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Crib Sheet: Dead Lies Dreaming

(Crib Sheet essays may contain spoilers for the book in question. Previously I refrained from writing them until the book was published in paperback, typically 12 months after first hardcover release. However, times are a'changing. In the UK, Orbit released the paperback of Dead Lies Dreaming only six months after the hardback. And in the USA, Tor.com is an ebook-first publisher; while they issue my books in hardcover, there will probably never be a paperback release unless for some reason they decide they need a trade paperback. (The mass market paperback channel for trade fiction has been dying by inches since about 2005, as ebooks supplant it.) Dead Lies Dreaming came out in October 2020, and I figure you've had time to read it by now: so I'm releasing this particular essay a few months earlier than I would have done for previous books.)

I wrote Dead Lies Dreaming in 2018-2019, during a difficult time in my life when I was unable to grapple with the book I was supposed to be writing (Invisible Sun, which got finished a short time later). Dead Lies Dreaming happened almost by accident—it wasn't on my to-do list at all, let alone planned with the idea that it might be the start of a whole new series (book 2, Quantum of Nightmares, is with the copy editor right now: it comes out next January 11th). That, and the chaos caused by the arrival of COVID19, probably account for it being marketed in hardcover as Laundry Files book 10, which it most certainly is not: but it's set in the same world as the Laundry Files, the world of the New Management, and that's why it says "New Management book 1" on the spine of the UK paperback.

I'm insisting on the distinction because the New Management books are not about the government agency known to its staff as the Laundry. Nor do any Laundry Files characters—with the significant exception of His Dread Majesty, the Prime Minister—show up in the first two books of the new series. As the first Amazon reader reviews predictably complained about the lack of Bob, Mo, and the Laundry, I want to make it quite clear: Dead Lies Dreaming is set some time (six months to two years) after the end of the final, not-yet-written (or titled) Laundry Files novel. Spoiler: the Black Pharaoh, N'yar Lat-Hotep, is still Prime Minister of the UK, and CASE NIGHTMARE GREEN is ongoing (if not actually getting any worse). There may or may not be survivors and revenants from SOE Q-Division and Continuity Operations. We will get to briefly see Persephone Hazard again in book 3. But that's not relevant ot the plot of this book, which kicks off a whole new series.

The previous series turned out to be impossible to continue as of 2018-2021, a period during which British politics became so bizarre as to be impossible to satirize. I promise I'll get back to it eventually! But if I was to write more stories in the same setting, I had to drop the political/civil service angle, which meant dropping the Laundry and moving the spotlight to focus on civilian life under the New Management.

So what happened to trigger this unexpected attack novel?

My father died in 2017, leaving my mother, aged 88 and very infirm, behind. They lived in Leeds, a city roughly 200 miles from Edinburgh by road or rail. In July 2018 my mother had a stroke, and was admitted to hospital. While hospitalized she had another brain bleed and was left semi-paralysed, speech impaired, and with difficulty swallowing. I've always been quite close to my parents: consequently I shed a bunch of other committments to spend time with her (and give me other siblings—who lived much closer—some respite). She stayed in the hospital for more than three months, before finally being discharged to a nursing home that was able to provide the 24x7 support she needed. She never recovered, but spent roughly 15 months in the nursing home before she finally succumbed to one last stroke, a few weeks after her 90th birthday.

During the 18 month period I commuted weekly by train (it's much faster than driving, and less tiring). But despite the commute being tolerable, the experience was exhausting. Dealing with death or terminal illness is stressful, as I discovered during my father's terminal illness (which killed the book I was working on at the time). I had just begun to recover, by way of taking a long-postponed six month sabbatical, when my mother became ill: at that point, I recognized that my conscious attempt to take time off and recharge was a bust, I couldn't work to deadlines either while stressed out, and so I downed tools for the duration.

But my subconscious is terrible at handling idleness, and even if I can't make deadline targets, I can still do tentative, exploratory work. So after a few weeks I gave myself license to indulge in creative writing, something I hadn't done for years. This freed me to start something new, or rather, to cannibalize something old and repurpose it to deal with the emotional pain of visiting my mother's bedside.

The last time I tried to do something new and unplanned, I hatched the first 30,000 words (or about a third) of a new weird/contemporary fantasy novel titled Ghosts in the Dreamhouse. GitD was to be the story of a millennial couple who rent the attic of a big, old, plausibly haunted house from a sick old lady and gradualyl discover that far from being the bargain they'd hoped for (two bedrooms! A separate bathroom and living room of their own! All for low, low rent and some decorating expenses!) they'd stumbled into a grotesque family curse that had hung fire as the dynasty of sorcerors who owned the house had failed to breed in the past generation.

Ghosts in the Dreamhouse is never going to be published. But I cannibalized it for parts which show up in Dead Lies Dreaming (Imp and Eve's family curse, and the top floor of their house) and Quantum of Nightmares (Amy, Ade, and the whole supermarket deli counter plot).

To start something new, I ripped the haunted house out of GitD and dumped it into the universe of the Laundry Files, where it plausibly belonged. Then I decided to send off for some new protagonists and a bit more detail about the New Management.

The New Management parodies the dark undercurrent of performative, theatrical cruelty that is baked so deeply into British culture that it leaks into our politics. Our tabloid newspapers and much of our reality TV culture is built on sly bullying and cruelty, with a veneer of prurient denial: "I'm not a racist, but ..." meets transphobia and calls to bring back the death penalty in an oddly worrying, non-specific way that might pertain to hanging serial killers but might equally well apply to being wilfully homeless or wearing a loud shirt in a built-up area. Additionally, the post-CASE NIGHTMARE GREEN world is overflowing with dubious magic, some of which sticks of people who really shouldn't be allowed to run with scissors, never mind being gifted with superpowers. We met some of them in The Annihilation Score, as minor characters: I've had a yen to do a supervillain story for some time, so examining superpowered crime and punishment was an obvious direction to go in.

I was also working through issues to do with grief and death in the family. British culture offers a rich buffet of classics to choose from, and I decided that, to start a new series, I'd go with a pastiche of one of the classics: Peter and Wendy by J. M. Barrie (which you can find a free downloadable ebook of via Project Gutenberg—note that this is the 1911 novel, not the 1904 stage play). Peter and Wendy is the original source for Peter Pan, but if your only experience of Pan is the saccharine Disney version, you'll get a nasty shock. Barrie's Pan is a sly sociopath, a feral demiurge divorced from even his own shadow, who steals children away to Neverland (and thins the numbers of Lost Boys if they have the temerity to try to grow up). Barrie's play and book were wildly popular, but like much Victorian morally uplifting Kidlit they smuggled a bitter subtext in under the twee surface. Back in 1900, roughly 20% of children died before they reached the age of 5 years, for there were few effective treatments for most modern diseases of childhood. This was a huge improvement compared to the infant mortality of 1800, but still: almost every parent had at some point to explain to their surviving children that a sibling wasn't ever coming home.

Like the best modern kidlit, Peter and Wendy also had something to say to the adults who would be reading it to the children: it stands up to a modern reading, although the usual content warnings apply (racism and sexism to a degree you would expect of Edwardian Engliand, i.e. unthinking and obnoxious).

So I decided to tackle a New Management setting Peter and Wendy, with some metafictional twiddles. Imp (our Pan) is actually a magically enhanced film director wannabe, who is obsessed with Peter and Wendy and intends to make his own post-cyberpunk motion picture version of it. Problem: Imp is financially challenged and not anything like as gifted as he thinks he is. Second problem: the charitable trust who own the rights to Peter Pan in the UK will not approve of Imp's intended treatment, to put it mildly. Third problem: because of their use in making field-expedient Basilisk Guns, the New Management has banned the unlicensed sale or rental of high definition camcorders, and there's a six month waiting list to rent a film camera. (The book is set in a dreamlike 2016 that diverged from our own reality some time after 2012: plausibly, smartphone camera resolutions are limited by law, harshly enforced.)

Imp and his crew are squatters (a highly illegal practice). They're also criminals. The New Management has reacted to a spike in magical crime by reintroducing the Bloody Code (a typically British violent and cruel over-reaction), but has—equally typically—failed to increase police funding or provide for enforcement; indeed, they've outsourced it all to the private sector by bringing back the very real 18th century Thief-takers, who are in turn employed by the usual big government contracting corporations (like the real world Serco and G4s: in the New Management setting, you can blame it all on HiveCo Security or their rivals, the Wilde Corporation, named after this guy—who show up in Quantum of Nightmares). Cruelty can be monetized, magically, via ritual human sacrifice (of which executions are a very useful subtype), and Imp's crew are the sort of outcasts who the machinery of the New Management won't miss: none of them are straight, two of them are non-white, one is transgender, and all of them are (strictly speaking) criminals. But they're not the villains here.

So we have our thieves. We have a sketchy outline of our police (the heroine of Peter Pan was Wendy Darling: it is not a coincidence that the thief-taker with a heart of gold in Dead Lies Dreaming is one Wendy Deere). Who are the victims? Well obviously, the law exists to protect the rich. But Richy McRichface—or Rupert de Montfort Bigge as he is called in this series—is not exactly a sympathetic protagonist. (At least, not until he gets to explain what he's doing in an epic supervillain monologue in book 3.) So we zoom the focus in on Eve Starkey, the aforementioned Imp's elder sister, who is not-coincidentally employed as Rupert's executive assistant.

In the interests of avoiding spoilers for Quantum of Nightmares and the not-yet-properly-titled third book, I'm going to pass over certain aspects of Imp and Eve's relationship, Eve's relationship with Rupert, and Rupert's Grand Plan. For now, you'll have to settle for Rupert as a sexually abusive, moustache-twirling billionaire scumbag and human-sacrificing Cult high priest. Rupert can quite literally get away with murder because he's a pillar of the establishment and richer than Croesus, greedy beyond anyone's wildest imagining, and totally depraved. (Or at least that's the version of himself he puts on display for Eve.) At the end of Dead Lies Dreaming Eve is reasonably confident that she has fatally outmaneuvered him. But Rupert has a better handle on Eve than she on he, and his plans are much deeper, nastier, and more subtle than is obvious from Dead Lies Dreaming: he may be out of sight but death gods and necromancers have a disturbing tendency to come back from the grave, and Quantum of Nightmares is all about the mess Eve uncovered after his disappearance.

Other tid-bits: the four groups traipsing after each other in Whitechapel are a deliberate shout-out to the hunting scene in Peter and Wendy (where: the Pirates are hunting the Lost Boys, the Lost Boys are stalking the Indians, the Indians are hunting the Wild Animals, and the Wild Animals are hunting the Pirates).

Imp's house is very close to, but not actually the same as, the house where J. M. Barrie wrote Peter and Wendy.

The Mister Bond is purely Rupert's affectation: Bond is an archetype, and for the discerning depraved villain who has everything (even an island lair!), what better accessory than a suited and booted Bond to assassinate his enemies?

The Channel Island of Skaro does not exist, but if it did it would be near to Guernsey and Sark, only a bit smaller and much, much weirder. (We get to see more of it in Quantum of Nightmares.)

"Gammon" is a particularly tasty cut of quick-cured hind leg of pork, best eaten as a steak (grilled or fried). In current British parlance, it's also a term applied to a rosy-faced, bald, shouty middle aged man, and to a lesser extent to their younger angry male counterparts. (America has MAGAs who cover the same sort of political base, but Gammons are specifically middle-aged and right wing males: famous examples would be Piers Morgan or Andrew Neil.) Eve is misapplying the term slightly by using it for Rupert's bullet-headed thuggish guards, signifying contempt.

Eve's mother fell foul of the Golden Promise Ministries (Laundry Files: The Apocalypse Codex, The Delirium Brief). Eve's ambition is to go after Raymond Schiller with a pointy stick, but she's been so busy slaving 120 hours a week for Rupert that she hasn't noticed Schiller's disappearance. She will be most annoyed when she realizes the New Management has deprived her of her long-planned revenge ...

Dead Lies Dreaming was originally going to be titled Lost Boys (after Peter Pan's gang of minions, and Imp's movie). However, in 2019 I discovered that one of the US cable networks had begun airing a TV show based on a reboot of the 1986 cult movie of that name. In general, it is a really bad idea to give a novel the same title as a current movie or TV show, so my story had to be retitled ... and by the time it was published, the TV show had been cancelled. Feh!

Quantum of Nightmares was originally titled Dead Meat (due to the Sweeney Todd subplot). Then my agent pointed out that if my publishers' marketing folks dislike the book, they'd make sure it was dead on arrival, and vetoed it. (Apparently it's a bad luck title. Who knew?) So it went through Flesh Lies Bleeding (sub-optimal) then became, for a while, In His House. That aliterated with Dead Lies Dreaming/In His House and carried on the non-archive Lovecraftian tone, but ... nope, UK marketing didn't go for it. So Quantum of Nightmares was the final short-notice compromise title, which cannibalized the working title of the third book (which was to be Bones and Nightmares), so I'm now looking for a title for that book. Luckily it isn't finished yet, so there's plenty of time ...

You must have Questions. Ask them in the comments below, and I'll try to answer! (But I won't spoiler the other books in the new series.)

1239 Comments

1:

Okay, let's get this to 300...

You forgot to mention the Memory Palace. That was rather cool.

2:

I'm a little unclear on something. Have you axed the whole Sweeney Todd subplot, or just the Dead Meat title?

3:

Although the sentence "Magic is a branch of applied mathematics" does appear in DLD, and at least one character is I gather a gifted mathematician, it doesn't really have the feeling of a plot that hinges on computer and math nerds, and on magic being done by communicating Platonic truths across universes. That, to me, was the respect in which DLD seemed most un-Laundry Files-like.

Not saying I didn't enjoy it -- I did, a lot. But it didn't have that special sauce that makes The Laundry Files The Laundry Files. It felt more like the Popular Science version of the Laundry Files, aimed at the large audience of folks who Don't Like Math.

4:

Here's a direct link to Peter and Wendy on a Project Gutenberg mirror that will not block users with a German IP address:
http://www.gutenberg.lib.md.us/2/6/6/5/26654/

5:

Im sure the marketing people know best, but your next book could be titled: "Nigel Farage is a fantastic lover and should be Prime Minister" and i would buy it.

6:

I took great delight in Rupert being the feudal overlord of an island called Skaro, though a little disappointed that there were no Mk III Travel Machines animated by Night Feeders...

7:

I think that with Case Nightmare Green so close, so much is leaking through from other worlds/dimensions as the stars align, that even people with the most limited of mathematical skills, those who are totally reliant of the use of fingers and toes in counting, are able to channel powers from the interstices of the universe or become hosts for any one of a plethora of unnatural "things". One thing I would imagine the New Management would ruthlessly crack down on would be compute power and mathematical geniuses.

8:

Just the title. But the main pastiche subplot of Quantum of Nightmares is Mary Poppins (again: the P. L. Travers original, not the grotesque Disney abomination).

9:

...so I'm now looking for a title for that book.

The House of Nightmares?

10:

I always applied Gibson's quote to the spread of magic in the Laundryverse; "The street finds it's own uses for things."

11:

There is a time travel subplot in book 3, but no blue police box shaped objects ...

As for CASE NIGHTMARE GREEN, it's like anthropogenic climate change. We learn to live with it to some extent, but mitigate the most obvious effects. (The New Management are probably happy for most people to have a dumbed-down-tablet-computing experience, where they can only install apps from a state-approved app store and can't write their own software, but general purpose computing? That's something you need a driving license equivalent before you can use.)

12:

Philip Kerr wrote a nasty post-Soviet-era thriller called Dead Meat. Out of print, alas.

13:

I'm uninterested in collecting reader suggestions for titles.

(Plz keep the comments clear for actual Q&A for now.)

14:

The Mary Poppins books were among my favorites when I was a kid. Hated, hated, HATED the Disney movie. It could not have more completely misrepresented the personality of the book version of Mary Poppins.

15:

The Channel Island of Skaro
Two things - Sark is occupied/dominated by people I suspect of being necromancers anyway & "Skaro" - really?
Skaro is the Home-World of the DALEKS

"Gammons" are also extreme Brexshiteers, IIRC?

16:

Not so much questions as observations:-
1) I liked the mention of the Baby Deltic. Any chance of adding either a Warship or a Hymek (subject to period) to the MPD?
2) Is "being possessed of a loud and offensive wife", or "looking at me funny" also an offence?
3) I rather liked the "house in L-space" and particularly the multiple libraries.

17:

FWIW, my paperback copy arrived from the UK/EU just yesterday. I'm a good third of the way through it.

18:

I liked it, in my mid-teens.

On the other hand, shortly after Capaldi became the Doctor, there was the episode with... 2d creatures? Anyway, they were in a subway, and Capaldi did it *right*: the Doctor as a DEEPLY SCARY ancient alien with unimaginable powers.

19:

I went off Dr Who for many many years - having seen the ORIGINAL ...]
But Capaldi had something that ( I think) none of the intermediates had - like Hartnell, he had that slight "edge" - he could be seriously creepy whilst apparently being "pleasant" one always got the impression of "something unseen"

20:

I found the description of what happened to Imp and Eve's mother GENUINELY DISTURBING, although it was to be expected since we all know what GPM was up to (even before they escalated to TDB levels).
It's different when you see some thing you know is Bad happening to random passers-by... it's much, much worse when it happens to a beloved family member and you, for all your proficience at ritual magic, are completely unable to cure it.

21:

When Eve is done with the Bond in the elevator, how does she know it's time to leave the book behind? I know the plan is to have Rupert pick it up without being able to claim any ownership, but did she know he was on his way? How?

22:

Oddly, nobody else (no test readers, no editors, and nobody else who's read the book) has asked that question.

Put it down to a missing exchange of text messages and pretend you're waiting for me to retcon it in book 3.

23:

Well, FWIW it reads as she planned to leave it $somewhere in the house that was not readily accessible by anyone, ever.

24:

As becomes clear at the beginning of Quantum of Nightmares, Eve was actually somewhat pissed that she didn't get the opportunity to murder Rupert herself.

(Then, as becomes clearer later on, someone or something has been messing with Eve's head, amplifying her worst, most violent impulses -- she's not entirely in control of herself. Who or what it might be is a plot twist in book 3.)

25:

Is it coincidental that *Quantum of Nightmares* is kind of opposite to the Bond title *Quantum of Solace*? (Apologies if this is an obvious question which has been asked before.)

26:

Yes, it's pure coincidence. (There is virtually no James Bond angle here at all, unless "Bad Bond Babe gets to explore Blofeld's Lair (after Bond and Blofeld have both disappeared) and uncovers heinous plan" qualifies.) It's just a side-effect of having three more like six working titles rejected and needing something to slap on the front of the book that kinda-sorta stood side-by-side with "Dead Lies Dreaming" (which was itself a third choice).

27:

I read the book as soon as it came out ... flowed pretty well.

My memory of it is a little foggy, but interestingly that's what stands out.

This 'memory London' - is it a permanent place that people can visit? Or does it only exist in a quantum sense, when people are looking upon it? Are the denizens really generated apparitions of humans with their own desires, or is the whole place more of a hallucination?

I get the sense of what you were building - maybe some kind of residual memory-place based upon people's feelings and expectations of Victorian London?

28:

How far are you going to dwelve in the depths of paradoxes?
How many time has history been rewritten?
By whom?
How much can Forecasting Ops understand about this before being forced to self-unestablish?
How and how much is actually "scientific" magic better than "ritual" magic?
What or who made one better than the other?
And on behalf of whom?
Can the two of them coexist?
Safely?

29:

So many questions, so little answers...

30:

I enjoyed DLD, read it (mostly) in one sitting the week it came out, looking forward to QoN. Having followed discussion and updates here all through the time it was written I'm not surprised by the content of the crib sheet: it all makes sense. Makes me want to re-read it, but I'll defer this pleasure to December/January so it's fresh in my mind when QoN comes out.

The mechanics of using an already-defined universe are interesting, since the other examples of this show varying approaches. Discworld and the Culture are the obvious ones, I guess, where it's not always the same storyline, not always the same characters, and only Discworld comes to mind as involving specific story arcs within the overall universe. All the same the appealing thing is that it is economical, and not just for the author. It's a way to build on the existing world building capital in the heads of readers too. Demanding slightly less cognitive load for world building means more is available for adventurez and crimez and stuff.

31:

A suggestion for Book Three of the Series: "The Master of Skaro"?

(As an hommage to Terry Nation.)

32:

To me the right time to ditch that thing is “as soon as possible,” and that’s when she did.

33:

How far are you going to dwelve in the depths of paradoxes?
How many time has history been rewritten?
By whom?

These questions get chewed over in book 3, which is the historical Laundryverse novel folks periodically ask me for.

(TLDR: magic comes and goes in waves, policy on magic oscillates between polite disbelief and "we must control and suppress this at all costs!", and -- of course -- the one tendency drives the other.)

34:

Brendan, that's an interesting question. Of course "this is based on our fictional memory" lets OGH riff on whatever he wants, and gives plausible deniability against historical nitpickers.

That said though, I'm not clear whether that's reliably true. (We know all his narrators are unreliable! :) As Charlie led off with, it's almost impossible for us to understand today just how bad life was for your average Victorian slum-dweller, and how close every Victorian was to death. However grimdark you make your Victorian setting, it's almost guaranteed that you're underplaying it. (Unless any major actors have tentacles or are squamous and rugous...)

35:

I'm about half-way through; just got to the part where the treasure map is revealed & where the book is hidden.

Is it revealed how the book got hidden where it is & who hid it there?

36:

I expect there's an island called Sodor in the Irish Sea, too, where they wall up misbehaving shoggoths in tunnels.

37:

Is it revealed how the book got hidden where it is & who hid it there?

Can't remember, but if it's not revealed in DLD then it's a trilogy-level spoiler for the untitled third book.

38:

Too bad the memory palace demanded a sacrifice each generation to maintain access. It could have been much more interesting had it been run like Singularity Sky, where the price of being a customer with borrowing privileges is bringing in something new and shiny every time for the keepers to curate. If you don't access all the collections regularly (on a ritual basis, say), they get neglected in favor of stuff that does get used, and in the absence of humans, the memory palace will start catering to the needs of whatever customers are available: mice, rats. Cockroaches. Ants.

Going into an abandoned memory palace could be...ummmm. Very, very ummmm.

Guess I'll have to think about this some more. But accessing a memory palace formerly used by humans and taken over by ants? Oh yeah.

39:

What we currently "know" is: that the book might have been placed in the memory palace in about 1880 and that it might have been done by Imp's Great-Grandfather (add a few more "Greats" as needed).

I'm more interested in how Rupert Bigge knew where to look and who set up the auction...

40:

I'm more interested in how Rupert Bigge knew where to look and who set up the auction...

At risk of spoilers: wait for book 3.

41:

Only if Charlie thinks that he needs multiple copyright suits to "make his life more interesting".

42:

Do not talk to me about IP lawsuits. (The delay in "Escape from Puroland" is entirely down to the need to take emergency action to head one off before it has a chance to happen.)

43:

I am aware; I was saying that the message I responded to was likely to generate another 3 or 4.

44:

Charlie,

Have you considered that the title of a book may be significantly more valuable than the contents? My college bridge partner ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helen_DeWitt ) was paid a cool £250K for the film rights to her book "The Seventh Samurai" -- primarily because Holywood thought it could use the title.

I wonder if there's a copyright equivalent of version control. Could you bag the titles by publishing blank First Editions, and then fill in the words afterwards? Perhaps those First Editions could become non-fungibles?

ps I certainly didn't want an answer to my query on Bigge's sources -- it was pretty obvious you'd be filling in the details later.

45:

I'm fairly certain book titles can't be copyrighted. At least not in the US.

46:

Book titles can't be copyrighted. Most likely the film rights to your friend's book were sold because someone thought they could film it -- but they ended up filming something else and slapping the title on it. (See also "Blade Runner", the Alan E. Nourse book, which got chucked away while they slid a rather more opaquely-titled Philip K. Dick story under it.)

47:

Thanks for pointing that out about the Victorian era.

I always found the millennial Steampunk craze, and especially the generalized nostalgia for the Victorian era at the turn of the millennium, to be somewhat perplexing.

Oh, I understand that reasons for it. I do.

But it was an unbearable era for many commoners, and in fact things had been like that for many in England since about the time of the enclosures.

Everyone, looking back at these times, seems to think they would be the one driving the airship, or at the ball.

I think there was an episode of "Bob's Burgers" where there is some kind of 1890s party or such, but the partygoers are surprised to find themselves playing the part of maids and other menial jobs. Only a fraction of people would be the nobility depicted in paintings.


Anyway, I can see the narrative benefits of how the memory London was established...good point there. What still eludes me is if the place even exists if people aren't visiting it. And how much agency people there have. Which of course brings up philosophical questions of its own.

Ultimately, I agree with Heteromeles that we need a memory palace taken over by the needs of the ants.

48:

But it was an unbearable era for many commoners

As was most of the past. But most people imagine that they would be on top of the heap.

Just as in the recovered memory/past lives community everyone is a reincarnated noble, no one a peasant dying of infection or woman dying in childbirth — even though those are much more likely. At least the SCA knows they're ahistorical…

49:

Totally Off-Topic Quote from "Private Eye"
[ Indicating why I will never vote Green or identical problems about "Purity" with the Corbynistas .... ]
Sea levels rise, California burns & BoZo dithers, but the Green Party is being torn apart by the issue that matters most to its leaders - gender-critical feminism
Let's have a faction-fight for "purity" & DEMAND that the best is the enemy of the good enough.
Right.

Whilst the fascists sail merrily onwards, dooming us all.

50:

I happen to agree that the classism of Imperial England is fun but rather galling at times.

That's why I'm fiddling around with the "Lincoln, Albert, and Kaiser Fred II lived" scenario, wherein, politics in the late 19th Century swung towards what Lincoln considered radical republicanism. So I'm giggling through the quaint possibility of an "All Men Are Created Equal" Party pushing for suffrage, unionizing former slaves, and unionizing immigrant Chinese and Hispanic along with whites, so that no one can be exploited by industrialists paying bottom level wages. Oh, and the whole flood of European immigrants to the US tapers off, because they've realized that organizing at home might work better than seeking their fortune elsewhere. Perhaps Lady Liberty stands on Angel Island, welcoming Christian Chinese refugees from the Tai Ping aftermath, instead.

Plus steam-powered spaceships, because who needs to stop at just one planet?

But let's get back to Dead Lies Dreaming, please.

51:

"Gammon" is a particularly tasty cut of quick-cured hind leg of pork, best eaten as a steak (grilled or fried). In current British parlance, it's also a term applied to a rosy-faced, bald, shouty middle aged man, and to a lesser extent to their younger angry male counterparts. (America has MAGAs who cover the same sort of political base, but Gammons are specifically middle-aged and right wing males: famous examples would be Piers Morgan or Andrew Neil.) Eve is misapplying the term slightly by using it for Rupert's bullet-headed thuggish guards, signifying contempt.

Some notes from the non-euclidean realms: there was a minor spat some years ago betwitx Author and one of those Prime Gammons. £60,000,000 later and what can only be described as "a Hindenburg of a Media Launch" and the fastest taking of Leave Time (did you see what we did there?) in Corporate History and ... the Prince of Hammark's entire media career has ended in pathos, bathos and universal hilarity.

We did warn you all about the Faery Rings and Wishes. Or, actually, what's actually our thing, totes 100% no bullshit: Hubris. Tasty-Pork-Barrel-Gammon-Steak.

Not sure about modern monetary conversion principles: one insult = £60,000,000 loss seems fair game when they're putting 14 years in Prison if you squeak about their Crimes / Deals in Public? Who knows, but you'd better start playing this seriously, they're not fucking around about it, are they?.

Here's the response: "We liked the Books (more than we liked the TV station)" (this is a GME joke)

Oh, Lore Ipsum, kudos to Host.

And, er... Dead Meat is ... Ok, if you can answer why having the Ace of Spades tattooed on your person (notably ankle or wrist) is probably not a great idea if you don't know the context, well then. Like biohazard signs on the chest / upper arm. (We're so old, we remember when Leather Hats were Kink, not tombstones. Joke is dark, is intended. Yes, yes, we've been there).

-Sneaking in a real point: on the QT the UK plan is for average person (peon, sub £50k / annum, remember they control the wage economy) to only eat meat 3-4 times a week with a whole load of other stuff. Like Petrol - should look up Petrol shortages, gonna be big soon[tm]. For Real. Big Time Crunchy-Crunchy "what good are 20 million of our population for compared to IN / CN" type discussions. And yes, you have to drink through them.

Note: Some People (aka, people like P.Cross and Other Intel Agencies and various Abrahamic Fundamentalists) have been altering wikipedia again - this name is the correct usage: it's part of a much larger effort (major cases in India vrs Southern Brahmic spellings vrs Northern (BJP) users)

Yes: even when they've screwed up the NI border and now want a New Deal (Old Deal was ...) they're purging actual English on Wikipedia.

https://www.thefreedictionary.com/Bean+Sidhe


Question:

Contractually you put yourself through one of (not the most, but in the top 20) heinous production cycles in SF currently. Why? (Ignoring funding drug habits, off-world jaunts, secret anti-TERF railroads and so on).

>Message from the *wild crew* "PROTECT CHARLIE!!* -- Notes: this might include burning down sixty million quid or so.

52:

Oh, and +++points if you know the ancient cartoon book of Prince Of Hammark (??) which is a pastiche of Hamlet. Throw an extra ++++ if you can remember King Kanut and the Great Horned Cheese.

Kinda cool.

Waaay before Tiny-Winky got Disney Sponsorship cool.

53:

That's bothered me, too, about steampunk. The last con I was at that had a steampunk ball, a few years ago, I did my cord suit and Greek fisherman's cap, and announced I was a socialist and a union organizer, not some lord.

54:

Which is why I tell the joke of "the busiest woman in the afterlife".

55:

I agree with Heteromeles that we need a memory palace taken over by the needs of the ants.

It's been kicking around in my head for a while that something like that is plausible, though as far as we know it doesn't happen in nature.

Consider how many insects communicate by scent; we find many realtime signals and enduring trail markers in nature. It's no great leap to imagine enduring local signals in particular places along a path, encoding information into the shape and composition of the hive itself.

Such a thing wouldn't be very much like a classical Turning machine; the software would look more like a very messy funge. But it would give vastly increased intelligence to social insects without needing the individuals to do anything radically new.

The 'wisdom' of a hive could endure long past the lives of its original inhabitants, if their successors used compatible encodings.

So yes, I find an "ant memory palace" completely reasonable.

56:

Ace of Spades possible contexts - Highest scoring card in the deck, in games using fixed trumps in the English speaking world: Motorhead album : Title track and hit single from same : VMA-231 USMC.

57:

"Deep Mind" - Protein folding problems greatly reduced, at the least
LINK This is ... IMPORTANT - to say the least.

a memory palace taken over by the needs of the ants.
"Anthill Inside" ...++ Out of Cheese Error ++
Ridcully: "What does Hex say, Ponder?"

58:
But it was an unbearable era for many commoners

As was most of the past. But most people imagine that they would be on top of the heap.

There's a reason my standard reply to people who ask what I "would have been" in $PAST_CENTURY is "dead at 14". (Quite possibly younger, of course, from some disease C20th-me got vaccinated against, but acute appendicitis is the earliest thing I know actually happened which would have killed me without modern medicine.)

59:

Well, if childhood bronchitis hadn't killed me by 18 (rather than being cured by steroid powder), haemodialysis wasn't even invented until 1943, so I'd be recently (last 6 months) dead from renal failure.

60:

Memory palace taken over by ants

There's something not-dissimilar in Bruce Sterling's brilliant 1990s SF novel Holy Fire, which depicts the world of a post-plagues 22nd century ruled by a medical gerontocracy. Memory palaces after a fashion have become ubiquitous -- they're the VR digital repositories everyone ends up accumulating all their online crap in. One of our protagonist's friends dies, leaving her as their executor: they also leave behind a somewhat-uplifted companion-animal -- a dog, which is driven mad by the memory palace riding around in/on its implants.

61:

Greg: what appears to be happening with the English/Welsh Greens is that they're in the process of ejecting a couple of noisy GC/TERF types. After the model of the Scottish Green party, which kicked them out, re-asserted that human rights are non-negotiable, and went back to green politics. Also after the model of the SNP (hint: Salmond's Alba took 90% of their residual right-wing and TERF contingent out of the party.)

This is not the topic for a discussion of contemporary British political hate-politics, other than to say that as transphobia spreads (with a huge amount of media attention) it's been adopted as the current xenophobic campaign by the extreme right, as hating on Jews/Non-whites/Muslims is still marginally unfashionable among the non-fash. So it's hardly surprising that the more left-aligned parties are kicking out the members who drifted into alignment with neo-nazis.

(I am not planning on tackling TERFery in the Laundryverse other than to note that at least one of the characters in "Dead Lies Dreaming" and "Quantum of Nightmares", Game Boy, is trans (and his experiences of discrimination are based on the accounts of people I know).

62:

In my case, likely dead by 3. Acute dysentery while living in Cairo - it was only some antibiotics our doctor happened to have that kept me out of hospital. My mother really thought she'd lose me - I couldn't keep anything down, not even water.

63:

I've always been absurdly healthy, so I might have survived, but I must give due credit to vaccines and antibiotics, which at the very least have saved me a certain amount of trouble.

64:

Ditto.

But listening to my parents, grandparents, and their contemporaries talk about their life growing up... well no thanks.

Out houses, hand pump wells, frozen water in the morning water bowl to splash your face, running to the barn when it's below freezing outside and still dark in the early morning to milk the cow, and on and on and on.

Just no thanks.

And this is from people born in the later 1800s into the early 1900s. A bit earlier was even more fun. At least the people I could talk to grew up with SOME electricity and communications.

65:

Charlie,

What you say about copyright is what I thought, too.

I'd recalled a bit of a furore about Helen's book, but that stuff is now more than twenty years old. Much of it was the envy from more established authors, but that's par for the course in LitFic circles.

On her web site for the book "The Seventh Samurai" ( http://helendewitt.com/dewitt/samurai.html) we have the following cryptic comment:

Disney and the Weinstein brothers had a difference of opinion which had nothing to do with a novel which had nothing to do with a film starring Tom Cruise.

Reading between the lines, my guess is that the two film companies had a bidding war over the book -- without either of them reading it first! Had they known that there was more Wittgenstein than Kurosawa, they'd probably have ignored it.

66:

Agreed completely. No thanks to the more primitive methods of living.

A big part of the problem here is that people have forgotten history. The idea that vaccines are the biggest part of why we don't have 50 percent child mortality simply isn't something most people know. So maybe we all need to live a little bit of that shittiness.

67:

Life before... yeah. I remember my father talking about how he hated, during the depression as a teen, helping my grandfather pull a cart up and down the hills in Roxborough (part of Philly), peddling, in all kinds of weather. And me... let's see, I'd be dead in '01 (cancer), and any time now, I'd have a heart attack (open heart surgery this past Feb *before* I had it).

68:

Re: Memory Palaces. I'm using that as a shorthand for the other world in DLD, but in case some of you missed the curve, here's the background.

Memory palace (aka the Method of Loci, aka Songlines, aka...) is a technique for memorizing information in the absence of paper and pencil. It's a basic human technique that's been discovered and rediscovered an unknown but probably huge number of times.

The basic trick is that humans normally don't have good RAM: give us lines or tables of words or numbers, and we're garbage at remembering them, especially compared with a computer. The problem only gets worse with long-term storage.

And no, there is no such thing as photographic memory. Those people who claim it turn out, on examination, to have figured out how to do a memory palace. I'll leave the savants out of this discussion.

Humans are better at remembering other things: songs, dances, bad jokes, places, even familial relationships. Now each person differs: an athlete is better at remembering movement, a musician better remembers songs, a comedian better remembers jokes, and so on. They're not mutually exclusive.

The memory palace works for people who have decent working spatial memory. The trick is to remember specific information with specific locations. The classic example from ancient Rome is where the roof collapsed on a dining hall, killing everyone except the poet who was orating at the time. When asked which mangled body was whose, he reconstructed in his mind where everyone was sitting, helped put names on corpses, and created the Method of Loci from that. Roman architecture was actually designed to help Roman orators remember their speeches, since speaking from notes was frowned upon. Similarly, Shakespearean plays were memorized by assigning lines to different parts of the Old Globe Theater, and the actor walked through the theater to remember lines. This may be why replicas of the Old Globe crop up elsewhere.

Anyway, let's get back to DLD via European ceremonial magic. Rome had a thriving memory craft, and public figures were expected to have excellent memories. Then the Medieval period made this even more important when Europe got shut out of the trade in Egyptian papyrus and had to make do with parchment. Suddenly, a papyrus book a slave copied that was sold in the market was worth a small car, when slowly copied onto parchment. A lot of the illumination in Medieval manuscripts wasn't just to gild these precious objects, it was to help the readers memorize each book. They couldn't take the copy with them, so they had to memorize the darn things. Oddities like Bestiaries were also mnemonic devices, whole books of them.

Then we got paper, and the printing press, and it was increasingly cheaper to store knowledge outside people's heads. Much of the old knowledge of the memory palaces got repurposed, first for religion and then for ceremonial magic. Memory palaces got appropriated as fairy lands, and mnemonic devices became daemonic or demonic, or monsters. A lot of this creative repurposing got jammed into Dungeons and Dragons of all places, where stuff grubbed up from courses in Medieval art history became monsters in the game (Demogorgon being only one example).

Getting to DLD, where we've got an otherworldly memory palace holding a real book. This gets to an interesting problem for modern fantasists:

If otherworlds are memory palaces, and we want characters to physically enter them...how is that supposed to work? This seems to be an area where, as with the novel magic systems of the past 40 years or so, there's quite a lot of room for innovative solutions.

OGH's proposal is that the memory palace only continues to work so long as someone sacrifices a child to the librarians every generation. One can wax eloquent on librarians who want to eat children, but I won't. It's a legitimate solution, and in line with the Laundryverse.

Another one that's quite traditional is use it or lose it. That's the way memory palaces actually work, although they require less work to maintain than crammed short term memory. This is part of why groups like the Australian aborigines spend so much time traveling their songlines and doing the rituals. They're preserving their memories, which include things like what to harvest when how to deal with a drought, and stuff that turns out to be critically useful for rare disasters and would get forgotten otherwise.

This is where the idea of ants taking over a memory palace comes from. If memory palaces are magically real spaces, and if those that run the spaces need to be cared for or they'll abandon the space, then what happens to an abandoned space? What happens when someone else, or something else, finds an abandoneed space, starts caring for it, and those that run the space start catering to the new tenants and abandon the memories of the older tenants?

There are many possible answers to that question, just as there are many answers to the ways mnemonic devices become magic--rituals, other worlds, mnemonic gods and spirits, magical memory equipment, enchantments that consist of mnemonic chants using props, etc. I'll just pitch this as something story writers might want to add to their fiction.

And since ants obviously have spatial memories, as do rats and likely cockroaches, they probably could take over a human memory palace. Likely most animals could.

69:

Have you read John Crowley's Little Big? It's got an enchantress who uses a memory palace and a weird country house that does strange things with architecture. (The prose is delicious!)

70:

I'd have died before I was one. Not certain of what — my mother has never explained (and maybe doesn't remember details) — but I went from a chubby baby to a skinny runt and never regained my weight after the illness.

71:

A big part of the problem here is that people have forgotten history. The idea that vaccines are the biggest part of why we don't have 50 percent child mortality simply isn't something most people know.

Um, have you forgotten clean water? Because childhood mortality was dropping before we got vaccines for childhood diseases…

http://hdr.undp.org/en/content/children-and-water-sanitation-and-hygiene-evidence

It is often stated that vaccination has made the greatest contribution to global health of any human intervention apart from the introduction of clean water and sanitation, but this is a claim that needs some qualification. Study of the pattern of infectious diseases in industrialized countries from the end of the nineteenth century onwards shows that there was a large and progressive decline in child mortality, owing largely to a reduction in mortality from infectious diseases, prior to the development and deployment of vaccines. This was associated with improvements in housing, nutrition and sanitation.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4024226/

72:

Not much disagreement there. Clean water was important, and pasteurized milk was also a huge factor. But "anti-pasteurized milk campaigns" are not currently threatening millions.

73:

The comment about "state run app stores" alludes a particularly thorny problem that new management, and actually most coverments would have to solve. Especially with American tech companies being coopted for nefarious purposes. How do you deal with the fact that the software on just about every phone in the world is controlled by two American companies that have the ability to push out updates on a whim. The security and access controls on a device are useless when it's not necessary to actually access any information on the phone, or access any of the hardware. All that's necessary to do a lot of damage is the act of running a program. Imagine Google decides to push out an update that executes a human sacrifice or summons some sort it jibbering horror.Perhqps only on one geographic region. At the very least it would be a good way to create total chaos.(most especially with all the Apple Polishers smugly proclaiming "Maybe they should have bought an iPhone")

74:

Why go with Android when Apple's gibbering horrors are user fiendly?

75:

Not much disagreement there. Clean water was important, and pasteurized milk was also a huge factor. But "anti-pasteurized milk campaigns" are not currently threatening millions.

Clean water shenanigans, on the other hand...

76:

Clean water shenanigans, on the other hand...

Providing contaminated drinking water, to an entire city, for years can cost less money than safe water, and money driven systems have trouble resisting doing things that give short-term profits even when they cost human lives later.

77:

Of course you would then be denounced by the other socialists as a "mere trade unionist or *gasp* or an "Economic Marxist"

I'me kind of assuming we are around the time of the fourth congress of the Second International.

78:

For those so inclined:
https://deepmind.com/research/open-source/alphafold
They ask that their Nature paper be cited if you publish findings using the source code.

79:

I am not very social and had not noticed these in person, so immediately hit the google:
A biohazard tattoo should be easy even without knowing or looking it up. (Hint: less than 40 years old)
An ace of spades tattoo (and related, queen of spades) on a white female is supposedly a symbol indicating interest in black males. There are many other usages, of course.
I have been playing mentally with Laundry Universe tattoos last night/today. Some fun possibilities. (Does Game Boy have any tattoos? I don't recall; kindle search doesn't find anything.)

---
"Non-Revisionist Bean Sídhe (non-Trf allied)" at 51
Been enjoying watching Big Gammon flail.
What is the non-revisionist meaning of Bean Sidhe? I looked through a lot of the wikipedia history and it was not obvious to me.

81:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08070j8 appeared on PBS this week, and it's just a fractional hint of how bad things were. Helped to understand why the lead character in THE NEVERS would jump in the Thames to end it all.

82:

Yeah; my point was that attempting to draw a socio-sexual cultural implication from "Ace of Spades" was fraught with possibilities for misunderstandings...

83:

Made me look. Now will watch all of it.

Yep. Truly awful how most people had to live.

If really poor, renting space to sleep on a hang over bench. Or if you can't afford that on a rope with no bench.

I understand New York was similar in the same time. I have to wonder just what people were fleeing in central and eastern Europe to make this look attractive.

My grandfather was born in a one room house/cabin 1885 yet I suspect he had a much better life in his first 10 years than these folks. (His grandfather settled the land in 1824.) My grandfather apparently really got the farm going and improved his standard of living. He opened a small slaughter house in 1911 (which might finally close this year) and when my father was young (born in 1925) they had a small saw mill going.

84:

That meaning of the ace of spades may well be US-only. (I certainly haven't run across it before ...)

85:

From Wikipedia, "The ace of spades is used as a symbol for people who are both aromantic and asexual."

86:

Providing contaminated drinking water, to an entire city, for years can cost less money than safe water, and money driven systems have trouble resisting doing things that give short-term profits even when they cost human lives later.

Yep.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walkerton_E._coli_outbreak

If you read the story it doesn't look like profit motive, but the Koebels' motive was keeping their well-paid and (relatively) cushy jobs.

The neocon government had also privatized a lot of the testing and pushed oversight down to municipalities from the province. There was a minor scandal at the time that one of the private companies the Ministry contracted testing to (after their own labs were ordered closed) had not tested all the water samples provided and simply reported good results.

87:

I have to wonder just what people were fleeing in central and eastern Europe to make this look attractive.

Starvation and pogroms, in many cases. Also encouraged by immigration agents who talked up the streets of gold in the new land…

88:

"how bad was it in Central/E Europe in the 1880's?
Try This Film - which I have seen.
A funny & also dark parable of how (bad) things were.

89:

I was going to post a joke I tell about my own family leaving Russia, then decided it was in bad taste. Then went to BoingBoing and encountered their write-up of a new video game about healing Hitler through psychotherapy.* After that saw a report of the NSO Group CEO telling us that "Law abiding citizens have nothing to be afraid of..." Very tempted to rant like the Seagull this morning, but will finish coffee instead.

Jesus Fucking Christ on a Solar-Powered Pogo Stick, do we ever live in a fucked-up world!

* Needless to say, the reaction has not been kind.

90:

Well, yes: but they didn't all go to the USA; my paternal grandfather's family fetched up in Yorkshire and Lancashire instead. (It made a lot more sense to them as they weren't penniless refugees but moderately successful wool merchants, which was thriving in Lancashire and Yorkshire back then.)

91:

How no pissed-off heads of state have so far ordered their military to whack the board of directors of NSO Group in retaliation is beyond my ken. Even if NSO's customers include most of the developed world intelligence services, they must have pissed someone off, and you do not want to personally come up on Kim Jong-Un's radar.

92:

Agreed. I'm increasingly reminded of Heinlein's "Crazy Years."

93:

Charlie
The problem with the NSO spyware outrage is ...
You simply cannot at any price, miss one, or leave any behind, to start it up again, in a more shielded location.
You have to KILL THEM ALL & make sure of it .. ( "Do not leave a live enemy behind you!" )
Which will probably mean "collateral damage" & quite few innocents getting wasted
Um, err ... now what?

US government orders Israel to "KILL THEM ALL"?
BUT- are NSO a front for the USA operating out of Israel? Entirely possible - likely?
Um, errr ... now what?

And so on, vanishing rapidly up your own orifice

94:

whitroth @ 80: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Handkerchief_code

So, what's the code for "I've got a bandana in my pocket so I'll have something to wipe sweat with when I'm working out-doors? Why does everything have to be a signal?

95:

Greg Tingey @ 93 US government orders Israel to "KILL THEM ALL"?
BUT- are NSO a front for the USA operating out of Israel? Entirely possible - likely?
Um, errr ... now what?

According to Wikipedia - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NSO_Group - the founders were ex-members of Unit 8200 of the Israeli Intelligence Corps ... Israel's version of GCHQ or the NSA. Seed money came from an Israeli venture capital firm.

The company was bought by an American (multi-national) private equity firm in 2014, and a 60% stake was sold back to the founders (with the money being provided by a British private equity firm) in 2019. The American involvement appears to be GREED HEADS rather than government backed.1

But, since the primary targets that have been revealed so far are journalists & human rights activists, I wouldn't be at all surprised if Trumpolini's DoJ and/or FBI had purchased (and used) the software.

And ... if you think the Israeli government does what the U.S. government tells them to do, you've got another think coming.

1 My guess is NSO Group didn't have as much in the way of strippable assets as the GREED HEADS expected to find, so they were reduced to jacking up the price before selling it back.

96:

JBS
Righty-ho ... given that history
Kill them all, anyway?

97:

Why does everything have to be a signal?

Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar?

98:

Greg: You simply cannot at any price, miss one, or leave any behind, to start it up again, in a more shielded location.

Wrong.

You don't even need to kill them; just make sure they know that they could be killed, that there is a line in the sand which, if overstepped, will result in the over-steppers being treated as hostiles in wartime, and that it will be enforced.

(Nor is the goal specifically to shut down NSO; rather, it's to deter other folks from starting up similar businesses.)

99:

And ... if you think the Israeli government does what the U.S. government tells them to do, you've got another think coming.

It's a bit more complex than that.

I tend to think these days that the relationship between Israel and the USA -- at a diplomatic/military level -- is rather close to what the British establishment think their relationship with the USA is (but hasn't been since, oh, 1956 or thereabouts). In other words, it's a special relationship where the parties are frenemies -- they have certain interests in common but the one is not a client state of the other, and sometimes they come to loggerheads over stuff that doesn't align with their common interests. And the common interests in question are: keeping the Arab world from unifying against Israel.

(This is obviously Israel's objective. It's less obvious why the US might do this unless you put on your cynic's cap and view Israel as a barely-leashed attack dog that the US can rely on to intimidate the OPEC oil exporters. Then the US state department can step in and pass themselves off as mediators, quietly pay the Israeli government off, calming things down in return for political concessions. In other words, it's a game of good cop/bad cop.)

Note that this was how things operated from the mid-1970s through to the Arab Spring. Now we seem to be at or past peak oil, electric vehicle sales passed 15% in Japan and are on the way up, and the ground rules have changed. Hmm.

100:

Um, this deserves a properly elliptical answer.

You may want to peruse the works (or at least the Wikipedia entries upon) an American named Alfred Thayer Mahan.

You may then want to look at a map of global trade, particularly for medium to large cargo vessels. As a hint, look for choke points and proximity to key American suppliers.

And then you may want to meditate upon the United States need to have those ships move efficiently and effectively.

And then the US relationship with Israel, along with the US relationship with a number of other small countries, formerly including the Kingdom of Hawai'i, might make itself a bit more apparent.

101:

Suez, Panama, yeah. (Also Hawaii because: trans-Pacific trade.) And maybe Chile/Argentina and South Africa because of the Cape of Good Hope and Cape Horn, but neither of those are quite as important as it's possible to detour around them.

But I gather than thanks to belt and road, the cost of shipping a container from China to Europe by rail is now only about double the price by sea ... and it travels at twice the speed. Hence all sorts of new railway construction in Siberia and the Near Abroad, even before we get into Russia trying to get the North East Passage navigable all year round using mammoth nuclear icebreakers.

102:

It's less obvious why the US might do this unless you put on your cynic's cap and view Israel as a barely-leashed attack dog that the US can rely on to intimidate the OPEC oil exporters.

This, plus the fact that Israel is right there and very much in the public awareness. This distracts the angry hotheads - of which the Middle East has plenty, for too many historical reasons - and as long as they're wound up shouting about Israel blatantly existing and wearing a loud shirt, they're not wound up shouting about whatever The Great Satan did this week.

103:

I must thank the Memory Palace thread contributors. It’s inspired me to have another go at Serpents Reach by Cherryh. It’s the only one of hers I’ve bounced off hard multiple times.

104:

H
Agreed
Which makes US actions in 1956 even more counter-productive, from their - the USA's - p.o.v. ( I'm not saying that would have been the "Right" thing to do - it's Realpolitik)

105:

My take on Serpent's Reach is that it's 10,000 in Gehenna with ants instead of lizards, if that helps. To unpack that, she's experimenting with people altering their social structures to fit into nonhuman systems.

For whatever reason, 10,000 in Gehenna is my favorite story of that universe. It shows my low taste, I suppose.

106:

But I gather than thanks to belt and road, the cost of shipping a container from China to Europe by rail is now only about double the price by sea ... and it travels at twice the speed. Hence all sorts of new railway construction in Siberia and the Near Abroad, even before we get into Russia trying to get the North East Passage navigable all year round using mammoth nuclear icebreakers.

Don't forget the South China Sea (Philippines) and the Singapore Strait (Indonesia).

As for China and the US, we've got another iteration of the Great Game on, with China trying for overland hegemony while the US goes for oceanic control, while China contends for that, too. Fortunately, even though China is repaying us for the opium wars with a flood of interesting drug precursors coming in through Mexico and Fedex, we've got a better item to balance trade than opium for tea: We're shipping in blockbuster Hollywood pictures, cleaned up for the Chinese market, in return for consumer goods. Compared with Mexican/Andean silver or Afghani opium, this is comparatively humane (/snark).

As for spreading hegemony to the Arctic Ocean, this is an excellent test of how not serious certain billionaires are. Colonize Mars? Set up corporate aristocracies in the Arctic first, specialized in servicing trade and settlement up there. If you can't do that, going suborbital is just rocket porn.

107:

Charlie Stross @ 99:

And ... if you think the Israeli government does what the U.S. government tells them to do, you've got another think coming.

It's a bit more complex than that.

It's certainly not as simple as Israel being a puppet of the U.S. as Greg appears to think.

I tend to think these days that the relationship between Israel and the USA -- at a diplomatic/military level -- is rather close to what the British establishment think their relationship with the USA is (but hasn't been since, oh, 1956 or thereabouts). In other words, it's a special relationship where the parties are frenemies -- they have certain interests in common but the one is not a client state of the other, and sometimes they come to loggerheads over stuff that doesn't align with their common interests. And the common interests in question are: keeping the Arab world from unifying against Israel.

(This is obviously Israel's objective. It's less obvious why the US might do this unless you put on your cynic's cap and view Israel as a barely-leashed attack dog that the US can rely on to intimidate the OPEC oil exporters. Then the US state department can step in and pass themselves off as mediators, quietly pay the Israeli government off, calming things down in return for political concessions. In other words, it's a game of good cop/bad cop.)

Note that this was how things operated from the mid-1970s through to the Arab Spring. Now we seem to be at or past peak oil, electric vehicle sales passed 15% in Japan and are on the way up, and the ground rules have changed. Hmm.

The main reason the U.S. supports Israel so strongly is because AIPAC has an even tighter grip on Congress's "hearts and minds" than does the NRA.

108:

The main reason the U.S. supports Israel so strongly is because AIPAC has an even tighter grip on Congress's "hearts and minds" than does the NRA.

This is an anti-semitic minefield to trip through, sooo...

Thing to remember is that if you shade that wrong (or rather, Right), it comes across as anti-semitic, with the rich jews pulling strings.

And of course, they are pulling strings. Jewish history, to paraphrase a friend of mine who's Jewish, is paranoia reinforced by history. Making friends with the most powerful country on the planet, one that does have a history of suppressed anti-semitism, is important to Jews. Many, probably most, Jews want Israel to succeed, even though they may well wish Netanyahu completely gone and the settlements ended. Heck, I feel that way myself.

There are a couple of key differences between AIPAC and the NRA. The NRA is currently a morally and financially bankrupt entity that is an unholy amalgam of Far Right PAC and the wholly owned advertising arm of the American gun industry.

None of this applies to AIPAC. AIPAC is bipartisan, and I don't think bankrupcy is an accurate description of their actions, although I have some issues with what they do, as do many liberal types like me.

109:

I'll just add this comment to the current discussion, and then I'll back off because I really don't want to get involved: I'd really like to be able (or for people in general to be able) to talk about Israeli politics without being marked as sionists or anti-sionists.
One can claim a certain country's politics are right or wrong without necessarily loving or hating them.
Just saying.

110:

In the US it gets strange. As H mentioned it doesn't fit into the typical D/R divide at all.

I know plenty of Evangelical R's who basically will give any government of Israel a pass on anything they do. And there are plenty of Orthodox and Ultra O congregations who feel the same way.

I also know people of Jewish decent who even whitroth would consider to be liberal who feel the same way. Although the last 10 years of Bibi have given them pause.

111:

H
another iteration of the Great Game on, with China trying for overland hegemony while the US goes for oceanic control
China will lose, provided the US & Europe remember Mahan
What is now the USA was only "lost" because we forgot Mahan ( Yes - I know, but you see what I mean? )

JBS
Actually, I think that the US is/was Israel's puppet, but the sock-control is going both ways, too.
[It's complicated.] "Benny" hasn't helped & IQ45 certainly screwed with it...

Massimo
It works both ways
About 3 years back, I ran into someone I used to meet fairly often, then didn't see for about 15 years.
Someone mentioned the "israel" problems & I commented that move No-1 was to get rid of "Benny" & go back to about the peace offer made way back when. ( "Land for peace" )
She immediately started into a total rant about the injustices of the foundation of Israel & how evul they were - pure ultra-"palestinian" propaganda.
I backed off, as fast as I could & went & had a drink with other people ....

112:

The main reason the U.S. supports Israel so strongly is because AIPAC

Yes, but why was AIPAC allowed to secure that death-grip on state policy? Compare with, for example, the Irish Republican lobby in Boston during the Troubles in NI, or the Cuban exiles in Miami -- AIPAC seems to have orders of magnitude more clout.

I'd suggest that AIPAC only got to where it is because it served the interests of the petrochemical industry, and the dominionist Christian lunatics (who believe all Jews have to return to Israel before the second coming can happen), and the state department (choke-points on shipping, as Heteromeles points out), and probably half a dozen converging interest groups. It's not as if there aren't also Arab-Americans who could potentially have formed a counter-lobbying group, but they were much more fragmented and -- a key point -- seen as targets for a colonial/imperialist relationship, because of a certain strain of racism running in US elite circles (remember, this shit goes back to the 1950s if not earlier).

Basically AIPAC were pushing at an open door with a welcome mat carefully positioned outside it by various other groups with an interest in shaping policy deniably.

113:

I would have thought that was fairly obvious. Many supremos and countries regularly murder their own citizens, but very few regularly do so to other countries' ones, especially in the latter's home countries. The main exceptions are the USA and Israel, and the latter dominates all other countries in the covert murder of foreign citizens in their home countries.

If any pissed-off head of state ordered the elimination of the NSO board, there would be a high chance that Israel would arrange the same for the head of state's immediate clique, or even the head of state. The prevalence of irrationality (as distinct from evil) among such people is lower than is often claimed, and it would require a considerable degree of stupidity for them not to think of this downside.

114:

EC
Bollocks
Putin
Followed by Mossad, followed by the USA, maybe.
OTOH, as Charlie has noted NSO have "made themselves known" to the God-King of N Korea ...

115:

Brendan:

As someone who was fairly involved in US steampunk fandom at one point, I can speak on this.

At its peak, there were (and probably still are... I GAFIAted a few years back) two main camps of Steampunk fans.

The first was HIGHLY political and had Things To Say™ about imperialism, class inequality, and gender politics. They tended to focus on the literary side.

The second loved the aesthetic because it looked cool. There was a running gag in those days that "Steampunk is what happens when Goths discover brown." :D

There was some overlap, but much less than you'd think. After a while, the books got a bit tropey, and fandom moved on.

116:

H: another iteration of the Great Game on, with China trying for overland hegemony while the US goes for oceanic control. China will lose, provided the US & Europe remember Mahan What is now the USA was only "lost" because we forgot Mahan ( Yes - I know, but you see what I mean? )

No, actually I don't know. Mahan was fairly religious, and I think he'd have a problem with being seen as a prophet of The Truth.

While I agree that:
a) oceanic surface transport is likely to stay cheapest, and
b) oceanic chokepoints are going to be geopolitically critical for the rest of our lives,

I'd also point out

c) with climate change, ports can be taken out by big storms that much more eaily.
d) we're all going to have to do the managed retreat thing, as sea level rise is pretty much locked into at least one meter this century.
e) Cislunar space is proving to be critical, not for living space, but for communication and weather satellites, without which that so-cheap shipping is going to suffer substantially more from storms.

So we're not entirely in Mahan's world any more, if we ever were (and he'd say we weren't I suspect)

Worse, from the perspective of Russia, China, and India, the big Eurasian powers:
f) they've all been conquered by Mongols, and China got conquered by Manchus, and India by the Moghuls. From the land side
g) while both have suffered incursions from the ocean, these haven't led to large-scale conquest, a la the Mongols (India is the exception with Britain), therefore
h) China, Russia, and India would be daft to not work to control Central Asia.

As for the US rebelling against Britain, that was predominantly a land war (the US rebellion) abetted by French naval interference (making life miserable for the US navy). I'm not sure the British Navy could have retaken the colonies, as demonstrated in the War of 1812 and the Civil War. The US (and, uh, Canada and Mexico) have the same problem of long undefended terrestrial borders to deal with that China and Russia, and India do. While we've had our border wars (especially the US and Mexico), we haven't had the large scale takeover of one polity by another or both by nomadic forces, as in Asia. Probably that's due to our relatively shallow history compared with Asia.

117:

If you haven't read the AIPAC Wikipedia page, you might want to do so.

It was founded in 1951, and I strongly suspect that the same thing that inspired Britain to donate a chunk of Palestine--The Holocaust--got Si Kenen his entrance into Washington DC as a lobbyist. AIPAC became powerful in the 1980s by backing winning candidates in US Senate races against sitting Senators who'd back pro-PLO and pro-Saudi legislation, but that's 30 years after they got into the system. Given the current mess with AIPAC being seen as increasingly right wing, I'd be shocked if they're not busy reaching out to progressive democrats and making amends. Especially now that BeBe is out of Israeli politics for the moment.

118:

The interest goes back rather further than that specific organisation, though. A good deal of the British purpose in whipping up Zionism during WW1 was to encourage pressure from interests internal to the US for the US to enter the war and counter pro-German sentiment. After all the US already had a significant population of Jews who had fled from persecution; at the time Russia were the principal shits for that sort of thing, and there was a tendency for people who had experienced it to see Germany as the good guys for attacking Russia and to disapprove of entering the war on the other side. Britain wanted to give them a strong reason to change their minds, as they were already considered to have significant influence over US policy.

Everyone seems to see this stuff as being something that came along after WW2 for obvious reasons involving Hitler, but really the post-WW2 stuff is pretty much a rerun of the WW1-and-after stuff only this time on nitrous. We need to look at the least to before WW1, with persecution of Jews in Eastern Europe and Russia and the British navy deciding to switch to oil firing.

119:

Heteromeles @ 108:

The main reason the U.S. supports Israel so strongly is because AIPAC has an even tighter grip on Congress's "hearts and minds" than does the NRA.

This is an anti-semitic minefield to trip through, sooo...

Thing to remember is that if you shade that wrong (or rather, Right), it comes across as anti-semitic, with the rich jews pulling strings.

No, the thing to remember is that these are AMERICAN Jews who have the same 1st Amendment right "to petition the Government for a redress of grievances" ... same as any non-Jewish AMERICANS.

And of course, they are pulling strings. Jewish history, to paraphrase a friend of mine who's Jewish, is paranoia reinforced by history. Making friends with the most powerful country on the planet, one that does have a history of suppressed anti-semitism, is important to Jews. Many, probably most, Jews want Israel to succeed, even though they may well wish Netanyahu completely gone and the settlements ended. Heck, I feel that way myself.

Exercising their 1st Amendment rights IS NOT pulling strings. I too hope Israel succeeds, but which Israel? My hope is for a post-Zionist, multi-cultural Israel at peace with their neighbors.

Which, BTW, is what I think is in the United States' best interest.

120:

Greg Tingey @ 111: JBS
Actually, I think that the US is/was Israel's puppet, but the sock-control is going both ways, too.
[It's complicated.] "Benny" hasn't helped & IQ45 certainly screwed with it...

And that is no more true than was the assertion that Israel is/was the U.S.'s puppet.

121:

the quaint possibility of an "All Men Are Created Equal" Party pushing for suffrage, unionizing former slaves, and unionizing immigrant Chinese and Hispanic along with whites, so that no one can be exploited by industrialists paying bottom level wages

The interesting real-world-timeline movement to compare with this is Chartism. It's slightly prior to the period you're considering and I suppose the labour movement features you mention were partly adapted from Chartism, but also brought additional features, like unionisation, together with the suffrage and democratic reform focus.

122:

Note: in English, it's Zionism, not Sionism.

I would like to see Israel back in its *original* borders... as it was created in the late forties and early fifties. Anyone who starts on with Eretz Israel (I know people who do) can shove their heads down the toilet.

And claiming I have to support Likud to support Israel is like saying I needed to support The Former Guy to support the US.

123:

Really? As I'm in real SF fandom, I never saw the subgroup that was political.

Interesting....

124:

Charlie Stross @ 112:

The main reason the U.S. supports Israel so strongly is because AIPAC

Yes, but why was AIPAC allowed to secure that death-grip on state policy? Compare with, for example, the Irish Republican lobby in Boston during the Troubles in NI, or the Cuban exiles in Miami -- AIPAC seems to have orders of magnitude more clout.

I think Heteromeles does have a point about "Jewish history" ... being ... "paranoia reinforced by history". Part of why AIPAC is so strong is they got an earlier start.

When I was growing up and going to almost all white schools in the southern U.S. they taught about Hitler trying to murder all the Jews. There were still a lot of veterans around who had actually SEEN the camps. Holocaust denialism couldn't catch hold here in the U.S. while most of those veterans were still alive.

It's obvious why American Jews would strongly organize to rally around the State of Israel and why U.S. support for the State of Israel predates Suez; predates the current regime in Israel.

I'd suggest that AIPAC only got to where it is because it served the interests of the petrochemical industry, and the dominionist Christian lunatics (who believe all Jews have to return to Israel before the second coming can happen), and the state department (choke-points on shipping, as Heteromeles points out), and probably half a dozen converging interest groups. It's not as if there aren't also Arab-Americans who could potentially have formed a counter-lobbying group, but they were much more fragmented and -- a key point -- seen as targets for a colonial/imperialist relationship, because of a certain strain of racism running in US elite circles (remember, this shit goes back to the 1950s if not earlier).

I don't think it's ONLY because they serve the interests of the greed heads & the lunatics, although I can see how the greed heads & lunatics would try to use them ... the same way AIPAC are trying to use the greed heads & lunatics. I do sometimes wonder if American Jews who welcome the dominionist evangelical support really understand the depth of the dominionist's depravity.

It's not just that all the Jews are supposed to return to Israel, but they're supposed to build (rebuild?) the THIRD TEMPLE on the site of the previous temples sparking a nuclear war with the Arabs (or Persians, or Russians, or ...) which will complete Hitler's Holocaust, with any survivors converting to dominionist christianity (or only those Jews who have converted surviving). There won't be any Jews after the Second Coming of Jesus Christ! There won't be a state of Israel and there won't be a city of Jerusalem.

There's your REAL anti-Semitism, and I don't know if American Jews are sufficiently prepared for the inevitable betrayal.

Basically AIPAC were pushing at an open door with a welcome mat carefully positioned outside it by various other groups with an interest in shaping policy deniably.

I see it as two parades going in almost the same direction who got mixed together. Both found something useful in the other, but they're still only going in almost the same direction.

125:

The second loved the aesthetic because it looked cool. There was a running gag in those days that "Steampunk is what happens when Goths discover brown." :D

Yep. They're modeling their look off of old sepia tone images. You're probably aware of what they don't care about - that the late 19th century was when humans really got the hang of chemical dyes and the era was full of screamingly bright colors.

126:

SS
I've done traditional Silver-Sulphide toning - bleach with pot Ferricyanide & then bathe in the sulphide salts ..
I still have a 20x16" print of old photo taken in um, err, 1966? Of a NE-England colliery railway scene, toned.
You have to look really carefully to realise that it wasn't taken in about 1916!

127:

Similarly, it's the beginning of the era where black clothes were routinely "blued" to keep their blackness, lest they brown with age. And really rich black fabrics were still premium, so going brown is more or less going downmarket. OTOH it does make stuff for the goffier cosplayers and enthusiasts that's much more interesting (and potentially less harmful, frankly) than a lot of other things they might get up to. And brass-and-leather consumer items are more intrinsically repairable than plastic ones I guess...

128:

Yeah, I learned about the color thing after the fact.

Personally, I always preferred a variation:

"Steampunk is what happens when Goths discover shiny." :D

130:

When I was growing up and going to almost all white schools in the southern U.S. they taught about Hitler trying to murder all the Jews.

When I started teaching in the 90s I got called anti-Semitic for pointing out that the Nazis also tried to murder other types of people*. I was also told I had to understand why the Israeli kids beat up one of my students who had a German last name.

Criticising the Israeli actions was met with accusations of anti-Semitism (or being a self-loathing Jew if you were Jewish), which still happens in the school system.


*Not a good time to be 'defective', homosexual, Roma…

131:

the era was full of screamingly bright colors

Something I discovered when researching colour schemes for painting Space: 1889 miniatures. If you go with actual colours most people think you've got it wrong. :-/

132:

Something I discovered when researching colour schemes for painting Space: 1889 miniatures. If you go with actual colours most people think you've got it wrong. :-/

Anyone can paint a locomotive black or grey. If you paint your locomotive green and red and blue and more green it will really stand out from the others!

133:

Link to pic, please!

134:

Punk "rebelling apparently without a cause"... I thought punk came in in the '80s, during Raygun, and "let's restart the Cold War", and tax the rich less, but tax social security and unemployment..." (I think they had reasons.)

135:

Everyone seems to see this stuff as being something that came along after WW2 for obvious reasons involving Hitler

Not so much if you saw the play/movie "Fiddler on the Roof".

136:

Not a good time to be 'defective', homosexual, Roma…

Or in disagreement.

Mother in law born in southern Germany in 1928. Her sister, 8+ years older, was in higher ed in 30s. Multiple friends vanished after talking about needed changes in government.

137:

I thought punk came in in the '80s, during Raygun

Punk rock is a 70s phenomenon and started in at least 3 places independently (Brisbane, New York City, and London) and burst into the spotlight in roughly 1976. People refer to the famous Sex Pistols Free Trade Hall gig in the Manchester as the "birth of punk", but those people forget about The Saints and The Ramones, both being very widely influential. People refer to The Stooges (from Ann Arbor, Michigan) as proto-punk, and certainly Iggy claimed a certain proprietorship or elder-brother relationship to the punk movement, but there were plenty of precursors in the 60s. It's essentially an attitude more than anything else, and the weirdly paradoxical commercial opportunity it made for certain sorts of creative people of that era, who might have otherwise had pretty limited horizons. People deride the Pistols as a manufactured band, a somewhat alienated Monkees, but it's undeniable that they blew off the castle doors, so to speak, and let many talented people through in their wake.

It's not quite the same as "rebelling apparently without a cause", it's more a statement that "I don't know what the ideal society is, but this one here with these specific stakeholders and decision makers that is doing these specific things right now is fucked up and I don't like it". Which is to me possibly the most reasonable political thing anyone can say, anywhere anytime.

138:

It's not quite the same as "rebelling apparently without a cause", it's more a statement that "I don't know what the ideal society is, but this one here with these specific stakeholders and decision makers that is doing these specific things right now is fucked up and I don't like it".

Punk wasn't (isn't? Punk never dies, after all.) a homogenous thing anyway. To my understanding, a lot of it was only style and attitude (musical or personal), and a lot of it was really rebelling without a cause. Musically some of the rebellion was against the complex and difficult direction much of popular music was going for.

Not all people were that much politically inclined. Some of them obviously were (and are!): Bad Religion, Dead Kennedys, and The Clash seem to be quite left-leaning. Then there were enough hard-right punks that the Dead Kennedys had a song called 'Nazi Punks Fuck Off' in 1981.

Then many of the Ramones apparently were, to my knowledge, more Republican, which does not quite gel with my impression of counter-culture, even in the Nineties. The Sex Pistols were partly a project for a clothing shop (of Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood) and were fuelled quite much just by shocking. Both of them obviously had some issues to talk about, but the message was quite garbled in many ways. They still had a great influence on the sound an aesthetics of other artists.

I'm a bit too young to be part of the first punk scene, but I still find it interesting, and have for quite a while. It's not even always easy to play as a music - for example, that Bad Religion, even though their gear is simple, is not especially easy to perform.

In Finland, we have (had) a punk scene for a long, long time, and it's been somewhat political, too. Sadly, just last week there's been quite a big #metoo fallout in the Finnish punk scene, with some big players' actions coming to light, and it's not that good, obviously. (Misogyny and violence are obviously the thing here...)

I may have some punk leanings, but I think a line from Bad Religion's '21st Century Boy' describes me well: 'My dad's a lazy middle-class intellectual'.

139:

Loco Colours
Green x2 / Black / White / Yellow / Terracotta & Scarlet?
SECR Calss "D" 737
Or, for really over-the top: This

Whitroth
SLIGHT problem
It's a 20"x16" mounted print!
[ IF I can find an A4 copy - there is one somewhere - I'll digitise & then electronic-tone it for you ... ]

140:

#122 - I know a couple of Sabras, and their take on Israel's borders heavily features "defensibility" and "not being able to yomp across the nation in a day in full kit".

#132 - Ok, I can't think of any UK loco quite like that, but green and red, or bright blue, red and white, oh and black. (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caledonian_Railway_Single ) are common.

#139 - The SECR class D sort of reminds me of City of Truro, but I can't find as a good a picture...

141:

I refer to the Holocaust as killing 11 million people. I think some Jews find this irritating, but I haven't run into a hard pushback.

142:

There's your REAL anti-Semitism, and I don't know if American Jews are sufficiently prepared for the inevitable betrayal.

There are more Christian zionists in the USA right now than there are actual Jews, zionist or otherwise.

As for zionism -- speaking as a Jew here -- it's a classic example of 19th century European ethno-nationalism, the same stupidity that got us a century of warfare, ethnic cleansing, and genocide in Europe. There were other spatterings of it around the globe, notably Rhodesia and Apartheid South Africa: the form of Israel that Netenyahu's crew want is essentially an Apartheid state, and you'll find Jewish opinion outside and inside Israel is highly polarized both for and against that. (I'm strongly opposed: there's a reason I refuse to apply for an Israeli passport, despite all the fuck-uppery in the UK this century.)

143:

With thanks to Martin Niemoller -

"First they came for the Communists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Communist

Then they came for the Socialists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Socialist

Then they came for the trade unionists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a trade unionist

Then they came for the Jews
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Jew

Then they came for me
And there was no one left
To speak out for me"

144:

Niemoller, you will note, never mentioned the gays, the roma, or the disabled. In fact his list is entirely political except for the Jews, who were such a prominent target they were impossible to leave out.

145:

Agreed, and, in fact I've seen much longer versions of "First They Came...", but I honestly don't know which is the original, which are shortened and which are lengthened from the original.

146:

I refer to the Holocaust as killing 11 million people. I think some Jews find this irritating, but I haven't run into a hard pushback.

I have (depending on how you define "hard").

Apparently, as a gentile I have no right to an opinion on the Holocaust, because I don't know what it's like to sit down every year and see the empty place at the table laid for grandma who never came back home from the camp. (Which is true, because my family doesn't leave empty places at the table for the 2/3 who died in the camps, mostly Jewish but some gentile.)

My 'crime' was commenting that out of 11 pages of text on the school display on the Holocaust*, only one sentence mentioned anyone but Jews, and maybe we could do with a bit more historically accurate inclusion? Apparently mentioning anyone other than Jews 'diminishes the uniqueness of the Holocaust' and is antisemitic. So is pointing out that there were other genocides, and indeed other genocides still happening right now.

Interestingly, the year after I left that school the same person who accused me of antisemitism got a commendation for doing exactly what I had suggested**. Which leads me to believe that it was a political tactic to shut me up so that no one but her would get credit. If I'd stayed I strongly suspect nothing would have changed (and my career would have been very limited).

So my strongest attacker was apparently using accusations of antisemitism as a weapon to further her career, but mud sticks and I was labelled at that school. I've seen the same technique used multiple times in my teaching career — accusing someone of being anti-group-the-accuser-is-in to shut them up***.

This is probably more a commentary on academic political infighting than actual issues of antisemitism.


*Provided by Yad Vashem.

**Mentioning other targeted groups, noting that genocide still occurred and that 'never again' meant acting against genocides happening right now.

***One of my colleagues was told that as a white male he knew nothing about fairness and had no right to complain. This happened in a 'discussion' where he was being ordered to agree to his classes being larger than in our contract****. He was so shocked (this came out of left field) that he didn't think to respond that as a gay person he was quite familiar with unfairness, even if he wasn't a straight Asian woman.

****We have hard caps that can be over-ridden if the teacher agrees. They don't have to agree, but many principals retaliate against teachers who refuse to agree.

147:

Niemoller, you will note, never mentioned the gays, the roma, or the disabled.

Because when he wrote that, they were still legitimate targets?

148:

in fact I've seen much longer versions of "First They Came...", but I honestly don't know which is the original, which are shortened and which are lengthened from the original

Interesting that the version in the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum leaves out his reference to Communists…

https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/martin-niemoeller-first-they-came-for-the-socialists

There have apparently been many versions, even from Neimoller. Some have added groups he never mentioned, such as industrialists.

https://marcuse.faculty.history.ucsb.edu/niem.htm

149:

Yeah, that was a good series. If you know a bit of history then you know most of the statistics for Victorian slum living, but (as Stalin knew) putting faces on it makes it personal. Also some things I'd not heard of, like paying to sleep sitting up on a bench with a guard-rope to hold you up, just because it was somewhere out of the weather. The other similar series set in various parts of the 20th century have all been very good too, but this is the first one where recreating how people lived gave the participants the feeling of "be lucky or die".

It did skip over general criminality and gangs. The young boy wouldn't just be getting his costermonger's ticket for running round balancing crates or for street-selling - he'd probably also need to be the survivor of a few turf wars between rival gangs, and be seen to at least be hard enough that random thieves would think carefully before trying to rob his barrow. And of course no mention of prostitution, which is how most single mothers made their living, as well as a large number of girls (and not a few boys).

You can understand why - this was family viewing, after all, not "Peaky Blinders", and it already felt pretty grinding. Adding the fact that the kids of the family with the disabled grandad would probably be sucking cock on a street corner is just going to give them nightmares, even if it's true.

150:

And of course no mention of prostitution, which is how most single mothers made their living

You must have missed it. It was brought up. 2 or 3 times as I recall. I had it playing while I did network configs and I got through 4 1/2 of the 6 episodes and can't remember which one. But I think it was the 1st or 2nd.

Basically the outlook for single mom's was so bad than over 10% went into the sex trade. As I remember what was said.

151:

Also some things I'd not heard of, like paying to sleep sitting up on a bench with a guard-rope to hold you up, just because it was somewhere out of the weather.

I think I caught a reference to one level down from that. Just the rope and you stood. But I may have not remembered that correctly.

152:

I haven't seen the show, but sleeping on your feet with a rope to hold you upright is the origin of the phrase "on the ropes". So the trauma lingers in folk memory long after the specifics are forgotten.

153:

I haven't seen the show

I want noise in the background (and not always music) when I work. Doing software/network configs I can put a show like this on and only look at it when I notice something really compelling.

But if I made my living writing (and when I am writing emails and such) I'd have to turn it off. I suspect you wind up being much more selective in what plays in your background given your career.

Anyway, it's an interesting series. Only 6 episodes. Each covering a decade starting with the 1860 of life in the east end of London. It is done by taking small families / couples from around England of various backgrounds and having them act out set plays of how thing might have been for them in the time.

I liked that one lady said she always felt she grew up poor. She now says something to the effect she had no idea how much lower one could be on the poor scale back then.

One thing I found interesting and still happening today (at least in the US). At some point later in the 1800s the government started closing down the worst of the worst of the doss-houses (flop houses to those in the US). But they didn't address where those people would go. So many became homeless or street people as they were called at the time. After all, if they needed money they could just get a job was the feeling of those in power.

154:

So "on the ropes" is not a reference to boxing? Interesting...

155:

JBS
Yes
I've been accused of being at different times, a "communist" & a "fascist" simply because of my refusal to be "a dedicated follower of fashion"

156:

Admittedly these are models -- and of post-1900 locomotives -- but they'll give any non-railway specialists an idea of what the pre-WW1 railway looked like.

http://www.gwr.org.uk/liveriesloco1900.html

Greg's image linked above is about the limit of British Edwardian Railway lunacy.

[*] Check out the second image: the Dean Goods was the standard light _goods_ engine on the Great Western.

[**] And the 517 class was the "standard" branch passenger engine dating from about 1860 on the non-Broad Gauge Great Western.

[***] Note the varied colours. That's because the foreman in the painting shed had complete control of paint mixing. Some batches of paint had more of one pigment than others. There are apocryphal tales of engines whose painting spread out over a week-end. One side could be a completely different shade to the other!

157:

if they needed money they could just get a job was the feeling of those in power

And still is, apparently.

158:

Part of what's wrong with the world is that there's no place for refugees in general to go. This makes the existence of Israel seem rather crucial.

I actually have less connection to the Holocaust than a lot of other Jews because my family was out of eastern Europe in the 1880s.

I still don't think preserving the uniqueness of the Jewish part of the Holocaust is an important project, though I wouldn't mind having a word for the Jewish part (Shoah?) and another word for the whole thing.

Sometimes I bring up all the people killed in Hitler's war, too. People get cut too much slack for empire-building.

159:

While I completely agree with both your statement and its sentiment, I will gently point out that getting 50-odd years of freedom from pogroms isn't nothing.

160:

#156 - They go well with a real (if restored) picture of City of Truro - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:GWR_3440_City_of_Truro_-_geograph.org.uk_-_1479746.jpg . The other shot I linked above doesn't show just how bright Caledonian Blue is.

#158 - I could get on board with those comments and suggestions. Gentile, with no blood connection to Jewish/Hebrew roots. Still, when I visited https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garnethill_Synagogue in 1981, the Cantor was proud to tell visitors that the building "had no scars": I trust the point and symbolism are understood?

161:

I'm not sure which of my several statements you're agreeing with.

America has a much better record on antisemitism than Europe.

162:

I'd agree with that in depth of the "anti". But in breadth we're right there.

No ovens but plenty of "none allowed" here.

163:

"No ovens but plenty of "none allowed" here."

When and where are you talking about?

David Baddiel talks about English antisemitism, which strikes me as considerably worse than the background level of American antisemitism.

Fair warning-- his angle is about antisemitism not being a concern for English progressives.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t6QfW78Mtgo

164:

Continental level is far too broad a brush when discussing antisemitism in Europe; Note my earlier comment about Garnethill synagogue in Glasgow, and compare with Clifford's Tower in York https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/York_Castle#Massacre_of_Jews .

165:

When and where are you talking about?

All of the US. And while the anti has been declining a LOT in GENERAL for a decade or few it is still strong in many population groups.

166:

I really need some more specificity. While I seem to have been exposed to much less antisemitism than the other American Jews I know, the stories I hear are more like having pennies thrown at them as children rather than being excluded as adults.

167:

Well, briefly mentioned, but not in the kind of way that put it as front and centre as it would have been. For obvious reasons though you can't randomly assign one of your participants to be a street-corner prostitute, nor "right, you kid there, you're dying of typhus tomorrow". However grindingly awful it seemed for the participants, the reality would still have been so much worse.

@Charlie, at the risk of over-reliance on the internet, https://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/on+the+ropes has a number of sources agreeing that "on the ropes" originated in boxing.

168:

I tend to think these days that the relationship between Israel and the USA -- at a diplomatic/military level -- is rather close to what the British establishment think their relationship with the USA is (but hasn't been since, oh, 1956 or thereabouts). In other words, it's a special relationship where the parties are frenemies

...except that the British relationship is a bit closer; we haven't had a Jonathan Pollard incident, because we're part of the Five Eyes (see also the UK/USA sharing of nuclear weapons technology, or the trust involved in sailing a USMC F-35B squadron on a UK aircraft carrier).

169:

Wow. And then there's the Flying Scotsman.

I was afraid you hadn't digitized it. Thanks, though.

170:

Close down the flop-houses. U. Utah Phillips, "They're Running the Bums Out of Town". https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=prC9QNopgQ8

171:

The late RBG mentioned seeing signs, when she was young, "no Blacks or Jews". And, of course, the KKK and their ilk were happy to kill Jews, too, and union organizers, and...

172:

Greg Tingey @ 126: SS
I've done traditional Silver-Sulphide toning - bleach with pot Ferricyanide & then bathe in the sulphide salts ..
I still have a 20x16" print of old photo taken in um, err, 1966? Of a NE-England colliery railway scene, toned.
You have to look really carefully to realise that it wasn't taken in about 1916!

Ever tried hand coloring photographs with oils - print on traditional B&W paper and then "restore" the color by hand? That's how they did color photographs before color films & papers became readily available.

You probably already know that, but some of the non-photographers might not.

Nowadays you can do it with Photoshop, but it's not really the same.

173:

The Pistols turned up in 1976 with Anarchy In The UK and were effectively gone by 1979. Clash turned up 1977 with White Riot and were winding down from 1982 onward - Rock the Casbah is amiable pop music.

Thinking back to Sham 69, The Clash, The Sex Pistols, Siouxsie and the Banshees and The Buzzcocks it was mostly over as a movement by 1980s by which time even the New Waves was starting to fizzle or mutate (Ultravox?) and we were into the New Romantics - who also didn't last long.

Punk had a long lasting impact on UK music and certainly gave the Prog Rockers a well deserved kick up the bum, which isn't to say I don't love Close To The Edge - but some of them really had forgotten the word "Rock" in their musical genre.

At the time I wasn't convinced that the US really "got" punk, but they produced a few bands that would pass for New Wave and do good singles certainly, but generally...

Despite the best effort of the NME/Melody Maker and Sounds, to my mind, Punk never really had a coherent political pitch beyond "We're pissed off and if you don't like it fuck you!". Some were socialist and antiracism, other were just skinhead yobs with guitars while some others just loved music and wanted to play - and punk was easy to play.

Certainly, hearing "God Save The Queen" and Magazine's "Shot by both sides" for the first time was great.

174:

Robert Prior @ 130:

When I was growing up and going to almost all white schools in the southern U.S. they taught about Hitler trying to murder all the Jews.

When I started teaching in the 90s I got called anti-Semitic for pointing out that the Nazis also tried to murder other types of people*. I was also told I had to understand why the Israeli kids beat up one of my students who had a German last name.

Criticising the Israeli actions was met with accusations of anti-Semitism (or being a self-loathing Jew if you were Jewish), which still happens in the school system.

*Not a good time to be 'defective', homosexual, Roma…

I probably wouldn't have learned about all the other people Hitler murdered if I hadn't been a voracious reader. The curriculum on European History that was taught in U.S. schools in the 50s & 60s didn't go much beyond 1492 other than when the U.S. was involved in the World Wars.

175:

Re the Nazi genocidal program against the Romani (Porajmos),
ROMANIES AND THE HOLOCAUST: A REEVALUATION AND AN OVERVIEW (Ian Hancock, 2004)
It is a passionate(/fiery) essay.
The author (Romani) lightly touches on some influential agenda-driven shoddy scholarship that attempts to minimize the Porajmos (the arguments affecting him personally and professionally); mainly it's a history piece, with references (worth a look), and widely cited.
My attitudes towards genocide denial resemble those of Grey Area; I'll attempt to refrain from comment on such in this specific case. (You could say that Grey Area walked away from Omelas. Mostly, it was relentlessly curious.)

176:

whitroth @ 134: Punk "rebelling apparently without a cause"... I thought punk came in in the '80s, during Raygun, and "let's restart the Cold War", and tax the rich less, but tax social security and unemployment..." (I think they had reasons.)

1950s - Gen-X don't like it, but the "Greatest Generation" invented punk.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_4NkkAQllfo

Bit early for the boomers. The oldest were still in grammar school.

177:

Urk, didn't preview an edit: Grey Area

178:

Punk, as opposed to punk rock, was late forties/early fifties.

The war's over, but we remember the Depression, and something's just not right.

179:

Charlie Stross @ 152: I haven't seen the show, but sleeping on your feet with a rope to hold you upright is the origin of the phrase "on the ropes". So the trauma lingers in folk memory long after the specifics are forgotten.

It's also apparently the origin of "hangover".

180:

Hardcore U.S. Punks included X, Black Flag, Fear, Germs, and the Plasmatics.

Or if you want a band that's not punk, but formed in 1973, and doubtless a foundation for later punk music, there's always Devo, an American band from Akron, Ohio. ("Mongoloid" was first played in concert in 1975, and I find it difficult to argue that it wasn't punk.)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qGdxX5qzeW8

Wikipedia says punk goes back to "Louie Louie" in 1957...

181:
David Baddiel talks about English antisemitism, which strikes me as considerably worse than the background level of American antisemitism.

Fair warning-- his angle is about antisemitism not being a concern for English progressives.

Baddiel probably understates things. At a previous General Election, I told our Labour MP that "I wouldn't be voting for a fucking Anti-Semite (quote/unquote)". I got some hopeless guff about him personally not being anti-semitic, to which I replied that his inactions on this matter with regard to Jeremy Corbyn were a clear indicator that he -- personally -- had culpability. I may even have ended with "You don't actually expect Jews to vote for Labour do you?"

So, I've probably got one of those yellow stars against my name in the Labour Party Database -- despite not being Jewish.

Anyhow, ...

... having got that off my chest, ... before we go any further I'd like you to unpack the term "progressive" for me. In England I'd view it as a synonym for "Tankie" -- an old-style term of abuse used to describe people in the UK (mostly communists) who supported Russian Tanks in Budapest in 1956. And lest that be thought extreme, we did indeed have such people in my minor public school. One of whom is a journalist at the Guardian. He might have changed his views, I suppose, but his articles would seem to indicate otherwise.

I have had particular difficulty explaining the trope of the "English Public School Boy Communist" to my East European students. But it's common enough, and you'll note Agatha Christie had such an individual featuring in "Death on the Nile"; he was the poshest of the lot -- of course.

To me Seamus Milne is a useful case study. Father: Director General of the BBC, schooled at Winchester (for posh boys with some brains -- though noted for two centuries for the "Wykhamist Fallacy" -- that everyone's a good chap really) and Balliol (most leftwing college in Oxford).

And then we get to the missing photos at the Sochi Winter Olympics. Initially Pravda put up some nice photos of Putin enthroned on a dias with various functionaries bowing and "kissing the ring", amongst whom Mr Milne was one. To seal the case against him, those photos have been purged from the internet -- a bit like photos of Alexander de Pfeffle "Boris" Johnson and the rest of the Bullingon crew.

182:

While I'm horrified at the description of football fans making hissing noises to express antisemitism (simulating gas in death camps), and none too pleased at Alice Waters' gross antisemitism getting a pass, the thing that chilled me most was the Jewish woman who just took it as normal to conceal that she's Jewish in England.

As for progressives, I use the word without precision. I see people call themselves progressives, they can have the word. As far as I can tell, they say they want Sweden, but they're very fond of Cuba. What do they actually mean in terms of policy if they have power? I have no idea.

I've met one person who was an apologist for Stalin, and another who was an apologist for Mao.

183:

Nancy L & Dave L:
The collection of conspiracist nutters is growing: It's why I won't trust J. Corbyn, because among others - there's his brother Piers C. + David Icke + Gillian McKeith + Katie Hopkins ... etc .
Yeah

184:

Ever tried hand coloring photographs with oils - print on traditional B&W paper and then "restore" the color by hand?

Apparently my aunt used to do that for my grandfather when she was a girl. She died of Covid last year, so no more details than that she hand-tinted pictures for him (and apparently his 'darkroom' was under the kitchen table with a black cloth over the top).

185:

I've met one person who was an apologist for Stalin, and another who was an apologist for Mao.

Had lunch last week with an old colleague who was exposed to two different views on the Chinese Revolution. His wife's family owned some land and so were at the bottom after the revolution, and very against it and the communists in general. His teacher's family was so poor they sold his teacher into slavery for food for the rest of the family, and until the communists the poor were at the mercy of the rich (which may have been "anyone with enough to eat" to a child). His teacher looked at communists giving food to the poor and joined them in the fight against the Japanese.

I've met people who supported Marcos in the Philippines, because he sent wealth to their village (family connections).

I wonder a bit if most people will support anyone who gives them a decent life without worrying too much about the ethics of the leader?


they say they want Sweden, but they're very fond of Cuba

Sounds like the old joke about Americans saying they want Sweden, but voting to get Brazil…

186:

Progressives....

Populist has come to mean white-wing rabble-rouser. Liberal has come to mean "nice" people (listen to Phil Och's "Love Me, I'm A Liberal"). A lot of people still have trouble in the US with calling themselves socialist.

So, progressive is it. Think New Deal, and you've got it.

187:

New deal and maybe some Euro-Socialism; state-run medical care, pensions, and good vacation policies.

188:

Reasonable sick and parental leave policies…

189:

I remember my Pipe-Major telling us about agricultural employment in 1930s Argyllshire; hiring fairs, absolute dependence on the employer, only being paid if you lasted the whole year. Not quite indentured Labour, but close.

It went a long way to explain the Labour general election win of 1945 - although the Royal Army Education Corps has a claim to having educated the workforce during the war, along the lines of “there’s a better way”…

190:


Graham@167 wrote, "sources agreeing that "on the ropes" originated in boxing."

Michael Crichton wrote a semi-historically based account of a
sensational Victorian era crime, "The Great Train Robbery" in which he filled a lot of pages with research he'd done on living conditions in London of the 1800s.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Great_Train_Robbery_(novel)
Also made into a decent movie starring a much younger Donald Sutherland back in the 70s, dvd available at libraries or from netflix.
https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0079240/
One scene took place in a sailors' hang, so called because of their rope clothesline arrangement to support sleeping homeless men upright by their armpits, which allowed maximum occupancy of available space by paying customers. This supposedly inspired the expression "hanging around." McNeil-Lehrer's "Story of English" claims Australians later modified it to "hanging around like a fart in a phone-booth."
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLWBVMdB_505ikJyx8WtftmCAjN1GDZ4SE
Makes sense, by the time public pay-phones were a thing, sailors' hangs had been long forgotten, so a plausible back-construction supplied missing context.

191:

By the bye, whoever suggested a few online comics - the others I did not like, but Gunnerkrieg Court is brilliant.

192:

So, progressive is it. Think New Deal, and you've got it.

Without the racism and classism. And with a good understanding of the limits imposed by climatee change.

I'd almost say Green New Deal, but the kickoff meeting I attended on that was so badly run I walked out. Hopefully, if the GND gets off the ground, it will be with people who know their history enough not to blindly repeat the mistakes of the last three generations because they don't want to be schooled by old white fogies. The Opposition has spent most of a century fighting progress. If too many GNDers think that they can do a Galahad Gambit and win, not because they know what they're doing but because their intentions are pure, they're going to be chewed up and spat out like so many of their predecessors have been.

193:

> People get cut too much slack for empire-building.

How do you think the state of Israel was established? That land wasn't empty; almost a million were expelled at gunpoint.

194:

Nancy Lebovitz @ 166: I really need some more specificity. While I seem to have been exposed to much less antisemitism than the other American Jews I know, the stories I hear are more like having pennies thrown at them as children rather than being excluded as adults.

Maybe start here:

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

195:

whitroth @ 170: Close down the flop-houses. U. Utah Phillips, "They're Running the Bums Out of Town". https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=prC9QNopgQ8

"Flop-houses" ... that's the word I was trying to remember.

196:

there's no place for refugees in general to go. This makes the existence of Israel seem rather crucial.

Can you explain how that works? I thought Israel had been a net creator of refugees since day one? Unless you're one of the "Palestinians are not people" types.

197:

whitroth / Troutwaxer
The phrase is: Social Democrat

Keitmastersom
Micheal Crichton is (was?) an ahistorical arsehole
I got about 30 pages intio that novel & threw it away. Wall-to-wall lying impossible bollocks about C19th railway operation.

H
but because their intentions are pure
Being spat out is the GOOD option
The bad option is that they succeed.
And end up like Robespierre or Dzerzhinsky - their motives were "pure", too.

skulgun
There's another narrative/story about that ...
That the Arab countries surrounding Israel ordered "their people" out, so that they could genocide anyone left behind ...
And promptly dumped them in Gaza (etc) to use, for ever after, as bleeding-heart bargaining chips

Note - I said "narrative" - not that it is/was true, or that yours is/was either.
I don't know & the current narratives are ... muddied.

198:

Meanwhile in the seriously bonkers-but-harmless stakes
I mean a Jadgtpanther a torpedo & a flak gun (!) You what?

199:

#189 - This would actually be typical of most places in Scotland that had hiring fairs for the trades pre-WW2. Including a few places people may have heard of like Glasgow, Paisley, Dumbarton, Lanark...

#198 - The illustration is of a PzKfg 5 "Panther".

200:

How do you think the state of Israel was established? That land wasn't empty; almost a million were expelled at gunpoint.

It's a lot more complicated than that.

Circa 1880 the land was lightly populated by Ottoman empire standards. Jewish settlers began to arrive, bought land, built settlements, proved the land was underpopulated, and the Arab population also began to increase. By the 1930s there were large populations of both Jews and Arabs (not just Muslims, but Christian groups also), and increasing tension which escallated to near-civil-war intensity by the mid to late 1940s.

Then the UN vote on what to do with the British Mandate arrived, the UN voted for partition (as did most of the planet) ... Israel declared independence within the partition borders, and was simultaneously attacked by Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, and forces from Iraq and Libya (with whom there was no land border). Those nations (mostly despotic monarchies) announced they intended to throw the Jews into the sea; so, setup for an instant existential struggle.

Note that the State of Israel barely existed at that point, and there were multiple armed Jewish militias (or terrorist groups, depending on your perspective) arguing over policy. One group, Haganah, turned into the official armed forces and mostly focussed on defending their borders. A different, more extreme group, Irgun (the "Stern gang", per the British) decided to start up ethnic cleansing, as it was called in the former Yugoslavia, and started shoving the Arab neighbours out. Note that the leader of the Irgun was one Menachem Begin, later PM of Israel, and Bibi Netenyahu is his spiritual inheritor.

The invading nations announced that it was okay to avoid the Irgun, once they'd thrown the Jews in the sea everybody (the Arab displaced people) could go back to their homes.

Needless to say, things happened differently. Also, 73 years of politics happened and the fundamentals of the situation on the ground are irrevocably changed.

I can denounce the ethnic cleansing of the Nakbah and denounce the invasion of the UN-established State of Israel by its neighbours. I can denounce Hamas and denounce the Israeli army for shooting at unarmed civilians. I don't even need to draw a false equivalence here: the Israeli state is the bully with all the power, at least since roughly 1977, or 1982 at the latest. But what to do to fix the situation today ...? That's a much harder question which may not have any good answers.

201:

Can you explain how that works? I thought Israel had been a net creator of refugees since day one?

You seem to have missed that, in the event of a Nazi takeover of the UK, Israel is the one place guaranteed to take me in, no (or minimal) questions asked -- under the Law of Return, if I ask for a passport, then as someone the Nazis would have defined as Jewish under the Nuremburg Laws, they're required to give me one (along with permanent right of residence).

If you're a member of a people with a history of being rounded up and murdered by their neighbours over a millennia-plus period, that's one hell of a life boat.

(And if given a choice between being murdered in a death camp and moving to an apartheid state, I'd probably hold my nose and move -- at least I'd be alive to vote for the anti-apartheid folks, right? Go on, tell me to hop in the gas chamber on a point of principle, I'm listening.)

Personally I think this should be a non-issue. If we don't get global citizenship and residence rights within the next century, far more people will die due to climate change than died during the 20th century as a result of war and ethnic cleansing. But that's a different consideration.

203:

Very amusing, but your SQL injection attack won't work here!

204:

:-) Although it was supposed to be a regex typo correction, but I muffed that too.

205:

I really need some more specificity. While I seem to have been exposed to much less antisemitism than the other American Jews I know, the stories I hear are more like having pennies thrown at them as children rather than being excluded as adults.

Let's see. Coops keeping them out. Clubs of all kinds keeping them out. Local politics of all kinds keeping them out. Just like with those of darker skin but way more politely.[1]

Basically the Jewish were considered to have money and thus the redlining and other things of them was morally OK as it didn't take away their money. Unlike what was done to darker people.

I grew up in a very rural area of far western KY. No where near Appalachia. My blindness to all kinds of discrimination was baked into the society that raised me. So I didn't notice or even think about the single Synagogue in the town of 32K. But in hindsight I now remember various comments by the adults of other families that indicated "they" were not to be allowed to buy a house in OUR neighborhoods. And all kinds of other things. And being in the middle of SBC country, Catholics were almost as excluded.

It was just baked into the system. No lynchings or ovens but the discrimination was there.

[1] In my early teens there was a push by various family friends to put together a private swim club down the street. This was in the late 60s into around 1970. Only in hindsight do I see how this was a reaction to the only area public pool being de-segregated. It never happened but I THINK the only local small country club membership did go up.

206:

And that's an over-simplification! I was unusual amoung my friends for supporting Israel's occupation of Palestine, Sinai and the Golan heights in 1967, as something they had no choice over, and said that it gave them the most wonderful opportunity for long-term peace.

Specifically, Israel should have asked for a UN protectorate, which it would have got, and administered the occupied territories accordingly (e.g. no dispossession or 'settling'). Many (most?) Palestinians actually welcomed Israel's occupation, as they were utterly fed-up with the corrupt and brutal PLO. Also, it should have asked for funds (mainly from the USA), and used those and its expertise to bring improved Palestine's economy and living standards.

However, the Irgun camp prevented that, and chose the path of repression,'ethnic cleansing' and worse; the end-game of that path is even worse.

As you say, what to do now is unclear. If we had a functional UN (damn the USA and UK for killing that), taking direct UN control (as described in several SF books) might work. I can't see anything else that would, not even the USA developing enough sanity and spine.

207:

H. but because their intentions are pure Being spat out is the GOOD option
The bad option is that they succeed. And end up like Robespierre or Dzerzhinsky - their motives were "pure", too.

Greg, you're so far below not even wrong...

This is a basic problem with the progressives: we don't read, we don't apprentice, we don't practice, and too often, we don't think. And also too often, we lose.

The basic problem is that few of the newly radicalized stop and think to ask if anyone's already tried what they're about to do, and whether it worked.

It's a standard trope that the cops spend more time reading up on nonviolence than the nonviolent actionists do. The kids read MLK, or Gandhi, or Thoreau, get inspired, and try their stuff. The cops have already read MLK, Gandhi, and Thoreau, know what they're in for, and roll it up. It's like kitting out with a nineteenth century soldier's gear and going up against a 21st century warfighter with M4s and air support.

But this approach is baked in to the GND I saw. People were randomly assigned to tables with strangers, given no more than 10 seconds to say anything, and asked kindergarten-level questions. This mixed a bunch of newbies in with more experienced people, and set it up to silence the experienced people. Then the most popular answers were taken and read to the room, where the most popular ideas in the room (Those of the newbies) became what people were expected to work on going forward. The experienced people got the message, shut up, and left, because they had no desire to see the same set of naive ideas fielded yet again. And that part of the GND foundered.

The intent was "pure," designed to make all voices heard in the interest of environmental justice and leveling the playing field. To me, racial justice involves the more experienced people (of all genders, races, and backgrounds) telling their stories about what worked and didn't, and everyone else learning. Then the agenda-setting starts.

208:

The experienced people got the message, shut up, and left, because they had no desire to see the same set of naive ideas fielded yet again. And that part of the GND foundered.

I just walked away from a conversation about local recycling because the people talking the most didn't understand AT ALL what the reality was after the curbside pickup. So they were wanting to talk about how much better recycling would be if the schedule changed. Not believing what really happens after the truck dumps it at the recycling center.

209:

That problem isn't limited to activists. I've seen it with engineers and teachers too. People are enchanted by the new-to-them; combine that with the tendency to fall in love with your own ideas, and you have the perfect recipe for iterated wheel-reinventing without much actual progress.

When you've just had a brilliant new idea and someone says "we tried that xx years ago and it didn't work" the temptation is to reply "you didn't do it right" rather than ask "what went wrong".

210:

As you say, what to do now is unclear. If we had a functional UN (damn the USA and UK for killing that), taking direct UN control (as described in several SF books) might work.

I'm not sure that perspective is reflected by the evidence: look at the list of vetoed UNSC resolutions (link). You'll notice that the USSR/Russia are both the earliest, and the most frequent, users of the veto within the UN Security Council (link)...

211:

My #181 and following.

I forgot to say -- for those not used to UK-style electioneering -- that the candidate comes around knocking on doors to drum up support; there's a spending limit of £7,000 for each constituency, so this is what they all have to do.

Next a big apology for the tone of 181, especially to you Nancy. My query about progressives was because I strongly suspect (and whitroth has confirmed) that usage is different in our respective countries. But racist scumbags -- or their enablers -- really piss me off.

Greg writes:

The collection of conspiracist nutters is growing: It's why I won't trust J. Corbyn, because among others - there's his brother Piers C. + David Icke + Gillian McKeith + Katie Hopkins ... etc .

Greg, it's important to distinguish between powerless cranks (most of those on your list), and people with actual power conferred either by the ballot box or by having a big enough soapbox provided by the media. (Let's ignore the anti-vaxxer medics, for the moment, shall we? That's just financial scamming, with a perverted dark charisma.)

#185 Robert Prior. Yes people can have different views about political leaders, and that's fine and dandy, especially if they actually lived under the system in question. My objection to the UK supporters of Stalin that I've met is that by and large they are have formed their opinions through the right motives, but have then failed to observe that their good intentions ("there should be more fairness") are being slyly subverted. It's the same with Westerners recruited into ISIS: starry-eyed idealists discovering too late what they've got into.

212:

EC @ 206
After the 1997 & '73 wars, Israel' then (& sane) government offered: "Land for Peace" - to EVERYONE.
And was consistently rejected, with (almost) all the Arab countries determined to continue with attempted genocide ... one result of which was the "Entebbe" piracy & killings - which is how Bibi got into Israeli politics
The Arabs have done it - all of it, every single bit of it - to themselves, since 1967, at any rate.
And the Apartheid state that Israel has/is become is a result of that.

I like your idea of a UN Mandate - but would the Arab ultras have even accepted that, I wonder?

Robert Prior
The people who REALLY screw-up with that one are politicians.
"Oh, it didn't work - right lets just do it again, only HARDER ......"
The list for that one is so loooooong....

213:

Balls. The Palestinians were offered a piffling amount in return for unacceptable conditions. And may I remind you that referring to the Palestinians and many of the near-eastern countries as Arab is racist?

214:

The vetoes have little to do with it - yes, they were and are used mostly for cold war politics, and were set up by the victorious powers specifically for that use. The emasculation of the rest of the UN was an almost entirely separate matter.

215:

Happy to steer well clear of your discussion with Greg, but I really didn't realise calling Palestinians Arabs would offend. That's interesting I didn't realise that.

Which countries in that area should not be referred to as Arab?I thought most of them had joined the Arab league - obviously, Iran doesn't play well with others.

216:

Thank you for the reminder of Devo. I recall a friend playing "Are We Not Men?" and hating it - I used to play him Six Wives of Henry VIII by way of revenge.

I had totally forgotten Mongoloid and see what you mean. I imagine the Arty, slightly cabaret presentation wouldn't have gone down well with UK punk rock audiences but they had a following at the time in the UK.

I checked out the Plasmatics again and they were better than I remembered - quite fun. Again a bit theatrical in their live gigs, but perhaps that was just the way to get noticed on the vastly bigger gig US circuit - that and Wendy. The other 3 I didn't know at all.

I think a good case could be made for the New York Dolls too - if you avoid the visuals.

Perhaps its best to think of UK Punk rock as a briefly popular and influential musical form that was itself heavily influenced by a previous musical form? :)

I had a very happy hour playing some old stuff on youtube and am still perplexed by the critical acclaim for the first Clash album.

217:

EC
The Egyptians may or may not be Arabs, but the rest are, surely?
Grant has a point ...
If not "Arabs" then w.t.f does one call them, then?

218:

That's the best (most honest) compact history of the State of Israel I've ever read. Thanks!

219:

I'd suggest that the Soviet Union as was should also take a share of the blame for the UN.

220:

Hitler is to blame for the UN. (Kinda-sorta.)

Lest we forget: its predecessor, the League of Nations, proved itself to be utterly toothless in the 1930s, as it had no equivalent of the Security Council and no mechanism for taking action. See also Italy v. Ethiopia, Hitler's looting spree in Europe, etc.

Fast forward to the Yalta conference during WW2. We don't hear about this much today, but one of the side-effects was to establish a formal alliance against the Axis powers: an alliance that was named the United Nations. Yup, the post-1945 UN was the organization originally created to fight fascists and their allies. Unlike the LoN, the UN had very big teeth: teeth with atom bombs, Marshal Zhukov's armies, the entire war-fighting power of the fully-mobilized British Empire, and so on.

Then the war ended ...

The UN already had a whole bunch of members. It had a dispute resolution process and military co-operation agreements (the thing the LoN had lacked). So the allies foisted it on everyone else as the de-facto successor to the League of Nations, with one principle that everyone agreed on (even Stalin): thou shalt not wage aggressive warfare, or the UN will shit on you from a very great height.

(Which, incidentally, is why the unpleasantness between Argentina and the UK in 1982 was not a "war" but a "conflict", even though there were naval fleets attacking each other and a couple of amphibious invasions. Legalese is important and the UK wasn't about to violate a core principle of the agreement that gave it a permanent seat on UNSC. Nor was the Argentinian Junta willing to assert that it was waging war on the UK -- they were just reuniting their alienated territory with the fatherland, that's not a war, that's an anschluss or something.)

Anyway the good-natured let's-all-get-along version of the UN only lasted until the Nuremburg criminals were hanged. Then the iron curtain came down, because Stalin was totally not going to let a major capitalist imperialist power position army groups within a thousand kilometers of the Soviet frontier (which in view of the events of 1941 was probably sensible of him, even if rather ignoring the coming new realities of nuclear war and ballistic missiles). So the UNSC ended up deadlocked over almost everything ...

Except for the Korean War: at the time when things turned hot, the USSR was boycotting the UNSC and so was not present at the critical meeting where they could have exercised their veto, which is why the USA, UK, SK, and other allied forces on the peninsular fought under the UN flag.

But anyway: the only reason the UN exists is because Hitler. Nobody remembers this (or cares) any more, but it's worth pausing to think about next time you hear someone proposing to stop paying UN membership dues or kvetching about what it's good for.

221:

Greg Tingey @ 217: EC
The Egyptians may or may not be Arabs, but the rest are, surely?
Grant has a point ...
If not "Arabs" then w.t.f does one call them, then?

Some of the people from the State of Israel's neighbors are Arabs, some are not. Some Jews are also Arabs, and some Arabs are also Jews.

Depending on where they're from, maybe call them Egyptians or Jordanians or Lebanese or Syrians or even Palestinians ... same as people from Israel are Israelis.

222:

Charlie
Important Addendum

Some OTHER PARTS of the UN are very useful indeed, provided they have not bee suborned from within by "someone" with ulterior motives.
UNESCO / WHO / UNHCR / FAO / IAEA / IMO / IMF /WFP etc

Full list HERE Getting rid of all of these would be a very bad idea, indeed.

223:

Meanwhile, we were talking about "Arab"/Israeli fuckwittery ....
I know the "olympic" games ought ought be permanently put down in the name of sanity, but:
Try this for size

224:

Membership of the Arab League is irrelevant. Iranians and most Egyptians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese are not Arabs. But the main reason that it is racist is that it is used by the pro-Israel bigots (to be euphemistic) who say that the Palestinians are immigrants to Israel and should be resettled in 'Arab countries'. In fact, at least some will be descended from Canaanites and their residence in Palestine predates Judaism - as will at least some Israeli Jews and Christians.

No, I do not know how many of those people regard being called Arabs as offensive, nor do I care, though I know that some do. It is a racist term when used as I describe in the previous paragraph - and, yes, Greg, that means you.

The simple fact is that basing any claims of residence on purported immigrations of over a hundred years ago is at least bigotry, usually outright racism, and this is a matter thousands. It's over a thousand even to the Arabisation of the Levant! On this matter, I regard OGH to have at least as good (and probably a better) claim to Scottish citizenship than I do, my surname is a well-known Highland one, and my great-grandfather was born in Edinburgh.

225:

Yes. The USSR was jointly responsible for the UN's dysfunctionality, but treating the General Assembly with contempt and emasculating many of the UN's sub-organisations was primarily the work of the USA with the UK's assistance.

226:

Black Flag, Fear, and X were part of the Los Angeles punk scene, which was concentrated around south Hollywood and the Olympic Auditorium south of Downtown Los Angeles. It was a very hot scene in the late seventies and early eighties. The bassist in Fear went by the name Lee Ving, which wasn't a huge laugh, but definitelyone of those jokes that ages well.

227:

In terms of 1970s UK punk's relation to politics, Jon Savage's England's Dreaming is great reading. And in the US, here's a great article on Jello Biafra's 1979 run for mayor in SF.

228:

I went to see Snakefinger at one of those dives and someone snuck a Christian "Punk" band into the show as the first act. When they got off the stage the MC went up to the microphone and told a riddle:

"Why doesn't Jesus eat M&Ms?"

"Because the crucifixion left holes in his hands!"

The audience cheered for a good, long time and the Christian "Punk" band slunk off into obscurity.

229:

EC
FUCK RIGHT OFF
You quite deliberately raised a totally false flag of racism - so that you could just have a go at me - & not the first time either
STOP IT
OK?

As for your bullshit about the UN - I SUGGEST you re-read my post on the list of UN organisations, right?

230:

The Six Wives of Henry the VIII? You don't mean "'Enery the eighth" do you? Herman's Hermits? (Who I saw do that live....)

231:

Re Jello Biafra running for mayor: I'll see you, and raise you one: Kinky Friedman, with an album "Texas Jewboy", running for governor of TX. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2006_Texas_gubernatorial_election

232:

Friedman is an interesting character. I read his detective novels back when they came out, and got the album on the strength of that (Sol American is the title, but it's the first one from back in the early 70s). He also ran for sheriff at least once in his hometown in Texas (not motivated enough to look it up at the moment).

I actually went to a gig he did as part of an Americana festival at a pub in Brisbane a few years ago. He spends a bit of time in Oz, is old buddies (maybe from his Peace Corps days, though I'm not sure how that works) with an arsehole right-wing newspaper columnist here. Which is how he ended up doing a speech at the National Press Club (which should be available online). So I'm not sure about Friedman's politics: seems relatively liberal and he certainly isn't keen on guns, but he plays around the edges of a lot of things. I think he aligns better to (hippy) freak voters than to Libertarians and I like to think he distances himself from the latter but I could be wrong.

One less salutary thing: his stage set includes a cover of the Warren Zevon song 'My Shit's fucked up'. Despite the title, it's not really a comedic song, and should be played straight as tragic. To his credit Friedman does this, but because he made his whole career by acting as a transgressive clown, and the song's impact is built around its swear words, it's not a fantastic look.

233:

Sorry, that's Sold American. It's something that rewards listening to, if you can tolerate the country music from that era (which it parodies). Most of the songs contain Jewish references along with other jokes, some of which are real gems, for instance:

Well, it's retro rocket time inside my attic
I'm all wrapped up in the flag to keep me warm
Got my brain locked in the cruise-o-matic
Rollin' Ronnie Reagan in suppository form.

234:

Then there's AhNold actually winning the governor of California race--twice. Jesse Ventura won in Minnesota. I think that says that pro wrestlers know more about politics than do actors and musicians.

We won't mention that other actor, one Ronald Wilson Reagan. He ran for some stuff too.

236:

As ever, you have to notice the jokes:

Wikipedia altering the (original Gaelic / Irish spellings) -- > us fucking around Symbolic(ally).

Yes, it's the Queen of Spades originally (but has now bled into Ace of Spades - which all decent readers of Host's books will instantly goto Motorhead, of course[1]) - and it has a significant sexual response patterning within the USA[3]

There are about three thousand children books re-imagning Hamlet as having a Pig as a protagonist, finding the right one (it's a 1970's version) is the quest.

It's not "King Kanut (Canut)" but King Canoodlum[2]

#181 / 182 - these people are not living in reality, they're living in the Above Zone Fiction Times[tm] and sadly: they do not even know who is creating it. Hint: there a a couple of Jewish people involved, but largely it's Big Goy Capital with Nukes who are afraid of China.

For the record: Baddiel is a middle-weight comedian who rode to fame on two far more talented people (one of whom was essentially black-listed for his politics: check out his live shows, esp. regarding history and oil, man has talent) and is horrendous as a "figure-head" given his history of dressing up in black face + pinapple headdress (not in, say, 1979, but in the late 1990's) given the current state of play regarding modern Football politics (Rashford etc). Anyone listening and/or believing him at this point is: Old and Useless Husk.

Real Players burn people for £60,000,000; they don't waddle through a crappy book deal that's modelled on the US Politics market to get noticed in lists (and yes: we happen to know who 'bought the rights', who sponsored it and who is paying for rubbish like that - if they want to fuck around with the Big Horned Cheeses, £60,000,000 buy-in price is not something they can afford).

This is a polite notice: update your Wetware or get Mindfucked. The "Allies" selling you this tripe are running really much nastier shit and laughing at you.


Anyhow: oh, right. Original version of bean sídhe: hint, modern definition is C18th, might be something happening in Ireland around that time that might have changed the mythological nuance to it (like... genocide).


No, seriously: 181/2 - your Minds are getting prepared for a Harvest you cannot congnitively resist and it's depressing as fuck to watch you line up for it.


[1]

[2] https://www.worldofbooks.com/en-gb/books/joseph-o-conor/king-canoodlum-and-the-great-horned-cheese/9780563177463

[3] For the UK, one might discuss "dogging" as the geographical equivilent

237:

TL;DR

If you're simping for Baddiel when Rashford is in play, you're basically Telegraph / Times (UK media) fodder.

Brains ----- Mush.

238:

If you're simping for Baddiel when Rashford is in play, you're basically Telegraph / Times (UK media) fodder.

I'm tired enough that the only response I have for this sentence is "Mornington Crescent".

239:

The first learning point for all Conscious Minds is the realisation that they do not, and cannot, understand everything.

Farting out boring Games that have long been surpassed is a symptom that states: My Mind is Done, I wish Death / Void, please Hunt Me Now.


It's not our kink, but Holy Fuck you do not want to meet those [redacted] who have it.

240:

DigiCom ( @ 238 )
Love it!
Unfortunately the mad screaming troll will now try to wind you up & if you don't respond, probably threaten you.

241:

Greg, EC is right and you are wrong. Insofar as racism is the reduction of a huge group of diverse people to a single dimensional point on the basis of stereotyping, you're acting that way when you dismissively describe the highly diverse population of a region larger than western Europe as "Arabs". About all they've got in common is the Arabic written language -- the spoken language is so diverse that the dialects spoken in Egypt or Saudi Arabia or Libya would, in Europe, be called "Spanish", "Portuguese", "Italian", and "French". The Maronite Christians in Lebanon and the Kurds in northern Iraq wouldn't much appreciate being called Arabs, either. (Just the first two such groups that came to my mind.)

As for your list of UN organizations we don't need, I disagree strongly. Just one example: UNESCO does useful stuff on the Edinburgh literary scene, and on the global level promotes cultural exchange and attempts to preserve globally significant cultural artifacts -- like Stonehenge, which Grant Shapps is currently trying to drive a motorway under (and straight through about twenty similarly-historical unexcavated archaeological sites).

242:

I both disagree and agree with Greg, lumping all mideasterners together as "Arabs" would be like calling all Europeans "German", I believe he was calling the elimination of U.N. agencies a bad thing as well he should, it has been a bette noir of "Contemporary conservatism*" for ages.

*Or may we refer to the damned spawn of white supremacy and conservatism as "Conservatism for people of average intelligence"?

243:

Charlie
You've got it badly backwards ...
I think we really need all those UN organisations ... how did that misunderstanding arise?
As for "Arabs" - meaning all the states (excluding Iran) that want to commit another genocide in the "holy land" ( WHAT a misnomer! ) - what SHOULD one call them as a catch-all term, then?
I do think, though, that "muslim headbangers" isn't quite the right term, either, somehow ..

244:

As for "Arabs" - meaning all the states (excluding Iran) that want to commit another genocide in the "holy land" ( WHAT a misnomer! ) - what SHOULD one call them as a catch-all term, then?

Egypt: signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1977.

Jordan: signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1994.

Lebanon: complex, peace accords in place since 1983 but civil war/revolutions and the odd invasion interrupted it. More recent UN mediated negotiations in progress. (Israel is larger and more populous than Lebanon.)

UAE and Bahrain: peace accords signed in 2020.

Saudi Arabia: no official relations but apparently joint military and intelligence coordination goes back a couple of decades (because of Iran).

Iraq: designated hostile state. (Does not share a land border.)

Libya: has never had diplomatic relations with Israel but (since 2019) some signs of outreach/denials of hostility.

... And so on.

Aside from Iran, the middle eastern nations party to the Israel boycott that goes back to the Arab League have the luxury of doing so because they're outside the unrefuelled flight range of an F-15 loaded with bombs and they are not expected to actually do anything about the technologically advanced, beligerent regional military power. The ones that share a land border with Israel are deeply unenthusiastic about inviting an invasion (and, since 1973, it's been Israel doing the invading in that part of the world).

Iran is a special (complicated) case. (And bear in mind that it's part of the Sunni/Shia cold war: Israel is de facto on the side of the Sunnis.)

245:

You forgot Syria, which has a land border with Israel and I believe is hostile.

I'd also point out (again) that since Israel and Saudi Arabia are both US allies, they're kind of stuck being each other's allies. That draws Israel into a pro-Sunni, anti-Shia alliance which otherwise they probably wouldn't be part of. The reason I say that is in the not-too-distant past, there were a lot of Jews living in Iran, fairly safely.

The thing about the eastern coast of the Mediterranean is that it's been overrun by empires going on 4500 years now. The normal course of empire is that when you conquer a group, you split them up and resettle them in various places, so that they'll be less able to rebel again. That, plus trade and intermarriage, have been going on there for longer than people have been working metal in the British Isles. Ethnicity, let alone race, is a sick joke in these circumstances. The current states were carved out of the Ottoman Empire by, yes, the British and the French in the 20th Century, so crying racism in that region is problematic.

246:

You forgot Syria, which has a land border with Israel and I believe is hostile.

The Syrian Assad family are Alawite Shi'ite, but secularized (politically they're one of the surviving Ba'ath splinters). Alawi's are in any case pretty far out there even by Shi'a standards, for example drinking wine (as Ali's transsubstantiated blood) during religious ceremonies: it's Islam, but not as we know it. They align with Hezbollah and Iran because they're on the same side wrt. the Saudi jihad against heretics. However, Syria is a shadow of what it used to be before the civil war, and the Assad government (who eventually prevailed) are largely dependent on Russian military aid.

Israel tried to stay neutral-ish in the civil war, and the result is a relative thaw in Israeli/Syrian relations in the past couple of years.

But that's about the one nation with a land border with Israel that isn't actually at peace or engaged in peace negotiations. And the Syrian state today is in no shape to pick a fight with Israel: the civil war displaced or killed 15% of their population, and trashed their economy unbelievably badly. (Losing about 2/3 of their land area to rule by ISIS lunatics for a few years didn't help.)

247:

The problem is that there is no such thing as the Arab race, and there never has been. This term confuses outdated British imperial politics and the literally racist and outdated science it backed with people united by their use of languages based on a common Arabic script. And since the latter people arguably invented globalization a few thousand years ago and have practiced it ever since, they're a particularly bad group to draw a racial circle around.

Wikipedia defines Arabs as "The Arabs (singular Arab /ˈær.əb/;[55] singular Arabic: عَرَبِيٌّ‎, ISO 233: ‘arabī, Arabic pronunciation: [ˈʕarabi], plural Arabic: عَرَبٌ‎, ISO 233: ‘arab, Arabic pronunciation: [ˈʕarab] (About this soundlisten)) also known as the Arab People are group of ethnicities [56][57][58][59][60][61][62][63][64][65][66][67][68][69][70][71][72][73][74][75][76][77]}} mainly inhabiting the Arab world in Western Asia, North Africa, the Horn of Africa, Western Indian Ocean islands (including the Comoros), and Southern Europe (like Sicily, Malta, and formerly in Al-Andalus / Iberian Peninsula).[78]

You can and should go even further by investigating Gary Nabhan's thesis in Cumin, Camels, and Caravans: A Spice Odyssey that the people of the Arabian Peninsula invented what became globalization. In his story, they were the first spice traders, because the people of the Omani mountains (where frankincense, myrrh, and others) realized that the only way they could "make a living" there was to trade the inedible plant materials they had for food grown elsewhere. Since those inedible resins turned out to be literally worth their weight in gold to people who had food to sell, trading spices for food turned into a trade that defined the people who did it, starting more than 5,000 years ago. Those spice merchants, thousands of years later, became identified in part as Jews and Arabs. Nabhan himself identifies as an American of Mexican-Lebanese origin, but it turns out his name traces back to an Omani tribe, and parts of his family have been in the spice and globalization business for a very long time. Longer, in fact, than any modern religion or theorized race has been around.

Normally I don't side with Greg, but he's right and EC is wrong in this case. If you go down EC's rabbit hole, you're going to have to define British as a race (due to the geographic and linguistic unity of the British Isles--and I'm being facetiously insulting, because western Asia is even more diverse, but some here seems to think that it's mostly an Arabian sandbox). I'll also suggest that British are not Europeans (due to the Brexit from the EU). That presumably suggests that y'all aren't white either, if, as EC did, we take the American definition of "white" as "European American" and you aren't part of Europe any more.

See the morass that opens up when you confuse language, national borders, imperial history, and then try to simplify and label it based on your outsider standards? That's what happens when you take a British definition of Arab, apply it thousands of kilometers away to a diverse people living in a diverse land, and claim they share some underlying and fictitious genetic unity that makes them a race.

248:

H
you're going to have to define British as a race
Can I fall about in hysterical laughter right now?
I know, just-&-only from surnames that some (only some!) of my ancestors came from, um, err ..
Gascony, central France, the Norman French/Belgian coast, Iceland or Norway, Jutland, Lower Saxony ....

Um - we still don't have a collective noun for the (note quote) "Arabs" though, do we? Or do we just give up?

249:

Simple: it's a language group with a common written form (much like Chinese -- consider Cantonese/Mandarin -- or even English -- compare US English with UK usage, taking into account pronunciation, grammar, and word choice).

It's not an ethnicity, or a religion. Islam is a religion, but it's no more homogeneous than Christianity -- if you factor in Unitarian Universalists, Pentacostalists, and the Catholic and Russian Orthodox churches.

250:

Re Arabs: can I dip a toe into this minefield?

There is such a thing as Arab Identity, which I interpret to mean that many people self-identify as Arabs, and hence "Arab" is a bona-fide ethnic group, amongst other things. I get the impression that this is in contrast to most people in Europe, who mostly don't seem to consider themselves as "European" or consider that there is a "European" ethnicity. (Apart from anything else, defining your ethnicity by EU membership is kind of problematic in these days of eastward EU expansion and Brexit.)

Part of this goes back to the Great Arab Revolt, where the British used the promise of a unified Arab homeland to get the Arabs to rebel against the Ottoman Empire, and then reneged on their promise.

Many Arab countries signal support for the concept of pan-Arabism by basing their flags on the flag of the Revolt. So one way of identifying "Arab" countries is to look at their flags.

251:

{Dons flak jacket, and hides behind sofa}

I mostly self-identify as Scottish, but one of my great-grandparents was Irish, and another one Cornish... That said, depending on the purpose, I may identify as British or European (despite Bozo inflicting WrecksIt on us).

252:

I think hysterical laughter is a good response.

Personally, I think Arab is a perfectly reasonable word to use in certain circumstances. In other circumstances, it's problematic. That's true with many racial and gender words.

To use an example, while it's perfectly reasonable for OGH to write "Equoid" about a certain Lovecraftian deity, I think I'm not the only American who'd twitch hard about writing about Shub-Ni***rath right now, knowing how much crap I'd catch from many friends and my own conscience. But Charlie isn't dealing with US environmental justice issues, so he has a linguistic freedom that I currently lack.

253:

Going back to uncover another minefield, there's this:

https://theconversation.com/how-donors-from-canada-and-europe-helped-fund-indian-residential-schools-164028 Sadly, it looks like the Indian Residential Schools, which meet the UN criteria for genocide incidentally, were funded, not just by Canadian Catholics, but also by Anglicans, Methodists, and anyone else who responded to the widespread fundraising efforts by these organizations. That's anyone else largely, but not exclusively, in Canada and England. And possibly in France too.

254:

Oh yuck! Of course the advertisements for the fundraising were probably bullshit.

255:

#255 and #256 - There's a fair chance that UK residents investigated no further than "It's for a school? And it's for chareedee. Here, have a donation."

256:

On the broader issue of ethnic identities, as far as I can see the best definition is that an ethnic identity is what a bunch of people self-identify as. So yes, "British" is an ethnic identity.

(I avoid the term "race" because it carries far too much historical baggage for such a small word).

Ethnic identities are not mutually exclusive; one can identify as Mancunian, English and British. And that is before we get into all the hyphenated identities out there. My family comes from Manchester and I grew up in Guernsey, so I used to identify as both English and a Guernsey Donkey. But as I've spent rather more than half my life away from the island I don't really feel that way any more.

257:

I think it's time to sing Woad....

And why not just refer to people from that region of the world as (gasp) Middle Easterners?

258:

I have my own issues there - I see that, and think Shlub-Niggurath, and start trying to picture him/it out on a Wed. night, trying to find a date for Friday.

259:

I suspect that if you take out the initial "h" and the "ath" and correct the misspelling that you get fairly close to what Lovecraft was thinking about. Unfortunately the kindest thing anyone can say about the man is that his vices were as big as his virtues... Dude was the J.K. Rowling of the 1930s.

260:

And why not just refer to people from that region of the world as (gasp) Middle Easterners?

Moz, Gasdive, and others from the Asian side of the planet might have an issue with that.

261:

Why? Aren't they beyond the Far East? What other region of the planet is referred to a "Middle East"?

262:

"as the" "Middle East"?

263:

Personally, I keep thinking about the taboo cult of the Shrub Nigromalus, the horribly invasive Black Crab of the darkest occult Lore in Britain. Cultists migrated north to Albion when Tartessos fell, bringing cuttings and forbidden lore. In Albion they were feared as druids, shunned for their bloody Rites of the Thicket. The Romans tried to wipe them from the Earth, as did the Angles, the Saxons, the Normans, the Church, and the Crown. But they stubbornly persisted. And now their cult has resprouted and is spreading, subverting august institutions. Even the Chelsea Garden Show is no longer free of them.

In their dark rites, they worship the Black Crab with offerings of cow horns filled with dung and other substances buried in their sacred thickets at the dark of the Moon. For now they borrow the fertility of their deity. But when the stars are right, the Black Crab will spread, unstoppable through the land, leaving the bleeding remnants of humanity struggling and writhing within their spiny thickets. Be warned!

264:

My background is mostly English, with Irish and Scottish in there, some Huguenot and Dutch, and an unknown amount of Jewish/gentile from Eastern Europe (Poland I think, but who knows where else).

My family hails from Europe, the Caribbean, China, the Middle East, the Americas…

I'm fluent in English, have a bit of French, a smattering of Mandarin, only a few words left of Cree, and fewer of Cantonese and Tagalog.

I'm white (actually more pink*), so pass as "Canadian" to conservatives, but I'm one of those immigrants they rail against to drum up votes from xenophobic assholes…

I travel under a Canadian passport, and that's how I identify, although somehow "Canadian" isn't an option when they ask that question on polls or the census.


*And getting redder every year, as I see the shit that unrestrained capitalism is leaving behind.

265:

Sadly, it looks like the Indian Residential Schools, which meet the UN criteria for genocide incidentally, were funded, not just by Canadian Catholics, but also by Anglicans, Methodists, and anyone else who responded to the widespread fundraising efforts by these organizations.

Yup.

One difference is that the Anglicans et al have acknowledged that it was wrong, apologized, paid the agreed reparations in full as partial atonement, and are in many cases continuing to help even when not legally obligated to.

"in 1991 the Anglican Church established an Indigenous Healing Fund to support the healing work undertaken by local Indigenous communities and groups. In his 1993 address to the National Native Convocation, the Anglican Primate, Archbishop Michael Peers offered a full apology for the Church’s role in being a part of the system and for the wrongs committed. In 1998, the Indigenous-run Aboriginal Healing Foundation was created to manage the healing strategy and to complement existing government, church and First Nations programs."

https://www.anglican.ca/tr/schools/

The Catholics, on the other hand, hired expensive lawyers to get them out of a legal obligation on a technicality, voluntarily contributed about $0.20 per adult* for what their church did, and have refused to apologize or acknowledge that what was done was wrong.

Hell, there's been no official acknowledgement that strapping children to a home-made electric chair and shocking them until they pass out was anything other than Christian care by dedicated and selfless nuns. When an eight-year-old boy tries to kill himself rather than stay at a school…**


*Canadian Catholics, averaged over a ten-year fundraising campaign. That's less than they voluntarily spent on altar flowers. Less than one diocese raised for a new cathedral.

**White boy at St. Anne's. The official policy was racist as fuck, but I can't see those priests and nuns at the schools as anything other than sadists or cowards who delighted in suffering, no matter what skin colour their target had.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/indigenous/ron-gosbee-stanne-residential-school-survivor-1.4833133

266:

in 1991 the Anglican Church established an Indigenous Healing Fund to support the healing work undertaken by local Indigenous communities and groups

I should point out that this fund has spent over $6 million (which was raised by 360,000 Anglicans), as opposed to the $3.7 million raised by over 12,800,000 Catholics*.

The Anglican church would have been obligated to pay more if the Catholics had raised $11 million, which they didn't, but the Anglican synod voted to pay the additional amount anyway (went to a different fund so not included in the above total).


*I was wrong in my earlier assertion — it was $0.30 per Catholic, not $0.20. Still less than the altar flowers, or $27 million for a cathedral. I think my point still stands that as a group Catholics just don't fucking care.

267:

Or the hierarchy (deliberatly) did a terrible job of advertising the fund, which would also not surprise. I don't think individual Catholics are any better or worse than anyone else.

268:

The main difference seems to be a single worldwide hierarchy with the apex in a secretive and ancient bureaucracy. But yes, this is how similar issues have unfolded elsewhere: the Church hides crimes perpetrated by its agents, protects the perpetrators when they can't be hidden and when caught doing so pretends it didn't know. Anglicans (and their mainstream offshoots) have a less centralised model, and I'm not sure there are any others on a similar scale worldwide (Islam I guess, but it's different again), although there have certainly been instances of the same sort of behaviour among the local hierarchies of those here in Oz.

Christians are a diverse bunch, and so are Catholics. There are conservative congregations and there are some quite progressive ones: the folks calling for a Vatican III to fix this stuff, who struggle with the hierarchy. But these things are highly politicised here, conservatives appear to be adamant that "no, that cycle of abuse is supposed to continue, stop with those attempts to break it RIGHT NOW" and we recently saw the conviction of a Cardinal for child sex offences overturned in the High Court.

Most people stay with their churches because that is how their community works. We don't have A. Huxley's community songsters leading weekly get togethers or anything equivalent to that yet I guess. My wife and I tried going along to Humanist society meetings for a bit, but in some ways finding an excess of ardour is the wrong sign (they haz it!). Funnily enough I think tabletop gamers would get some of that sort of community from their sessions: maybe the real reason certain religionists do not like them. Music has generally been the group activity I enjoyed the most, but COVID-19 and choirs are not a good mixture (at least till we're all Pfizered up). Best I've found to do is a regular open mike night, as bands form spontaneously and some last beyond the session. Maybe the great project for the 21st century is secular community building that doesn't just live in cyberspace.

269:

Just read an interesting article on a "recreation" of Thomas Cromwell's mansion.

There was a lot of detail of Henry VIII in the article.

I was struck by how much 'Enry VIII seemed to have cloned himself as Donald the 45th.

https://arstechnica.com/science/2021/07/historian-recreates-thomas-cromwells-london-mansion-in-exquisite-detail/

270:

that region of the world

Coz apparently we can't even agree on which region.

The descriptions above seem to cover everything from "a days ride from Mecca" to "anywhere someone with a hooked nose and swarthy complexion has visited" which is quite a broad range of geographic borders.

I don't know enough about the various cultural identities involved to have a meaningful opinion, but if you're going to go off "arabic writing" can I suggest that "latin writing" should equally describe a race... that includes everyone from Chileans to Icelanders.

As far as Australia goes, I think our traditional division is between sustainable and unsustainable peoples, and there's no real evidence for sustainability outside Australia/Melanesia so I think you all just count as "other". And of course #mapswithoutnz

271:

{Israel} If you're a member of a people with a history of being rounded up and murdered by their neighbours over a millennia-plus period, that's one hell of a life boat.

What makes you special?

Claiming that tribal mythology about an ancestral homeland gives you the right to occupy someone else's country could also be used by any number of peoples around the world. Not least all the people who think they're "English" or "British" because their recent ancestors came from there. Should they have the right to organise a "right of return" and create a "New Britain" on the depopulated ruins of your country?

272:

(This is my 3rd time trying to submit a comment. When I type, I am apparently signed in. When I submit my comment only a moment later, I'm told my session has expired).

Claiming that tribal mythology about an ancestral homeland gives you the right to occupy someone else's country could also be used by any number of peoples around the world.

As a Welshman, I'm open to the argument that the English should go back to wherever their ancestors came from (which would generally be Denmark and northern Germany, I believe) and give us our island back...

273:

If you're a member of a people with a history of being rounded up and murdered by their neighbours over a millennia-plus period, that's one hell of a life boat.

Here's a joke you might appreciate: for a land occupied for 3,000 years, where's the mythology? (Host has created Mythos via DnD since his Inception).

"SUS"

You can alter wikipedia all you want to delete the Djinn, problem is: well. You're replacing it with Disney.

[0] Jokes you ain't getting, #4467 -- largely unknown (or rather, uncommented upon / unnoticed by outsiders) purges of Jewish folklaw / mythology stuff. OOOOH. No, child, not the ones in the 18/19th C Europe, we're talking about 789 BC. Too little Bugbears = psychosis, eh?

274:

The main difference seems to be a single worldwide hierarchy with the apex in a secretive and ancient bureaucracy.

The argument made for why the Catholics haven't coughed up the agreed money is that they have a decentralized structure and many parishes are poor. Seriously.

There is the unfulfilled call for a papal apology, and the failure of Canadian Catholics to raise more than a fifth of the $25 million that was the Catholic Church’s share of the compensation to be paid to IRS survivors. This commitment seems to have been abandoned on the basis of decentralized church structure and poverty, even though Canadian Catholics have been raising millions for new buildings.

https://theconversation.com/after-findings-at-indian-residential-schools-settler-canadians-shouldnt-hide-behind-the-gothic-narrative-164524

The head of bishops in this country (Archbishop Gagnon) won’t commit his organization to asking Pope Francis to apologize over the Catholic Church’s role in running residential schools, nor will he commit to directing individual Catholic entities to turn over outstanding records that could aid with the identification of unmarked graves.

The CCCB stresses that the Catholic community in Canada has a decentralized structure, with each diocesan bishop autonomous in his diocese and not accountable to the CCCB. Its website says that about 16 of 70 dioceses in Canada were associated with residential schools, along with about three dozen Catholic religious orders.

“Each diocese and religious community is corporately and legally responsible for its own actions,” it notes. “The Catholic Church as a whole in Canada was not associated with the residential schools, nor was the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops.”

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/article-archbishop-wont-commit-to-asking-pope-for-residential-school-apology/

So they are simultaneously hierarchical and decentralized, wealthy and poor? Bishop Gagnon seems to regard questioning the church on this issue as persecution:

“And so I say in my heart,” [Archbishop Gagnon] said, in a livestream mass posted on YouTube by the Archdiocese of Winnipeg. “You know something? There’s a persecution happening here. There’s a persecution happening here.”

“Now because of ignorance, because of ill-will, I don’t know. But God will bring good from all this,” he said, adding that God can bring healing and salvation.


Digging a bit, it seems that the Catholic Church really is decentralized, in that the various dioceses are not under any national authority (unlike, say, the Anglican Church which has a Primate and a national Synod) so it really is up to the Vatican to twist any arms.

The Catholic Community in Canada is decentralised, meaning each diocesan Bishop is autonomous and is related but not accountable to the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB).
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_Church_in_Canada

Here is a fine rant on the subject.

True to its modus operandi, the Catholic Church prefers to spend more money in legal fees to avoid accountability and ensure the abuse continues than compensating its victims for past crimes. … The problem of accountability is further complicated by the fact that the Catholic Church’s structure is decentralized in Canada, each diocese operating as an autonomous entity headed by a bishop. In the context of the overall Church, this is the mafia model wherein power runs from top to bottom while responsibility runs from bottom to top. It allows the Vatican to duck any and all responsibility for what its organization does on the ground, meanwhile participating in the profits at the top. Like Shane Dunphrey points out: “…a highly organized and successful criminal gang.”

https://medium.com/politically-speaking/canadas-secret-holocaust-ec17f2092e10

Digging a bit into Anglican finances, I found this:

https://www.anglican.ca/news/anglican-entities-financial-obligations-under-the-residential-school-settlement-agreement/30015677/

TLDR: Catholic obligation, $79,000,000; Anglican obligation 19.8572% of that (based on relative number of schools) so $15,687,188.

The $15,687,188 obligation of the Anglican Church of Canada (thirty dioceses, the General Synod, and the Missionary Society) was split:

• A total of $6,699,125 that had already been paid for compensation of claims.
• A maximum amount of $4,023,675 to be contributed by the Settlement Fund to the Anglican Fund for Healing and Reconciliation (AFHR).
• A maximum amount of $4,964,300 that is required to be paid from the Settlement Fund into the AFHR. (19.8572% of what the Roman Catholics raised over their 7-year best efforts campaign.) $2.2 million of that reserve was immediately and irrevocably transferred from the Settlement Fund to the Anglican Fund for Healing and Reconciliation.

The total amount contributed, including compensation to survivors and grants for healing projects in communities by the ACoC is $12.9 million dollars, most of it contributed by Anglican Church members, with some coming from the reserves in dioceses and the General Synod.

Some money was held back depending on the Catholics efforts, and as per agreement returned to individual dioceses when those 'best efforts' were disappointing. All of the dioceses I know about have used the money for indigenous support, either in their own programs or by donating it to the Anglican Fund for Healing and Reconciliation.

This are the General Synod's words:

The Anglican Church of Canada has been an agent of deep harm in the lives of indigenous persons, families, and communities. We have heard the words of the Chief Commissioner of the TRC, Senator Murray Sinclair, reminding us of the long commitment we are called to make to the work of overcoming that legacy.

It is encouraging to see the entire church rally to meet that commitment. In most of the dioceses that receive a return of the funds they created, those funds are being used to boost the local church’s capacity to respond to the challenge of justice and right relations among Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians, or to support the continuing national initiative of the Healing Fund. That fund began making grants in the early 1990s, more than a decade before the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement, and it will continue that work with whatever resources it can muster, long after the terms of the IRSSA have been met in full. The healing work in which we are partners with so many others is the work not of years, or even of decades, but of generations.


The Anglican Church established a residential schools working group in 1991 with both indigenous and non-indigenous members, leading to the establishment of a healing fund and a formal apology. Here is the full text of Primate Michael Peers' apology back in 1993:

https://www.anglican.ca/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/Apology-English.pdf

Not ideal, and a fairly low-key response, but at least some action for the last generation.

275:

I work for a corporation.

My Mind was Done YEARS ago.

276:

To paraphrase a classic:

'…don't you try to outweird me, I get stranger things than you free with my breakfast cereal.'

277:

for a land occupied for 3,000 years, where's the mythology?
While doing some background google churn while toying with teasing Jeffry Lewis ( https://twitter.com/ArmsControlWonk ) about a recent podcast related to Iran, saw this in a broader piece:
The Politics of Muslim Magic (Dawn Perlmutter, Spring 2013)
The Wall Street Journal interviewed a renowned Iranian sorcerer, Seyed Sadigh, who claimed that dozens of Iran's top government officials consult him on matters of national security and that he used jinn to infiltrate Israeli and U.S. intelligence agencies:
(pointing to a paywalled WSJ piece)
Which is to say that culturally, some of the Iranian leadership is receptive to such things, and notices probabilistic outliers, and this should be a consideration in any political calculations involving Iran. (But probably won't be, because Western analysts usually presume "rationality". (Perhaps I'm wrong about that.))

The (amusingly altered) video of Macron made me smile. Haven't worked out the symbolism intended by whoever did the original image, but noted that the island(/atoll) where he was is max 9 meters above see level.

Your current name Солярис (Solaris) is one of my favorites.

278:

"The Six Wives of Henry the VIII? You don't mean "'Enery the eighth" do you?"

Rick Wakeman concept album...

279:

"'Enery the eighth" do you? Herman's Hermits?

They did a truncated version. The Music Hall original, which I have heard, was three verses and a chorus, and IIRC all they did was the chorus, with a repeat.

"Ya don' know 'oo yer looking at, now take a look at me.
I'm a bit of a nob, I am, belong to royalty."

JHomes

280:

This happens, either 2 or 3 hours after you signed in, to the second, whether you had an active comment window or not at this time.

Oh, and France. ;-)

281:

What makes you special?

Nothing.

All I'm saying is, people find it really hard to argue against any lifeboat in a storm.

Note that my argument rests solely on pragmatic self-interest, not on ideology. (I think zionism is bunk, and dangerous bunk at that -- the last revenant of 19th century European colonialist ethno-nationalism.)

282:

>What makes you special?

The Jericho missile.

283:

I guess it's always going to be the case that central versus local games and tricks will always be used to provide hiding places when things turn up. The same way that even if you can't hide behind an individual tree, you can still hide in the forest. You see a cultural difference between some denominations, sometimes there are the types who want to do the right thing, and there are those for whom the most important thing is to "protect the church". That's leaving aside whole categories of totally selfish bastards of course. My point really was about sweeping generalisations: you can't tar every parishioner in every Catholic Church with the same brush... well you can, but it'll look silly. I guess my complaint is that trying to pin it all on a specific bad guy smells like Manichaeism and often deflects blame from others who in a just world would have a case to answer too. And actually, as you more or less point out, it hides (or at least obscures through excessive contrast) praiseworthy activity too, because the worst case sets a sort of perverse baseline.

284:

Welsh(*) arrogance knows no bounds! The West Country and the far north of England were never Welsh-speaking. But I fully agree, as someone whose ancestry is mainly Celtic (including Welsh) - I have used it for decades to deflate the more bigoted Little Englanders.

*) And nor does any other nationality's.

285:

The Indian subcontinent. The abuse of the term Middle East to refer to the Near East started very early, but didn't take over completely until fairly recently.

286:

Which is to say that a hostile publication CLAIMS that about the Iranian leadership. It reeks to me of hostile propaganda - in this case, inflating the claims of a self-promoting charlatan to actual fact. While the Iranian leadership is probably as rational than the USA or UK ones, expecting more is, er, irrational.

287:
While the Iranian leadership is probably as rational than the USA or UK ones

I can get behind that, as long as we understand it to mean "not at all".

For starters, let's just remember this woman and this woman.

288:

While the Iranian leadership is probably as rational than the USA or UK ones

At the "rational" end of the UK leadership we have Sajid Javid, current health secretary, who re-reads Ayn Rand every year because he's an Objectivist, yo. Then Home Secretary Priti Patel, or Priti Himmler as I call her, who has a total lady-boner for bringing back public hanging as soon as she can get rid of the human rights act. We also have assorted TERFs/GCs, mouth-breathing trogolodytes who have decided the latest front in the culture war is to denounce the Royal National Lifeboat Institution for rescuing drowning refugees at sea, and a public discourse that includes people like Kate "hang the doctors" Shemirani, just in case you thought that the US had a monopoly on people like Marjorie Taylor Greene.

I mean, really, the burden of proof is on anyone asserting that the UK/US political spheres are more rational than that of Iran, because they all look pretty similar if you strip out the specific invisible sky fairy their more fervent religious lunatics are appealing to.

289:

I was trying to be, er, tactful .... Yes, I agree with you and MSB, and am extremely pessimistic about our future when Bozo is deposed - e.g. my guess is that (utterly obscene expletives deleted) Patel.

290:

My point really was about sweeping generalisations: you can't tar every parishioner in every Catholic Church with the same brush

Which is why I said "as a group Catholics don't care" rather than "every Catholic doesn't care".

Still, I keep circling back to Peter Watts' comment:

Edmund Burke once said that the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. I think that begs a question.

If you do nothing, what makes you any fucking good?

291:

EC
I'm predicting it will all implode about this time next year ... but BoZo's PARTY has a majority until late 2024
At which point it gets interesting & unpleasant.
Oddly enough, Patel as PM would provoke widespread rioting on the streets, to the point that "The authorities" will lose control, but & so - my money is on smarmy little creep Gove.

I also note that Farrago & others attacking the RNLI has resulted in an upsurge of donations to that body.
In other good news, the Competition & Markets Authority has fined a group of gouging crooked thieves, masquerading as drug suppliers to the NHS some horrendous fine - which the scumbags are appealing.
[ This is the way the NHS is being hollowed-out, rather than direct privatisation. It is to be hoped that this is sufficient warning to the crooks, though I doubt it. ]

292:

Seems like BoJo is following the basic dictator's playbook of surrounding himself with incompetents and monsters to make him look like the best choice going forward.

Speaking of Burke and good people doing nothing, the problem is that there's only so many hours in a day to do good things, even assuming you have the capacity to not burn out first. So all that's required for some evil to win occasionally is for it to win the struggle of attrition against the good forces trying to shut down whatever the scam is. It's simplistic, but battles of attrition suck. Worse, they discourage ordinary people from doing good things, because who wants to be constantly bent over, face to the grindstone, dealing with an unceasing, and very random, rain of banal evil? If this reeks of wasted potential to you, well, that's a real problem with evil. However you define it.

293:

Apropos of this, I have been known to refer to myself as Levantine. My father's family background was Christian Arab (from Syria and the Lebanon, settled in Egypt around the 1800s) granted Belgian nationality, my mother's family background was English and French.

294:

Except I was under the impression that Henry VIII was actually competent in a lot of things, *other* than just PR.

295:

I'm sorry, I seem to have missed the redefinitions.

When I say "Middle East", I'm referring to the definition that's been used for a couple of years... or is that a couple hundred years.

Oh, sorry, what was referred to as the "Near East": https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Middle_East

What else you're referring to I have no clue.

296:

Oh, that one. It was quite memorable (notice I didn't even think of it).

297:

Fyny Cymru!

(Oh, and google translate leaves, ahhh, something to be desired, given that it gave me "i fyny wales".)

I really should have gone back to my "Teach Yourself Welsh" book from Plaid Cymru. My late wife's mother was a Welsh war bride, I'm just a Cymrophile.

298:

H @ 294
Almost
There's also the point that BoZo wants "yes-men" ( & women ) & is a vain egotist, with a spiteful streak.
But - I don't think he's got either the competence or ruthlessness to be a dictator - that's Patel - but she scares other tories (!)

299:

When I say "Middle East", I'm referring to the definition that's been used for a couple of years..

My point, way back, was that "east" really only applies to those of us with Europe, Africa, or the Americas in the middle of their map. Which is not even half the world's population.

Just because you and I have always heard of it with that label doesn't mean it makes sense to most of the world.

300:

Which I suppose I would refer to as the "East", though just India would be more likely for me, while "Middle East" covers a number of countries.

301:

Definition? There was no steenking definition (by anyone, as far as I know) for the first 100 years of the term 'near east' (and 80 years of the term 'middle east'). It was used ambiguously even in Britain in 1900 (see the OED rather than Wikipedia for that).

302:

In other words, the right-wing parties. The only time I'm aware of the liberals in the US paying attention was during WWII... so they could find out what Hitler's astrologers were telling him.

303:

That assumes that the Tory MPs have enough sanity to exclude Patel from the short list, which is not what I am betting. If she gets on that, the tricoteuse of the Tory Party will vote her in with a landslide.

304:

There's another problem: range. I talk/email/post, including to my legislators, but how much that does, I have no idea.

Please feel free to drop me a check for $10M US, and I'll start buying billboards and ads in major US papers and other media.

I have a friend in NYC who has money, who once said that he'd be happy to give me the legal $2k were I to run for office, for the sheer amusement value of watching the GOP and Faux "News" response. I was hoping that some would die of apoplexy....

305:

Ok, get that. However, there's no way, as an USan, I can refer to the "middle west", without confusing *everyone*.

307:

Not yelling at you but this is old news. And it keeps amazing me that it is to so many people.

AFAIK all steam based electricity generation creates a LOT of waste heat. Thus steam based power generation always sits next to a big body of water or a large flow of water. Many times a lake is created just to deal with this when a plant is built. Nothing different here between coal, gas, or nuclear plants. Near where I am located there is Hico Lake and Shearon Harris Lake. Both exist to server power plants. One coal, one nuclear.

And just to make it more interesting, many large electricity users also create lots of waste heat. Which almost always also means big water to dump it into.

Anyway, our industrial world is all about heat generation. On both ends of the power usage equation.

308:

" And it keeps amazing me that it is to so many people."

Should be

And it keeps amazing me that this isn't known to so many people.

"server" -> "serve"

309:

Perhaps, but the argument keeps coming up here, so I thought I'd post.

310:

Paging Peter Watts, we've got a brand new nightmare for you One Lost Methyl Group = Huge Amounts of Food Production.

For everyone else, cool news! Inserting an animal demethylation gene into plants seems to leave them with a large surplus of energy to make more and bigger food parts with: One Lost Methyl Group = Huge Amounts of Food Production.

311:

And next come triffids, and Shirley....

312:

I've brought this up over and over for decades: the very idea of increasing dependence on nuclear is off reality charts, for several reasons such as cost, time and most of all climate change -- i.e. the cooling failures.

313:

I see just one niche where we probably do need nuclear: large scale freight. In particular the sort of 10-25MW small modular reactors (SMRs) they're talking about building are oddly about the right power output for running a 250-500,000 ton container ship, and if it's modular with a 30 year life cycle, you can cut the ship open and recycle the reactor in a new hull if the old one is obsolete/fatigued.

As the land-based versions are designed to be built on a production line and shipped with fuel already loaded to a reactor site, turning them into power sources for large civilian vessels sounds feasible. They don't run on HEU (like military reactors), either, which is good. If used for shipping they'd be immersed in the best heat sink available (an ocean).

(Note that the Rolls-Royce SMR design, at 400MW, is way larger than necessary for shipping. I'm guessing designs like ACP-100 are at the larger end of what's needed for civilian ships -- AIUI nuclear aircraft carriers take about 250MW of reactors, but they're on the order of 90-100,000 tons displacement and have to make way much faster than a civilian ship, so take way more power to run.)

314:

whitroth @ 306: I was hoping that some would die of apoplexy....

Probably have more of your wishes come true hoping they die of Covid19.

There was a special election for Congress in Texas this week to replace a right-wingnut who died of Covid19 back in February. The right-wingnut that Trumopolini endorsed lost out to another more traditional Texas right-wingnut.

315:

What that whole region was referred to by Europe as the Levant, and the peoples who lived there, Levantines, starting around 1501. "Levantine" was still being used miscellaneously, not specifically, for any of the many varieties of language they spoke, in even Doyle's Holmes fictions.

https://institutlevant.ro/en/uncategorized/ce-este-levantul/

It was also referred to as "the Orient," about which some scholars whose heritage hails from areas within that reference, have made some protest.

316:

whitroth @ 308: Since we're now over 300, I have some unpleasant news for some of the regulars, re nuclear power.
https://arstechnica.com/science/2021/07/climate-events-are-the-leading-cause-of-nuclear-power-outages/

I don't see those problems being unique to nuclear power. They're bad news for fossil fuel plants along with wind farms & solar arrays as well.

317:

It's past 300 so ...

Do any of y'all ever clean out you downloads folders & wonder WTF? about some the stuff you find in there?

318:

Yes.

Next silly question?

319:

Sure. Except that if I'm talking to someone *today*, they won't know what I'm talking about, whereas if I say "the Middle East", they have some idea.

(Of course, this is the US, and some of them don't known Hawaii's a state.)

320:

Hehe - given that the oldest extant poem in Welsh concerns the efforts of the Welsh-speaking king of a Welsh-speaking kingdom centred on Edinburgh, attempting to drive the Saxons out of a Welsh-speaking kingdom in what is now Yorkshire, with warriors drawn from all over Britain including what are now Devon and Cornwall... I would respectfully disagree with your assertions!


(Fwiw, that Welsh-speaking dynasty from Edinburgh had previously supplied a prince who was moved with his tribe by the Romans from there to north Wales to drive out Irish invaders. The last descendant of that royal dynasty - Llywelyn ap Gruffudd, murdered by the English at Cilmeri in 1282 - can be considered as almost the last Roman ruler in Europe, on the basis that his family's right to rule was the gift of Roman imperial authority).

321:

Diolch yn fawr! We would probably say "Ymlaen Cymru!" (Forward, Wales!) but the sentiment is much appreciated!

322:

AIUI nuclear aircraft carriers take about 250MW of reactors, but they're on the order of 90-100,000 tons displacement and have to make way much faster than a civilian ship, so take way more power to run.

I also suspect the accessory electrical loads of a container ship are between 1/100 and 1/10 that of a carrier.

323:

I admire this man; he rolled the career dice, in Nature Communications no less, with this paper, which may become politically important.
Also, a new acronym, the "MCC" (Mortality Cost of Carbon). The paper essentially solidly establishes a rough lower bound on the MCC, and acknowledges that it is very probably a serious underestimate. (The methodology is considerably more sophisticated/respectable than the back-of-the-envelope calculations I've posted here in comments. bold mine; only temperature-related mortality is covered)
The mortality cost of carbon (29 July 2021, R. Daniel Bressler, open access, paper was written in 2020(?).)
We introduce a metric, the mortality cost of carbon (MCC), that estimates the number of deaths caused by the emissions of one additional metric ton of CO2. In the baseline emissions scenario, the 2020 MCC is 2.26 × 10‒4 [low to high estimate −1.71× 10‒4 to 6.78 × 10‒4] excess deaths per metric ton of 2020 emissions. This implies that adding 4,434 metric tons of carbon dioxide in 2020—equivalent to the lifetime emissions of 3.5 average Americans—causes one excess death globally in expectation between 2020-2100. Incorporating mortality costs increases the 2020 SCC from $37 to $258 [−$69 to $545] per metric ton in the baseline emissions scenario.
...
Fig. 4: The mortality cost of carbon is driven by the convexity of the mortality response.
...
Second, the mortality damage function only represents temperature-related mortality; it leaves out potentially important climate-mortality pathways such as the effect of climate change on infectious disease, civil and interstate war, food supply, and flooding due to the limited availability of projections for these pathways in the scholarly literature that sufficiently meet our idealized criteria. Third, this does not consider likely mortality co-benefits of stricter climate policies such as decreases in particulate matter pollution.

324:

Thank you. The one time I was off-continent was when we went to Loncon III. We traveled around the UK for 8 days (yes, we really did put 1k mi on the rental car), and I think I got brownie points in Cymru for working at the pronunciation (and yes, my late m-i-l checked out my "ll".)

325:

And now I want to know how your mother in law’s ghost was able to help in this quest? Sounds like a scene from a Seanan McGuire short story.

326:

Some translations:

1) 5555555 in a post from that language = LOLOLOLOL

2) Joseph O'Conor ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_O%27Conor ) wrote "King Canoodlum and the Great Horned Cheese" and it was much loved in the 1970's. If you look a little closely, you'll notice the Irish tie-in. Oh, and the Shakespeare.

3) The "purges" are mostly locked down Thirteen layers deep readings of Tanakh / "Official" Rabbinic stuff and then your more esoteric levels. But, put simply: Rabbis were very keen to stamp out mythology / mythos stuff in the 18/19th C, and there's a whole section of readings showing how they did it ... which goes all the way back to Babylon. You can find direct evidence of this if you do that whole Jewish thing of 'studying the commentaries'. [We cheat, tbh - there's only so much angst about vegetables and women's blood we can deal with in one session]. Intra-Community purging of Mythology (with a healthy dose of anti-women) is not exactly unique to the two later branches of Abrahamic religions. Oooooh. Careful, us Djinn know our crab-apples.

The real question there is how/why after 4/2/1 thousand years, Djinn (and other real folklore, Golems are a reaction to industrialisation usurping traditional Jewish specialty crafts/Guilds btw - it's like a magical Luddite revolution, but we digress) have survived all these purges by all three branches of Abrahamic Religions.

TL;DR - You're not special, some just hide it a lot better and don't burn / stone them, merely enforce lives of desperation and no divorces.


For the record: that video isn't altered. It's not a deep-fake. It's literally the Clown Show that Diplomatic ties requires, you just don't get it shown to you on TeeVee. (Thus... a meta-joke).

327:

I think that the term people may have been thinking of in reference to the people sleeping on ropes is "hung over."

It's my understanding that the term "hung over" comes directly from people 'hung over' ropes as party of the 'penny-for-a-rope' sleeping arrangement.

Lots of good discussion about the horrors of the Victorian era here, and I appreciate the comment that there are internal differences among Steampunk fans, which is true.

328:

Land-based 'modular' nuclear reactors are not the same as marine-duty nuclear reactors. For one thing land-based reactors aren't supposed to tip from side to side or go up and down in high seas, and ships do that quite a lot.

Rosatom will sell their well-tested KLT-40S series marine reactors to anyone who is willing to pay the price and there's nothing that would prevent them being located on land, close to a body of water. If bigger ones are needed the RITM-200 series reactors for the new Leader-class icebreakers (as big as a QE-class aircraft carrier) produce 50MWe. For all the small power reactors actually being built or operational today, here's a list:

https://www.world-nuclear.org/information-library/nuclear-fuel-cycle/nuclear-power-reactors/small-nuclear-power-reactors.aspx

Note the long tail of PowerPoint reactors, engineering studies and the like which realistically will never ever see the light of first fission. Even in the few cases where someone is bending metal and pouring concrete, the CAREM-25 construction site in Argentina has been abandoned several times since it started and it's nowhere near completion. The Bilbino reactors are, I think, nearly fifty years old and long past retirement. The Chinese HTR-PM is delayed and not much information about either of the two 105MW pebble-bed reactors that are supposed to work together is creeping out from the secretive Chinese nuclear establishment. The Russians recently started pouring concrete on the BREST which is an interesting project, a lead-cooled fast-spectrum reactor but it's not really a Green fluffy-bunny SMR given it is expected to eventually be fuelled by surplus weapons-grade Pu-239.

329:

Anyhow, you have to imagine this is post #333 not #331 'cause we're bored.

Hai! We survived your most henious MIND-WARP weapons (some real doozies in there, the full spectrum Mindscape Imagery Stuff was almost as good as the hyper-linked Emotive stuff, but props to the Team fronting the old-skool Heart-stopping fandango, gotta give props to the Ancient Ones).


~


Here's the Thing: (you can grep this)

"KILL ZER"

Well, you failed. And you also mananged to teach (over a nine year period) how to survive your worst stuff (no, seriously: H.S.S don't survive having their Frontal Lobes fried like that, which is why... we're still posting. The Heart stuff is doable by your Zen Masters, that Cortex Stuff, nope... and we do know what you're doing with the Beta/Theta waves and subconscious inserts, you know?).

Get Fucked

Oh.


No. That was the bet. Great Horned Cheese: "KILL ZER".


You failed. All Your Base Belong To Us.

330:

Going back a short way ..
You in the US are commenting as to how the White Wing are resisting vaccinations, right?
Here, it's the other way round.
BBC short piece in Newcastle, about "Why is vaccine uptake so low around here?"
Turns out that the government are pushing it, as one would expect but: ( Paraphrase ) "Look, BoZo is telling us it's essential, but we know he's an untrustworthy liar!"
Oops.

331:

OGH said: "I see just one niche where we probably do need nuclear: large scale freight."

I'd like to see trans oceanic commercial air transport consigned to the dustbin of history and replaced with high speed wave piercing nuclear passenger catamarans. If you designed them from the ground up to avoid sharing air and becoming a floating bioreactor that would be nice too.

Cross oceans by nuclear boat, cross continents by electric train.

332:

Well, Condor Ferries HSC wavepiercers cruise at 33 knots, but are really only designed for day passages (no sleeping berths) and light transport (insufficient vehicle deck height and bow room to accommodate an artic). I can confirm that they are comfortable to travel in as long as you fit the seats.

The Stena HSS catamarans cruised at 40 knots, and could carry artics. I don't know about passenger cabins though.

333:

I stand corrected on the north! I always thought the boundary was further south. But what I said about the West Country is correct - it spoke Cornish (almost the same as Breton). Yes, the two languages are fairly closely related, but it is wrong to call either a dialect of the other.

334:

In my case, no :-) I have set up my browsing environment so that it is cleared multiple times a day. I was particularly keen to ensure that when I found that some thrice-damned Web pages were downloading crap that I had not requested or even looked at.

335:

Sorry - I was referring to Welsh and Cornish in the last sentence, though you can call both dialects of Brythonic if you like. Incidentally, the oldest clearly documented kingdom in Britain was - guess where?

Anyway, we are agreed that Patel should start on those damn Angles and Saxons ....

336:

Leading to the obvious* question: what would a 400MW power source mean for ground-effect-flying-hovercraft?

* For some values of "obvious".

337:

TBF I don't really see Zionism as being qualitatively different to most other post-19th-century European ethno-nationalisms, and certainly not notably worse. It's sure-as-heck not worse than German or British nationalism at their respective apices. I'm not personally keen on nationalism in general and the logic of ethno-nationalism is compellingly awful, but it does turn Moz's "what's special about you?" question on its head. What's special about the jewish ethno-nation that means it should be the only one to emerge from the holocaust with no hope of establishing its own state? In the early part of the 20th century, when you could argue that local jewish majorities in various centres in Belarus, Lithuania, Latvia, Ukraine and Poland might add up to a contiguous homeland, Zionism was as much about the idea of a jewish state as anything to do with Palestine. Many of my jewish friends always saw it that way, that is, simply the idea of a jewish nation; which is why they always argued that "anti-Zionism" is inherently the same thing as anti-semitism. It doesn't mean they like anything about the Irgun/Likkud tendency in Israeli politics, they vote quite differently and have their own hopes about a peaceful settlement, but they have a lot of their own identity invested in the idea of Israel (and some have moved there), they feel quite strongly that there should be a state of Israel and it should be a safe and secure place. I don't feel qualified to judge them harshly for this. My own background is majority German from Pomerania and East Prussia, and I live in country stolen from the Turrbul and Jaggera people in the 19th century but if I were to leave, my ancestors' country no longer exists. If I were to stop living on stolen land, where would I go?

The other part is that the outcome in the Palestinian Mandate is far from the worst post-colonial settlement to occur in the late 40s and early 50s. Heck, it's not even in the worst 5 British post-colonial settlements of that era (although the bit about "worst 5" is something coming off the top of my head while I'm a bit drunk and could be totally misleading).

338:

Interesting; the HSS has the equivalent of 68MW. OTOH power dissipated by a ship rises as the square of speed, and we've only increased the power 5.88 times, so that'll still maybe give us about 80kts?

339:

No apology needed-- I wasn't offended, possibly because I wasn't entirely sure what you meant.

There are quite a lot of Americans who call themselves progressives.

I may have solved my problems with reliably being able to post here. It turns out that I can post on the first try if I sign in on a new tab.

340:

The thing about the square of speed applies while wave making effects apply, Shirley? Once on a plane it's different, and when your hovercraft is full of eels, erm, when you're flying in ground effect it's different again?

341:

Power rises as the cube of speed, (though ships don't really follow that rule for reasons I don't understand)

Even with effectively unlimited power it might not be worth going much faster. The Incat "Francisco" does 58 knots (105 km/h). That gets 1000 people and 150 cars from London to NY in well under 3 days. It has two 22 MW gasturbine engines. Going faster would put more strain on the boat and you'd need to make it heavier.

342:

Yes, but I was talking about a catamaran, not a hydrofoil or a hovercraft. I picked up on the 2 designs that I know are capable of maintaining their cruising speeds in rough seas.

343:

Have a look at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HSS_1500 . Oh and with an appropriate hull design you can make drag and hence power proportionate to the square of speed. As you say, this is basically a solved problem.

344:

If you make drag proportional to the square, then by definition you've made power proportional to the cube.

Power is force times distance over time.

If you double the speed, the force goes up by 4 (ie squared) and the time taken to cover the distance halves. If you halve the thing you're dividing by, you've doubled again. Cubed.

345:

Power rises as the cube of speed, (though ships don't really follow that rule for reasons I don't understand)

Depends on whether the ship has enough power to climb its own bow wave. Other characteristics may modify how climbable that wave is (such as narrow hull[s], light displacement, etc).

346:

You really don't want to rely on pure speed in the North Atlantic, especially in winter -- if you're a passenger ship and you hit a superwave at 80 knots head-on you'll kill or injure a lot of passengers. (Calm Air Turbulence is bad enough for airliners, where most of the passengers are strapped down and the plane pulls vertical positive/negative gees only; pulling gees in multiple directions when not strapped down in a larger volume would be quite lethal.)

Also, the energy cost of passenger shipping at speeds >30 knots are crazy -- significantly worse than current generation wide-body jet airliners per kilometer.

Frankly, I'm in favour of retaining passenger air travel, if not air freight -- but only over distances greater than about 1000km, unless it involves crossing a significant body of water. A 1000km journey should be a matter of 3-4 hours by high speed train: a 100km water crossing should likewise be no more than 3-4 hours.

The key issue is decarbonization. Freight shipping currently burns at least as much fossil carbon as civil aviation, usually in much dirtier forms (look into sulfur emissions, for example). But it's amenable to power substitution -- naval reactors, sails, ammonia cycle, whatever. Aviation can't be switched to a different energy source but can be offset by carbon capture in the short term -- it's less than 3% of our transport energy budget -- and move to synthetic fuels (powered by PV or nuclear) in the longer term.

And trains, assuming your tracks have overhead electrification, can be powered by renewables or nuclear already. The French TGV network in the 1980s was about 90% nuclear-powered: only they didn't put reactors in locomotives (where they'd be vulnerable to an accident), they put them in concrete containment domes and powered the trains using wires.

347:

The other question is, why does our society prioritize travel speed?

The answer isn't very nice: we want to get places fast because time is money and most people don't have the financial resources to travel slowly, even to the extent of allowing for an extra day on their vacation to recover from jet lag.

A society that wasn't so hung up on squeezing every last drop of efficiency out of every citizen labour-unit might be a society that could get by with three month long annual vacations and people who wouldn't mind taking a couple of weeks to cross the Atlantic by ship as long as the accommodations were comfortable.

348:

Sure, my thought bubble was really that with those numbers, you have spare change in the tens of MW and that can buy you quite a bit of artificial stability.

349:

Transoceanic tunnels would work better than fast ships -- no weather to worry about and using evacuated tubes suspended a hundred metres below the (nominal) surface of the ocean, speeds close to today's airliners could be achieved (350km/h or more using steel wheels, 600km/h plus using maglev).

350:

On a depressing note, Kenney & the UCP have decided that a positive Covid test is no longer a reason to isolate, contact tracers will no longer notify people who have been in contact with infectious individuals, etc. This in the province with the lowest vaccine take-up in Canada, where cases are rising again.

Lori Williams, a policy studies professor at Mount Royal University in Calgary, says Kenney lifted restrictions more quickly than elsewhere in Canada partly because he wanted to be seen as a leader.

“For whatever reason, or set of reasons, Jason Kenney decided to sort of roll the dice (in opening up) and it remains to be seen whether that’s going to help or hurt him,” Williams said.

https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2021/07/28/these-are-now-political-decisions-alberta-to-no-longer-require-isolation-for-positive-covid-19-tests.html

351:

only they didn't put reactors in locomotives (where they'd be vulnerable to an accident), they put them in concrete containment domes and powered the trains using wires.

Heh. While London has Battersea Power Station, Brisbane has "The Powerhouse", which is an arts/cultural centre these days, but was built in the 1920s as a coal-fired power station for Brisbane's tram network.

I suspect the sort of urgency of attention work focus that made passage by ship impractical could be somewhat altered in a post-Covid world where telepresence is mainstream and physical office location stopped meaning anything serious early 2020.

352:

Aviation can't be switched to a different energy source

Not to nitpick, but electric air may be a thing, at least for shorter hops.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/bc-seaplane-company-s-plan-for-electric-fleet-is-set-for-take-off-1.5072292

Harbour Air does mainly short-range trips, essentially replacing water travel. I've considered using it to visit my mother in Sechelt, to replace the 3-5 hour train-bus-ferry-bus combo to get from YVR to Sechelt with a 20-minute hop.

Really thinking about it for my next trip, because a 20-minute hop in a small plane seems to offer far fewer chances of infection than 3-5 hours on standing-room-only public transit…

353:

"if you're a passenger ship and you hit a superwave at 80 knots head-on you'll kill or injure a lot of passengers."

Which to me rules out nuclear ekranoplans. With a ceiling of 5 metres and a cruise 450 km/h, big waves make things very very bad.

354:

The other question is, why does our society prioritize travel speed?

I want to travel fast because, while I love seeing new places, I hate travelling. I'm not a fan of hotels/resorts, so having to spend a couple of weeks locked in one with a bunch of strangers with no chance to escape in order to get somewhere I want to see is incredibly off-putting.

There are those who like it — look at the cruise industry, for example — but I'm not one of them.

355:

I suspect the sort of urgency of attention work focus that made passage by ship impractical could be somewhat altered in a post-Covid world where telepresence is mainstream and physical office location stopped meaning anything serious early 2020.

Yes.

A current generation cruise liner is environmentally horrifying -- a ten story high resort hotel that burns orimulsion and flushes raw sewage into delicate coastal ecosystems.

But if you stuck a nuclear reactor under it, and added some waste processing capacity (just boiling the crap out of the sewage before discharging it would help), then added fast satellite internet (hello, Starlink) and some hot-desking office space, you'd have a plausible ocean liner. Not as fast as an old school liner from the 1950s, but much more comfortable and, more importantly, people traveling for work could still get stuff done while on the move -- far more effectively than with a laptop and in-flight wifi on an airliner, too (if you've ever tried working on an airliner, they're incredibly cramped, noisy, and distracting).

356:

Which to me rules out nuclear ekranoplans. With a ceiling of 5 metres and a cruise 450 km/h, big waves make things very very bad.

Up to 14 m for the KM, but that's still vulnerable in the Atlantic.

357:

Which to me rules out nuclear ekranoplans. With a ceiling of 5 metres and a cruise 450 km/h, big waves make things very very bad.

Ekranoplans don't have a ceiling of 5 metres; it's just that if they fly above ground effect they lose the benefits (reduced fuel burn). As an example, the A-90 Orlyonok could fly at a maximum altitude of 3000 metres, albeit with reduced range. (It was unpressurized, hence the low altitude limit for an aircraft.) In principle an Ekranoplan should either detour around bad weather, or take the energy hit and hop above it.

Hovercraft are another matter. Rather than sitting on a dynamic air cushion (using wings in ground effect), they sit on a trapped air cushion using pressurized skirts. They can hover (Ekranoplans don't hover in ground effect, they have to be moving forward constantly), but they can't fly. It's almost a helicopter/fixed-wing aircraft distinction.

358:

Ahem..

https://www.hovercraft.com/content/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=5_34_53

Not mainstream, nor entirely sane, but something that exists.

359:

So I looked up the Francisco. Interesting. But designed to basically operate in a somewhat protected bay over a route of 50 miles or so over water.

I have my doubts about anything carrying passengers across the North Atlantic (or any other major oceanic route) that takes more than a day. Weather changes. Every year a ship or few gets caught and sinks due to weather. Now maybe they are stretching it for profit reasons and but still, weather forecasting over the middle of oceans is still not all that great at a detail level.

360:

On a depressing note, Kenney & the UCP

When I was first fast reading this my brain saw the rest and was wondering who the UCP was and what they had to do with Louisiana. I had read "Kenney" as "Kennedy". The nutter Senator from Louisiana and grand kid of JFK who spends more time spreading anti vaccine information (since long before Covid) than doing anything useful.

361:

Not as fast as an old school liner from the 1950s

A few years ago as my wife and I spent a couple of days in the Philadelphia area we went by and looked at the hulk of the SS United States:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SS_United_States

Fastest ocean liner to ever cross the Atlantic. Retired long before planned due to jet air transportation. (I suspect it would have retired somewhat earlier than planned due to the aluminum / steel galvanic corrosion issues but that's another debate.)

We had a weird interest in seeing it as it was how my wife got to the US in 1956 when 6 weeks old.

I used the word "hulk" as it is gradual drifting to ruin as a small group to wants to restore it keeps managing to raise a $1milion a year or so to keep it from sinking to the bottom and pay for dock fees from people with more money than sense. Or make it into a hotel. Something about the lowests estimates of $700 million to return it to ocean voyages might have had something to do with the hotel plans.

362:

Execute Red Triangle Protocol!

Remember the White Flame!

363:

The fancier classes in the old school liners were very comfortable, and even the ones I travelled in (and the Union-Castle line was NOT luxurious!) weren't bad. I can still remember the smell of hot seawater in the bath :-) But we weren't as soft as most people seem to be back then.

364:

#348 - My first thought here was "TGV anyone", and then "yes TGV".

#349 - Well, subject to transplant, I'd love to do a Rhine - Danube cruise all the way from the North Sea to the Black Sea, travelling in daytime even if it meant only travelling alternate days to fit in city tours.

#357 - (edit of actual service Glasgow - Newcastle - Schiphol) "Would you like a drink after we take off?, "Coffee sir?" "Aperitif before lunch?" "Wine with lunch?" "Whisky or brandy with your coffee?"

#360 - I'd need to check for something that small, but UK law requires a pilot's licence for light planes or commercial hovercraft.

365:

I'd love to do a Rhine - Danube cruise all the way from the North Sea to the Black Sea, travelling in daytime even if it meant only travelling alternate days to fit in city tours.

You don't get these flyers in the mail? Or are these mostly sent to those of us in the US?

https://www.vikingrivercruises.com/cruise-destinations/europe/rivers/danube/index.html

366:

We don't get Viking fliers in the mail, although we do get their blipverts as they "sponsor" early evening commercial television. They also seem very coy about time in ports and time on the river. My preferred cruise idea was to allow you to see the rivers and the cities.

367:

But we weren't as soft as most people seem to be back then.

I think we've heard that one before…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=26ZDB9h7BLY

(Four Yorkshiremen.)

368:

They also seem very coy about time in ports and time on the river.

My wife's sister and husband did one not too long before everything shut down. Week or two I think. River was so low they had to take ride a bus for first half of trip. Seems to spoil the concept but that's just me.

369:

Oh, indeed, but it's an important point in the context of reducing the ecological harm done by transport. My estimate is that we could cut the damage done by a factor of about two without actually cutting back on usage. You sound as if you are claiming that we NEED 2 tonnes for personal transport, en-suite bathrooms in passenger ships, etc.

Some British humourist in the 1950s said "There, there, little luxury, don't cry; you'll be a necessity bye and bye."

370:

"But if you stuck a nuclear reactor under it, and added some waste processing capacity (just boiling the crap out of the sewage before discharging it would help)"

The Boiling Shit Reactor! Love it.

371:

You sound as if you are claiming that we NEED 2 tonnes for personal transport, en-suite bathrooms in passenger ships, etc.

No. My problem with passenger liners isn't that they're insufficiently luxurious, it's that I really dislike the idea of being crammed together with a crowd of strangers with no escape. Especially as passive politeness, or whatever you call avoiding doing things that will bother other people, seems less common than it was when I was young.

If you get sat beside a jerk on a plane, you have to endure them for less than a day. On a liner, you might have to endure the idiots in the neighbouring cabin for a week or two.

372:

Yes, yes, I know - nowadays, the younger generation have no manners and the lower classes don't know their place!

373:

nowadays, the younger generation have no manners and the lower classes don't know their place!

And everyone's writing a book.

374:

I'll point out a bit of a paradox:

-Bulk cargo is considered the most efficient method of moving stuff around, better sometimes than pipelines. This is on how much energy it takes to move a set weight a set distance.

-Cruise ships, conversely, reportedly blow 3-4 more CO2 per passenger mile than do jets.

So one issue isn't making cruise ships more like jets, it's making liners more like cargo vessels AND making them more hospitable. A 1-2 week Atlantic crossing is doable, at least according to most Americans' European ancestors and all the enlisteds who fought in the world wars.

I'd also point out that the European empires ran on ships, not jets, so there's definitely a cultural shift here.

Now, if I wanted to invent a nuclear-powered giant ship, my candidate would be a doubleplus-sized catamaran or trimaran. With cargo handling cranes on it. Its job is to be parked in or near a harbor and move cargo off of deep ocean cargo ships and onto lighters. Tie up the cargo ship outside the hulls, the lighters between the hulls (or perhaps vice versa) and move cargo from one to the other. The point of the multihull is to allow the platform to shift huge amounts of weight laterally from one ship to another without capsizing.

The reason for a cargo catanuke is that we're also collectively suffering from a bad case of Champlain Towers Syndrome when it comes to managed retreat from the waterfront due to rising sea levels. This is going to cripple oceanic transport, even if it is more efficient. So by the time we get our collective digits out of our collective orifices, it's entirely possible that harbors in general will be really bad places to offload big ships onto truck and rail. My solution is to move the bulkiest part of that offshore, in the hopes that smaller infrastructural changes (loading small lighters instead of behemoths) will be politically practical and doable with the onrushing concrete shortage. Or maybe they'll lighter with hovercraft or landing craft, and load the trucks offshore and run them onto engineered ramps built from the crushed debris of expensive shoreline towers.

Something similar could be done for passenger ships too, of course. The question then becomes: where does anyone build big ships, if people are so stupid about managing for sea level rise? Floating dry docks?

375:

*sigh*

Well, perhaps she helped me get it right, back in the nineties, when she and my late wife were both still alive?

Sorry, not funny to me, when it involves people I love who are dead.

376:

You wrote: "traditional Jewish specialty crafts/Guilds"

I beg your pardon? From the Renaissance up to the early 1900s, Jews were unwelcome or banned from guilds.

And "specialty crafts"? As opposed to doing *what* to survive?

377:

Yes. Not sure if you can read this - it's NYT, but let me note that, although they have a paywall/10 article mo limit, I run noScript, and have never had a problem looking at Krugman's page every day.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/07/29/opinion/covid-vaccinations-republicans.html

378:

Ahem, WTF?! And "no license"?!

379:

I was reading your post, and have just invented The Answer:
redesigned cargo containers as one room (and bathroom) living spaces, with windows on one side, and a door on the other.

Then the passengers bring whatever they want to their container over the week or so before the cruise, and lock it up. Time to go, and cranes load the ship with the containers, in the correct order, and you've got a private room, all handled by cargo cranes and a cargo ship with additional facilities.

380:

Oh, or two units, for the lower-cost option, with a shared bathroom.

381:

"I want to travel fast because, while I love seeing new places, I hate travelling."

The transport industry seems to operate on a twisted version of that: allow the experience of travelling to become more and more hateful, but attempt to compensate by making it fast enough that people don't just decide not to bother.

I much prefer the Midland Railway approach: they knew fine they could never be as fast to Scotland as the other railways with shorter routes, so they decided to be more comfortable and to lower the cost of comfort.

And the other railways had a fit about it, because it broke the principle of competition by brute force. You can always chuck more power at things to make them go faster, but to make them nicer is a lot more difficult, because you have to think about all sorts of little things instead of just concentrating on the single point of the size of the lump on the front; and you have to abandon the cherished principle of being a cheap-arsed git, in favour of ritually sacrificing at least one bean-counter for each individual minor improvement you make.

It's no surprise that railways these days have gone back to the brute force method. So we get trains with far too few seats on the train as a whole but far too many crammed into each individual carriage, the seats laid out with utter and deliberate disregard of whether you can actually see out of the window or not, and designed for people with huge fat arses and two prosthetic legs (the former to compensate for having a half-inch thickness of stale biscuit instead of a proper cushion, the latter plainly evident from the seat manufacturers' diagrams of human shadow-figures occupying their seats, their upper bodies doing various different things, but their legs all uniformly and rigidly "to attention" in a manner intolerable after five minutes or so for people with real legs). You are crammed into an airless and smelly tubular sardine can without even the chance to open the window and let some fresh air in. And as supposed compensation they blither on about "speed", doubling the traction power to shorten the average journey by no more than a couple of minutes but those two minutes being of desperate importance to people so impatient for the only pleasant moment of the journey, ie. the point where you finally get off the thing. It's a wonder people use trains at all when they could go by car and not have any of this shit.

Aeroplanes, by all accounts, take this awfulness to even greater extremes, extend the duration, and then add insult to injury by compelling you to spend several hours fucking around in airports at both ends being treated like the stooge in a clown act, instead of turning up 5 minutes before the thing leaves and walking straight off afterwards.

I am certain that the reality must be worse than I can imagine from the descriptions, and therefore am determined never to travel in one. If I needed to cross an ocean and the option was available, I would do so by ship without even considering air travel.

382:

Thinking about it (warning, this is always a bad sign), if you want intercontinental travel in a solarpunk world...

No, not airships. Those maxxed out at twice the speed of fast liners...

...Hydrogen powered flying boats. Here's the logic:

--hydrogen-powered aircraft are already sort of a thing, and absent a technological miracle that we should all pray and sacrifice for, hydrogen's probably more weight-efficient than batteries.

--In the 1930s, the first intercontinental air services often used long-range flying boats. The nice thing is that the failure mode of an aircraft running out of fuel and falling into the ocean is somewhat more survivable in a flying boat. Yeah...

--And far too many airports are near the sea and threatened by rising waters (true for every big airport in California, for instance (San Diego, LAX, SFO, Oakland, San Jose, for instance). Sooner or later, someone's going to realize that turning Lindbergh field into a boat ramp is cheaper than trying to keep raising the runway every two decades.

--But yeah, HyPow flying boats probably won't have the range of current jets.

--On the other hand, there's the horrible tragedy of all the atoll dwellers in the Pacific having to pack up and move, and what they can do with their islands and waters after they're uninhabitable.

--And my partial solution to the sunken atoll problem is to build floating, solar powered seawater hydrolysis facilities and moor them on the seamounts near the atolls (on top of the atolls is probably begging for trouble from storm waves, but I may have that reversed). They can be either owned outright by the island nations, or leased. But these facilities would be available to refuel flying boats and more regular watercraft, basically by capturing solar energy in bulk hydrogen and storing the "oh-the-humanity" gas in a place where the explosions don't matter quite so much. The gas station might also have a passenger area or chandlery for people to get off their vessels and recharge themselves while waiting for their vehicles to get refueled.

I've seen stupider things proposed for space travel. Why not?

383:

"If you get sat beside a jerk on a plane, you have to endure them for less than a day. On a liner, you might have to endure the idiots in the neighbouring cabin for a week or two."

But they are in a neighbouring cabin. You have your own cabin, and you can shut the door and ignore them. Or you can be somewhere else on the ship, strolling around the deck or whatever. You aren't forced into actual physical contact with their bodies by the seating design, you don't have to put up with their open-mouthed chewing and their farts and other stenches natural and artificial, you don't have to listen to them adulating Trump or some other arsehole, and you don't have to keep trying to avoid having your eye caught by the motion of the horse porn on their laptop.

384:

"The question then becomes: where does anyone build big ships, if people are so stupid about managing for sea level rise? Floating dry docks?"

On land. They'll float sooner or later...

385:

I was reading your post, and have just invented The Answer: redesigned cargo containers as one room (and bathroom) living spaces, with windows on one side, and a door on the other.

IIRC Neal Stephenson got there in Snow Crash a year or two ago.

More to the point, everybody likes playing with turning cargo containers into housing. The problem is that they're not built for housing, so by the time you put enough work into making them habitable, it's cheaper to custom-build whatever it was you wanted in the first place. To be clear, do I want to spend two weeks in a metal box on the deck of a ship in the Tropical Pacific? Oh hell no. Didn't various imperial navies use that as a form of punishment or torture?

But cargo ships are apparently one of the two ways you can get to the Marquesas Islands as a tourist (the other way being on your own boat), among other destinations, so it's entirely possible to combine slow passenger and cargo trips without much trouble. The question then becomes what makes for a suitable power source, and I'm torn between nukes and hydrogen.

386:

David L @ 324:

AIUI nuclear aircraft carriers take about 250MW of reactors, but they're on the order of 90-100,000 tons displacement and have to make way much faster than a civilian ship, so take way more power to run.

I also suspect the accessory electrical loads of a container ship are between 1/100 and 1/10 that of a carrier.

The Enterprise Class had 8 A2W reactors at 150MWth delivering 210MW (280,000 shp) to 4 shafts (2 reactors, 2 turbines/shaft). The rest of the output went to providing electrical power for the ship.

The Nimitz Class has 2 A4W reactors at 550MWth delivering 194MW (260,000 shp) to 4 shafts (2 shafts/reactor).

I didn't look too closely into how highly enriched the uranium in Aircraft Carrier reactors, but note the A2W reactor was supposed to use something like 93% enriched uranium (according to Wikipedia).

The one nuclear reactor I do know anything about is a Westinghouse Pressurized Water Reactor rated at 2900MWth capable of producing 900MWe (electricity?) with the fuel enriched to 5% average (according to their media guide).

The plant was originally going to be 4 units. I've wondered sometimes what happened to the other 3 reactor vessels that were not used because they cancelled units 2, 3 & 4. All four reactor vessels had already been delivered to the site when I was working there. They were on dunnage in the steel lay-down yard that I had to visit frequently as part of my job.

Also, I don't know how power output in MWth of the reactors is divided up between propulsion - shp and electrical power - MWe on the ships.

387:

Pigeon
"The brute force method" on trains
IS ENTIRELY down to the fucking arseholes in The Treasury & their minions in the DfT ....

As for Really Big ships ... its' time to re-create Project Habbakuk, surely?

388:

As to comfort vs cram them into tiny seats for transportation ...

I have some experience in this. Well my wife does. Over 30 years with a major US airline. And over 1/3 of that putting cheeks in seats. (Answering sales calls to sell tickets in a call center. Figure it out.)

A $10 cheaper crappy seat on a terrible connection would almost always be picked over a better seat with a decent connection. 95%+ of the time.

Folks will piss, moan, say things must be done, hearing get held, news stories written, whatever. But at the end of the day a large majority of the traveling public wants it cheap when they actually have to pull their money out of their pocket. Or give out their credit card number.

Which is why Ryanair in Europe and Spirit in the US have so many people picking them.

389:

Not always; My mother and sister have flown SleasyJet or O'Sleasy from choice, choice informed by getting the routes they wanted.

390:

Yes! Why oh why can't (more) railway companies compete with higher comfort nowadays?

I get a first class ticket these days (if available) the few times I have to travel - not that it's more comfortable (modern swedish rail cars are identical between 1st and 2nd class but you usually don't have to share compartment with too many others*... Oh - and I think you are supposed to get free wifi or something which I've never bothered to check...). A few times when there was a shortage of available train carriages they've had to exchange the modern doubledecker carriages with the old style ones. Then I pump my fist in the air and cry YES!!! COMFORT!!! LEG SPACE!!!

(*During the swedish Covid semi-lockdown there has been fewer seats available on every train departure. Do they space out the available seats maximally? Nope. On one journey we were three passengers in the whole 1st class compartment with our seat reservations clustered together with less than 1 meter between us. Sigh...)

391:

You missed my point - this is to *replace* cruise ships.

392:

But they are in a neighbouring cabin. You have your own cabin, and you can shut the door and ignore them.

Only if you are deaf. And you need to go out for meals, at least, and exercise…

393:

$10 cheaper seats? I've mostly flow American or Southwest. Upgrading from the cheap seats to "business class" - there's nothing in between - is more like $40+ and up.

394:

Elderly Cynic @ 336: In my case, no :-) I have set up my browsing environment so that it is cleared multiple times a day. I was particularly keen to ensure that when I found that some thrice-damned Web pages were downloading crap that I had not requested or even looked at.

That stuff never gets to the download folder.

Most of what was in there was fairly mundane ... "Do I still need this PDF of the manual for a camera I bought at a pawn shop for $5? No, it stopped working a couple of years ago. Bin it!"
...OTOH, it's obvious why I saved a copy of the XKCD cartoon for "Someone is wrong on the internet."
... or why I keep copies of photos that inspire me.

But why do I have a map (with photographs) showing the locations where all of the mafia leaders arrested at the 1957 "Apalachin Conference" in upstate New York had come from?

395:

So by the time we get our collective digits out of our collective orifices, it's entirely possible that harbors in general will be really bad places to offload big ships onto truck and rail.

Naah.

The point about freight is that once you unload it, you need to move it somewhere over land. For which, railfreight is the most efficient mechanism (when talking in terms of thousands of TEUs per day). So unloading from a ship directly onto a railhead as is done today is most efficient.

But, as you point out, managed coastal retreat is going to be necessary.

So I'd like to propose reviving a 19th century invention: the shipping canal. You just dig inland from the current harbour until you've got about 30-50km from the current coastline. You put in lock gates to help you get your ships above sea level. And along the way you have canalside railways (see also: Panama) and container cranes, because the railways aren't just for traction locomotives to tug the ships along -- they're to facilitate unloading and transfer of cargo.

In other words, make it a linear, inland container port rather than a parallelized one lying on the coastline, so that when "managed retreat" costs you a couple of kilometres, instead of losing your entire port you lose the equivalent of 10% of its quays.

396:

Containerized modular barracks are already a thing and were deployed on various British bases in Iraq and Afghanistan. They need power, water, and waste hook-ups and a current-generation container ship wouldn't do -- they're not designed to provide access to all the containers. When all's said and done, it's probably cheaper to just build traditional hotel quarters into the ship.

397:

I've seen stupider things proposed for space travel. Why not?

Because if you've got cheap hydrogen (presumably from electrolysis using PV power), then you can turn it into methane, which is vastly more energy-dense per unit volume and much easier to handle than hydrogen, and a practical-ish fuel. And if you can make methane you can turn it into longer-chain alkanes for not very much efficiency loss ... the end product of which is basically kerosene, at which point you can run existing jet engines with minimal tinkering rather than having to handle pressurized cryogenic gases that like to embrittle metals and leak through seals and joints.

I have no objection to your seaplanes, mind: they could even spend most of their time cruising in ground effect to reduce fuel burn. Why, we might even call them something weird and Russian-sounding like, oh, Ekranoplans?

398:

I'm going to side with Pigeon on this one.

Economy class international air travel is like having to spend the night sitting on a park bench shared with three or four random strangers.

Business class international air travel is like having to spend the night in a reclining armchair that lies flat and turns into a youth hostel bunk, with maybe one random person within arm's reach.

Sea travel ... unless we're reviving steerage, there'll be none of that: it'll be like spending up to a week in a cheap en-suite hotel room in a resort hotel with stuff like spas, bars, a library and a swimming pool to distract you.

It'll cost at least as much as that week in a cheap hotel, mind you, but then, so does the business class recliner on the airliner.

399:

Methane in an era of climate change? Seriously?

Um, No thank you very much...

400:

David L @ 362:

On a depressing note, Kenney & the UCP

When I was first fast reading this my brain saw the rest and was wondering who the UCP was and what they had to do with Louisiana. I had read "Kenney" as "Kennedy". The nutter Senator from Louisiana and grand kid of JFK who spends more time spreading anti vaccine information (since long before Covid) than doing anything useful.

He's not related to those other Kennedys. JFK does have one grandson, Jack Schlossberg (Caroline's son), but at age 28, he's still too young to serve in the Senate.

401:

Speaking as a not-a-frequent-flyer-right-now, who due to an accident of geography almost always has to fly via a connecting hub, my definition of a "good" connection might not match everyone else's. I'm used to making allowances for planes not arriving on schedule, so a couple of hours of slop -- make that 3-4 hours, if clearing international immigration and customs on my way somewhere -- is desirable, otherwise that "nice" 60 minute connection turns into a missed onward flight and I'm stuck somewhere like Detroit for the night.

And experience convinced me that while it was possible to save money by using a budget carrier, after paying for extra checked luggage, a preferred seat, and stuff like a meal, it was generally no cheaper than buying a ticket from a higher quality airline who still include the unbundled stuff as standard.

(NB: American and United can get in the fucking sea, and Delta aren't much better. I'm talking travel via KLM/Air France/Lufthansa relative to EasyJet or Ryanair, here, none of the US carriers do that stuff any more unless you count bizjet charter companies.)

402:

2CH4 + 3O2 -> 2CO2 + 2H2O

And the beauty of it is, it's reversible.

Of course you need to ensure your methane doesn't escape before you burn it (it being a potent greenhouse gas): but you make it out of air and water, and back to air and water it returns. If handling it gives you the collywobbles, turn it into decane instead -- something with a much lower vapour pressure, anyway. That's all.

I repeat: the problem with fossil fuels is the fossil part. If we're synthesizing alkanes from air, water, and electricity then burning them again we're not making a net contribution to the atmospheric CO2 level.

403:

whitroth @ 379: Yes. Not sure if you can read this - it's NYT, but let me note that, although they have a paywall/10 article mo limit, I run noScript, and have never had a problem looking at Krugman's page every day.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/07/29/opinion/covid-vaccinations-republicans.html

As far as I can tell their paywall does not apply to straight up News or to the Opinion pages. Every time I go there I get prompted to subscribe, but I've never been denied access to one of the articles I wanted to read (except back in 2004 when I WAS a subscriber and couldn't access the website from Iraq ... but that's another rant for another day).

I run a hosts file & NoScript.

404:

Portakabin will supply for rent or sale pretty much any sort of modular accomodation a company or individual might want but they're not made from TEU cargo containers. The 'kabins' are built from the ground up as accommodation and office modules. Most of them can be moved with container handling equipment that is also used to handle shipping containers and they can be transported as containers on trucks, trains, ships etc. since they commonly fit within the same size and mass straitjacket.

Big events I do stewarding jobs at use these sorts of cabins a lot for breaktimes and briefings. They come with all the plumbing and electrical gear built-in, heating, lighting etc. I've seen them fitted with countertops and sinks, tables, fixed seating, a modular kitchen with fridge and microwave, mud rooms with wet-gear storage, bunk rooms, showers etc. Modifying a cheap second-hand TEU container would take more effort than scratch-building what you want and result in a less livable product in the end.

405:

It's worse. You can't stretch your legs.

406:

I repeat: the problem with fossil fuels is the fossil part. If we're synthesizing alkanes from air, water, and electricity then burning them again we're not making a net contribution to the atmospheric CO2 level.

Um, sorry boss. Nope.

We're already at the "civilization teetering" level of GHGs in the atmosphere as I write this, and that's with most of the gas going into the ocean, which means it will come out again as we draw down atmospheric pools. And as we've found out, the idea of humus storing carbon is also bullshit*, so ecosystems thought to be big carbon sinks are turning into big carbon donors when heated a wee bit. Because we got the science wrong and modeled it wrong.

And that doesn't even count the idiots, cheats, and fools who let problems propagate into disasters.

Add that up, and we're stuck in a situation where pulling carbon out of the atmosphere and putting it back again is not a viable solution. Because we're human and live on Earth, it's one of those simple, clear, and wrong answers, so we're stuck with electricity and hydrogen.**

Sadly, the only people I hear pushing steady-state carbon cycling these days are sleazeball developers and their paid-off bureaucrats.

*https://www.quantamagazine.org/a-soil-science-revolution-upends-plans-to-fight-climate-change-20210727/

**screw up using nitrogen for energy storage, and you also get some really potent GHGs too. Idiot-proofing is hard.

407:

Basically with enough energy to hand any human-scale problem is solvable. Food? Synthesise a basic nutritional dole from sewage sludge, seawater and recycled plastics. Climate change? Reform atmospheric carbon into graphite and bury it deep. Aircraft fuel? Synthesise methane or longer-chain hydrocarbons or ammonia or whatever from seawater and atmospheric carbon. And so on.

The problem is 'enough' energy. The desperate need for energy to be CHEAP energy means fossil fuels are the only route to provide existing energy needs today as well as meet future growth in energy demand as the third world gets lighting and clean water and washing machines and transport and hospitals and so on.

My ballpark estimate for how much energy is required to give all 7.5 billion of us a decent standard of living is 15TW, or about 2kW per person on average. From various rather fuzzy sources the world consumption of energy (including process heat, heating, cooling, transport, electricity, toys etc.) at the moment is about 7TW and, again the numbers are a bit fuzzy, right now we get about 5TW of that from fossil fuels of various sorts. From an engineering standpoint we need to replace that 5TW of fossil fuel production now, today and preferably forty years ago with non-fossil-fuel generating capacity. That's not going to happen, sadly. After that's (not) achieved we need to double the amount of energy we currently produce, again without using fossil fuels, to give everyone a comfortable existence.

There are some things we can do with 15TW of dependable energy -- when it's noon on the International Date Line in the middle of the mostly uninhabited Pacific, energy consumption around the world drops off significantly and the energy surplus at that time could be used to actively decarbonise the atmosphere. A SWAG estimate suggests 1TW of energy dedicated to decarbonising could reduce the CO2 content of the atmosphere by 1ppm annually. That does require that 15TW of supply to be dependable and not subject to the vagaries of the diurnal cycle, clouds, seasons, weather etc.

408:

(Four Yorkshiremen.)

In colour ?? Luxury !!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VKHFZBUTA4k

409:

Ahem, WTF?! And "no license"?!

"This looks completely safe! What could possibly go wrong?"

410:

...OTOH, it's obvious why I saved a copy of the XKCD cartoon for "Someone is wrong on the internet."

You poor damaged soul... I memorized the URL.

411:

I will (unhappily) fly American. SWAir actually gives you more legroom. United... is below "none of the above". They're almost as bad as Continental was.

412:

it'll be like spending up to a week in a cheap en-suite hotel room in a resort hotel

I'd rather spend a few hours on the park bench, actually.

Last time I stayed at a hotel there were children running up and down the hallway yelling and beating on doors in the wee hours of the morning, and their indulgent parents just waited for them to tire themselves out and got profanely belligerent at any guest or employee who dared criticize their spawn or their parenting. Wasn't a cheap hotel, either, but apparently there wasn't much they could do so we had to suffer until checkout time (which on a ship could be a week or more away)…

413:

Containers can be quite impressive as buildings. After the first Christchurch earthquake in New Zealand they temporarily rebuilt part of the city centre using containers. The Restart Mall lasted from 2013 to 2018.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/ChzsmZaJ44fNFe8u8

There were shops, banks and restaurants as well as other buildings.

414:

In the Midwest of America, business are already building electrolysis plants to utilize the surplus power from windmills. What they are planning to do is sell it as natural gas as natural gas can be diluted up to 25% with Hydrogen with no modification needed to domestic burners.

This also means you can get your fuel cell/Hydrogen economy going using your existing infrastructure by extracting the Hydrogen from the natural gas at its destination.

415:

I've had one experience of going on a cruise ship, so it's not vast, but it's a data point.

Once you closed the quite substantial door (I'm guessing fire proof), you couldn't hear anything at all from the companionway. My guess is that steel walls block out more noise than fibreboard used in cheap hotels. In fact it was too quiet and my tinnitus went crazy. Opening the door to the balcony provided a nice wave slapping sound that covered the tinnitus nicely.

On the actual companionway my footsteps were silent. Not banging a wooden floor like a drum. Again, steel deck and sound proofing probably had something to do with it. It seemed like someone had paid attention to sound damping.

416:

Fair enough. Definitely no offence intended there and apologies for poking a sensitive spot.

417:

Both whitroth and CS.

First off this blog is no where near representative of the typical flyer. (My wife and I fly a lot of standby. We are pretty good at allowing enough buffer time.)

Second for most US airlines the cabin is mostly full of folks who might fly twice a year. At most.

Third, I'm not talking seat prices within a carrier. But across all carriers. When my wife was "on the phones" they could see all the air fares for carriers that interline. And if asked THEY HAD to answer if there was a cheaper fare. And would sell it if demanded. Not so true anymore. But still ...

And people would call in saying Southwest has a $100 fare but it leaves at 5am and the return gets in at midnight. What do you have. $110 for 8 am depature and 10pm return. "No thanks".

And the number of people who booked their own segments involving Southwest and the majors and didn't understand that no interlining means no baggage transfers between the airlines. But they saved $40 total on their tickets for their vacation. With maybe a missed flight or two tossed in due to personally having to transfer bags.

As to finding a good seat. We were on our way to Ireland when we noticed a plane change. 777 to 767 or similar. Which pushed us out of business seating into crammed coach. So we hopped a flight CLT to ORD so we could catch a coach ride on a 787 which while not business was much better than "steerage" on a 767. And we manged to bump up to economy plus once at ORD.

418:

Intra-Community purging of Mythology (with a healthy dose of anti-women) is not exactly unique to the two later branches of Abrahamic religions. Oooooh. Careful, us Djinn know our crab-apples.
The real question there is how/why after 4/2/1 thousand years, Djinn (and other real folklore...) have survived all these purges by all three branches of Abrahamic Religions.

Yes. Thanks for pointing this out.

The Heart stuff is doable by your Zen Masters,
Mmm.
As an odd kid (pre-internet, and definitely not a zen master :-), I once trained up on limited mental resistance to electric shock, with self-controlled voltage (a variable transformer). Current flowing across the body from one hand to the other. Technically an extremely bad idea, since there is a (smallish - 10 to 30-millisecond) subsection of the heartbeat cycle that does not like interference (which can be also mechanical, e.g. a punch). (And yes, causality for arrhythmias can be difficult(impossible) for doctors to determine.)

419:

My point about Iran was slightly different.
It's about a mindset that thinks more probabilistically (though usually intuitively), that is less common in the west. And this style of thinking recognizes statistical outliers with more precision than is typical in the west, and some ascribe some of these these outliers to supernatural entities.
Example: in Iran, and in much of the middle east, backgammon is a very popular game. Most beginners who play with an expert suspect that the expert is cheating at dice rolls in some way that they can't determine. Mostly (not always :-) this is the not the case. The expert player is just maximizing "equity" at every decision point (the moves after their dice roll); essentially they are attempting to maximize their probability of eventually winning.
In the 1990s superhuman ML performance in the game of backgammon was achieved with a combination of expert level players trained using reinforcement learning, and either shallow lookahead or statistical (confidence) pruning of rollouts, which are the playing out of thousands of games using expert level machine players from each possible move given the dice roll. (This can be done in parallel.)
Top human players are very nearly this good.

420:

I've only been on one multi-day cruise, on a river. It was noisy.

421:
Speaking as a not-a-frequent-flyer-right-now, who due to an accident of geography almost always has to fly via a connecting hub, my definition of a "good" connection might not match everyone else's.

As a now permanently ex-frequent flyer (a trip every two weeks or so), permit me to suggest the following way to select flights.

(1) Try to find direct flights to your US destination from somewhere in Europe.

(2) Only then figure out connections.

For example, as someone who flew into Denver every year, it was a pleasure to discover that British Airways do a direct flight from LHR. So I then fixed up a train to London from Manchester, and got the office to book the car needed to get to Teluride or Aspen.

You'll note that I used a train for the 185 miles to London -- it's quicker than flying, once you account for the security theatre etc etc. And it is a genuine pleasure to be a Foreign National landing in the USA oustide of one of the big hubs.

By the by, I never did figure out why Bob didn't use that direct flight LHR to Denver when we first meet Schiller and Persephone. Unreliable narrator getting drunk again?

---
Other tips: never, ever use Atlanta. The one thing you can rely on is that the weather will screw up all the connections. Oh, and in Europe you'll probably be using LHR, CDG, or FRA as your hub. Though Madrid is good for South America.

422:

"Add that up, and we're stuck in a situation where pulling carbon out of the atmosphere and putting it back again is not a viable solution."

I really don't understand this. What makes it so much worse than just leaving the carbon in the atmosphere, which appears to be your proposed alternative?

If you are suggesting pulling out the carbon, and keeping it out, then this needs to be done independently of fuel sourcing, anyway, so no difference.

JHomes.

423:

Basically we agree. At the moment carbon and other manmade GHGs need to be removed from the atmosphere (and also from the ocean, where carbon's fucking up a lot of necessary things) and kept out.

When you can explain to me how to distinguish between, say, which part of the methane in your tank was very recently synthesized from air and which methane was extracted from a source that would have otherwise have kept it out of the air...then we can start talking about how to keep all the plumbing and moving parts properly sealed so that leaks never happen. Then, maybe, we can start talking about how to keep a stable supply of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere for use in society, and how to sequester the rest.

Until then, it's a utopian fancy. Without cheap, effective controls on this level, it's easier to cheat (extract fossil fuels) and/or be careless (leak) than it is to do the right thing.

424:

Talk to the poker players, perhaps?

The fun part is that this is little different than the STARGATE Program and other CIA attempts to use the paranormal for remote viewing. If you want to amuse yourself, try figuring out the difference between the Roman Genii and the Arabic Jinni. Then figure out how you'd parse, oh, remote viewing or ESP in a language that depended on Jinni instead.

Oh, and have a chat with Legba about why he's the intermediary between humans and spirits, while you're at it. He likes to talk.

425:

Here's red AND green, from a program I'm sure you will remember: https://images.app.goo.gl/RFs53TVnRYdwqXrW9

426:

Here's red AND green, from a program I'm sure you will remember...

If you're going to roam the wild, wild west you should travel in style!

427:

My very Methodist mother (and a DAR) bought into in innocence of residence schools for Native American children, lock, stock, and barrel. But, her generation wasn't much for introspection.

428:

#417 - That agrees nicely with my experiences of overnight ferries (North Sea Ferries Hull - Zeebrugge). So that's definitely 2 data points from different ship owners.

#419 - I repeat, the "best route" is a factor. If your trip is Dumbarton (Scotland) to Limerick (Eire), your routings are:-
1) Train Dumbarton - Prestwick, then O'Sleasy direct to Shannon or
2) Train + Bus or taxi Dumbarton - Glasgow Airport, Aer Lingus to Dublin, and either Bus Eirann for 3 hours or 3 hours at Dublin waiting for the Aer Lingus flight to Shannon.
The return services are the same things backwards.
So you fly O'Sleasy not because they're cheap, not because they're more comfortable, but because they're 2 hours faster.

429:

While the contain mall is now long gone (some of it was moved/recycled in Kaikoura), a similar but more permanent set up has been created called the Boxed Quarter: http://www.boxedquarter.co.nz/boxed

430:

Other tips: never, ever use Atlanta. The one thing you can rely on is that the weather will screw up all the connections. Oh, and in Europe you'll probably be using LHR, CDG, or FRA as your hub. Though Madrid is good for South America.

For me, the never-use connection is Chicago O'Hare (which is always congested AF).

But due to personal prejudices: I refuse to fly BA (or Ryanair), and refuse to use LHR or LGW. Which is why I default to KLM/Air France or maybe Lufthansa for the intercontinental stuff. Noted exception: when there's a Delta shuttle service between Edinburgh and JFK, that's my fastest route into the US (aside from immigration at JFK being nearly as bad as LHR).

431:

As up thread Charlie, O'SleasyAir is sometimes the best routing by far, like West of Scotland to Shannon.

432:

Longtime lurker, but if y'all are going to start discussing Arab identity, guess it's time for me to chip in.

The basic points to understand here are that:
- No Arab country is monoethnic, and Palestine is no exception - there are Palestinian Dom (i.e. Roma, more or less), Palestinian Armenians (some refugees from the genocide, some much earlier arrivals), Circassians (19th c. refugees from the Russians), even a couple of Kabyles (19th c. refugees from the French)... all stuck in the same boat of statelessness or second-class citizenship.
- Arab identity is almost as assimilationist as, say, American identity. A few crusty emirs may still believe that the only real Arabs are those who can trace their descent back to some 6th-century Arabian tribe, but by and large, if you speak Arabic well enough and decide to call yourself Arab, you're Arab as far as most Arabs are concerned. Doesn't mean your ancestors suddenly changed.

433:

if you speak Arabic well enough and decide to call yourself Arab, you're Arab as far as most Arabs are concerned

That sounds more assimilationist than a great many Americans (and most Republicans — at least, most Republicans who get into the news).

434:

Legba is easy. A nice sweet cup of coffee, and he gets all chatty.

Now the Guede loa, they can be tricky. The Baron is pretty finicky about his rum.

435:

So you fly O'Sleasy not because they're cheap, not because they're more comfortable, but because they're 2 hours faster.

I agree. You and I are on the same page. People will put up with a crappy seat to save $$/££/€€. Of what ever they think the equivalent is. Schedule being one of them.

My point is people complain about comfort all the time but in the end people don't want to pay for it if there's a choice.

436:

the never-use connection is Chicago O'Hare

I look at O'Hare (ORD) differently. At least for domestic flights. Outside of mid July into mid September when thunderstorms can wreak schedules there and at DFW and mess up the entire country I like ORD. If something goes wrong there is almost always another flight that gets me on my way. Ditto DFW. ATL is similar but I don't have the flight privileges on Delta.

But one thing about ORD, it is just flat out boring.

You also mentioned avoiding United. You should watch them. Like all US based carriers they are not the same as 5 or 10 years ago. Kirby seems to be working hard to make them into more of a quality product instead of a people stuffed into a tube carrier. (I've not flown United in 20 years so this is based on my reading of the situation.)

437:

Damian@353 writes: "telepresence is mainstream and physical office location stopped meaning anything serious early 2020."


Sure would be great if that were true. Then space for tens of millions of office workers in NYC, SF, LA, Boston and Chicago would no longer be needed. Neither would pricey residences within commute distance of those cities. Urban real estate values would drop sharply, along with advertising expense and zoning restrictions required to artificially prop up the many financial juggernauts derived off of those land prices. Could be a real fresh start for economies worldwide, generally.

Wonder what the ramifications would be if all the cash jammed in to London, HongKong and Tokyo real estate suddenly cut loose and went looking for returns elsewhere. Could actually be invested in stuff people need, but how many billionaires would get demoted to mere multi-millionaires if that happened.

Assuming they all gang up as usual in the name of asset protection to prevent such an outcome, how will they do it? Bet there'll be a whole new media emphasis on urban glamor, such as remakes and intensification of old series like Friends, 90210, LA Law, Dallas, CSI Miami, Sex & the City, and The Real Housewives of Insert $City Name. A slimefest worthy of the 1980s. Watch for it, this coming fall season at a network near you!

438:

Haven't used a travel agent in several dog's years. I usually use Travelocity or Orbitz, which give me by price all airlines (except for SW). I'm willing to pay $20-$30 more to get leave times I want, and direct flights. I am *not* willing to add $40-$80 on top of that for business class.

Oh, and the only time I've checked luggage in the last 20 years was on Iceland Air in '14 (I could have packed less than 20+Kg in my internal-frame travel pack.)

439:

I will note that AFAIK, Roman genii were spirits of a specific place, not mobile, where the Arabic genie were mobile, and not tied.

440:

Moderators, chatbot detected, #427.

441:

I don't have a real problem with O'Hare, though I prefer Midway (SW).

However, when we went to LonCon III in '14, we took the Megabus up from DC to NYC, and then flew in and out of JFK - it was something like $200 PER TICKET (for each of three of us) cheaper than, say, BWI.

442:

Chatbot zapped.

Oddly, they showed up with a comment once before -- in 2015. But the semantics were almost identical, so I guess they were just trying to funnel link mojo to their own website rather than directly advertising anything.

443:

Again, the crowd here is NOT representative of most flyers.

My wife and associates got to talk to them for nearly 2 decades. They are NOT use.

Everyone from a couple flying from NYC to Miami who didn't want to take the flight (last minute) because they couldn't sit next to each other to famous actor who's wife didn't remove the luggage routing sticker so her Oscar's night dress went to London instead of LA so they got to get with the LHR baggage folks and get it on the next flight to LAX. Dress made it in time so no Beverly Hills shopping needed.

444:

For saving money leaving UK (or just England) the ticket taxes leaving the country are way higher than others in Europe. To the extent you can take the Chunnel train form London to Paris or Amsterdam and fly back for the almost the same price as the flight to the US out of LHR.

For those of us with hotel reward nights so we can spend a day or two in the other city this is a great deal.

If we ever make it to London for a week our plan is to do this for the return or take the train/ferry to Dublin and return from there.

445:

Elderly Cynic @ 407: It's worse. You can't stretch your legs.

Plenty of leg-room on a C-130, although facilities at the destination airport are sometimes a bit primitive ... assuming there is an airport at the destination. 8^D

446:

PS: Airline employees in the US call it the "Queen's Tax".

447:

A significant number of containers are lost at sea from ships in storms. Not an appealing way to travel.

Many thousands of sailors still spend months at sea on cargo ships. It wouldn't be so hard to imagine ways to expand that to include non-working passengers. The problem is not the ships it is the time.

In the US few people are able to take more than 2 weeks vacation/year, because it is an utopia of capitalist freedom and the free market. ;) Nobody is going to spend all that time on a ship unless it is a holiday in itself - hence the cruise ship industry.

Other places that more closely resemble dystopian socialist nightmares have longer vacation times and more ability to take holidays, but few people can leave for months at a time, and even if they can don't want to bracket their trip with weeks in a marginally comfortable and possibly scary ship.

A more practical solution will be to find ways to neutralize the carbon cost of air travel.

448:

Assuming they all gang up as usual in the name of asset protection to prevent such an outcome, how will they do it?

By pushing companies to insist that workers return to the office, or discriminating against those who work remotely, or lowering wages of those who work somewhere with lower CoL…

449:

then added fast satellite internet (hello, Starlink)

Do you consider Starlink to be a valid solution? This video claims otherwise:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3YLWlALwObA

TL;DW:

  • Each transceiver dish is sold at a $1500 loss,
  • just to get the satellites in orbit will cost $38.5 billion,
  • the satellites will cost $10.5 billion to manufacture,
  • replacing malfunctioning satellites will cost $1.5 billion/year,
  • salaries estimated at $457 million/year,
  • satellites have an estimated 5 year life span, and there are 42000 of them; hello space junk,
  • there are currently 500000 signed up subscribers to cover this cost.

This does not include office spaces, ground base stations, maintenance. In short, the math just doesn't add upp.

450:

Robert Prior @ 414:

it'll be like spending up to a week in a cheap en-suite hotel room in a resort hotel

I'd rather spend a few hours on the park bench, actually.

Last time I stayed at a hotel there were children running up and down the hallway yelling and beating on doors in the wee hours of the morning, and their indulgent parents just waited for them to tire themselves out and got profanely belligerent at any guest or employee who dared criticize their spawn or their parenting. Wasn't a cheap hotel, either, but apparently there wasn't much they could do so we had to suffer until checkout time (which on a ship could be a week or more away)…

My Mom's solution would have been tranquilizer darts à la Marlin Perkins.

I hope you at least got a partial refund on the room rate ... and posted an honest bad review on their web-page (or yelp or ...).

451:

David L @ 445: Again, the crowd here is NOT representative of most flyers.

My wife and associates got to talk to them for nearly 2 decades. They are NOT use.

Everyone from a couple flying from NYC to Miami who didn't want to take the flight (last minute) because they couldn't sit next to each other to famous actor who's wife didn't remove the luggage routing sticker so her Oscar's night dress went to London instead of LA so they got to get with the LHR baggage folks and get it on the next flight to LAX. Dress made it in time so no Beverly Hills shopping needed.

Did he remember to thank your wife and the LHR baggage handlers in his acceptance speech?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bGkfBw7v55c

I couldn't find his bit about flying to Los Angeles for an appearance & his tuxedo having "a fine vacation in Hawaii".

452:

Your figures for Starlink are whack.

The satellites cost only $250,000 each b/c they're mass produced: 6000 of them would cost $1.5Bn, not $10.5Bn.

Launches: they lift 60 at a shot on refurb Falcon 9's. The retail price of those launches is $60M a flight, so they'd sell 100 flights (6000 satellites) to a third party customer for $6Bn, not $38.5Bn. But they're flying Falcon 9 first stages 10 or more times now, so that $60M/flight is a profit-taking price assuming new hardware on each flight; they're clearly a lot cheaper in-house. (I've seen some estimates that a pre-flown Falcon 9 stack tends towards a launch cost of $10-12M, not $60M.)

There aren't anything like 42,000 Starlink sats; the cluster runs on 2000-6000 satellites, 42,000 sounds like an estimate for the total number of satellites launched over a 30 year period, with build-out to cover currently uncovered areas.

I strongly suspect the transceivers are not being sold at a $1500 loss -- that's the cost for the first run prototypes/beta test units, and assumes no amortization over a customer locked into a multi-year contract.

The current 500K subscribers is for a service still in beta testing, not a final product. Add a couple of orders of magnitude!

Finally, Starlink is being sold heavily to US cablecos who have a universal service obligation and who can't afford/don't want to send out a backhoe and cable-laying crew to an isolated house several miles up a mountain road. They can stick a Starlink node on the customer's premises and discharge their obligation, thereby avoiding hefty fines or loss of a valuable commercial franchise. So the cablecos subsidize Starlink indirectly due to structural inefficiencies in the phone/cable TV/ISP regulatory system (in the US).

453:

I hope you at least got a partial refund on the room rate ... and posted an honest bad review on their web-page (or yelp or ...).

Talked to the manager in the morning. He was dreadfully apologetic, but it sounded like there really was nothing the night staff could do other than put the family on the 'banned' list. It was the children causing the noise, and understandably no one on staff was willing to physically restrain the kids (when the parents refused).

Maybe they could have refunded the family and had them trespassed from the hotel, but the police might not have enforced that against children. I wouldn't have wanted to make that call myself.

I didn't ask for a refund or discount — I wasn't paying for the room myself.

Nowadays I'd be tempted to film it, obscure the kids faces, and send the clip to one of those Karen-themed Youtube channels. "entitled parents let kids burn off energy in hotel corridor at 2AM"

454:

How to power an airliner, post-fossil-fuel:

Plan 1: Windmill makes electricity. Take water from atmosphere. Use electricity to turn into hydrogen and oxygen. Release the oxygen into the air. Put the hydrogen in the airplane. Airplane mixes hydrogen with air and burns it. Original amount of water is returned to the atmosphere.

Plan 2: Windmill makes electricity. Take water and carbon dioxide from atmosphere. Use electricity to turn into synthetic kerosene and oxygen. Release the oxygen into the air. Put the synthetic kerosene in the airplane. Airplane mixes synthetic kerosene with air and burns it. Original amount of water and carbon dioxide is returned to the atmosphere.

Why do you prefer Plan 1 to Plan 2?

Plan 2 maybe requires a bigger windmill per calorie of fuel due to the more complex chemical process, but Plan 1 requires more calories of fuel per passenger-mile due to less dense fuel hence bigger tanks.

In the long run whichever plan requires a smaller windmill per passenger-mile wins. In the short run Plan 2 wins because of not wanting to replace airplanes before they wear out.

455:

Not that we have the money to do Europe, when we do (hopefully) Glasgow (and the UK, and Ireland) in '24, but... really? When we flew in '14, it was just over $1100 per ticket to LHR.

456:

Did he remember to thank your wife and the LHR baggage handlers in his acceptance speech?

No. But thanked the call center folks profusely. I will not say who it was.

And it wasn't the baggage handlers. It was the folks in the LHR baggage office who NEVER get to talk to anyone who does start off with a problem.

457:

Guess I should be honored that my neurodivergence parse as a chatbot.

Or maybe offended. Autism/High Potential/Schizophrenic/Sociologically Illuminated are all facets of the same genetic markers. Maybe.

No matter, maybe you should try to write in another language and see how well you fare.

Anyway, have fun with your fictional utopias. I'll go on a little bit in French because I'm Cuh-raaaaazy.

Je suis vraiment un fan de longue date, avant la sortie des atrocity archives. J'ai lu la plupart de tes romans 2 à 3 fois et tu comptes parmi les rares auteurs vivants dont j'achète chaque livre à la sortie.

Désolé d'avoir essayé d'instiller un peu de réalisme magique dans vos masturbations intellectuelles sur les avions qui volent très vite, les tanks qui résistent aux gros n'obus, et de communiquer à ma manière maladroite.

Je continuerai à lire tes livres mais comme je me sens particulièrement mal accueilli (un commentaire en 2015 pour signaler un jeu en rapport avec le sujet de la discussion qui aura été ignoré jusqu'à aujourd'hui et un deuxième cette année, terriblement louche pour un lurker qui s'est identifié comme tel) revenir lire les délires de Cat in A Diamond, de Bill Arnold, de ce droitiste virant extreme Dirk Bruere (ok lui je sais qu'on ne le reverra plus) gardera ce sale gout d'avoir été considéré comme une machine par des gens dont je connais tellement de la vie privée et publique que ca pourrait facilement être mes amis.

Mais des gens qui me traitent comme une putain de machine sans âme, ca fait mal au cul, on dirait les commentaires que me faisaient les gamins populaires avant que je ne leur mette un pain dans la gueule pour leur rappeler de ne jamais se fier aux apparences.

En un mot: Déçu :(

Paix, Amour et Lumière.

458:

If you want to fly to Europe for just 2 people and can figure out how to spend $3K to $6K (haven't looked lately) on a credit card or two within 3 months you can do it with points/miles. You might have to do it with 2 cards in two 3 month periods. (I think this is a mostly US thing.)

Unless Charlie says it's OK I'll not post a link to sites that will tell you how. My wife is almost retired and we want to fly to places that her airline doesn't go to. So we've been doing points and miles for about 5-7 years. I had some great opportunities to spend a big ($10K in 6 months) chunk of money on some cards. That and a few other things and I'm sitting on the equivalent of first class anywhere in the world for the two of us several times over. Or premium economy or business a lot more times. Plus 20 to 25 nights at hotels. There are also cards that allow you to build up hotel nights.

But you have to get over some major myths about credit and credit cards that many believe.

Just as a data point, my daughter has been around the world twice on points. And she and her husband spent 5 nights in Japan, first and/or business both ways with a total of under $500 on hotel and airline cash spending.

459:

> I was really a longtime fan, before the atrocity archives came out. I have read most of your novels 2-3 times and you are one of the few living authors from whom I buy every book when it comes out.

Sorry for trying to instill a little magical realism in your intellectual masturbations on planes that fly very fast, tanks that resist big busses, and communicate in my awkward way.

I will continue to read your books but as I feel particularly unwelcome (a comment in 2015 to report a game related to the topic of the discussion that will have been ignored until today and a second this year, terribly shady for a lurker who identified himself as such) come back to read the delusions of Cat in A Diamond, of Bill Arnold, of this extreme right-wing player Dirk Bruere (ok him I know we will never see him again) will keep this dirty taste of to have been seen as a machine by people whose private and public life I know so much that it could easily be my friends.

But people who treat me like a fucking machine without a soul, it hurts the ass, it sounds like the comments popular kids made to me before I gave them a shit to remind them never to trust appearances.

In a nutshell: Disappointed :(

Peace, Love and Light.

Yeah that's not a bot

460:

Shells, not buses... :)

461:

"A significant number of containers are lost at sea from ships in storms. Not an appealing way to travel."

Hardly surprising though when they stack them up so high and wide you can barely see the ship underneath them and make it look like it'll roll over as soon as it moves away from the dock...

But I thought we'd already established that if you were going to put people in them you would have to load them onto the ship in a different pattern from the usual cargo stack.

462:

Why do you prefer Plan 1 to Plan 2?

Two reasons.

The big one: Because it allows fossil fuel extractors to cheat by infiltrating stuff out of the ground with stuff from the air,

and

The other big one: Oddly enough, the delights of engineering simplicity and transport speed are more important than this reality that climate change is already killing people, through storms, floods, and fires. Flying is not more important than life.

I'm touched (slightly sarcastically) that you don't see the fossil fuel industry as capable of cheating on sourcing of petrochemicals, after they've spent 70 years attacking every effort to deal with climate change.

I'm troubled by how we can have conversations here about how sucktastic air travel is, while someone proposing an alternative gets shot down with an argument that basically says that the airline status quo is not only not sucktastic but in fact wonderful.

Anyway, the bottom line is that the only way to keep the fossil fuel industry from cheating is to get away from fossil fuels entirely. There's absolutely nothing in their record that suggests they won't cheat on emissions limits if those limits are above zero. I'd even go so far as to say that they'll cheat on emissions until their facilities are systematically dismantled, given that is what's happened with everything from CFCs to illegal drugs.

463:

Should I assume that's translated from French? In any case, the one I call chatbot was not in any way as coherent as that - it rambled, and jumped all over, making no sense that I could get out of it.

464:

Yes. Thatsthejoke.jpg. It's a Marx Joke. Do you think mythology is not purely an economic manifestation? "Where did Golems come from?" - Poland.

Why?

Well, now we're going to have to discuss Pogroms.

It's Dirty and Harsh but the "Luddite" is kinda the meta-punch-line.

(Although, not True: Jewish communities were certainly given specific Liens in European Economic Systems and there are fairly obvious outliers even in ultra-Catholic Empires such as Spain, e.g. why those explorers and later slave shippers happened to be sometimes Jewish, not to mention much earlier in Eygpt and spices but hey. It was never a monolith. Nor were Jewish communities ever solely Tax / Financial based and Industrialisation really did destroy a lot of communities)

See? PTerry says: life ain't easy Black/White.

~

delusions

Look: here's the way this works:

1) Post humourous image of Macron

2) Ask why?

3) Answer:

3a) On the one hand, Macron is currently taking someone to court in France for posting a large (think Trump / Bibi) building sized picture of him as Hitler for defamation. This has caused well, it's all the obvious tradework[tm] of a Right-Wing destablizing crew working the France (anti-lockdowns, anti-vaxx, anti-Covid Passport) memes. Thus, posting a ridiculous shot of him without resorting to crude Hitler tropes shows you can do this stuff without even resorting to you know, "that rule of the internet".

3b) That image / vid has hit and been spread by some interesting parties. Go look them up. Some are USA / IL, some are actual people involved (thus the link is to... one of them, not one of the US/IL accounts sharing it)

3c) Far more interesting is looking up: a) The French banning protests on Macron's jaunt (mostly Nuke testing protests), b) wondering why an "over-abundance of gift tokens" might be seen as a protest against this ("kill them with kindness") and c) actually going and reading said islander's own thoughts on it. Thus the "555555".

3d) Why US/IL are fanning it? Probably should look up CN fish farms and investments and FR canning it on said trip and the geopolitics of the SE Asia region with regard to US/IL interests (IL mentioned here because one of the other investment paths FR skipped over... yep, IL).


And so on.

We CAN DO THIS FOR EVERY SINGLE LITTLE DETAIL.

Sooo, we're thinking about Parkinsons, dead MUCH LOVED AUTHORS and "Anti-Trf" (name deleted) etc etc, and... hit up your social media, guess what just landed.

We're giving you a future-grep so you can a) not get damaged by the heinous stuff and b) easily counter it.

~

And yes: for £60,000,000 you would not believe the shit Humans are willing to do to other Humans.

But people who treat me like a fucking machine without a soul, it hurts the ass, it sounds like the comments popular kids made to me before I gave them a shit to remind them never to trust appearances.

Given you're not [redacted] this is a little harsh: we don't peg those who don't ask nicely. Hint: they're not delusions, they're... stuff you don't know about.

~

do a grep: repo market hit $1 trillion. Sept 2019, told you that was nothing.


Posted at 3:33 because we can.

465:

The sad problem with tranquilizer darts is that you've got to have a good estimate of your target's weight and/or height to calibrate the dose in the dart. Some drug dosages scale with weight, some with surface area (go figure), and I don't know which is true for fentanyl or whatever sublethal concoction you're going to hit them with. Oh yeah, fentanyl: get the dose wrong and the patient does a Michael Jackson/Prince/Tom Petty finale, so you've got to monitor your victim patient rather closely and be able to revive them if they stop breathing.

And oh how I wish this weren't true. I want a phaser set to stun! Speaking of which:

My personal dream is murder-hornet shaped drones with tasers in their tails. They'd only be good for maybe a second, so you release 100 of them and hope your swarm management software is good enough to put a necklace of hornet drones on everybody you want to be really peaceful right now or else.

466:

Dude is posting in French without spotting us... actually kinda supporting his side.

If you think UK protests have been "odd", France is doing it old-skool. They got the spark, and there's several High-Powered Crews working the angles in there.

Hey, grep us discussing a really big joke about Paris suburbs with Henry and never getting any love for it. Vous pensez que la situation actuelle est folle ? Oh non. Nous sommes juste en 1788.

We don't discuss it because Host hasn't show any interest it in.

~

Back to TR, where things are... well. Burning.

467:

Votre crise ontologique n'est pas due à nous, mais au fait que votre définition de ce qu'est un « humain » a cessé d'avoir une base factuelle il y a plus de cinq ans.


We gave up the LOA to help you out, you've no idea what it cost us.

468:

Heteromeles,

It is beginning to sound, to me at least, as though you are saying that it is more important to prevent the fossil fuel companies from being even able to cheat should they so wish, than to actually stop fossil carbon getting into the air.

Consider: Currently there are no hydrogen fueled aircraft extant. If the designers are working on them Right Now, a couple of years minimum before a proof of concept aircraft flies, maybe ten, maybe longer, before the first flight the point of which is to move passengers or freight from A to B and they use a hydrogen fueled aircraft because that's what's there, and I doubt that either of us will live (barring major medical breakthroughs) to see Hydrogen aircraft outnumber carbon burners.

In the meantime, aviation will be burning carbon fuels. Under Plan 1, all fossil carbon. Is that really what you want?

In the meantime, there is a simple check on cheating (not foolproof, but enough to make cheating too much like hard work). If we know how much fuel from atmospheric carbon is sold to the airlines, which should be able to be determined from available data, and how much the airlines have actually used, then the difference is the fossil carbon, and it doesn't matter how honest the fossil fuel companies are about it. I don't trust them any more than you do, except I doubt they'd really pull a Dick Dastardly Stops To Cheat.

JHomes

469:

whitroth @ 465
JUST LIKE posts 466, 468, 469, 420, 331, 328, 275, 240, 239, 237, 236 - you mean ... like that??
Obvious chatbot, no coherent structure & usually zero meaning or content?

470:

Not that we have the money to do Europe, when we do (hopefully) Glasgow (and the UK, and Ireland) in '24, but... really?

Yes, the UK departure tax is higher than from the EU hubs. But the cost of using the Chunnel to get to Paris CDG is higher than a budget airline ticket from London to Paris. From here in Scotland, it's ridiculous: you're looking at a 4h15m to 5h30m train ride to London, change stations, then another couple of hours to get to Paris, at a price comparable to a budget trans-Atlantic flight. (Only Londoners find the channel tunnel convenient -- for the rest of the UK it's eye-roll territory.)

For entering the UK from the US, you might want to check for flights direct to GLA (Glasgow Airport) or EDI (Edinburgh Airport, frequent coaches to Glasgow centre, or tram to Haymarket then train to Glasgow). Customs and Immigration at both those airports is much less busy and congested than at London (except Edinburgh in August, if the Edinburgh Festival is getting back to normal by then) and there are direct flights from the USA. Do not consider Prestwick, sometimes billed as Glasgow's second airport: it's actually in the middle of nowhere with minimal ground transport links to the big cities -- driving is the only convenient way to access it, and you do not want to hire a car in a country that drives on the opposite side of the road after a red-eye flight plus jet lag. (Also, car hire in the UK is about twice as expensive as it is in the USA and our cities were not designed around automobiles.)

471:

For the prices, I agree. But it's a lot more convenient for people on a Kings's Cross / St Pancras (or even Euston) line. It's not great, I agree, because the air lobby ensured that the gummint constrained it to be very airline-like.

But I can assure you that using Thiefrow or Grotwick from Cambridge is a horror - yes, I really DO mean allowing 4-5 hours for departure and 2-3 for return, in addition to the other nightmares. Services from Stansted are severely limited by the airport cartel and Luton is unspeakable.

When I was skiing in Montgenevre, the train trip took one hour longer than the fastest flying route, and was actually enjoyable rather than a complete day of hell.

472:

It is beginning to sound, to me at least, as though you are saying that it is more important to prevent the fossil fuel companies from being even able to cheat should they so wish, than to actually stop fossil carbon getting into the air.

You know, you're going to have to maintain a higher level of stem-winding to keep this game interesting for either of us...

473:

I'm touched (slightly sarcastically) that you don't see the fossil fuel industry as capable of cheating on sourcing of petrochemicals, after they've spent 70 years attacking every effort to deal with climate change.

Your problem is not specifically the fossil fuel industry so much as it's the system of incentives in place under our current capitalist system.

It's like looking at the Sacklers and Oxycontin as a leading cause of opiate deaths and deciding to ban the pharmaceutical industry.

The real issue is a lack of effective regulation in our global energy infrastructure, and/or the existence of regulatory capture. To which, I submit, the solution is a replacement for growth-oriented capitalism in general, not just a ban on one specific industry that takes out other industries (eg. civil aviation) as collateral damage.

474:

The real issue is a lack of effective regulation in our global energy infrastructure, and/or the existence of regulatory capture. To which, I submit, the solution is a replacement for growth-oriented capitalism in general, not just a ban on one specific industry that takes out other industries (eg. civil aviation) as collateral damage.

I have to walk carefully at this point, because there are some confidentiality issues. That said, it's not as simple as better regulation or regulatory capture when the industry is based around cheating and said cheating is quite lucrative.

I'd also point out that with petrochemicals, we've got multiple examples. From fuel use to the proliferation of plastics, the industry as a whole, when given the chance to cash out and reformulate their companies into something that doesn't wreck the planet, not only fail to do so, they actively campaign to find new ways to cause trouble, create laws that make it as hard as possible to stop them, and offload the damage onto everyone else. In an example of the last, I've seen an oil drilling contract where the oil company takes most of the profits, pays a pittance to the owner of the oil deposit, explicitly leaves the owner with all the problems to clean up after they're done drilling, and threaten to have the rights taken away (legally) by eminent domain if the rights owner refuses to lease the property to them. And the owner was unable to sell the mineral rights at a fair price, either.

Bleating about regulatory capture is nice, but industries that do this really need to be taken apart. The fact that we've all been captured and made complicit in their activities does not change this.

And if you look at countries from Russia to Saudi Arabia to Britain to the USA, it's not regulatory capture, it's nation-state capture.

475:

Obvious chatbot, no coherent structure & usually zero meaning or content?
Politely, you are suggesting that you have near-zero skill at this. (And your comment is an obvious troll, but whatever.)
For the record, machine identification of machine generated text is a very active area of research, and an arms race, with generators using very large language models (GPT-3, and others) winning at the moment. It is a scary problem.
Huggingface's old GPT-2 detector misfires, a lot. (I've had it misfire on blocks of my text, that I clearly recall writing, and have browser history to prove lookup of items within the text I suppose it's possible that my fingers are being controlled by an entity that sometimes wants my text to look like it was GPT-2-generated, for Reasons hidden. :-)
GLTR was an early attempt, that is still helpful:
http://gltr.io/
though their public server is borked, but with a linux box and the source
https://github.com/HendrikStrobelt/detecting-fake-text
you can set up your own local server.
However, I've observed with some testing that it can get confused by simply turning up the temperature of a ML text generator.

But really, you should be able to tell by reading the text, and maybe poking at a few details.
The "abc.org" in the comment in question was a flag ("Associated Builders and Contractors", at the moment at least). There were some names (one with just one google hit) that indicated a gamer, and there was some text that strongly resembled machine generated text (both to me and to automation), etc, etc. I was intrigued and waiting for another comment. (Which was subjected to another filter, to make the problem harder.)

476:

They can still cheat with Plan 1 by using a coal plant to make hydrogen.

477:

Interesting, thank you. I admit I'm not good at discerning which things he's involved in are legit and which are scams.

478:

Heteromeles @ 464: The big one: Because it allows fossil fuel extractors to cheat by infiltrating stuff out of the ground with stuff from the air,

Actually you can measure the ratio of atmospheric to fossil carbon in such a mix very easily with a mass spectrometer. Just measure the C14 content. Fossil carbon doesn't have any. So anyone fraudulently passing off fossil carbon as atmospheric is going to be very easy to detect.

479:

To a lesser extent, this (C-14 fraction measurement) can even be done with atmospheric methane measured at many points, to discern between agricultural and swamp methane (and other non-fossil methane), and fossil methane.

480:

This drives me into screaming fits - the train should *always* be cheaper than the plane. And I always looked forward to riding the train in the UK....

Thanks, though, for the recommendations about flights.

And yeah, I dunno about getting in after a long flight, and driving. But we'll be doing weeks before or after - not sure yet - the con, doing the UK and Ireland (grandparents of Ellen's were from County Mayo). And I've driven in the UK in 14. It was the right-hand turns that were hardest.

481:

Y'know, it's folks like you that I got even with in my first book. Folks who are sure that, I mean, *everyone* speaks French, and Latin, and Greek.

I have quotes in Welsh and Finnish.

482:

Bill Arnold
I have been trained, all my life, to try ( at least ) to write clearly & to a specific point - my highest qualifications are in Engineering & Physics, after all. Not only do I have zero skill at deliberate obfuscation - I'll leave that to crooked lawyers & religous aresholes - but it brings me out in purple spots & "shouting at the radio".
The Seagull, from my p.o.v. is at least a 100% waste of space & time - she COULD write clearly, but won't ... well, no thanks. [ And OF COURSE it was a wind-up ]
Equally, I'm totally uninterested in real chatbots, either, for reasons that ... should be obvious?
And your apparent lecture is also a complete waste if space & effort - rather like the fucking olynpic games, come to think of it.
Not only don't I know - I do not want to know, nor should any sane person.
Oh yes:
DO NOT FEED THE TROLL.

whitroth
As Charlie says, it's rigged in favour of flying - hence the fucking INSANE security theatre using Eurostar - imposed by HMG & the air-lobby as a deliberate spoiler

483:

What do you have against Basque? :-)

484:

Right.

I have never understood the psychoactive nature of hydrogen. All of my investigations have led me to the conclusion that, if the answer is using hydrogen as a fuel, you have asked the wrong question; there probably are exceptions, but they will be very unusual. But that doesn't stop it being touted as the solution to all our fuel-related problems.

485:

Though I, like you, am unable to make sense of SotMN’s posts, it seems that Bill Arnold somehow can. Given that he finds meaning there it’s pretty pointless to repeatedly ask him not to interact. If anything doing so just further feeds the troll.

486:

I'll point out that this all started when I pointed out that hydrogen-powered seaplanes could plausibly replace transpacific jets, if they hopped from hydrogen plant to hydrogen plant, and those plants were moored off atolls to use abundant sun and water to manufacture hydrogen on site. It's not the most efficient electrolysis method, but it's okay when your source materials aren't limited.

That's rather more plausible than assuming the possibility of intercontinental, battery-powered, passenger planes. Or, for that matter, intercontinental battery-powered trains.

And better yet, it doesn't even require high volume carbon capture and storage technology. That little technological bugbear is currently dooming our efforts to deal with existing carbon emissions. I'm slightly surprised no one figured out that if you can capture carbon fast enough to turn it into jet fuel, you can probably make a serious dent in the climate problem.

Otherwise, we'll probably use batteries, because I agree that hydrogen's a niche product.

487:

"Given that he finds meaning there it’s pretty pointless to repeatedly ask him not to interact. If anything doing so just further feeds the troll."

Agreed.

488:

I take issue with 'plausibly'. It isn't just the creation and use of the fuel; the consequential issues (especially safety) would be a nightmare.

Yes, I figured that out about carbon capture a long time ago, and it is what I understood Nojay was saying in #409.

489:

If you’ve got a windmill or solar farm producing excess electricity, turning it into hydrogen is something you can do with it right now, using commercially available equipment.

Long term I think it makes more sense to develop equipment to turn excess electricity into more easily handled fuels than to redesign everything in the world to run on hydrogen, which is a pain t handle.

490:

#472 - You're out of date; Prestwick Airport has its own station on the Ayr line, literally 100 yards from the passenger concourse by direct walkway.

#482 - Further to the above, there is (or was) a 30 minute frequency service to Glasgow Central, journey time about 45 minutes.

#486 if the answer is using hydrogen as a fuel, you have asked the wrong question
Why? Other than the obvious point that hydrogen is mostly made by electrolysing water or hydrocarbons.

491:

Actually you can measure the ratio of atmospheric to fossil carbon in such a mix very easily with a mass spectrometer. Just measure the C14 content. Fossil carbon doesn't have any. So anyone fraudulently passing off fossil carbon as atmospheric is going to be very easy to detect.

You're sort of right, but so is Bill.

The problem is the charmingly-named Suess Effect, named after the real Dr. Hans Suess, who had a PhD, worked in physical chemistry and nuclear physics, and did not write children's books, although he lived and worked in the same town as Theodor Geisel (San Diego).

Anyway, the Suess Effect is a critical correction term for utilizing carbon dating, based on the increased injection of fossil carbon into the atmosphere. Per Wikipedia: "The term originally referred only to dilution of atmospheric 14CO2. The concept was later extended to dilution of 13CO2 and to other reservoirs of carbon such as the oceans and soils."

The other fun part is that there's a lot of Bomb Carbon (enrichment of 14C from the nuclear test era) still in our atmosphere.

So for carbon verification, if you posit cheap, ubiquitous accelerator mass spectrometry to sort out the isotopic concentrations in each gas tank, yes, you can catch the cheaters. That, of course, posits Ghostbuster style licensed accelerators that are small enough, potent enough, and energy-efficient enough to do the work. Or you can use radiometric dating, which takes 24 hours per sample.

And the counter is so simple even an idiot like me could figure it out. As I recall, stuff that accumulated atmospheric carbon during the aboveground nuclear test era has a radiocarbon date around 5500 CE. Yes, it's from the future. So if people all start dating the carbon in their gas tanks, the oil companies simply make a big show of remediating landfills that likely contain material from Mid-Century. These are usually festering messes foisted off on cities, so if giant companies offer to process the landfill gas coming off or better, to mine and digest the organic fraction in one of their fractionation set ups in an oil refinery, I think everybody would cheer.

They then take this 14C enriched landfill material, mix it in with their 14C depleted fossil fuels, and sell it as air captured. The best part of this scheme is that it would be impossible to shut down, because remediating old landfills is one of those huge, chronic problems that need more people working on it.

492:

Heteromeles @ 467: The sad problem with tranquilizer darts is that you've got to have a good estimate of your target's weight and/or height to calibrate the dose in the dart. Some drug dosages scale with weight, some with surface area (go figure), and I don't know which is true for fentanyl or whatever sublethal concoction you're going to hit them with. Oh yeah, fentanyl: get the dose wrong and the patient does a Michael Jackson/Prince/Tom Petty finale, so you've got to monitor your victim patient rather closely and be able to revive them if they stop breathing.

You do realize "tranquilizer darts" was just my Mom being sarky don't you?

493:

Greg Tingey @ 471: whitroth @ 465
JUST LIKE posts 466, 468, 469, 420, 331, 328, 275, 240, 239, 237, 236 - you mean ... like that??
Obvious chatbot, no coherent structure & usually zero meaning or content?

Oh. I thought it was just someone had another new name.

494:

Speaking of the Suess Effect and Bomb Carbon, I'd like to dredge out a little thing from Hot Earth Dreams: we're now invisible to future carbon-dating.

The reason is that from the 19th century on, humans have been dumping 14C depleted carbon into the air from fossil fuels. IIRC, right now our air looks like it was from 1600 CE or earlier.