Back to: Dead Lies Dreaming: Spoilers | Forward to: Submarine coming through!

So you say you want a revolution

Today is December 6th. The UK left the EU most of a year ago, but a transition agreement is in effect; it expires on December 31st, and negotiations between the British government and the EU appear to be on the rocks.

How did we get here and where are we going?

It's clear now that the Conservative party has, since 2017, succumbed to entryism by a faction of extreme right wing xenophobes who, in alliance with a cadre of rapacious disaster capitalists, intend to ram through a Brexit that does not involve any kind of working trade agreement with the EU. The 2019 leadership contest and Alexander de Pfeffel Johnson's subsequent election victory handed control over the UK government to this shit-show of idiots, racists, and grifters, led by a second-rate Donald Trump cosplayer with a posh accent and a penchant for quoting half-remembered classical Greek poetry (badly).

The 80-seat Conservative majority in the House of Commons puts Johnson in an invidious position: he's simultaneously on top of the external opposition (Labour—the SNP have effectively been silenced for the past 4 years in Westminster by a tacit Tory/Labour agreement to pretend they don't exist) but vulnerable to internal opposition by the back-bench Tory headbangers. Even if he wanted a trade deal (I'm pretty sure he doesn't) Johnson can't put one in front of his own party without risking a rebellion and leadership challenge. And for Johnson, gamesmanship is everything: it's all about being Prime Minister, not doing the job of Prime Minister. His catastrophic and indecisive handling of COVID19, coupled with outrageous cronyism and blatant corruption in the testing and PPE contract process, is a mirror to his conduct of Brexit and the clearest possible demonstration that he's an unfit person to lead the nation in its biggest peacetime crisis since 1945, much less two crises of that magnitude, one of them self-inflicted, running simultaneously.

Johnson is an arch-bullshitter. He doesn't want to look as if he's aiming for a cliff-edge Brexit situation, but it's his goal (he hasn't done his homework and doesn't understand or care about the long-term implications), so he's participating in negotiations in bad faith. It's clear that his intention is to equivocate until one of the EU26 (probably France, at this point) walks out in exasperation: at this point, he can declare that there's no scope for a Brexit deal but blame the EU for the subsequent economic and political catastrophe. Because never accepting blame for anything is as much Boris Johnson's shtick as Donald Trump's.

A lot of bullshit swirls around the issue of the common fisheries policy. Fisheries are a £400M industry in the UK at this point—chicken feed. But it's a great pretext to drive a stake in the ground (or seabed) and declare an irreconcilable gulf that cannot be bridged. The English have folk memories of the 1970s Cod War with Iceland, and of interminable arguments over the CFP in the 1980s. Johnson's going to play power chords in the key of taking back control over an industry that's worth less than Edinburgh's tourist shops, and he's going to use it as a pretext to run down the clock.

Incidentally, Brexit is best understood (by non-Brits) as an English nationalist project—English nationalism always labels itself as British, because English identity presumptively appropriates and subsumes everything else in the four kingdoms on a whim. It's a romantic utopian dream of autonomy and supremacy, and it's unachievable (that world never existed in the first place). Because it's an impossible dream Brexit can never fail, it can only be betrayed. And so backsliding will not be tolerated in the leadership. Which is why Johnson is on the hook: if he slackens in his zeal his own party will turn on him, like Trumpists turning on a Republican legislator who concedes that Joe Biden might have actually won the presidential election.

I'm calling it for "no deal" at this point. So what happens next?

January 1st: a new customs regime comes into effect around the main ports at Dover, Harwich, Felixstowe, etc. Trucks can't enter Kent without completed export forms, using an IT system that HMRC say won't be ready until March. There's a giant lorry park there, with queuing for 7000 vehicles, which has no toilet facilities and has already flooded a couple of times (it's on a flood plain). Moreover it assumes the average customs delay will be only a couple of hours. I think this is optimistic in the extreme: there may well be tailbacks all the way to the M25 (London's orbital motorway) and reports of fresh produce perishing before it can clear customs in either direction.

It's worth noting that our container ports are already logjammed, with huge delays building up: stuff is getting stuck there either as a side-effect of COVID19 lockdown or in anticipation of Brexit. But it's going to get much, much worse after January 1st.

EHIC cards stop working and health insurance for British travellers in the EU will promptly cost about 20-25% more. Folks who own holiday/second homes in Spain and France (or elsewhere) will suddenly discover they can't spend more than 3 months out of any 6 month period living in their homes, and that if they rent them out they'll be liable for high levels of tax. (Me, I probably won't be able to attend SF conventions in the EU without applying for a visa: it is, after all, a work-related activity and we've lost free movement rights too.)

With no trade agreement, WTO standard tariffs on imports from the EU come into force. These tariffs, contra lies spread in the British press (which are almost wholly in the pocket of pro-Brexit media oligarchs) will come out of the pockets of consumers—meaning the 40% of our food that is imported from the EU will cost 10-30% more, a tax that falls disproportionately on the poor.

I can't help thinking that this tax on food is part of the plan: we've seen rampant cronyism and corruption in the Johnson government, and if they continue on form they will want to raise money somewhere. Stealing it from the mouths of starving children would be nothing new in view of the Tory resistance to funding school meals for kids with laid-off parents due to COVID19. Expect the money to be spent on commissioning studies and products for streamlining import/export facilities at our ports—outsourced on unadvertised contracts to the chumocracy, of course. (That's just the latest blatant example: a sinecure at the institutionally racist and misogynist Home Office for a close friend of the PM's fiancée.)

But that's a digression ...

Weird shortages will show up on the British high street almost immediately. Cut flowers, for example, are almost overwhelmingly imported on overnight ferries from nurseries in the Netherlands: expect Interflora to take a huge hit, and many high street florists to shutter, permanently. Those displays of cut flowers near the entrances of supermarkets will be a thing of the past. So will cheap "basics" ranges of canned food: they're already vanishing from supermarket shelves, in a move that is probably intended to prepare consumers for the coming sticker shock as average food prices rise 15-20% in a month.

There will be a near-crisis in Northern Ireland as more than 200 border crossings have to either carry out customs inspections or close. The Good Friday agreement is in jeopardy if free movement across the border goes. More to the point, about half the food wholesalers supplying shops in the North have announced that they're just going to give up that market, unless streamlined arrangements can be made. Some businesses will simply become non-viable: milk, for example, is in some cases currently trucked across the border multiple times between the farm gate and the dairy (as roads wind across the border) and butter or cheese processing involves movement between facilities on different sides of an arbitrary line on a map that requires VAT and duty assessment at each step. But let's ignore Northern Ireland for a bit.

In England, Nissan have already very politely indicated that they will stop producing cars in the UK in event of no deal being reached: their supply chains are integrated across the EU. One example given a year ago was that components of the transmission of a (BMW manufactured) Mini crosses the UK/EU border half a dozen times before it's bolted onto the car, as specialized operations are carried out at facilities in different nations. Brexit seems likely to impose additional manufacturing overheads of 10-20% on the automobile industry. I expect major car plants to begin to close by mid-January. We can also probably say goodbye to continued production of Airbus components in the UK—the exact same logistic headaches apply. That's a £105Bn industry and a £11Bn industry both on the brink of non-viability due to Brexit.

Banking is going to be hit as the EU has no intention of allowing external banks to continue trading in Euros. Many of the major investment banks have already carried out nameplate moves to Dublin, Paris, and Frankfurt: that process will accelerate rapidly.

Note that these industries—aviation and automobile manufacturing, financial services, imports—are not the same as the industries that took a hit from COVID19 (transport, hospitality, retail). So the impact of a no-deal Brexit is additive to the impact of COVID19; the one cannot be used to conceal the other.

Great! Disaster capitalism ahoy!

During the initial months of the COVID19 pandemic, Chancellor Rishi Sunak rolled out a gigantic financial aid package (or at least it looked gigantic: it turns out that more of it stuck to the fingers of large corporate Conservative donors than to anyone else's wallet) to keep the economy alive albeit in suspended animation through months of lockdown. In so doing, he got the British public used to the idea of Keynsian stimulus again. The public understanding of economics is primitive, with many people thinking of government revenue (taxation and spending) in terms of a family budget, rather than realizing that money is something that governments can create or destroy pretty much at will (the drawbacks being inflation/deflation) and that financial institutions can also generate by creating and leveraging debt. This was used to drive public support for austerity between 2008 and 2015, a policy which led to over 100,000 excess deaths in the UK, reports of unemployed people starving to death, of benefits claimants being sanctioned for non-completion of employment interviews (while they were on their way to a hospital due to a heart attack brought on by the stress of the interview), and similar. Popular support for austerity has mostly wilted, but COVID19 provided a brisk refresher course in Keynsian stimulus spending—and also gave the new generation of Tory looters a refresher course in corrupt self-dealing and cronyism.

What we're going to see next is a British government "emergency bailout for the economy" to "cushion the impact of Brexit". Of course, most of this will go to their corporate backers and friends, in the biggest Mafia style bust-out since 2008.

By March the random food shortages and chaos on the motorways should be coming under control as a "new normal" prevails. People will get used to empty shelves, after all. There will be a significant economic shock, but printing half a trillion pounds of virtual banknotes (and handing half of it to their friends) should paper over the cracks for a bit. The Tory press will blame half of the disruption on COVID19, and the other half on the EU (who did not vote for Brexit). The vaccine roll-out is ring-fenced: the government have already announced that they'll deploy military logistics capacity to ensure the Turkish-designed and German-manufactured doses arrive in the UK without getting stuck in the lorry queues at Felixstowe.

There will of course be an ongoing drip of outrageous news to keep the papers happy. I expect the Home Office to savagely turn on EU residents in the UK who have applied for and received indefinite leave to remain, because that's what the Home OFfice always does (did I mention institutional racism earlier?). They're already logjammed with visa applications with insane consequences (here's a nurse who's been driven out of the NHS by Home Office visa fuck-uppery). It's going to turn hostile to everyone—if you don't have a passport already, you should probably make sure you've got one and it's up to date just in case you need to prove that you're legally entitled to live here. (Oops, that's just another £120 tax bill coming due.) Industries will go bust or shut down progressively, not all on January 1st, so there'll be plenty of stuff to keep the news cycle going. MPs will of course denounce foreign investors who pull out as traitors or slackers.

Some time in February/March, the Falkland Isles will hit a crisis point. 80% of their income is based on exports from squid fisheries to Spain and Portugal—which are in the EU, and which mean Falklands-caught squid will be priced out of the market due to tariffs. Expect to see the RAF sailing or flying in food parcels to Port Stanley.

I nearly forgot to mention Gibraltar (which voted Remain by about 98%, and was ignored). The Rock is going to be in trouble; there may be some sort of arrangement by which Gibraltar is conveniently ignored by HM Government and treated as being outside the UK so that the frontier can be kept open, but otherwise Gibraltar is going to need Berlin Air-Lift style supply shipments from January 2nd. Of course the current shower, despite all their bloviation about sovereignty and taking back control, will probably be happy to sell Gibraltar back to Spain in due course (once attention is elsewhere): see also the Thatcher government's dealings with Argentina in 1980-81.

During March/April there's going to be the distraction of another storm on the horizon.

Scotland voted "remain" by a 62/38 margin; support for EU membership has hardened since the referendum, and seems to have transferred to support for independence (and possible re-accession). In 15 consecutive opinion polls since the November 2019 general election, support for Scottish independence has never dropped below 50% (and has been as high as 58%). There is going to be a Scottish parliamentary election on May 6th and the most recent polling shows the SNP getting over 55% of the vote, with more votes than the Conservatives and Labour combined: they're likely to receive a large absolute majority in Holyrood. The SNP have made a committment to an early post-Brexit Independence referendum a manifesto pledge. (They're not the only party to do so: the Scottish Green Party—disclaimer: I am a member—have also done so.) The Greens also regularly get seats in Holyrood: the upshot is that there will almost inevitably be a government with a committment to holding an independence referendum as soon as possible.

The constitutional position here gets murky, fast. Johnson has stated that he will refuse to grant an Article 30 order permitting a binding referendum on independence. But he's always capable of reversing himself. More to the point, a non-binding consultative referendum may be legally within the powers of the Scottish parliament, using the legislative framework left over from 2014. A significant majority voting "leave" in a non-binding referendum would be a horrible problem for Johnson—the 2016 Brexit referendum was also "non-binding, consultative".

This is not a blog essay about Scottish independence, so please don't start discussing it in the comments: I'm just noting that it's the next political crisis currently scheduled to hit the UK after Brexit (although it could always be pre-empted by the Northern Ireland troubles re-igniting, some other part of the UK seceding, COVID21 putting in an unwelcome appearance, a dinosaur-killer asteroid, and so on).

Your takeaway should be that the UK has just been through 13 very turbulent months (from the 2019 general election upset, via COVID19, to the current mess), but we're only just approaching the threshold of a year that looks likely to continue COVID19 for the first half (at least), with added economic crisis, probable civil disobedience and unrest, a risk of the NHS collapsing, a possible run on Sterling, and then a constitutional crisis as one or more parts of the United Kingdom gear up for a secession campaign.

Happy Christmas! Now tell me what I've missed?

1217 Comments

1:

PS: the point of the title is that we're in the weird position of having a self-defined "conservative" government who are actually Jacobinite revolutionaries (with a leavening of deeply corrupt, self-dealing kleptocrats, as revolutionary movements are usually fertile hosts for parasites). The ongoing culture wars they've imported from their US opposite numbers are typical of their need to impose their totalizing, deeply anti-progressive ideology on every aspect of the state (including public opinion).

PPS: do I sound like I'm angry? Of course I'm fucking angry!

2:

Once you get to 7,000 lorries sitting in a muddy field outside Ashford that's the majority of the regular cross channel drivers. So until some get to actually continue the queue can't get any longer as you need the ones stuck to get to their destination and make the return trip.

This is not much of a silver lining.

3:

There won’t be customs inspections on the border in Northern Ireland. The Withdrawal Agreement that was signed in January prevents that. The customs inspections will be between GB and NI, not between Ireland and NI.

4:

Fine: then food suppliers selling from the mainland into NI are going to be running into customs barriers (and NI is only going to be exporting via the EU). It's still going to be a fucked-up mess.

5:

You've missed the love of the English for the occasion to show a stiff upper lip. As a result, I do not think there will be a revolution.

6:

Here's a fun angle for you Charlie: On Jan 20th the Russian psyop targeting Western democracy will be dealt a significant blow as Asset T leaves his position of influence (my current hope is that he refuses to, and the US Marshalls tase him and drag him out on his copious behind, drooling and soiling himself in full view of the world's TV cameras).

From a direct influence point of view, this leaves Johnson in a bit of a pickle as he no longer has an ideological match driving a trade deal from the US side. And in fact Joe Biden has signalled very strongly that he won't put up with comedy capers involving the GFA and infractions of international law.

Meanwhile that nice Mr Putin will be looking to re-distribute his assets in the countries where the psyop is still largely running to plan. I notice Nigel Farage has just started a couple of new ventures but I'm sure that's just a coincidence. Similarly Evgeny Lebedev getting a seat in the Lords probably has nothing to do with anything.

7:

Hopefully someone reading here might know:
Is the reinsurance market, Lloyd's, ready for the financial disruptions to operations?

8:

That would be the Withdrawal Agreement that Johnson and his merry Kleptocrat Klub have repeatedly disavowed? The one they've introduced a piece of legislation specifically to break? That the EU is taking legal action to try and maintain?

That Withdrawal Agreement?

9:

I think one bit you've missed is when Johnson leaves and the new guy sweeps in saying "it's nothing to do with me, 'guv; it was all the fault of that moptop idiot and his Labour enablers. It's a shame that we're going to have to sell off the NHS and destroy what remains of local government as a result of their abject failure, but remember folks - it's nothing to do with me. Look at those shiny new aircraft carriers over there."

And somehow, this will work. Again. Labour are still blamed for the 2008 crash, and yet the Tories were not punished for austerity. (reminder: the LibDems were the ones who took the blame for that because they had the temerity to turn out to be willing to compromise with a party that only knows how to act in bad faith as the last four years have shown in spades.)

It's hard not to admire really. Teflon feels wholly inadequate to describe it.

10:

Also, of course, the quantity of cross-channel trade is about to drop off a cliff - the estimate is that the number of permits available for UK drivers to enter the EU after Jan 1st is about 10% of the number who currently do so. And for some reason it's getting very hard to find drivers/firms on the continent who are willing to come to the UK.

Mind you, a catastrophic drop in imports of food, medicine, and other necessary goods isn't much of a silver lining either. I suppose it might be a "silver-coloured" lining of liquid mercury in the aerosol faeces making up the brexit cloud.

We're now pretty much certain to head into the kind of "no-deal with no-prep" nightmare territory that some of us were worried about 2 years ago. The food riots could start within a week (the UK supermarket supply chain normally holds roughly enough food for three days, and every gram of surplus is currently occupied with Christmas specials). Since we're currently being governed by a bunch whose demonstrated attitude to expertise and (other people's) risk was killing a couple of thousand (mostly disabled) people a month even before the pandemic started, and has given us both the highest death rate in europe AND the highest economic losses from covid-19 ... I'm expecting hundreds of thousands of brexit deaths, and fearing a total in the millions over a year or two.

[[ html fix - mod ]]

11:

On GB/NI borders and novel political crises, Ynys Mon remains largely unprepared for whatever happens next, even by contrast with Kent.

A mess with both the Gog/Cardiff division and WG/UK Gov divisions available for stoking.

12:

Yevgeny Lebedev was granted the title of "Baron Lebedev of Hampton and Siberia". That wouldn't have happened without a nod from Uncle Vlad.

13:

A lot depends on what the Government do with the Internal Markets Bill. The only thing that is guaranteed is that NI's border activity will change, though whether it's the NI/IR or NI/GB border is an unknown.

14:

I don't think there's going to be anything at all regular about this, and even the silver lining could be conspicuous by it's absence.

It doesn't make sense to me to add to an already overburdened system, but - I wouldn't be in _any_ way surprised if a significant proportion of the usually UK-only lorry drivers get directed to Kent anyway as shortages kick in.

15:

Yevgeny Lebedev was granted the title of "Baron Lebedev of Hampton and Siberia". That wouldn't have happened without a nod from Uncle Vlad.

I just realised what a flex this is by Putin on Farage. Farage is desperate for a knighthood or a seat in the Lords, and here's Putin showing him how easily it can be done... but not for him.

16:

Yup: The "Comservative & Unionist party" of Churchill, Macmillan, Heath & Thatcher (!) no longer exists.
It's astonding to realise that "Maggie" would be horrified by all this - she was one of the original, principal proponents of "the single market".
a Brexit that does not involve any kind of working trade agreement with the EU. The next week will see, won't it?
There is enormous pressure, elsewhere & in the remaining "left" (*cough*) of the tories for SOME sort of basic free-trade deal. As I said yesterday, I've given up predicting, as the meter is swinging so wildly.
Correction: bigggest peactime crisis since 1685 .....
Agreed about fisheries being a pretext - we GAVE our quotas away - or sold them - what hypocrisy.
The EHIC scrapping is utterly needless self-harm - why?
By March the random food shortages and chaos on the motorways should be coming under control as a "new normal" prevails. BETS? - actually, I think it will all blow up, very messily, about the first/second week of February.

@ 1: NOT "Jacobin" - more like the Rightist ultras behind Chrales X - or, much more locally applicable - the rightists & religious reactionaries who persuaded Britain ( England actually ) that James II & VII was all right & acceptable - see also my comment about 1685.
If you want corruption: WHY is money being given to "Palantir" & its deeply unsettling fascist boss, P Theil?

Niala
UNTIL you push them too far.
As I've indicated, I think we are in for a re-run of 1685-88/9

Chrisj
YES - it's deliberate - BoZo is trying to get the EU to walk away, because he's a lying shit who can't be trusted - but they saw that one coming & dodged....
Food riots in about a week I would give it until some time between the 14th & the 20th, but no longer than that.
THEN WHAT?

QUESTION:
James II / VII lasted 6/2/1685 - 11/12/1688
How long do we give this fiasco?

Clive Summerfield
"The Internal Markets Bill" will be rejected by the Lords AGAIN - & Lizzie might not sign, or at least send it back for reconsideration - as she is supposed to uphold the Law, not break it!

17:

The problem with trying to analyze this is that you are generally a sane person who is looking at the economic consequences.

White supremacy is crazy-pants; it's the idea that because you are easily sunburned, you are morally superior in an enormous over-riding way (the only human-appearing thing that actually has a soul, in the basic formulation) that makes your rape, murder, arson, and piracy moral goods.

Colonialism is how you moderate white supremacy into an unjust and exploitative but functioning system.

Take away the colonialism and there are two choices; give up white supremacy or give up everything else, because you can't get a functioning social system out of white supremacy, it refuses any concept of constraints; anything a white man wants to do is by definition God's will.

So there are three things going on, leaving out the relatively trivial Russian desire to be the last nuclear power by means of social engineering.

There's a big pool of mostly men, mostly uneducated, who have nothing but an identity as white. They're not skilled, they're not able to become skilled, and their experience of life is unjust. It's very easy to get them to blame anyone but themselves. (To be tooth-gratingly fair, they have been systemically screwed over; to be anything like just, one has to point out they've participated in the screwing and can't seem to pay enough attention to notice the blame gets apportioned in the wrong places.) This is the xenophobe vote, and because the rage-high is fleeting, this is an input that won't accept constraints on violence. You're going to be normal or they're going to kill you, and never mind if you are able to be normal under their shifting definition.

There's this bunch of mammonites; they believe money is a replacement for whiteness. (Money is the material love of God, and if you have money, you can do what you like.) They don't understand money or the economy at all; money is how we ration agency on the scale of societies, the value arises from the exchange, and you need a sovereign -- and thus a fairly complex society -- to have money at all. They are energetic idiots of the first order, though, and pursue money as though themselves pursued by demons. So nearly everybody who doesn't have a specific interest believes what they keep repeating about money, markets, and so on, despite nigh-all of it being obvious bullshit. Mammonites don't accept constraints on theft, broadly defined; slavery is theft, and they're intensely in favour of slavery. (You work to enrich them or you die, slavery, however institutionally accomplished.) Straight up political corruption is theft, too.

The third group are aristos; they got out of the colonial era not money (of course they have money) or xenophobia (of course everyone else is inferior) but authority. These are the n-th generation heirs of the pirate kingdom, who expect that their word is law and that the world exists to give them what they want, ideally without them having to articulate the want. (If you have to say what you want, the minions are not sufficiently frightened of your displeasure.) And they do have money, and they do have power, and they will not accept constraints on authority. The goal is to make extremely sure that all the social mechanisms -- and we are talking some pre-Duke-of-Wellington's-premiership mechanisms here! -- which function as barriers to their authority are removed.

Brexit is a joint project to get these three disparate groups what they want.

Destroying the City of London, that great engine of the English economy, is a goal of the Brexit project, because money is an alternate source of authority (to the aristos, definitionally intolerable); to the mammonites, it's people who aren't them with money. To the xenophobes, any banker is a focus of antisemitism.

Destroying the UK economy is not how anyone is thinking of it, but removing the barriers to authority and slavery and violence is more important to the Brexit project than any weird abstraction like "society" or "economy"; right now, to the people involved, nothing is working properly. It has to be destroyed so it can be replaced with something which does.

So, yeah, it's meant to do that. To the people running it, doing those things will mean it succeeded.

18:

Why so optimistic? There's still plenty of room to fuck up COVID vaccines without even getting into the rapidly rising crop of anti-vaxers. I'd rate the chance of a reasonable rollout of a vaccine around 70% or so, maybe less given that Brexit negotiations were also a "must not fail" project and failure was... actually an option. (that's a "gut" number guess though, admittedly)

If that happens then I'd predict a strong return to "herd immunity" rhetoric before the issue is resolved, lengthening the health, social, and economic fallout. I may however just be projecting my fears for the US on to my cousins across the pond.

19:

The desire for independence might not run along only along the borders of the nations. Here in the People's Democratic Republic of Manchester there is an overwhelming Labour majority, but our Mayor was popular with non-Labour voters even before he faced down Johnson over Johnson trying to use the city pour encourager les autres on Covid. It wouldn't actually happen in Manchester because the city was heavily split on Brexit, but I don't think it's impossible that London decides it's had enough - and that could get interesting.

20:

The EHIC scrapping is utterly needless self-harm - why?

Stuff I forgot to mention: the UK exiting Euratom (because apparently the 1957 Euratom agreement broke May's "red line" on free movement by requiring free movement for nuclear security personnel), which is going to bone our access to supplies of medical radioisotopes.

So don't get cancer in 2021, okay?

Oh, another thing I forgot in the original post: GDPR disappears on January 1st, leaving us exposed to foreign personal data mining and in the hands of a government that has already gutted the data protection registrar and is happy to sell us down the river to Palantir.

21:

That's a little trans-Atlantic for direct applicability here, but it's worryingly hard to refute.

I note that the regions are generally far less okay with any two out of three of those factions than the parliamentary core (I'm not saying "London" here because London is on the same continuum of diversity as Toronto: London voted against Brexit). Scotland in particular is totally not okay with this shit, and has a weirdly non-standard formulation of nationalism that is at odds with the global standard for neo-Nazis. (Ignore Greg: he gets his media bubble from the London press, who Do Not Get Scotland at all -- like trying to understand Canadian politics purely from the Washington Post.)

22:

So don't get cancer in 2021, okay?

Or presumably a bunch of other things that use radioactive materials for imaging. When my blood pressure got erratic enough the medical people wanted to look at a number of possibilities, the noninvasive scan for heart and heart artery problems used enough technetium-99m that they gave me a letter to use at airport security if I had to fly within the next three days, because I was going to set off the detectors.

23:

Graydon
Not even wrong on the "Aristos", but spot-on for everything else, especially trashing London ( see below )

Charlie
Yeah ... EHIC was a placeholder for a LONG LIST of "useful thinbs" we are going to be without for no reason at all, actually.
Didn't know about GDPR - that's just the diahorrea topping on the shit cake, isn't it?

( SNP ) No - again - I get some on Scotland from the NSS, who are not happy bunnies & from two encounters with SnotsNats, in London, sneering at anything & everything English, denying we had any culture at all & behaving generally like the petty little xenophobes that they were. Oh & I do, occasionally, read "The Scotsman".
But, in case you hadn't noticed, the tories are busy rubbishing London, playing up to the provincial xenophobic racists & robbing us blind, even before Brexshit ....

julesjones
It's many years since my sojurn in Manchester, but you are correct, we could easily revolt - we are fucked-off with both our previous & our present Mayor & we want to continue to be a World City, not the ruins of Athens

24:

There's enormous amounts of individual expression, yeah. (Dougie's refusal to pay for track-and-trace in Ontario would take a few thousand words to explain, for example.)

But the general post-colonial constraint refusal as a post-national movement of capital? Capital wants slavery, and finds common cause with other slave-holders and would-be slave holders. The Rifle Requirement from 1860 through 1915 was a unique period in history, and that's where nigh-all the democracy and general agency we've got arises. We don't automatically keep it.

There's this idea that civilisations fall when the parasitism gets too bad, and the parasitism gets too bad when not enough people can image the collapse; it's always been that way, it will keep going forever no matter what anyone does.

It there's history, there's going to be a word -- there may be a vocabulary -- for this outlook we're seeing now in its various local expressions in Anglosphere politics. I would like to know that word, and from which language it derives.

25:

So what's BoJo or Gove or any other Bullingdon Club member if not an aristo?

(It's a multi-century institution, you can't say it's a social aberration.)

Not subject to expectations of competence, presumption of significance, lavished with money for doubtful work, narrowly defined peers, disdain for opinions outside that self-defined set of peers, habit of regarding laws as opinions, all of the complex is there. The exercise of authority remains indirect, but they clearly don't like that and equally clearly work to render it direct again.

26:

Both of which you mentioned:

The arts.

A £111+ billion industry that's going to have touring to and from Europe utterly smashed. This is a good summary of the pain: https://twitter.com/Howard_Goodall/status/1326554078256656389

Trans healthcare.

Accessing this is going to get even harder (it was already effectively impossible via NHS). Esp. with the recent, very transphobic ruling effectively preventing trans youth receiving puberty blockers. https://mermaidsuk.org.uk/news/qa-understanding-the-high-court-hormone-blockers-judgment-with-director-of-legal-and-policy-lui-asquith/

And not even including how the pandemic has made the last year way harder for artists and trans people.

27:

Destroying the City of London, that great engine of the English economy, is a goal of the Brexit project, because money is an alternate source of authority (to the aristos, definitionally intolerable); to the mammonites, it's people who aren't them with money. To the xenophobes, any banker is a focus of antisemitism.

I think you may have missed on this one. What the ultra-wealthy apparently want is for the City of London to become an offshore financial center for the EU. This is fairly straightforward, as (I think) most offshore financial havens are either British dependencies or former British dependencies (Channel Islands, Cayman Islands, Cook Islands, etc.) and so the model they've used to gut those economies should transfer if England gets beaten down. That model is laws that backstop the accumulation and retention of wealth gathered worldwide, and a populace unable to do anything about it. Since legal trusts, corporations, and charities are the major wealth holding structures, and all three of them were well-elaborated under English law long before others got in the act, there's a certain symmetry to doing this.

In this model, the ultra-rich may even welcome Scotland, NI and Wales splitting off from England, because that gets the troublemakers out (in the spirit of the India-Pakistan divide), puts the EU borders on land again, and makes it easier for them to control an England independent of EU banking regs.

As for the right-wing authoritarian followers (to use Altemeyer's version), they're pretty crap at organizing to overthrow the elite, so they're "safe" to have around as dependent English subjects.

28:

Greg: "The Internal Markets Bill" will be rejected by the Lords AGAIN - & Lizzie might not sign, or at least send it back for reconsideration - as she is supposed to uphold the Law, not break it!

It passed its 3rd reading in the Lords last Wednesday, so it looks like Boris' appointment of 36 new Peers may have tipped the balance. As for Her Maj, after the way last year's prorogation went, I have little confidence that she'll do anything other than rubber-stamp it. Just another nail in the coffin of the Monarchy (hopefully). Which may well be the only discernible benefit of this whole sorry mess.

29:

Oh yeah, one question no one wants to answer:

Does Queen Elizabeth get the dubious honor of presiding over the entire devolution of the British Empire to little England? Or will it be her son or grandson who gets to become the figurehead of the Isles? I'm thinking that Harry bugging out was one of the more sensible things that could have happened.

In other random news, I noticed yesterday that the execrable but memorable movie Reign Of Fire was set in the UK in 2020. So...maybe it will be a good thing if subterranean construction comes to a halt for a little while?

30:

Getting back to the original post, I think one thing that you missed, Charlie, was when you run short of things to post this spring, and turn the blog over to Greg Tingey to give instructions on how to do Vendetta victory gardens so that everyone suffering through the Greater Depression of 2021 has some food in the back patio.

31:

About the only thing that can be confidently predicted is that this whole mess will be analyzed for generations to come, and taught in classes around the world.

I think missing in placing a lot of the blame though has to go to the large trans-national businesses that are about to get hurt badly.

As noted by OGH, Nissan is yet again making noises about the impact of Brexit - but that is a large part of the problem - it's all noise.

If on the other hand Nissan, Ford, and all the other big manufacturers had on day 1 of the Brexit process being invoked after the referendum started the process of leaving the UK then things could have turned out differently.

What happens if in 2017 Nissan opens a plant in say Spain while closing their UK operations, followed by several other large employers? It immediately put the claims by the Brexiters to be the obvious lies they are, and perhaps alters the course of history as enough of the public start to panic when claims of fear mongering fail upon the obvious evidence of Nissan cars being made in Spain.

Does Labour kick out Corbyn earlier, with the unions abandoning him as their members lose jobs? Does it prevent the northern red wall from going blue, preventing a Boris majority?

The whole problem of Brexit is that is has remained a theoretical word game with no consequences to change opinion until it is too late.

32:

And in fact Joe Biden has signalled very strongly that he won't put up with comedy capers involving the GFA and infractions of international law.

The problem is that Biden has removed the GFA from the equation from a British perspective.

Biden is now saying he won't be considering any trade deals in his 4 years as he wants to solidify US business first so they can better take advantage of any future trade deals.

This means regardless of whether the GFA is kept or broken, the UK will not get a US trade deal until after 2024 (at the earliest).

4 years is an eternity in politics, so Boris and company may now view breaking the GFA as a worthwhile cost given the US deal is essentially "unobtanium" from their perspective.

33:

I'm not sure anybody in the European Union will believe that Johnson will adhere to anything is signed up.

34:

Food riots in about a week I would give it until some time between the 14th & the 20th, but no longer than that.
THEN WHAT?

A mass exodus of English people to other countries, thus bringing the population of England to the point where it can self sustain and the rich can return to be Lord's of their estates in a "civilized manner" while playing with their money in their now on-shore tax haven?

35:

Does Queen Elizabeth get the dubious honor of presiding over the entire devolution of the British Empire to little England?

I reckon the departure of Scotland would be the death of her. Leaving Charles to preside over the exit of Northern Ireland and Wales from the Union. Would be ironic that the longest serving Prince of Wales was monarch when Wales leaves after 850 years.

36:

Here's a good article
https://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/brexiteers-line-up-ireland-as-they-play-blame-game-1.4425735
If you haven't a subscription there's a free audio version of it.
Everybody will be to blame for brexit apart from those who brought upon themselves

37:

Greg @16:

It's astonding to realise that "Maggie" would be horrified by all this - she was one of the original, principal proponents of "the single market".

OTOH, from what I understand, MT was very much in favour of screwing the poor (and if you're not worth £100M per year, you're poor).

Charlie @21:

like trying to understand Canadian politics purely from the Washington Post

Reminds me of the wag who described that the Most Boring Newspaper Headline Ever would be "Worthwhile Canadian Initiative". Does the WaPo even cover Canada in sufficient detail for the reader to make any kind of opinion? I've no idea.

38:

The ultra-wealthy probably do want that, but the corporations want to keep existing. That means abiding EU banking regulations, which is dragging them out of London. What will start as a paper split is going to become real with some speed.

All that finance was in London because of the Empire, and there was an empire because of going first with industrialisation to attain and maintain thalassocracy. Once departed, there will be no putting them back.

39:

I'm in Southern California. If anyone comes to the U.S. look me up. I don't have much money, but I'll do what I can.

40:

I think we'll agree to disagree. The wealth managers within the City of London will do quite well. The private banks will also do well. The public financial institutions will do what you say, of course. However, there's an advantage to international arbitragers to have multiple sets of regulations within which to work, so long as they can move money around to take advantage of each separate set of laws for its own purposes.

Again, this is an international system that's been growing since the 1980s, and the City of London is already a big player. Having it cut adrift from the EU means that EU oversight rules no longer apply. For the hugely wealthy this is a feature, not a bug.

41:

Does the WaPo even cover Canada in sufficient detail for the reader to make any kind of opinion?

The WaPo is among my morning reading, so I can give a clear answer to your question: No. Not even close.

Same is true of any other country, of course.

42:

A twist: Magnitski sanctions from the EU will be a thing soon-ish. Now it just might be that breaking the GFA might forbid access to the EU to a great many of oligarchs -- some of which are French residents (no names, but they own a tabloid). Put that in the frankly unlikely column.

We're also playing out one of the Foundation novelettes: cut trade, make food expensive, but there are no bombs, no threats, fast-forward and the strongman folds. I don't know that the real world works like this, but Tories look like they really want to die as a party.

Side note, we're really lucky that these would-be fascist-adjacent strongmen-cosplayers are really stupid/incompetent. We won't get out of it unscathed, but it may not last more than a decade or so.

43:

Hopefully no deal will not happen - and I wonder how much in the original post would happen if we do get a deal. If I had to guess one way or another right now I think we will get a deal - albiet just about the worst deal possible.

Quick question though: Does anyone know if the UK's electricity supply will be affected? How much of our electricity supply is obtained from the EU, and if so does that mean blackouts - in the coldest months of the year? That could be fatal to the very young and old.

I've heard it said that the thing to watch out for now with regards to deal or no deal is to watch the passage of the IMB (Internal markets bill). If johnson pushes it all through without any changes he's likely chosen no deal. If it is curtailed or removed on the quiet, he's chosen to get a deal.

What I think will happen: Johnson gets a deal at literally the last moment possible. It is a terrible and bad deal but since brexit negociations won't "just stop" at Dec 31 2020 (they will have to continue) at somepoint maybe in early 2021 johnson just walks out of discussions, throws a hissy fit and says "We're not talking any more, the EU won't listen, no deal".

In that way johnson could tick both boxes -- he gets to say he got a deal (but which he dumped) but he gets to please his hard brexiteers who want no deal too.


ljones

44:

As noted by OGH, Nissan is yet again making noises about the impact of Brexit - but that is a large part of the problem - it's all noise.

The view from Tokyo was almost certainly one of disbelief that a supposedly conservative and pro-business government would ever do something as bone-headedly self-destructive, so it had to be a negotiating position rather than an end-game. "Sit tight, don't panic, calmer heads will prevail" was probably what Nissan's executives thought.

Ditto with Ford, etcetera. They began ramping down production and/or stockpiling parts and preparing for layoffs in time for the last deadline (a year ago) and were proven wrong, at great and annoying expense, so why would this time turn out differently?

45:

This is your regular scheduled reminder that the Queen is 94, has reigned as a figurehead (in US terms) for 68 years, and has dedicated her life to not rocking the boat by meddling in politics for that entire time. It's not that it's not her job to meddle in politics so much as that her job is to specifically prevent the monarchy from meddling in politics.

She's not gonna change at this point. Especially by mounting a kamikaze attack on an entrenched conservative government in the middle of a war-grade crisis.

46:

Graydon
The Rifle Requirement from 1860 through 1915 was a unique period in history, Pure gibberish.
Is there a clear explanation for this twaddle?
The Bullingdon club are emphatically NOT "aristos" - they imagine they are but they are not.
Real aristos are like the Dukes of Devonshire, investing in productive outlets & "improving" their "estates" however those terms are interpreted.

H
and a populace unable to do anything about it. I would not bet too long or heavily on that one!

Clive S
FUCK RIGHT OFF
You would prefer an appointed, ohh ... President Gove, perhaps? Or Charlie's nightmare, President Blair? Or some other grovelling placeholding nonentity, encouraging fascism?

H
YES - which is why she might, just might revolt - she has nothing to lose at that point.
Alternatively, & much more likely, she can turn around & say, with perfect truth - "YOU voted for Brexit - here it is. YOU voted for this shitheap BoZo, now you must put up with what you voted for.
None of it is my fault, is it?"

"Food on the back patio"
FORGET IT
For this winter's supplies, you should have been sowing seed & planting things between February & September 2020.
It's MUCH TOO LATE, now!
If we go crash out & therefore get food riots ( Yes, they will be inevitable ) whatever happens, it will "all be over" by July or August 2021, apart from scraping up the wreckage.

mdive
Your first sentence is a dire & accurate warning

Brain Lucey
THAT is the real problem - by putting the "Internal Markets Bill" up, BoZo has publicly signalled that he cannot be trusted a nanometer - the only reason the EU wants a deal is that "No Deal" hurts them, too - not nearly as much as us, but they could do without the trouble.
Morals of a syphilitic stoat indeed.

mdive
A mass exodus of English people to other countries HOW?
All the emigration / immigration rules are now broken, remember?

Ijones
I hope you are correct - it will be an ongoing, but just-about-manageable disaster ( only )
Oh shit - hadn't read to the end.
All too likely possible - it would be entirely in character for BoZo.
If that or a straight no-deal happens, I just hope I live long enough to see him dangling from a lamp-post.
The penalty for Treason is death, after all.

47:

"Thankfully they're incompetent" is a framing error.

I continue to get the impression that a lot of people think we're looking at a "I'm the greatest" thing like Napoleon, someone claiming imperium and enacting their will on society. That's exceedingly rare; sequential centuries of human history where that doesn't happen, rare.

Facts are a very new thing in a "we make a hypothesis and we test it with observation" way; three centuries is in most respects pushing it. Facts -- the social machinery to produce facts -- have lead to the greatest rate of sustained social change in human history. What we're seeing is a heartfelt rejection of a facts-based world, largely because the increase in real standard of living necessary to get people to tolerate the rate of social change was removed.

(A facts-based world requires you to not go with your gut; it requires distribution of authority; it requires public acknowledgement of error; it requires measuring results. All of this changes the basis of legitimacy for social power, and the people who have power don't like that.)

The offered replacement to a fact-based world is resurgent prescriptive social norms; materially worse, indeed materially much, much worse, but at a relatively slow rate for most, and what you get instead is absolute certainties. Facts don't let you have certainties; facts don't let you have a prescriptive norm, you can't count on what you were taught as a child to still be the case with the full weight of society backing it up.

There's a reason there's so much of a demographic split, and why there's so much mammonite desperation to get this done now in institutionally immutable ways. But there's also a reason the support for the "hate facts, feel good" faction runs half the population.

There's no need for imperium; there's no need for a competent supreme sole autocrat. There's just this refusal to give up; enough of that, and the cost of good government becomes infinite. If there can be no good government, they can have their prescriptive norm and go back to killing anybody weird and feel safe.

It takes a rise-of-Islam scale social movement to overcome something like that.

48:

Graydon
Except a rise-of-Islam is PRECISELY AGAINST facts & reason & logic ... oops.

Oh, by the way, it might not be enough to feed you all the time, but there are ways of raising small quantities of food - I laughed out loud at the 3rd-storey snails - the bastards are certainly found in my upstairs front window boxes - from whence they get brief flying lessons.

49:

I should point out that I know perfectly well that the Windsors are the local tycoons who have taken on the figurehead role of leading the country in return for being allowed to keep their property.

My point was more in line of "royal funeral(s) amidst the food riots?" Possible. Hopefully not likely. In Queen Elizabeth's case, what's as concerning as England going off the bridge and the secession of Scotland is that she's down to one corgi. The loss of her last dog may be as great a heartbreak as everything else.

The other thing is that I'm dubious that England will have sufficient food if bojob stays in office. Someone's got to provide real leadership to inspire people to plant their own radishes and potatoes. If the Moppet won't step up, the next leader in line would be....King Charles Horta? Yeah.*

So Greg, yes, you may be called on to help advise Charlie how to sprout barley in his apartment so that he can brew beer, or something horticulturalish.

*I can just see the fantasy now: King Charles IVy turns England back into a functioning monarchy as Parliament does to itself what Guy Fawkes failed to do to it. Talk about new management.

50:

From (about) 1860 to (drastically) 1915, the ability to project military power rested on rifle regiments. Horse, guns, and foot, sure, but very definitely was the foot ascendant. To get the rifle regiments necessary to being a Power or a Great Power, you needed to be able to mobilise a very large fraction of your adult male population, because you were in a numbers contest; you then needed to give them a strong stake in the political system so this was relatively safe in political terms. (This was NOT a matter of one-sided largess; this is the period in which increases to the franchise happen for the very definite reason that the elite's options are limited, and a lot of collective action by non-elites exploited that.)

It got mythologised very quickly; "get you the sons your fathers got, and God will save the Queen" is talking about something that was -- in 1887 when the poem was published -- at very most two generations old.

This comes to an end in 1915, with the dominance of artillery; anything you can see, the guns can grind up. You see the relative loss of importance of small arms in infantry kit; what was in 1914 a company of men each equipped with a haversack and a rifle becomes an array of grenades, rifle grenades, rifle calibre automatic weapons, and mortars by 1918, with the remaining actual riflemen in a supporting role.

The necessity of industrial mobilisation lingered through maybe 1970; there is nothing even vaguely like either mass mobilisation or industrial mobilisation required today for the exercise of military or other material power, and so no countervailing pressure against narrowing the franchise. All of the "right" factions -- the mammonites, the xenophobes, or the aristos -- have constructions of virtue that would sharply limit who can vote.

("aristo" is not "this person is a titled landowner", but "this person thinks, and has a social position sufficient to prevent them from being quickly disabused of the notion when they act like it, that they are one of the lords of creation." There are a great many such in places where there's no titled anybody, and I would hazard to suppose a great many in Mother England, too. These are the people who set out to become a CEO so everybody has to do what they say.)

51:

Rise-of-Islam wasn't against facts and reason; if anything, it improved the circumstances for facts and reason. (That passel of Islamic mathematicians is why "al" shows up in algebra and algorithm, after all.)

What it did was replace the incumbent basis of society with a different basis, rapidly, and with (for the scale of the change) surprisingly little violence.

52:

A couple of things you missed: you didn't mention that selling fishing rights off to the highest (foreign) bidder was Thatcher's doing. Nor the the Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Bill. Damn the murder, rape and torture - what is far more likely is things like the following:

1) Worming their way into law-abiding organisations that annoy the government and commiting offences that gives the government an excuse to suppress that organisation. Think CND, Greenpeace, Amnesty, Liberty etc. But my guess is that the first one to be targetted will be Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions, followed by anything that opposes monetarism and any troublesome unions.

Didn't someone write a story called "Minutes of the Labour Party Conference 2016" about something similar?

2) Committing perjury to get a troublemaker convicted when there isn't enough hard evidence. It's not as if that's a new technique, after all. My guess is that our lickspittle judges will refuse to hear appeals on that basis unless the defendant can prove the perjury beyond reasonable doubt, as they do at present when asked for disclosure against the government.

53:

Greg Tingey @ 45: all the emigration / immigration rules are now broken, remember?

Note that the non-EU countries the English may be thinking of going to have not broken their own rules about regular immigrants and refugees.

To give but one example Canada has already planned the number of immigrants and refugees it will take for 2020, 2021 and 2022.

The total number of immigrants it will accept, from all countries, for 2021 is 351,000. Out of this, the total number of refugees it will accept, from all countries, is 52,950.

If there is a complete economic collapse and severe food shortages in England the number 52,950 will seem rather small won't it?

Of course you have to remember that there will be probably collapses in other ill-ruled countries around the globe and that they will also be contributing to that 52,950 number.

https://www.immigration.ca/canadas-new-immigration-levels-plans-could-see-390000-permanent-residents-per-year-by-2022

54:

The Foreign Office staff seems very confident that the UK will join the Common Market by 2024 and the EU by 2035. Personally I think that’s highly optimistic on both scores.

One part I wonder about, is travel. I.e. If people start seeing how much better off the Europeans are, will that change the equation?

If there is No Deal I think that increases the chance of a coup against Boris as the Tories start infighting over the blame and opportunities available. He’ll be gone by the end of 21 at the latest.

55:

Niala @ 5: You've missed the love of the English for the occasion to show a stiff upper lip. As a result, I do not think there will be a revolution.

The revolution already came and went. The aristos overthrew the people. Charlie's talking about the aftermath; what the revolution is going to mean for the common man.


56:

Rise-of-Islam wasn't against facts and reason

I think Greg is thinking of today's islamists, who are very much not into facts and reason so much as cosplaying the middle ages (when the Islamic world reached its peak, before reaching the gates of Vienna). They're still in denial of the gigantic loss-of-empire that the collapse of the Ottoman empire and the resulting carve-up of the Middle East led to, so role-playing a historic period when things were better is ... well, it's no more or less batshit than 1950s nostalgia and white supremacism in the USA today, or Brexit for that matter.

The lessons those of us in the Anglophone world should learn from this ought to be deafeningly obvious, but I'm seeing nothing in the press.

Obligatory SF story reference: "We see things differently" by Bruce Sterling (nailed this cognitive dissonance over relative loss of imperial hegemony, oh, decades ago).

Which reminds me: I seem to recall James Nicoll chewing over the SF trope of a Mars (or other space) colony in the context of Angry White People who don't want to rub elbows with mud-eating terrestrials; what are the implications of sudden availability of cheap reusable orbital spacecraft (e.g. Musk's Superheavy/Starship) for white supremacists?

57:

Regarding City of London and all that:

UK has been the 100% reliable brake every time EU has tried to do something about tax-evasion, off-shoring etc. etc.

City of London as a much more convenient Tax-Haven, just a train-ride from BXL is not going to happen, in particular not in case of no-deal.

And if the smoking remains of UK regrets and wants to rejoin the EU, their application will not even be considered, until the have joined the 20th century and gone metric, and entry will be contingent on adopting the Euro.

Btw: What's your take on that Charlie ? Would Scotland be willing to adopt Euro to get into EU ?

58:

The UK has already gone metric -- ages ago: there are a couple of grandfathered-in non-metric measurements such as beer sold by the pint, but the "pint" is defined as 568ml in law; I learned the old units as legacy stuff when I was at school in the 1970s, anyone much under 60 works natively in metric.

Adopting the Euro is another matter.

I expect if Scotland UKexits, then there will be a "Scottish pound" that is geared against either Sterling or the Euro or a basket of currencies, with Eurozone convergence as official policy (much as the Polish Zloty has officially been converging with the Euro for, oh, about 20 years now). Scotland is much more likely to adopt the Euro to get into the EU than England is, short of a full-scale Sterling collapse ... but England won't be applying to rejoin the EU this decade, so who the hell knows?

59:

When the UK falls out of the EU, it stops being in the Internal Energy Market.

Undersea interconnectors are an important element of grid stabilisation, the closure of coal plants in the UK has increased energy flows from France to the UK.

So, a higher risk of blackouts until new agreements are signed.

(incidentally, Scotland leaving the UK will leave the power grid with a thorny problem, since it does not have a separate grid, National Grid covers the entire island)

60:

Chrisj @10. We don’t have the highest death rate from Covid-19 in Europe. This is just the left wing’s version of the British exceptionalism that they so decry from the right wing. Just as we’re not uniquely good, we’re also not uniquely bad. We’re badly governed, but so are other countries. Belgium, San Marino, Andorra, North Macedonia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Italy and Spain have higher death rates than we do. https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/#countries

61:

JBS @ 54: The revolution already came and went. The aristos overthrew the people.

That wasn't a revolution, that was a reaction. Those people are not revolutionaries, they are reactionaries.

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

62:

The Internal Market Bill passed the third reading in the Lords with the amendments to make it comply with the Withdrawal Agreement and international law. The government can either accept it with the amendments, or put it through the Commons again and then send it back to the Lords again. They can’t just pass the unlamented version that they want.

63:

Which reminds me: I seem to recall James Nicoll chewing over the SF trope of a Mars (or other space) colony in the context of Angry White People who don't want to rub elbows with mud-eating terrestrials; what are the implications of sudden availability of cheap reusable orbital spacecraft (e.g. Musk's Superheavy/Starship) for white supremacists?

I'm seeing a combination of the exclusionary single-philosophy colonies from Peter F Hamilton's Night's Dawn, crossed with the politics of A Libertarian Walks Into A Bear/.

64:

As someone living across the pond I'm concerned about what a British banking collapse (assuming at least one major bank screws up its Brexit escape plan and causes a gaping securities wound) might do to the rest of the world markets, already stressed with COVID and not quite out of the woods of whatever slash-and-burn Trump wraps up with in mid-January.

Compared to the derivatives crisis, Brexit has been slow-moving AND highly visible, and if nothing else the Torys and the GOP have been willing to protect their wealthy friends. But we've seen that it really only takes one slip to foul things up.

65:

No one is going to let a major bank go under again. That lesson from 2008 has been learned. Any bank that has a liquidity crisis will be nationalised, and keep trading and honouring its financial obligations.

66:

Which reminds me: I seem to recall James Nicoll chewing over the SF trope of a Mars (or other space) colony in the context of Angry White People who don't want to rub elbows with mud-eating terrestrials; what are the implications of sudden availability of cheap reusable orbital spacecraft (e.g. Musk's Superheavy/Starship) for white supremacists?

I think we're back to Niven's take that libertarians make the best astronauts. And, based on the astronauts' biographies I've read, I think the opposite is rather true. The opposite, in this case, are over-achieving, disciplined, team players. So sending up a ship of white supremacists might be a costly mistake for everyone involved.

67:

The view from Tokyo was almost certainly one of disbelief that a supposedly conservative and pro-business government would ever do something as bone-headedly self-destructive, so it had to be a negotiating position rather than an end-game. "Sit tight, don't panic, calmer heads will prevail" was probably what Nissan's executives thought.

I don't doubt you, but that was sort of my point. Anyone paying attention to the current reality, as opposed to trying to fit the past reality onto the mess, could see it was anything but a negotiating position.

But they didn't do their jobs - the jobs that (perhaps not in Japan, but certainly in Detroit and other head office locations) they are paid obscene amounts of money to do because supposedly they are uniquely qualified and thus deserving of such pay.

I mean, Boris really was quite clear about the government's view regarding business when he was merely the Foreign Secretary and he wasn't fired for saying it.

Ditto with Ford, etcetera. They began ramping down production and/or stockpiling parts and preparing for layoffs in time for the last deadline (a year ago) and were proven wrong, at great and annoying expense, so why would this time turn out differently?

I mean, if they expected Boris to come out with some sort of deal to maintain the status quo they should all be demoted to janitor - it isn't as though Boris is an unknown at this point.

Brexit was going to hurt these companies, the only question was how much.

It would have been much better off approaching various European governments about getting tax breaks and/or new free factories built - much like the London banks were wooed by the various European capitals.

68:

I'm seeing a combination of the exclusionary single-philosophy colonies from Peter F Hamilton's Night's Dawn, crossed with the politics of A Libertarian Walks Into A Bear/.

Didn't things like this happen back in ye olde days of the colonization of the New World? Like...Fordlandia?

Anyway, thanks for the link to A Liberterian Walks Into A Bear. Added it to my pile.

69:

hmmm @ 41: A twist: Magnitski sanctions from the EU will be a thing soon-ish. Now it just might be that breaking the GFA might forbid access to the EU to a great many of oligarchs -- some of which are French residents (no names, but they own a tabloid). Put that in the frankly unlikely column.

We're also playing out one of the Foundation novelettes: cut trade, make food expensive, but there are no bombs, no threats, fast-forward and the strongman folds. I don't know that the real world works like this, but Tories look like they really want to die as a party.

Side note, we're really lucky that these would-be fascist-adjacent strongmen-cosplayers are really stupid/incompetent. We won't get out of it unscathed, but it may not last more than a decade or so.

I'm pretty sure I understand "Magnitski" sanctions, but what is "GAF"?

A lot of people can die in a decade of misrule.

70:

A mass exodus of English people to other countries HOW?
All the emigration / immigration rules are now broken, remember?

I mean, how did all the people from Syria and other parts of the middle east do it? They just did and forced the governments at the receiving end find a way to deal with it.

Or the number of young Irish who dispersed around the world post 2008/2009.

It's easy to sit back and say country X has rules against it, or that they will only accept Y refuges a year, but if thousands of people simply show up and sit down that changes the equation.

With the added benefit (for many, not all, of the current residents of England) that the combination of speaking not having the wrong religion and having white skin will make them much more politically acceptable in many places (with speaking English being a bonus for a subset of countries).

(and any sensible country and their businesses should already be looking at enticing the young & highly educated from England if things go bad).

71:

Charlie Stross @ 44: This is your regular scheduled reminder that the Queen is 94, has reigned as a figurehead (in US terms) for 68 years, and has dedicated her life to not rocking the boat by meddling in politics for that entire time. It's not that it's not her job to meddle in politics so much as that her job is to specifically prevent the monarchy from meddling in politics.

She's not gonna change at this point. Especially by mounting a kamikaze attack on an entrenched conservative government in the middle of a war-grade crisis.

What would she do if shit got so bad it actually threatened the existence of the Monarchy?

72:

Graydon
A huge amount of "islamic" mathematics was, in fact "Indian" - see also Charlie - yes I'm thinking of islam after about 1300CE ( ~680 AH ) after the Mongol invasions & the retreat into mysticism & rejection of reason, that still rules.

Paul Guinnessy
James II & VI lasted 3 years, so 2024 is spot on, actually.
Travel - no.
It was blindingly obvious to me, in 1965, the first time I went to Germany, that their standard of living was higher than ours, never mind since then. Did it make any difference until after the second complete collapse of our exercise of "soveriegnty" in 1976 ( the IMF crisis ) - no, of course not.
Slight correction - with any luck, he'll be dangling before the end of 2021.

PHK
DO keep up!
We went metric, apart from Pints, & Miles on roads, many years ago. ( And as Charlie says, those are "derived Units" officially measured in International Standard Units ) ... I started using what were then called "mks" units back in 1960-61

Niala
Correct

Mike Scott
Thanks for the correction
In other words, the revised "IMB" does not break the EU's co-regulations

JBS
"GFA" - Good Friday Agreement - an International Treaty, of some importance.

INdeed, there's also the matter as shown in the award winning Norwegian fil: "The King's Decision" - which is worth a watch.

73:

Your takeaway should be that the UK has just been through 13 very turbulent months

A piffle. We're at 46 months.

74:

Meantime in the news (pinched from the guardian);

"Brexit: Breakthrough on fishing rights as talks hang in balance".

But yet...

"In an unwelcome development for Boris Johnson, France and Germany have instructed the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier that they are united on the need for the UK to face consequences over future divergence from the EU rulebook as policy changes."

and (from the independent);

"PM to push ahead with controversial legislation" (the IMB)

or

"Breakthrough on fishing rights?

Rumours are still swirling that an agreement has been reached on fishing rights, with some reports claiming that the EU has been given access for up to seven years."

So who knows what is going on? Maybe there really might be a deal - or not, or this is all just "diplomatic noise".....

ljones

75:

mdlve@69:

Greg: A mass exodus of English people to other countries HOW?
All the emigration / immigration rules are now broken, remember?

mdlve: I mean, how did all the people from Syria and other parts of the middle east do it? They just did and forced the governments at the receiving end find a way to deal with it.

No! Refugees are not treated well in such a case.

Don't try that stunt with Australia. You'll end up on Manus Island or other detention centres:

https://www.cbc.ca/radio/asithappens/as-it-happens-thursday-edition-1.5182961/detained-writer-exposes-australia-s-notorious-manus-island-camp-from-the-inside-1.5182979

76:

Niala @ 60:

JBS @ 54: The revolution already came and went. The aristos overthrew the people.

That wasn't a revolution, that was a reaction. Those people are not revolutionaries, they are reactionaries.

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

Just because they're reactionaries doesn't mean they can't have a reactionary revolution.

https://www.dictionary.com/browse/revolution

It's not just leftists who have revolutions, and not all revolutions are accomplished by violence

77:

Don't try that stunt with Australia. You'll end up on Manus Island or other detention centres

English-speaking white refugees with Anglo-Saxon names might well be treated a lot better.

I can't speak for Australia, but I expect Canada (or at least large chunks of the electorate) to treat British refugees better than non-Europeans.

78:

"From (about) 1860 to (drastically) 1915, the ability to project military power rested on rifle regiments."

Depends who you ask; the power grouping most conveniently referred to as "Germany" were well aware of what you can do with artillery pretty well all along. They were highly impressed by the quality of the French rifles and riflemen opposing them in 1870, considering them better than their own, but the weapon system that won that war was German artillery (and what lost it was epic dickheadedness on the part of the French commanders), and after the war the French as well as the Germans knew what artillery was for. Only the Germans still knew better.

"anything you can see, the guns can grind up."

That was the mistake the French made in applying the lesson. They invented the "quick fire mechanism" (hydraulic recoil buffer) and concentrated on arming themselves with quick-firing light artillery that was indeed highly effective at grinding up any troops the gunners could see... but found themselves fighting a war that gave them few opportunities to do so, and needing a lot more in the way of high-angle trajectory heavier artillery to grind up trenches you couldn't see. Like the Germans were using.

So, anyway, now we have a ramshackle polity with delusions of grandeur, acting in a breathtakingly stupid manner in a way which might possibly have been prevented if an important player had put their foot down firmly at the start instead of piddling about trying not to commit, with a record-breakingly old and long-reigning monarch whose principal concern has always been working hard at not rocking the boat, and a next-in-line who is a chap called Charles who has his heart in more or less the right place but is a bit of a div. Possibly the "revolution" in the thread title is that of the hand that goes round once a century.

79:

Just because they're reactionaries doesn't mean they can't have a reactionary revolution.

https://nyupress.org/9781479893409/the-counter-revolution-of-1776/

The so-called Revolutionary War, Horne writes, was in part a counter-revolution, a conservative movement that the founding fathers fought in order to preserve their right to enslave others.

80:

Artillery wasn't useless prior to 1915; it wasn't the decisive arm. From thereabouts of 1860 until 1915 that was rifles. From 1915 forward it's artillery.

None of which saves you from inept commanders, unable to recover from surprise; to paraphrase somebody about Crecy, a battle like Crecy cannot be produced by a military genius like Edward III; for a battle like Crecy, you need an idiot like the Duc d'Alençon.

But! this is the period of the major colonial expansions into interiors and highlands; the period where differential military power is greatest. Also the period where people in the European powers start figuring out that they don't really understand what they're doing with armies anymore.

Absolutely everyone expected -- from all previous experience! -- that the Great War would be a short, high mobility war. In many respects it had to be a short war; it was impossible to fiscally sustain a long one (correct! only farewell, gold standard), and Imperial Germany did not have internal supplies of nitrates, and would have to choose between sustaining hostilities for as much as a year and a bad harvest. Only we get the Haber process and Imperial Germany can make enough gunpowder fast enough while starving much more slowly than expected. Technological surprise becomes a thing.

I continue to use Mr. Hohenzollern as evidence that you can in fact do anything at all and keep the loot; the strength and breadth and sweeping nature of such example is presumptively animating the principle figures driving Brexit.

81:

What would she do if shit got so bad it actually threatened the existence of the Monarchy?

It won't, precisely because she's been fanatically single-minded about staying out of day-to-day politics. It's one of the few British institutions that nobody can ascribe any blame to for the current mess.

82:

How likely is a newly independent Scotland to keep the monarchy?

83:

I would be very slow to suppose that any exceptions will be made for folks from the UK, whatever the general run of voters thinks. The federal immigration bureaucracy isn't pro-UK; there were, for many years, structural exceptions for immigrants from the British Isles, but those have all been gone this century and the anecdata I have suggests that getting in on the immigration lottery is tougher from England than anywhere else; a de-facto stricter standard of scrutiny.

(The Quebec immigration mechanisms probably couldn't keep a straight face if you asked them about preferential treatment for UK refugees.)

Plus there's no way anyone political wants to stand up and advocate for major expansions of immigration during the ongoing pandemic recession, which we've got for at least the next six months, possibly year. (So much depends on what the cousins get up to.) There's already been muttering about reducing those targets.

84:

Jamesface writes: And in fact Joe Biden has signalled very strongly that he won't put up with comedy capers involving the GFA and infractions of international law.

And Canada, politely as always, says "we're going to want at least a pound of flesh if you want to trade with us"

85:

And Canada, politely as always, says "we're going to want at least a pound of flesh if you want to trade with us"

Except Canada already has essentially done a trade agreement with the UK, an easy task given that it is just the Canada/EU agreement redone as Canada/UK.

There's talk of extending it further, but I expect that will likely remain just talk given almost everything is already in the existing agreement.

86:

Charlie Stross @ 80

Well, yes, but on the other hand she does unoffically indicate when she is Not Pleased. She kept Maggy Thatcher standing up a long time (that is not giving her the permission to sit down during an audience) when she was once Displeased with her policies.

When she came over to Canada to "celebrate" our patriation of the constitution in 1982 she gave Pierre Trudeau a sour face or a pained face every time he smiled at her, because she was Not Pleased that it was done without unanimous consent.

87:

Niala:

No! Refugees are not treated well in such a case.

Don't try that stunt with Australia. You'll end up on Manus Island or other detention centres:

Robert Prior:

English-speaking white refugees with Anglo-Saxon names might well be treated a lot better.

Exactly. A lot of the refugee issue is racism, a problem that many fleeing England would not have.

Graydon:

I would be very slow to suppose that any exceptions will be made for folks from the UK, whatever the general run of voters thinks.

Plus there's no way anyone political wants to stand up and advocate for major expansions of immigration during the ongoing pandemic recession, which we've got for at least the next six months, possibly year.

All it takes is the right wing monarchists to wrap themselves up in Queen & Country, to say why could we accept (choose appropriate non-white skin colour/non-christian religion) crossing our border over the last 4+ years and we can't accept refugees from our ancestral home and watch things change regardless of how inaccurate or stupid it may be.

Add in the right wing tendencies of most in England and the Canadian Conservatives would welcome they with open arms - just as a fringe of them are pursuing a CANZUK open borders idea.

88:

JBS at 68:

GFA is the Good Friday Agreement, responsible for the current abatement of the Troubles in Northern Ireland.

89:

I just hope I live long enough to see him dangling from a lamp-post. The penalty for Treason is death, after all.

And then you can give him a little wave like Vir Cotto on Babylon 5.

90:

mdlve @ 86

England is not the ancestral home of Canada. The Inuit and the First Nations were here first.

The United Kingdom is a trusted NATO partner and we can only help it to survive if it wants to.

91:

By all accounts, the Queen got along much better with Jean Chrétien than Pierre Trudeau. She got quite a kick out of him saying shit! (merde!) when a pen broke at the signing ceremony for the Canadian Constitution in 1982.

92:

England is not the ancestral home of Canada. The Inuit and the First Nations were here first.

Yes, the Inuit and First Nations people were here on the physical land first, and were treaty atrociously since then.

But it doesn't change the fact that Canada's (as in the government and civic structure) ancestral home is the UK - our government system, our legal system, our head of state, etc. are all based off of the UK(*)

Just as my "ancestral home" as such would be Denmark, given my grandfather came from Denmark.

* - exception in Quebec I believe, whose legal system is more inherited from France.

93:

Well, Charlie - wish I could disagree, but I can't.

Good luck - stay safe & sane.

94:

@Graydon, Rifles/Artillery

You are missing machine guns in the picture.

95:

mdlve @ 91

Actually, members of the First Nations saved the lives of the first settlers, in the 17th century, by showing them the cure for scurvy.

Later, in the 1950s, we saved the lives of the Inuit when they were going through repeated famines because of some poor fishing and hunting years.

Sure, we got common law from the UK and Le Code Civil from France.

But we worked out federalism all by ourselves, over the centuries, since the UK was a unitary country and not a federation.

We're now doing some form of devolution (and the creation of another province, Nunavut) for the Yukon Territory and Northwest Territories who used to be ruled directly from Ottawa.

But this devolution is very recent and has absolutely nothing to do with devolution in the UK.

96:

Thank you, Charlie, for such a detailed and cogent essay on BREXIT -- Who wants it, Why they want it, and how everybody else will pay for it and suffer very much.

Also thank you, commentators to Charlie's essay, for so many interesting and information additions -- particularly Greydon's long comment.

I have recommended this with a link to the post in some other places, including to my Partner and some of our friends in email.

97:

So sending up a ship of white supremacists might be a costly mistake for everyone involved.

I don't know, it could work as a Golgafrinchan solution, assuming the infrastructure is not too costly and/or surplus. And no-one feels obliged to launch a rescue mission: I guess that's where it breaks down a bit. Technically (per the Outer Space Treaty) they are the responsibility of the nation that owns the spaceship, or the nation where the company that owns it lives... not allowing for the question of a company's nationality to be particularly complex. Maybe it would be possible to pitch it so that they would register a company somewhere that obviously doesn't have any space capability, Sierra Leone maybe, and transfer ownership there. Isn't that sort of traditional for Libertarian ventures anyway, to get away from big government?

98:

Sure, we got common law from the UK and Le Code Civil from France.

But we worked out federalism all by ourselves, over the centuries, since the UK was a unitary country and not a federation.

I suggest you look into the British North America Act (1867) and its subsequent amendments, the UK laws that created Canada as we know it and was the ultimate authority for Canada until 1982 when we finally took control away from the UK Parliament in London.

Until that time major changes in Canada required approval by the UK Parliament.

(for example, it took an act of the UK Parliament in 1951 to create the legal foundation for what would become the Canada Pension Plan).

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

99:

Wasn't it Napoleon who said that God generally fights on the side of the heavier artillery? In response to an immediately-dismissed general who said that it didn't matter that he couldn't have the artillery in place in time, God was on France's side?

100:

Nope! Machine guns are memorable and lethal but not decisive.

Machine guns were a tactical problem in the Great War in areas with an established continuous front. They weren't and aren't of strategic importance. (If all the machine guns magically vanished and the artillery didn't, no change to the position of the front; if all the artillery magically vanished and the machine guns didn't, the Western Front goes mobile again.) The massive production of stopgap rifle-calibre automatic weapons like the Lewis, the Chauchat, and the MG 08/15 to support assault in those conditions stopped once the tactical problems got worked out, mostly by the development of armoured vehicles. This was happening in 1918, it didn't have to wait on full mechanisation and the continuous front going into continuous motion.

Infantry picks up the notion of the "light" machine gun and then the GPMG, yet another heavy thing to carry in the adjustable weapon mix. Attacking into positions with emplaced machine guns isn't a delight, but everybody knows how to do it.

Artillery remains a "don't be where they're shooting" problem for infantry; broad-sense artillery (to include air power) has us into notions like conflicted volume; the impossibility of winning open-field battles with someone who can achieve artillery superiority has driven conflict into strange asymmetric structures since 1960 or so.

101:

When I was a wee lad, before 1982, someone wanted to expropriate some property adjacent to the downtown of the small town my family lived in at the time. There was a development scheme to build a shopping mall, as were just becoming fashionable.

Problem; a big chunk of the proposed parcel for the mall was owned by someone who inherited it, by direct male primogeniture, from the ancestor who had been granted the property by George the Third in recognition of service in the Revolutionary War. Retained the original grant, in the legal Latin of the day. The grant was original and unconditional; it had never been subdivided, merged, or sold. The controlling document is the one that starts off "GEORGIUS TERTIUS" and there is no getting around it.

To expropriate the property, it would be necessary to petition the local MP to petition Parliament (the Canadian Federal Parliament) to pass a bill that did nothing but petition the House of Lords to petition the Crown to despoil the descendant of the King's good servant.

The local MP told the would-be developers to cease entertaining such fantasies, possibly with less tact.

The shopping mall didn't get built. (In hindsight, everyone was generally pleased about that.)

If you ever wondered why Pierre (and a number of other people) had such a bee in their bonnets about Patriation of the Constitution, this kind of reason is far from all of the kinds of reason, but it mattered.

102:

I don't know, it could work as a Golgafrinchan solution, assuming the infrastructure is not too costly and/or surplus. And no-one feels obliged to launch a rescue mission: I guess that's where it breaks down a bit. Technically (per the Outer Space Treaty) they are the responsibility of the nation that owns the spaceship, or the nation where the company that owns it lives... not allowing for the question of a company's nationality to be particularly complex. Maybe it would be possible to pitch it so that they would register a company somewhere that obviously doesn't have any space capability, Sierra Leone maybe, and transfer ownership there. Isn't that sort of traditional for Libertarian ventures anyway, to get away from big government?

Spaceship? Why bother? They're breaking up cruise ships at Aliaga, Turkey, due to La Rona (https://www.cnn.com/travel/article/cruise-ship-demolition-photos-aliaga-turkey/index.html). Instead of going blast off, fast-thinking libertarians (they exist, right?) should buy up a to-be-scrapped cruise ship and set it up as a SeaSteading. I'm sure that packing a few hundred freedom-minded libertarians into a surplused cruise ship will go ever so much better than sending them into space. And they can cruise the world where no one will bother them. Around the Kerguelen Islands, perhaps. Or Tristan de Cunha. Perhaps they can raid the Falklands and disappear into the Roaring Forties. Or anchor off Western Sahara.

103:

English-speaking white refugees with Anglo-Saxon names might well be treated a lot better.

Quite so (and over here in Australia, definitely). It's only a year or so since the Home Affairs minister was seriously proposing extending supernumerary humanitarian visas to white South African farmers who were making a case for being oppressed, oppressed I tell you by the gang violence that was affecting them at a substantially lower rate than the rest of the population. There's a safe assumption that while the negative reaction meant this didn't happen as a high profile, promoted activity, that nonetheless certain numbers will have changed in certain ways under the radar. I expect Brexit refugees to get a much warmer reception, TBH.

Of course the pointy bit of Australia's anti-refugee policies is really only aimed at maritime arrivals. A different approach, the most popular being simply flying in and overstaying your tourist visa, is usually treated VERY differently.

There's an interesting element to the timing of the changes in the China-Australia bilateral relationship. Right now there is a whole class of Australian winemakers who were selling their entire output in China, which has now introduced something like 200% tariffs. Now this sort of thing can balance out: the Chinese consumers affected by this will buy wine from elsewhere, and that will leave gaps in the market in some parts of the industry that the affected growers can target (whether it's wine, grapes, viticultural equipment, etc). But it's fair to say that all Australian exporters who are dependent on China are starting to look elsewhere as a general precaution.

So you know all those coal-fired power stations that have been closing down or converting to gas? Gladstone to North Yorkshire via Singapore and Suez doesn't even transit the South China Sea, and that's totally omitting the Atlantic route. Just saying...

104:

Point of information. My understanding[1] is that the ordure could hit the air movement device as early as tomorrow (well today now for Charlie and the other cispondians on this blog) because while the bonfire of international law clauses were indeed nixed by the Lords from the Internal Markets Bill, the government intends to reintroduce them on Monday as part of the Finance Bill. This is the enactment of the UK’s annual budget which as a money bill cannot be delayed or blocked by the House of Lords. The EU negotiators have said that if those clauses hit the statute book then they’re walking away. Boris et al have said that if a deal is struck then the clauses won’t be needed. Clearly this is a game of brinkmanship, and the question is who will blink first. It looks likely that Boris thinks it’s going to be the EU, but I’m not so sure.

[1] From the perspective of a Englishman-turned-American by naturalization who still harbours some hopes of returning to my native country to retire in a decade or two

105:

Not subject to expectations of competence, presumption of significance, lavished with money for doubtful work, narrowly defined peers, disdain for opinions outside that self-defined set of peers, habit of regarding laws as opinions, all of the complex is there.
That's tight, thanks. Is there a (short) readable treatment of that (applicable to multiple cultures), that you recommend?

I am reminded of "Aristoi", Walter Jon Williams, 1993.
Being Aristoi, wjw, 2012 (bold mine)
There would be a fairly rigid social order, with the Aristoi (“the Best”) on top, in the middle the Therápontes (“Servants”— which is also what “Samurai” means, by the way), and the Demos— the People— at the bottom of the pyramid.
...
So in Aristoi, social barriers are not absolute— it’s a aristocratic meritocracy, in which absolute rulers are chosen through a series of examinations, like mandarins in Confucian China. Through application, genius, talent, and drive, a member of the Demos can become an Aristos.

106:

mdlve @ 97

The Parliament in Westminster never invented federalism. It was worked out gradually here in Canada, with the London Parliament being mostly a rubber stamp for decisions made in Canada.

A list of British North America Acts misses out the extremely important Statute of Westminster of 1931, which gave full legislative powers to Canada.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Statute_of_Westminster_1931

This Statute also made the Windsor dynasty Canadian. From then on the status of our sovereign was distinct from his or her position in any of her other realms, including the UK.

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

This means that she could flee to Canada if the UK were on fire. But I don't think she'd do that.

Anyway, a majority of Canadians still think she's a good Queen.

On the other hand a majority of Canadians don't want to keep the monarchy after her death. So, Speaker-To-The-Plants would have to look for another Dominion if the UK caught fire during his reign.

107:

From a non-European part of Ford, it appears that Ford of Europe (FOE) bet on a there being a deal with a side order of 'if the UK wants to kill their auto industry, all the better for Europe.' But suspect work from the UK will not go to Germany or Spain, but to Romania.

In the interim, FOE shut down Bridgend (closed Sep 2020); that leaves on Dagenham (engines) as a manufacturing site. Suspect that the Japanese will be more impacted as they seem to have bet on the UK as their base for Europe.

Just this week the component suppliers started to serve notice of anticipated disruptions from a 'no-deal' exit. I suspect we will see plenty of 'down tools' and waiting for some parts something can be built.

108:

I would be very slow to suppose that any exceptions will be made for folks from the UK, whatever the general run of voters thinks.

OTOH, if a bunch of Brits just happened to make it to Canada I suspect we'd be slower to send them back home than a bunch of, say, Jamaicans.

109:

On the other hand a majority of Canadians don't want to keep the monarchy after her death.

I suspect if we had the option of Harry rather than Charles the vote might go the other way. Or would have before he scarpered off for the States.

110:

So you say you want a revolution

No, I'm already revolted enough.

111:

Waded through https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/immigrate-canada.html recently?

(TL;DR there are like fifty ways to immigrate to Canada. They all have their own specific rules and operate for specific purposes. This has removed discretion from the system.)

Canada doesn't deport very many asylum seekers as it stands; this is a major Conservative bugaboo. (About 2% in 2019 because the system is overloaded. Deportations have just restarted, COVID or no COVID.) With food riots in the UK, TSR -- Temporary Suspension of Removals -- would almost certainly kick in. (That happens when the destination nation is in such chaos that its entire civilian population is at risk.)

On the other hand, travel would almost certainly stop, too, and it's a long walk.

There's a set of special provisions for folks from Hong Kong in place right now, but those have been in the works since before China regained territorial control. I can't see special provisions for the UK in less than a year; generating a case for urgency would be hard to do in time to be useful, and even if you did, the response would be "send food" rather than "bring people here".

112:

No short version, sorry; that's coming out of reading stuff about the transition away from feudal systems in Western Europe when I had access to a university library decades ago, so it could be out of date with respect to current scholarship, too.

Meritocracy as a notion falls apart in the presence of selection; people greatly prefer that their kid does well over the system doing well, by and large. Which will destroy any system dependent on fair assessments.

113:

Instead of going blast off, fast-thinking libertarians (they exist, right?) should buy up a to-be-scrapped cruise ship and set it up as a SeaSteading. I'm sure that packing a few hundred freedom-minded libertarians into a surplused cruise ship will go ever so much better than sending them into space.

Such a project would require money, which means obvious potential for graft, so of course Libertarians are doing it; they're already selling spaces on an old liner they've renamed the MS Satoshi to the usual gang of enthusiasts and second-order scammers, to put out for international waters Real Soon Now.

114:

Yeah, I'd read about the Satoshi awhile ago. I just think, since we're going into Austral Summer, that Now Is The Time for Brave Libertarians to Commandeer Their Freedom Boat and head South to the freedom of the Great Ocean.

By the time they get there it will be winter in the Roaring 40s, but hey, it's cheaper, safer, and warmer than going to Mars, no? And they already go cruising to Antarctica, so obviously any decent cruise ship can handle it, no problemo. Right?

115:

Such a project would require money, which means obvious potential for graft, so of course Libertarians are doing it; they're already selling spaces on an old liner they've renamed the MS Satoshi to the usual gang of enthusiasts and second-order scammers, to put out for international waters Real Soon Now.

If this goes the way things normally go in that crowd, they'll sell the actual liner for scrap while continuing to sell berths for their voyage.

With the current price of iron ore being what it is, selling ships for scrap is a boom industry at present.

116:

Some other thoughts: -

Over the course of '21, Sterling will probably fall against the € and USD by a fraction with a small denominator, like 4 or 3.

This will worsen inflation as the price of items in the "standard basket of goods", like mobile phones and cut flowers, rises by half or more.

The Bank of England will accordingly feel the need to increase its bank (interest) rate to curb the resulting inflation, in the midst of an already severe downturn.

117:

we can't accept refugees from our ancestral home and watch things change regardless of how inaccurate or stupid it may be.

All it would take is a bunch of black or brown faces with British passports being shown in the media and that would come to an abrupt halt, I reckon. Our Pauline is not going to be happy unless we can flatly refuse to accept any Islams{sic} and probably any of those dope-smoking Jamacians with the funny accents wither.

Also, remember that the current PM looks to the US not the UK for guidance, especially moral guidance. The people he'd want are the rich, preferably evangelical hypochristian types. Not the heaving masses of povo scum whose only claim to having value is that they're white. It would be pretty easy to rile people up about whinging poms and drunk tourist overstayers if they wanted to.

On that note, Australia does desperately need tp bulk up our underclass of legally dubious not-technically-slaves to work on our farms and threaten any city folk who want workers rights. I reckon we'd happily go 100,000 or so white, english-speaking peasants to replace the Bangladeshi and Indian "international students" and Chinese "457 visa" workers we have now... if you feel like competing for those positions?

118:

Goodness, that thing is the Pacific Dawn. Until recently I had a cruise-addicted co-worker who loved that ship, had been on it several times and had a photo of it up above her desk along with the pictures of her kids. She was unhappy to learn it was being retired.

I'm not what sure setting up just outside Panama's territorial waters really achieves versus setting up on the land in a country like Panama, or versus setting up just outside the territorial waters of a more developed country. You'd have to question how independent the thing would be of the shore, especially if the operators are not setting up much in the way of medical and health services. I don't think I even want to know what "crypto spirit" entails, it sounds like cough medicine.

119:

Greg

FUCK RIGHT OFF
You would prefer an appointed, ohh ... President Gove, perhaps? Or Charlie's nightmare, President Blair? Or some other grovelling placeholding nonentity, encouraging fascism?

Just because I'd rather not have a hereditary head of state, no assume I'd find an elected one any more desirable. My political ideals tend more towards the anarcho-syndicalist.

120:

Roy
Maybe - but it's got to go to the Lords again - & they will nix/amend it - again ....
The actual poin though is that it's a clear demonstration that BoZo is a deliberate liar who cannot be trusted - at all.

Desperate emigration from the UK ...
Just get to NI & WALK to Eire & you're there!

Meanwhile, it's not looking good this morning.

Clive S
Your political ideals are admirable - but that is NOT what you would get.
Hello to the new boss, same as ( Or quite possibly worse than ) the old boss.
Cromwell, Robespierre & Stalin come to mind, or any named Ayatollah.

121:

Greg
You're probably right, but the idealist in me says we've got to start somewhere. All systems are eventually corrupted and need renewal, constant vigilance and a willingness to consider acting pour encourager les autres are potentially the only counter-weights. But I've made it to 55 with most of my ideals intact, and damned if I'll give them up now.

122:

GFA: the Good Friday Agreement. Peace accords in NI. Now the US is a guarantor of that, and so is the EU. It's more or less their legal duty to sanction us if we break it...

123:

After lurking and reading for a number of years I thought I'd finally create and account and pot.

I'd add an increase scapegoating and hate attacks on various minority groups including those not deemed patriotic enough.

124:

What would she do if shit got so bad it actually threatened the existence of the Monarchy?

It won't, precisely because she's been fanatically single-minded about staying out of day-to-day politics. It's one of the few British institutions that nobody can ascribe any blame to for the current mess.

Charles got into a mess about 15 years ago over the "black spider letters" to then PM Tony Blair. There were regarded, and rightly IMHO, as attempts to intervene in the Government of the day.

If the monarchy's going to survive post-Liz, he'd better have learned the lessons from that. Whether it should survive is a matter for another thread, and possibly not on this blog.

125:

"Fisheries are a £400M industry in the UK at this point"
Extra fun little wrinkle, most of that industry is based in Scotland, only about 30% is based in England.

126:

Charlie @57: wrote
The UK has already gone metric -- ages ago

The mile is so well entrenched that you can't register a vehicle with a metric speedometer in the UK (I tried). You can drive one, but you can't register it.

127:

For those who think that in an élan of racial solidarity the Australians and Canadians will welcome white English refugees: there are decades of evidence there is no such solidarity within England itself (perhaps a millennium if you go back to the Harrowing of the North). Now there is a distinctive element of callousness towards the poor coiled deep within the English middle-class psyche that other Protestant cultures like Germany or Scandinavia do not share, but it would be foolhardy to assume other Anglo-Saxon societies are devoid of it.

128:

Clive S
Well, hopefully I will make it to 75 in 35 days time with my cynicism undiminished - or, more likely, given the main subject "improved" if you see what I mean.

Phinch
I have a horrible suspicion that you are correct:
"It's all the fault of the Liberal Remoaners" - coming to the pages of the Daily Hate-Mail any time soon.

Murphy's Lawyer
Fake fuss.
He was responding to a "Constituent's letter" as as member of either house of Parliament should do.
As monarch, he could not do that, of course.

129:

How likely is a newly independent Scotland to keep the monarchy?

Scotland will keep the monarchy, at least at first.

(It's the Scottish crown anyway, the English just borrowed it in 1606.)

I think support for the monarchy is lower in Scotland than in England, but it's still over 70% and support for a republic is under 20%. It can change in a decade (look at support for independence) but it's almost a certainty that it won't shift substantially until after Elizabeth II dies.

130:

Not the first such ship, though The World is more residential and doesn't have the Dunning Krugerand requirement

131:

Infantry picks up the notion of the "light" machine gun and then the GPMG, yet another heavy thing to carry in the adjustable weapon mix. Attacking into positions with emplaced machine guns isn't a delight, but everybody knows how to do it.

An interesting and undernoted discovery the British made during the Falklands conflict: when infantry were attacking a dug-in machine gun nest with a beaten field of fire, an infantry-portable anti-tank missile solved the problem very rapidly.

The Israeli army rediscovered this when they went after Hezbollah in Lebanon during the 2006 war: Hezbollah switched their defensive mix to two RPG gunners per single AK-74-armed infantryman and gave the IDF a very nasty surprise on the ground -- RPGs being effective not only against light armour (infantry fighting vehicles more than MBTs) but also against dismounted infantry, and at a far greater effective range than an assault rifle.

We haven't really seen any battles between a front-rank western military and an equivalent force (both in equipment and in training and doctrine) since the turn of the century -- the Iraqi army were barely more than a speed bump -- but I suspect if there's ever another conflict between "modern" armies it's going to go sideways very fast indeed as both sides learn which modern/smart weapons are vastly more effective than anyone anticipated, and which aren't worth a warm bucket of piss. Oh, and that infantry-portable assault rifles are basically self-defense sidearms, except in the hands of specialists.

132:

One thing I think people haven't yet fully realized is that leaving the single market and customs union guarantees the increased fettering to goods entering and leaving GB. The lorry parks will be necessary, even if there is a deal. While the UK has said it won't enforce border checks on day 1, France (and the rest of the EU) have said they will. And - apparently - they are ready.

The ECMT permits required for UK trucks to operate in the EU are in very short supply - though this may change in a deal.

EU hauliers have said they'll probably avoid coming to the UK until things settle down.

It's not ridiculous to imagine that our entire JIT economy - not just food and medicine, automotive etc. but pretty much every physical good traded in the UK - will grind to a halt in January.

133:

Don't they ever ask the Scots "Would you want Charles as King?"?

134:

Not that I've noticed.

On the other hand: his gran lasted until she was 104, and his mum's only 94 now. There's a good chance he won't become king much before he's 75, so expect a ten year active reign followed by a staged hand-off of duties to Andrew (just as Elizabeth began to offload a bunch of her non-mandatory duties on Charles after she turned 90).

135:

I'm expecting significant disruption to physical goods movement in the UK for some time after 1st of January. I think we will be lucky to avoid noticeable food shortages. We may actually end up with shortages of calories. These may be widespread.

Widespread calorie shortages are a bit of a game changer for a government and can rapidly spiral out of control. This is probably especially true if you are politically required to not plan or publicly prepare for calorie shortages because you have promised people things will be better not worse after 1st January.

I'll be interested to see if the food shortage situation is different in different parts of the UK. Specifically I'll be taking a close interest in Scotland. Scotland is a bit different from the rest of the UK. I think it produces more food per capita than England. It definitely has more of its population near a large port on the eastern coast and several of those ports are conveniently close to a petrol refinery. That might turn out to be important.

I think the UK is going to experience a bit of psychological blow in May when the Scottish elections happen. Unless there is a significant change in mood in Scotland in the next 4 or 5 months the SNP will win a majority of seats at Holyrood, probably with an absolute majority of the vote. The Scottish Green Party, also pro-independence will likely pick up between 5-10 seats in addition. And by May we'll have not 14 consecutive pro-indy polls but likely 40. I think at that point it might finally dawn on England and the government of England that the population of Scotland is settled on having a second referendum and probably settled on leaving the UK. I'm not sure that England really believes we would actually do that yet. What they do with this realisation I don't know. I'm not expecting that their response will that effective in the long-run. There is only so long you can tell people that their democratic and peaceful desire for a change is forbidden.

I would not be surprised if Spain actually annexes (de facto) Gibraltar in the next 5 or 10 years. At some point a Spanish government is going to find itself in domestic political difficulty and asserting their claim over Gibraltar is going to be a tempting way to divert attention from the issue of the day. The question for me is whether the Gibraltans value being British over being able to live comfortably in Gibraltar. If that happens the UK is going to find itself very isolated.

The EU is going to have to have a careful think about how it deals with separatist regions in the EU. My assumptions are that the EU and most EU countries would welcome an independent Scotland joining the EU and would do so for three reasons 1) the EU likes enlargement 2) Scotland is a pretty good candidate nation being already highly converged, pretty prosperous, already a European-style social democracy and 3) a nice opportunity to demonstrate to people that if you leave the EU bad things happen to you such as, your country splits and you lose 8% of your population and a third of your land. It would be helpful to the cause of Scottish independence and therefore Scottish accension to the EU if the EU could demonstrate support for Scottish accension and a clear and quick path to membership. That's tricky to do whilst Spain is still wrestling with Catalonia. I'm not sure that the EU has a clearly worked out plan here.

136:

And of course Scotland's accession to the EU would bring substantial fishing grounds....

137:

So long as Scotland leaves in a constitutional fashion, whatever that is in UK terms (in effect WM saying fine, go so) there is no Catalonia precedent .

138:

"It would be helpful to the cause of Scottish independence and therefore Scottish accension to the EU if the EU could demonstrate support for Scottish accension and a clear and quick path to membership."

Until january 1st, (whatever happens), EU leaders are bound by the "comity rules" which prevent or at least discourages them from commenting on purely domestic issues of the member- and aligned countries.

Expect much more clarity of messaging in a little over three weeks time.

139:

Charlie
CORRECTION
a staged hand-off of duties to AndrewWilliam - surely?

Meanwhile the mood music is geting worse.
If we crash out, then food shortages are a certainty - the onbly question is - how bad will it get & what will emerge as a supposed "government" afterwards?
We are theoretically stuck with this shower until December 2024 - how to trhow them out & have an election.
Meanwhile, I'm going to look for the flag of William of Orange - this is geting unpleasantly like 1685-8 - something based on the shield should do United Kingdom, imped with that of Ornge/Holland!
What will be the actual trigger that leads to BoZo's downfall, disgrace & exile-or-prison?
In James II / VII case it was the trial of the Seven Bishops - this time around?
I would suspect the loss of Gibralter might do it, actually - like 1688, at that point the armed services simply ignore BoZo's orders & desert to whoever is leading the "New_Glorious_Revolution"

140:

We are theoretically stuck with this shower until December 2024

Good news - you are off by 7 months.

The next UK election is scheduled for Thursday 2 May 2024
https://www.parliament.uk/about/how/elections-and-voting/general/

how to trhow them out & have an election.

Simple (if unlikely and thus not helpful) - put enough pressure on 81+ Conservative MPs such that they help collapse the government.

Secondary, and perhaps slightly more possible - put enough pressure on enough Conservative MPs such that not only do they finally oust Boris but they replace him with a reasonable leader and stop allowing a small number of extremists blackmail them into further extremism.

What will be the actual trigger that leads to BoZo's downfall, disgrace & exile-or-prison?
In James II / VII case it was the trial of the Seven Bishops - this time around?

Nothing.

Boris is already the proverbial dead man walking, he is merely being kept around until the worst of the bad stuff is finished so the new leader can have a fresh start.

I would suspect the loss of Gibralter might do it, actually - like 1688, at that point the armed services simply ignore BoZo's orders & desert to whoever is leading the "New_Glorious_Revolution"

Would it, or would there be lots of public platitudes about how unfortunate/unfair while secretly behind the scenes celebrating no longer having to deal with the Gibraltar problem?

141:

Repealing the fixed term parliaments act is one of the governments priorities at the moment, so that's not a given.

142:
We're now doing some form of devolution (and the creation of another province, Nunavut) for the Yukon Territory and Northwest Territories who used to be ruled directly from Ottawa.

It occurs to me that a solution to Gibraltar & the Falkland Islands is fairly simple: a referendum on whether they want to join Canada.

Now, joining Canada as two additional territories might be difficult, as it would require unanimous consent of all provinces, the federal government, and a referendum.

So they could get around it by using the "Nova Scotia" workaround. To explain: occasionally there's noise about the Turks and Caicos being annexed to Canada[1]. So Nova Scotia proposed that they be made part of NS, which gets around the multilateral deal which would be required to add new territory.

Simples. Just make sure that there are clauses that allow for sovereignty to pass to an independent Scotland (should the locals prefer the Scots to Canucks) if and when that happens.

~oOo~

[1] This has not gotten, and will never get, anywhere.

143:

I think there are three scenarios for Johnson's exit as PM in 2021-22.

1) Johnson stands down voluntarily in January, citing mission accomplished on Brexit but the long-term impacts of Covid. He goes off to cash in writing newspaper columns and give lectures.

2) Johnson is informally forced to stand down following the May elections in Scotland and London and the English local elections.

3) Johnson is formally forced to stand down following a vote of no confidence by the Conservative Parliamentary Party in him as Conservative Leader. This following a period of difficulty for the government following a difficult Brexit, difficult May election results and a difficult COVID situation and Johnson failing to get a grip of them over the summer.

None of those lead to a General Election in the UK and the new Conservative PM inherits an 80-seat majority.

144:

Not sure if the Falklands is a good idea. We have enough cold, remote places already.

145:

hmmm @41:
JBS @68:
We're also playing out one of the Foundation novelettes: cut trade, make food expensive, but there are no bombs, no threats, fast-forward and the strongman folds. I don't know that the real world works like this, but Tories look like they really want to die as a party.
Not yet, not for now, but who knows really. There are a lot idiots who want to jump into action, some of them already acting.

Side note, we're really lucky that these would-be fascist-adjacent strongmen-cosplayers are really stupid/incompetent. We won't get out of it unscathed, but it may not last more than a decade or so.
Side note: when looking for fascist strongmen hanging around, the first duty is to check yourself into the mirror.

I'm pretty sure I understand "Magnitski" sanctions, but what is "GAF"?

I am myself not sure that in EU there are people who really understand what these sanctions are really about.
To start off, they are not named after this man and barely have any connection to his persona. Except everybody think they are aimed at Russia, supposedly. Except formally they're not aimed at single target, it reads right here that this is "global human rights sanctions regime":
https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2020/12/07/eu-adopts-a-global-human-rights-sanctions-regime/
They are not really sanctions but a "framework" that "allow it (EU) to target individuals, entities and bodies". Because all previous sanctions did not specify that much anything about mechanism and reasons, they were applied under the local law and direct recommendations under influence of the certain other laws and powers.

Mechanism was (and is), naturally, very simple - something 'bad" happens, people of goodwill and protectors of democracy unite and declare the perpetrator, then declare the measures, whip out directions and instructions and frown pompously on camera. Then go to business as usual. It is not entirely clear what these measures are aimed at. It is not clear what they intend to achieve. This should probably say something about state of affairs within organisation itself.

Thousands of "oligarchs", especially those who are escaped from taxes, prosecution and wanted at home, can not be target for them, if only for the simple burglary. And especially those who, like Lebedev, have completely torn ties with their fatherland. Bad Vlad in particular has warned these people many times that if they are holding their assets abroad, it is their fault for exposing themselves to these dangers. Party members and government officials of importance cannot be targets of these sanctions, because they are not stupid enough to be that vulnerable to foreign influence, after all these years that passed. The only rational explanation is that these sanctions do target the entire country and its citizens for not submitting to the higher orders and "international" norms dictated by bigger players, but this also hardly a news. And by the way, I am not talking about single specific country - there are, actually, too many countries that fit under these terms.

My current suggestion would be more humble. The EU officials are preventively shooting themselves in the leg with blank round to feign serious injury and do not attend upcoming leg-shooting convention overseas. Maybe that will work for them for the time being.

146:

You can make an argument for the supremacy of artillery from 1915-1939

You can’t really make that argument after 1939, not so much because of armor but more combined arms especially armor + air

But in general it depends a lot on what kind of war you were fighting. Even in the 1915-1939 period not all wars were large army set piece wars.

147:

I tried to post this earlier today, but something ate it.

Occasionally checking https://www.gridwatch.templar.co.uk/ I notice that the UK exchanges multihectomegawatts of electrical power with France, Belgium, Ireland, Holland. Is Brexit likely to complicate such arrangements?

148:

I think a particular issue with English nationalism over the other nations, is the problem of Anglo-Saxon identity.

Similar to white American Nationalism, it’s a bunch of invaders who want to gloss over their history and pretend the have a claim to be native

(Obviously it’s not that straight forward as it was as much a cultural invasion - genetically large swathes on England are still largely ‘British’ rather than Anglo, even is culturally native speakers were driven back to Cornwall and Wales) l

All nationalism is fiction, but English nationalism requires a particular suspension of disbelief, of not looking too closely at the dodgy foundations, which may be why one it’s main tenets in ‘don’t criticise’.

149:

I notice that the UK exchanges multihectomegawatts of electrical power with France, Belgium, Ireland, Holland. Is Brexit likely to complicate such arrangements?

I have read, but will certainly defer to people with more expertise, that much of the big trading has to do with where is power available for the lowest price at particular times. Also that the UK will have adequate generating capacity post Brexit, but average prices will be somewhat higher.

150:

the MS Satoshi... to put out for international waters Real Soon Now.

Satoshi is now in the Atlantic, due to arrive at the Panama Canal 22 December.

151:

Johnson stands down voluntarily in January, citing mission accomplished on Brexit

Ah, but Brexit is being enacted by a coalition! There are multiple objectives.

The xenophobes want a normalized white ethnostate by any means. That's why they're adamant that the ECHR has to go. They haven't got that yet; Windrush is just working out mechanics. It's nothing like as violent as this faction would prefer.

The mammonites want there to be no public goods or services; corporates can frack, mine, drill, expropriate etc. anywhere, and as a private person you get nothing you do not pay for directly and immediately and there can be absolutely no collective bargaining of any kind, including by the state on behalf of the citizens; nor may there be legal recourse by a person against a corporate. They haven't got that yet; COVID has interfered with that by getting the NHS some positive press.

The aristos want conditions where everyone but a fellow aristo must do what an aristo tells them, without limit or boundary. They haven't got that yet de facto, though the Henry VIII powers may mean that they've got that de jure. It seems unlikely they're not expecting to use widespread public hunger to further this goal.

Just getting a hard Brexit outcome -- certainly a core goal and important intermediate step -- does not accomplish the desires of any faction in the coalition. So Brexit isn't done with Hard Brexit; Brexit starts with Hard Brexit, as all three factions can then start vigorously pursuing their primary goals.

152:

You can’t really make that argument after 1939, not so much because of armor but more combined arms especially armor + air

When it's not cavalry (reconnaissance/screening against reconnaissance), air is artillery. (Sometimes counter-battery artillery.) Air does not like to acknowledge this.

And, yes, type of conflict matters, but even in very small-scale conflicts, delivering packages of explosives tends to greater effectiveness than small arms.

153:

Graydon
Yuck - you may be correct.
However ... on a hopeful note - he blinked!

154:

When it's not cavalry (reconnaissance/screening against reconnaissance), air is artillery. (Sometimes counter-battery artillery.) Air does not like to acknowledge this.

Neither does artillery. Against an opponent without air defense capability, a B-52 staying on station for hours and occasionally kicking a smart munition out the door takes a lot less people than guns on the ground. And is at least as effective.

155:

#152

It does indeed mean a hopeful note - as much as it can be. Bozo blinked .... our glourious and strong leader? Nope, rubber backbone!

To me what that says is that he's trying to get a deal from the EU after all. And that what was written in the original post now fortunatly won't happen.

I will still say though that what I think will happen is that he'll get a deal, tell everyone how wonderful he is for getting one and how "great" it'll be. But come next year he'll throw his toys out of his pram and walk out. "Oh, evil EU! Not talking to you any more!".

What will happen in the coming weeks and months? Since bozo has had to betray someone and he's chosen his own ultra-brexiteers expect them to come out of hibernation at some point.

As for bozo boris leaving or being forced out - no chance. Remember that he's a 100% egomaniac like trump and will if it means he gets to stay on even a second longer would probably handcuff himself to the front of the building (in the case of the UK No. 10 downing street) if it meant he keeps to be PM just a bit longer.

ljones

156:

(if only there was an edit function here).

What I meant by throwing his toys out of his pram is that it would happen during negociations between the UK and EU next year -- there's still a lot to discuss. Most people mistakenly think that come Dec 31st "that's it". But it won't be.

ljones

157:

mdlve @ 91:

England is not the ancestral home of Canada. The Inuit and the First Nations were here first.

Yes, the Inuit and First Nations people were here on the physical land first, and were treaty atrociously since then.

And with all due respect to the Inuit & First Nations (and Native Americans), their ancestors were immigrants too - coming from Asia; whose ancestors emigrated from the Middle East; whose ancestors emigrated from Africa; whose ancestors descended from the trees & learned to walk upright..

158:

1) Johnson stands down voluntarily in January, citing mission accomplished on Brexit but the long-term impacts of Covid. He goes off to cash in writing newspaper columns and give lectures.

Boris won't be allowed to/forced to stand down until it is a good time for a replacement leader to take over.

This means both the negative fallout from whatever form of Brexit happens and the Covid situation needs to be stable if not improving.

Thus he is good until at least April, at which point keep him around to either charm the electorate or take the blame for the next round of elections.

However ... on a hopeful note - he blinked!

The important question is who forced the blink, and not the spin.

If it was the House of Lords that forced it then the spin about the EU is meaningless - though it could be further spun to show how unreasonable the EU is if a deal isn't sorted out.

What will happen in the coming weeks and months? Since bozo has had to betray someone and he's chosen his own ultra-brexiteers expect them to come out of hibernation at some point.

One of the news sources I read today indicated that the ERG and hence the no-deal Brexit faction has more than 80 votes in the Conservative Party - thus any deal requires Labour to get through Parliament.

While that may get any deal Boris comes up with enacted, it will further weaken Boris and re-awaken the forces dividing the Conservative Party (take your choice whether that will be good or bad).

As for bozo boris leaving or being forced out - no chance. Remember that he's a 100% egomaniac like trump and will if it means he gets to stay on even a second longer would probably handcuff himself to the front of the building (in the case of the UK No. 10 downing street) if it meant he keeps to be PM just a bit longer.

Boris doesn't have a choice - just like Trump if the system says go he goes.

The only question is whether the Party votes to kick him out or if the power brokers behind the scenes convince him to resign - possibly by making a resignation a condition of returning to his very much needed overpaid columnist job.

159:

"An interesting and undernoted discovery the British made during the Falklands conflict: when infantry were attacking a dug-in machine gun nest with a beaten field of fire, an infantry-portable anti-tank missile solved the problem very rapidly."

They worked that out in WW1 - they just didn't already have a suitable weapon in their toolkit. They had to invent it, which resulted in things like the Stokes mortar and rifle-launched grenades.

160:

What I meant by throwing his toys out of his pram is that it would happen during negociations between the UK and EU next year -- there's still a lot to discuss. Most people mistakenly think that come Dec 31st "that's it". But it won't be.

That falls into the maybe category.

It assumes that there is a deal in place and that it isn't a no-deal Brexit.

If it is a no-deal Brexit then there isn't anything to negotiate.

But even with a deal, while there likely will be negotiations they won't be a priority for the EU - they have enough other issues (Covid, Hungary/Poland) to deal with rather than spending a lot of time worrying about the UK.

161:

Michael Cain @ 98: Wasn't it Napoleon who said that God generally fights on the side of the heavier artillery? In response to an immediately-dismissed general who said that it didn't matter that he couldn't have the artillery in place in time, God was on France's side?

God fights on the side with the best artillery.

Didn't find when he said it or who he said it to, but Napoleon was an artillery officer first & foremost, and his handling of artillery was what led him to power (and kept him there as long as it did).

162:

I suspect we will see plenty of 'down tools' and waiting for some parts something can be built.

Big factories love it when they shut down due to not having a door lock solenoid or similar.

My brother worked in the plant parts department for an overseas based auto company. By internal I mean the parts that ran the plant not the autos. He said at times if there was a rash of failures in some particular motor or similar that only existed in Europe. So did he order 10 shipped normally via container ship for a trivial amount of money and go with the projections that said the failure rate was OK to do it that way? Maybe 2 more via air freight and spend 10x the value of the widget? Or take his chances and maybe have to have someone fly over with one in checked luggage While 3000 people cleaned their work stations and caught up on training classes.

163:

"Fisheries are a £400M industry in the UK at this point"
Extra fun little wrinkle, most of that industry is based in Scotland, only about 30% is based in England.
Mike W

And I think I recently heard/read that 60% to 70% of the catch is sent to the EU mainland.

164:

The mile is so well entrenched that you can't register a vehicle with a metric speedometer in the UK (I tried). You can drive one, but you can't register it.

I was in Canada in 80/81 and was told that when they went hard metric the highway department didn't change a lot of the exit signs around Toronto that said things like "Exit 99 - 1/2 mile". They just change the "mile" to "KM" as the law said "must be done" And then asked for more money to change all the numbers. Moving they signs they were NOT going to do.

Canadians please correct me if I'm wrong.

165:

“If it is a no-deal Brexit then there isn't anything to negotiate.”
If it’s a no deal Brexit there will be everything to negotiate.

166:

If it’s a no deal Brexit there will be everything to negotiate.

For the successor-state to the present UK, yes. But the EU is not likely to be in anything like a hurry to enter into such negotiations; they'll want to be reasonably certain the successor state is both stable and tolerable.

167:

takes a lot less people than guns on the ground.

And no forward basing. Or at least not nearly as forward.

168:

If it’s a no deal Brexit there will be everything to negotiate.

Except a negotiation requires at least 2 - and after around 4 years of this my guess is the EU are not going to be in any hurry to start talking to the UK yet again if a no-deal exit happens.

I mean, they have been very polite, but they are very tired of the infantile games the UK political class are playing.

169:

hmmm @ 121: GFA: the Good Friday Agreement. Peace accords in NI. Now the US is a guarantor of that, and so is the EU. It's more or less their legal duty to sanction us if we break it...

Thanks. And thanks to the other poster who provided that information (that I'm too lazy to scroll up & find the name) as well.

Because it came up in the context of tariffs, I was trying to figure out a trade agreement (à la NAFTA or TPP) that would use that acronym

I always associate the Good Friday Agreement with peace plan agreements ... although I guess the Good Friday Agreement does include trade provisions, I don't really think of it that way so it hit me in a bit of a blind spot.

170:

There are very few such signs in my province, so no big expense to change.

171:

They want it to indicate the speed limit points without requiring mental unit conversion. Putting sticky paper labels on the dial at the appropriate points is good enough. Certainly used to be a pretty standard thing for grey import motorcycles.

172:

Mike W @ 125:

Charlie @57: wrote

The UK has already gone metric -- ages ago

The mile is so well entrenched that you can't register a vehicle with a metric speedometer in the UK (I tried). You can drive one, but you can't register it.

Why don't they do like they do here in the U.S. - put both Mph and Kmph on the speedometer?

173:

mdive
Very slight correction:
"they are very tired of the infantile games Some of the UK political class are playing."
NO-ONE in the EU will trust the tories with anything, except, perhaps a used, secondhand bog-brush, for a very long time, indeed.

JBS
They do,: - my 1996-build Land-Rover has metric speed markings as well as miles.

174:

@Greg #71:

> PHK
> DO keep up!
> We went metric, apart from Pints, & Miles on roads, many years ago. ( And as Charlie says, those are "derived Units"
> officially measured in International Standard Units ) ... I started using what were then called "mks" units back in
> 1960-61

USAians may be surprised to discover that the good 'ol USA is also a metric nation. They are full members of the Metre Convention and the US customary units have been defined in terms of metric units for quite some considerable time. Picking through the various Acts, international agreements etc. to figure out exactly what was agreed when and by whom is annoying, but it is so.

175:

Never heard that one. I'm surprised, given that distance signs generally have the numbers and units on the same sign. But I wasn't in Ontario then so that might have happened.

I remember that the first conversions were generally 'soft' conversions rather than changing sizes. Which led to strangeness like 6 inch fibreglass insulation being relabeled 15.24 cm insulation (which was way too precise).

In Saskatchewan we had a number of Americans who just looked at the numbers on the speed limit signs and ignored the (new) "km/h" labels and got ticketed for doing 100 mph in a 100 km/h zone, and got upset about it.

(That was in friendlier days when the border was just a line, and a book like Between Friends/Entres Amis could be published non-ironically.)

176:

Um, I see today that Trumpolini is apparently going to use Air Force 1 to fly to a rally on Inauguration Day, and have that against the Inauguration.

177:

Wait... his Barony is ALL OF SIBERIA?

I think Siberians should send delegations to him to deal with things....

178:

USAians may be surprised to discover that the good 'ol USA is also a metric nation.

And we mean it!(*)

South of Tucson, on I-19:

https://www.google.com/maps/@32.0530953,-110.9926402,3a,75y,23.89h,94.82t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sVrE4aqSy6rbgbP7xWLJnFw!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

(*) Not really, alas.

179:

Of course, some of those desires conflict with others. For example, I guarantee the aristos object, vociferously, to the lumpenproletariat who have no skills, other than perhaps violence, being in charge of anything.

For that matter, that's why I do not believe that they will start a civil war in the US: all chiefs, no Indians, and massive incompetence, with heavy dosages of disbelief in their own incompetence.

Fortunately, their population is slowly going down (though not fast enough), being that they vehemently object to any method of self-protection other than firearms. Masks, of course, are for weaklings.

180:

danieldwilliam @ 134: I'm expecting significant disruption to physical goods movement in the UK for some time after 1st of January. I think we will be lucky to avoid noticeable food shortages. We may actually end up with shortages of calories. These may be widespread.

Widespread calorie shortages are a bit of a game changer for a government and can rapidly spiral out of control. This is probably especially true if you are politically required to not plan or publicly prepare for calorie shortages because you have promised people things will be better not worse after 1st January.

I doubt the Banksters and the Lords will suffer from any shortage of calories.

181:

I don't think it would be costly. It would be a simple, self-provided method of removal from the gene pool.

182:

And now it's air, unless you're talking about a city within, say, 20 mi of the ocean, in which case they can de--mothball a battleship, as they did - was it during the invasion and conquest of Iraq?

183:

I see someone says they're going to anchor off Panama.

I would assume three reasons:
1. supplies.
2. cheap labor for repairs, maintenance, and running the ship.
3. They don't want to be on land *in* Panama. For a definitive explanation of that, I refer you to the US "arresting" President Noriega.

184:

Wait... his Barony is ALL OF SIBERIA?

There was a Poul Anderson story set in a post-present future that had a Dominion of Baikal. I always liked that...

185:

Speaking of "send food", although none of you in the UK are a bookstore, this is the blog of a writer.

Contact us offlist if we *do* have to send you food.

186:

We are cutting the numbers of hyperpsuedoChristian preachers, though I haven't started seeing a reduction in the ultrawealthy who run them....

187:

Occassionally. Kicking. A. Smart. Munition.

Ever seen pics of the B-52s in use during 'Nam? Each one with dozens and dozens of bombs....

188:

Now, wait a minute: having been a pee-on, which is the same as a peasant, we're already revolting!

189:

Charlie, ok, what have you missed?

Now, I don't really know what the suckers (pro-brexit) are like there, but if they're anything like here, when the effluent is in the ventilation, are they likely to get violent?

Related: are a major percentage of those *in* big cities, or outside?

Consider, also, that the shortages are likely to hit large cities faster and harder. I can see part of London coming downtown.....

190:

It will be extremely funny if he is expecting to be flown back, and the crew decide that he can damn well walk, being no longer president.

191:

Whitroth #181:

I'm not sure they can realistically bring back the Iowa class ships anymore. Amongst other things, I think they have the problem that there are insufficient men left who know how to drive them for it to be realistic to train up a full crew for them. By modern naval standards they need a shit-tonne of sailors.

The Zumwalt class were supposed to be the replacement for to-shore bombardment capability. But opps, overspend, we can't afford to buy the ammunition for the guns:

The USS Zumwalt Can't Fire Its Guns Because the Ammo Is Too Expensive
https://www.popularmechanics.com/military/navy-ships/a23738/uss-zumwalt-ammo-too-expensive/#:~:text=we%20test%20gear.-,The%20USS%20Zumwalt%20Can't%20Fire%20Its%20Guns,the%20Ammo%20Is%20Too%20Expensive&text=Just%20three%20weeks%20after%20commissioning,the%20rounds%20are%20too%20expensive.

palm meet face.

192:

Canada has only every partially converted to metric, despite being a definitively metric country.

A month or two ago my eldest was repeatedly described by the broadcast announcer commenting on his hockey game as 6'2", 205 lbs despite him having been born over 30 years since the formal conversion.

In the construction/maintenance world almost all measurements remain Imperial. Lumber is sold by the foot, drywall is sold in 4'x8' sheets, wire and other such materials are sold by the foot. The metric measurements are available, but used by nobody.

The most exasperating problem comes in trying to follow a recipe, where I have many times come across instructions using a random collection of both systems. Add 115g of flour to 2 Tbsp of butter. Heat oven to 425F, then mix together 250 ml .....

193:

I continue to regret that the opportunity was not taken to set speed limits in metres/second, which is an actually useful unit for driving.

Anything per hour is a navigation unit; it helps you answer "how far away is <place>?". It doesn't tell you much about how far behind the vehicle in front you ought to be.

194:

There's been several generations of ramp-mounted bomb racks and especially small munitions for C-130s for precisely this reason.

It functions as great expense and ingenuity to produce enemies; it has not been anything like decisive.

Which is something that is too easily forgotten in imperial wars; the point is not to fight. The point is to achieve your purpose. (If your purpose has become "to fight", well. You have a systemic failing.)

195:

"they are very tired of the infantile games Some of the UK political class are playing." ... "
NO-ONE in the EU will trust the tories with anything, except, perhaps a used, secondhand bog-brush, for a very long time, indeed.
"Politicians 'Trusting' Each other? Oh, Come ON ..perhaps it s because you are so very innocent that you believe in TRUST in politicians? If you are of the voting electorate in a democracy you dont TRUST politicians: this not if you have any sense at all ..you use them and then discard them when they have served their purpose. Note the present political credibility of the once highly regarded Tony Blair? Who is now selling his services to the Powerful in return for Money ..and maybe for favours for his children and grandchildren ? .... "Politicians have rarely been trusted. The 2009 expenses scandal therefore did not lead to a collapse in trust in politics and politicians, because levels of trust were already so low. Public dissatisfaction with politics is based on deeper problems. Rather than trust, this report – published for the start of the first post-expenses-scandal Parliament in 2010 – identified the more urgent challenge as being the decline in the relevance of politicians and political institutions to people’s everyday lives." https://www.hansardsociety.org.uk/publications/reports/whats-trust-got-to-do-with-it-public-trust-in-and-expectations-of

196:

In Saskatchewan we had a number of Americans who just looked at the numbers on the speed limit signs and ignored the (new) "km/h" labels and got ticketed for doing 100 mph in a 100 km/h zone, and got upset about it.

Driving the M1 Motorway from Dublin to Belfast, in previous years when you hit the NI border (prior to any Brexit crackpot arrangements) the only indication would be a road sign saying "distances/speeds now in miles".

Then, it being a motorway, the very next speed limit sign you see is:

(That's a UK "national speed limit for this road type" sign. Which on motorways and dual carriageways is 70mph, on single-carriageway A roads is 60mph for cars but IIRC lower for trucks, and so on. It's all required knowledge to pass a UK driving test.)

197:

Windscale @ 173: @Greg #71:

> PHK
> DO keep up!
> We went metric, apart from Pints, & Miles on roads, many years ago. ( And as Charlie says, those are "derived Units"
> officially measured in International Standard Units ) ... I started using what were then called "mks" units back in
> 1960-61

USAians may be surprised to discover that the good 'ol USA is also a metric nation. They are full members of the Metre Convention and the US customary units have been defined in terms of metric units for quite some considerable time. Picking through the various Acts, international agreements etc. to figure out exactly what was agreed when and by whom is annoying, but it is so.

What they may find even more astounding is WHEN the U.S. Government adopted metric. And how long it's been going on. (Hint: President Thomas Jefferson sent to France for "artifacts" the U.S. could use to set up the metric system here).

The key to using metric in the U.S. is to not bother with conversions, use traditional weights & measures when you need them and use metric when you need it. It's 'X' kilometers from here to there. How many miles is that? I don't care! If I needed to know how many miles it is, I'd have measured it in miles to begin with.

198:

Ever seen pics of the B-52s in use during 'Nam? Each one with dozens and dozens of bombs....

Times have changed, especially since they figured out (a) how to replace horribly expensive and fiddly laser guidance on bombs (that require a spotter plane as well as a bomb truck) with cheap GPS guidance packages, and (b) how to retrofit GPS guidance onto stockpiled WW2-era dumb bombs.

In the 1992 Kuwait conflict with Iraq, about 10% of bombs dropped were smart bombs, but they did about 85% of the damage. In the 2003 invasion, about 90% of the bombs were smart.

And now atom bombs are obsolescent in terms of their original military mission requirement ("take out enemy weapons factory with a single bomb instead of tying up the resources for a thousand bomber raid"), insofar as nukes are politically unacceptable, cause huge collateral damage, and spread fallout everywhere ... and instead you can send an F-15 to drop a 1945-vintage 500lb bomb with a 2010-vintage GPS guidance package that does the same job without taking out the city wrapped around the target.

And this has led to Changes in the typical mission of a B-52, to say the least. A while back there was even a European proposal to turn the Airbus A400M -- think in terms of a Hercules on steroids: quad-turboprop military freight transport -- into a "non-penetrating bomber" that would sit outside hostile airspace and occasionally throw a drone or a cruise missile inside. Same payload as a B-52, vastly cheaper to build and operate, somewhat more vulnerable to modern air defenses (you would not sent one to mix it with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, never mind Chinese or Russian air defenses), basically the airborne equivalent of a 19th century river gunboat for colonial wars.

199:

Related: are a major percentage of those *in* big cities, or outside?

The UK has far less "outside" than most Americans realize -- it's a very densely-packed island, so even though it's officially only about 70% city dwellers and 30% countryside, the actual density per square kilometer of country folk is comparable to US suburbia.

Oh, and London voted "remain" by a significant margin. They're guaranteed to be pissed.

200:

As long as we're allowing bombers into the discussion, I was impressed to learn that the B-2 can carry *80* 500 lb JDAMs. Those being iron bombs converted into individually programmable glide bombs that can deviate at least 10 km from their drop point and strike within 10 meters of the target.

201:

The UK has far less "outside" than most Americans realize

Back in the 70s we visited England on a holiday to see the relatives. Parents rented a camper van so we could see all the places they talked about (Stonehenge, Nottingham Castle, hill forts, etc…)

My little sister refused to believe we were going from one town to another because it was all built-up. Finally we passed an open field and she was happy, because now we'd finally gone between towns…

(In Saskatchewan towns are separated by long stretches of prairie.)

It was nice, but the whole place felt rather cramped and crowded.

202:

I recall a friend of mine trying to register a car in Switzerland, imported from Canada. His dual marked speedometer did not pass as the miles numbers were bigger than the km numbers.

But I particularly like British temperature scales--
up to about 30 C use C; above that use F the closer it gets to 100...

203:

The B-2 that was built and fielded is effectively the Guppy version of the original design, which had a profile much closer to the proposed B-21. The change was mostly so it could carry that twenty ton bomb load.

204:

Add 115g of flour to 2 Tbsp of butter

Not to mention that grams and Tbsp measure different things.

Someone, maybe here, made an impassioned plea to replace recipe volume measurements (Tbsp, cup, cc) with weight(*) ones. I sympathize. Good kitchen scales are cheap these days. For liquids that are about as dense as water you can wing 1 gm = 1 cc, but not flour or even butter.

(*) Yes, a gram is a unit of mass, not weight/force, but you can go just so far...

205:

Re: Brits immigrating to Canada

Looks like Brits are already one of the largest immigration groups in Canada. Seems it's fairly easy for them too: have a decent educational background*, come over for a visit and ... stay.

https://canadaimmigrants.com/uk-immigrants-to-canada/

The link above doesn't mention what proportion of immigrating Brits already had any family in Canada. Family (esp. if they can find you a job) is usually a major plus for immigration among Western countries.

* Education - Canada is currently heavily weighing 'education' in its immigrant selection process. However, the education systems have to be similar, i.e., Western Europe, USA, Australia and New Zealand. Degrees from Japan and China are sometimes accepted as equivalent - depends on the uni and field. (When I first learned about this I wondered: do they also do this for grad students and post-docs? Not necessarily mostly because of the much more intensive review/interview process not to mention this group typically show up funded therefore are a financial bonus for that institution.)

206:

I always associate the Good Friday Agreement with peace plan agreements ... although I guess the Good Friday Agreement does include trade provisions,

The major sticking point is that the GFA states no border checks for trade between north and south. Easy when both sides are parts of the EU but a trifle tricky once they're not. No Deal Brexit with the GFA still in force means customs checks are required for anything crossing the Irish Sea which upsets the Unionists, repudiating the GFA upsets the Republicans and makes it awkward for the UK to negotiate anything in the future.

207:

Ongaku @ 201

Your friend bought something on the grey market in Canada.

All cars or trucks sold through normal channels in Canada have big km numbers on the outer ring of the speedometer and little, less legible, miles numbers on the inner ring.

https://www.ctvnews.ca/autos/speed-check-how-fast-are-you-really-driving-1.3445497

208:

We saw lots of open land in '14. Drove from London, religious pilgrimages (Stonehenge, of course), to Reading, to Bath. Bath to Glastonbury, to Bristol. Then into Wales....

209:

Wales: 1/6 the land area of England, 1/20 the population. That'll do it. Also, in general, the further west you go on the Great Britain land mass, the lower the population density. (GB runs from south-east to north-west: Edinburgh, on the east of Scotland, is to the west of almost everywhere in England, for example. Wales and Bristol are also to the west.)

210:

Apparently many Brits have an issue with the concept of tea/tablespoons in recipes, because they vary so much. The answer of course is the measuring spoon sets that are easily available everywhere that commonly use them in recipes!
I'm converting downloaded recipes to weights as I use them, as there are effectively standard measures for this stuff. There is just occasional trap like NZ tablespoons being 15ml vs the 20ml in most other places. I really don't understand why some use cups for butter, way too awkward! BTW, NZ blocks of butter have 50g increments marked on the wrapping.

211:

whitroth @ 181: And now it's air, unless you're talking about a city within, say, 20 mi of the ocean, in which case they can de--mothball a battleship, as they did - was it during the invasion and conquest of Iraq?

"Desert Storm", and it had already been de-mothballed for several years.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Missouri_(BB-63)

Range of the main battery was 20.550 Nautical Miles (38.059 km) but she was also equipped to fire Tomahawk Cruise missiles (Operational range 700 - 1350 nmi (1,300 - 2,500 km) depending on variant) and Harpoon Anti-Ship missiles (Operational range in excess of 150 nmi (280 km) depending on launch platform).

212:

I really don't understand why some use cups for butter

The worst is "cup of cubed butter", making it clear that they expect you to put lumps of butter in a cup rather than melting it, so even the volume is uncertain.

Stuff like that defeats even my stepfather, he of the "here are the exact ingredients, mix and cook to taste" recipes.

213:

Meanwhile
The willy-waving gets worse anything is possible & my brain hurts.

whitroth
Outside - rural hicks in US-speak. The cities tend towards being strongly remoaners.

Charlie @ 197
Or even the RAF solution - take a 1-tonne bomb, remove the explosives, fill it with concrete & use "paveway" to fly it thorough the individual office window you want to target .... at about mach 0.95

Allen Thompson
"Spoons" are in fact metric volume measurements: tsp=5ml, dsp=10ml, tbsp=15ml - said he, who uses metric weight & volume all the time in my bread-making activities - 5 regular recipes + one or two occasionals - & I haven't bought bread of any sort for over 3 years, now.

214:

whitroth @ 186:

Occassionally. Kicking. A. Smart. Munition.

Ever seen pics of the B-52s in use during 'Nam? Each one with dozens and dozens of bombs....

Vietnam was a lifetime ago

https://taskandpurpose.com/app/uploads/2020/11/image-placeholder-title-1039.jpg

This photo is from 2006 before the USAF proposed to QUADRUPLE the under-wing bomb load

215:

I really don't understand why some use cups for butter, way too awkward! BTW, NZ blocks of butter have 50g increments marked on the wrapping.

Because it's simple, at least in North America.

Butter is sold in 1 lb blocks (454g in Canada), and that conveniently is 2 cups.

And as an equivalent to your markings, butter here has the markings for 1 cup, 1/2 cup/ 1/4 cup on the wrapper.

216:

whitroth @ 187: Now, wait a minute: having been a pee-on, which is the same as a peasant, we're already revolting!

You could take a shower.


217:

"Politicians 'Trusting' Each other? Oh, Come ON ..perhaps it s because you are so very innocent that you believe in TRUST in politicians?

Your confusing 2 different issues, the trust between politicians and the trust of politicians by the public.

In the not that far past there was a reasonable level of trust between politicians - they might have party differences/etc but in general if they agreed to something it was honoured.

Recent politicians have broken that tradition, and we are still seeing the fallout from that break playing out.

218:

I would read that, and assume I put in a cup of butter, then use a pastry blender.

219:

I will say that I *was* expecting more sheep in Wales than we saw. Couldn't have gotten enough wool off them to have made a sock for the Island....

220:

It will be extremely funny if he is expecting to be flown back, and the crew decide that he can damn well walk, being no longer president.

In the past new Presidents have allowed the ex to be flown "home" or wherever as a parting gesture.

If Trump really does fly someone on his own before noon I can expect them to close the door at 12:01pm and say "adios".

221:

I'm not sure they can realistically bring back the Iowa class ships anymore. Amongst other things, I think they have the problem that there are insufficient men left who know how to drive them

There have also been enough parts removed to make it hard to put them back together. Making them into museums for most boiler fired ships has meant lots of cutting and welding. And removing asbestos and other things which basically make them into a very interested barge.

I think there was a link her to one of the last USN boiler chiefs (or similar) who wrote an essay on his career. It IS a learned skill that book learning can't come close to replacing.

The USS Zumwalt Can't Fire Its Guns Because the Ammo Is Too Expensive

Well they cut the number of ships (and thus guns) from 32 to 3 the ammo order got so small that the cost of the line to build the amo totally swamped the production costs.

222:

Lumber is sold by the foot, drywall is sold in 4'x8' sheets, wire and other such materials are sold by the foot.

The elephant sized construction market south of you kind of swamps your local market. My son-in-law worked in a dry wall plant for 5 years. I suspect they would charge more than a few pennies to make it in other than 4 foot wide sizes. Especially as it was made on a continuous process line that I think was around 500' long.

223:

Elderly Cynic @189: It will be extremely funny if he is expecting to be flown back, and the crew decide that he can damn well walk, being no longer president.

Really stupid too, because he won't be flying anywhere on government aircraft after Biden takes the oath. I expect he's planning to stay at Mar-a-lago.

He might fly at government expense if New York State indicts him for tax evasion & financial fraud. But it'll be economy class back in steerage with the U.S. Marshals handling his extradition to New York.

224:

Right, I was aware of sticks as sub-units of NA butter.

225:

Graydon @ 192: I continue to regret that the opportunity was not taken to set speed limits in metres/second, which is an actually useful unit for driving.

Anything per hour is a navigation unit; it helps you answer "how far away is ?". It doesn't tell you much about how far behind the vehicle in front you ought to be.

Two seconds. Doesn't matter what speed you're going, you should always be at least 2 seconds behind the vehicle in front of you. More is good, less is bad.

226:

JBS @ 222

He doesn't have to say at Mar-a-lago all the time.

He'll be using his own private Boeing 757. The latest news is that it's being refitted to be put back into regular use. It had been placed in storage in 2019.

227:

"Someone, maybe here, made an impassioned plea to replace recipe volume measurements (Tbsp, cup, cc) with weight(*) ones. I sympathize. Good kitchen scales are cheap these days. For liquids that are about as dense as water you can wing 1 gm = 1 cc, but not flour or even butter."

In the USA bulk butter is sold in 1-lb boxes.
In each box there are four 1/4 lb sticks, wrapped in wax paper. On the paper there are marks by the Tbsp for cutting the right amount.

228:

"Oh, another thing I forgot in the original post: GDPR disappears on January 1st, leaving us exposed to foreign personal data mining and in the hands of a government that has already gutted the data protection registrar and is happy to sell us down the river to Palantir."

You will like being a colony of the USA; just look at how well the US government handling a monster hurricane hitting Puerto Rico.

229:

In Saskatchewan towns are separated by long stretches of prairie.

Some friends talk about visiting her parents in Montana for the holidays. Christmas and/or Thanksgiving. First thing after landing and renting a car they go to local thrift shops and buy appropriate cold weather gear. The call ahead to let them know they are on the way. So that if they don't show up in 5 hours a search can be started. No cell service after an hour. Maybe less.

Similar on the return. If they don't check in after 5 hours a search can be started. And they then stop by the thrift store and donate back all the gear then head to the airport.

230:

mdlve @ 214:

I really don't understand why some use cups for butter, way too awkward! BTW, NZ blocks of butter have 50g increments marked on the wrapping.

Because it's simple, at least in North America.

Butter is sold in 1 lb blocks (454g in Canada), and that conveniently is 2 cups.

And as an equivalent to your markings, butter here has the markings for 1 cup, 1/2 cup/ 1/4 cup on the wrapper.

I just went and looked in the refrigerator. Around here butter is packaged as "Four 4 Oz Sticks" and the label on the box reads "1 pound (16 oz) 453g". Each stick comes with 8x1 Tbsp increments marked on the wrapper, along with 2 x 1/4 cup increments (labeled "4 Tablespoons = 1/4 Cup"), a 1/3 cup increment and the notation "8 Tbsp=1/4LB=1/2Cup".

So if you can't figure it out, maybe you should let someone else do the cooking.

231:

PS: @ 214 - Not YOU specifically, but "you" everybody else who is not me.

232:

David L @ 221:

Lumber is sold by the foot, drywall is sold in 4'x8' sheets, wire and other such materials are sold by the foot.

The elephant sized construction market south of you kind of swamps your local market. My son-in-law worked in a dry wall plant for 5 years. I suspect they would charge more than a few pennies to make it in other than 4 foot wide sizes. Especially as it was made on a continuous process line that I think was around 500' long.

Most dry-wall is sold in 4'x12' sheets. The 4x8 stuff is mostly for DIY'rs & small home repair people who only need a few sheets at a time. Four by eight sheets will fit in most pickup truck beds (especially if you leave the tailgate down.

Even in Home Depot & Lowe's most of the drywall is sold in 12' sheets.

233:

Ummm... what makes you think Trump really believes that Biden will be president at 12:01 pm?

235:

"Spoons" are in fact metric volume measurements: tsp=5ml, dsp=10ml, tbsp=15ml

Yes, those are the ratios used in the US on the rare occasions when such conversions are made. I have no idea how that came about.

As long as we're doing this, note the differences between oz mass/force/weight, grams mass/force/weight, fluid oz and cc.

236:

Must be local. I've only seen 4x8 sheets of drywall, MD, PA, IL, TX, FL.

237:

It's 2400 by 1200 here, like most sheet materials. Except of course some sheet materials come in 2440 by 1220. In the case of the former, it's as though someone said "well we always used to sell 4x8, and that's a convenient size for most users; lets keep doing that but round down to the nearest 100mm to keep the weirdly specific number insanity to a minimum". In the case of the latter, they didn't do that, and maybe also export to the USA or something (it's easier to have two sets of stamps than it is to have two sets of machines).

Of course then there's the whole argument about whether 300 microns is within tolerances, so you can just label a 1/2" spanner as 13mm and vice versa...

238:

if you can't figure it out

So exactly how much butter is in one cup of cubed butter? It being obvious and all that.

Yeah, that particular measurement really sticks with me. Do they mean one cup of butter, cut into cubes? Butter cut into cubes, neatly stacked in a cup (what size cubes)? Wouldn't it be easier for everyone to just say "250 grams" or "17/84ths dromedaries" and that way there's no ambiguity.

Also, remember that a clove of garlic is different to a bulb of garlic.

239:

Re machine gun nests, artillery, line of sight.

My nephew is a drone racer. If you've never seen it, it's worth Googling. I couldn't believe the drone he races, the camera faces almost straight up. Because at full power it basically ignores gravity and has 4 propulsion fans. Lift doesn't come into it except as a rounding error.

They're unbelievably fast. You can't hear it coming. He races through tight spaces and really small windows. Add a small bomb that explodes when it hits the body of an enemy and you've got the anti tank missile idea on steroids.
https://youtu.be/7wFEYnRVjc0
I can't beehive that there's not some military type looking at these races and thinking the same. It's surely going to change what warfare looks like.

240:

2440x1220 is usually a furniture size I think, and it's commonly used for things that might be expected to clad something made out of 1200x2400 sheets. It is very, very annoying to not have extra few millimetres to avoid a join and not have them. Which means veneers and veneer plys are sometimes available in both sizes and you really should check before ordering (and also check prices, sometimes the smaller sheet is 5x the price because who the hell orders not quite enough veneer to cover a sheet?)

In some applications metric equivalents are not "near enough". Specifically, often the imperial equivalent is ever so slightly larger. So if you have a circuit board with some gap specified as 0.01mm when the imperial-sized machine require 0.4 thou/400 mil, you'll find that 0.01mm is 397 mil and your design will be rejected.

241:

The really common "not quite" sizing is drills for tapping threads. The official thread size is what the completed bolt will slide through, so the tapped hole starts smaller. How much smaller is often ridiculously precise.

This is why you can buy 4.23mm drill bit, for example... after you run a 5mm tap through it you can put a 5mm bolt in. Amusingly these are normally sold as "nominal sizing" rounded to one decimal place. They ARE NOT the nominal size. You can test this by making a hole the actual nominal size in some nice hard steel then breaking a tap off in it. Your actual-size hole is slightly too small and the tap will not go through. That extra 0.03mm is really quite important after all.

I believe the same applies to imperial sizes, but they gain extra fun by having different size drills for the same final thread size depending on which imperial thread they're cutting. You poor buggers.

242:

I've only seen 4x8 sheets of drywall

Do it yourselfers use mostly 4x8 because handling larger is a definite skill. Or you want a lift. Most builders order 4x12 or 4x16. Which many times are not stacked at Home Depot or Lowe's. Few tape joints mean less cost of labor.

I have a carry handle for such sheets of drywall and wood and once past 1/2" they can still be a pain to handle.

243:

so you can just label a 1/2" spanner as 13mm and vice versa...

Works great until it doesn't and you round off that bolt. [grin]

Been there. Got the hat.

244:

USAians may be surprised to discover that the good 'ol USA is also a metric nation.

The only people who think such don't use mechanical tools much or at all. And are delusional.

Those of us with such tool sets think it is just plain wonderful that we get to buy twice as many sockets, wrenches, drill bits, etc... as the rest of the world to work on mechanical things.

245:

We are having a shortage of small (5 and 7 cubic feet) freezers in the US. And a shortage of mason jars for canning.

Seems that people expect a food shortage over the winter.

Anything similar happening in the UK? Any other appliances/furnishings/tools that are becoming hard to find?

Does the UK have a prepper movement similar to America's? Tiny homes? Off the grid living? Self sustainable farms and gardens?

Militia movements?

247:

I really don't understand why some use cups for butter, way too awkward!

The butter in my fridge has markings for volume measurements on the wrapper. Much easier than weighing it.

248:

Ah, the adjustable spanner: designed to round off the head of a bolt no matter what the exact size.

249:

Militia? In the UK? Well, not in the sense of gun-wanking massively overweight drunk reichwing nutjobs. I wouldn’t be surprised if the average football hoolie gang could take any of them with just bricks, scarves and sheer brute violence.

250:

Why would they need bricks?

251:

Until someone has wedged a larger flat screw driver against a bolt head with a wedge of some sort (typically something else in the tool box) to hold it while you use an adjustable wrench vertically against the nut, well, you are not yet a mechanic.

252:

That's why you buy the OSFAUNF with the spike on the end. Much better for wedging things than those wide ends with the hole in.

253:

RE: Butter. One American stick is 1/2 cup, and the wrapper's marked off in 1/8ths, because 8 tablespoons=1/2 cup, and 16 tablespoons=1 cup, and one tablespoon=one pat of butter.

As my wife found out when she spooned ghee out of a large jar to replace butter in a recipe, it's actually easier and faster to chop up sticks of butter to meet a volumetric measurement than it is to weigh out the butter.

254:

I'm quite sure they're looking at guided, armed drones. It's been a thing since before the kamikaze.

The trouble isn't guiding the drones, it's dealing with the countermeasures. I think we had a thread on this some time ago, about how ubiquitous countermeasures for guidance, GPS, optical and emissions fooling scenery, and such are likely to become standard defenses around hardened targets. Not fun to walk through or use a phone in, but in some sense secure.

Also, it still is easier to put a drone up a 40,000' launching GIS guided missiles. And harder to stop, because you've got to catch the missile in flight, and gravity is on its side.

Of course, the bigger solution to much of this is to develop the technology to rapidly disable GIS satellites. Speaking of which, did you know that this year the US hatched its first commissioned lieutenants in the new US Space Force?

Now how'd we get onto this topic again?

255:

They generally go by the name “loitering munitions” are fully deployed and operational and were pretty instrumental in the recent Azerbaijani / Armenian war

https://www.economist.com/europe/2020/10/10/the-azerbaijan-armenia-conflict-hints-at-the-future-of-war

256:

The butter in my fridge has markings for volume measurements on the wrapper. Much easier than weighing it.

I think commercially produced butter (and margarine, which I mostly use) is uniform enough in its consistency that this is not that much of a problem. The margarine (for baking, there's a different type of a container for spreading on bread) in my fridge has markings for weight, which is a good thing, because Finnish recipes tend to measure solid fats in weight instead of volume.

For flour and sugar, for example, it's volume, usually in decilitres. Smaller things are measured in tablespoons, teaspoons or "maustemitta", which might be translated as "spice measure". (And as we all know, the spice must flow.) They are 15 ml, 5 ml and 1 ml, respectively, though usually I just use the respective spoons or just eyeballing it in the case of the smallest amount.

Lately, during perhaps the last ten years, I've noticed that the kitchen volume measurement tools seem to have also cups printed on them. I have the impression that they are American cups, so 2.4 dl, but I don't usually need them so I haven't really measured them, or even looked at them closely enough.

Now, where kitchen things get really interesting is all the fermented milk products, which seem to be quite varied depending on the country. I think Sweden has ones most close to the Finnish ones ("kermaviili" and "piimä" are quite difficult to get in most places).

257:

Well the other “until” is until you use the cutting wheel on the angle grinder to make a slot in the head for the aforementioned large flat screwdriver. If the nut is rounded too, you drill a hole in the side for a small self-tapping screw. Bit complicated to convey on a hat, but worth trying...

258:

I was thinking more like a replacement for a rifle or shoulder mounted missile.

Think 1/8th size grenade that you can fly with goggles. Fly into a building. Fly through a window. Along with 10 others flown by your 10 friends who are in some bushes 4 miles away.

259:

Quote: GDPR disappears on January 1st, REALLY? Quite sure of that?
The Boss works in finance/tax & her tech people & the big bosses are trying their best to keep up with the changes, for obvious reasons: No mention of this at all.
She thinks it's probably because GDPR is in UK legislation, anyway (?)

timrowldge
Usually spelt: "Millwall", of course 😁
( Bricks are for throwing at the second or third line, while they are nutting the front row! )

"Cups"
Forget it - For liquids, use a calibrated jug, for almost everything else a moden digital scale does the job.
Remember that I'm making & baking bread in some form or other at least once a week & often twice.

260:

In other news - maybe, just maybe ... we have a working tokamak generating fusion power ....

261:

Sort of like a cross between a missile and a... knife? Well an exploding knife that relays video. So some sort of .... knife ... missile?

Maybe more like a replacement for hand grenades. Frag grenades are less than half a kilo, HE grenades a little less again... these are both very achievable weights for a drone to carry (the concern would be how many the human can carry in a pack, along with the goggles and controller handset). Multiple of miniature recoilless rounds could be possible too perhaps. I'm sure this has already been discussed in these very pages...

262:

Yeah, a team of a dozen exploding missile knives that do 160 mph, see in IR and can fly through a window and then hunt through corridors and rooms, all 4 km away.

263:

Yeah, I've never found those super useful.

For taking off a nut that's putting up a fight (noting that nuts that have been underwater for a while aren't standard size anymore), nut splitters are probably the first port of call.

If that fails, broco.

https://youtu.be/L-9PnrZjIGo

For doing up a nut, hydrotorque. Well that's what we called it. Google turns up nothing. It's like a hydraulic jack that pulls on the rod or stud. You then do up the nut hand tight, then remove the jack. That applies exactly the pull the designer wanted.

264:

(Apologies, was trying not to spell out the Iain Banks reference explicitly but still make it super obvious).

I've been taking an interest in RC flying lately myself. I'm interested in fixed wing, but some drones are very tempting... the Mini Mavic especially: it's sized to be legal to fly unregistered and without a licence, under the drone regulations most countries are in the process of bringing in. Under 250g is legal to fly in a public park, so long as its ground track stays 30m away from people and vehicles (in most countries, definitely all over Australia... parks are regulated at LGA level but rules will refer to the CASA guidelines, which is where the 250g thing comes from). Does good enough still resolution for the sort of things I'd be interested in photographing (basically landscapes, dawns/sunsets, sailboats and animals). Doesn't have a "follow this" feature, which might mean it doesn't justify the cost.

Anyhow (in the civil world, obviously) the RC itself is mostly digital, while FPV video is a mixture of analog and digital with the latter still expensive but gaining on the market. Cheap, light single board computers that have the video camera and FPV transmitter built in are in the "how much cheaper can we make this?" part of the market. The most complex digital RC sets use frequency hopping, but mostly to make more efficient use of spectrum. There's no crypto, and nothing you'd consider useful for counter-countermeasures. I don't know enough about jamming to comment further, or whether there's a technical solution to defeat countermeasures in the general case. I can see crypto solving some use cases but not all. You don't really need GPS for this application, but getting low latency video from the device and sending control inputs to it are both important.

Referring back to Banks, his novels express asymmetry in combat mostly in terms of the difference in ECM capability... the massively superior capability could simply take over the other side's control systems, with a bit of a scale up to parity. Of course Banks' knife missiles are also fractionally sentient, which is a whole other bunch of issues.

265:

Hydraulic bolt tensioning tool

266:

Oh, sorry. Banks is one of those "must read" things that I've failed to read. Sorry.

I'd tend to agree that control of the EM spectrum will be like control of the air. At least until we can build self aware attack drones that are a few 10s of grams.

As to what RC aircraft hobby to persue, I've got no idea. The limit of my knowledge is to watch a drone racer practice and think "Golly Gee"

267:

At this point in time, it does not even matter if there is a "deal" or not, unless of course that "deal" is just a Brexit deadline extension dragged up as a deal*.

The "logistics" for doing whatever any deal will require is not ready and will not be ready for quite a while yet. Chaos is already baked in and unavoidable!

WTO-tariffs or tariffs is not even the worst part, no, the worst part is doing "the import/export paperwork" - without knowing the rules and which paperwork to be doing!

I think many logistics operators will keep their lorries out of the UK entirely until they have some certainty that they won't become stranded there. Meaning, that goods will go via ships, in containers, so UK-based trucks can take them.

I Expect a USSR-style collapse of the UK and Sattelites!

*)
Except the EU cannot legally extend the Brexit transition period, and such a fudge will be vetoed by one of the 27 states preferring Clarity to more endless slog in Zero-visbility muddy water,

Whatever kind of deal "Boris" pulls off will be instantly shredded by the swivel-eyed as a "Surrender to NAZI GERMAN DICTATORSHIP", providing very little motivation for actually bothering with anything serious, on both sides,

The EU could maybe live with the UK leaving the club and still wanting to use the Jacuzzi, but, there is a strict policy about not relieving oneself while in the Jacuzzi ... and the EU does not trust that the UK is not planning to do exactly that, given the "internal markets bill" ... thus there will need to be enforcement,

Which conflicts with the swivel-eyed's idea of Sovereignty, which is: "I can do whatever I like and you shall do whatever I tell you to, because British & Empire"!

268:

Maybe, but he told me the story in 1992 or thereabouts; the car (a 450SL iirc) maybe have been ten years old then..

269:

Sounds more like my fun. Some of the other suggestions seem to involved being able to have some access to the troubled bolts and nuts.

One of the memories seared into my brain is helping my neighbor swap a starter on their car one February when it was a bit below freezing, after dark, and without the car being on a lift. You couldn't see the bolt heads at the same time was when working. You could sort of see them, get a mental image, then by feel work the tools into positions around the frame and exhaust pipe. While gradually going numb from the cold.

270:

Small-drone ( Not-quite "knife" ) missiles: Chicken wire shields.

fjansen
You may, unfortunately, be correct.
Even IF we geta "deal" of some sort, it's going to be painful for paperwork reasons mentioned.
As for the swivel-eyed - you do realise that they refer to the EU as the "EUSSR" & "der vierte Reich" in almost the same breath? The complete logic-&-reality fail is amazing.
It's like the word "socialism" in the US - meaning anything that involves helping other people?
I know that at least two of the rail freight operators are semi-prepared for increased loadings from ports away from Dover - if of course, our underspent rail infrastructure can take it. { There are four major container ports on the E coast, which have only diesel rail traction: Thames Gateway, Felixstowe, Immingham & Hull )
Because the DafT ( Department for Transport, DfT, also known as "the ministry of Roads" ) have been backing ever-heavier lorries for the past 60 years.

271:

Quote from the "Indy" - I wonder if this is correct?
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
But Johnson is nevertheless in a strong position from which to sell out. Provided the EU gives him something that he can present as a negotiating triumph, most of his MPs will focus on that and ignore whatever concessions he has made. He could give the EU all our fish in perpetuity and a level playing field made of gold, but as long as he can stand up in the Commons and declare that he has secured a good deal for Britain and beaten off some unreasonable demand that the EU never actually made, he will get away with it.
All he needs is a bit of choreography from the other side and he will tell his side that he has won the most famous victory since Agincourt – or some other tasteless reference to Anglo-continental slaughter in ages past – and they are so desperate to believe him that it will be true in their eyes.
But, the solid facts of this negotiation are that it is very much in the interest of both sides to reach a deal, and that there are no genuine obstacles to doing so. But it is hard to be sure when there are such levels of fantasy involved.

272:

Oh, I know what I'm doing (in the sense that I have a coherent plan, not that I'm competent or anything crazy like that). I'm still in the "practice with a simulator so the first time you try a split S in a real plane you don't fly straight into the ground" stage. Plus, I already have more hobbies than most people, while doing non trivial house renovations and starting a PhD. TBH it's more about getting me out of the house for a bit without feeling like having to achieve anything serious (unless you count "not trashing a(nother) plane"* as a serious achievement).

* I should clarify that I haven't even trashed one plane. Yet.

273:

gasdive @ 265

Personally, I would not call Banks a "must-read" SF author. He's a good writer, an honest one (or was since he died in 2013) to be sure. But his "Culture" series isn't really SF.

I read his first four science fiction novels and each time I felt a big emptiness at the end. It was because the plot did not have much to do with classic science fiction. There were robots, supermen, FTL ships, etc., but they could have been replaced with cowboys and indians and magic beads.

274:

Oh, that's interesting.

I like SF when it makes me wonder about the world. Or learn something important. Rollicking good tales don't do much for me.

275:

"should clarify that I haven't even trashed one plane. Yet"

Better than me. Well, not trashed completely, but needed repairs before I could fly it again.

276:

That SORT of tool is called a "podger" in the UK but it wouldn't be allowed on a building site for reasons. The spike is used to lever two slightly misaligned scaffolding parts together by inserting it through two adjacent holes and heaving until the holes line up and a connector can be pushed through.

Scaff bolts are all an industry standard size though, 7/16 Whitworth. A modern 21mm metric spanner will fit well enough on standard scaff nuts given tolerances and such but an adjustable spanner is dangerous as it can slip and hurt people's hands given its slackness of fit so no permitto on site.

277:

You mean a monkey wrench isn't allowed on UK building sites??!!

278:
But Johnson is nevertheless in a strong position from which to sell out.

I think that is from someone thinking that the swivel-eyed ones are just vain, stupid and without any attention span whatever, while conveniently ignoring their considerate cunning and fevered energy in sniffing out any kind of percieved sell-out to the UNELECTED NAZI-EUSSR as The Daily Mail or The SUN would diplomatically put it, safe in the conviction that only UK-based readers ever read the UK papers ...

The EU-side must know by now that making any kind of concession, even if it is "just" some bon-mots referring to the past glories of The Empire, will only re-energise the Brexiteers and make them demand more concessions because it will be The Proof that "They needs us more than we need them!".

I may be going a bit overboard here, but, I think that the only way "Boris" will ever get a deal though his Brexiteer parliament is to throw at least all of the ERG under the bus. Literally. Maybe using a vehicle with a bit more heft and road-clearance, like the Volvo A60H.

Assuming of course one can be spared for a few hours from the critical task of tarmacing over Kent!

279:

Well, we're not past 300 yet, but it doesn't seem to have been mentioned yet.

I'm hoping (!) this is the poisoning incident I think it is. Because one pandemic is just about manageable.

https://www.dw.com/en/india-unknown-disease-leaves-1-dead-scores-hospitalized/a-55845856

280:

Tools must be fit for purpose, specifically in the structural building trade (girder-beam construction, scaffolding etc.) and adjustable spanners just don't cut it. Damaged, defective and ill-fitting tools cause accidents and the building industry, in the UK at least, is no longer the slaughterhouse it used to be because of regulation about this sort of corner-cutting and cost-cutting dangerous shit.

Even SF fans have to abide by these rules -- the Tech teams that rig and derig stage lighting and such at big conventions wear hard hats while working with overhead beams, lamps etc. even indoors. Riggers working above a certain height all wear fall harnesses, certificated and up-to-date, no excuses. The hire companies who supply the structural girders, temporary staging etc. to conventions provide proper tooling for the job and they will back-charge if they find rounded-off nuts and fasteners when the items are returned.

281:

Could WW1 have contributed to the Great Depression?

283:

Duffy: Seems that people expect a food shortage over the winter. Anything similar happening in the UK? Any other appliances/furnishings/tools that are becoming hard to find? Does the UK have a prepper movement similar to America's? Tiny homes? Off the grid living? Self sustainable farms and gardens? Militia movements?

In order: we have a possible no-deal Brexit coming soon. You bet there are shortages.

Felixstowe -- England's main container port -- is logjammed with a backlog of containers so bad that some shipping firms are diverting container ships to Liverpool (all the way around at the opposite end of the country).

Supermarket chains are reporting shortages of white goods, notably fridge/freezers, so someone's stockpiling.

Tiny homes are normal here -- the average British dwelling is smaller than the average in Japan, about 30-40% the size of a market-equivalent dwelling in the US -- and many homes don't have any kind of garden/yard space for home-grown produce. Makes prepping difficult.

"Off-grid living" means homeless and living in a tent. Over winter, in a pandemic. Nobody who can avoid it is doing that. Yes, there are Roma travellers: the government are as usual doing their best to make their lifestyle unfeasible in a horribly racist way.

Militia movements imply a preparedness for armed violence. That would be treated as terrorism here. So no, we don't have a militia movement.

284:

Disagree. Because Iain wasn't working at a conventional plot level, he was all about thematic issues to do with the human condition. For instance, if you read "Surface Detail" looking for a plot, you were looking in the wrong direction: it was really about the morality of afterlife-based religion (and religious entrepreneurialism).

285:

We've had working tokamaks since the late 1950s. What we don't have, including this Chinese one, is a tokamak that has reached breakeven (fusion power out equals electrical power in) let alone the 25:1 or more gain needed to make commercial power generation feasible.

286:

fjansen
Possibly
BoZo could be depending on Labour & the SNP to vote "for" a so-called "deal" ( Because it's better than no-deal ) to overcome the utter madmen ( & women )

Charlie
Yup - same as "Excession" was actually about - What do you do when faced with an Out-of-Context Problem?
"Use of Weapons" - what to the survivors do & how do they cope ... after THE WAR is over?
Come to that "Consider Phlebas" is a different take on that same problem ( I think )
And so on

287:


Stross @ 283

Banks wrote "Surface Detail" in 2010. I abandonned him long before that in the early 1990s.

My problem with him was that he didn't connect with any Sense of Wonder. Part of that issue was that his Culture series was classed in the SF area in the public library where I got his books. I expected a Sense of Wonder from those books.

In contrast a novel like "Gravity's Rainbow" was in the general section even though it had dashes in Mad Science. I didn't expect a Sense of Wonder so enjoyed it, partly because of the humor.

288:

BoZo could be depending on Labour & the SNP to vote "for" a so-called "deal" ( Because it's better than no-deal ) to overcome the utter madmen ( & women )

The SNP have already said they will abstain, because they're so adamantly opposed to Brexit under all conditions -- after all, Scotland comprehensively voted against it -- that they refuse to legitimize any kind of a Brexit agreement by voting for one, but they won't vote for a no-deal Brexit either.

Labour have hinted that Starmer will whip MPs into voting to support a Johnson deal.

(I think that's a mistake and the SNP have the right of it: Brexit is a Tory project, make the Tories own it from start to finish.)

289:

some drones are very tempting... the Mini Mavic especially

Spring for the Mini 2, unless you get a very good deal on a Mavic Mini.

Better in windy conditions — the MM is amazing for its size, but doesn't deal well with wind.

Has Occusync 2 rather than wifi — which makes a big difference in signal strength even if you never fly far enough to worry about range. I've had a few lost signal events when the Mini was visible and not that far away (100 m).

The M2 takes raw stills as well as JPEG, and 4k video. Again, makes a big difference if photography/videography is your goal.

The M2 is lighter than the MM, which gives you a few grams to add accessories (such as a filter, or a sun screen) without blowing past the 250g limit which requires registration etc. I really wish I could add a sun screen (think lens hood) to my MM — I use one on the Mavic 2 Pro all the time and really notice the flare I get on the MM.


I've never used the tracking feature on my drones. I'm not interested in selfies, and usually fly near trees and similar obstacles that make automated flight dangerous. The MM can actually track an object a bit — when doing an orbit or helix maneuver you select the centre by selecting an object visible with the camera, and the aircraft then circles that object. If the object is moving slowly it will circle a moving object.

290:

One thing this thread has me realizing is how much the craziness of the US political situation just now has crowded out news from outside our borders. I would keep up with things around the world in general. But lately things are so crazy here that most news organizations are overflowing with US news to the extend it crowds out everything else.

In a more "normal" time Brexit would be all over our US news. Just now, it is rarely mentioned.

Hopefully things will calm down a bit after electors get locked in tomorrow and vote next Tuesday. But 2020 is always pulling another rabbit out of the hat.

291:

Allen Thompson @ 203, on units of mass/weight/volume:

This leads me to wonder: how would kitchen and bathroom scales on the moon be calibrated?

  • Newtons of force downwards? Technically correct, but nobody ever uses them outside physics labs.
  • Grams or kilograms measured under lunar gravity, so if you put a 1 kg mass on the scales then it will read 1 kg. Probably the right thing for kitchen scales because a recipe that calls for 100g flour needs a mass of 100g regardless of local gravity.
  • Grams or kilograms measured under Earth gravity, so that if you put a 1 kg mass on the scales then it will read around 170g. This is what lay people will expect from bathroom scales because they know they weigh 1/6 as much as they do on Earth.

Of course for the forseeable future anyone who makes it to the moon is going to have a very clear understanding of the difference between mass and weight. But if a lunar tourist industry ever starts up then this is going to take some explaining.

292:

David L. @ 289

Try my favourite, BBC news:

https://www.bbc.com/news

And if you want a closer source of contagion, try CBC news:

https://www.cbc.ca/news

293:

I know about other outlets. My point was that places like Washington Post, NY Times, msNBC, CNN, etc... have cut way back on world news due to the flood of US news.

Heck I currently know more about the laws of elections in Georgia than I do for my home state.

Of course these time do have their moments. The governor of Arizona (a true R through and through) was part of a signing of the declaration of the vote results on a live stream when his phone rang with the ring tone he had bragged about a month or few earlier. It was Trump. On the live stream he silenced his phone and set it aside.

294:

Niala,

How accurate are the BBC now? I've heard mentions of a Tory purge.

295:

One thing this thread has me realizing is how much the craziness of the US political situation just now has crowded out news from outside our borders.

And then there's the stuff nobody in the West is talking about, like the 250 million workers on general strike in India right now (protests against the BJP).

You'd think in any other year 3% of the world population going on strike simultaneously would get the media's undivided attention, wouldn't you?

296:

It's not my country so I don't know how accurate the BBC is. I take everything in it with a grain of salt, like I do for The Independent, which I also read.

At least those two are not outright weird, like the Asahi Shimbun.

297:

The governor of Arizona (a true R through and through) was part of a signing of the declaration of the vote results on a live stream when his phone rang with the ring tone he had bragged about a month or few earlier. It was Trump. On the live stream he silenced his phone and set it aside.

The sane Republicans in Arizona know they have a problem. Biden won. Both US Senators are Democrats now. Five of nine US House seats are held by Democrats. The two state legislative chambers have gotten close, and their will be no incumbent in the election for governor in 2022. Ballot initiative policies opposed by the Republicans have passed despite that in recent years. Arizona appears to be on the same path as Colorado and Nevada. If that's the case, the Republicans there have to look sane to the suburbanites.

One of the things that has happened over the last 30 years that political scientists seem to just ignore is the vast swing of the American West from Republican to Democratic.

298:

I cannot tell you how screwed we all are, without resorting to the phrase:

"Surgeons were unable to recover the corkscrew"


But...

Me, I got a job in Dublin.

Not what I wanted at the time, having my job exported - I would rather not be working in Dublin and living in London - but it's turned out that there is quite a lot of lemonade to be made out of that particular lemon.

Especially as it's sweetened by my being paid in hard currency.

Do I like profiting at the expense of others? No, but I don't dislike it enough to want to be 'in the same boat' as the Brexit hardliners and their deluded voters, who would hate me for my outward-looming attitudes...

...And hack away with axes at the hull of the boat *even harder* if they knew that anyone who ever asked them not to can actually swim.

And for the future of financial services in London?

The fund managers will be here for another year or two, and that'll keep some of the trade floors open, for now.

But some of those trading floors, and some of those traders, are already in Paris or Frankfurt.

Some of the vast army of IT professionals have followed them; most are now in Dublin, just like the back-office staff.

Even those who are still in London are on contracts to EU-registered legal entities, and they will move to the EU if London-based entities are shut out of the regulated and open EU markets, and cannot maintain the fiction of providing services to a trading and banking entity in the EU.

Whatever remains will, over time, degenerate into the worst of shady 'offshore' financial services, much to the approval of some in the ruling regime.

Also: there's quite a lot of banking IT and support in Glasgow, and a fair amount in Edinburgh, supporting the capital of Scotland's fund managers.

Watch that closely: the IT might turn into even cheaper offshoring than Bangalore, or it might turn out to be a convenient office in a re-accession EU country.

Either way, it's a smart bet for the American banks who have made that investment: and I may well take up the offer if my job is moved there next.

299:

"If that's the case, the Republicans there have to look sane to the suburbanites."

BTW, the Arizona GOP Twitter account is openly calling for armed rebellion. Not just flirting with it, anymore.

300:

One of the things that has happened over the last 30 years that political scientists seem to just ignore is the vast swing of the American West from Republican to Democratic.

Oh, I'm pretty sure the political scientists noticed. I'm also sure that the high-ranking news media are more conduits for various psyops efforts than (unfortunately) attempts at objective analysis.

I also agree with the comment that the US media noise about our two-party political system drowns out what's going on in with the other seven billion people on the planet. That is a serious problem.

301:

news.google isn't great but it isn't bad, either. I've been seeing headlines about the mysterious illness and the strike in India for days.

302:

white goods, notably fridge/freezers

That's a term I hadn't heard, but it relates to another one encountered in parts of Latin America, "linea blanca" or "white line" which means the same thing. I guess it goes back to early days, when they all really were white.

AFAIK the US has no such term, just "large appliances."

303:

Brexiting Euratom gets interesting, in unexpected ways.

So lets gloss over the expected issue of who's certified as competent to receive medical isotopes or be the duty manager in a power station...

Does anyone here know anything about (say) industrial x-ray inspections?

No? Okay.

But you do know about the isotope sources used to x-ray critical components certified for use in aircraft, and the checks for cracks in (say) landing gear struts, and wing spars?

Okay, we're on the same page.

And it follows that there's a ton of documentation that certifies (say) the components of a helicopter rotor head. And certifies the testing process. And certifies the technicians and managers who conduct it and supervise it.

And, again, a certification that permits them to be recipient of these radiation sources as they cross and re-cross borders, right?

Here's one example that interests me, as someone who once aspired to be a civil engineer:

The building next door to my last-but-one office was very exciting.

As in, structurally dependent on a liine of massive diagonal girders on colossal steel bearings...

Which had to be X-rayed before the building was occupied.

Which have to be X-rayed every five to ten years, if the building is to continue in use as offices.

Which is a condition of the structural insurance.

Which is a condition of the bank loans and bonds which financed its construction, and will continue to be a condition of the financial arrangements for its resale, or refinancing.

Which is... Let's just say that investments in the very top tier of European commercial property are rather important to pension funds in Europe and the UK.

There are six X-ray rigs capable of performing that particular inspection, in the whole of the EU; each of them - and its highly-qualified crew - is booked-up years in advance and constantly travelling between the cities of Europe with a complicated 'passport' of Euratom certifications that would weigh more than the shielding and the positioning jacks, if anyone spent the next three years printing it out.

Documentation that exists, in theory, in duplicated English law after Brexit.

Documentation that can only exist in the sense of *having legal effect* if an equivalent nuclear treaty - a very detailed 'deal' - comes into existence in the next two weeks, and is ratified; and the legal obligations of the World's complicated web of nuclear-materials treaties means that this can not be a matter of 'photocopy the existing arrangements and make it so': there are processes and protocols to follow.

Or would be if we'd actually done it: nobody's mentioned it in my hearing if we did.

All six of those X-Ray machines will be outside the EU by December 31st, together with their operating crews, who qualify for 'highly-qualified-and-essential technician' visas throughout the EU.

Which is to say: they probably aren't UK citizens any more, one way or another.

Oh.

Feel free to tell me that this is one tiny side-issue to Brexit: you'll be right if you do.

It's just one issue among hundreds - thousands, for all I know - and the only reason I mention it, is that it's the one I know about.

It'll be one of the other ones that makes the headlines, and I doubt that you or I will see it coming.

304:

Anyone else here a touch confused?

Read today that the uk is to withdraw the clauses in the brexit bill and the taxation bill but yet I read today that the tories took a vote on that same legislation and they almost all voted for it.

How can you withdraw a piece of legislation when your party have just voted for it?

(sorry I would link to these stories but lost them, cursed 'phone..!)

Meantime michael barnier has said that he believed a no deal split in ties with britian at the end of the year is more likely.

Hmm ... ??

ljones

306:

Ah, yes it does. Says this guy born in 54.

307:

...drone racer...They're unbelievably fast...I can't beehive that there's not some military type looking at these races and thinking the same. It's surely going to change what warfare looks like.

Well, yes. But jamming is a thing. I expect jamming and counter-measures is going to be quite a big thing in the near future, even compared to what it is now.

308:

Meanwhile we are now getting opposing conflicting signals over Brexshit ...
BoZo is sounding optimistic - the commission (?) are talking about going on negotiating AFTER 1/1/2021 ( Assuming ground-rules are agreed ) but Barnier is being pessimistic

309:

The issue with mainstream news bias is not that the stuff they publish is wrong, its that their decisions about what is important enough to publish and how it is described are slanted.

For instance, how should a burning car be treated by the national news? If it is merely a car that caught fire due to a fault then it probably won't appear, unless it is the latest in a series of fires due to poor safety, in which case it might feature in the larger narrative. On the other hand if it was set on fire then the arsonists might be important. If the arsonists are on the other side of politics to the news outlet then it is more likely to be featured, less so if they are on the same side. Similar considerations will apply to the skin colour of both arsonists and victim.

When reporting an event it is possible to adopt a neutral point of view, although even then many mainstream outlets prefer not to. For instance, do you describe the people who set the car on fire as "rioters" or "demonstrators"? Do you describe how the rest of the demonstration was peaceful?

However even with the best will in the world, the selection of events to report cannot be neutral (at least, AFAICT). There are literally billions of things happening to people every day, but only room for a dozen or so on a news programme. So every news outlet has to have a framework for deciding the relative importance of events. That framework cannot avoid embodying a view of how the world works, and another name for a world-view is a political position.

So I evaluate news outlets in two ways. First, how do they slant stories? When do they talk about "rioters" and when do they say "demonstrators"? Second, which stories do they report on. To try to evaluate this I read at least the headlines from as wide a range of political positions as possible, including some on the far left and some on the far libertarian. This gives me (I think) a reasonable understanding of the consensus view of what is important and also a fair chance of picking up on interesting things that haven't made it into the consensus yet (e.g. I first heard of the Taliban in an article in The Economist some time in the early to mid 90s).

So based on that I regard the BBC as pretty reliable at picking up the stuff that is generally viewed as important, apart from a regrettable tendency to lead with Buckingham Palace press releases. Its also careful about neutral POV when it does report; "rioters" means only those people throwing petrol bombs or engaged in widespread violence or destruction, and it always distinguishes between things it can confirm as facts and things reported as fact by other people.

310:

WTF is wrong with Texas?

I take it you haven't followed Paxton's years of over-the-top right wing nuttiness. This is pretty typical for him.

We were just wondering how the Texas AG has standing to file such a suit, but maybe that's not the point.

311:

The Bullingdon club is nothing to do with being an aristocrat. It's to do with being male, at Oxford, and having gone to one of a small set of 'right' schools. In other words, it's to do with your parents having enough money to have sent you to one of these schools and then to Oxford, and being male.

It may be that some aristocrats belong to it, but that's incidental.

312:

Nothing wrong with Texas. Just an R used to being in charge trying to stop the changes occurring across the US. And prior to the mid 70s he would have been a D in Texas.

And pulling loose threads together.

Same thing is happening everywhere STEM / higher tech jobs have been congregating. The R's have been trying to out do each other in attracting such to their states for the economic boost. They are now realizing they are imperiling their future control. States attracting auto plants and such are changing more slowly than those attracting Apple, Google, Cisco, etc. And their only playbook is to rally the rural troops to the cause. At some point they will run out of those troops and things fall apart. So are the R's in the US (and Tories in the UK) playing the roll of the Germans or Allies in 1916? In other words is there a US who can enter the war and tip the balance.

Living in the state capital of North Carolina we're ground zero for this. If you check out Wikipedia we're in the middle of the Presidential election votes for 20 years. But state and local votes in the 2 major metro areas are shifting more and more D each year. At some point the rural areas will "run out of troops" as the metro areas keep growing. And the state and local pols know it and the R's don't know how to stop it. Aside from an "Alamo" like last stand.

313:

Ah, yes it does. Says this guy born in 54.

So it does:

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/white%20goods

Definition of white goods

1a : white fabrics especially of cotton or linen
b : articles (such as sheets, towels, or curtains) originally or typically made of white cloth

2 : major household appliances (such as stoves and refrigerators) that are typically finished in white enamel

While I've certainly encountered it in sense 1a/1b, I've never, ever heard it used in sense 2, nor has my wife. I wonder if 2 is a regional usage in the US -- we're from AZ and PR, respectively, and spent ~30 years in the DC area, NoVA in particular.

314:

"Does anyone here know anything about (say) industrial x-ray inspections?"

Bingo. We have a winner. This particular one might not make the news, but it's the kind of thing that makes the news, usually when the anchor has an engineer on to explain why the big building fell over.

And you are very right that it is only one issue among thousands...

I don't understand why the British aren't in the streets.

315:

whitroth @ 235: Must be local. I've only seen 4x8 sheets of drywall, MD, PA, IL, TX, FL.

Nope. Available (and in stock) at almost any building supply store and/or Big Box DIY store in the U.S. It's also available in 9' & 10' sheets.

Here's a thought ... in U.S. new construction, rafters, joists, wall studs are almost universally set at 16" on center (center to center). What do they do in the U.K. & E.U.?

316:

Those of us with such tool sets think it is just plain wonderful that we get to buy twice as many sockets, wrenches, drill bits, etc... as the rest of the world to work on mechanical things.

Oh, trust me, the rest of the world get to do that too, because sometimes we have to buy stuff from the USA, and an annoyingly large fraction of the time, that means buying in Imperial sizes.

This has ... consequences.

Most of my "buying stuff from the USA" came in the form of purchasing scientific equipment for an optics lab. Optics labs means optics tables - huge, multi-tonne benches designed to hold optics steady and vibration free. The upper surface is usually a stainless sheet with a regular grid of bolt holes, typically M6 on a 25mm spacing.

And then it comes time to buy parts. And, three of the main vendors being primarily US based, their default parts are Imperial sized. So you have to be very careful to order the sane parts instead, but every now and then, you slip up, or they slip up, or the part you need is only available with Imperial dimensions, and you get Imperial parts arriving.

And then comes the problem.

Because we have Imperial tools (because some things don't come in sane dimensions), and the occasional Imperial sized bolt knocking around, and because 1/4"-20 bolts look quite a lot like M6x1 bolts to the untrained eye, you get accidents.

And when those accidents involve Masters students with a can-do attitude and a large lever, those accidents can involve destroying quite stupendously expensive apparatus. Optics tables have enough tapped holes that one or two being destroyed isn't enough to scrap them... until it's the one damn hole that you need, and it'll take a week's work rebuilding the system to work around it.

The general response to that - backed up by the PI who was paying me at the time - is that Imperial sized bolts were destroyed, with extreme prejudice, whenever discovered. That included the surplus silver-plated, hollow-bored, extreme-high-vacuum rated ones that cost double-digit euros per bolt. Each one went either straight into the mechanical workshop's recyling bin, or if after hours when the workshop was closed, to the machine vice to destroy the threads and await recyling the following morning.


It's expensive, and annoying, and as someone who has workeded with mechanical devices in the Rest of the World, sadly, we don't get to escape the continuing existence of the Imperial system. In much the same way that we don't get to escape USian politics, as has been noted on this blog in the past.

317:

That article is *terrible*, and tells me nothing, other than that they turned it up for the first time.

Did it achieve fusion?
If so, for how long?
Did it produce more energy than they pumped in?

No answers.

318:

Other answers are good.
- Try https://news.google.com (while not logged into google), switch to desktop view if needed, expand the World news section. (It'll default to your region if you're not using a VPN that makes you appear to be elsewhere, else use the full url for your area, e.g. https://news.google.com/topstories?hl=en-US&gl=US&ceid=US:en )
- Try https://www.reuters.com/theWire
(Make it a habit to skim world news at least once a day.)

319:

No matter how often you explain it to them, people from the USA simply do not seem capable of understanding that (even today) the British aristocracy and plutocracy are very different.

320:

Self-aware attack drones.

There's an *old*, extremely low-budget sf movie called Dark Star. Their mission (that they've been on for 20 years) to go and blow up "unstable planets".

The self-aware bomb gets jammed in the exit....

"Teach the bomb phenomenology...."

321:

Meanwhile we are now getting opposing conflicting signals over Brexshit ...

Which is essentially what has been happening for the last 2+ years as the UK side keep trying to spin things.

Not helped by the occasional spin from some EU country.

BoZo is sounding optimistic - the commission (?) are talking about going on negotiating AFTER 1/1/2021 ( Assuming ground-rules are agreed ) but Barnier is being pessimistic

Barnier is serving 27 masters, and thus generally doesn't seem to have been caught up in the spin game - but he is also likely more aware of the realities of trying to craft a deal that satisfies the 27 EU countries and thus not swayed by any opinion or pronouncement of 1 of the 27.

322:

In the UK, 2400x1200 (in mm) is essentially THE commercial size. Part of that is that builders would need to cut up larger sizes to get them into many British houses! They sometimes have to cut up even 2400x1200 sheets when they could fit the whole thing if they could get it in.

323:

There are good and sufficient reasons that the first paper I go through in the morning, every morning, is the Guardian. US URL: https://www.theguardian.com/us

I do headlines, world, and US, and have at least some idea of what's happening in the world. Note: they are explicitly left wing, yes, socialist, small "s". They are also a non-profit - they'd existed on a trust, but ask for donations these days. They've been around since 1821 (yes, that's 19th century), and used to be the Manchester Guardian (and my father read it...)

They do not, at least to me, have their biases overwhelm the five w's. And they have some of the best actual *writers* in any paper. (Admittedly, I *adore* Marinna Hyde... but never read her with anything in my mouth, as I'm likely to be pounding the desk laughing.)

324:

IMO, a ploy. I see he's asserting the right to go straight to the Supreme Court; I expect them, biased as they are, to say "no standing, bye, don't let the door hit you on the way out".

325:

Damian @ 236: Of course then there's the whole argument about whether 300 microns is within tolerances, so you can just label a 1/2" spanner as 13mm and vice versa...

In my experience, you can loosen a 1/2" nut or bolt with a 13mm wrench (although there is some risk of rounding off the corners of the bolt head if it slips), but you're never going to get a 1/2" wrench to fit on to a 13mm bolt.

You cannot tighten a 1/2" bolt with a 13mm wrench, because that will slip and it will round off the corners of the bolt.

That's assuming a 13mm wrench with a 6-point socket or "box" end. If it's a 12-point socket or box wrench, it's always going to slip if you try to use it on a 1/2" nut or bolt.

Don't even get me started on the English Whitworth stuff that was on the Morris Minor my girlfriend's dad gave me back when I was in high school.

326:

US URL: https://www.theguardian.com/us

And the UK version, https://www.theguardian.com/uk, which is also on my morning reading list.

327:

The trick, at least from my point of view, is to even *find* a left wing mainstream paper (other than the Guardian). Anything owned by Murdoch ranges from "the very edge of the right" to tabloid, and beyond that is like Wile. E. Coyote, ten meters past the edge of the cliff.

If I want tabloids, I'll go to my Favorite one, the only *reliable* newspaper (they say so themselves), the Weekly World News.*

* I came to see them as my favorite of all - how can you not, when early in April of '93? '94? they had a front page story of "NASA Finds Alien Baby in Crashed UFO"... and in an inset block, "Unidentified Farm Couple Waiting To Adopt"?

328:

"What do they do in the U.K. & E.U.?"

Plywood not nearly used as much in buildings in Europe, but "plaster-board", (aka gypsum) is used a lot.

In Denmark the gypsum plates are produced from the waste-water from the scrubbers which remove SO2 from chimney-smoke on power plants and waste incinerators.

As far as I know, 2400x1200mm is the only size commonly used for all kinds of plate-materials here in Denmark.

The few places plywood is regularly used in Danish buildings is as "class-A" "under-roof" under roofing tiles and for the attic walk-way.

("class-A" is mandatory for "medium and high consequence" buildings, like schools etc. For normal houses people save around €200 by getting only "class-C" which is synthetic textile materials, typically with a documented lifetime of 1/10th of the tiles above it.)

Some companies have tried using longer dimension custom plywood for the attic walk-way, in order to make the walk-way part of the documented horizontal stability of cookie-cutter houses, but I think they ran into so much trouble and bad PR that they stopped again.

329:

How to stop the shift: why do you think they're desperately looking for permanent ways to disenfranchise people? They know what the population stats say, and unless they abandon the 1%, which they'll never do, they have no choices other than to try to push the Christian Satanists (that is, the self-proclaimed "evangelical Christians") who are the voter base.

Right now is "gain control Forever, or it's all over".

330:

> white goods

Researching this a little, I find that white goods are contrasted with brown goods, another term I never heard of.

And, be it said, don't like the sound of.

331:

timrowledge @ 248: Militia? In the UK? Well, not in the sense of gun-wanking massively overweight drunk reichwing nutjobs. I wouldn’t be surprised if the average football hoolie gang could take any of them with just bricks, scarves and sheer brute violence.

FWIW, the radical gun-nut mobs in the U.S. who call themselves a militia are NOT in actuality. "Too many chiefs and no Indians."

332:

"You'd think in any other year 3% of the world population going on strike simultaneously would get the media's undivided attention, wouldn't you?"

Would you? They're in India. Seems to me we only ever hear 2 kinds of things about India:

1) Nuclear Neighbours Yelling And Screaming At Each Other, ep. 39741

2) Oh look some poor foreign people have been earthquaked, send them all your old sweaters and milk bottle tops and make yourself feel good about it.

(Once upon a time we also got (3) Indira Gandhi, but she's dead now.)

333:

Heteromeles @ 253: I'm quite sure they're looking at guided, armed drones. It's been a thing since before the kamikaze.

The trouble isn't guiding the drones, it's dealing with the countermeasures. I think we had a thread on this some time ago, about how ubiquitous countermeasures for guidance, GPS, optical and emissions fooling scenery, and such are likely to become standard defenses around hardened targets.

We also had a quite long thread about "slaughterbots" introduced, IIRC, by Charlie himself. "Hardened targets" aren't the ones that need to worry.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TlO2gcs1YvM

334:

If I want tabloids

A phenomenon that I've only recently become aware of is that there are tabloids in other parts of the world that don't totally conform to the US/UK stereotype. They definitely cater to the tabloid sensitivities of crime, human tragedy, disasters etc, but do it in a way that covers actual news and only has a sprinkling of UFOs and other stuff. Well, mostly.

E.g., https://www.critica.com.pa/

335:

Looks like I triggered a pedant-storm. My mistake.

Of course gyprock and plywood come in 4'x10' and 4'x(y') sizes. The point was not that they are available in 4'x8' sheets, the point was that in a metric country they are available in Imperial measurements (and no other).

Similarly when I am running stringers for a wall I go to 16" or (sometimes) 12" spacing. Part of that is so that I can fit 4'x(y') gyprock sheets or plywood onto them, but also it is reflected in the building code.

Concrete is ordered and poured in cubic yards, soil and fill are sold similarly.

Humans are still measured in feet and pounds - I know few adult Canadians that could quickly tell me their height in meters or their weight in kilos. Casual usage still leans heavily to the Imperial system, aside from driving speeds.

Grocery stores like to play head games with the two systems. Pork chops are sold by the pound, right next to fish sold at prices per 100g, causing me to do a rough conversion in my head ($/100g * 4.5). Rule of thumb - prices per 100g are generally much higher per unit and used to disguise that fact.

Pigeon @331. We're starting to see news about the strike in India, largely because of some large protests in solidarity here by South Asian farmers. A quarter of a billion people striking - you'd think that would be top of the headlines for anyone, but of course strikers are just a hair away from 'leftist rioters' and thus won't get any attention until things start to burn.

336:

Oooooh! One of my very favorite movies. They showed it at my middle school the same year Star Wars came out, and I loved it. Loved it hard. Everyone else, having seen Star Wars, hated it, because they were clueless kids who had no experience of science fiction, and I got a ton of shit over it, to the point where the whole business made it into my school's annual - "Remember when ______ __________ liked Dark Star better than Star Wars?"

But I'll stand by it. Dark Star is by far the better, more interesting movie! (And I won't spoil the climax for the poor, benighted ones who have not yet seen the film.)

337:

"How accurate are the BBC now?"

The written articles on their website aren't too bad, although it's probably easier to mentally auto-correct them living here and being used to it, and there's a reasonable amount of information in the longer ones.

The TV news is fucking awful. You get maybe 3 items before it degenerates into sport and fluffy dogs, with about 2 sentences of actual content on each one after all the padding, reported in such a way as to imply that whatever the Tories are doing is the only possible option that would be available to anyone in the circumstances and that people who want to stay in the EU don't exist.

Oh, and they have forgotten what chroma-key is for, so when someone is talking about what went on in Parliament, instead of inserting a Houses of Parliament background electronically, they have the poor sod actually standing outside the Houses of Parliament in the dark and the pissing rain, yelling at the camera over the roar of traffic while the wind thunders in the microphone so you can only hear one word in three. Which is daft, and shit.

338:

Er, true (modern) Imperial? 4' x 8' being 1219.2mm x 2438.4mm? Imperial as it was in the days of Empire was roughly 1219.19788mm x 2438.39577mm.

In the UK, when we converted almost all of our units, such people created the 'metric foot', being 30cm rather than 30.48cm. Your location created one of 30.5cm. It's still not really Imperial units.

339:

No spoilers but I would like to add that Dark Star features the finest alien in the history of cinema.

340:

Elderly Cynic @ 337

What do you mean by "It's still not really Imperial units."

What would be?

341:

Oh I do use Google News when at my desk. And Apple news when stuck with 5 to 10 minutes of wait and out and about.

Plus I do FoxNews at times to see just how many details they have left out of a story. You know things are crazy when FoxNews is talking about the lawsuits about the elections getting kicked out and they are quoting the judges as saying "shut up and go away".

342:

No matter how often you explain it to them, people from the USA simply do not seem capable of understanding that (even today) the British aristocracy and plutocracy are very different.

We could say similar about the European and UK understanding of things here.

At times I feel like we're playing a role in the book "Mote in God's Eye" where the layers of a civilization are totally missed by each side.

343:

Yes... see above discussion with Moz re: 2440x1220 sheets, which is definitely how marine ply comes in Oz. I can't say for sure whether it's *really* 2440 or actually 2438.4mm because tolerances seems to be larger than that difference (I just measured my desk, which I made 20 years ago with a single sheet of ply cut down to 900mm width, but full length, and it's actually closer to 2450, although it would have been 2440 nominal). The heaviest standard thickness in the local hardware chain is 18mm, though commercial-only suppliers would carry up to a 25mm. Construction/building ply comes in 2400x1200.

344:

They sometimes have to cut up even 2400x1200 sheets when they could fit the whole thing if they could get it in.

In remodeling and new construction they many times leave a 2nd and if needed 3rd floor window out until they use a fork truck crane setup to push it into the upper floors. Most BUILDER supply houses have such a delivery systems. But for the bigger sizes single people mostly can't carry it.

When I redid a couple of bedrooms 10 years ago unloading the double sheets (how they are made and shipped) almost wiped me out and that was with a helper. I was in my mid 50s and using muscles that thought retirement had arrived. 80 pounds I think.

345:

There are good and sufficient reasons that the first paper I go through in the morning, every morning, is the Guardian.

I read a lot of the Guardian via Apple News. but on my phone the begging for money ads take up an annoying amount of screen space.

346:

Ahem: I've cancelled my subscription to the Guardian in the past couple of months.

Proximate causes:

a) Grotesque levels of transphobia, continuing after the most egregious editorial writer responsible flounced (and surfaced spewing the same poison at the Spectator and Telegraph)

b) Coverage of Scottish politics has a ridiculous amount of anti-SNP venom, which leaks through into their actual selection of political news pieces to cover. (For example: in a week that has an Ipsos/MORI poll showing the SNP tracking to win 55% of the popular vote with all-time record levels of public approval, they run a hit piece disguised as "news" talking up internal opposition to Nicola Sturgeon -- the party leader and First Minister -- to spin it as Sturgeon being in deep trouble. Which is simply not true.)

I can maybe ignore the editorial bullshit (although I find transphobia utterly repugnant: it's an eliminationist creed recycling anti-gay talking points from the 1980s with a new target group), but I can't forgive a newspaper for spinning straight-up political propaganda as "news".

347:

If you don't know how to search for '$StatedMeasure as $DesiredMeasure' and evaluating the multiple results nearly all to tools giving the same answer, you aren't making full use of the modern world :-)

348:

Agreed. The very finest of pre-CGI effects.

349:

they had a front page story of "NASA Finds Alien Baby in Crashed UFO"... and in an inset block, "Unidentified Farm Couple Waiting To Adopt"?

MIB explained all of that.

351:

In Denmark the gypsum plates are produced from the waste-water from the scrubbers which remove SO2 from chimney-smoke on power plants and waste incinerators.

Try the world. My son in law was a quality engineer at one for 5 years. Next to a huge power plant out in the middle of nowhere. Hour and 15 to hour and 45 minute commute depending on where he lived. The parent company (French) had plants all over the world. All next to coal fired power plants.[1]

About the time he was leaving the need to run the power plant full time was going away and they had mostly chewed through the scrubber output for feed stock and were having to cut production of drywall.

[1] One side effect of getting rid of coal for power is that drywall will cost more.

352:

Allen Thomson @ 301:

white goods, notably fridge/freezers

That's a term I hadn't heard, but it relates to another one encountered in parts of Latin America, "linea blanca" or "white line" which means the same thing. I guess it goes back to early days, when they all really were white.

AFAIK the US has no such term, just "large appliances."

I've heard it often enough. Maybe not used as much now as it was back when all stoves & refrigerators & freezers & washing machines & clothes dryers were only available in a white enamel finish.

Nowadays you see ads for "Major Appliances Sales", but when I was younger they were advertised as "White Goods Sales", which everyone knew meant kitchen appliances (even washers & dryers which were usually located right off of the kitchen if they weren't in the kitchen itself).

Use faded out in the U.S. about the time all the manufacturing jobs were being off-shored?

My most recent encounter with the term was while trying to find out where Wake County had moved the site for disposing of old kitchen appliances when I wanted to get rid of old, old chest freezer and a refrigerator that was too old for Habitat to take. The refrigerator worked Ok, but it was more than 10 years old so Habitat wouldn't take it. The chest freezer was so old it was not repairable.

They still list "white goods" on the Wake County Waste & Recycling web site.

353:

Ones derived from the Imperial Standard Yard (stick) and Imperial Standard Pound (lump of metal). Yes, they really existed and were used as primary sources, in the same way that the metric equivalents were used until recently (when those were replaced by references to physical constants). They were replaced by re3ferences to metric units within my time at school.

https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/Geo4/5/74/contents/enacted

354:

Seems to me we only ever hear 2 kinds of things about India:

Lately news about the anti cross religious marriage law has broken through.

355:

Concrete is ordered and poured in cubic yards, soil and fill are sold similarly

I wish. Gravel and landscaping stone is sold by weight in the US. Quick how many pounds of crush and run to cover that parking spot? Where did it come from (what is the ratio of sand, small, and larger rock) and has it rained lately?

For us DIY folks they have a scale on the front loader when you go to pick some up.

356:

he heaviest standard thickness in the local hardware chain is 18mm, though commercial-only suppliers would carry up to a 25mm.

I wonder if it is the same thing we call 1" and 5/8".

Although for the last 5 to 10 years it is really 31/32" and 19/32" which gets real close to the mm sizes and now I think that that little bit of shrinkage allows them to interchange mm and inch thicknesses.

357:

Nuts. You'd think after 46 years I could watch it on a service I already pay for without more money. Maybe I'll spring $2. $4 for HD.

358:

Allen Thomson @ 312:

Ah, yes it does. Says this guy born in 54.

So it does:

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/white%20goods

Definition of white goods

1a : white fabrics especially of cotton or linen
  b : articles (such as sheets, towels, or curtains) originally or typically made of white cloth

2 : major household appliances (such as stoves and refrigerators) that are typically finished in white enamel

While I've certainly encountered it in sense 1a/1b, I've never, ever heard it used in sense 2, nor has my wife. I wonder if 2 is a regional usage in the US -- we're from AZ and PR, respectively, and spent ~30 years in the DC area, NoVA in particular.

Instead of regional, I'd say it's archaic, because a lot more of those appliances were sold in non-white enamel finishes in the last 3-4 decades.

Oddly enough, I had forgotten the term was also used for 1a/1b ... probably because I don't remember it being expressed quite that way. All of the department stores around here used to have a "January White Sale" for bed linens & bath towels, etc, but the "White Goods Sales" on appliances were usually later in the summer (July as kind of a prelude to the "Back-to-School" sales in August).

359:

Elderly Cynic @ 352

In my school we were taught both the FSS (Foot, Second, Slug) system and the MKSA (Meter, Kilometer, Second, Ampere) system at the same time and the word "imperial" was never used.

We also never heard of an act on this in the quinto anno of the reign of George IV.

360:

it's the kind of thing that makes the news, usually when the anchor has an engineer on to explain why the big building fell over.

But from a political perspective what's important is that the building won't fall over this year. Or next year.

So they can paper over the inspection problem with waivers and waffle, leaving the real problem to the next sucker.

And you are very right that it is only one issue among thousands...

Think of it as a game of pass the parcel where wach person adds a layer rather than taking one away. If you keep going someone is definitely going to get crushed by the giant ball of paperwork... but it's probably not going to be you. Hopefully.

Many British are in the streets, nazi armbands and all.

361:

I have no idea what a "slug" is. Some kind of obsolete unit of weight measurement?

(Wasn't taught to me at school at any time, and I'm 56 and from the UK. Almost everything after age 8 was metric, SI units. No idea where you get "MKSA" from, that's no nomenclature system I've ever heard of.)

362:

Ground.news is pretty good. They rate news stories by how much they're reported in left or right sources, and have a blindspot listing for stories you're likely to miss if you're only using right or left sources. Centered on the US, but includes world news.

363:

Atropos @ 315:

Those of us with such tool sets think it is just plain wonderful that we get to buy twice as many sockets, wrenches, drill bits, etc... as the rest of the world to work on mechanical things.

Oh, trust me, the rest of the world get to do that too, because sometimes we have to buy stuff from the USA, and an annoyingly large fraction of the time, that means buying in Imperial sizes.

If it's coming from the U.S., it's not "Imperial sizes", it's SAE Standard (unless it's specifically being made for export to somewhere that "Imperial sizes" are required).

364:

I'd always heard of a slug as the round bit of metal that got punched out to allow wiring or conduit into a metal box.

365:

slug

A unit of mass which allows feet and seconds to work as a unified measurement system. Nearly 50 years ago we spend a couple of hours on it so if it came up again we'd know. CGS or MKS is much better. And saner.

366:

I have come across mks (45 year old brit). Pre SI metric measurement system that saw a lot of use in the 50s and 60s. My parents used it.

Meters Kilograms Seconds. Conversion constants to/from SI tends to involve powers of 10.

367:

I listen to the BBC somewhat and mostly like it, but my impression is that it does more to cover the UK and what used to be in the empire than the rest of the world. Is that fair?

368:

Elderly Cynic @ 321: In the UK, 2400x1200 (in mm) is essentially THE commercial size. Part of that is that builders would need to cut up larger sizes to get them into many British houses! They sometimes have to cut up even 2400x1200 sheets when they could fit the whole thing if they could get it in.

~ 0.75 inch narrower & 1.5 inch shorter than U.S. panels.

What about the stud & joist spacing (center to center)?

369:

"slug"

I far too frequently encounter the "slug" - normally making holes in the brassicas or strawberries in the veggie garden. (Occasionally also referring to a lazy teenager). But neither are not a standardised size...

I have heard the term "slugged out" to mean a worn out bearing.

Beaware of local idioms...

370:

the point was that in a metric country they are available in Imperial measurements (and no other)

As has been pointed out, that's not true in Australia or Aotearoa. Unless you are claiming that 47 61/247" x 23 311/497" is a standard imperial size. Because that's the size I can get in any local timber supplier. Also commonly 106 196/657" x 23 311/497" for flooring, some sizes of drywall and plywood.

Yes, we get some plywood in imperial sizes, but we get a lot more in metric.
https://www.bunnings.com.au/our-range/building-hardware/building-boards/structural-plywood?page=1&facets=CategoryIdPath%3Df943e415-a8e8-41db-abee-d727b68aa285&sort=BoostOrder&pageSize=60

371:

600 on centres is common, 400 for some applications. And universally dimensions are in millimetres, unless that's obviously silly and they're in metres. So if a bit of wood is listed as a 9.5 length of 90x45 ... it's 10 yards of 4"x2", varying with the weather :)

372:

I have no idea what a "slug" is. Some kind of obsolete unit of weight measurement?

Mass. Meant to allow American (and British?) engineers to avoid confusing pounds-weight with pounds-mass. I encountered it briefly and walked away quickly.

373:

Slug definitions

Of the top of my head.

metal knockouts for things like electrical panels that i'm guessing is related to the next item.

a fake coin for use in vending machines or subway systems

a small creature that will send my wife and daughter screaming away. a snail without a shell. we get ones around here when it rains a lot and they start drowning that come out onto the side walk. step on one and it's slip city. 4cm or so long.

an obscure unit of mass in a rarely used measurement system.

374:

Reading about lumber sizes you can understand why Apple drove the people nuts who were building their currently mostly empty new HQ. Normal construction practice is 1/8" or so for trim work. (Caulk and wood filler are your friend.) They wanted 1/32 or less.

Actually fired the first general management firm 1/2 way through the build as they would not work at that tolerance.

375:

And now for something completely different.

Navy helicopter pilot will become the FIRST WOMAN to command a US nuclear-powered aircraft carrier

Here's a UK version of the story.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9028631/A-woman-command-nuclear-powered-aircraft-carrier-time-Navy-history.html

376:

Was the title of this post a hidden reference to the Beatles' song?

377:

Charlie Stross @360

To quote from the Wikipedia article on Imperial units:

The slug, a unit associated with imperial and US customary systems, is a mass that accelerates by 1 ft/s2 when a force of one pound (lbf) is exerted on it

F = ma (Newton's second law)

1 lbf = 1 slug × 1 ft/s2 (as defined above)

1 lbf = 1 lb × g/gc (by definition of the pound force)

g ≈ 32.17404856 ft/s2

∴ 1 slug ≈ 32.17404856 pounds

378:

Errolwi @ 346: If you don't know how to search for '$StatedMeasure as $DesiredMeasure' and evaluating the multiple results nearly all to tools giving the same answer, you aren't making full use of the modern world :-)

If you mean convert mm to inches or inches to mm, I don't even have to search, I've got the on-line converters bookmarked. I also know how to make standard U.S. letter paper fit into an A4 printer & vice versa ... vice versa is easier because you don't have to trim the edges of the paper to make it fit.

With modern word processor programs and modern printers sold in the U.S., you don't have to do anything but tell it which paper size you're using & it will flow automagically.

There may be a lot of the "modern world" I'm still missing though. But, OTOH, I don't miss them all that much, IYKWIM.

379:

David @ 348:

they had a front page story of "NASA Finds Alien Baby in Crashed UFO"... and in an inset block, "Unidentified Farm Couple Waiting To Adopt"?

MIB explained all of that.

Duh! Superman.

380:

Troutwaxer @ 363: 'd always heard of a slug as the round bit of metal that got punched out to allow wiring or conduit into a metal box.

I've also heard it used for the little round metal wafer that coins are stamped out of.


381:

Duh! Superman.

Surely you meant "O Superman"?

382:

JBS @377 If you mean convert mm to inches or inches to mm, I don't even have to search

This is in the context of recipes, so linear distance probably only relevant for tin size, and the level of precision required is low. Multiple traps in practice in other contexts!

383:

If it's coming from the U.S., it's not "Imperial sizes", it's SAE Standard

A couple of decades ago I did a bunch of writing for Steve Jackson Games. Their writers' guidelines insisted that all measurements be given in Imperial units when they mean American Standard units. (Often but not always the same.)

I remarked that either they were using the wring term or declaring that America was an imperial power. They were not impressed.

I still find that a lot of Americans think they use Imperial units…

384:

an obscure unit of mass in a rarely used measurement system

IIRC a pound of force will accelerate one slug at one foot per second squared…

385:

linear distance probably only relevant for tin size

Back in the 80s I had a recipe book that used measurements like "#2 tin of corn".

Pretty useless, as I had no idea what the tin sizes were and they didn't translate into normal volumes.

386:

How about the version from the Simpson, D'oh Superman?

388:

That was "Superman's Song" by Crash Test Dummies. No idea why that didn't show up.

390:

I have no personal experience with housing that uses such boards, except for one extension to our house (which would have been unusual, because of its need to fit on).

391:

Yes (although it's more familiar to me by way of the Thompson Twins and other cover versions).

392:

The "poundal" is the old "Imperial" equivalent of the "Newton" - if you see what I mean.
See also Rbt Prior. - but do not confuse with the "slug" - a unit of - Mass: the linked wiki page on the "poundal" explains very well, actually.
Lets just not get into degrees Rankine, please?
"mks" is what we STILL USE - it's jsut that the name has changed. ( To "SI" )

393:

Interesting. MKS (or MKSA) is metre-kilogram-second, and is what you know as metric, as Niala says. In my UK secondary school physics, I was taught it as primary units, but also learnt about CGS (centimetre-gram-second) and the Imperial system. Poundalls were preferred to slugs as the unit of force in the latter, incidentally. I can no longer remember the difference between rationalised and unrationalised MKS, but it was something electromagnetic. The ability to convert between systems was required knowledge. I am almost 73.

394:

I was misremembering the meaning of slug, and the spelling of poundal! It's well over half a century ago now.

395:

Greg Tingey @ 391

"Lets just not get into degrees Rankine, please?"

Why not? I remember that it was in one of the exams and it was an easy question, even if we did all the conversion calculations by hand, with paper and pen. We were introduced to slide rules in another year only.

396:

Yeah. The rest of the day - I said I look at the Guardian first thing - I'm on google news. Which *used* to throw in articles from the Scotsman and the Hindustani and the Asia Straits Times, but not in like 10 years. A month or two ago, they started this weird crap where it *stops* after headlines and US, and I reload, and reload, and finally get the rest.

397:

An old recipe, that is it dated from about the 16th century, I once encountered for a pie of some sort included the precise measurement 'a sufficiency of nutmeg'. I have since appropriated 'sufficiency' and used it mercilessly on occasion.

398:

At the lowest budget, at least....

399:

I'll take a look at it. Thanks.

400:

Or perhaps, mine - it's that time of the year when much of the planet laments their favorite alien who's missing....

No El, no El
Where is the son of Laura and Jor-El?

401:

No, the farm couple was obviously the Kents.

402:

I really don't understand this fetish for precise measurements for a great deal of cooking and I am perfectly happy with older recipes that just give indicative amounts. Yes, there ARE recipes where exact amounts matter, but there are lots where they don't - in some cases, they can even be harmful, and it is much better to do it by feel and/or taste.

403:

It helps to have useful suggestions. And sadly a lot of modern recipes assume the exact amounts rather than suggesting how things should look or feel. "knead in butter until mix is smooth and firm" is fine, "add 27 flyhooves of butter and knead" ... sure, let me just go find my unicorn foot.

404:

I have found the same, albeit approaching the matter from the opposite end of the scale of familiarity. It doesn't dawn on me until it's too late that I've committed myself to doing something that is supposed to require weighing and measuring out specific quantities of ingredients while not actually having any apparatus for making any of those measurements. So if the relative quantities permit I make an informed guess by reference to the nominal quantity of the ingredient in its container when it was full, and if they don't I just make an uninformed guess. It seems to work.

405:

A bullet.

A row of cast type, or other metallic congealment of similar size.

A small ballast weight.

A punch, as in "ow".

A non-dissipative component whose function is to alter the natural frequency of a system so that its amplitude/phase response is less inconvenient.

A shot of hard liquor.

A group for users of Linux in some place that begins with S.

...As for the molluscan variety, I used to get giant huge green ones crawling up the drain pipe from the kitchen sink, through the water in the U-bend and out into the sink through the overflow. Usually in families. I showed one to the cat once but she wasn't interested. However, it seemed to put the shits up the whole community and they stopped coming in after that.

406:

The second is what I grew up with. Dad set type as a part-time job while he was in college. And the dad next door when I was a little older ran a Linotype for the local weekly newspaper. At some point I had forgotten about Dad's college job, until I whined that Microsoft Word didn't have anything that looked like a floating display where he could hear me, and I got a number of stories about setting floating displays for a university press.

407:

'a sufficiency of nutmeg'

Bester. Quant suff.

408:

Would you? They're in India. Seems to me we only ever hear 2 kinds of things about India:

You forgot about Yoga, tech support, air pollution, and creeping totalitarianism. But that's okay, because those don't get much news either, with the Orangey Shitflinger sucking da bandwidth.

409:

Most very old recipes are aides-memoires. You have done this before, under supervision, but now you are on your own you want something to remind you that you need nutmeg, and it goes in at this point. If you still cannot work out how much is sufficient, then you are not yet ready to work unsupervised.

Modern recipes, OTOH, are intended to show you how do do something you have never made before, with no one to check on you. For that, reasonably accurate quantities are needed. Don't I know it.

JHomes

410:

I partially agree, with a change that someone commented on in a cookbook. The old recipes were more often the things that people didn't make often enough to memorize. The example used in this cookbook were holiday foods that were made only once a year, for weddings, funerals, etc. Everyday preps were not memorized.

That said, recipes aren't new. Here's a Mughal recipe for a curry predecessor, from Sen's Curry: A Global History

Abul Fazl’s Ingredients for Dopiaza as served at Akbar’s court (c. 1600)

10 seers* meat that is middling fat
2 seers ghee [clarified butter]
2 seers onions
¼ seer salt
1 seer fresh pepper
1 dam** each of cumin seed, coriander seed, cardamoms and cloves
2 dams pepper

*1 seer = 1 kg
**1 dam = ~3g

No preparation instructions. I like the 10 kilos of meat that is middling fat. That's a nice topic of discussion with your local butcher. Presumably that meat is not pork or kangaroo, but beyond that...?

411:

"This has ... consequences."

Yeah, more consequences than just causing weeks of work. Imperial has contaminated all sorts of unlikely places. Pipe threads being the worst. Even some DIN fittings are actually British Standard Pipe. Which is a variation on Whitworth, but named as metric. Add to that the American "National Pipe" and actual metric, all with different threadforms and different tapers for the tapered versions. The result is that it's possible to screw a cylinder valve into a cylinder that seals and holds pressure but which sometimes fails at working pressure, which means you get 500g brass valves flying about at hundreds of metres per second.

Here's one example. (In the article it's implied that you'd have to be a bit thick to make this mistake, but there were some cylinders sold in Australia where the importer had bought cylinders from one source and valves from another and they had different threads. I actually bought two...)

https://www.hse.gov.uk/diving/cylinder-threads.htm

412:

Pipe threads being the worst.

We recently bought a new place (population has gone up 50% in 20 years, the old places are full). PEX and PVC, lots of glue.

413:

Exactly. A *lot* of folks, myself included, never got taught by their mom how to cook. You have no idea how many times I've heard someone say "I can't cook". At that point, I tell them get a good cookbook (Joy of Cooking, Good Mousekeeping, er, Housekeeping, Fanny Farmer. Then, to paraphrase the Volkswagon Repair Manual from the seventies (for the complete idiot, no relation to the series), read the recipe, gather the ingredients, FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS. MEASURE EXACTLY, not "about", TIME EXACTLY.

Then, after they've made that recipe half a dozen times, they can start experimenting. Once they've done a dozen or more recipes half a dozen times, *then* they can start experimenting, and coming up with their own recipes.

But they need to learn how to cook, first.

414:

It’s still around: in the course of working on some bits & bobs for the SLS I’ve encountered more than one program document with temperatures in Rankine.

415:

Another potential problem for the UK:

Turns out China is stimulating its pandemic economy with infrastructure. Which means a demand for steel. But steel production is down, driving up the cost of steal and thus scrap steel.

It also turns out that cargo ships have a lot of steel, and demand for cargo ships has taken a hit. Cargo shipping has thin margins, and that has lead to a lot of older, inefficient cargo ships being only marginally cost effective before the pandemic.

Some shipping companies have predicted a slow recovery and decided now is a time to scrap some of their older stock, while scrap prices are good.

If the world economic recovery is faster than expected, there will be a ship shortage and British exports will face increased shipping costs. Double the hit for exporters who also import the raw materials.

416:

There's this tabletop roleplaying game called Traveller. It has many versions, but most of them (excluding the GURPS version, sadly) use SI measurements for most of the stuff.

Now, once on the Traveller Mailing List, somebody was writing a software module for some things in it. There's like planet generation and other things which are quite math and dice heavy, which can be a fun thing. They did write their piece using Rankine as the internal (and external) temperature scale in the module.

This made it somewhat annoying as the other material was using basically Kelvins. The conversion is not that hard, obviously, but it was still so annoying that I don't think anybody really used that library, besides the author. ISTR the reason for Rankine was that the person didn't want to have anything to do with SI, but it's been like twenty years.

417:

Pfizer's vaccine production estimates have been reported as 1.3 billion doses for 2021. That's thereabouts of 600 million people, between the requirement for two doses and the inevitable wastage. (If you thaw 20 doses and 19 people show up, that's 5% wastage. Never mind that the skip rate for the second dose won't likely be that low.)

Moderna will presumably do about as well for production.

There's at least a billion people in the "Western North Atlantic" -- US, Europe, Canada, UK -- countries that are the primary markets for these vaccines. Never mind Central and South America, some spots (Singapore!) in Asia, etc. Never mind the Chinese vaccine production (I seem to recall they've got five vaccines in various stages); let's just assume for the sake of the back of this virtual envelope we're worried about the vaccine supply into the Western North Atlantic and it's going to be about double Pfizer's stated expectations about their output.

Given that, "we can have vaccinated a billion people" happens early in Q4 if all the production targets get met. That's not a small if; the blank cheque approach has helped, but this is still the very first time anybody's done an mRNA vaccine at all, never mind at this kind of scale. Never mind the undoubtedly uneven, lumpy, and decidedly non-optimal vaccine purchase and distribution patchwork.

It takes thereabouts of sixty days from first vaccination to reach full effectiveness.

If functional immunity from vaccination lasts as long as a year (that's not yet known), general population functional immunity looks likely to take all of 2021 to achieve.

(If functional immunity lasts four months, this is a much tougher problem.)

Quick rebound from the recession isn't seeming especially likely.

418:

Some shipping companies have predicted a slow recovery and decided now is a time to scrap some of their older stock, while scrap prices are good.

Not just cargo, a lot of cruise ships are hitting the scrapyards too.

It's not just the scrap value, it's the cost of idling the ships. These aren't like airplanes where you just wrap them and park them*, they need crew on board continuously if they're ever going to be used again. They have all the combined disadvantages of a hotel, a restaurant, an amusement park, a beachfront house *and* a boat. By comparison keeping a few peeps on a cargo ship is nearly free.

Although the idea of offering "ghost tours" on a ship that's just been parked somewhere wet for a year with no maintenance appeals to me. It would be positively darwinian.

* yes, I know you have to go and pat them occasionally and tell you you still love them

419:

Speaking of problems calls by mothballing waspballing craft:

Keyhole wasps are notorious for building their nests in manufactured structures, and they have now been shown to do this in devices mounted to planes that are crucial for measuring airspeed during flight. Blockages in these tubes can lead to pilots misreading airspeed and have led to fatal crashes in the past.

The research was triggered by several safety incidents involving the wasps, including one in which a plane had to land again soon after departing because the pilots recognised an airspeed discrepancy, says House.

https://www.newscientist.com/article/2260775-wasps-in-australia-are-endangering-planes-by-building-nests-on-them/

420:

For what it's worth, pre-fabricated 10 GHz RADAR waveguide comes in "imperial" and "metric" options for the fixing screws. They are kinda 5 mm screws and look quite similar.

It is possible to get an "imperial" screw about 2/3 into a metric hole and with a little force, either all the way in or the thread breaks exactly flush with the mounting surface, for a nicer extraction experience.

We used to have arguments over: "Throw one standard out and stick with only one, Dammit!" or "Get rid of this screw crap and use the clamp-type fixings only instead, Dammit!"

I bet that "compomises were made" and an evaluation comittee formed, so now there would be Four Options:

The original three and one with a non-threaded hole, assembled with self-locking nut (metric or imperial), bolt (metric or imperial), 2x washers.

Offically to reuse all of those parts where the threds were stripped in a documented way, In reality to punish the whiners with more Wrong Threads!

421:

56, Irish
imperial is used solely and mainly for height, for some reason, in colloquial. "he's a good six foot"
Everything else is metric. I was never taught imperial measures in school. From 1969 !!! school was metric.
A slug is a common garden pest

422:

The Imperial Slug is clearly the ruler of the gastropodian invasion fleet.

423:

Are there apps which can look at hardware and say whether it's imperial or metric?

424:

Yes, but my point was that it has become a fetish, and precise measurements are given for many recipes where they aren't needed, or are even harmful.

Take stews and similar soups etc. - you use what you have and adapt to taste - I dislike too much meat, so my 'meat' ones are 80% vegetable. Ditto seasonings in most dishes - herbs and spices vary, as do people's tastes. And then there's salt and other (in)tolerances.

How often have I heard the wail from recipe fetishists "The recipe SAID that it would take 45 minutes to cook, and it's overcooked / not ready!" Or bread - the salt/flour ratio is the only thing where precision is important, and it's important NOT to measure the water! Flours vary enough that the only reliable method is to do it by feel.

425:

https://www.stevensonplumbing.co.uk/bspt.html

It's lunatic, on an Imperial scale (pun intended).

426:

I'm not sure that's possible in a useful way. The difference between (for example) 1/4" and 6mm is .35mm (6%) so you would need a very accurate scale. There are also a plethora of different shapes so the image recognition would need to be quite flexible as well as accurate.

And that's before we get into the crossover parts, like 1/2" SAE bolts with 12mm metric hex heads on them. Or various threading standards (and the many variations outside the standards) that mean that even a close-up, scaled photo of the actual thread might result in a "meh". In the bicycle world there are roughly 6 variations on "about 10mm" axles, for example, and you get "gauges" like this so that mechanics can distinguish them: "New Wheels Manufacturing Benchtop Axle and Cone Ruler and Thread Gauge" https://www.ebay.com/itm/New-Wheels-Manufacturing-Benchtop-Axle-and-Cone-Ruler-and-Thread-Gauge-/283204152530?nma=true&si=R3kfIqXGLCuj0AB92rELa9wxWrw%253D&orig_cvip=true&nordt=true&rt=nc&_trksid=p2047675.l2557


Have a browse around a bolt shop...
https://www.bolt.com.au/fasteners-allen-key-products-c-1010_1994.html

427:

Quite. I still convert temperatures in my head. On the other hand, for real Greg-bait, what's the equivalent of Kelvin or Rankine on the Reaumur scale?

428:

"Are there apps which can look at hardware and say whether it's imperial or metric?"

I don't know; for nuts and bolts you have both types of wrenches and see which fits.

429:

An app would be faster but might not be feasible.

430:

Elderly Cynic @ 426

"On the other hand, for real Greg-bait, what's the equivalent of Kelvin or Rankine on the Reaumur scale?"

Zero degrees on the Réaumur scale is the equivalent to 273.15 degrees on the Kelvin scale.

Water freezes at zero in the Réaumur scale.

But I had to look it up.

I can't even remember when I last heard of Réaumur.

431:

Even measurement isn't reliable. There's enough variation in both fittings and tools that it's not always possible to tell (for example) 1/4" from 6mm. My bugbear is small allen heads, where they are mechanically so ghastly that many bits of the right size aren't tight enough, and simply turn the hex. slot into a circle. And occasionally some won't fit in, of course.

432:

Nancy Lebovitz @ 428

"An app would be faster but might not be feasible."

You're right, since you can have both imperial and metric together within the same computer.

433:

IIRC - Reaumur scale appears in both Verne & Russian literature - specifically Tolstoy, I think.

Meanwhile it looks as if BoZo is going to deliberately crash us out - what have I forgotten to stock up on, that's going to run out? There will be SOMETHING, that I'm sure of .... ( note )
If it happens it's going to get very bad, very quickly - even before 1st January, as noted by the ports chaos.
I heard Ian Duncan croak on the beeb this AM - he was twatting on about "sovereignty" - trouble is, he's 8 years younger than me, so he doesn't remember or care about the last time a tory PM tried that trick - Suez 1956.
Oh shit.
(note)
Not bog-roll or flour, or butter or oils - I'm going to get more salt next time I go shopping, ditto detergent, but I'm certain I've missed something - we all will have.

434:

One odd feature about the scrap metals market is the increasing disappearance of sunken warships which are designated war graves in various parts of the world. There's a significant amount of scrap metal on the sea floor which is shallow enough to be easily salvageable with modern cranes and divers and the like but which should be off-limits legally speaking. Unlike say, the Pearl Harbor warship memorials there's usually no monitoring or active protection of those locations.

It's normally the more valuable metals that are harvested first, brass steam fittings and bronze propellors but the steel itself is worth money if it can be lifted cheaply enough. In some cases the evidence is that the salvagers simply sweep the seabed with big electromagnets to pick up broken-off parts of the gravesite ship rather than trying to salvage-lift five thousand tonnes of unitary armour plate a hundred metres down.

435:

That's part of its definition. What I was asking was the answer to this question: As Fahrenheit is to Rankine and Celsius to Kelvin, Reaumur is to what? Perhaps we should call it the Tingey.

436:

Elderly Cynic @ 434

"Perhaps we should call it the Tingey."

It depends if he makes wine spirits or not from his allotment fruits or vegetables.

437:

Are there apps which can look at hardware and say whether it's imperial or metric?

Others have mentioned the issues.

Am I the only one who is driven nuts buy server racks and all kinds of parts with bolts in metric and SAE being shipped with everything?

At first glance I just can't tell the difference. And you can put either into the wrong hole/nut and it go in for a bit before it jams.

As to how to tell them you clearly mark one of each on the shelf and for bolts hold them against each other. Same system will mesh together. Different will not. But when you are presented with a pile of them, ugh.

And nuts I just spin them onto the a "standard" bolt screw and if they don't spin down FOR WHAT EVER REASON they go into the trash.

438:

This sounds like something a robot could do. A little expensive for the home workshop, but feasible commercially.

439:

I think you're thinking of a data center. I get to deal with walking into a small office with maybe a 1/2 rack cabinet or at most 2 full racks. That no one has changed for 6 months or 2 years. They point me to a box of stuff and the new thing in the box and say "please install".

So when I or someone similar goes in to do some thing "on demand" this thread sorting is just a big PITA. Bringing in a robot for what will be a 2 to 8 hour job to sort out 10 screws?

Nope.

Oh, yeah. The mostly pre-threaded racks have given way to what I refer to as the "Dell" nuts (they snap into square holes where the pre-drilled holes used to be. Which is great if YOU get to set it up with a consistent thread usage. Real fun is when various people over time have installed some SAE and some metric. And asking what was used is a great way to get a blank stare back.

440:

A bullet.

A row of cast type, or other metallic congealment of similar size.

A small ballast weight.

A punch, as in "ow".

A non-dissipative component whose function is to alter the natural frequency of a system so that its amplitude/phase response is less inconvenient.

A shot of hard liquor.

A group for users of Linux in some place that begins with S.

The use-case I've seen it most often (outside this thread) is in liquid rocketry, which is probably originally based on your 6th definition, given historical rocket fuels (and their propensity to evaporate faster than expected).

An example of its usage, courtesy of SpaceX: "A slug of this NTO was driven through a helium check valve at high speed during rapid initialization of the launch escape system, resulting in structural failure within the check valve,"

441:

For some things, especially small fine threads, both gauges match.

This problem occasionally confounds master machinists who aren't in a hurry. It makes people absolutely fanatical about parts rack separation -- you put the metric rack as far as physically possible from the SAE rack -- in shop storage, and you will very often get "oh, no, we're an SAE shop; we don't do metric" or vice-versa.

And you can get good-value tools from the Czech Republic in SAE; they've never been, they've never even been adjacent. It's a problem.

442:

Niala
I have made v small quantities of wine from my greenhouse grapes, but the fruit-trees & bushes on the allotment are used to produce jams. [ Pear, apple, gage, aprcot, peach, red/white/pink-currant & gooseberry )
I'm going to need that stored food if things go badly this week ....

443:

Having relatives who are trans, I will bear that in mind. From my point of view, if life is tolerable for LGBT folks, the chances of someone who isn't close enough to neurotypical look better.

444:

On higher strength SAE & metric cap screws there are distinguishing marks, 3 or more lines, radiating from the center on an SAE fastener, or a 2 digit number on the metric, for instance, on an old "Balloon tire bomber" bicycle, the seat post bolt will have 3 lines denoting a class 5 bolt. Do not replace it with an unmarked bolt, it will be a class 1 or 2, and will fail.
I have too little experience with British Imperial measurements to have an opinion, but what would the World look like if British auto manufacturers had taken to hot dip galvanizing unibodies sixty years ago?

445:
the government have already announced that they'll deploy military logistics capacity to ensure the Turkish-designed and German-manufactured doses arrive in the UK without getting stuck in the lorry queues at Felixstowe
Well, no.

German designed and, if I remember correctly, Belgian manufactured.

The founders of BioNTech are of Turkish parentage, but they're German citizens. (And BioNTech is a Societas Europaea which would make many a Brexiter's head explode if they knew).

446:
Fine: then food suppliers selling from the mainland into NI are going to be running into customs barriers (and NI is only going to be exporting via the EU). It's still going to be a fucked-up mess.
Make the A75 to Stranraer a nicer drive though.
447:

"the increasing disappearance of sunken warships"

There is an interesting angle on this: Recycled iron is increasingly being polluted with medical isotopes which end up in the recycling stream, leading to not very, but too radioactive products.

Purchasers of raw iron products are paying attention to this now, and some have started setting so low thresholds that it matters.

I'm told that the failing batches are one reason for the "glowing performance" of the new chinese railroads :-)

Two customer segments have particularly low thresholds: Medical and Nuclear.

You do not want the chassis of your medical scanner to be radioactive, because that ruins their performance and you do not want an elevated background on your new nuclear plant, because that reduces headroom to regulations.

One obvious source of uncontaminated iron is ships which sank before august 1945.

448:

I thought that the radioactivity in medical isotopes decayed in a few days, hence the need for just-in-time supply practices.

449:

I don't remember what a slug (as a measurement) is either, but I remember that it was mentioned as a unit of measure in school We never used it. I think it's vaguely related to the "poundal", which I also don't quite remember, but might be the mass that produces a pound of weight under standard conditions. So a slug might be a unit of force.

Whoops, maybe I got that backwards: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slug_(unit)

So it's pretty clear that I never used it. It also wasn't on any test, and may have just been mentioned along with things like furlong.

450:

This morning Canada signed the new trade treaty with the UK.

However, Canada still has to pass an implementation bill before any of this becomes reality. This is being rushed through but there is little hope that it will be done before the December 31st deadline.

The NDP opposition has described the whole thing as a train wreck.

451:

Nah... for liquids in bread/pastry, I start with either the exact amount, or scant, and add. I usually have to do this, as I tend to do somewhere between one-half and one-quarter whole wheat flour.

Like I did with the two recipes of Welsh cakes I made yesterday, and shipped off today with a jar of the three-fruits marmalade I made earlier this year. "Aunt Queenie's" recipe says one beaten egg, and up to three tbsp milk. I needed two, and that on top of using 2 cups flour (one half of one cup was whole wheat).

452:

"I thought that the radioactivity in medical isotopes decayed in a few days"

The ones you ingest or inject: Yes.

The ones in radiation treatment machinery: No.

Other sources of stray radioactive sources in metal recycling:

Cobalt 60 sources from "Cold Pasteurization" (A very USA name for blasting your food with gamma rays)

Cs-137 sources from welding inspections and oilwell-profiling

Noses & spits from retired fighter-jets (!) They are often made from light metals alloyed with Thorium for reasons of temperature.

453:

Dark Star: One of the very few films with an (unaccredited) starring role for an IBM model 029 card punch.

454:

That happened a good while ago. We had a *lot* of the snap-in (assuming you crush steel beer cans in your fingers) nuts, and that was *not* anywhere near "just Dell".

What started coming in back around '12 or so were the no-bolts-needed, snap in. Some with REALLY bad designs (and you're supposed to release that from the inside, with a 1U, when there are servers above and below it? But the Dell ones are *nice* - blue tabs you just pull facing out, and they release.

Let me note that before I retired, I was dealing with well over 100 servers....

455:

Y'know, with everything going on, I need a slug. I'll start my spiritual journey with the True Fannish Drink, sung of by Tom Smith, 307 Ale.

456:

The NDP opposition has described the whole thing as a train wreck.

Cheap political posturing from a party that is unlikely to ever form the government.

If it was a brand new agreement they would have a point, but given it merely extends the existing EU trade agreement to the UK there effectively is no difference - and it ignores that the delays have likely been from the UK side given the shambles that has been the UK effort on trade deals to date.

457:

There is an interesting angle on this: Recycled iron is increasingly being polluted with medical isotopes which end up in the recycling stream, leading to not very, but too radioactive products.

Purchasers of raw iron products are paying attention to this now, and some have started setting so low thresholds that it matters.

There's a simple solution if they want low-radioactivity steel -- buy scrap metal from an American nuclear power plant site. Any scrap from such a site has to be less radioactive than 5000Bq/tonne and that includes natural radioactive elements like phosphorus. Anything over that limit, even if it's junked filing cabinets, it has to be treated as nuclear waste because it's coming off a registered nuclear site.

Regular "non-nuclear" scrap from, say, junked supertankers is OK up to 250,000 Bq/tonne, fifty times as radioactive as "official" nuclear waste without it needing to be actually treated as nuclear waste.

458:

and that was *not* anywhere near "just Dell".

It was my impression that Dell came up with the square hole approach or at least made it popular.

Those snap in with clips on 2 sides were horrible for fingers even with tools. The ones I have a pile of you slide in from the center to the edge of the rack and are much easier to get off.

I have a pile because in my work racks are going away or at least shrinking in number. So I tend to generate extra bits over time.

459:

And nuts I just spin them onto the a "standard" bolt screw and if they don't spin down FOR WHAT EVER REASON they go into the trash.

Sadly I am "that guy with the workshop" so my trash is a small collection of carefully labelled jars. If you fuck with those jars one of us is going to die, because there is hours of work required to re-sort them.

But it does mean that when someone presents a pre-1950's bicycle with clear signs of being handmade, I can often find a compatible part to match the fixed fixture. No, I have NFI what exactly the original was, but we only need one nut worth of engagement and I have found something in a jar that meets the requirement. In the worst case it's the jar labelled "medium nuts, unknown" rather than the metric/SAE/Whitworth/fine jars.

The worst is actually furniture because they have a nasty tendency to specialised fasteners in "obvious" thread types... obvious to cabinetmakers in India in the 1920's, at least. So you get "recessed captive nuts" in a peculiar shape with 2cm of internally threaded tube extending behind a dome washer... and no bolt I can find engages with more than 1cm of that thread. Without a lathe I can't even *make* a replacement, let alone find one online.

460:

Sadly I am "that guy with the workshop" so my trash is a small collection of carefully labelled jars.

I have that collection. Mostly though in a few plastic tubs. Drives my wife nuts. "Why keep these when you can just go buy them?" She just doesn't understand.

Growing up my father bought a bunch of food lockers out of a cold storage setup. Large metal cabinets and drawers. One was full of any left over nut or bolt. About every 3 to 5 years we'd dump it out, pick out the obvious stuff worth sorting then put the pile back in. The main reason for the dump was to get rid of the accumulated dirt that was creating a 2" to 4" bed in the bottom of the drawer.

461:

Errolwi @ 381:

JBS @377 If you mean convert mm to inches or inches to mm, I don't even have to search

This is in the context of recipes, so linear distance probably only relevant for tin size, and the level of precision required is low. Multiple traps in practice in other contexts!

FWIW, the same sites can do conversions between cups & liters and teaspoons and grams, etc ...

462:

Re: ' ... but given it merely extends the existing EU trade agreement to the UK there effectively is no difference -'

Wonder if the UK will try to leverage this Canadian deal to talk other countries into doing the same. There is one item though that Canada is adamant about (data privacy) that BoJo may not be so keen on. Not sure how this would affect trade apart from routing pretty well all UK financial transactions via the US. Not sure I understand the differences among these various players on this topic esp. wrt: who is legally liable for ensuring that data are kept private, are data that are passed through another country subject to that country's gov't/police surveillance (are people/orgs being spied on), etc.

https://www.docusign.ca/blog/eu-us-privacy-shield-ends-canada-keeps-adequacy-status

463:

get rid of the accumulated dirt that was creating a 2" to 4" bed in the bottom of the drawer.

Ah, workshop cruft. It can get through any barrier, even into "airtight" containers. But it is just airbourne dust, the stuff in my electronics in the house is house dust (skin and fabric fluff), but in the shed I can tell what I've been doing lately by the proportion of wood dust to metal dust.

One consequence is that the first step of any welding project is vacuuming the whole workshop, every nook and cranny. Because blobs of molten metal plus wood dust = way more excitement than I want.

464:

Robert Prior @ 387: That was "Superman's Song" by Crash Test Dummies. No idea why that didn't show up."

Showed up here. I don't remember Solomon Grundy as the villain in Superman Comics from when I was a child. I think maybe he came before and then after my time

Another "Superman" song:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nvsbk4P3NQ0

465:

you can just go buy them

But you can't... to buy them you have to know what they are, assuming they're an obvious, currently manufactured part. But for an awful lot of things you either have to try them to find out, or they're just not made. Having a collection of mixed nuts and bolts means you can find what you want, or a close approximation, then order that one thing if you need to.

OK, you *can* just buy what you need. You say "hmm, about 6mm bolt, about 60mm long, fully threaded, with a button head cap screw. Preferably stainless. Then you go online, and order one each of all the things that more or less match that spec.... in BSW,Metric,Metric Fine,UNC,UNF. Then you note that sometimes the 318 stainless have different thread pitch than the 316 so better grab some of those too. And maybe some 304 metric coarse, just in case. So now you have 10 different bolts, and you're paying $30 for one of each... from three different suppliers because no-one covers all the options.

https://www.bolt.com.au/allen-key-products-socket-head-cap-screws-c-1010_1994_1995.html

Bicycles are a disaster for that. Lots of lock nuts that have 2-3 threads in the nut, made of hardened steel, and if the thread pitch is wrong they still go on, but they strip before developing enough force to be useful. Eventually you learn what AvE describes as "tighten until it strips, then back off a quarter turn".

466:

Regular "non-nuclear" scrap from, say, junked supertankers is OK up to 250,000 Bq/tonne, fifty times as radioactive as "official" nuclear waste without it needing to be actually treated as nuclear waste.

That's something to keep in the fact folder. Do you have a pointer to a document containing it?

467:

whitroth @ 400: No, the farm couple was obviously the Kents.

Yes, I got that. I was responding to "MIB explained all of that."

It didn't even mention them as far as I can remember.

468:

Please - we had several racks that had round threaded holes. When they do NOT match the threads in the ears on the server....

Meanwhile, square hole racks: we had a number from APC (UPS maker) and one or two from HP.

The snap-in nuts were just a pain, even with BHS (technical term, Big Honkin' Screwdriver), but way less trouble than the round-hole racks. And we did have a literal drawer of two or three different sized nuts, then to try to find bolts that fit them....

469:

Elderly Cynic @ 401: I really don't understand this fetish for precise measurements for a great deal of cooking and I am perfectly happy with older recipes that just give indicative amounts. Yes, there ARE recipes where exact amounts matter, but there are lots where they don't - in some cases, they can even be harmful, and it is much better to do it by feel and/or taste.

I think it's mainly some people didn't learn to cook growing up; came to it later in life and have not yet developed the almost instinctual understanding required to deal with "feel and/or taste".

Plus it seems like there are a lot of computer programmers around here who may not quite grasp the precise difference between algorithms and recipes.

470:

Since we lived in a somewhat rural area and had a small tractor that we (mostly I) used to mow fields, an incredible amount of plant "dust" kicked up by the mowing process.

471:

OK, you *can* just buy what you need.

There's a store a few miles from me that is called "XXXXX screws and fasteners". 2000+ SF with shelves about 8' high. They have what I want maybe 1/3 of the time.

472:

That's because Solomon Grundy was one of the two main enemies of the forties Green Lantern, some sort of swamp creature that, since that GL's ring wouldn't work on wood (new GL doesn't work on yellow), was immune to it.

473:

I was responding to the newspaper, not the story.

474:

Robert van der Heide @ 413: It’s still around: in the course of working on some bits & bobs for the SLS I’ve encountered more than one program document with temperatures in Rankine.

I thought a "rankine" was one of those little dishes used in French cooking for making individual quiches & such? If that's not it, what are they called?

475:

Nancy Lebovitz @ 422: Are there apps which can look at hardware and say whether it's imperial or metric?

They make plastic gauges you can hold the thread up against and it will tell you the thread pitch which in turn tells you if it's metric or imperial or "standard" (and what size it is).


476:

And for onion soup: ramekin.

477:

Niala @ 431: Nancy Lebovitz @ 428

"An app would be faster but might not be feasible."

You're right, since you can have both imperial and metric together within the same computer.

Years ago I owned a Ford Pinto Station Wagon. Body manufactured in the U.S., but the engine was a German OHC 4-cylinder. Interesting thing - every part, every nut & bolt on that German engine was manufactured to U.S. (SAE) standard.

But the body, made in the USA, was ALL METRIC.

478:

JBS @ 473

"I thought a "rankine" was one of those little dishes used in French cooking for making individual quiches & such? If that's not it, what are they called?"

Do you mean a circular mold with wavy sides?

As far as I know we call them "moule à quiche" or "moule à quiche et à tarte" since the same kind of mold can be used to make pies with crusty wavy sides.

Moule means mold in French.

But you don't have to believe me. Put "moule à quiche" in Google image search and you'll see piles of them pop up, in all sizes.

Sorry, no special name for any of them.

479:

whitroth @ 467: Please - we had several racks that had round threaded holes. When they do NOT match the threads in the ears on the server....

Meanwhile, square hole racks: we had a number from APC (UPS maker) and one or two from HP.

The snap-in nuts were just a pain, even with BHS (technical term, Big Honkin' Screwdriver), but way less trouble than the round-hole racks. And we did have a literal drawer of two or three different sized nuts, then to try to find bolts that fit them....

I used to encounter rack mounts when I was doing fire & burglar alarms (lots of equipment mounted in telephone closets used them). Those racks had big holes & little stamped clips that you could run a screw in to.

Some of the clips had a captive nut, but all of them would slop around a little bit to allow you to to line them up with the holes in the equipment ears. The key was not to fully tighten the screws until you had them all started.

And all the rack mounting hardware was 10-32x1 inch.

480:

thread pitch gauge

They make *plastic* thread pitch gauges? That's scary. I'm used to thin metal ones that fold out like a swiss army knife, and those are pretty fragile. Plastic ones would have to be thicker to stop them falling aprt in a light breeze.

Sadly those only tell you threads per inch/mm per thread, which doesn't necessarily help. If you have a bolt they can help you guess the cutting angle, which will distinguish further in some cases.

But the world is full of mixed-unit "standards".... 10mm x 28tpi (there's more to it than that, but those are the two most used numbers you'll need). Park have an explanation of what a bike mechanic should know that's aimed at people who don't know much:

https://www.parktool.com/blog/repair-help/basic-thread-concepts

481:

The key was not to fully tighten the screws until you had them all started.

That's a rule for life, not just server racks. Always start all the fasteners before tightening any of them.

482:

That's something to keep in the fact folder. Do you have a pointer to a document containing it?

Sadly not any more. I think I got it from comments on the now-extinct Depleted Cranium website, a pro-nuclear blog. The URL is now a spamhaus/linkfarm. I think they provided links to NRC documentation on the subject but I don't have them.

Anything "nuclear" is special, things with radioactivity in them that are, say, medical waste and the like can be dumped down public drains for safe disposal. It's why, for example, weeks after the Fukushima reactors blew their top noticeable amounts of I-131 were detected in Boston harbour and this caused panic in the Chicken Little set. It was eventually pointed out that a number of hospitals in the Bay Area regularly flushed waste materials into drains, never mind the patients who peed and excrteted this sort of stuff after treatment.

483:

Nahh... it's find bolts, See if they screw in all the way, with no weight on them. *THEN* use them to mount the server.

484:

Ramekins
That's what they are.

485:

Niala @ 477: JBS @ 473

"I thought a "rankine" was one of those little dishes used in French cooking for making individual quiches & such? If that's not it, what are they called?"

Do you mean a circular mold with wavy sides?

As far as I know we call them "moule à quiche" or "moule à quiche et à tarte" since the same kind of mold can be used to make pies with crusty wavy sides.

Moule means mold in French.

But you don't have to believe me. Put "moule à quiche" in Google image search and you'll see piles of them pop up, in all sizes.

Sorry, no special name for any of them.

I believed you, but those weren't what I meant. Whitroth recognized it - It's called a "Ramekin"

486:

Brian Lucey @ 483: Ramekins

You got it! It looks a bit like Rankine and it's small. And it even has its own Wikipedia article:

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

487:

Couple of influences; one is that baking does benefit from precision, and many people are confused between baking and cooking, which leads to cooking recipes getting written in a baking style.

Second one is that various commercial chefs, people fundamentally concerned with reproducibility of just exactly this same dish, have started writing recipes publicly. Which has it good points; follow that recipe and it'll do the thing. But it also leaves very little room for "and when it has boiled enough".

488:

I suppose you could make a quiche aux moules, too. You seem to be able to make one out of anything you like, after all. Then you could have a quiche aux moules en moule à quiche. Or something.

489:

Plastic being soft, it would also be a lot harder to tell how well it fits, or doesn't fit. Which is often hard enough with the metal ones, especially when you get one of those bolts that nearly fits several gauges but doesn't properly fit any of them.

Also, thread gauges should be metal and clean and shiny and thin so you can line them all up and stare at the pattern of the teeth when stoned.

491:

Solomon Grundy? But he only lived a week.

492:

I have enjoyed the diversion into threads. I first discovered just how many details there were as an aside while I was researching how engineers got from hand-cut wooden screws to Ramsden's 125 threads-per-inch screws for scientific and surveying instruments circa 1790.

493:

Pigeon @ 488 I suppose you could make a quiche aux moules, too.

This quiche aux moules et au vin blanc is suitably appetizing:

https://www.marieclaire.fr/cuisine/la-quiche-aux-moules,1208419.asp

Too big for a ramekin though.

494:

Do I detect stupid, childish spiteful silly games I wonder?

Interestingly, scroll down past the end of your linked article (from the Guardian) and MSN has an article from the Independent headlined "Boris Johnson fails to secure Brexit concessions"

https://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/uknews/boris-johnson-fails-to-secure-brexit-concessions-after-three-hours-of-face-to-face-talks-in-brussels/ar-BB1bNlcU?ocid=msedgntp

My guess is the EU is simply being patient, waiting for Boris to concede no deal so the EU can't be accurately blamed for a no deal mess - or the alternate that Boris caves in and takes what the EU is offering.

Though the Independent article indicates that France is starting to think that no deal is better than decades of a bad deal, so time will tell - not the least if the new deadline of Sunday is really the final deadline or not.

495:

"So now you have 10 different bolts, and you're paying $30 for one of each..."

This is about the point that you realise that the thing you're trying to match is BA. Which for those unfamiliar with it, is a fully metric thread specified by a British committee, who'd had metric explained to them by a French school boy who spoke no English. It starts with a 6.00 mm bolt with a 1.00 mm pitch called a 0BA. Then those dimensions are multiplied by 0.9 to give a 1BA 5.3 mm bolt with a 0.9 mm pitch. Then 0.9 again for 2BA and so on.

Amusingly an M6 and 0BA have the same thread pitch, and very similar diameter. So if you compare a 0BA bolt to a known metric by aligning threads as described above.... They're the same... (but with a completely different threadforms).

496:

BA... is a fully metric thread specified by a British committee

The great thing about this blog is that no matter how awful your current situation there's always someone who can describe eldritch horrors that make you think "thank fuck I never have to deal with them".

Threadforms are one reason why I have never owned a lathe. I'd like one, they're amazingly useful tools and I'd get quite a lot of use from one. BUT... I just know that I'd end up swapping whatever I bought for something that comes with a rack of gears that doubles the size of the lathe, purely so I can swap them around to actually cut every thread that I want to.

For those lucky enough to be unfamiliar, lathes generally have a long threaded rod that spins below the chuck to push the cutting tool along, so you can cut threads. It's slightly mesmerising to watch and youtube has many, many videos.

BUT the gear ratio between the chuck/thing you're cutting and that shaft has to change when the thread pitch does. Bigger lathes have built in gearboxes and 2-5 shift levers (and a clutch!) with a complex chart explaining which combination of levers corresponds to a given thread pitch. But those gearboxes have a limit to how many ratios they can give you. So other lathes, and almost all smaller lathes, have a literal "box of gears" and you manually swap them in and out of the drive system to get the ratio you want. Which is great, especially for really small lathes where you can us 3D printed plastic gears to get quite literally any ratio you like.

Modern CNC lathes get a similar effect by having really, really small steps in the drive system and a really complex drive that smooths those steps into a nice clean thread path. You can buy these off the shelf if you have a few million burning a hole in your pocket, and a large factory to put one in.

497:

What you're looking for is an Electronic Lead Screw (ELS). A rotary encoder on the chuck spindle reports the angular position of the spindle and a box of sparkly bits decides how many steps to output to a stepper motor driving the lead screw depending on what pitch you plan to cut. Adjusting the ratio between the spindle output and the rate the steps are issued to the stepper motor gives you all the pitches you could ever think of, metric, Imperial, Aztec etc.

An ELS can get out of step, losing position lock but it works most of the time and it costs a lot more than the price of a few common change gears that cover the 99.99% of pitch ratios you would ever actually want to cut.

498:

British Association (BA) threaded fasteners do actually have a modern use, for scale modelling. The numbered sizes match scale ratios as do the fastener heads like screws and hex nuts so they don't look out-of-place on models. The odd non-standard threadform of 47.5 degrees with rounded tops and bottoms works well in brass, bronze and softer metals compared to the 55 degrees for cast and wrought iron (aka Whitworth) and the 60 degree sharp-edged threadform used in modern steels (SAE and metric). I have actually worked with BA threaded fasteners on older instruments including optics and I have several sets of BA taps in my collection.

Just because it's messy doesn't mean there isn't a reason for it.

499:

Re: '...odd non-standard threadform '

Okay - this looks like a job for a 3D printer.

Just wondering why this fundamental stuff (nuts, bolts, screws, etc.) hasn't been updated to/with 21st century tech.

500:

Ha! The name! I couldn't think of the bloody name.

Yeah, the cheap one I saw was not great, but it was very affordable. For CNC machine values of affordable ~10 years ago.