maybe get big into heavily ritualised lawn bowling two metres apart. Archery? But not anything recognisable as sportsball.

Now consider, less than 2 months to July, the number of people stuck in those same apartment/condos with no air conditioning and if you don't allow them to get out there will be an outright rebellion.

Which is why Her Majesty should be buying a whole lot of people air conditioners (and billing their landlords for them). Anybody running this is heavily committed to the status quo and hasn't managed to internalise that we're just not going to be keeping it.

172:

Meanwhile, our idiots are proposing to re-open schools - so the children will crowd together, but not restuarants & even - when restaurants open, pubs won't.

As previously mentioned, any solution to improving the economy needs to at it's foundation deal with the problem of childcare.

We will likely see the authorities accepting the reality that kids say 13 and older will need to be left alone in some cases, and obviously teenager are easier to deal with from a home schooling and forced to work at home parent circumstance.

But those younger kids need to be dealt with, whether it is so the parent(s) can return to work outside the home or even to become more productive in the forced to work from home - parents simply can't be productive with constant interruptions.

But the good news is not only do young kids not typically die from Covid, but it also appears from what has been reported that they aren't typically spreading Covid either. Limited public info, early days, etc. but it may well mean that opening schools to younger kids may not pose a Covid spread threat.

On the other hand, we do know that restaurants/pubs/bars/night clubs spread Covid so they are dangerous to re-open. As noted the industry is already indicating that partial re-openings won't work - the economics don't work - and the ventilation systems demolish social distancing anyway. So they will be among the last to reopen I would guess.

I note slow rowing-back from the idiot "all nasty foregners to be quarantined" is starting, oops.

More than an oops, further indication that Boris has lost his authority. For all his faults if the Conservative Party returns to be at civil war within it can't be good for the UK at this time.

173:

More than an oops, further indication that Boris has lost his authority. For all his faults if the Conservative Party returns to be at civil war within it can't be good for the UK at this time.

One thing that's been mentioned in the news but not prominently is the fact that both the Scottish and Welsh government high heid yins have come out and stated publicly that a) they weren't consulted on Boris' great announcement of the five-level virus alert thingy and b) they aren't going to go along with it. Unless the PM of Englandshire gets his act together then it's one more splitting wedge in the cracks in the Union and there will be a reckoning after the effects of this virus die back enough for regular politics (Hi Brexit!) to come to the fore again.

174:

There will be physical contact. Of course it's high risk. You can't play anything two metres apart. You could maybe get big into heavily ritualised lawn bowling two metres apart. Archery? But not anything recognisable as sportsball.

But it's not.

The evidence is all pointing to Covid requires extended aerosol exposure to transfer to a new host.

The South Korean call centre outbreak was in a 19 story building - yet despite that 97% of the people who tested positive for Covid (out of testing 1,100+ people) were the 94 people working in the same area of the 11th floor. That tells us that brief contacts with infected people in a hallway/etc. don't present a significant risk of transmission.

This thus tells us that periodic contacts in the wide open outside world is a low risk activity.

So yes, rugby and American Football will remain a problem, as will any formalized team sports.

But a small group of people kicking/throwing around a ball? Not a problem. Neighborhood kids having an informal game of soccer/football? Likely not a problem.

On the other hand, indoor sports like curling or hockey - a problem.

Which is why Her Majesty should be buying a whole lot of people air conditioners (and billing their landlords for them).

Sadly a lot of those building are old enough the electrical supply to individual apartments likely can't handle the AC load, nevermind the building as a whole handling a building full of AC units.

Anybody running this is heavily committed to the status quo and hasn't managed to internalise that we're just not going to be keeping it.

True. But it is equally true that those who think we are all going to hide away from physical contact in our home (whether a nice large house with large yard, or a tiny studio apartment) for 12, 18, 24 months hasn't accepted the reality that we are (as a society) going to demand some outside activity.

175:

Singles tennis and badminton, bowls and even fencing.

176:

"C) Getting enough enthusiasm behind Biden to overcome those disadvantages just aint gonna happen. Some of my USAnian contacts are feverishly speculating that Michelle Obama as VP would seal the deal, but I dont buy it, at best it moves my odds to ⅔ in Trumps favor."

Enthusiasm is irrelevant.

We're firmly in the negative partisanship phase.

All the available voting evidence indicates you're wrong about point one, as well.

177:

This thus tells us that periodic contacts in the wide open outside world is a low risk activity.

If you can get there by teleporting and never use a bathroom outside your home.

The problem is not the outside, especially; it's the to-and-from and ancillary services. Those funnel people into high-risk places like public transit and public washrooms.

As far as the entirely real "old building" problem, there's going to be a short shedload of medium-rise office space going begging. Her Majesty could be converting that into public housing and arranging to take over the portion of the rental market presently inadequately served, too.

None of this is difficult in principle; it's very very difficult under "landlords lose nothing" rules, but we aren't obliged to use those.

178:

I have my doubts about fencing; corps-a-corps involves breathing on your opponent, and vice-versa.

But, yes, badminton or tennis or bowls could be done fine.

I am oddly reminded of the venerable brick badminton club a block or two south of here, which has rented one wing to an axe-throwing league. One would have to hope that the axe-throwing would also permit adequate social distancing.

179:

True. I should have said foil or (I believe) epee.

180:

Re: 'But the good news is not only do young kids not typically die from Covid, but it also appears from what has been reported that they aren't typically spreading Covid either.'

Kids are not being spared nearly as much as we'd like to think. Kawasaki disease is showing up in kids who've tested positive for COVID-19. The description below suggests it's very similar to the vascular inflammation older COVID-19-positive patients have died of. I'm not a medico but think that anyone - any age, gender, race, etc. - with any of the COVID-19 (increasing) range of symptoms can shed/spread this virus.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/may/09/children-coronavirus-death-kawasaki

'Kawasaki disease, which mainly affects children under five, can cause the immune system to go into “overdrive”, causing fever, severe diarrhea, rashes and conjunctivitis. In more severe cases it can inflame the walls of the arteries, affecting bloodflow to the heart and is potentially fatal.'

181:

If you can get there by teleporting and never use a bathroom outside your home.

There is a large part of the population who could walk 10 minutes or less to a park or schoolyard to sit in, or play safe activities in - no public transit required, no public washrooms required.

Except that is currently against the rules, and can result in getting a fine.

That needs to change if the authorities expect the public to continue with the truly necessary steps to maintain this for the 12, 18, or many more months.

182:

Real-world vs. SF/F

Anyone know of any SF movies or TV shows that came anywhere close to describing the level of dis-unity, insanity, pigheadedness, anti-science, etc. that we've seen to COVID-19? I'm thinking that an alien invasion scenario would be closest to a pandemic as it'd be a novel situation to all countries.

For any visiting SF/F authors reading this blog: how has the real-world response changed how you're writing/going to write your next story?


New interviews/podcasts

Hey Charlie,

Would you please post links to your most recent interviews and podcasts?

Thanks!

183:

Hi guys, long time no chat. Sorry, but my days have gotten busier since the lockdown started (to my surprise). I'll expand on it after work, but right now, I'd like to pose an interesting question that a bunch of us raised during our remote happy hour. I thought it would be fodder for you guys as well.

First the background:

The workforce has now been divided into 3 categories in the developed world: the work-from-home (WFH), Essential workers (EW), and non-essential non-WFH (NEW). This analysis will be limited to the US.

Depending on what methodology you use, 35-42% of the US workforce is WFH, and a further 30% is EW. In FY2018, 80% of the workforce was working in the service sector.

From this we can assume the following:

1. Assuming that the WFH workforce is almost exclusively in the service sector, this means that 40-50% of the service sector is WFH

2. This is wild guessing on my part, but I'm assuming that EW are evenly split between the service sector and the other 2 sectors.

Given all that above, which of the three job categories are the most likely to see technological innovation post-COVID?

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/apr/25/covid-19-pandemic-shines-a-light-on-a-new-kind-of-class-divide-and-its-inequalities
https://www.businessinsider.com/how-many-jobs-can-be-done-from-home-other-countries-2020-5

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

184:

"Singles tennis and badminton, bowls and even fencing"

I take it you have never sat near a tennis court, especially on a hot day.

Things would have to be adapted for play to be safe for the officials. Or for the other players (opponents or doubles partners.)

Sweat control is always an issue. Players sweat profusely and the sweat is projected as they hit the ball. They handle the balls with their sweaty hands and a residue will be left everywhere the ball hits.

Linespeople are 'moist' from the player's sweat. Ball boys and girls handle the balls, hold the towels for the players and are, so as to speak, directly in the line of fire.

Tennis would have to move to all electronic line calling and players retreiving their own balls and towels.

Spectators would have to be kept at a distance. Standing around the practice courts or sitting near the court during play involves a certain degree of 'being sprayed.'

And from my experience of having attended many a tennis tournament in the extreme summer heat you would have to find some way of protecting spectators from each other. The spectators' seats are often soaking with sweat as the day goes on.

And the washroom facilities are a long wait on most days for women attendees. Imagine what would happen if the number of people allowed in the washroom at one time was severely limited and if the washrooms had to be sanitized regularly.

185:

Actually, they are being spared, at least in the UK. Up to April 24th, 2 people under 15 had COVID mentioned on their death certificate - that's a piffling proportion of the usual death rate. What you are hearing about is the exceptions, precisely because they are rare.

186:

I didn't say PROFESSIONAL tennis - and the context was sport as recreation and exercise.

187:

But they would have been *far* further along if they'd had the Junior Woodchuck Manual.

(For the non-USans, who never misspent part of their youth reading Donald Duck, his three nephews were Junior Woodchucks (think Cub Scouts). As far as I could tell, if a UFO kidnapped you and dropped you on an uninhabited but habitable planet, and you had the Manual, in five years you could recreate civilization, and in ten, build a copy of the UFO so you could get home.

I always thought that a definitive collection of usenet FAQs would be the first cut at a Manual.

188:

Well, yes, because there's no way to distinguish the folks who crossed the street to get to the park and the folks who came sixteen subway stops. And the later absolutely shouldn't, and the former might-maybe could.

Can't make rules you can't enforce, and we've thankfully got at least that much competence involved.

I would expect there's a slightly-larger-group administrative solution to a lot of this (though the kind where "you will stagger your hours" gets explained to employers as non-optional), but there isn't a non-redevelopment fix for the lack of green space in many neighbourhoods.

189:

While fencing could conceivably be done with longer weapons (mock spears, quarterstaffs, bayonets, jousting...), probably if you want combat games where social distancing is maintained, I think you've got to go for things like laser tag and paintball. Both modified with standoff/NBC emulator rules, of course.

Or you could go for Highland Games. I think social distancing is maintained during the caber toss, isn't it?

190:

Now, I am never going to buy anything from Apple (well, Apple Records, but not the computer company) if I have any choice.

But: if I could get a Virtual Display (let's drop the VR crap until you can at least feel, if not smell or taste, shall we), with a projectable keyboard that's real sized, that would be something I'd look at.

EXCEPT I want at least a five year warranty on the pricey VD.

And people keep talking about docking stations. Yeah, about that... even Dell would roll out new docking stations with each new model (2xx, 4xx I mean), and they were *not* compatible. Same reason that where I was working, we didn't like blades: two or three years later, you've got budget, "oh, sorry, the new blades don't fit the old container."

191:

Until they lose signal, and then they have a brick.

192:

Kids are not being spared nearly as much as we'd like to think. Kawasaki disease is showing up in kids who've tested positive for COVID-19.

Direct quote from the American Heart Association press release mentioned in the Guardian article regarding Kawasaki disease and Covid:

"We want to reassure parents – this appears to be uncommon"

Nobody is saying the young kids have zero risk, but the risk is very low - and low enough that keeping kids isolated is likely more damaging than Covid would be.

I'm not a medico but think that anyone - any age, gender, race, etc. - with any of the COVID-19 (increasing) range of symptoms can shed/spread this virus.

The data available to date appears to indicate that younger kids are very low risk of spreading Covid.

As I posted to the previous thread an Infectious Diseases / Virology Clinician & Researcher from University of St. Andrews posted a twitter thread summorizing a bunch of studies. The highlights from a kid perspective:

1) "The fact that an infected child did not transmit the disease despite close interactions within schools suggests potential different transmission dynamics in children."
https://academic.oup.com/cid/advance-article/doi/10.1093/cid/ciaa424/5819060

2) 31 household transmission clusters, only 9.7% (or 3/31) had a paediatric index case (compared to say H5N1 influenza where kids are the index case 54% of the time).
https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.03.26.20044826v1

3) Iceland study, children under 10 had lower incidences of Covid
https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa2006100

4) and her summary, "Although limited, these studies so far indicate that susceptibility to infection increases with age (highest >60y) and growing evidence suggests children are less susceptible, are infrequently responsible for household transmission, are not the main drivers of this epidemic."
https://twitter.com/mugecevik/status/1257393264967274497

So yes, kids can spread Covid. But despite the prevailing wisdom (based on other viruses like the flu and cold), Covid is different and young kids do not appear to be spreading it significantly, either amongst themselves or to older people.

Thus it would certainly appear on the risk/benefit equation that allowing younger kids to return to school provides notable benefits with minimal increased risk.


193:

Can't make rules you can't enforce, and we've thankfully got at least that much competence involved.

So far the weather has essentially done most of the enforcing.

But as examples elsewhere demonstrate, as soon as the weather turns nice the inability to enforce the current restrictions gets demonstrated very quickly.

And once one set of rules gets mocked, you risk other more important rules getting mocked and ignored.

194:

So some anecdotal stuff:

Here in the deep red, I've noticed something, which I cannot remotely prove is representative but I actually hope IS.

So the people I know who voted for Trump and I would, outside of that, classify as assholes? Still in for Trump.

But I've talked to a couple of GOP voters who I think (or know) to be decent people in temperment and day to day life, and they pretty much all regret voting for Trump and are currently not planning on doing so again.

These are people who've looked at Trump, who they weren't thrilled with in 2016, and said the polite version of 'oh, he's a fucking moron' which they hadn't actually internalized pre 2016.

And there's a whole lot of 'well, if it hadn't been Hillary' which is it's own thing.

195:

Same thing applies to any form of tennis other than played in your back yard. I was seriously injured playing tennis when I skidded on a wet part of the court. And around where I live all the tennis courts are public and people stand around the outside watching each other and retrieving balls for each other.

196:

Same thing applies to any form of tennis other than played in your back yard. And around where I live all the tennis courts are public and people stand around the outside watching each other and retrieving balls for each other.

There will be less of that in the current situation.

But so far the major clusters of Covid transmission all require extended indoor exposure to aerosol.

A small number of people standing around outside of an outdoor tennis court are going to be low risk, even more so if they observe a 3 to 6' separation which seems to have become a built in response these days - almost everyone avoids other members of the public when out walking unless there simply is no room to avoid each other for example.

197:

My wife used to be a keen tennis player before her knees gave up and, no, it doesn't. People don't HAVE to watch (I didn't) or stand close to each other, and the players could wear gloves. It's possible.

Whether it would be done is another matter, and not the topic under discussion.

198:

The problem with "looking at the data all the time" is the two week delay between infection and symptoms...during part of which you are contagious.

You've got to factor that delay into your calculations...and when you notice that the cases are rising, they've already been rising for two weeks.

199:

@79: The USSF is basically a satellite intelligence service.

There's a lot more to space operations than "spy" satellites. DOD currently lists eleven space missions in Joint Publication (JP) 3-14, Space Operations, 10 April 2018:
- Space Situational Awareness: Knowledge of what's happening in the space environment; includes the former mission of space surveillance
- Space Control: Offensive and defensive operations during a conflict to assure friendly use of space and deny use of space to opponents
- Positioning, Navigation, and Timing: Precision movement and weapons delivery require knowing where you are and when. The USAF didn't develop and field the GPS constellation for Garmin's benefit.
- Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance: Pretty self-explanatory. I can provide way more discussion than most folks can bear on the differences between the three.
- Satellite Communications: Global, real-time, secure, jam-resistant comms give a commander a real advantage in a conflict.
- Environmental Monitoring: Both terrestrial and space weather.
- Missile Warning: A subset of surveillance, called out separately due to the short flight times of missiles, especially tactical ballistic missiles, and the magnitude of the threat posed by strategic ballistic missiles (nukes).
- Nuclear Detonation Detection: Another subset of surveillance called out separately due to its importance.
- Spacelift: The ability to launch when and where needed
- Satellite Operations: Self explanatory.

I very much doubt that the U.S. Space Force will long survive the administration of El Cheeto Grande; it has not to date absorbed the space functions of the U.S. Army or Navy, and doesn't have much support outside the space cadets. U.S. Space Command, on the other hand, as a combatant command, undoes a mistake Rumsfeld made in 2002 by reestablishing a central proponent for the coordination of the Services space operations (again, I was in USSPACECOM from 1994-2002).

200:

mdive
If you are willing to tell anyone with Covid to skip the hospital and just die,
Which is so far off the mark as to be ridiculous.
What is the percentage of deaths of those known to have been infected?
Somewhere between 2% & 7% ( ish ) - yes? And, we know that a lot of people get or are infected by Covid & don't even know they have it - also yes?
Now then, please rephrase your statement so that it makes sense.
Infection DOES NOT MEAN DEATH - OK?

- & @ 172 - re "childcare"
It's not child care - it's education.
I know that a huge amount of early so-called "schooling" is licensed child-minding, but even so, you are correct that the models currently in use are not fit for purpose in a post C-19 world.
Assuming that children are vulnerable, of course.
Are they?
Do we yet know if any of the current crop of childhood immunisations are, as a side-effect providing some measure of protection against C-19?
We damned well need to find that one out & soon.

& @ 181
Yes
People should be allowed to sunbathe in the parks
I couldn't see the problem in the first place, but the fuckwits have ignored that one, it seems

Graydon
All too aware of that, since by a.n.other metric I'm "vulnerable" - being male & over 70, though slim & fit & eat very well & my medical condition(s) are physical, not chemical if you see what I mean.

David L
Me too - or rather I expect to be exposed to C-19 { I may have been already, as stated } & ...
What I'm looking forward to is not a vaccine, though that would be very nice to have, but a treatment or set of treatments that turn, even a serious attack by this virus, into something manageable, with a decent recovery.
That should be less of an ask than a vaccine ( I think ) & both more generally applicable across any victims.

Nojay
Already started
The wreckers & English-Juche enthusiasts are amongst those pushing for "Brexit at ANY cost" - they are quite, utterly, stark raving bonkers, most of them, blinded by theor own propaganda & groupthink.

Ioan
Those categories fit the UK as well.
But your numbers/percentages don't seem to add up ... um.

201:

whitroth noted: "I am never going to buy anything from Apple... if I have any choice."

Fair enough. Different strokes and all that. I'm just guessing Apple will be the company that delivers the elegant solution first, shortly followed by a batch of companies who provide their own (less expensive and probably better performing) equivalents. Recent examples of this include laptop form factors and the iMac line of desktop computers.

whitroth: "if I could get a Virtual Display (let's drop the VR crap until you can at least feel, if not smell or taste, shall we), with a projectable keyboard that's real sized, that would be something I'd look at."

Me too. I'd love to have a virtual monitor I could expand from 17" (for writing) to 34" or more for page layout. I predict one to be available "real soon now", and not necessarily from Apple. I expect that the first models will benefit from having a white screen that you can mount behind the keyboard to block out background noise.

whitroth: "And people keep talking about docking stations. Yeah, about that... even Dell would roll out new docking stations with each new model (2xx, 4xx I mean), and they were *not* compatible."

My bad for choosing overly specific terminology; I didn't mean those older docks that were designed specifically for each new model of laptop. I'm currently using a USB-C dock with something like a dozen ports of various descriptions, daisy-chained with a 6-port USB-3 hub. Works a treat, and will transfer elegantly to my next computer. The various peripherals will stay put; the new laptop will simply plug into the dock, and away I go.

Re. Space Force: We're not talking Star Trek here, folks. Most developed nations have significant commercial and military assets in orbit, and these need to be protected. Doing so requires specialized expertise and tools. So creating a space force as a branch of the military makes a lot of sense, and in the context of Trump, falls under the category "even a stopped clock is right twice per day".

202:

For tennis, the locker rooms would be questionable. Perhaps if you're playing badminton you wouldn't need them. If you could avoid the locker room, even doubles tennis might be reasonable.

Note that golf *should* be reasonable, but in the examples I've seen golfers tend to cluster in tight groups. So maybe limit that to threesomes or less, and close the locker room. (And the bar.)

203:

Sports
The evidence is all pointing to Covid requires extended aerosol exposure to transfer to a new host.

What sports don't require physical exertion to the point of panting. And in each others faces or next to each other.

Maybe track for some events and if you separate as soon as a race is over. But soccer(European football), basketball, field hockey, lacrosse, etc... all wind up with people panting and in each others faces at time.

Baseball might work if the batters and fielders wear masks. But ...

Want to risk it?

204:

Most offices would require a very large amount of work to convert them to plausible apartments, especially if you didn't want shared rest rooms.

205:

Travel to the tennis court wearing a tracksuit or similar over your kit, play, put it on and travel back, and clean up at home.

And, to David L: cricket.

206:

Anyone know of any SF movies or TV shows that came anywhere close to describing the level of dis-unity, insanity, pigheadedness, anti-science, etc. that we've seen to COVID-19? I'm thinking that an alien invasion scenario would be closest to a pandemic as it'd be a novel situation to all countries.

Real life in the US. 1968-69.

But the dividing lines were very different. Well mostly. Sort of.

207:

For any visiting SF/F authors reading this blog: how has the real-world response changed how you're writing/going to write your next story?

Huh. Funny you should ask: I'm currently turning round the edits for "Escape from Puroland" (coming to Tor.com sooner than I expected, apparently) and large chunks of it are set in hotels and public spaces that are simply unavailable right now.

Story was written in September-October 2019 and sold in January. It's unthinkable how much has changed.

(When I finish I'm going back to the second half of "Flesh Lies Bleeding" and wondering how much of it remains relevant to the present. And I began writing that last November.)

Would you please post links to your most recent interviews and podcasts?

I will, when they're public!

208:

IIUC, Heinlein had a story planned for "the Crazy Years", but never wrote it. Possibly he couldn't make it plausible. You could consider his "I will fear no Evil" as a rewrite of that story outside the bounds of his "future history" series.

"An Enemy of the State" has some degree of the disorganization that you want. So does "The Warlock Wandering" about the collapse of PEST. (PEST means something like Proletarian Eclectic State of Terra.) Miller's "Canticle for Leibowitz" is all about aftermath. There is a chapter in Stapledon's "Last and First Men" about collapse. (Well there are several, but one sort of fits.) And, of course, there's Robert Anton Wilson's "Illuminatus", though that's more about chaos than collapse. Generally authors don't feel they can depict the government as as narrow minded and foolish as it often is. They feel it lacks plausibility.

209:

And people keep talking about docking stations. Yeah, about that... even Dell would roll out new docking stations with each new model

Not any more.

Remember I mentioned USB-C? The USB-C connector is black magic; if you buy a new iMac today it'll have only USB-C ports (plus ethernet, SD card, audio) on the back -- but those ports auto-detect and switch between: USB 3.1 (backward compatible all the way to USB 1.0), Thunderbolt 3, DisplayPort, HDMI, and a bunch of other standards. (If you need Firewire? That's a dongle on a TBolt cable.) Thunderbolt, as I noted, exposes the PCIe bus to the CPU and provides multiple channels at up to 40GBps -- enough that you can put multiple GPUs in a backplane at the far end of a TBolt cable and drive them from a laptop as if they're bolted to the motherboard. USB 4, due RSN from Intel et al, is a superset of all of the above -- basically all the protocols wrapped up in a bundle with a single cable.

So there's a burgeoning market these days for "docks" which basically have a single USB-C connector at one end of a lead, and all the trimmings -- ethernet, HDMI for monitors, DisplayPort for other monitors, USB in various speeds -- at the other end. You can buy them sized to sit permanently on a desk with a keyboard and monitor hooked up, or to slip in your pocket or bag of cables for travel. And outfits like Dell and Lenovo have quietly stopped rolling out a new and expensive dock with every laptop.

So the future you've been waiting for arrived while you weren't paying attention.

210:

Re the WH being infected, one thing that's wrong with your later in the thread back of the envelope calculations is what you missed: age an health is a factor. I'd gues that at least half of the WH is 60 is a lot lower - probably under 50 people. Given the Orange One's germaphobia on one hand, and his diet on the other....

211:

almost everyone avoids other members of the public when out walking unless there simply is no room to avoid each other for example

Relatively small data sample, but in my part of Richmond Hill Ontario that's not true.

I've been getting less exercise than I should because about 20% of the people I encounter walking around the neighbourhood don't give 2 m of space, even when there's room. Couples that step sideways a bit giving you an extra 6" to pass. Pensioners walking right up the middle of the path and not moving for anyone. Families walking line abreast across the path. Young mothers pushing SUV-prams beside each other while they enjoy a gossip-and-latte.

So when I can get motivated I get up in time to be out at sunrise so I only pass (on average) one person who's not social distancing rather than almost a dozen.

212:

So there's a burgeoning market these days for "docks" which basically have a single USB-C connector at one end of a lead, and all the trimmings -- ethernet, HDMI for monitors, DisplayPort for other monitors, USB in various speeds -- at the other end.

Totally. I have one for my 15" laptop[1] that has all my bits attached. Including 4K display. When I want to be at my desk with it, it is closed and works great as a desktop. When I leave I just pull out 1 connector and go. Cost $50 on sale. Under $100 normally. (My power feeds through it so only 1 connection.) And I have a smaller one with Ethernet and 4K video in my travel bag.

[1]For those who claimed a 15" laptop was nuts. Well for many it might be. I have 2 11" ones sitting unused just now but that's another story. When your normal desktop is 27" and you're doing CAD many times with a second display on that setup opening stuff up on less than 15" can be a complete PITA. But for other uses 13" or smaller is great. My point is for some non trivial use cases a 15" or 16" laptop makes sense. (A lot of architects and similar would like a 17".)

213:

Several things. First, after my late wife dropped dead, when my doctor asked what I wanted, I said a wall between me and the world. Later, it was give me something that will let me get a solid night's sleep, and I'll be able to deal with the world better in the morning.

After a few years or more modern drugs, I went to trazadone, and only got off that early this year (because I've got Ellen). The first four-five years, pay attention to the label, because it's not "may cause drowsiness", it's "take before bed", because you'll be asleep in 20 min.

Consider that, Charlie.

And my response to the idiots who come by and say, CHEER UP!!!" is the one I came up with as my second marriage was failing in the mid-eighties: the sign I put on my cube wall over my desk read, "If I am depressed, it may be for good and sufficient reasons, and if I wasn't depressed, I wouldn't be facing reality", thereby using *everything* they could possibly say against them.

And one last thing, and if you have never heard it, you should, Charlie: Stan Rogers' Mary Ellen Carter.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BQpf0aCj-64

"And you to whom adversity has dealt the final blow
With smiling bastards lying to you everywhere you go,
Rise again, rise again,
Though your heart it be broken and life about to end.
Turn to and put out all your strength of heart and mind and brain
And like the Mary Ellen Carter, rise again."

True fact: singing that song, over and over, once kept a sailor whose ship went down in the North Atlantic alive for 10 fucking hours.

214:

Y'know, I think I've seen something just like that, long ago, in a galaxy far away.

In Hardware Wars.

215:

But that was how management treated us for so many years....

216:

SFReader said: "Anyone know of any SF movies or TV shows that came anywhere close to describing the level of dis-unity, insanity, pigheadedness, anti-science, etc. that we've seen to COVID-19?"

Nothing in the movies or TV, but John Brunner's 'The Sheep Look Up' springs to mind (and is recommended). 'The Jagged Orbit' might also be useful.

217:

I need to get on her social media, and demand that she demand that the Orange One resign, given the TWENTY-FOUR WOMEN accusing him of everything from molestation to rape, including an ex-wife, and some of them are in court, and so a *HELL* of a lot more believable than her.

And there's this:
https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2020/04/29/joe-biden-sexual-assault-allegation-tara-reade-column/3046962001/

218:

I'm happy to leave it to the US electors to choose for themselves in November, but look at how we got here.... an accurate view based on hard facts ....

Re: previous prez, Malia's grandparents met at The Agency Russian language training in Hawaii; He himself did some missions in Afghanistan, or holidays, speaking Pashto, the prez, Pashto? then almost last duty as prez was that meeting on 5th Jan 2017 with Bidden, Rice, Yates, Comey, Brennan, and Clapper. Setting up the talking points, keeping it in the family?

Our excellent host's blogness does have a reasonably accurate view of the incumbent Amadán Trumpy, so I can't see how any of the contingent choices can get worse.

Why can't you just 'elect' the respected Paul Nakasone or the slightly less respected Gina Cheri Walker Haspel directly, and cut out the distracting figurine, it's working fairly well in some other nations.

219:

Let me know when he becomes a hermit and starts growing out his nails.

220:

I am, of course, instantly reminded of the old usenet story of the guy who stole a RATO bottle, and attached it to his car....
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/JATO_Rocket_Car

221:

The rest of the Amendment indicates that's wasn't vaguely the only reason. #1 reason was the intent of the Founding Fathers, as I learned in school, NOT TO HAVE A STANDING ARMY, and so armed citizens, at the call of the governor, could be called out.

222:

when he becomes a hermit

With valet staff?

223:

Nojay, fuck off. "Space President"? And you are suggesting that the overwhelming majority of Bernie supporters are extremists?

After (and this has got to be at least the fifth time I've said this on Charlie's blog) 91% of us voted for Hillary?

224:

Great. So I need to build new armor (I left mine behind in Philly in '86), and go back to fighting SCA heavy, with my shield and mace?

225:

Well, I've got it in a trilogy of short stories. Unfortunately, they're set about 60-75 years from now, and they're also not yet published (I'm waiting to hear from the editor of the Grantville Gazette, who's looking at them for the Universe Annex....

226:

Re. Space Force: We're not talking Star Trek here, folks. Most developed nations have significant commercial and military assets in orbit, and these need to be protected. Doing so requires specialized expertise and tools. So creating a space force as a branch of the military makes a lot of sense, and in the context of Trump, falls under the category "even a stopped clock is right twice per day".

Agreed. I can see the strong feelings from a SPACECOM vet, and they're understandable, even if I as a lifelong civilian don't know the proper and military way to differentiate between intelligence, reconnaissance, and surveillance, and tend to lump them, as the NRO does, into intelligence rather than physical "boots in the sky" operations.

That said, I'll be mildly surprised if the USSF gets folded back into the USAF, and the reason is the eternal tussle of the high echelons for status. Currently, the Secretary of the Army has as deputies the civilian under-secretary and the military chief of staff. The Secretary of the Navy has as deputies the civilian under-secretary, the military Chief of Naval Operations, and the Commandant of the Marine Corps(!). The Secretary of the Air Force has the civilian under-secretary, the military Chief of of staff, and the Chief of Space operations.

So basically, in the eternal squabble about who gets more whatever, the Secretary of the Air Force is now in command of two forces, just like the Secretary of the Navy.

And the Chief of Space Operations (Jay Raymond) is also concurrently the head of US Space Command, and he reports to the Secretary of the Air Force.

So yes, the USAF currently looks like it has control of US military space assets, so long as it minds its manners and doesn't try to actually assimilate the NRO, elements of the US Navy Cybercommand that are in orbit, or the US Army Defense and Missile Command. And since the space and surface-based elements of the latter two appear to be rather intertwined (by design?) I'd speculate that the USAF wants to disentangle them in any case.

But what do I know? I'm a civilian.

227:

This is not your father's confederacy. Much of their strength is in the Old Northwest (Ohio River watershed) and the far northwest; states that were not part of the Confederate States of America.

The states carved out of the old Northwest Territories not only weren't part of the Confederacy, they were staunch Union supporters. Even at that time the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers were an import export route for those states and they knew that would get at least expensive if a CSA controlled the Lower Mississippi.

Your view of "far northwest" is apparently different than mine. Oregon and Washington are heavily Democratic. Montana is an odd place, but will likely come out of this November with Democrats for governor and both US Senators. Idaho fits, I suppose, but that's also changing rapidly: the California Diaspora has been a thing for 30 years.

The entire 11-state contiguous American West is changing, in the opposite direction but about the same pace as the Midwest has gone Republican. Democratic trifectas in state government in California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, and Washington. It's looking like post-November Democrats will hold 16 of those 22 US Senate seats.

The American Great Plains are a terrific cultural divide. Five times the area of the UK, average population density of 3.7 people per square km, 222 of 362 counties with a population density below the traditional 7-per-sq-mile (2.7-per-sq-km) definition of frontier. There are a lot of people with no idea of the scale of that enormous empty chunk in the middle of the US.

228:

And since the space and surface-based elements of the latter two appear to be rather intertwined (by design?) I'd speculate that the USAF wants to disentangle them in any case.

Rather: And since the space and surface-based elements of the latter two appear to be rather intertwined (by design?) I'd speculate that the USAF DOES NOT WANT to disentangle them in any case.

But I'm still definitely a civilian.

229:

That said, I'll be mildly surprised if the USSF gets folded back into the USAF, and the reason is the eternal tussle of the high echelons for status.

Creating the USSF created slots for more generals and so on all down the line. Folding it back in would force those folks to find new jobs, replace others currently in jobs, or retire. Not as big a fight as closing bases but still.

230:

In Denmark we are also slowly allowing more and more things, but not the things the neoliberalist commerciocrats want, so they're throwing daily hissy fits.

Can you elaborate on this? What exactly is being slowly allowed, and why are neoliberalist commerciocrats throwing hissy fits?

231:

There are a lot of people with no idea of the scale of that enormous empty chunk in the middle of the US.

Just stick them in a car and let them drive for 2 to 4 hours and maybe see 3 cars coming the other way.

A bit more west I drove to Monument Valley from the east to west and if the world had depopulated during the drive except for my wife and I, we would not have noticed for a couple of hours.

232:

How are other countries/areas dealing with such.

Apparently I wasn't all that clear. My question was more about are the politicians in other countries saying "you can open now but at reduced seating" while the owners are saying "we can't make money at that capacity".

All on top of people saying "we'll just stay home a while longer thank you very much".

233:

I think you perhaps have a distorted view of the West, and indeed, of much of the US.

Here's a map of the way the counties voted in the 2018 election: https://www.brookings.edu/research/a-vast-majority-of-counties-showed-increased-democratic-support-in-2018-house-election/

It is, basically:
--urban areas (80% of the US population)
--coasts
--major rivers (especially the Mississippi)
--the Mexican border counties
--Major Indian reservations in Arizona and New Mexico

Notice that contact with tourists and diverse people tends to blue things?

I don't disagree that there's a big lot of unbuilt land in the Midwest, although I think that has as much to do with Big Ag and ecology as anything else.

But the white supremacists' present locations don't readily map onto the confederacy, and there are a lot of them in very blue counties (https://www.splcenter.org/hate-map), as well as in the current Rust Belt of the Old Northwest.

For example: if you've been paying attention to the news in the last week, the Klowns who wore the KKK hood and the swastika face masks to the grocery store and became Facebook famous did so in Santee, a "nice" little 'burb immediately east of increasingly democratic San Diego. This didn't surprise anyone who's lived here for awhile and heard Santee's nickname of "KKKlantee."

234:

For SF film or tv, I would recommend "Children of men". It's that very rare thing, a film that is better than the book. It also has a virus, chaos, right wing idiocy, xenophobia etc. If anyone hasn't seen it, you should.

235:

Anecdotally, the UK's ambulance services are seeing a massive spike in emergency calls where the first responders arrive to find the patient already in cardiac arrest and impossible to resuscitate.
Out of curiosity, are these cardiac arrest deaths being tested (after death) for SARS-CoV-2? The virus is known to cause strokes and to affect the heart. Not saying I don't believe that there is an effect, just wondering (assuming real) about causes.

and a lot of diagnostic procedures for cancer and other life-threatening conditions that require close contact have been postponed or cancelled. By some reports it'll take two years to catch up with the current backlog, and untold tens of thousands of premature deaths.
This particular effect is very concerning, thanks for the reminder. [1]. The longer term increases and decreases in mortality rates (per cause of death) will play out over many years. (as Elderly Cynic notes (I think), finding the signals in the statistics will often be difficult. Also futures reshapings like altered risk of nuclear war, a more competent response to a future more-deadly pandemic, different probabilities of averting severe global heating scenarios, etc, are hard to evaluate.)
In the UK, with decent universal health care and environmental conditions (e.g. already clean air), but with a dysfunctional government-level response to the pandemic, the excess deaths will at least medium term be (optimistically) net high 10s/low 100s of thousands extrapolating from what's seen so far. Similar for the US scaled for a larger population, perhaps (depending on how reopening plays out) not quite as bad because of lower population density. The worsening economic collapse will make this all much worse and harder to evaluate.

[1] Sample article: Coronavirus is pushing the UK towards a cancer crisis - Urgent referrals for cancer tests and diagnoses have fallen as people have stayed away from the NHS. Now doctors are worried these late diagnoses could lead to a spike in cancer deaths (Chris Baraniuk, 8 May 2020)


236:

RCT David - I agree, completely. I figure an actual vaccine is years away. I just want an effective treatment that reduces the effects by an order of magnitude.

237:

Ok, wait, I think we're running at cross-discussions here. I was thinking of docking stations for *mobiles*, not laptops.

238:

Be careful with this study, because it is not yet peer-reviewed and because it is only looking at hospitalized COVID-19 cases, but it is quite interesting. (e.g. it is another study showing slightly lower COVID-19 risk of death while in hospital for active smokers.)
Risk factors for COVID-19 death revealed in world’s largest analysis of patient records - The largest study to date, analysing NHS health data from 17.4 million UK adults between 01 February 2020 and 25 April 2020, has given the strongest evidence on risk factors associated with COVID-19 death. (7 May 2020, https link broken)
Figure 3 in the paper is the interesting one. The axis is estimated risk ratio vs a baseline for various subsets of the population, with error bars.
OpenSAFELY: factors associated with COVID-19-related hospital death in the linked electronic health records of 17 million adult NHS patients. (May 7, 2020, preview, not peer reviewed)

239:

Re reduction in air pollution in Europe (&UK):
Clean air in Europe during lockdown ‘leads to 11,000 fewer deaths’ - Study into effects of coronavirus curbs also finds less asthma and preterm births (Jonathan Watts, 30 Apr 2020)
Health experts said the findings echoed their experience during the pandemic. “We have seen many fewer patients admitted with exacerbations of asthma and COPD [chronic obstructive pulmonary disease] over the last month and there is no doubt that a fall in air pollution is part of the reason,” said Dr LJ Smith, a consultant in respiratory medicine at King’s College hospital in London.
11,000 air pollution-related deaths avoided in Europe as coal,oil consumption plummet (Lauri Myllyvirta and Hubert Thieriot)

In some large cities in China and India and other countries, air pollution (pre-COVID-19) is really severe. Search google images for "air pollution" for examples of visibility in the 100s-of-meters range. If you've never experienced it, don't.

240:

I can dock my mobile with the same USB-C docking station I use for my laptop - it then gets me screen, keyboard and trackpad from the docking station.

Not sure exactly which protocols it's using on the wire, but it works.

241:

For example: if you've been paying attention to the news in the last week, the Klowns who wore the KKK hood and the swastika face masks to the grocery store and became Facebook famous did so in Santee, a "nice" little 'burb immediately east of increasingly democratic San Diego. This didn't surprise anyone who's lived here for awhile and heard Santee's nickname of "KKKlantee."

I don't deny that there are nuts everywhere. Prevalence is another thing. I responded to a comment that talked about states. And in particular, "far northwest" states as part of the new Confederacy. Metro Seattle, which dominates the state politically, would be surprised to find themselves classified that way.

I'm well aware of voting patterns in the West. Of the four Census Bureau regions, the West now has the smallest percentage of rural population. Those vast red areas don't add up to all that many voters. And most growth in the West is happening in the metro areas, so things will likely continue in the direction they're headed. The real action is in the suburbs, of course. California went Democratic when its suburbs did. Ditto Colorado, 15-20 years later. It's happening in Arizona as we type. Utah is probably still 20 years away.

242:

Out of curiosity, are these cardiac arrest deaths being tested (after death) for SARS-CoV-2?

In much of the US, no. Testing is mostly reserved for saving live bodies.

Which is why the stats for deaths by, was sick due to, and infected but no symptoms are all light. In the US and I suspect most of the world.

The excess deaths stats the US can produce (and I suspect a many other countries also) is the best way to estimate how many have died from Covid-19. With a somewhat reasonable error rate.

But even this misses people who got sick and either didn't notice or had mild symptoms and now get to start the remainder of their life with kidney and/or other organs reduced in capacity by 10% or 30% or we just don't know.

243:

Can't make rules you can't enforce, and we've thankfully got at least that much competence involved.

Not so much anymore.

In the news today, Ontario Premier violated the rules and had family visit for Mother's Day.

And that is his (sort of) second violation of the rules - several weeks back he visited his cottage.

So when the nice warm weather returns the public is going to say if the rules don't apply to Ford, then they don't apply to us.

245:

Now then, please rephrase your statement so that it makes sense.
Infection DOES NOT MEAN DEATH - OK?

Bad wording.

"anyone with Covid to skip the hospital and just die" = "anyone with serious enough Covid symptoms that that need hospital/icu/ventilator care should skip the hospital and die."

The point of the current mess isn't to prevent people from catching Covid, it is to slow the spread to the point where the health care system doesn't collapse (with a failure to do that apparently happening for various periods of time in places like Italy and maybe NYC).

Yes, that unfortunately means heart/cancer/other things are falling through the system and causing death.

But simply opening "society" as you suggest, while it would return all those people (and deferred surgeries/treatements) back into the system that can only be done if you prevent the Covid patients that result from opening society from blocking up the hospitals again - hence the just go away and die comment.

We know what ignoring Covid and just opening up society does - Italy was covered well, and Spain, and now parts of the US, Russia, etc.

I think one of the things that many are forgetting/overlooking as various countries start to return to normal is that the Imperial College paper suggested we were heading for an alternating periods of opening things up, and then closing them down again, until a vaccine or other stabilization happens. So the fact that Denmark / Germany appear to be returning to normal doesn't mean that Covid is over in those countries - again, see South Korea who had to backtrack quickly on allowing night clubs to open.

I can't comment on the UK as I am not close enough to follow all the small details, but here in Ontario the government has started the process to reopen hospitals to outpatient surgeries/etc - that while the economy won't have fully reopened the demand on the health care system will have dropped to a level where we can return to doing more routine stuff.

So we will (hopefully) be able to have those additional non-Covid deaths be a temporary blip in the statistics while continuing Covid precautions.

It's not child care - it's education.

In the current world it is child care with education thrown in as a bonus.

The world many/most of us on this board grew up in where mom was home all day is long gone, and thus by necessity school has become "child care" to the extent that school holidays are a problem (often financially) for parents as some alternative must be arranged and frequently paid for.

So in addition to the education part (because most indications are the kids at home are not receiving a full education even when the social aspects are ignored), for parents to either return to work - or even to become effective work at home people - the younger kids at least need to be removed from being distractions/time sinks. Hence a return to school, given the usual holiday day camps are currently unavailable.

Assuming that children are vulnerable, of course. Are they?

See my post #192 where initial indications are not only are they for the most part not appearing to be effected by Covid, but they also don't seem to be a major problem in spreading it (which goes against our experiences of kids and colds/flu/etc.).

Do we yet know if any of the current crop of childhood immunisations are, as a side-effect providing some measure of protection against C-19?

Not a doctor/expert, but I doubt it.

One, unless they really become less effective with age then the adults should also be protected by those immunizations (unless there is a non-obvious vaccine the current generation get) but -

Two, there are far too many kids getting no vaccines today, and so far at least they aren't showing up as getting Covid either in any great numbers.


246:

What sports don't require physical exertion to the point of panting. And in each others faces or next to each other.

ad-hoc games in a community park to pass the time?

To repeat the now frequent refrain, we aren't talking about professional or even organized sports here, just fun stuff for kids to gather in the park, or some young adults to pass the time while being outside.

And even brief panting next to each other doesn't appear to be a significant risk - again, casual interactions in lobbies/lifts/elevators don't appear to have had any effect in the spread of Covid - the spread happens when people are exposed, via an enclosed space (where AC/heating/air circulation systems contribute significantly) for periods of say 30 minutes or more.

247:

Re: 'Generally authors don't feel they can depict the government as as narrow minded and foolish as it often is. They feel it lacks plausibility.'

Agree! Even more so in the older TV and film SF/F worlds. Even the post-apocalyptic hits don't portray the leadership as moronic: selfish, yes; stupid, no.

Heinlein has proven quite prophetic (Interregnum - If This Goes On) in describing a likely facade under which the US could be led down the autocratic path.

248:

Charlie’s point is that these are converging on being the same thing .

When I started at my second last job, I was assigned a brand new Dell Surface clone, basically a tablet PC with a snap-on magnetic keyboard+trackpad “cover”, and along with it a “dock”, which you connected with a single USB-C cable, providing multiple USB-A, Display Port and other jacks for connecting the things you need to do work. But such a dock would work with a USB-C equipped phone too.

Actual (40 Gbps)Thunderbolt 3 docks are still priced outrageously, but USB-C has basically democratised, it’s everywhere now. And I’m seeing some interesting devices: all the Thunderbolt 3 connected external RAID enclosures seem to offer a Display Port jack, for instance.

249:

I'd amend that very slightly. Outdoor is a lot less risky, but the vigorous exhales common in many sports (hard style martial arts being a particularly obvious example) are probably probably spraying as many droplets or more as the loudest talking or singing.
Thanks for the paper links on children; the "Children are unlikely to have been the primary source of household SARS-CoV-2 infections" preprint is large enough and suggestive enough to be worth tracking.

250:

Re: "Children of men"

Thanks! - Just read the Wikipedia write-up, sounds worth watching.

251:

I recently read the blood thinners are very useful once COVID-19 starts causing blood clots.

252:

And to no one's surprise (well, most reasonable people's surprise?), the GOP has rediscovered their religion and are now claiming that the US cannot afford the massive deficits helping people/companies/states survive Covid would require, and thus they aren't planning any more help from Washington

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-05-11/gop-finds-deficit-scold-voice-again-adding-snag-to-talks-on-aid

253:

Ooo, one of the podcast interviews OGH mentions was Trashfuture, that's cool! (The episode isn't out yet, they just mentioned talking to him in passing in the newest ep.)

254:

@fajensen at 144: Sorry to disagree. Bernie would have changed very little, as his time in the Senate shows. He would be just like Trump, unable to get a majority to do anything significant, since he's cast aspersion on all of Congress and forced to do whatever he could with executive orders. I think Biden can win with the pro-Biden vote and the anti-Trump vote and I expect to see a better healthcare situation in 4 years. No Medicare-for-All, but that would never have happened without 60 votes in the Senate. No Green New Deal as envisioned by AOC, but a strategy that goes in the same direction and gets more done by avoiding the political roadblocks inherent in the GND. You're free to disagree. I'm only laying out a representative viewpoint from someone in that mass of people that you Bernie supporter think are so stupid.

255:

"A Different Bias"

I find he gets tedious and depressing if I watch too much, one every couple of days is enough. It's the tone, it's always "sigh, more bullshit from the useless numpties". Sure, it is probably accurate, but I don't *need* that.

This is one reason I think Jacinda Ardern and her team have done so well. It's not "brain the size of a planet" territory, it's slightly upbeat "we have a problem. Here is what *you* can do to help. Please help".

The trouble with the various authoritarians is that they're not being successful *and* the message doesn't really work in this situation "obey or die"... "bruh, people who obey you are dying anyway"

256:

To repeat the now frequent refrain, we aren't talking about professional or even organized sports here, just fun stuff for kids to gather in the park, or some young adults to pass the time while being outside.

Have you ever raised kids? Pre teens down to toddlers in such a situation is like herding high energy cats.

We would take them to such situations as they would run around like crazy till collapse then back at home give them a quick rinse in the shower then to bed.

But organized "play" like you describe only happens with "Sheldon Cooper" type. And they are a rare breed indeed.

257:

There are a lot of people with no idea of the scale of that enormous empty chunk in the middle of the US.

Yeah, nah. A quick glance at the map says I once rode slightly further than RAAM and the biggest town I went through (and I went through all of them) had about 5000 people. Between Darwin and Perth there just isn't a lot of people, things to support people, things for people to do, or indeed, people. The 'natural' population is probably somewhat less than it is now, because right now they're digging up the country and sending it to China. Once that's done* those people will leave.

Straya has also got a dirty big hole in the middle (for reasons it's called "Olympic Dam", but trust me, when Australia farts that's where it comes out).

Anyway, just how many parts of the US do you drive through desert for 1000km as the only land-based way to get from here to there? We have the somewhat misleadingly named No Tree Plain" which is flat and has shrubs but it's not really habitable because it's more of a limestone plateau. US style "great plains" it is not. North of that is the more accurately named "Little Sandy Desert" which is next to (wait for it) the "Great Sandy Desert" (although that is a bit meh, as deserts go). The reason they can have such big text on the maps is that there's nothing else there.

The point is that between Adelaide and civilisation you have 500 miles of walking, and another 500 miles of walking, and then you're in the exciting metropolis of Alice Springs or, if you go the wrong way, Perth. If you go even more wrong you're in the sea part way to Aotearoa or Antarctica.

* A fair bit of WA is made of haematite. Literally made of it. If they run out then somewhere there will be a US-sized area with 2m of steel plate over it.

[[ odd link fixed - mod ]]

258:

Yes. AU is a big big island of no one sane would live there with some living space around the edges.

259:

Oz also enjoys the presence of all 11 of the top 10 most dangerous creatures on the planet.

260:

A fair bit of WA is made of haematite. Literally made of it. If they run out then somewhere there will be a US-sized area with 2m of steel plate over it

Yeah, and I've heard that out in the Blue Mountains there are koalas the size of actual, northern hemisphere bears that will drop out of trees and savage passersby unless they wear sprigs of gum nuts behind their ears. And the Yowies keep them as house pets?

Since the US is 3.79 million mi2 with 331 million mostly odd people, and Australia is 2.97 million mi2 with 25.5 million people (about the same as North Korea)...yeah, I'll give you that it's pretty empty. I mean southern California has about the same population as all of Australia. But fit a US-sized area into it? That's not a hole. (hauls out the Grand Canyon), now this is a proper hole.*

As for big empties, take the train from Seattle Washington to Minneapolis or Chicago. Fargo North Dakota is about the biggest town on that route. That's some good chunk of 3,000 km of topographically diverse but very sparsely populated land.

Or if you want a mostly rural road, look up US-50, which is a bit shy of 5,000 km and mostly rural. Especially the part through Nevada.

Now we sit back and wait for the Canadians to start giggling about us short distance haulers and our silly ideas about what a lonely highway is. Then sleepingroutine can chime in about the Trans-Siberian Railway (about 9,300 kilometers) and that will be us properly told off.

261:

a big big island of no one sane

Whaddaya mean? We got a sane guy, name's Dave, lives out west somewhere.

262:

Australia is 2.97 million mi2 with 25.5 million people (about the same as North Korea)...yeah, I'll give you that it's pretty empty

It's more that the population is overwhelmingly concentrated along the east coast, with a few scattered buboes across the rest of the country. The population density in what you could reasonably call the inhabited parts is not so bad, which leaves a lot of "technically got Australians in it". Or technically Australians, I suppose, since they suffer a bit from white men running round like children who got a Dymo Labeller for Christmas.

"what do you call this place? I name it King's Crossing"
"Bidyadanga"
"King's Crossing it is"

263:

"Been seeing some stuff going around from various cognitive science sorts that reading requires an effort to construct the story; you have to sub-create to enjoy it."

Mimesis as Make-Believe My wife wrote her master's thesis on it back in the 90s - tying the philosophy-of-art ideas about it to the representational-theory-of-mind ideas about it.

The theory applies not just to reading but to all representational art.

I liked it - it explains much about what people do with novels and other art works. I also like that it suggests we should give more respect to kids' make-believe games as an art form, which I think they deserve.

But yes, partaking in a novel is work. Which is why a lot of us like rereading an old favorite when we're sick and down.

264:

"What sports don't require physical exertion to the point of panting. And in each others faces or next to each other."

Our perceptions of people moving outdoors and people walking slowly or standing still indoors are very different. Soccer players who you perceive as "very close" mostly aren't. Yes, they get close at times - but not mostly.

Compare the air-circulation in an elevator, or even an apartment building staircase, and the number of people who breathe each cubic metre of air, to a soccer field.

Sunshine and wind are your best virus-destroying buddies (them and soap and 80% alcohol hand disinfectant).

The real risk with social sport isn't the sport. It's the hanging out together chatting before and/or after and/or on the sideline.

(I'm currently working on our protocol for a team sports practice that will meet the NZ covid-19 level 2 sports practice guidelines - they're quite concerned about things like instantly accessible contact details for everyone involved, hand washing, disinfecting equipment, it's going to be a bit of work)

265:

I'm only laying out a representative viewpoint from someone in that mass of people that you Bernie supporter think are so stupid.
I am not a Bernie supporter. I am giving people the benefit of doubt here: Corruption and Stupidity looks about the same from some distance! But, lets just go with Corruption then:

I think some people may well vote for Biden in the earnest hope of getting rid of Donald Trump, but, "their team", the Democrat establishment will quite deliberately do whatever it takes to give their "Rain Man*", Donald Trump, four more years.

Starting with running the most fragile candidate they could possibly find out of thousands of at least equally qualified people *and* putting Hillary Clinton's face on the fundraiser (Just so you know what your gonna get when Old Joe keels over and retires for 'health reasons'):

https://twitter.com/SavionForUS/status/1259110551235579907 - 2500 USD Zoom sessions for "The People", one hopes that there is some decent tranny pr0n injected or it wouldn't be value!

Bite back the bile, Vote for *That* and get Four More Years of The Donald in return!?

*) The guy who brings in the Big Money!

266:

The thing that people seem to miss is that the populated areas in Oz are still on a large scale (SE-to-Central-QLD for instance is about the size of Great Britain), it’s just that most of the population lives in cities. So there are mostly uninhabited areas*, there are areas where the population is spread pretty evenly but still sparsely by world standards, and there are medium-to-high density urban areas.

I’ve come across some odd positions related to density. I have happened upon Americans who insist, when arguing with Europeans, that universal healthcare can’t work for them because of geographical size, but then the same people arguing with Australians insisting that in can’t work because of population, without any apparent irony about the two positions being logically incompatible.

Of course, while Queensland has (for instance) the best cancer survival rate in the world**, it tapers off sharply with linear distance from a major hospital. There are tertiary hospitals every 100km or so up the coast, so it’s mostly inland rural and remote (but see also **) that suffer this issue, but it’s quite real.

Point is that we manage with some quite remote populations, and some quite dense ones, as do (say) places like Norway, Sweden and Finland.

* I say mostly - certainly pre-European-settlement even the least hospitable (to Europeans) areas had some population, who managed the local ecosystems to suit themselves in practices passed along the milleniae.

** Close to or level with it, not claiming anything major here, but the healthcare system here is certainly among the best for outcomes. But the thing to take pause about is that if you consider only first-peoples’ health, it’s nowhere near as rosy a situation and there is a gap in life expectancy along with general experience of any sort of system that, as much as we’re generally pretty committed to fixing, still suggests there things are not all great.

267:

Re: '... GOP ... now claiming that the US cannot afford the massive deficits helping people/companies/states survive Covid'

Unfortunately the graphs in the article below do not identify the specific countries but maybe there's an academic here that could take a close look at the data and let us know how the type and size of the economic stimulus package correlates with what sane and mature society members would consider 'helpful'. (I.e., identify which countries are which dots/data points.)

https://voxeu.org/article/economic-policy-responses-pandemic-covid-19-economic-stimulus-index

'In a recent paper (Elgin et al. 2020), we conduct a comprehensive review of different economic policy measures adopted by 166 countries as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic and create a large database including fiscal, monetary and exchange rate measures. The economic policy package database we created includes six policy variables classified under three categories: fiscal policy, monetary policy, and balance of payment/exchange rate policy.'

Probably the only good coming out of this pandemic is the amount of research being done across academic and scientific fields all focused on the same topic. COVID-19 because it's novel, global and being documented in close to real-time makes for an ideal test scenario for an examination of what our world is actually like, how and how well various academic, scientific, technological and political disciplines engage with and describe the same event, and how the various disciplines mesh with each other.

268:

whitroth
Yes, that is what we want & ought to be achievable.
Meanwhile, everyone is screaming "Vaccine - now!"
But we migth get lucky, but that's not the way to bet, is it?

Bill Arnold
Did you miss the bot where I said something like: "Those of us who remember real polution, the London Smogs of the 1950's" ???
My road is about 10 metres across to the school fence opposite.
In 1955, during that year's smog, I could not see that fence, at mid-day ....
The "air" was yellow/brown.

mdive
Corrections noted - much better, if a little wordier!
e were heading for an alternating periods of opening things up, and then closing them down again, until a vaccine or other stabilization happens. This, yes.
Hence my plea, earlier for some form of effective treatment, never mind a wonder vaccine, of course.
What "social aspects" of supposed education would they be then?
All I learnt was that Team Games are an excuse for fascist bullying & thuggery, that actual education is frowned on by the other children & that interacting with other people is DIFFICULT if you have already been labelled as an "other" - even if you are a WASP like me ...

& @ 252
The opposite of what a supposedly-tory guvmint is doing here - in spite of theor other neoliberal fantasies.
Wierd

SFR
Yes. One could easily see DT going down with C-19, Pres Pence taking over, seguing easily into a theocratic state, somewhere between Gilead & the Scudder/Prophet's

timrowledge
Please enumerate?
I assume saltwater croc is on the list?
Funnel-Web Spider?
And?

269:

There are a lot of people with no idea of the scale of that enormous empty chunk in the middle of the US.

Moz is right. Eucla in Western Australia, with a population of 53, is on a lot of globes of the world because it's all there is for a very long way.

But at risk of playing the 4 Yorkshiremen: Canada can see you guys and raise. As a kid I lived on a Chipewyan reservation - the Northwest Territories could swallow the USA, and half as big again, with a total population of 45k. Roads? Luxury! We didn't have a road in. Trucks would drive in across the lakes in winter, but never on their own.

270:

"Unashamedly stealing everyone else's good ideas", otherwise known as "best practice" :)

271:

Hi all,

Hope everybody is still well. Glad to hear OGH is alive even if a bit down. I think most of us have that sort of feeling at the moment. I'm hoping you're right that, once we're no longer in full-lockdown and have a bit more freedom to get out and about, our moods will improve. I wouldn't say I was feeling depressed per-se, but definitely a bit out-of-sorts.

Rather than comment on the commentary, I thought I might ask a question since I think some of the commentariat might be able to give me some hints.

I want to write, but not fiction, about mathematics. I can write mathematics for mathematicians at the level I'm at quite well, but I want to write about mathematics for humans, not mathematicians. Specifically, I want to tell a story. I have an idea of where the story will start, and I have a vague outline that will flesh out as I get going. (As per https://sites.math.washington.edu/~lind/Resources/Halmos.pdf - 7. Write in spirals.)

I'm a native English speaker, but by accident of time of birth and multiple school changes, went through school in a period where English grammar wasn't really specifically taught. I'm feeling self-conscious about whether my grasp of grammar is good enough for what I want to do. For most things, that wouldn't be a problem - get an appropriate book, teach self. The problem I've run into is that most English grammar guides seem to be written for English as second-language learners rather than as guides for native speakers. I wondered if people might be able to suggest some resources that would help get me going? British English by preference, but if the American English resources are better then I'll go with those.

Also, what sorts of reference works do you writers use and find helpful from time to time? I have my trusty Oxford Concise English Dictionary and Thesaurus which I find useful for some of the things I read with unusual/specialised vocabulary. I also have a copy of Roget's Thesaurus, because I find the listing of synonyms and antonyms helpful. The Oxford Concise English Thesaurus doesn't do this - it only lists synonyms.

272:

The big shifts since the 1950s are in the size of particulates (smaller, so harder to see), and the almost complete removal of sulphur (causes yellowish-brown appearance) from fuels. This results in "smogs" that are nearly invisible while being at least as unhealthy as 1950s smogs.

In other words, what we've done is hidden the problem, not solved it.

273:

Another question - what do people use for keeping up with new stories and comments on here? I get a notification from Goodreads of new stories once a week I think. By the time I get that notification you guys are often several hundred comments in. Plus, the comments can grow quite quickly!

274:

This site is a pretty good notification in its own right. I think it's worth scanning for news as well as reading in detail.

275:

No, people dying from 'other' causes are not tested - or weren't, the last I heard. Talking of excess deaths, here is your weekly statistical fix:

Deaths registered in England and Wales for the week ending;
current death rates as ratio of week average; cumulative excess
and covid-assigned deaths as numbers and their ratio.
20 Mar 20: 1.01 -3659 108
27 Mar 20: 1.08 -2814 647
03 Apr 20: 1.59 3238 4122 0.79
10 Apr 20: 1.78 11364 10335 1.10
17 Apr 20: 2.17 23424 19093 1.23
24 Apr 20: 2.17 35277 27330 1.29
01 May 20: 1.82 43387 33365 1.30

Together with the official figures, they ate'nt lying that we are over 'the peak', but it's only a shallow slope and may not be the last peak. If all goes well, we may get away with no more than about 100,000 excess deaths for 2020 in the UK (at a wild but not completely unsupported guess), but there's many a slip between cup and lip.

276:

Yes, but that's just alleviating the symptoms, and introducing quite severe risks as a consequence. I have a friend who is on those, got an intestinal bleed, and almost died - without massive blood transfusions, she would have done, and those are in short supply at present.

An effective treatment would need to stop things getting to that point, or at least reduce the risk of that sort of thing considerably.

277:

Not in The Smokes - Greg is right there - and some of the other big cities were nearly as bad. In most of the UK, definitely - and it's quite possibly worse than it was in 1950.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Smog_of_1952

278:

Ok, wait, I think we're running at cross-discussions here. I was thinking of docking stations for *mobiles*, not laptops.

They're the same thing!

Modern mobile phones (Apple excluded) use USB-C and do basically everything I mentioned earlier over it except Thunderbolt. So a laptop USB-C dock will also work with most modern high end phones.

As Qualcom's latest phone chipset (for 2021) boasts 8-16Gb of RAM -- yes, RAM, not SSD/FLASH -- and can cope with up to 1Tb of FLASH storage, these gizmos really are getting into desktop equivalence, albeit with a different UI and display/I/O.

As Android is basically a hacked Linux with a JVM running a variant multitouch GUI on top (and happy to deal with external keyboards and mice), it's no surprise that desktop-like overlays are available: see for example Sentio Desktop, which seems to be pivoting to position itself as a gateway drug for this piece of hardware (go on! Take a look!). Here's a link farm listing more Android desktop-like launchers.

Right now this is all kinda hacky and DIY-ish -- the only polished version is Samsung's DeX -- but it's do-able and a sign of where things are going.

279:

Eucla? That's a decent size population compared to Cook, 5 hours drive away, which claims 4½ - the half being the dog. I think Eucla is the closest sizeable population centre to Cook. Contrariwise, Cook is the closest railway station to Eucla.

Yes, I have a fridge magnet I bought there. They have a souvenir shop for the twice weekly arrivals of the Indian Pacific train.

It used to be a sensible size settlement, with school and hospital and stuff, but now it's the next thing to a ghost town. Only the train stopping there gives it any semblance of life at all.

To the north of Cook? That's where it gets empty

280:

My wife has looked at the names, and said that they are all respected people. I have briefly looked at the paper, and have the following comments:

It is strongly age-linked, twice as dangerous in men than women, implies there is an odd interaction with smoking, but otherwise pretty well all of the risk factors seem to be the ones that apply to many diseases, with one exception. Note that I have NOT looked at the risk factors for other diseases, but am basing that on 'common knowledge'. I was a little disappointed that they didn't look at ARB and ACE inhibitors, but they may not have had the data.

The big exception was race, where it is clear that being in the 'white' subpopulation is protective - that isn't all that surprising, because of our evolutionary history and known adaptations, but is definitely a political hot potato.

281:
People may grow so tired of the restrictions that they declare the pandemic over, even as the virus continues to smolder in the population

Smoulder?

Shitty writing, with no trace of understanding that real reality is what makes history.

282:

Meanwhile - refewrring back to the comment about a world-wide effort by scientists & medical researchers - what a contrast to the politicians!

EC
Yes, the lower-level of infection/fatality amongst us pinkoes is interesting.
FUCK "political hot poatao" find out what is happening - almost certainly inherent genetic difference of some sort or another ....

283:
This piece from 2007 calculates the gross cost of powering the world exclusively on PV with HVDC backbone distribution at around 5% of global GDP between 2008 and 2050, using 2007 prices and efficiencies for PV panels.
So, the question is what percentage of current global GDP is spent on fossil fuel extraction and the damage caused by fossil fuel extraction and burning.
284:

Oops
Two very depressing snippets of news, indicating that the ideologues of the right, all the way out to actual racist fascists are really on the loose.
- C-19 being used by the Brexshiteers as an excuse for the British Juche
and
what looks like actual Nazism Euw.

285:

Aus isn't just a "big island", it's a land mass approximately the size of the continental USA, with a population of 25 million, of whom 16M live in just five cities (Sydney: 5.3M, Melbourne: 5.1M, and 5.7M between Brisbane, Perth, and Adelaide).

Think of "land area of the United States; population 9 million".

To get any emptier than that you need to visit Antarctica, or maybe the Atacama or Gobi deserts or the more remote parts of Siberia.

286:

You may not be up-to-date with what's happening in desktops recently -- hardware that matches the cost of a high-end phone in the 500-buck price range vastly outperforms any fondleslab in terms of graphics and processing capability. I'm only seeing support for USB3.1 in the current high-end 5G-capable offerings from Qualcomm for example and there's no mention of PCIe lanes to support high-speed nVME storage.

There's also the weird idea that folks should bring their phone to work to be ABLE to work -- they are fragile devices both in terms of attack surface when away from a secure corporate network as well as mechanically (very few folks will ever drop a desktop or even a laptop down a flight of stairs in their day-to-day affairs). Laptops have the ability to do content creation on-the-road in a unitary piece of hardware that can be locked down to a corporate VPN at all times when away from the office, a personal phone used for Facebook and Twitter should never be allowed anywhere near business operations.

287:

Also, what sorts of reference works do you writers use and find helpful from time to time? I have my trusty Oxford Concise English Dictionary and Thesaurus which I find useful for some of the things I read with unusual/specialised vocabulary. I also have a copy of Roget's Thesaurus, because I find the listing of synonyms and antonyms helpful. The Oxford Concise English Thesaurus doesn't do this - it only lists synonyms.

A lot of US publishers try and nail everything down with Strunk & White or the Chicago Manual of Style.

I'm currently happy to simply agree on a dictionary with my editors. Typically, as I write primarily for the US market, we use whatever version of the Oxford Dictionary ships on my Mac, with appeals permitted to Urban Dictionary and/or the Jargon File for special cases -- just cite a source and stick to the established usage. Oh, and the copy editor should compile a style sheet with character names and non-standard or made-up words alphabetized, to aid the typesetters and proofreaders.

But as my current editor for the Laundry Files puts it, in any SF or fantasy novel it is normal for the author to re-invent the grammar and vocabulary of the English language to suit their needs. So internal consistency is more important than sticking to the prescriptions of some manual designed for academic or technical pieces.

288:

Yes, the lower-level of infection/fatality amongst us pinkoes is interesting.
FUCK "political hot poatao" find out what is happening - almost certainly inherent genetic difference of some sort or another ....

Consider social factors too. Jobs, households, incomes, even customs — all will impact health outcomes, and are often correlated with so-called "race".

289:

A general rule of thumb is:

* The larger the device, the more useful it is for content creation

* The smaller the device, the more portable it is, hence useful for communication/remote working

Also there's a pronounced bias towards smaller devices for content consumption except in special cases (games that support multiple monitors/high-end GPUs: movies designed for cinematic performance).

If I was speccing out a business's internal operations, then for office workers I'd expect everyone to have a phone (as point of contact), a laptop[*] for ability to work on documents/spreadsheets/powerpoints and/or to telecommute, and a desktop dock with monitor, mouse, and keyboard in the office (optionally replicated at their home) as a productivity multiplier (wider spreadsheets).

[*] "laptop" includes things like a Surface Pro with keyboard -- anything that runs a desktop-class OS. This doesn't include iPadOS yet, although there are Signs and Portents about the next couple of years.

290:

They've tried to correct for that, since earlier papers have mostly just said "that's probably the reason, it usually is" and left it at that. They reckon there is probably something more fundamental, but they don't know what.

291:

As the researchers said, the race factor remained after they had allowed for most of that. Yes, it was larger before, but not that much larger, and the error bounds went down following the adjustment.

Researching this needs to go on the back burner, because it's a very slow process going from racial differences to any kind of treatment, but it's politically correct bigotry not to regard race as a risk factor and protect BAME people appropriately. Regrettably, that form of bigotry is almost universal among the politically correct, at least in the UK :-(

292:

Soccer players who you perceive as "very close" mostly aren't. Yes, they get close at times - but not mostly.

Silly me. I was basing my point on watching my daughter play.

I feel that many here are conflating that statistically you need to be close for a while with since they only breath into each others faces for a moment they are not really in danger.

I don't buy it.

294:

Don't forget storage - even when used only for caching, local (preferably fast) storage makes a HELL of a difference when working on bloated files, such as are so common nowadays. But that could be stuck in any of the devices, even the mouse (!), as 1 TB doesn't need much space (or power) any longer.

Similarly, many workers will need extra CPU power either in their dock or in a server with a fast connection to it. An increasing number of people use applications that use complex 3-D graphics, sometimes finite-element modelling and other CPU-hungry tasks. One example is civil engineering, including architecture and even things like plumbing and electrical work on larger buildings.

Currently, I am trying to something very like the dual of this for my desktop (really, a server with graphics card, screen, keyboard and mouse), running Debian 10.3. I need to try videoconferencing, so am looking for a Bluetooth dongle to connect to my hearing aids, and (what seems to be a bigger problem) a simple USB 3.0 or Bluetooth microphone. While it's still a headache, it's immensely more feasible than it was even a decade ago, and the interconnectivity problems are much the same as for docking stations.

295:

big island

I should have used a [sarcasm] tag. I know it's freaking big and very unpopulated.

I took geography before my teen years.

296:

A lot of US publishers try and nail everything down with Strunk & White or ....

I wish that thing would go away or admit that it is not 1856 anymore and the goal is to reduce pen strokes. Its rules for punctuation make a shambles of technical works at times by creating associates and removing some which are critical to meaning.

297:

Please read this piece https://www.currentaffairs.org/2020/05/the-attacks-on-tara-reade-are-unbelievable-bullshit It takes a sledgehammer to the horrible USA todat hitpiece.

298:

An increasing number of people use applications that use complex 3-D graphics, sometimes finite-element modelling and other CPU-hungry tasks. One example is civil engineering, including architecture and even things like plumbing and electrical work on larger buildings.

A current trend in CAD is to move to a server/cloud DB oriented system and away from the "file" system. So you do transactions against a CAD data set. Be it local, on your LAN, or in the "cloud".[1]

[1] Cloud - most abused and overloaded term in IT. Well utill we pick a new winner for that award.

299:

Yes. I don't really "get" why the second amendment still exists. Well I do, but I think it's another thing... I believe it is:

"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

Yes, at that time, to protect the security of your state, you needed some form of a militia. A standing army would probably not have been desirable/feasible. But it does say that the militia needs to be well regulated. I put it to you that the number of gun-related deaths in the USA per annum does not constitute your "militia" being well-regulated! Quite the contrary in-fact. So does that mean that current gun ownership in the US is actually in breach of the constitution until such time as it becomes well regulated again?

The other thing is, you now have perfectly adequate militias that are, on the whole, well regulated - they're called the United States of America armed forces, and your various armed law enforcement bodies. Don't they swear to protect the country from all enemies foreign and domestic? Seems like protecting the people from a corrupt government is built into their job description.

So I don't see how private ownership of guns on the level that it currently is in the US is in any sense a good idea. Certainly not open or concealed carry by private citizens on a daily basis. In the UK, I wonder if the gun laws are now a little too strict? Many years ago I worked with someone who was into target shooting and used to compete at Bisley etc. After Hungerford or Dunblane, not sure which, he was saying that a lot of recreational shooters, including himself, were having to give up because they couldn't afford regular travel to the continent to practice. For example, could you have private guns kept securely at a club, only issued for use on the premises and checked they were returned before anyone left?

The hunting thing is not such an issue in the UK, but maybe you could do something along those lines as well?

300:

I'm not going to name any names, this being a blog under UK law, but the latest rumor in Democratic circles is that Biden's favorite VP candidate is the woman I'd picked as "most likely to be a sociopath" during the Democratic Primary. I'm not happy over this.

301:

The other thing is, you now have perfectly adequate militias that are, on the whole, well regulated - they're called the United States of America armed forces, and your various armed law enforcement bodies. Don't they swear to protect the country from all enemies foreign and domestic? Seems like protecting the people from a corrupt government is built into their job description.

Legally they are not the same. And the bar for removing or adding an amendment is very very high. So they tend to stick unless you have something like 80% sentiment to add or remove one. (It is state by state so the popular sentiment is an indicator of the situation.)

James Madison, who in many ways was the author of the Constitution and the first amendments, realized that the militia model just didn't work after the pounding we took in what we call the "War of 1812". But by that time the amendment was "there". (The main reason we came of that that fight mostly intact was that the British were too busy dealing with the French to treat us as more than a side show.)

302:

A couple notes on this. First, that in the last 5-10 years they have created some blood thinners which are much more stable. Second, that taking blood thinners should only be done in the hospital, with suitable monitoring, (or by three visits a week from a home-health nurse) and if your friend suffered from bad side-effects I'm guessing their blood was not properly monitored.

Meanwhile, my anti-COVID routine involves a multivitamin with D-3 and zinc, plus an aspirin every day - to help avoid clotting.

So what you're looking at with blood-thinners as a palliative is that you'd go into the hospital with COVID and you'd get a blood thinner and daily tests of your blood-thickness (I forget the technical term.)

Here's a couple links, to a news article and journal pre-print respectively:

https://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/blood-thinners-may-be-linked-reduced-covid-19-deaths-study-n1201276

http://www.onlinejacc.org/content/accj/early/2020/05/05/j.jacc.2020.05.001.full.pdf?download=true

303:

That is true, but there are also very strong reasons why many people and companies don't do it. One reason is that serious bandwidth still costs real money and, if you have a hundred people doing such work in a building with a server somewhere else, you need serious bandwidth! Another is the serious security and legal problems with allowing the cloud server to export your data to an unknown country - or from the EU to the USA.

None of that has changed significantly in the past decades, so I expect to see both practices continue for at least my lifetime.

304:

No, that was NOT the case. She was using the modern, 'best' one, which has the problem that it doesn't have an antidote - so, if you get a bleed, it's hell to stop, even in hospital.

305:

"Right now this is all kinda hacky and DIY-ish -- the only polished version is Samsung's DeX -- but it's do-able and a sign of where things are going."

Even the DIY version doesn't look too bad. The worst I can say of them is that they have too much of the Windows 10 design aesthetic. They're not what I want yet, but at least someone is thinking about the problem.

306:

Bandwidth is actually less in most cases except for a single user on a single computer. The vendors who have been working on this for a while (years) have gotten good and only moving back and forth the model bits you need.

AutoDesk has jumped on this with Revit (along with rental instead of purchase). And they show no signs of going back. At all.

And AutoCAD is slowly being abandoned. But slowly is a relative term. They keep changing the licensing options such that you really are pushed to Revit. (You get AutoCAD for free when licensing Revit.)

There is a country's count of people upset at this but AutoDesk seems to be unmoved. Profit growth and all that. So there are now a LOT of people with AutoDesk perpetual licenses who say they will never upgrade.

I'm not saying I (or my clients) like this or not but it is reality.

307:

I pretty much thought we were there when Republicans started talking about how old people needed to sacrifice themselves for the economy.

308:

Are there any forensic statisticians in the house?

One thing that's getting occasional mention is that, no surprise, certain governments may fiddling with the reported numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths. Add to that differences in capabilities/resources and sampling policies across different polities, and I'm led to wonder if there are any methods to spot suspicious data sets.

To be a bit concrete, take the data sets in

https://covid.ourworldindata.org/data/ecdc/total_cases.csv

and

https://covid.ourworldindata.org/data/ecdc/total_deaths.csv

We have other reasons to suspect that the data for, e.g., Nicaragua might not be reported in quite the same way as Canada. I'd suppose there established ways to spot that just from the numbers, but could our statistically savvy readers say what those are?

309:

I think there are some other things built into the modern second amendment.

Since I'm white, I'll point out the comments that the best way to get gun control in the US is for every black man to apply for a concealed carry permit. There is certainly a white supremacist element to gun violence that's extremely dangerous, as Greg and others have pointed out.

There are a couple of other things going on with gun sales in the US.

One is that the NRA is effectively the advertising arm of the American gun manufacturing sector. If you think of it this way, it makes a lot more sense. Their funding is primarily from the manufacturers, and their job is to maximize gun sales by any means.

A second was that, until the gun manufacturers came up with the infinite customization model (using plastic parts, no less), they were going out of business. Why? They made these lovely guns that lasted for 50-100 years with proper maintenance. Everybody who wanted one had dad's hunting rifle(s) and shotgun, and they weren't buying new ones. Heck, even the push to outlaw lead shot for hunting (due to widespread lead contamination and poisoning) was a blessing, because it meant they had to sell new rechambered shotguns to handle the new (longer) cartridges coming out.

Anyway, the last bit of the puzzle is that the US is a global hegemonic power, and one of the core industries we want to keep onshore, no matter who's in charge, is our small arms industry. I suspect this is one reason why democrats (let alone republicans) have had such a hard time stamping down, hard, on the NRA: without the NRA, our gun industry contracts, and then we have trouble making sure we have enough guns for our troops overseas. I mean, yes, we've certainly tried both legal and illegal exports of guns (the latter as part of the drug trade), but keeping our gun manufacturers open for business has turned out to be hard, at least until they started making plastic guns that don't last for decades.

So we've been stuck, where American desire to be able to jump on people's heads around the world to Keep America Great (or whatever) seems to be linked to a need to keep selling similar guns at home, no matter what the cost.

Fortunately for the world, the NRA seems to be in the process of self destructing, and the US military is massively overstretched as it is. So this era will end eventually and you'll simply be stuck with a glut of American guns washing around the world, rather than a glut of American military washing around the world.

Unfortunately for the world, we're seeing the gun equivalent of fentanyl hitting the market, especially with the pandemic. By this I mean the ghost guns, where you buy the precursors to parts for a gun, plus the drill bit and jigs that you need to turn those parts into a working firearm. You use these to make a gun without a serial number, one that cannot be traced through existing databases. These were apparently hot sellers this spring, and they're likely to spread quite widely, and not just in the US.

310:

It's not the exact degree of empty of the Great Plains; I know there are bigger, emptier places. Even in the US, Alaska beats the heck out of the Great Plains for empty. (By gross numbers Alaska makes the Great Plains look crowded.) It's what the Great Plains empty is in the middle of. On either side of the Plains is the equivalent of a big country: 75M people to the west, 250M to the east, both growing, both of those in the top five or six countries by GDP in the world, both in the top ten or eleven by area (ignoring Alaska). Then there's this very large frontier-like area in between them. And getting more frontier-like -- the Great Plains population peaked around 1930, and continues to shrink in absolute terms today.

311:

I have experienced this for myself while visiting Australia in the 1980s. I decided that I wanted to see the "real outback" for myself* so I rented a jeep in Brisbane and headed east down a little highway that soon turned to a dirt road, which I followed for several days, seeing all kinds of wildlife, but never, ever another human being. And after a week or two of this I found that I was terribly, terribly lonely. So I got out the map and discovered that there was a town called "Mercy" which was only two-days drive away (driving sanely on dirt roads.) So off I went.

Mercy turned out to be an entirely typical outback town; a general store, bar, and post office, all in one building, and a couple houses nearby, with some cleared dirt as the "parking lot."

So I walked into the bar and asked the bartender for a beer. And he said, "No beer mate."

So I asked for a soft drink.

He said, "We've got no sodas neither."

I asked what he had.

He said, "we've got tea."

I'm not a fan of tea, but if it was what they had... I ordered the tea.

So the bartender leaned out the window and he whistled, and a koala bear came to the window. He pointed up a nearby tea, and the koala climbed it and brought back some leaves, which the bartender used to make tea. I took one look at the cup and said, "Excuse me, but there's fur in my tea."

And the bartender said, "That's right mate. The koala tea of Mercy is unstrained."

* Yes, I've been "Back of Berke"

312:

The larger the device, the more useful it is for content creation

Hear, hear! I wish more people appreciated this.

313:

The whole militia thing wrt the 2nd Amendment has been made into a hopeless can of worms, of course. An interesting look into how it was evolving just three years after 1789 is at

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Militia_Acts_of_1792

And it kept going from there.

314:

Oh, that's nasty. But read the study, it looks very promising.

315:

I can tell you that tying down such shenanigans is hard, especially if the supplier is not being fully open about what it is up to. There are statisticians who are expert in such detection, but I was never one.

Even in the UK, which SHOULD be respectable, the initial data was only people admitted to hospital with COVID symptoms who ALSO tested positive for it. After a fuss, it was then extended to deaths in care homes, but we have very little idea of the actual number of cases, and there's a potential underestimate of up to 30% in the number of deaths. After pressure from the (real) experts, the gummint finally commissioned a VERY limited investigation into its incidence, but that told us only how many people had it at the time they were tested, not how many had had it and recovered.

Some places will be better, but many others will be much worse.

316:

Rbt Prior
"Social factors" are part of "What is happening", surely/perhaps?
Though I suspect it is a very small factor, given the much greater genetic & social variability amongst the non-pinkoes. We are a remarkably uniform set, genetically speaking, compared to the rest of the planet, yes?
See also EC's actually cynical & true comment @ 291

Charlie
The Boss has her works-provided iPhone & her laptop ( Now sitting to the side of my screens ... ) & for mosty of her working from home is using this machine with its two large (23" disgonal) screens + failry secure wi-fi between the two & som bespoke software on her laptop.
When at work normally ( WHat's that? ) she would also dock the laptop into a n other screen & bee linked into tohe inhous corprate network.
Secure logged-in-&-monitored link here to do most of her works stuff.

Allen Thomson
The fascinating thing about that is how empty most of "Tas" is, as well ....

Windscale
THAT could actually be a serious challenge to the "2nd Amend" nutters:: "Is your militia well-regulated? Are you even part of a Militia"? NO?
Tough, take his guns away!

Troutwaxer @ 307
DON'T bet on it, given what they've got away with up to now.
@ 311
ARRRGH! 💩

Back to C-19
In Britain, the number of cases per day seems to be level, but not dropping significantly, but number of deaths seems to be in a steady (slow) decline.
Better treatment(s) being arrived at? [ I note the comments on blood-thinners in the discussion ]

317:

THAT could actually be a serious challenge to the "2nd Amend" nutters:: "Is your militia well-regulated? Are you even part of a Militia"? NO?
Tough, take his guns away!

As Allen Thompson indicated, there is well over 2000 years of court cases and precedent about what those terms mean. And your or my 2020 reading of them don't count all that much.

Gun control cases before the Supremes tend to be avoided by both sides. Each is afraid they might win short term but lose long term due to the details of a particular ruling.

The latest fight involved a NYC law that was about to get in front of the SCOTUS. NYC repealed the law as they were afraid they would loose and the loss would involve setting rules worse than exist now. In their opinion. So the fight turned into a "was the case moot" as the law now longer existed. The anti-controls side wanted to keep going. They just recently got turned down and told to go home.

318:

I'm not betting on it. My opinion is that once your politicians start talking about how grandma has to be willing to sacrifice herself for the economy you've arrived at some kind of fascism, at least on the part of the political party which is talking that way.

319:

Ahmmm. 200 years.

320:

A long time back, in the days of Usenet no less, a discussion of "how empty is the middle of the CONUS" came up. Eventually someone with access to seriously large GIS data files came back with an answer, the most remote location in the CONUS. It was, if memory serves, about 20 miles or so from a road. That road was, again if memory serves, a logging road, unimproved and unmaintained but it was driveable by someone knowledgeable in off-road driving in a medium-sized or larger truck and it probably got more than one vehicle a year on it.

There are probably places in central Australia that are 100 miles from the nearest road, maybe more.

321:

You can be getting on for 5 miles from the nearest road in a few places in the Scottish Highlands, and the nearest road is pretty similar. This often surprises people :-)

322:

I have a cousin in his early 80s who when he retired he moved to Idaho. He was a good old boy at heart even though was a jet pilot for his working career. My dad said to get to his house you drove 5 miles down a gravel road, then turned off for a mile or few down a dirt road, then you turned onto his property.

323:

I did, but 'promising' is a bit strong - 'deserves further investigation' is closer - which is essentially what they said. I agree that it's interesting, and is an example of how to publish such observational data and not mislead people.

324:

"They revere at least a part of the Second Amendment."

Actually, no. The whole point of constitutional rights is that they are universal. The New Confederacy's view of the US second amendment is that it only applies to white right-wingers (like all other rights).

325:

GT: You might consider that 'team games' culture and practice have changed since the mid-50s. I played some team sports in the late 70s/early 80s and left them for similar reasons to your own.

That being said my sprogs both thrive in team games, and I am closely involved in organizing the leagues and/or coaching. There is a great deal of effort, education and policy involved in ensuring that bullying does not happen, and when it does it is dealt with quite harshly.

Sports are not for everyone, but they are really excellent ways for kids to learn to cooperate, to fail better, and to challenge themselves and each other in healthy ways. I'm sorry that your experience was unpleasant, but I must note that it was over a half century ago and perhaps things have changed in many ways since then?

326:

"The sad part is that Trump's had every resource to be a truly effective crisis leader and win the re-election in a landslide. "

Trump's whole life is being subsidized, connected and privileged, screwing it up, and walking away while others suffer.

Just like Boris Johnson, it's almost like he was groomed from birth to meet a moment of national crisis and fail.

327:

Greg: "At which point one starts to wonder, seriously, maybe, if simply taking reasonable precautions, but opening "society" up ... might, just might be the course with the lowest fatality numbers."

mdlve: "If you are willing to tell anyone with Covid to skip the hospital and just die, perhaps."

Agreed. First, letting the 'wave wash over us', a la BoBo (and really, Trump) would shut down the health system in each country. Supplies will have run out, personnel out of action due to disease or burnout, and facilities becoming COVID infection cesspools.

The in-hospital death rates would skyrocket, and patients would be turned away unless on the edge of death, many to die at home.

Anybody needing non-COVID healthcare would almost certainly be infected if they went to a hospital. And once there, they'd encounter horrible staff, equipment and supply shortages.

The end result would be in the US several million additional deaths this year.

328:

"Anyone know of any SF movies or TV shows that came anywhere close to describing the level of dis-unity, insanity, pigheadedness, anti-science, etc. that we've seen to COVID-19? I'm thinking that an alien invasion scenario would be closest to a pandemic as it'd be a novel situation to all countries."

The producers of the movie 'Contagion' said that they had talked with a lot of experts and experienced people, and the idea that the US government would simply not do their job was never brought up.

329:

"Yes, the lower-level of infection/fatality amongst us pinkoes is interesting.
FUCK "political hot poatao" find out what is happening - almost certainly inherent genetic difference of some sort or another ...."

Gaaaaaaaaaaaaawd, but it does get boring explaining life to some people.

Greg, in the USA at least, non-white people have lower incomes, are less likely to be able to work from home, live with more people/square foot, will have jobs which are dirtier and more crowded with worse ventilation. If they get sick, they are more likely to simply have to go to work. They are going to hold off on hospital visits, and will get less treatment. There was a recent article looking at treatment for COVID symptoms; IIRC black people were several times less likely to be treated.

330:

Thanks for the comment. I'll have a look at Strunk and White and the Chicago Manual of Style. CMoS sounds like the sort of thing that would be written by an East coast version of Victoria Beckham or something :-). I guess, as you say, these sorts of things are less important for sci-fi/fantasy as long as you are consistent. If you are someone like J.R.R. Tolkien some of your languages are completely cut from whole-cloth!

331:

(a) This was the UK with our 'socialist' health care system and (b) the Oxford report adjusted for social deprivation, and found that it made only a little difference.

332:

Re: '... the idea that the US government would simply not do their job was never brought up.'

And then the unthinkable happened.

I've noticed on the couple of sci/med video/podcasts that I watch semi-regularly that the host and sci/med guests seem very hesitant to criticize official WH COVID-19 related policy on-air. While I understand that academics/scientists are required to be impartial -- speak to the data and only to the data - I wonder whether this level of hesitancy isn't being construed as tacit agreement with the powers-that-be thereby leaving the general public feeling that maybe "It's true that scientists are unable to come up with a rational/good argument against POTUS and his inner circle and that's why scientists aren't saying anything." As the death toll rises and long-term misery piles up, maybe it's time to figure out a way to be more assertive while maintaining the appropriate academic/scientific mien. This isn't 'only politics', it's everyone.

333:

I've noticed on the couple of sci/med video/podcasts that I watch semi-regularly that the host and sci/med guests seem very hesitant to criticize official WH COVID-19 related policy on-air.

Today's Senate hearing has just ended. The summary might make for an interesting read/watch.

334:

Re Tolkein and 'whole cloth'. The interesting thing about natural languages is how similar they are in structure and some other aspects - there has been speculation over whether this is because our brains are 'hard-wired' that way, they all derive from a single ancestral root, or what.

I have personal experience of the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis applying in mathematics - until I learnt the 'language' of axiomatic theory, I couldn't grasp the concepts AT ALL, and after that I couldn't understand what my problem was. Conversely, I had no trouble with the concepts of measure theory (a thing that defeats many people) even before I had encountered it as such. Yes, just anecdata, but that's why I am interested.

I have done thought experiments of what communication might be like if that were not so, with the 'intent' of having a language that couldn't easily express concepts that we can in normal English, and conversely. As far as I can see, this has been done in computer languages (e.g. Brainfuck (**)), but I would be interested to hear of any artificial pseudo-natural languages that tried it. It's a fairly standard trope in science fiction, of course.

I thought of the following possibilities:

One with no 'concretes' (think verbs or nouns), but only multiple 'qualifiers' (think adjectives and adverbs) and 'binders' - think Lisp, but with a few more parenthesis types. This would make it easier to express universal truths but harder to express things like 'the cat sat on the mat'.

One where the basic concepts are those of measure theory and quantum mechanics, but my brain rapidly failed to get around that one enough to think of how you could extend it to everyday life!

The above made me think of qualifiers indicating properties such as certainty, probability (which is NOT the same), directness of knowledge, specificity vs universality, all of which I miss in everyday life. Some postings in even this thread shows why :-)

But, really, I never did much more than that, so please don't ask me for more.

(*) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sapir-Whorf_hypothesis
(**) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brainfuck

335:

And there's those of us well over 50 who are taking the low-dosage aspirin as a matter of course.

336:

a) You're full of it.
b) thanks for deciding that all Bernie supporters are identical, and as naive as you.

Oh, and you seemed to have missed that Bernie has done a lot in the Senate, including across the aisle (e.g. Sanders-McCain VA bill).

337:

The cheapest, and hence most common form of blood thinner is Coumadin/Warfarin (aka rat poison), and they aren't really blood thinners but anticoagulants.

The drawback of Warfarin over newer drugs is that need to monitor the patient's INR and adjust the dosage as necessary. The newer drugs are more of a take and forget routine.

My guess is that in a Covid case Warfarin would be the option chosen - cheap, easy to reverse, hospital will be testing blood anyway to adding INR non-issue.

338:

1. May I suggest that you do *NOT* feed small children Calvin's favorite cereal, Chocolate Frosted Sugar Bombs, unless you have a way for them to sweep and mop the ceiling while they're running on it.
2. I've said for a long, long time that soccer (aka football) is a WONDERFUL sport for kids. Unlike most American games, the kids RUN for almost an hour straight, no long breaks in the middle. And sometimes, there are two games in a row. And then you take them home, wake them up to get them out of the car, feed them, wash them and carry the sleeping kids to bed.

339:

The Dems do not need Trump as a fund-raiser, the GOP does that quite well as a whole.

And the Dems are always looking for money... but, kindly note, they have NOT sold out to the majority of the ultrawealthy, who range from right wing to Rupert Murdoch.

The real issue with the Dems is the difficulty they're having realizing what's happening, like a lobster slowly being boiled.

People like Bernie and AOC were wake-up calls, and they're still half asleep.

340:

Given that kind of smog growing up, I suspect *that* makes you a higher risk than your current smoking. (Do you smoke ciggies, or a pipe?)

I am reminded of the doctors who kept telling my late mother-in-law that her years of smoking damaged her lungs... until the last one she had, who did an actual *history*... and noted that aluminum dust would be a real base cause for some of the damage.

Before she was, literally, Rosie the Riveter, riveting wings onto Spitfires during the Battle of Britain, she was drilling the *holes* for the rivets in the aluminum wings.

341:

Here's a suggestion after you finish the first draft: read my article that was published in SysAdmin magazine about 14 years ago: http://www.24.5-cent.us/egoless_docu.html

342:

One wonders whether the higher number of deaths among males outside Europe is related to the work places with the greatest density of infections due to the nature of the work and the workplace, like many construction sites, where, I think ... the majority of the labor is male. Many of these are living in less than optimum conditions in the first place, with less than optimum nutrition.

I haven't seen this gender break mentioned that much for the largest number of infections and deaths are in facilities for the elderly and long term incapacitated, and other facilities such as meat processing -- though the US meat plants' seem to have more migrant labor than native born. But both employ poor people and pay shyte and treat the labor like shyte too.

~~~~~~~~~

In the meantime one is filled with bitter amusement at the irony that the EU, working out its guidelines for travelers who will be allowed into its member nations, will not be allowing those from either the UK or the US in. Only those travelers from places that have dealt meaningfully, and decreased the rate of death and infection to very low levels will be allowed. The US and Brits are on the list of nations that haven't dealt in any meaningful way with the disease, so we are most def not wanted, and who can blame the EU? Cubans, however, will be allowed. Take that Bolton. Raul. Not YOU.

343:

I'm looking at ycts in relation to where I worked before retiring. Users were told DO NOT run stuff on your workstations, run them on the servers. (Trust me, your mobile, or laptop, is a joke compared to real servers....)

I was considering the idea of a dock, with monitors, keyboard and mouse, and then that for more storage, as well... but then, what's the point of the mobile at all?

344:

Yeah, the cloud underwhelms me. As someone who started programming for a living in 1980 on a college's time-shared mainframe, I'm still waiting for someone to explain to me the real difference between that, and the cloud... except that you have next to *zero* control over where in the world (and under what laws) your data is.

345:

EC #334. Chine Mieville does a fantastic attempt at alien language with "Embassytown".

"The Hosts' Language does not allow for lying or even speculation, the Language reflects both their state of mind and reality as they perceive it; they create literal similes by recruiting individuals to perform bizarre ordeals that can then become allusions in Language."

Much story is made of the introduction of 'lying' to the Language. An excellent read.

Suzette Haden Elgin also tried to create a 'women's language' in her novel 'Native Tongue'. Her explicit goal was "to provide a more adequate mechanism for expressing women's perceptions". She went so far as to design the entire language and produce instructional tapes. The book itself was excellent, I can't speak (or speak for) the language.

346:

Robert Prior @ 92: You aren't a sentient mushroom.

I have been kept in the dark and fed only horseshit.

347:

EC & Nojay:
Try This area - central Cairngorms. The squares are 1km a side.
Roads?

Rocketjps
About 15 years ago, I was walking through Cambridge, between pubs ( As one does ) & passed a moving, thin line of people, who were, apparently, heading for a footie match.
Now, I'm just J Random Bloke, walking along. The insults & derision hurled at me, simply for "fun" were ... illuminating.
Oh & I finally escaped from "team games" through a fortunate change in my (Grammar) school's streaming system, which meant I could drop the fascism at the end of the third form ... age 14 in my case that is, so September 1960 - effective July of that year, of course.
The moronic & violent behaviour of any football crowd does not seem to have changed, one little bit.
My local tube line has to be avoided if Arsenal are playing Spurs at home, or the other way round, for that matter.... No, not changed, one little bit.

What my school did NOT realise, nor do the fuckwits pushing games "to keep fit" right now, is that spurts are completely un-necessary. I cycled 5 miles a day, every day, to & from that school.
When they sent a walking-group to the Lake District , I volunteered, immediately. I was told by two members of teaching staff that someone had put my name down as a joke & I had to correct them.
At the end of that time away, who was the last one standing, who had gone out every single day? Me, of course - even the super-fit games hero called off the day after ( A "free day" ) some of us went straight up the front spur of Blencathra....
And, of course, I've learnt to ride, shoot the bow & fence ... but they are neither "team games" nor official spurts, so they don't count,
Bah.

Barry
I am quite aware of the disadvantages that "Black" people have in the USA. Their overall disadvantages in this country are nowhere nearly as bad, but they are there.
STILL does not explain the difference - which is visible here, where unlike the USA we actually have a Universal Health System, which works, more-or-less.
You get sick, you go & see the doctor &/or go to hospital. IT COSTS YOU NOTHING. Haven't you got that, yet?
STOP projecting the USA's total lack of civilised care for its own citizens onto other countries. OK?
See also EC @ 331

SFR & David L
Maybe the scientists are afraid?
Trump & his goons can be vicious. Funding? Smear tactics & false allegations?
They are quite capable of doing a Vavilov, in terms of social reputation & livelihood to anyone really getting up theor corrupt noses.

EC
I think that Sapir-Whorf ( Which I had never heard of until now ) is a weak guidance - it's true that some things are much easier or harder to say in some languages, compared to others, but ...
As for axiomatic theory - I would have thought, that post-Aristotle & post Copernicus, it was "obvious" - but that is apparently not the case?
You cannot express some mathematical concepts in "normal English" or normal any-non-mathematical language, surely?

whitroth
@ 338
NO
First you have to pick up a frightened, trembling-all-over & mud-covered child, get him home, remove his clothing, wash him, treat the bruises & maybe cuts as well ....
Probably give him, if over 12, a stiff drink.
Or, if he has staggered home from school, where he has been subjected to the joys of a cold, windswept muddy field, populated by violent morons & then more-or-less changed back into normal clothes, simply help him get changed & then wonder about the stiff drink ...
The ONLY running he will have done is to avoid being beaten up by the licensed thugs on the field, as he is never near the fucking ball, doesnt know what to do with the fucking ball, & hasn't got a clue what the fucking rules are, anway.
HINT: I was forced into this for 2.4 years (complicated ) & I still haven't a fucking clue what "offside" is - oh & I don't want to know, OK?
Be prepared to cope with screaming nightmares, wher you have to sit by him to get him to go back to sleep.
This is only a very slight exaggeration, actually.

HOWEVER
@ 339
Yes, you've noticed.
Similar here, especially with Labour under CorByn ...
Starmer realises what's happening, but the "new tories" have a ridiculous majority
[Note: "old tories" included people like Ken Clarke & Nicholas Soames & Ted Heath - now kicked out by the ultra-rights & the opportunists - Mogg & Patel & D-Smith as the former & BoZo as the latter ]

@ 340
It was only for a couple of months & not every year & we took some precautions.
No, I don't smoke, the fire risk is too great!

348:

Assuming you're being sarcastic in point 1.

My wife and son kept getting into cereal aisle debates till I figured it out. I did a quick survey and told him he could have anything cereal he wanted. 2 rules. First it had to have less than 10 grams of sugar per serving (my survey was to pick a number that would eliminate the worst which was at least a third). Second he had to finish the box before he got to pick another.

Ever seen a 6 year old rapidly looking at nearly every cereal box reading the nutritional labels? Well first he had to learn how...

He had a sister 2 1/2 years younger. As she got older she was also a part of the decision as they both had to agree.

Not too long ago she told me that a few times they had to eat what tasted like a box of dirt. But the both learned to read nutritional labels before everyone else their age. And that just maybe those ads really were not all that accurate. And this made it THEIR choice. Not mine or my wife's.

As to your second point, we did year round schools and were in school most of the summers when they were pre-teen. We were also members of the local neighborhood pool. So after school/homework/dinner we would go to the pool for the last hour before they closed. Water would suck all the energy out of them. Bring them home, rinse off the chlorine, throw them in bed and have a quiet evening to ourselves.

349:

_Moz_ @ 94:

I just don't see how we are going to accomplish it here in the U.S.

You can't fail if you don't try.

And right now not trying seems to be the strategy. Well, it might be more accurate to say that once "make more money" becomes your primary goal the strategies to accomplish that are generally obvious, and if you eliminate any that contain words like "long term" they're pretty simple too.

Not trying IS failure. It's the only failure. Like Thomas Edison, I've never failed, I've just found 10,000 ways that didn't work.

350:

The New Confederacy's view of the US second amendment is that it only applies to white right-wingers (like all other rights).

Not even that.

Their view is that the US constitution only conveys rights to citizens, and citizenship is limited to white Christian[*] property-owning males. Property consists of land, plus chattels -- women, children, livestock. And livestock includes slaves (human beings not falling into the previously enumerated categories).

If you view Republican judicial appointments going back 40 years through the lens of "this is where they want to take the US legal interpretation of the constitution" it makes total sense. And is deeply scary.

[*] Catholics not included. Nor Jews, Muslims, atheists, or anyone else, really. Just the white male protestant patriarchy.

351:

Re: race as a comorbidity

Yes. But there doesn't need to be any biological component to that. Poverty is probably a comorbidity. I haven't seen that analyzed. The only thing I've seen indicates the homeless people who show up at a shelter tend not to have serious cases of COVID, but one can think of all sorts of reasons, like, if they were sick enough they'd go to an ER.

More specifically, I think living in crowded quarters is a big part of the reason why minority groups might have higher levels of infection. I suppose there could be cultural and biological factors on top of that, but they'd be "on top of".

352:

The problem is that Tara Reade isn't particularly credible. She's changed her story several times. And she didn't pop up with this until after Biden had nearly cinched the nomination.

There's plausible explanations for every step along the way, but a long concatenation of plausible explanations loses plausibility.

And even if she'd been consistent in her story it would have been a "he said/she said" kind of situation. No evidence is cited.

So we start of with an uncertain accusation and then multiply it by a chain of "plausible explanations for the unexpected event". The witnesses are only witnesses that she told them a particular story, and they're remembering from a long time ago. And that's presuming that they're all honest, which is plausible, but not certain. The records that exist don't say anything that would allow one to justify any conclusion.

So. Maybe she's telling the truth, but that's not the way I'd bet.

353:

I've also coached, and I can safely say that sports culture in the U.S. is completely different than what you're describing - and I'm very sorry you had to go through that!

354:

The problem is that they don't have a single, fucking, solitary clue about the actual demographics of the U.S. If, at some point they manage to arrange the country as they'd like it they'll find themselves in a civil war against approximately 70 percent of the population - and this time there will be no mercy to the racist side!

355:

"CMoS sounds like the sort of thing that would be written by an East coast version of Victoria Beckham or something"

Fairchild/RCA, wasn't it? :)

Me, I'd refuse to open either of those books. I'm only aware of the existence of such things through the occasional negative comment from someone on the internet who has to use them and is fed up with their shit. And they are American. They almost certainly contain a not insignificant amount of stuff which is ugly, clumsy or just flat out wrong (cf. Wikipedia's "style rules" which create spurious and confusing hyphenated compounds by demanding the omission of necessary spaces), and it would be wrong in infuriating ways which would then niggle at me and bugger up my own style by compelling me to silence the niggles by hypercorrectively going too far in the opposite direction.

Certainly on the odd occasions I've used some word processing software that has a grammar correction feature, I've discovered its existence through it popping up to moan about things that are perfectly OK and making me wonder what the fuck it's on about. And if I bother to figure it out it always turns out to be some obscure American idiosyncrasy which has no relevance, which I wasn't previously aware of but which now jumps out of the page at me all the time when I'm reading an American book and pisses me off. Then I turn the feature off, and while I'm at it I make sure the spelling checker and any other automatic checking features I can find are also turned off, which I'd have done before I started if I'd remembered such things exist.

See also David L @296. I've heard enough remarks in the same vein to conclude that the only reason to apply them to technical writing is compulsion applied by people who won't read it themselves anyway and wouldn't understand it if they did no matter what the style so are unable to appreciate the inappropriateness.

I was never formally taught any English grammar either but I don't let it worry me. I've read enough books old enough for the authors to be competent users of grammar and/or the editors competent correctors of grammatical mistakes to pick up what appears to be a better than average command of it simply by assimilation. From reading your posts it seems to me that assimilation has worked fine for you too, and you would only do yourself a disservice by consulting formal texts. Especially American ones. Maybe you just need to jam a few pages down, for no-one's consumption other than your own, as a kind of warm-up exercise to get your self-confidence up.

356:

If, at some point they manage to arrange the country as they'd like it they'll find themselves in a civil war against approximately 70 percent of the population

As long as they've got all the guns and money, they don't care. (And as long as they can deny guns and money to the other side, who's going to stop them?)

This is not positive-sum thinking. It's not modernist in outlook. It's really, really primitive -- but it's how the beneficiaries of an authoritarian/aristocratic slave-state think.

357:

No, blood thinners *are* dangerous, even when necessary. They tend to make one subject to strokes and other internal bleeding problems in ways that are not readily noticeable.

That said, they're necessary in the case of COVID, as part of what the thing does is cause blood clots. But that means you've got to balance dangers. My wife was on warfarin (cumoden) and switched to apixaban because she wanted to eat green vegetables, and that caused oscillations in the effectiveness of warfarin. Apixaban was problematic because (at that time) they didn't have an easy way to turn it off if needed. (I *think* they do now.) Well, this resulted in continual bruises as capillaries leaked blood, but it was necessary. She didn't develop a stroke or at least not one that was detected, though I haven't been sure.

That said, she was on low doses of blood thinner. Outpatient treatment, and it continued for years. COVID requires more emphatic thinning of the blood, and thus is more dangerous. But it needs to be balanced against the danger, and sometimes they back off on the blood thinners, even as the risk of clots forming.

358:

Yes, Embassytown is a good example of using it in SF. Thanks for the other reference.

To Greg (#347): that is part of my point that all natural languages are very similar. But, in addition to my personal experience, I have several items of observational evidence that there's at least some truth in the hard form of Sapir-Whorf (especially in the mathematical area). No proof, of course.

And, as far as the Cairngorms goes, where you you think I was thinking of? I have spent some time there, getting away from people ....

359:

See #291 and #331.

360:

Yes. Would you prefer a bleed or a clot in your brain? Pick one :-(

361:

At least some of the doctors I've met have been switched on enough not to stop looking when I confirm I smoke. There are plenty of other contributing factors. Huge quantities of pigeon feather dust, various industrial particulates, the occasional lungful of chlorine or sulphur dioxide or other unheavenly gases and vapours. And an interesting one I discovered a little while ago which is some fungal thing you can get from aerosols of stagnant water, which I could well have done, and seems to match the damage pattern. This is on my list to mention when I see them next.

362:

"The interesting thing about natural languages is how similar they are in structure and some other aspects"

Yes. I know no Chinese (I might recognise the character for "fuck", but that's it) and I am told that it has "no similarity" with the way Western languages work, but even so, if I come across some piece of Chinese with a translation which is annotated to explain what the mappings are, I can feel the usual pattern recognisers pinging vaguely at various bits of what's going on. Same with other totally unfamiliar languages - there's pretty well always something that rings a bell. Though I haven't seen any such translations of any of the really weird ones yet.


"I have done thought experiments of what communication might be like if that were not so, with the 'intent' of having a language that couldn't easily express concepts that we can in normal English, and conversely. As far as I can see, this has been done in computer languages (e.g. Brainfuck (**)), but I would be interested to hear of any artificial pseudo-natural languages that tried it."

You don't have to go very far to come across minor examples of that. Welsh and I believe Gaelic don't allow you to say "I like bicycles"; you have to say what amounts to "I am in a state of liking bicycles". They also don't have words for "yes" or "no" so you have to use workarounds like "very much so" etc. It's surprisingly common for languages to not have words for "yes" and "no", which you'd have thought were fundamental enough ideas that not having words for them was unthinkable.

But there are South American languages with much weirder oddities. Like no concept of number; not in the "one two three many" troll language style, but not having any way to express the concepts of "one two three many". Or no concept of past/future or, I think, cause/effect. It would be interesting to see how these dudes got on with functional programming languages :)

"One with no 'concretes' (think verbs or nouns), but only multiple 'qualifiers' (think adjectives and adverbs) and 'binders' - think Lisp, but with a few more parenthesis types. This would make it easier to express universal truths but harder to express things like 'the cat sat on the mat'."

Newspeak. For a sinisterly twisted version of the second sentence.

"The above made me think of qualifiers indicating properties such as certainty, probability (which is NOT the same), directness of knowledge, specificity vs universality, all of which I miss in everyday life. Some postings in even this thread shows why :-)"

They're not unavailable, they're just unsupported. I sometimes find myself spending ages choosing words and rearranging sentences to convey such shades of meaning, and then having to explain each such instance one by one to people who have totally failed to pick up on it...

363:

You... didn't used to read Calvin and Hobbes?

Trust me, you don't want to be a teenager and try to play Calvinball, it would be at least as bad, if not worse, than Greg's description of football (soccer) hoolligans.

364:

1. Race: the question there is whether it's genetic, or due to most Blacks in the US having worse healthcare over their lifetime.

2. Homeless... a lot of them seem to stay fairly far apart.

365:

Yep. In the US, the hooliganist are probably (American) football fans.

Our son was, I dunno, 9 or 10, and mostly it was parents and coaches, an umpire or two, in the park.

366:

Those were the kinds of choices we got to make with my mother in law in the last few years.

Rectal bleeding. But mild. And intermittent. One of the daughters wanted to remove the cumoden and get her a colonoscopy. But she DID have clots in her legs and as the internist said "So we give her the full anesthesia, do the colonoscopy, then find something. What then?" Assuming the colonoscopy doesn't make her in general worse were we going to do abdominal surgery that might put her on a poop bag? Assuming she survived the procedure?

She was 88 at the time. And obviously nearer the end than the daughters wanted to admit.

367:

The problem with invented languages is the barrier it puts between your story and the reader; the same is true with trying to write real, as much as they can be, aliens. Caroline (Cherryh) walked the line between wow and what?

368:

I was thinking of rather more fundamental issues than being unable to express a concept in a single word, or having a concept that exactly matches what you mean. I know about the languages with no tenses or numbers, but know nothing about them and how their speakers think.

English and similar languages lack any method of binding many qualifiers (such as uncertainty) to specific parts of the sentence. Yes, you can do it, as you can express arbitrary mathematics in English, but may have to write an essay to do it - and, as you say, it will then still be misunderstood by many people. I miss the facility :-(

369:

he question there is whether it's genetic, or due to most Blacks in the US having worse healthcare over their lifetime.

Or those are those just two of the major factors in an 8 variable equation? Well 8 major variables with a few dozen (hundred?) minor ones. Human health care is hard. Even for the best docs with huge resources there are lots of things where they can't do much.

370:

I took a look at the map ref you gave (it's the Cairngorm National Park if anyone else is interested). There are main roads (B roads but metalled surfaces) on either side of the park about ten miles apart so in the middle of that desolate wilderness the nearest actual road would be five miles away. That's not counting maintained forestry tracks and dirt-track roads accessible by 4WD vehicles which thread through the park, usually up river sides.

The American location I made reference to was for somewhere (in the eastern Rockies, I think, up close to the Canadian border but my memory of the discussion is faint) where the only way in to that point is twenty miles on foot or horseback. Nobody had bothered to put a road in anywhere closer since no-one wants to go there on a regular basis. Twenty miles is about how wide the Cairngorm National Park is, pretty much so double that for side-to-side isolation of the most remote point in the US, assuming the GIS database wrangler was correct back then.

As an aside I once tried to find the settled location in Scotland furthest from the sea, using maps and some graphics tools. Surprisingly it's only about forty-five miles or so, a surprisingly short distance. It's a small hamlet in the eastern Cairngorms (I forget the exact name of it). I had to guess where the saltwater tideline ran in the Tay estuary as a starting point.

371:

You... didn't used to read Calvin and Hobbes?

My fav comic strip.

Just wasn't sure of your level of satire / sarcasm so I prefixed my comment.

Every first time parent needs to get a book of C&H comics before their child gets to the age of 2.

372:

20 years ago (at least) I read an article where someone/group did an analysis of the US and came to the conclusion that there was no where than you were more than 5 miles from human "stuff". Road, trail, regular path, etc...

373:

Birger Johansson @ 138: There were slaver's militias in the South to prevent slave uprisings, so this is the background to that particular amendment.

I've always wondered why The Minutemen fought the Battles of Lexington and Concord and why The Green Mountain Boys captured Fort Ticonderoga? Now I know.

Just so you know, chattel slavery was introduced into North America by English and Dutch Colonists. In the south that was primarily fortune seeking second sons of the English aristocracy and "City of London" merchants. When the English Parliament outlawed slavery in the U.K., they specifically exempted territories controlled by the East India Company.

So, before y'all start your "slavery" bullshit, just remember we didn't create the problem, YOU DID. We're just left to deal with the legacy. And your record on the subject is no better than ours. If anything, it's worse because of the additional layer of hypocrisy.

374:

Let's just say you'd be surprised at how many American Liberals are "tooled up" or have the ability to be "tooled up" quickly and leave it at that.

375:

Nojay @ 150: I think you will find that that URL (www.newsbiscuit.com) is a parody/comedy site.

You might want to engage your critical faculties sometime, preferably before the election in November (assuming you're actually an American citizen and entitled to vote rather than a Russian disinfo troll).

With the nom de guerre "Birger Johansson" I'd suspect a Norwegian disinformation troll.

The Russians don't have a monopoly, even if they have managed to take disinformation trolling to a whole new level.

just my 2¢

376:

Minor example of global insanity:

My cousin is a medical doctor back in Russia. She told me today that someone she knows managed to catch malaria (it happens in southern Russia sometimes), and now cannot get any Hydroxychloroquine because it is all reserved for COVID-19 patients.

Hydroxychloroquine does not even work for COVID-19!

377:

I don't think that's entirely correct. Once they'd passed laws against slavery, the British (particularly their navy) did a great deal of work to make sure that slavery wasn't practiced anywhere. There may have been an element of hypocrisy (they were human, after all) but angrily blaming U.S. slavery on the British... it doesn't quite work. We practiced it too enthusiastically for too long not to take full responsibility. (The revolution could have freed everyone.)

378:

I don't recall writing that blood thinners weren't dangerous. I said that they "are more stable now." I also noted that they should only be taken in a hospital, or when monitoring through a home-health agency is available. But yes, they are bloody dangerous, and I know because my wife was also on them for years!

379:

The unorganized militia in the US consists of all able-bodied men ages 17–45. So that won't fly.

380:

Troutwaxer @ 159: The Democrats are definitely disappointing. I'm not sure Tara Reade is credible - she's made a number of posts on Twitter praising Putin, among other things - but the Democrats were perfectly capable of screwing up an election against Donald Trump, so who knows how badly they'll do running Biden?

There's also "credible" evidence Reade has a problem with financial irregularities (the leader of a horse rescue group Reade "worked with" has accused her of embezzlement and has the receipts to back it up). And there's also some evidence (court records) she wrote bad checks at about the time she was let go from Biden's staff.

She may have been let go before her "lifestyle" could blow up on Biden's Senate office. She can say anything she wants to about Biden secure in the knowledge that her personnel records will remain confidential. Biden couldn't release them even if he wanted to no matter what they show.

381:

The Second Amendment was the fallout from a debate between the federalists and the anti-federalists over who defeated the British: was it the Continental Army (funded by the Continental Congress and led by George Washington), or the individual colonial militias (e.g. the Minutemen in Boston)? (All participants ignored the major role France played in winning the war).

The federalists mostly won the argument, but 2A is a concession to the anti-federalists that the militias did play a helpful role in the Revolution and that the states should be able to maintain their own militias after the war.

That OG debate from the 1780s echoes ever so faintly in modern views about individual firearm ownership being essential for self-defense and as the "final bulwark against tyranny" - but in their current hypertrophied form, those views have twisted the original 2A out of all recognition and pushed it to a place the Founders would find horrifying.

The *true* modern expression of those colonial militias is the National Guard system. They're nominally under the control of each state, and the governor can call out their state's National Guard to respond to emergencies etc. But they can also be called up by DOD in times of national need.

Regarding the NRA as principal sales rep for the arms manufacturers: as recently as the 1960s, the NRA advocated restricted gun licensing, arguing that guns needed to be kept out of the hands of irresponsible, inner city, slum dwellers who couldn't be trusted with firearms. Which of course is code for "anyone who isn't Caucasian." It's ... interesting ... to contemplate how they evolved from that position to their modern "pry it from my cold dead hands" stance, and why they no longer feel the need to legislate against people of color owning guns.

382:

Charlie @ 350
Including, of course, removal of voting ( & all other rights) from WIMMIN - yes?
Do they really think they can get away with it?
I suppose the answer is yes, given The Handmaid's Tale

Troutwaxer
Sorry, but you really have no idea of what vicious little sub-teenage ( 11-14) yr old thugs can get away with when teacher isn't directly watching!
In the short time I was teaching, I was all-too-aware of this & watched it like a hawk & I'm still sure some little arseholes managed to get away with it.
@ 354
Who will have tje local guns & organisation?
Probably the fascists ... um.

See also Charlie saying: As long as they've got all the guns and money, they don't care


JBS
Stop it!
We also got rid of slavery, long before you.
Ruled, defintively illegal in England in 1772, trading ruled illegal in 1807 & finally, everywhere in 1832/3 ( By which time, practically, only the W Indes had it. )
YOU COULD HAVE DONE THE SAME, but deiberately chose not to.
Also:
And your record on the subject is no better than ours.
Bollocks - it's a YouTube video - Wwatch it?
As Troutwaxer also points out - do watch that video?

383:

Elderly Cynic @ 175: Singles tennis and badminton, bowls and even fencing.

And if you're really slick, you can get them to pay YOU to allow them to paint that fence.

384:

Yes. Would you prefer a bleed or a clot in your brain? Pick one :-(


Blood thinners don’t reliably prevent clotting in people with COVID-19 (article in 8-May Nature).

I'm not a hematologist. The basics I found out are:
--There's no prevailing hypothesis for how the virus is causing blood clots in 20-30% of seriously ill patients.
--Blood clots are the result of signalling cascades in at least three separate systems within humans, so there appear to be well over a dozen possibilities where a biochemical screwup might cause a clot.
--Anticoagulants interfere with specific steps in specific cascades. Again I'm not a hematologist, but I can easily see an anti-coagulant being utterly ineffective if it blocks the wrong step in the wrong cascade from where the virus is causing trouble.

I'd hypothesize that, without knowing how the virus is triggering coagulation in some detail, figuring out which anticoagulants might be effective will take a lot of experimentation. The fact that medical researchers who actively work in this field haven't solved the problem yet STRONGLY suggests to me that the answer isn't obvious or easily determined, especially given that we're talking about tens to hundreds of thousands of people dealing with clotting caused by covid-19.

385:

Heteromeles noted: “Now we sit back and wait for the Canadians to start giggling about us short distance haulers and our silly ideas about what a lonely highway is.”

It me. Three anecdotes (with all numbers rendered approximate by age and passage of time): First, in Forestry grad school, we took our Korean student with us from Toronto to our study site in northern Ontario. We warned him we’d be driving 10+ hours straight, and he didn’t buy it. He did the “are we there yet?” thing every couple hours. Finally, he sighed and said that had we been doing this from his home town, we’d be in Beijing by now. Second, we once took a Belgian forester up a firewatch tower in northern Ontario, with nothing but trees to every horizon. He grinned and noted that what he could see from the tower was larger than his country. Third, I fondly recall the “you are now entering Iroquois Falls -- city center, 118 km” road sign. Yeah, a regional municipality.

Pigeon noted (about style manuals): “Me, I'd refuse to open either of those books. I'm only aware of the existence of such things through the occasional negative comment from someone on the internet who has to use them and is fed up with their shit.”

I’ve been editing professionally for something like 33 years now. My heretical opinion? If you edit a manuscript so that the words are clear and well organized, and you make a reasonable effort at consistency, you don’t need a style guide. Nobody except an editor will ever notice. (Though as Charlie notes, good authors and editors both make “style sheets” to list all the style decisions they made. These help editors figure out what the author did and help proofreaders impose consistency by figuring out what the editor did.)

Pigeon ralso noted “I know no Chinese (I might recognise the character for "fuck", but that's it) and I am told that it has "no similarity" with the way Western languages work”

Nonsense. (And I say this as someone who does speak a bit of Putonghua.) Pretty much any Terran language shares the concepts of nouns, verbs, adjectives, tenses, and on and on. But there are always quirks. Like Chinese uses particles (e.g., “ma” at the end of a sentence to indicate a question), and has 4 to 8 tones, depending on the dialect, that change the romanized pinyin spelling to a different meaning. My daughter once showed me a ca. 200-word story composed exclusively of the word “ma”, but with different tones to distinguish 8 different meanings. (I have a terrible time with Chinese because I have the Canadian end-of-sentence uptick, which is a Chinese tone and changes the meaning. I used to order tea in a restaurant and get handed a fork: both words are “cha”, but with different tones.) My recollection is that Chinese verbs tend to come at the end of the sentence, but I’d have to confirm that, and there are other words (I’m blocking on the technical term) Chinese uses to describe objects that are (for example) like a sheaf of paper (e.g., in English, a piece of pizza) and so on. But the larger point is that there are almost always similarities between languages that give you a hook to learn the language. I say that as someone who speaks English natively, French with reasonable fluency, Italian competently (after I brush up on my verbs and disentangle the conjugations from the French conjugations), Japanese a little when I freshen my memory, Chinese enough to be polite, and a smattering of a handful of other languages.

386:

Hey, we devious frenchies managed to *sell* most of our slavery problem to USA in 1803.

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

( and we are also the proud creators of the "code noir" )

( and we forced haiti to pay for their hard won freedom )

...

387:

"Republican judicial appointments going back 40 years" - cf. the idea of the "Constitution In Exile" (https://www.constitution.org/cons/exile/0409.sunstein.html).

388:

20 years ago I worked in the Northern reaches of Alberta and BC as a treeplanter (for about a decade). Even in the most remote areas it was difficult to find a spot where you could not at least see or hear some kind of human machinery.

Great circle aircraft navigation was a part of it, but at least in summer during the day I could usually hear truck, saw, plane, helicopter or other machine somewhere in the distance. This was in places that were often an half hour helicopter ride away from the nearest viable logging road.* **

*Said helo rides being billed at $750 and $1200/hr so great effort and offroad navigation went into ensuring that the actual flight was as short as possible.

**Viable meaning non-reclaimed. Current policy was for roads to be dug up and returned to something resembling a state of nature after industry was finished in the area, as a part of the conditions of the lease.

389:

whitroth @ 213: And one last thing, and if you have never heard it, you should, Charlie: Stan Rogers' Mary Ellen Carter.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BQpf0aCj-64

"Three dives a day in a hardhat suitand twice I've had the bends"

I don't just know it, I've sung it many, many times.

It's in Rise Up Singing which I just happened to have out and laying here on my desk, open to page 203 (which also has Jamaica Farewell and The John B. Sails on the same page.

I also have a genuine Reader's Digest Flag Decal sticker paper-clipped to page 6 in honor of John Prine.

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

390:

I'm not so sure about how many similarities there are among human languages.

For instance, there are languages (especially among Native Americans) where a sentence can be one compound word. There's an African language with 11 "genders" (categories that would be gendered in other languages. There's Piraha, which the linguist who studies it swears has no recursion, although the followers of Noam Chomsky say that's impossible. There's Korean, which has relative levels of honorifics as verb suffixes and pronouns, but mostly lacks gender and gets weird about whether sentences should have subjects or referents. And so forth.

Human language may well be one of those things where it will turn out, if anybody does sufficient analysis before they commit theories like Sapir-Whorf, that there's a fairly large possibility space that languages occupy. It's bounded by human anatomy and physiology in one set of dimensions, sensory abilities in another, and cognitive diversity on a third set. The known human languages (including, of course, sign languages, musics, and mathematics) pretty much fill that entire space. Theorizing about which of the dimensions is primary or essential will misclassify a good chunk of the diversity, no matter what the theory happens to be.

For example, it's probably possibly to create a non-recursive conlang that can get people through life. It's certainly possible to create a nonverbal language with which to communicate, and it's entirely possible to create concepts (as in math) which cannot be readily communicated in spoken English, quantum theory being one of the most notorious we've run into here.

391:

whitroth @ 220: I am, of course, instantly reminded of the old usenet story of the guy who stole a RATO bottle, and attached it to his car....
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/JATO_Rocket_Car

Back in August 2000, Wired Magazine had an entertaining, plausible article from an anonymous guy who thinks he and his friends may have been responsible for the origin of that story.

https://www.wired.com/2000/08/rocketcar/

It's well worth reading even if you don't believe a word of it.

392:

Not trying IS failure.

To Trump, which is the context I was discussing, failure is only possible if you are seen to try. And then only if you can't blame someone else.

Especially in this case, where the alternative to a "not trying state" is a "failed state"... how many mass graves do you need before we can start calling Trump a "man of steel" as well?

(Viz, there was that Georgian guy, and then Shrub called John Howard that during the Crusade Against Terrorism. And now this)

393:

And here was me just enjoying the thought of a falcon using rocket boosters to climb faster. Now you mob are all "but what if there was a cop car with bigger rockets chasing the falcon" and presumably then "what if there was a big truck, with even bigger rockets, coming the other way" or something.

"I dunno why she swallowed the fly, I guess she'll die".

394:

whitroth @ 221: The rest of the Amendment indicates that's wasn't vaguely the only reason. #1 reason was the intent of the Founding Fathers, as I learned in school, NOT TO HAVE A STANDING ARMY, and so armed citizens, at the call of the governor, could be called out.

See also: Constitution for the United States - Article 1, Section 8, paragraphs 14, 15 & 16: (Enumerated Powers of Congress)

1: The Congress shall have Power ...
14: To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;
15: To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;
16: To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;

Emphasis added by me. The Second Amendment does not over-ride or annul these Constitutional provisions, it amplifies them.

The regular army has wanted to disband the National Guard even before it became the National Guard. Congress won't let them do that because the Constitution & Second Amendment says they can't.

395:

The novel To Kill A Mockingbird, Harper Lee, 1960, is a school staple in the US and is (also) about accusations believed unquestioningly for sub-cultural vs other-sub-culture reasons. Well, used to be a staple; less so since complaints that the novel indulges in classist stereotyping and demonization of poor rural "white trash" the treatment of racism in Maycomb was not condemned harshly enough.
After reading that currentaffairs job, one might be left with the impression that the author, if on the jury in the Tom Robinson trial in the novel, would have vehemently argued for the veracity of Mayella Ewell's account (she being female (and white)), and for the guilt of Tom Robinson (he being male, and black).

396:

Michael Cain @ 227:

This is not your father's confederacy. Much of their strength is in the Old Northwest (Ohio River watershed) and the far northwest; states that were not part of the Confederate States of America.

The states carved out of the old Northwest Territories not only weren't part of the Confederacy, they were staunch Union supporters. Even at that time the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers were an import export route for those states and they knew that would get at least expensive if a CSA controlled the Lower Mississippi.

That's my point. These NEO-Confederates are NOT from the old south. The largest contingent of the KKK during it's resurgence in the nineteen-tens & ninteen-twenties was in Ohio & Indiana; states that were NOT part of the former "Confederacy".

Your view of "far northwest" is apparently different than mine. Oregon and Washington are heavily Democratic. Montana is an odd place, but will likely come out of this November with Democrats for governor and both US Senators. Idaho fits, I suppose, but that's also changing rapidly: the California Diaspora has been a thing for 30 years.

They're also home to some pretty scary White Nationalist extremist organizations.

Northwest Territorial Imperative
White Aryan Resistance
Wotansvolk
White Order of Thule
Aryan Nations
The Order

These organizations do not control the far northwest, but they do have considerable portions of their strength located there.

Again, these are NEO-Confederates who have nothing to do with the former Confederate States of America. We have our own problems with race relations down here, but these scheisskopfs are NOT OUR FAULT!


397:

as recently as the 1960s, the NRA advocated restricted gun licensing, arguing that guns needed to be kept out of the hands of irresponsible, inner city, slum dwellers who couldn't be trusted with firearms.

I don't know your age but I remember the Black Panthers "patrolling armed" in open carry jurisdictions during that time.

398:

Michael Cain @ 241: I don't deny that there are nuts everywhere. Prevalence is another thing. I responded to a comment that talked about states. And in particular, "far northwest" states as part of the new Confederacy. Metro Seattle, which dominates the state politically, would be surprised to find themselves classified that way.

Metro Seattle is not the whole of the state of Washington. Nor did I claim that the states of the "far northwest" are any kind of new Confederacy. I only stated that the extremist minority NEO-confederates have much of their strength GEOGRAPHICALLY located there.

They've got to be somewhere & that's where they chose to be.

399:

and it's entirely possible to create concepts (as in math) which cannot be readily communicated in spoken English, quantum theory being one of the most notorious we've run into here.

Heck. Anything past first year calculus.

"e i omega j" in no way replaces the equation unless you both know exactly what you're talking about.

400:

David L @ 296:

A lot of US publishers try and nail everything down with Strunk & White or ....

I wish that thing would go away or admit that it is not 1856 anymore and the goal is to reduce pen strokes. Its rules for punctuation make a shambles of technical works at times by creating associates and removing some which are critical to meaning.

Ha! That was the required text for "English" classes at NC State (circa 1968). I'm pretty sure I still have my copy around here somewhere.

401:

Uncle Stinky @ 297: Please read this piece https://www.currentaffairs.org/2020/05/the-attacks-on-tara-reade-are-unbelievable-bullshit It takes a sledgehammer to the horrible USA todat hitpiece.

I read it. It's as much (if not more) an unbelievable bullshit hitpiece as the USA Today article you claim it refutes.

402:

Windscale @ 299: es. I don't really "get" why the second amendment still exists.

Constitution for the United States: Article V
The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress;

Simple answer - It takes a 2/3 majority in BOTH houses of Congress to pass an amendment (which repealing the 2nd Amendment would require) and then that new amendment has to be ratified by 3/4 of the states before it becomes part of the Constitution.

Yes, at that time, to protect the security of your state, you needed some form of a militia. A standing army would probably not have been desirable/feasible. But it does say that the militia needs to be well regulated. I put it to you that the number of gun-related deaths in the USA per annum does not constitute your "militia" being well-regulated! Quite the contrary in-fact. So does that mean that current gun ownership in the US is actually in breach of the constitution until such time as it becomes well regulated again?

Arguably. But I doubt the courts, especially the current Supreme Court will accept that interpretation.

The other thing is, you now have perfectly adequate militias that are, on the whole, well regulated - they're called the United States of America armed forces, and your various armed law enforcement bodies. Don't they swear to protect the country from all enemies foreign and domestic? Seems like protecting the people from a corrupt government is built into their job description.

No. The standing Army is NOT the militia. And it's not the Army's job to decide when the government is corrupt.

So I don't see how private ownership of guns on the level that it currently is in the US is in any sense a good idea. Certainly not open or concealed carry by private citizens on a daily basis. In the UK, I wonder if the gun laws are now a little too strict? Many years ago I worked with someone who was into target shooting and used to compete at Bisley etc. After Hungerford or Dunblane, not sure which, he was saying that a lot of recreational shooters, including himself, were having to give up because they couldn't afford regular travel to the continent to practice. For example, could you have private guns kept securely at a club, only issued for use on the premises and checked they were returned before anyone left?

I don't think the current state of private ownership of guns is such a good idea, but the courts disagree and under our system of government they're the ones who get to decide.

The original justification for members of the militia having their guns at home was because they could be REQUIRED to do so in the case a rapid call-out was needed. It also meant that the state government did not have to buy & store arms for the militia, nor did Congress have to appropriate funds for that purpose. Additionally, the "Founding Fathers" had recent experience with a central government (i.e. King George & Parliament) attempting to confiscate the arms & ammunition the Colonists felt they needed for their own defense, which is why the chose to decentralize military might throughout the states - to prevent some future central government tyranny.

I just don't think requiring all personal guns be kept secured at [licensed] private clubs would work here in the states. What you're proposing is pretty much exactly what the "Founding Fathers" feared which is why they insisted on the 2nd Amendment in the first place.


403:

No, blood thinners *are* dangerous, even when necessary. They tend to make one subject to strokes and other internal bleeding problems in ways that are not readily noticeable.

We need to be careful of over broad generalizations that aren't true.

Yes, for some people blood thinners can potentially cause strokes.

But one of the most common uses of blood thinner is to prevent strokes - specifically patients with AFib take blood thinners specifically to reduce the risk of stroke.

And not to minimize the risk, but for many people they aren't inherently dangerous.

My mother ended up on warfarin for 10 years (blood clot risk due to paralysis from chest down), and my father was on/off warfarin for a period of 10 years (blood clot risk from AFib). In both cases, while monitored by family doctor they were both stable enough on their dosage that they only needed monthly tests of their INR, and it rarely required a dosage change after their initial 3 months.

That isn't to say everyone is that stable on blood thinners, but it isn't as dangerous for many as being made out.

404:

The problem is that they don't have a single, fucking, solitary clue about the actual demographics of the U.S. If, at some point they manage to arrange the country as they'd like it they'll find themselves in a civil war against approximately 70 percent of the population - and this time there will be no mercy to the racist side!

Demographics is a large part of what is driving them though - they can't accept that they are a minority in the US.

405:

Oh & I finally escaped from "team games" through a fortunate change in my (Grammar) school's streaming system, which meant I could drop the fascism at the end of the third form

Yep, we know your school was run by a bunch of bullies.

The world has (for the most part) moved on and that sort of behavior by staff isn't tolerated anymore.

The moronic & violent behaviour of any football crowd does not seem to have changed, one little bit.
My local tube line has to be avoided if Arsenal are playing Spurs at home, or the other way round, for that matter.... No, not changed, one little bit.

It is something that is unique to UK sports supporters (and perhaps European football supporters, not sure).

Meanwhile, on the other side of the Atlantic, fans of different teams quite safely intermingle both in the stands, stadiums, and roads/public transit before and after games.

So it is not something that is inherent to team sports, but rather a problem with British culture...

406:

Hope I'm not double answering as I haven't read all the intervening comments yet.

Currently 6.5% of GDP is spent on subsidies. So if a full PV supply cost 5% of GDP that basically means that if you redirected subsidies to PV you'd have money left over and wouldn't even need to charge the end user to make ends meet. (you'd probably need to charge to limit consumption)

https://www.eesi.org/papers/view/fact-sheet-fossil-fuel-subsidies-a-closer-look-at-tax-breaks-and-societal-costs

407:

I agree that demographics are driving the GOP. For the last 20 years and more, they've tried to become more multi-ethnic, at least superficially. Remember the Bushes speaking Spanish and welcoming a hispanic son in law?

Problem is, it mostly didn't work, because a coalition of the wealthy and the white supremacists don't seem to make a good coalition for more than a bunch of token Others.

So what they're doing now is an attempt to cling to power by all means, something started by Newt Gingrich in the 1990s. It's not about the art of governance, it's about winning elections by all means necessary. It's nihilistic and evil, and also, of course, very sad.

One problem not brought up yet is the way the US Congress is set up, with 2 senators per state and 1 Congressm member per 485,000 people (more or less). Since the US is about 80% urban, and the big cities are concentrated in a handful of states, what this means is that the demographic shift of America is more an urban effect that's happening in a minority of places, while the rest of the country is increasingly aging, increasingly unequal (due to Big Everything), and their only source of sociopolitical power is the whiteness of their skin. That's a brutal environment, and it's being exploited by the party of the rich and the supremacists to let them keep power in the Senate. Barely.

I suspect the problem they're going to have now is that Covid-19 will be still spreading through the deep red rural areas when Election Day rolls around in November, and the failure of the Republicans to do anything about it will be on full display. There will of course be protests and efforts to stop the election, because that's pretty much all they'll have left, after they impoverish, cripple, and kill their base.

What's sad is that it may still work. I kind of doubt it, but I didn't see the pandemic coming either.

Biden's best tactic is to keep a fairly low profile, draw a line in the sand that includes behind it the vast majority of people who want to social distance and continue other measures until there's a treatment or vaccine for the virus (https://xkcd.com/2305/), to work hard to simply unify the US with the rest of the world in fighting the coronavirus and building a new economy that's a bit more resilient to the next one. Then all Biden really has to do is to keep acting as a reasonably sane unifier while Trump does Trump, and he'll probably win, so long as he survives until the election.

408:

I have done thought experiments of what communication might be like if that were not so, with the 'intent' of having a language that couldn't easily express concepts that we can in normal English, and conversely. As far as I can see, this has been done in computer languages (e.g. Brainfuck (**)), but I would be interested to hear of any artificial pseudo-natural languages that tried it.

Well, you don't have to go as far as Brainfuck to say that about computer languages. Brainfuck is basically a very reduced instruction set assembler (a RISC thingie in the jargon), and while it uses single characters as the mnemonics, there's nothing inherent in them. You could write Brainfuck more easily like this (opcodes invented just now):


ADD
START_LOOP
PTR_L
ADD
ADD
ADD
PTR_R
DEC
END_LOOP
PRINT

And that's much more readable than straight Brainfuck code but functionally the same, with the benefit of being readable more easily by humans.

INTERCAL, on the other hand, was a quite good attempt to mix things up, and I've never really spent the time to really grok it, and I think that wasn't the point anyway.

409:

About natural languages: I can speak languages of a couple different language groups at least on a basic level (Fenno-Ugric, some Germanic and Romanic from the Indo-Europeans, a bit of Mandarin and Japanese, and Finnish Sign Language). They're mostly "big" languages, as in millions of speakers, thriving culture and a written language, the exception being obviously the Finnish Sign Language. Small languages which might never have been written down and which are spoken by small groups could a very different thing from the big languages.

My impression is that all of them can express the same things, even though some things are harder in some languages and easier than in others. They don't map to each other one-to-one, even the closely related ones, but then you can just elaborate and explain.

The most interesting of these is the Finnish Sign Language, which is very much different from the spoken ones. It's more spatial than spoken languages, but of course has the time aspect, too. That is, many if not most sentences are just signs one after another. It plays very heavily into the thing that in spoken languages would be called 'non-verbal communication,' but I wouldn't perhaps call it that when it's a part of basically everything you speak.

I learned it as an adult. My personal feeling is that it uses still the same language structure in my brain as spoken languages. The strangest effect of this is that I have a personal 'voice' for every sign language speaker, even I might never have heard them speak out loud. I can't describe this voice in any real respect except it's different for each person and feels like spoken voices in my head. At some point in the fluency I didn't even think about the different aspects of sign language but just spoke and understood it. It's still hard to translate to spoken languages or to writing.

Of course also written language is kind of an add-on. It's recent enough an invention that I don't think we have inherent structural capabilities for it in the same way we do for spoken languages (or signed ones), and it's a skill that most people spend a lot of time learning. In the most formal forms, like legal text, in my opinion it kind of approaches the completely structured languages, like programming languages.

410:

fajensen @ 265
Your assumption is that the Democratic establishment doesn't care who wins, but only cares about the money. I think you're wrong. There's a lot more power and prestige in holding the White House and for lobbyists, the ones connected to the party in power do better by far. There are a lot of K Street people who work both sides, and they just change the mask there wearing this time.

Biden isn't the ideal candidate, but he's the one that all of the Klobuchar, Buttigeg, Harris, Booker, Warren and other non-Sanders supporters could agree on. Individual voters in the states made choices, and Biden is what we got. I'm sure that the party leadership would rather have had someone with someone younger, with more charisma and less gaffe prone.

whitroth @ 336
a) My opinions may differ from yours, but I'm rarely full of it.

b) The Bernie supporters I met at the 2016 precinct and county caucuses were arrorgant, sure they were right, and cast aspersions on anyone that didn't agree with them. It was truly a disagreeable experience. To be fair, they were all under 35, and I may have been that way at that age too. You suggest that I'm naive. Please tell me how you make Medicare-for-All happen without 60 votes in the Senate. 3 months ago, I would have said, and against the wishes of all those who have employer-paid healthcare that isn't the best but who find it preferable to a non-existent pie-in-the-sky program. A lot of those people may be having second thoughts now, but 60 votes is 60 votes and even with Covid-19, I don't think that's doable. Please tell me who in the Senate you think would be eager to carry Bernie's agenda.

c) According to the Center for Effective Lawmaking, in the 115th Congress, Sanders was less effective than the other Senator from Vermont, Patrick Leahy, who ranked 46 out of 48 Democrats in the Senate. These people layout their criteria for measuring effectiveness, and I do question it somewhat, but nobody else is making an equivalent effort. They ranked Klobuchar and Grassley as the most effective Dem and Rep in that Congress.

d) I agree with you about the GOP's fund raising motivation for Democrats. When I make a contribution, it's usually right after an extra stupid utterance on the part of my Congressman, my Republican Senator or someone like Mark Meadows or Jim Jordan.

411:

Tell me alllll about it. And then there's things that they might be able to find... if they knew they needed to look for it.

412:

I think I prefer something further, like rockets.

Alternatively, I think I could weld or bolt some hooks for a steel plate over the front of my minivan.

"I love it when a plan comes together", he says, pulling the large pretzel stick out of his mouth.

413:

*Beats head on desk*

And one reason that I REALLY HATE that sonofa bitch squatting in the WH is that that, or one of the others, is also used for treatment of lupus.

I lived with a woman for almost three years in the late seventies, who died, early in '86, from complications of lupus.

I donate to the Lupus Foundation occasionally in her memory.

414:

It's been a long time since I read it, but I have my copy of S&W.

I got one, after I found out that my old, late friend, George Scithers (who won Hugos editing Asimov's the first six years it existed, before Gardiner), for folks who sent *really* bad manuscripts, he had that as part of his std. rejection postcard.

415:

Goddess, I can't believe how long it's been since that last time I saw Stan Rogers live.

It also kept me going, as my second marriage ended (with kids more kids...), and before I moved to Austin.

Yeah, I still have the copy of Rise Up Singing that K8 (my late wife) and I bought, after we learned of it at the Kerrville Folk Fest.

416:

By Klono's gadolinium guts... this one, I actually believe. There's enough details that it makes sense.

417:

A sentiment I've heard lately is the idea that the fastest way to get genuine gun control in America is simply to ensure that all the non-white non-protestants legally have guns and carry permits. Concealed ones would be even better.

Things wouldn't be *safer*, but you'd certainly see rapid action in terms of laws.

418:

JBS
That list of "White Nationalist" groups is scary ... reminds me of Germany 1919-25 (approx)
WHen there were multiple such groupos, ultra-nationalist & xenophobic & militarist. Until one man took over a pre-existing oarty & started his march to domination, especially after relesae from prison in late 1924.
Do those groups yet have someone to fill that role?
Couple that with the aLREADY-DRAWN PARALLEL WITH hEINLEIN'S "pROPHET/sCUDDER" PREDICTIONS & ONE STARTS TO REALLY WORRY.

mdive
No, it was not.
Outside the games area, the bullying was possibly less than in other places, from what I've been told.
The control inside the buildings was, in fact quite tight.
Which made the contrast even more stark, of course.
And it seems to be confined to football.
A few years back, the big stadium in NW London - "Wembley" - was rebuilt.
Whilst this was going on, big footie matches were played in Cardiff.
Now, for big rugby games, Cardiff Plod usuall had 150 extra cops on the street & usually about 15-20 arrests for drunk & disorderly.
They had been known to manage with as few as 95 extra police on the streets ....
For the big footie matches: ALL POLICE LEAVE over the whole of Wales was cancelled & there were lots of arrests.
I've walked into a pub in London, to find it full of very pissed rugby fans ( It turned out "the Barbarians" were playing the S Africans )
People were slowly sliding down the walls, huge rugby fans fell over themseleves to let the nice young lady ( The Boss ) get to the bar, because she wanted another beer ... yes, really.
As for "british culture" yes, there's the enforced masochism part of it ... the revolting Coe & the Olymic fascist movement are part of that of course.

Mayhem
Like it

419:
There are probably places in central Australia that are 100 miles from the nearest road, maybe more.

Almost all of Guyane (French Guiana) that is more than 100 miles from the coast is over 100 miles from the nearest road.

420:

Indentured servants from the British isles were a big part of the workforce on many plantations and worked beside black slaves (I am told some peculiarities in "african-american" English can be traced back to English dialects instead of Africa).
Of course, it was easier for an indentured White servant to escape.

421:

Thanks, I will check out Jacinda Ardern.
.

.Languages: The Aleutians have some unique feature in their language that was assumed would never exist in a natural language, but I do not recall the details.
.

Contamination: In Washington State a single choir member infected 52 others. Sars-CoV-2 is *very* infectious.
.

Re. trolls, -As I have mentioned before, I forwarded a link fron a source in Patheos (Dispatches From The Culture Wars) that usually is reliable. When they discovered it was a bogus story, I forwarded the retraction to those I had contacted, exept to those that had already discovered it.
Also; after the "let's inject bleach" story there is no simple way to spot American-themed satire anymore. It is possible some AI might do it if you trained it on a million Tea Party/Trump stories.
.
Separately, I sent two links from the two British humor sites Newsbiscuit and The Daily Mash, which I assumed were as well-known to Brits as The Onion is to Americans.
.

422:

One way to locate very sparsely populated regions is to look for artificial light on nighttime satellite photos -a simple way to find places suitable for amateur astronomy. Such places are increasingly rare in continental Europe ouside Russia.
.
I have one question about the wide plains in Australia; do the prevailing summer winds favor some particular direction, like the Santa Ana in California?
If they do, it might be possible to create firebreaks perpendicular to the summer winds, planted with succulents cacti or other plants that do not dry out completely and thus resist fire. The introduction of such non-native plants would be a lesser evil than the uncontrolled wildfires.

423:

To get any emptier than that you need to visit Antarctica, or maybe the Atacama or Gobi deserts or the more remote parts of Siberia.

You've been on your way to somewhere else like that.

You drove through the Rockies past Banff on the Pan-Canadian Highway. And got to these allegedly empty "great plains" on the eastern edge of the Rockies.

Then you turned left and drove North-North-East to Edmonton.

So...

Drive that same distance North-North-East again one and a half times. That's a fair distance.

Now you're in Fort McMurray. Welcome to Northern Alberta!

Then do it again.

Now you're in Fort Chipewayn. Better be winter, because the "road" in isn't a road, it's driving along ice on the rivers. Watch out for the wildlife - when my dad drove that route, the car leading their convoy hit a moose - wrecked the car, the moose ran off.

You've been driving on a river than runs along the edge of Wood Buffalo National Park, which has half the land area of Scotland.

But we want to go further into the wilderness than that.

So drive 200km across the lake, on the ice truckers' route. I hope you brought a compass, Lake Athabasca is big, you'll be out of sight of land in the middle. 200km will get you to Uranium City, population 73. There are roads here! It was a bustling town once! But not now.

So head North up the rivers again, another 70km will bring you to Southern border of the NorthWest Territories.

And now you've reached the extreme Southern edge of something that's going to get quite empty.

424:
Actually, no. The whole point of constitutional rights is that they are universal. The New Confederacy's view of the US second amendment is that it only applies to white right-wingers (like all other rights).
But from their point of view only right wing white males are human, so "universal" means "for all right wing white males".
425:

The point of my original posting was that people think of the UK as a small, densely-populated country (because it is), but don't realise that part of it is sparsely populated even by global standards.

426:

Oh, I agree with that - my remark was about the general approach to 'preventing' strokes - because there are two kinds, it would be a balancing act even if there was only a single mechanism involved. And, as you say, it's not that simple.

427:

It is something that is unique to UK sports supporters (and perhaps European football supporters, not sure).

Not "sports supporters", not European, not even UK: it's a very specific cultural thing relating to English mens' football (soccer) fan culture.

Womens' football? Civilzed. Scottish football? Rowdy but not scary-violent. Rugby? Loud and friendly (happy singing drunks, not mean drunks). Cricket? Don't even go there.

But English mens' football has had scary-violent fans for as long as I can remember. Some teams are (much) worse than others, and there are non-English exceptions (you don't want to wander around town in the wake of a Rangers/Celtic match in Glasgow -- there's tribal bad blood there), but in general it's the one specific sport and one particular demographic of fans.

428:

Oops. Thanks for the correction. I was really thinking of that, but 'reminded' myself off the net, and didn't check up carefully enough.

429:

Most of those things are details, though they do include the cases where things that are simple in one language are complicated in another. The thing that really interested me (and still does) is where a language can express concepts that WE can't express in any of our natural languages, because that is fundamental to the Shapir-Whorf hypothesis. Note that, as Pigeon said, you can express a lot more when you write an essay than when you write a sentence.

I have many times observed the way that 'verbal' people are constrained by their language, though they can almost always be broken out of that box if you tie them to a chair and beat them over the head for half an hour :-) But I have also observed that phenomenon in mathematics and science many times - one classic example being the concept of a variable - if you compare mathematics before the 17th century with that afterwards, you will see a major shift. And I have seen what difference the lack or presence of that concept makes.

The issue here is that it is relatively easy to extend the known boundaries of your conceptual universe, within its own restrictions, but incredibly hard to break out of it even to a modest extent. And, because many people think verbally, the language they use is an important part of that universe and its restrictions.

430:

Actually, there are some of us who find written language easier and more natural than spoken (and not just because of deafness). We tend to be well out 'on the spectrum' and sometimes more at home with computer languages and mathematics than natural ones. And, as far as I know, almost none of us think or dream verbally.

431:


This will only be the case if those countries have a sufficient entirely domestic supply chain for everything they need.

NZ, Australia, Japan, and various other places are islands. They are vulnerable to strategic blockade. It turns out that they each had some very pessimistic strategic planners who long ago that lack of PPE, etc, is a problem in a war or disaster. And planned for it.

As a New Zealander I was gobsmacked to discover that we've a chap in Whanganui who makes surgical masks, and has for decades been funded to have the ability to scale up production at need. Likewise other parts of PPE. And test swabs. Converting our local vodka distillers to make hand sanitizer turns out to have been in our pandemic planning for many years, and happened smoothly and quickly. The Australians are quietly doing similar.

Strategic planning. It turns out that it's not just a business wankword. Who knew?


It isn't perfect - pharma and testing needs to much, we're too small. But Singapore and NZ have some complementary strengths and in the first week of their lockdown signed a trade treaty guaranteeing no restriction on flow of medical goods, PPE, etc, both ways. China's still running an export-focussed economy. Trading nations are doing what they do - trading.

Yes, there are shambling debacles - and your nation is unfortunate enough to border one. And the debacles make the news. But the world's not all like that. In lots of countries some fairly boring well-laid plans have been brought down, dusted off, modified to suit, and implemented. Many countries are co-operating.

And the global scientific co-operation is truly extraordinary.

There's an awful lot to be pessimistic about. But there's a lot of people doing the right things, too.

432:
The revolution could have freed everyone
As it did in France. Until that cunt Bonaparte reestablished slavery.
433:
and why they no longer feel the need to legislate against people of color owning guns.
No need to legislate against people of color owning guns when you can just shoot them.

Black people have been shot to death for the crime of holding a toy gun in an open carry state.

434:

Yeah, people are different. There is also the way you learned the language. English is obviously not my native tongue, and while I did learn it in school, I mostly learned it by reading. I like to think I'm quite fluent when speaking English, but I'm still more comfortable with the written word.

I tried to say that when 'writing is not innate' most human children learn to speak 'just' by listening and mimicing at a very early age. Learning how to read and write comes years later and many people live full lives without knowing how. I still suspect people on the spectrum usually learn the spoken language first, and then the written, although there are probably exceptions to this. Also, defining 'written language' gets a bit fuzzy, like using printed out symbols to communicate with people who do not speak.

435:
Hey, we devious frenchies managed to *sell* most of our slavery problem to USA in 1803.
Well, that little part of the "problem" that Louverture and Dessalines hadn't taken out of your hands.

There were about 30,000 slaves in the Louisiana purchase and about 452,000 on Saint-Domingue.

And of course the whole reason for the purchase was that Louisiana was unsustainable without Saint-Domingue.

436:

I certainly learnt to speak first but, as soon as I learnt to read, I found it more natural. I suspect it's a repurposing of the high-level pattern-matching mechanisms in our brain, but have never seen a more informed opinion on that.

437:

Thanks all for the comments on 2nd amendment, I think it's all very interesting. That known paragon of scholarly authority, Wikipedia, seems to suggest that the modern equivalent of the original militias is the National Guard and a few others: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_National_Guard. I imagine that the National Guard is well regulated? Not too many National Guardsmen/Guardswomen going off the reservation and gunning down crowds of people with gay abandon?

Maybe that's closer to the solution? Yes, you can get to play with guns. Yes, your gun comes with a commitment to the National Guard at no extra cost. In return, the National Guard is pleased to securely look after your guns for you when you are not using them for National Guard training purposes. If there is ever a need for the militia to be mustered, you will be issued your guns with your orders.

438:
INTERCAL, on the other hand, was a quite good attempt to mix things up, and I've never really spent the time to really grok it, and I think that wasn't the point anyway.

COMEFROM considered harmful.

439:

The challenges of developing a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine https://medicalxpress.com/news/2020-05-safe-effective-covid-vaccine.html
“We are encouraged by the evidence supporting the likelihood that immunizing against the spike protein’s receptor binding domain represents a realistic and viable vaccination strategy.

440:
I don't know your age but I remember the Black Panthers "patrolling armed" in open carry jurisdictions during that time.
Which prompted Ronald Reagan, governor of California, to introduce gun control legislation, with the support of the NRA.

(As I suppose you were hinting at, just wanted to make it explicit).

441:

Yup. There's a reason that the very specific phrase "football hooligan" exists, in UK English.

Greg may be able to put a better recollection on this; I am certain that supporters of one of the London clubs were claimed to have trashed a railway carriage to the point where it was cheaper to write it off and buy a new on than to try and replace it. My memory says about 1981.

442:

COMEFROM considered harmful.

Hey, extending the specification to allow multiple COMEFROMs from the same address easily added multiprocessing to INTERCAL!

443:

More good news…
"2000-2010 drought in Upper Missouri River Basin driest in 1,200 years" https://phys.org/news/2020-05-drought-upper-missouri-river.html

444:

I've written a fair amount of documentation and explainers in my time and I've tried what you mentioned. My experience was it's hard to get people to really give you the in-depth and thoughtful feedback that you need to improve the stuff you've written.

The people who were capable just ran with what I'd done. There was however, usually a vocal majority who would complain "I don't understand." When you asked them, "OK, what specifically don't you understand so that I can improve that?", you wouldn't get anything useful out of them. My impression was they usually were CBA and just wanted you to do their work for them. I got bored of people who had that attitude.

445:
Hey, extending the specification to allow multiple COMEFROMs from the same address easily added multiprocessing to INTERCAL!
And any attempt to access the specifications or implementation if threaded INTERCAL comes back with:
Access Forbidden

This is an "Error Code 403" message.

You were looking for the file
/~malcolmr/intercal/
which you do not have permission to access.

I suspect it has been classified as a weapon of mass destruction.

446:

I don't see that "the cloud" is really anything new. After all, John Gage said in the '80s, "the network is the computer". It's just client/server computing - wowwee - nothing new at all. The whole IoT thing is just a busted flush. "Oh, you're going to connect things to the network so you can access them? Yes, we've been doing that since the ..."

The other thing is, bandwidth is not just the only limitation. If you take your thing and place it several hundred or several thousand miles away, the packet round trip time is a lot higher than the low or sub-millisecond response time that you're used to on your LAN. I've worked on a few things where bandwidth was not a problem at all, the limiting factor was getting responses back quick enough.

447:

It isn't. Before there was The Cloud, there was The Grid, and there was at least one other such marketing term before it but I can't remember the marketing term (possibly The Network?) Running applications on multiple computers, without the user knowing, is old hat and has been SOP for at least 30 years.

The reason that there is so much fuss and bullshit is (a) the usual culprits want control of everyone's data, (b) the monetarist approach that outsourcing is always better, and (c) you can get moderately fast and reliable wide-area network connections cheaply.

But good luck if you want the sort of serious bandwidth needed for complex modelling by a large number of users, or the reliability (and guaranteed low latency) needed for absolutely critical tasks. And good luck negotiating a contract with the usual culprits if you have serious security constraints. The UK gummint solved the last by effectively saying "any USA-based multinational is hereby deemed absolutely trustworthy."

448:

Maybe we need to have fund-raisers and organise arms shipments for the non-WASP communities in the USA :-D? Just to return the favour for the funding and weapons supplied by certain segments of the US population to the IRA.

449:

Your link suggested that complement activation by the roughened lining of blood vessels is involved. Complement activation can involve platelets. Asprin irreversibly inhibits platelet activation so maybe it will help with the clotting problems found in Covid-19 patients.
I cling to this hope because I've been taking low dose asprin for years on the advice of the local eye clinic.

450:

I only have a sample size of one, but whilst I was in the US for work I went to an Oakland Raiders and whatever the North Carolina professional team was. The guy I went with was from just outside Charlotte and a big fan of the local team. He turned out with a team shirt on.

The atmosphere outside the stadium was totally different a lot of my football experiences in the UK. Before the game everybody had the tailgates down on their monster trucks in the car-park and were busy barbecuing and shooting the breeze. AFAICS there was no crowd segregation. The only "negative" experience was when we were heading into the stadium to take our seats one of the female stewards told my colleague he couldn't take his beer into the stadium and that he had to leave it with her. He was a bit confused and after a bit of back and forth she said to him "Nah, I'm only joking with you Carolina, of course you can take your beer into the stadium!"

451:

and there was at least one other such marketing term before it but I can't remember the marketing term (possibly The Network?)

"The Network Is The Computer" - Sun Microsystems, 1980-whatever.

452:

Sounds like I've been walking in a lot of the same places as you in the UK - Dartmoor, Brecan Beacons, Snowdonia, Lake District, North York Moors, Cairngorms, ... The only places where I really felt like I was in any way remote were in chunks of Scotland.

453:

Greg may be able to put a better recollection on this; I am certain that supporters of one of the London clubs were claimed to have trashed a railway carriage to the point where it was cheaper to write it off and buy a new on than to try and replace it.

While I was growing up we had a collection of Giles Annuals*. (My immigrant parents missed the UK.)

In one of them was a cartoon showing a flatbed railway car with a guard standing on in in front of a crowd of surly football fans lined up on the platform between rolls of concertina barbed wire. The guard is saying "Management apologizes for the lack of pull-cords, seats, and other amenities, and hole syou will occupy your tiny little minds with holding on."

The comment below mentioned a trashed train…

I read this in the 70s, so I'm guessing at least one train car was trashed in that decade.


*Giles was an editorial cartoonist for the Daily Express, one of the British papers.

454:

hole syou

Hopes you…

Time for a cup of tea to wake up :-/

455:

I worked for a UK water company in the late '80s after school, and briefly (and not extensively) worked with some Programmable Logic Controllers/Telemetry Outstations that kind-of had a "come from" statement. They were made by a company called "Seprol" and you programmed them in a language called "Sercal." The company whose SCADA software we were using was called "Servalec". I'm fairly sure the SCADA software was called "Se-something", so there was something going on with the "Se" prefixes but I don't really know what!

The language was quite a lot like BASIC. From what I can recall, you had eight programs and the way you task-switched between them was with an instruction that said: "When you run this program next, start at this line number." I guess now I would say it was a task-switch-goto-primitive, but at the time it always seemed like a "come from" because you had to bear in mind where you were coming from to know what you were going to do next.

(This article https://www.environmental-expert.com/articles/servelec-s-technology-journey-with-wessex-water-over-thirty-years-case-study-836145 tells me that actually the SCADA software was called SCOPE, so not quite SE-something." The S50 and S200 outstations referred were the ones I had some exposure to.)

456:

Heteromeles disagreed with my comment about human languages being mostly similar: "I'm not so sure about how many similarities there are among human languages. For instance, [list of details]"

You're getting lost in the details, and arguing from the assumption that I'm advocating strong Sapir-Whorf. I'm not. There's no question there is a deep underlying grammar common to all human languages: we all use nouns and verbs, and most of us use adjectives and adverbs. All the languages I'm familiar with (a small but multicontinental sample of the total) have verb conjugations or equivalent gimmicks to communicate tense and intent*. Were it not so, there would be human groups that became linguistically isolated and would be unable to learn to communicate with each other. Which isn't the case.

* For example, if a language lacks tenses and verb conjugation, it will use the same root (e.g., I go) combined with a time identifier like "yesterday" or "now". For another example, my Chinese colleagues tell me that putonghua doesn't use articles much, but they're still part of the language -- just deprecated and thus uncommon.

Some things become more difficult to communicate in certain languages; some things don't. But all the languages I've studied are close enough in their underlying skeletons that I've found hooks on which I could hang comprehension. Some of those skeletons are inverted compared to others, but the headbone is still the headbone. For example, Quebec French uses a lot of passive voice where English would use active. Some languages have clear and direct correspondences (e.g., verb conjugations in French and Italian); others require more memorization because of the differences (e.g., Italian vs. Japanese). Like chicken, it's all the same underlying meat, but what makes it worth eating is the diversity of ways to spice and cook it.

457:

I ATEN'T DEAD

He remains with us.

459:
"Oh, you're going to connect things to the network so you can access them? Yes, we've been doing that since the ..."
See rfc2324:


418 I'm a teapot

Any attempt to brew coffee with a teapot should result in the error
code "418 I'm a teapot". The resulting entity body MAY be short and
stout.

460:

It's horses for courses, really. I became closely acquainted with CMoS during my undergrad because its citation style is favoured by history faculties and journals. In that context it's indispensable. But otherwise, I haven't found myself referring to it that often. Although I do enjoy the monthly Q&A on the website – gives you a bit of the flavour of what distinguishes professional editors from the armchair prescriptivists (i.e. Lynne Truss).

[[ html links require quotes: now added - mod ]]

461:

"Setting ethical guidelines for controlled human COVID-19 infection studies on human volunteers" https://medicalxpress.com/news/2020-05-ethical-guidelines-human-covid-infection.html

462:

*Laughs* I kinda like it.

463:

If it had only happened once I think BR would have been overjoyed... or something. Football supporters used to do that all the time. They would smash all the windows and throw the seat cushions out onto the track, and repeatedly pull the communication cord for no reason even on the way to the match. BR used the oldest and grottiest carriages for football trains because they knew they were going to get wrecked. It's not entirely clear why they bothered to run them at all - maybe they reckoned that if they didn't they wouldn't be able to keep the football crowd off the ordinary service trains and all the ordinary passengers would be furious.

464:

I remember using a Basic dialect in the mid-70s where a RETURN n statement returned control to the statement n lines before or after the line following the matching CALL statement. Always seemed a tad counter-intuitive to me.

465:

That's the "humans are religious argument," which boils down to "religions are enormously diverse, mutually contradictory, and many societies integrate them into other practices, but every society has them." Well, no, that's an unproven assumption.

Turning to linguistics: For example, one of Chomsky's rules is that languages must have recursion. Piraha shows no signs of it, but so few people were multilingual in that and English that more linguists chose not to believe the people who were reporting lack of recursion, even to the point of currently working to stamp out Piraha by modernizing the tribe with a clinic and lessons in Portuguese for the tribe's children.

If a language is so into compounding words that a single word can be a sentence, is that word a noun, verb, adjective, adverb, or all of the above simultaneously?

I've struggled and largely failed to learn Korean, but I do know that they have the habit of using verb replacements to a far greater degree than English does. A lead in sentence may introduce the noun of the conversation, which is then referred to subsequently by everyone else without repeating it. These can get into sentences without nouns. Which suck for learning.

That's the point of the details: if you're saying about anything that there's no question that it's true, just ignore all the details until it fits, that's not a good argument.

What is a better argument is that there are thousands of languages in the world, most of them spoken by small groups of people. No one can communicate with everyone on this planet, even imperfectly, without lots of help from intermediaries. We (most notably, Christians and Muslims, among others) have made a mighty effort to force everybody to communicate using a handful of languages, as part of this whole colonial imperialism thing. Yet despite might, bloody, and ongoing efforts, we're still regularly confronted with slang, jargon, and other exclusionary structures normally arising as people work to establish unique group identities and exclude others from their conversations. Note how these are regarded as either substandard or signs of stupid elitism by the language mavens? Is the argument for universal language good science, or an attempt by linguists to follow imperialistic norms and to exalt the importance of their field? As a far outsider, I simply can't tell.

That's why I'm suggesting that language may be a the result fairly random walk through multidimensional space, rather than something that we've got "deep brain structures" that force us to communicate in certain ways. And again, if you enlarge that space by including signs, music, and math, the whole deep brain structure thing goes sideways. Where are the nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs in a pointing finger, Mozart's Ode to Joy, or the equations of quantum mechanics?

Here are some biology analogies that might help:
--All life uses DNA. Well, some biologists are arguing that, since all life is interdependent on other life forms for day to day existence, we might as well include viruses in life. And some of viruses, as we all know, use RNA.
--Well, fine, but those that use DNA or RNA use the same genetic code, right? Umm, there are some weirdos that have some mutant versions of a triplet codon here and there, so it's not entirely a universal code. Mostly universal perhaps.
--But they all use the same four nucleic acids? You meant five, because of RNA? Not quite. There are some weirdos that use variants, which may be where people started getting the idea for drugs like remdesivir.
--Okay, fine, I'll get out of the prokaryotes, but all eukaryotes have mitochondria...Oh, don't tell me no. Okay, I won't tell you, but some don't, or have replaced that organelle with other things. Or became parasites and lost them (e.g. Microsporidia)
--Fine, but we all certainly evolved from one common ancestor. Well, yes and no. Eukaryotes formed from multiple fusions of archea and bacteria, so there's a big ol' set of cross-domain fusions rooting the base of the eukaryotic tree.
--But we all evolved on Earth, right? That seems to be true, although we really don't know how to look for soil organisms that don't use our standard DNA code, so that might be our ignorance speaking.

Sucks when the details get in the way of some glorious theorizing, but the case for there being a tree of life is far sturdier than the one for language commonalities in humans. And when it's easier for some people to communicate with dogs or honey bees than other humans, it's really worth thinking about the whole universality of language thing.

466:

Oh, come off it! That's sloppy thinking, at best.

Firstly, bugger eukaryote evolution, and thrice bugger the myth / straw man of 'a single common ancestor' - you know very well that's not how genetics works, let alone social inheritance. We know that Homo sapiens has been through several very tight bottlenecks, and such things have an almost identical effect.

Secondly, the fact that it is almost certainly the result of a random walk doesn't change that one iota. The same is true of our visual system, and we know that a lot of that is hard-wired. Interestingly, our auditory system is almost entirely 'soft' (i.e. learnt), as I know full well.

Thirdly, I learnt that there were equivalents to nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions and conjunctions in mathematics when I was 14 - and I learnt many of the conventional symbols later. "For all X not equal to zero, X multiplied by Y and then divided by X is equal to Y." I can't be bothered to write out the TeX to do that in symbols, but I assure you that it is trivial. Quantum mechanics is less trivial, but no different.

Fourthly, nobody has been claiming that the restrictions of our languages and thought are hard-wired, though there are almost certainly SOME that are. The issue is how much our linguistic experience affects how we can think, and how feasible it is to break out of that box. I don't know the answer, and I am damn sure that anyone who claims that they definitely do is bullshitting.

467:

A good friend of Charlie's came up with the concept of Quantum INTERCAL since, he claimed, it made more sense. It allowed RETURN before GOSUB, for example and computed-RND COMEFROM among other useful features.

468:

To expand on my earlier comment. The "militia" is defined by Congress as divided into the organized militia and the unorganized militia. The former is comprised of the National Guard, Reserves, etc. The latter consists of every able-bodied male between the ages of 17 and 47, plus some special cases like military retirees.

469:

Please don't read Strunk and White. They are entirely unreliable and often even contradict their own advice within the advice they give on a topic. This is a good paper kicking the shit out of them - http://ling.ed.ac.uk/~gpullum/LandOfTheFree.pdf.

Stephen King's book, On Writing, is terrific and Steven Pinker's The Sense of Style, is, despite how annoying he is elsewhere, also very good.

470:

I will note that said friend wrote his own INTERCAL compiler ... in INTERCAL.

Some people question his sanity. I think it's just misunderstood genius, and one of these days I'm going to have to write him into a novel as the Mad Scientist.

471:

Did you read the somewhat of a polemic from Current affairs? https://www.currentaffairs.org/2020/05/the-attacks-on-tara-reade-are-unbelievable-bullshit.

Some key extracts

"Tara Reade has witnesses—multiple people she told, contemporaneously, about her experiences of being sexually harassed and assaulted by Joe Biden in 1993. As many people have pointed out ad nauseam, Reade has more corroboration than Christine Blasey Ford ever did, when she accused federal appellate judge Brett Kavanaugh of attempting to rape her when they were both teenagers in 1982. (In her testimony before Congress, Blasey Ford said, “I had never told the details to anyone, the specific details, until May 2012 during a Couple’s Counseling session.”)"


"Everybody already knows that Joe Biden is a notorious creep. It’s a punchline. The Daily Show joked about his gropery in 2015. Former Nevada Assemblywoman Lucy Flores has written that Biden planted a “long slow kiss” on her against her will. Female Secret Service agents complained that he swam naked in front of them even though it made them uncomfortable. Many people have known about Biden’s behavior for years, and they don’t care"


"Extensive delays in publicly reporting serious cases of abuse are very common, especially when the abuser is a prominent person. Blasey Ford waited 36 years to accuse Kavanaugh. Leigh Corfman, who accused former judge and politician Roy Moore of assaulting her when she was 14 years old, waited 38 years to come forward. According to the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape, “it is important to remember why victims of sexual assault, especially when victimized by celebrities, wait to report, if they choose to report at all… Victims often struggle with fears that other people will judge, blame and disbelieve them.”"

"Why make the whole story public NOW, when Biden is poised to become the Democratic nominee? It’s precisely because he’s about to be the nominee. As Anita Hill has since confirmed, the urgency of the nomination had everything to do with the timing of her allegation. When Senator Alan Simpson asked why she hadn’t come forward earlier, Hill answered, “That is a very good question, and I am sure that I cannot answer that to your satisfaction … I was afraid of retaliation. I was afraid of damage to my professional life.” (But why don’t women just report…sigh.)

Christine Blasey Ford also came forward when Brett Kavanaugh was nominated to the Supreme Court. She was asked why she had waited until that moment, and many liberal publications admired her “perfect explanation.” Blasey Ford said she “had a sense of urgency to relay the information [of the assault] to the Senate and the president.” In other words, it was information they needed to know before they chose to give Kavanaugh a hell of a lot of power."

Please read the whole thing and the links in the piece, if you have time. Despite an evidence-free dismissal from JBS it's a reasonably compelling case, at least as much so as others against Kavanaugh, Trump and co.

Of course, we can never know with absolute certainty. It's definitely a shitty look, though, to choose to disbelieve the reasonably credible person who aligns with ones political preferences. And it hands a really big stick to some horribly unscrupulous shitbags on the Republican side.

My opinion? The Democrats are just banking that their lying gropey perv is a lot less bad than their opponents'. Which is cynical and awful.

472:

Rugby... my late ex bought me, one time we were at a con, a book, an anthology of horror stories. Now, I don't like horror, but, well, this was a little unusual: the theme was rugby.

473:

"Reading and writing later"... that's for some folks.

My mom used to tell me how, when I was three? Four? that she read me a book one night, and in the morning, she heard me talking, and came in, and I was "reading", presumably having remembered the words that went with the picture on the page, the book to myself.

Some of us are *really* wired to read.

474:

Reminds me of the day, after I'd been working as a programmer for 7-8 years, when I discovered the ALTER command in COBOL. Chatting, later, with my boss, I asked, "Would you fire or defenestrate someone who used that?", and he replied, "Both."

475:

Regarding the discussion here about languages, the vastly large number of them, and their differences anf commonalities:

At this point there is this discipline that can loosely be called linguistic forensics. Languages follow migrations. Migrations of homo sap's variety of multiple groups have gone in many 'non-intuitive' directions, which always bring one form of communication into communication with another variety of communication.

So a scholar can backtrack via phonemes, vowels, tone etc. to go ever further back in time to where migrations (perhaps) originated.

A wonderful study, with really fine graph - maps going back as far as archeologists and linguists have been able to get is this one -- Ancestral JourneyL The Peopling of Europe From the First Venturers to the Vikings (2013 - 2015) by Jean Manco.

One of its lacks, however, is that it leaves out everything and anything about Africa, which particularly for Spain and the Ibercelts is a significant hole.

I didn't learn this from Manco's work, but because I was specifically interested in the entire, ancient, vast network of mongol-turkic languages, is that all languages do not include gender indication:

"Turkish does not have grammatical gender, human nouns and pronouns usually do not indicate whether the person referred to is female or male, e.g. doktor '(female or male) doctor', sekreter ' (female or male) secretary', yolcu '(female or male) traveller, passenger', o 'she, he', gitti 'she went, he went'."

Other languages do not include pronouns at all, or else have non-gendered pronouns, very different from the European Romance language networks, for instance.