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Holding pattern 2022 ...

Just a quick note: I am not blogging right now—at least until the end of April, most likely until this point in mind-May—because I am 2/3 of the way through the final draft of Season of Skulls, book 3 of the New Management: it's due in at the end of the month, or in any case some time in May, for publication in May 2023. (It already exists as a book, this is a final polishing pass with some additional scenes adding into it to make the continuity work better.)

After SoS is baked I also have to finish a half-written novella, A Conventional Boy, about Derek the DM; it got steamrollered by two novels going through production in the past year. I can't multitask on writing projects, so the lower-priority job (a novella) got shelved temporarily.

Normal service will be resumed by June at the latest; in the meantime, if you think the last thread on the Ukraine war is getting too cumbersome, feel free to colonize the comments on this one.

1810 Comments

1:

Heteromeles @ 1598:

Please, USA: promise us to never declare war on fascism—or on climate change, for that matter!

Perhaps this is part of the wisdom in letting Ukraine fight Russia? As for climate change, we're #1! We're #1!

Better than being "number two".

More seriously, I'd say that while Al Qaeda and ISIL are still around, they're not the big shakers that they were in previous years. The US screwed up the Iraqi and Afghani occupations, but global terror networks did take a beating. IIRC this is fairly normal for empires, as shown by the disappearance of sicarii, assassins, KKK (first two incarnations, also White Camellia, KGC, ad nauseum), thugee, and others. It looks like a great power can take on a non-state organization and break them up. Where empires tend to fail is in long-term occupations, especially in places remote from the rest of the empire.

Where we screwed them up was in occupying them in the first place. The U.S. may have had a legitimate beef with the Taliban government in Afghanistan, but if so we should have gone in, captured or killed al Qaeda and got the hell out. Iraq had fuck all to do with 9/11 and invading them was never necessary and was NEVER going to produce anything worthwhile.

PS: Caught me just as I clicked [Submit]

2:

PS: Caught me just as I clicked [Submit]

Sorry!

(However, load times on that last page were getting a bit slow, and it's been up long enough the bots were finding it ...)

3:

Also got caught by the new thread. Hope this still seems relevant:

The most consistently repeated myth in US films goes back to Cincinnatus in the early Roman Republic.

'Noble but humble man goes back to his country estate/farm/woods cabin/retreat to live a quiet life, but gets dragged back in to save the Empire/country/family through the superior use of violence, but only out of a sense of duty'. In Cincinnatus' case this happened more than once (purportedly).

Variations include 'the betrayal by the corrupt elites in power'. The key point in this mythology is that the power brokers are ALWAYS effete and corrupt, probably gay, and the only people who can fix it are the rural honest hardworking folk who also have skills at violence.

I could spend hours listing the movies, tv shows and books that echo this mythology.

This was the dominant myth of the American Revolution, it is the dominant myth of the Qnuts and Teapartiers, it is the dominant myth behind Brexit: "The British people are tired of 'experts' (read: corrupt elites who don't know anything about real life)."

You see this in almost all cultural mythology in the US, and also elsewhere. It underpins the popular (and wildly incorrect) understanding of the 'fall of the Western Roman Empire' as being overrun by barbarians while the elites ate grapes and had orgies.

4:

Robert Prior @ 1616: [Old Thread]

Far more people know who Michael Corleone is than know who Othello is.

I confess I had to look up Corleone. But I'm (obviously) not American :-/

I knew he was a character in Mario Puzo's novel "The Godfather" & the films based on it. I too had to look him up to determine which character he was.

But I've read Othello (and seen the play ... movie version).

5:

Charlie Stross @ 2:

PS: Caught me just as I clicked [Submit]

Sorry!

(However, load times on that last page were getting a bit slow, and it's been up long enough the bots were finding it ...)

No problem. It was funny.

Wondering what I'd done wrong now?

6:

Same here - I tried to post about the US DoE looking at geothermal, using the zillions of oil and gas wells, and nope. Then I tried to respond to "the US's definition of its mandate keeps expanding", and nope, and then I see the new thread, after I'd posted several before.

7:

AlanD2 @ 1630: [Old Thread]

The problem isn't "why Putin should want Ukraine" as a general idea. ... The problem is why he should set about doing it in such a dumb-arsed way.

He's probably copying the techniques used by the U.S. government when invading Iraq and Afghanistan. A short, victorious war, with Americans treated as heroes by the natives... :-/

I think y'all are still missing the idea that Putin's reasons for doing what he's doing are probably internally consistent with his frame of reference.

It may look "dumb-arsed" from our point of view, but it's likely NOT from his.

I think it does represent that he's fallen prey to what I'd call Dictator's Disease - a variant of "rich man's disease". He's stifled dissent in Russia to such an extent that there's no way anyone can tell him hard truths he doesn't want to hear.

8:

Robert Prior @ previoua 1672:

That is the Substack from which I pulled the quotes.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Whitwroth -- there is absolutely no confirmational evidence that King Arthur ever existed in his popular avatar. For one thing, the earliest literary references are not Latin/Saxon/English, but Welsh.

["The first piece of literature to mention Arthur by name is a Welsh poem named Y Gododdin, which dates from between the 7th and 11th century. In a translated version of the poem, it speaks of a warrior named Gwawrddur and says “Gwawrddur was skilled at slaying his enemies. But was no Arthur." ]

For one thing, if there was a King Arthur, who lived the legendary martial life, one might think the name would be far more common in those earlier periods than it is -- in the way that the trauma of Attila on Italy shows up in the number of Italian boys still named Attila.

As for Elderly Cynic thinking there is no place in math for encouraging cooperation in problem solving -- that's a total disaster for any project that demands input from more than one person in a vacuum. Ask my brother, who has been running THE lab that develops and tests all the varieties of every bit that goes into the electric systems of the planes we fly in. The tales he tells of the arrogance of those who won't cooperate, know they are right and everyone else is wrong -- not to mention the poobas who try and wheedle him into 'just filing to make it fit' of parts designed to the wrong specs. He's the one who has to persuade, them, gently, that it cannot be done. Yes, math people need to be people people too, or else all of it really goes off the rails.

9:

1671:

Heteromeles @ 1567: Oh dear, you think we're normal Americans?

Don't know about you, but I am. I'm so normal that when you look for the definition of "normal" in the dictionary, they just have my photograph there.

Congratulations! Please take the little online quizzes and let us know how many of these fit you:

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/02/07/tom-corley-heres-what-average-looks-like-in-america.html

You can also do this one: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/politics/wp/2018/08/13/this-is-what-the-average-american-looks-like-in-2018/

And if you're really bored, you can check out this one from last year:

https://www.saturdayeveningpost.com/2021/12/who-exactly-is-the-average-american/

Again, congratulations on your achievement! (grin)

10:

I'm familiar with Y Gododdin, as well as Nennius, who does refer to Arthur, and Gildas, who does not, but mentions the great battle at Mons Badonicus, which is later attributed to Arthur, though Gildas does not make it clear who led the Britons.

And then there's Geoffrey Ashe's participation (leading?) the archeological dig in Cornwall that found a Romanized Briton style fort built around the time of Arthur, as well as his discovery for that time period of a Procurator of Gaul who pled for the Britons to help, and a leader of the Britons who brought over 10,000 troops....

Do you really want to go into the Matter of Britain? If so, we should take it elsewhere.

11:

I should point out that, if we're going to do a face-first dive into The Matter of Arthur and The Holy Grail, that:

a) We're probably riffing on the equivalent of a top-selling medieval popular fantasy (not that they printed it, but troubador's stories and the like were pop culture). This is sort of like taking the Da Vinci Code as the revelation of a new religion.

b) Britain's not the only place where people have founded religions, like modern druidry and jedism, by spiritualizing well-aged pop culture. Chinese folk religion has quite a lot of this stuff too, and there's always Santa Muerte in Mexico.

As the Church of Eris and others have demonstrated, you can have legitimate spiritual experiences with made-up supernatural figures. I think this is more worth enjoying and playing with, than sniffing about how "atheists are better," because it points to some fundamental ways human brains work that used to be more widely known than it is now.

So perhaps there are better questions than "was Arthur real" and "Was the Holy Grail real?" One better question is, what does practicing Arthur or Grail-based rituals help you do to have a better life? If you don't like those answers, you can always set up a shrine to the White Lady of Caerbannog and see how that goes.

12:

I'm reasonably sure that the current 'Marvel' cinematic universe will be the foundation myth for a future religion. The parallels between 'Superheroes' and mythic gods in places like the Bhagavad Gita are too clear to ignore.

Perhaps in 1000 years there can be a conflict between adherents of the Avengers (US version) religion and the followers of the Jedi. Relics of both religions are already highly prized.

All it would take are a significant enough disruption in civilization (which seems likely), and a few prized documents to be well preserved and 'discovered' by sufficiently charismatic leader types awhile later.

13:

That's not mathematics - that's engineering. I am fully aware of such problems, as well as the converse where expertise is discounted in favour of the majority opinion or kow-towing to 'received wisdom'. If two people claim that mathematics produces two different results, at least one is wrong; it's that simple. But I agree that , when it comes to APPLYING mathematics, there is often a a matter of human judgment in choosing the assumptions and other requirements for cooperation.

As I said, mathematics per se is NOT a social activity, which is one of the reasons that it attracts those of us with Aspergers so strongly.

I won't pass judgement without seeing more of those books, but it does seem possible that they are discriminatory against those of us with Aspergers; that is regrettably common among the politically correct, and is regarded as an acceptable form of discrimination by many of them. That would be grounds for discouraging their use. But book banning is rarely justified.

14:

(Another victim of the thread closure here... 7 minutes of session remaining, click Submit expecting no problems, oh shit what's up here?)

@ whitroth:

"Now Just One Minute. "King Arthur" yeah, Dux Bellorum Arthur has a high probability of having existed, and managed to keep the Angles and the Saxons back for 25 or 50 years, during which the various preachers began getting to them to mellow them, and give the Romano-British time to reform (not to say retreat) to more defensible areas."

There are a few characters from around that sort of time on the border between history and mythology. Gwrtheyrn, for example; started off being a king in an ordinary sort of way (and a bit of a wanker), then wandered off to Wales getting more and more miffic as he went and ended up in a gully on the north side of the Lleyn peninsula doing something frightfully mythological, although I can't remember what.

Foxessa has it right; there may have been some warrior chap and he may have been the one to kick the mythology off, but on the other hand he may only be a myth himself, and that's about as far as we can go. Geoffrey of Monmouth wrote all sorts of crap and seems to be about as dependable a source as Susan Cooper, and the idea of King Arthur that "everyone knows" is from the guff that was made up later on as backstory for the "Age of Chivalry" (gah), which is why the Monty Python version is what it is.

In any case, even if there was a real King Arthur, he couldn't have had time to do much fighting, what with all the walking around the country sitting on rocks and treading on things and what have you :)

15:

Please - I did not mention the Holy Grail. No such thing shows up until Cretian de Troyes in 1190.

See, it really was those Feelthy French People....

16:

I'm reasonably sure that the current 'Marvel' cinematic universe will be the foundation myth for a future religion. The parallels between 'Superheroes' and mythic gods in places like the Bhagavad Gita are too clear to ignore.

It's certainly possible, in part because the comic book writers very deliberately riffed on the old myths, much as PTerry did.

The useful thing to look at isn't the "mythic dimension" (e.g. the entertainment value), it's also the utility. Religion does offer entertainment, but properly built, it's a communal work that helps the practitioners lead better lives. What can you learn from ritualizing the life of the Hulk?*

For better or worse, Marvel's rooted in 20th Century consumerist capitalism. So, while the superheroes might last as cool stories (as the Greco-Roman pantheon did), I suspect our successors will be defining themselves against us, not copying us, much as the early Christians embraced competitive asceticism (like canonizing dudes for long-term pillar occupation) against the conspicuous consumption of the pagan Romans. If you think about it, what's Spider Man going to do when there aren't any more skyscrapers to swing from?

*If you know anything about religion or the Hulk, you can actually answer this pretty well...

17:

I like to think there will be a major religion about the Marvel Avengers and a small competing religion about the real Avengers-- Emma Peel and John Steed.

18:

There's a problem with turning them into a religion: there are multiple versions of the old myths, but they all converge. The Marvel (or DC) universe retcon, and retcon, and retcon, and outright change.

And you wonder why I don't care for it?

19:

And boy, are they needed....

20:

He's stifled dissent in Russia to such an extent that there's no way anyone can tell him hard truths he doesn't want to hear.

Sounds like Cheney's and Bush 43's reactions to anybody objecting to their proposed second Iraq war.

21:

Heteromeles @ 9: 1671:

Heteromeles @ 1567: Oh dear, you think we're normal Americans?
Don't know about you, but I am. I'm so normal that when you look for the definition of "normal" in the dictionary, they just have my photograph there.

Congratulations! Please take the little online quizzes and let us know how many of these fit you:

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/02/07/tom-corley-heres-what-average-looks-like-in-america.html

I'm NORMAL, not average ...

You can also do this one: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/politics/wp/2018/08/13/this-is-what-the-average-american-looks-like-in-2018/

Well, no I can't ... it's behind their STUPID paywall

And if you're really bored, you can check out this one from last year:

https://www.saturdayeveningpost.com/2021/12/who-exactly-is-the-average-american/

Uhhhhh ... not that bored.

23:

There's a problem with turning them into a religion: there are multiple versions of the old myths, but they all converge. The Marvel (or DC) universe retcon, and retcon, and retcon, and outright change.

Actually I agree. Apparently comic buyers do too, because sales of print comics have been dropping for years, even as the Disney vids have been raking in money.

To get back to the previous thread, the videos are the epitome of squeecore, and when people find something else they like better (or if global fascism wins), they'll probably go out of fashion like Song of the South.

That said, I think figuring out what religion might look like 50 years out is a useful exercise. For one thing, it gets people out of this stupid "we're all gonna die" mindset.

For another, it gets people to think about what the opposite of consumerism might like. Most new religions get a hold when the old ones become severely dysfunctional, define themselves in opposition to the "lamestream" religions, and get a hold by offering what the people left out of the lamestream religions want or need.*

And for a third, if you're honest with yourself, it gives you a way to examine your own ideological hobby horses and see whether they'll hunt or not.

*By that standard, STEM is the religion we need for the future, at least the part that can be done in a dystopian setting.

24:

I'm NORMAL, not average ...

What's the difference?

25:

Or any denial of the Former Guy's whims.

26:

50 years in the future? In 11,000 Years, I was dealing with that; in the novel I'm currently working on, religion is heavily involved, and funnymentalists are not the good guys.

Plus, with my mesh and the mesh-hosts (that's devils to the funnymentals), it gets harder and harder for one to ignore things that don't make sense, or hypocrisy.

27:

Normal is an opinion.

Average is mathematically definable.

28:

Normal's mathematically definable too, but whichever.

It's nice to know that normalcy is a fringe religion like Discordianism: you can belong by saying you belong, no need for tithes or whatever. That's cool.

29:

AlanD2 @ 20:

He's stifled dissent in Russia to such an extent that there's no way anyone can tell him hard truths he doesn't want to hear.

Sounds like Cheney's and Bush 43's reactions to anybody objecting to their proposed second Iraq war.

Cheney and the shrub ... and Rummy - don't forget Rummy - could force you into early retirement for publicly disagreeing, but they couldn't send you to the gulag or have you liquidated in the basement of the Lubyanka just because they didn't like your advice.

30:

However, Mark, King of Cornwall, really did exist and ruled over what was a fairly large kingdom for the time. Whether he was anything like the legends is another matter ....

31:

Heteromeles @ 24:

I'm NORMAL, not average ...

What's the difference?

Oh dear! Don't you know?

Maybe THAT explains it.

32:

First paragraph: I was about to say exactly the same thing.

I'm not in favour of such topics being banned but I do object to them being inserted in maths textbooks. If I'd encountered that as a kid my negative reaction would have been off the scale, for reasons some of which probably are Asperger's-related.

At an early enough age - which one of those titles does appear to be aimed at - I would have taken it as something akin to a personal attack, and been programmed from the start to hate maths as a result. I used to receive endless dreary and incomprehensible lectures on how to be a good little social animal, which I saw as nothing more than just one of those random bits of grief grown-ups dump on you every now and then for no reason, and I'd have thought that they were making us use those textbooks as a means of having yet another go at me. I instantly acquired a still-extant hatred for the Mr Men after receiving as a Christmas present a Mr Men book (the first I'd ever seen) with a REALLY FUCKING OBVIOUS MORAL MESSAGE, which was blatantly the reason they'd chosen to make that pairing of book and recipient - this isn't a present, it's a sneaky way to tell me off yet again - and pissed me right off. At the same age I'd have seen those insertions in textbooks in much the same way.

Later, as the demands of school increased, I developed a strong preference for subjects where there was a single unique concisely-expressible correct answer and that was the end of the story with no fucking about; conversely, the more nebulous a subject's good answers were and the more space-filling waffle they expected us to accompany them with, the more I loathed it. I would have been bloody furious to have a subject at the extreme good end of that scale polluted with irrelevant guff from the extreme bad end.

I also had a very strong view that anything that wasn't a "solid academic subject" was something the school had no place wasting our time with at all; that lessons like music, religion, games, art, and so on should have been left out of the timetable altogether, and the time used for teaching us something useful instead. I would most definitely have viewed the topics in the quotes in the previous thread in the same way, and been doubly furious that they were directly encroaching on the time allocated to something that was a serious subject.

Maths was always a subject I "should have liked more than I did"; now that school is long past I am not hindered from perceiving that I do like it (though I did surprise myself a bit when I first did perceive that), and it's definitely the most useful thing I learnt at school, but I never learned it that easily; it always took a gey long time for a concept to percolate through the nigh-impermeable strata of my brain and make the journey from "thing written on the blackboard" to "hey, I dig this", and doing the exercises with the concept still undug was very tedious. It would have been disastrous if it had been interspersed with stuff which isn't mathematics at all, but is the absolute pinnacle of tedium and an exemplar of all the different reasons I had for hating a school subject all gathered together with the gain turned up: I'd simply have revolted against and rejected the whole bloody lot, unable to perceive the good for the bad, and ended up still with much the same set of interests but lacking the principal equipment to pursue them successfully. So I'm jolly glad that our textbooks were not like that.

33:

"*If you know anything about religion or the Hulk, you can actually answer this pretty well..."

I know it follows the standard pattern of a good, honest fellow who becomes enraged at injustice and then commits righteous violence, in this case by 'smashing'. But it's ok because he's a good, honest righteous (white) fellow...

Thereby tying two threads of the discussion together.

Whitroth #18: I don't care for it either. As a former collector of comics, I find it all exhausting now. Doesn't mean it won't be fertile ground for some future Hubbard to build a religion around. Of course, given enough random chance that religion could be built around the Culture, the Laundry, the Da Vinci Code, or Clifford the Big Red Dog.

Some are more likely than others. All of them have supernatural (or at least super powered) explanations for hard to explain phenomena.

34:

17 - No mention of Cathy Gail or Tara King!?

32 - Sorry, but English Literature is a good and valuable subject which happens to be taught extremely badly.

35:

Pigeon
"Matter of Britain" ??
GO TO - Rosemary Sutcliff's "Sword at Sunset" Where Artos is the cavalry leader who enables King Ambrosius (?) to hold the Saxons back, temporarily, at least.

Pigeon
You were wrong ( maybe still are ) about music.
My one really great gap is that I cannot read music, nor play an instrument - & I had the opportunity & fluffed it, SHIT!

36:

Normal's mathematically definable too, but whichever.

Totally disagree.

Says one who almost always was thought of as outside of "normal". And from my point of view normal was almost always defined as "like me, not like you" by those others. And many of those who considered themselves normal had contradictory traits.

37:

Well, of course the Matter of Britain, which is Arthur, as the Matter of France is Charlemagne.

You'll note that what I have spoken of is the historical side, and a Dux Bellorum. And Swords At Sunset was a wonderful read in my teens... and I still think would be good in reread.

38:

The Kingdom of Cornwall has very much been air-brushed out into the background by English and Welsh legend and writers, but it was a distinct entity (covering modern Cornwall, Devon and west Somerset) up until something like 1,000 AD, when everything up to the Tamar was conquered by Canute (Cnut), as I understand it. It would make a very big difference to the reality behind the legend whether Arthur's archetype was Cornish or Welsh.

39:

Given all the sites attributed to him, and Tintagel, etc, I'd assume both, though more "Romanized Briton" than centuries-later Welsh.

40:

you can always set up a shrine to the White Lady of Caerbannog and see how that goes.

We had one of thoise at my primary school. It was called "the school rabbit", and it received regular blood sacrifices in the form of children and parents who were assigned to "look after it" during holidays.

The first time the sacrifices were willing, after that they were assigned to the task. They tried to wear armour. It didn't help.

41:

Nevermind a small breakaway sect who worship Joana Lumley.

42:

@ Whitroth, # 1678 Previous Thread:

"Well, except for the Wild West myth, and the Brave Man (or head of family) going out and building a new life out of the American Indian (to quote Firesign Theater). The Hero who suffers and saves everyone (gee, what other myth sounds like that), except he survives and uses violence."

Someone who brought a giant heap of evidence might be able to convince me that the U.S. and U.K.'s cultures and myths are very slowly moving further apart. In order to do this they'd have to overcome the two British musical invasions of the 1960s and 1980s, Harry Potter, Arthur C. Clarke, H.G. Wells, Dr. Who, The Who, The Rolling Stones, Fink Ployd, Thomas Dolby, etc., as well as the very typical method of making money by shipping media across the Atlantic (in either direction, mind you.)

I don't know about everything that's gone the other direction, but Jazz and Blues definitely went to the U.K. and found fertile ground, as did Rock and Roll, plus any number of Hollywood movies and Broadway musicals, plus any number of U.S. authors... We're doing an excellent job of sharing culture across the Atlantic.

Where "The Man With A Gun" is concerned, the U.K. was colonizing every place with a beach while the U.S. was clobbering Indians and Mexico, so the myth may not be as one-sided as it looks, and there are certainly British tales of people who get angry and kill each other... our cultures share some very deep roots, and proving that's not the case is a rather sticky wicket, isn't it old chap?

Bonus video of the originator of Rock And Roll (not who you think, probably,) exchanging some culture at the disused Chorlton railway station on Wilbraham Road in 1964:

https://youtu.be/5SoZG4yDaJA

43:

Totally disagree.

From my end of the world, "normal" is within one standard deviation of "average," and it implies that something's quantifiable and that the frequency of deviation can be defined as something like a bell curve, which is also called a normal curve.

Neither of us are "normal" in that sense, both because we're far from the crowd average, and also because many of the things that are essential to who we are don't have distributions that fall on a bell curve.

44:

I think anime, manga, k-drama and k-pop are evidence that cultures can thoroughly interact without one becoming the other. For example, I can love BBC nature documentaries without feeling miffed that I don't get to vote for an MP.

45:

I dunno. I think of British imperialism myth as Brave Great Man Leads His Men Into Battle, while the American version is Great Man Beats Them All Himself.

Ok, was that Tharpe? I have tried everything, and cannot get youtube to tell me what's playing. In any case, rock&roll was being talked about 10 years before... (and already fulminated against).

46:

Well...

America and the UK do, unfortunately both have form for destroying indigenous cultures in North America. And I agree that in the early 19th century, both cultures dueled.

Where we split is fairly important, though.

First off, the British colonies that became the US were places where nonconformists who didn't or couldn't fit into the UK came: Puritans, Catholics, Quakers. We're also much more into slaveholding, although the UK upper crust were complicit in that too.

We further diverge after the 1840s, when the US took the castoffs (Irish, for example) from the UK and Europe, because we needed cheap industrial labor and people to settle some fairly marginal lands in the Great Plains. And I want to be clear that we were taking the bottom of UK and European society, not the top. That's what the whole Statue of Liberty is about ("Give us your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free...")

Also, our classic dueling culture isn't Alexander Hamilton times, it's cowboys after the Civil War and before ca. 1900 or so. Plus gangsters in the 1920s and 1930s. Similar process, different strata.

Meanwhile, I think a lot of UK culture (correct me if I'm wrong) is shaped by the Victorian zenith, and in many ways is in "Recessional" mode. Meanwhile, the US is at the Peak Smash stage of our empire. While people like me can see our Recessional coming (probably more Mayan than Victorian, sadly), we also look at the other big states: China, Russia, India, Brazil, and see that they have many of the same problems we do, with an unsustainable dependence on oil power and economic growth as major pillars of our society.

So yes, we're similar enough to share almost everything, but we're not identical.

47:

"And don't use Russian culture to excuse Putin or his followers."

Haven't forgotten. Don't bother.

48:

I'm not in favour of such topics being banned but I do object to them being inserted in maths textbooks.

That's not what the Florida thing is about.

As DeSantis administration rejects textbooks, only one publisher allowed for K-5 math classes in Florida

Newspaper article is a bit verbose and badly structured, but the takeaway is: DeSantis has banned all maths textbooks except ones published by Accelerate Learning:

The Carlyle Group, a global investment firm, acquired Accelerate Learning on Dec. 20, 2018, according to the firm's website.

During that time, Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin was the co-CEO of the firm. After 25 years with the company, Youngkin resigned in 2020 to run for office in Virginia.

The first thing Youngkin did as governor of Virginia was sign an executive order to "end the use of inherently divisive concepts, including critical race theory, and restoring excellence in K-12 public education in the commonwealth," a measure that's comparable to DeSantis' "Stop WOKE Act."

Chances that Youngkin owns no shares in Carlisle Group and/or Accelerate Learning? Your guess is as good as mine (but my guess is "ha ha nope"). Betcha DeSantis is a direct or indirect shareholder, too.

Upshot: it's graft and corruption, business as usual for the Florida and Virginia Republicans.

Nothing to do with "critical race theory", everything to do with locking rivals out of a lucrative school textbook market.

49:

Yup, that's Tharp in 1964, though she (and her band) invented Rock and Roll around 1936 or so.

50:

From the U.S., agreed completely.

51:

Yup, the usual.

It should be noted, in the Republican demonology hierarchy, that DeSantis sees himself, and hopes to get other people to agree, that he'll be Trump's successor should that Great Old One fall.

52:

...they couldn't send you to the gulag or have you liquidated in the basement of the Lubyanka just because they didn't like your advice.

As whitroth alluded to, I'm sure IQ45 was tremendously disappointed about this too...

53:

I also had a very strong view that anything that wasn't a "solid academic subject" was something the school had no place wasting our time with at all...

What could be more useful than being taught how to get along with disparate other people in order to become a functional member of society? It's clear that conservatives of many stripes in lots of different countries have missed this lesson... :-(

54:

The so-called "styrofoam fighters" have been visible via Google Maps for the best part of twenty years. Though not necessarily those particular ones, which are at Lipetsk. That airfield is evidently being used for storing cannibalisable airframes. (If you look, there are even a couple of Mig-23 airframes.)

55:

DeSantis sees himself, and hopes to get other people to agree, that he'll be Trump's successor should that Great Old One fall.

Yup. And if he has to push Trump off a cliff in 2024, I don't see him shedding any tears, either...

56:

What could be more useful than being taught how to get along with disparate other people in order to become a functional member of society?

The way schools go about this theoretically laudable endeavor, utterly fails for us Aspies.

I am personally familiar with Soviet and US schools. I trust Pigeon's experience regarding British schools, but I doubt it is significantly different

57:

Troutwaxer (@42)

Good news about Chorlton Railway Station: it's been recycled as a tram stop on the Manchester Metro! Yay!

59:

I can love BBC nature documentaries without feeling miffed that I don't get to vote for an MP.

I'm still miffed I didn't get to vote about Brexit, because although I'm a British subject I don't live in the UK. EU citizens who lived in the UK couldn't vote, Brits who lived outside the UK couldn't vote, yet the "non-binding referendum"* affected us as well.

|*Which magically became a binding mandate after the votes were counted…

60:

"Sorry, but English Literature is a good and valuable subject which happens to be taught extremely badly."

Absolutely. It's taught in such a way as to systematically exclude any possibility of actually getting pleasure from reading the fucking book, thereby negating the whole point of the thing existing in the first place, and causing me to leave school with the conviction that the set of works considered "literature" and the set of works which are tedious boring shite were indistinguishable for all practical purposes. It wasn't until those lessons were well behind me that I discovered any reason to think differently, and that was down to Kate Bush rather than anything "educational".

Greg @ 35: "You were wrong ( maybe still are ) about music. My one really great gap is that I cannot read music, nor play an instrument - & I had the opportunity & fluffed it, SHIT!"

Oh, I'm not saying I was right or wrong about anything. I'm just saying that's how I thought at the time when school was all my experience and I didn't know any better, and that probably at least some of my attitude took some origin from Aspergerial processing.

As it happens, I have that same gap as you and also by reason of blown opportunity. Some bloke appeared in the middle of a lesson one day with an oboe reed, which he passed round to everyone saying "blow this and see what happens" (and he didn't mean "all end up with the same diseases"). I am told (but don't actually remember) that I was the only one who could get any sound out of it, which caused teachers and parents alike to leap to the conclusion that I was some kind of international-class oboeist just waiting to be discovered; "oh, you must start oboe lessons, you'll be so good at it", and basically the decision got made for me. It rapidly became very clear to me that the premise that making a piece of stick make a noise like a chicken being stabbed was a sure indicator of massive latent musical talent was as much of a pile of arse as it ought to be, and I skived and evaded my lessons and practice sessions more and more (aided by inadvertently sabotaging the school's method of telling people to go to their music lessons) until they gave up making me have them in disgust.

The problem was that they tried to shove me into it much too soon. At that time I didn't really have any proper appreciation of music beyond belting out the words to some Jolly Good Tune. I couldn't get into sitting down and just listening to music, and I had less interest in making it myself. So I was being compelled to learn an instrument while basically not giving a toss about whether I could or not, and not seeing why I should give a toss either, once I had understood the prophecy was false. They would have done better to have waited until such time as I had developed a proper liking for instrumental music for its own sake and so had a reason to find some point to the endeavour; and also to teach me the mathematical side of it first, so when the time came to pick up an instrument I had some understanding of what it was supposed to be doing, instead of keeping it as hidden knowledge only to be revealed to the select few who really were young Lloyd Webbers, as was their standard procedure.

BUT - that isn't what I actually meant originally anyway :) I meant the kind of lessons where the whole class took part at once, in the same way as any other lesson. These in fact mostly were just about belting out Jolly Good Tunes, and I quite enjoyed them. But it didn't stop me thinking they were wasting our time with them and ought to be teaching us something proper instead.

61:

the British colonies that became the US were places where nonconformists who didn't or couldn't fit into the UK came

Also, places which chaffed at keeping treaties signed with the Indigenous nations. Not only was it one of the grievances the colonists had with King George, but in the War of 1812 support for the war was greatest in the states that would benefit the most from taking over Indigenous lands (and weakest in states that were most subject to impressment, the reason I see most often in American history textbooks).

62:

What I said on the last thread.

Also note that textbooks typically last at least one curriculum cycle, so a decade or two, with only replacement sales after the initial selection. Which means that sales now (with a new curriculum) are incredible important.

So yeah, grift as usual…

63:

Upshot: it's graft and corruption, business as usual for the Florida and Virginia Republicans.

64:

It certainly "utterly failed" for me. Total incomprehension in both directions, and the medical profession hadn't really got any kind of handle on it at the time. I was diagnosed as "semi-autistic", whatever that meant, but never told about it; and I was given to understand, years later, that the only available responses were either to ignore it and carry on regardless, or send me to some kind of nuthouse, which would have been far worse.

65:

"Thomas Dolby"

Uh? Surely he was the son or something of Ray Dolby, the noise reduction guy, who was definitely American. I remember when I first heard of Thomas thinking "naah, can't possibly be a connection", and then I remember being surprised when the internet happened to find that actually there was.

66:

From his wikipedia article:

"Thomas Morgan Robertson (born 14 October 1958), known by the stage name Thomas Dolby, is an English musician, producer, composer, entrepreneur and teacher."

67:

My take is that "normal" generally means "people like me", and "average" means "I don't understand statistics, but I saw a headline that I like".

In practice a lot of people use Excel to make pretty graphs when they'd be just as well off using MS-Paint for all the linkage between their discussion of the graph and the world outside their window.

68:

{countering the claim that there's} no place in math for encouraging cooperation in problem solving

I think there's several different agendas hiding in the one claim.

You have the usual "shoulders of giants" stuff, with a dose of network effects that mean modern STEM researchers do need to at least have some minimum level of social skills. Which, while true, is IMO much less than the agenda folk norm,ally want to admit. Even middling-genius level mathematicians can work as hermits as long as they're capable of being polite in email.

But as an academic in a university, yes, definitely, at least 50% of the job is political and likely even more political than in a non-academic position (I certainly found it so). There seems to be less tolerance in modern academia for the antisocial than there is in industry.

And of course there's the popular notion that since managers need to be people people so does everyone else. This gets back to the notion of "normal is like me", and my long-term response that if someone has excellent social skills they should be more able to work with those not so skilled, than someone with poor social skills. That's definitely true for, say, walking. Someone who is easily capable of walking long distances can more readily walk with someone who has limited mobility than someone else who has limited mobility can. Especially if help is required.

The latter is a bug-bear of many on this blog, and IMO for good reason. No-one has yet explained to me in a way that makes sense stuff like "a four hour meeting is better than a one hour meeting" or "an hour face to face is better than a 100 word email when conveying simple factual statements".

Part of what bothers us is the insistence that diversity cannot and should not be tolerated. Some people thrive off face to face meetings, other hate them. But according to the socialites that means the others are wrong and must be fixed or shunned. It particularly gripes me when those exact people say sequentially "I need you to do this for me because I cannot do it" then "you are defective as you cannot do things that I can do". Well, have fun doing whatever that first thing is without my help.

69:

So why are there so many chemical facilities burning down in Russia? A massive warehouse stuffed with $20 million dollars worth of Russian army gear and weapons. Oligarchs murdered with their families?

Coincidence?

False flag operation Putin can blame on Ukrainians.

An actual rebel underground in Russia?

Higher ups burning down evidence of theft and corruption?

70:

I noticed all that too. Hopefully Ukraine has some special forces in Russia,* but I suspect most of these are signs of a society that's under more pressure than it can deal with starting to fall apart.

  • If so, why aren't they attacking Russia's logistics capabilities near Ukraine?
71:

I always think it's normal to have a couple of kids. It's average to have 2.4 children, but it's certainly not normal.

If I have to think about it beyond that level I read some wiki pages about poisson distribution and statistical significance and p values and then decide that my opinion is probably not worth much.

72:

Also, places which chaffed at keeping treaties signed with the Indigenous nations.

Keeping treaties with those people? Who were standing in the way of Real Americans™ getting rich? Surely you're kidding... :-/

73:

Duffy said: Oligarchs murdered with their families?

"Murder/suicide" please.

In an interesting turn, the usual "to spend more time with their family" has morphed into "decided to murder their family and commit suicide by shooting themselves twice in the back of the head".

74:

If so, why aren't they attacking Russia's logistics capabilities near Ukraine?

I suspect the Ukrainian high command is at least somewhat worried that Ukrainian attacks on Russian soil will help Putin mobilize Russian support for his war, especially if he has to go to full wartime footing.

75:

... the usual "to spend more time with their family" has morphed into "decided to murder their family and commit suicide by shooting themselves twice in the back of the head".

I've been impressed by the remarkable capabilities of some Russians... :-)

76:

Agreed. Putin will be angry if someone hits him back.

77:

That's common, I recall the USA getting very upset indeed when foreigners dared bring a US war onto US soil. So angry they went for the "pour encourager les autres" approach (which is especially amusing in light of the "freedom fries" nonsense... but then they also rebranded it as "the war on terror" which is so very US).

78:

We were asked this:

In your model, if you care to say, what is the causal connection between fascist symbology and characteristically fascist acts? On what level do symbols translate into effects? Can loyalty to a group or cause have a motivation independent from what a given adherent is compelled - or permitted - to do?

You're parsing this in the incorrect direction: the reality is where one (the subject) "does acts" and then gains entrance to a Symbol is, well: gangs, Government, Sports Teams and so forth.

It is the fundamental aspect of taking a Symbol that one has enacted Agency that said Symbol represents and thus the Symbol embraces you.

This is basis Homo Sapiens 101. Like: fucking hell, do you not even understand your own world?

You want into a Fascist Symbol? You do a Fascist act, however small. However tawdry. However lesser the event is as slapping a badge on your uniform. Or pushing over a Romani woman. Or slapping a negro.

This is how it works. How fucking dare you, in 2022, not understand this.

~

AS for Greg / JBS - we've been tracking at least 500+ accounts (mostly US / UK (77th - one in particular is an absolute bungus JimmySpa nk UK ) all trying to flip the badges thing onto RU Mercs - "Wagner" [note: Wagner doesn't actually exist in that sense but hey].

Here's a big tip: absolutely everyone who isn't a trash fire has noted the badges, and absolutely everyone who isn't a) ignorant as fuck, b) paid Media or c) .mil Propaganda knows the score.

You're old men: as sad as those old men in RU thinking this is about 1949-51 in Ukraine.

Answer: No, you're lying. sonnerad was designed by Himmler. It's never been "an ancient Pagan symbol", it was designed in 1939-41 ish. It's explicitly Nazi. You're fucking muppets for thinking otherwise. It's so obviously Nazi that the Spectator and so on have to lie and subsitute the symbol for another one. You don't do that if it's got a clean back-story.

Ignorant men drive wars, so .... hey. Learn a bit more before spouting shit. Old ignorant Men sending the youth do die - sound familiar?

That's You, that is.

Greg and JBS.

Oh, and that MF woman Cobra or whatever: ex-Republican, active in Iraq, getting +45 upvotes for claiming RU is doing Genocide in UKr.

Fucking hell. We knew you were stupid, but that's taking the piss.

For the record: UKr civilian casualties are waaay under the same time frame in Iraq. By a few thousand.

Americans: MIND WORMS, IT'S ALL BRAIN WORMS.

~

Fires, Fires, Fires. Yeah, baby. We're not pro-Putin either.

But fucking hell: we broke 30+ Covenants: that means the Big-Girls Club takes us seriously. The UKr model is beating up a lone Romani woman, shaving her head and splashing permanent medical dye (green) on her face.

Then you get into the fucking club.

79:

Yeah, you could pretty well write a book about all the ways the U.S. screwed up their response to 9/11.

80:

Anyhow, you should look @ what the SUN THE SUN THE SUN is doing.

Pretty crazy stuff. M9+, X flares incoming.

p.s.

Little Men OSINT accounts and those "in the know" are like all worried that USAF targeting of MOSKVA might become "public knowledge". Like Posiedon AF tracking isn't public these days.

Newsflash, little men: the USAF + Neptun(e) guidance can't hit x2 C-section exact with no other damage, x2, precise.

One in a metre range of the other. 150 KG weps taking that out?

Improbable

Just Sayin.

81:

[Translation for .mil folks]

The Radar section was 100% disabled by two precise strikes within 1 metre of each other with no ammo storage or other hits. It may have been (or not) used some shit 105kg missiles to do it, but it's not the strike you're looking for as .mil types looking to sink ships.

The Live Fire strike Operational instruction was: "Remove said Ship from Theatre, minimum casualties".

At the time of the hit: no casualties were recorded and if the specifications of the ship and crew and abilities had been true to spec then there would have been no casualties.

Everything after that is down to shit humans.

0.001%.

82:

It may have been (or not) used some shit 105kg missiles to do it, but it's not the strike you're looking for as .mil types looking to sink ships.

Ohhh, UK is uppity tonight. 77th annoyed that they're being so spanked in the global propaganda sphere, they're getting silly.

It may have been (or may have not) some shit 150kg missiles used to do it... but as all .mil peeps know:

Over-KG usage in weaponry is a tactical balance to your shit training.

And so: give us x2 150 KG shit Soviet knock-offs, and we'll do things you cannot do with a couple Cruise missles three times the ordinance.

Literally: Your world is ending, and you spend it on this MiM shit? That's the response.

83:

Yeah, you could pretty well write a book about all the ways the U.S. screwed up their response to 9/11.

No kidding. And I bet several people did. What should have been a police / FBI matter (or at worst, a special forces action like the one that killed Bin Laden) got turned into an opportunity for Bush 43 to show up his father, Bush 41, as a war leader. Didn't turn out too well for him... :-(

84:

Hey guys, I'm running for president, and I have daddy issues. Vote for me?

85:

Charlie, Apropos of nothing, I just saw this New Yorker cartoon that seems a pretty familiar (pardon the pun) concept.

86:

so far as burning storehouses and dead oligarchs, I started wondering if it's Russians with personal connections to Ukraine doing a bit of unsupervised sabotage.

That said, has anyone ruled out:

--Corruption (aka "oopsies" with failed equipment upkeep, failed payoffs leading to retaliatory damage, mildly annoyed gangsters, that sort of thing)

--Sanctions biting down, and causing people to try to MacGyver stuff that really shouldn't be MacGyvered.

--Putin loyalists thinking that now's a good time to settle scores.

87:

That's common, I recall the USA getting very upset indeed when foreigners dared bring a US war onto US soil. So angry they went for the "pour encourager les autres" approach (which is especially amusing in light of the "freedom fries" nonsense... but then they also rebranded it as "the war on terror" which is so very US).

I think that falls under the category of never giving a political family with deep ties to the oil industry an excuse to invade your oil-producing areas.

Just as a side note, I was far from the only one who predicted we'd be back in Iraq when Il Shrubbini was elected. Took him about two years to pull it off, and he did. By sheer coincidence, his administration started pushing for the Iraq Invasion right when his poll numbers fell to their pre-9/11 level. What startled me was how many people fell for the "evidence" that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction after years of us knowing exactly what they had in the way of weapons.

88:

On "being average":

Here is the story on that.

TL;DR The US Air Force used to build cockpits sized for "average" pilots, assuming that the vast majority of pilots fit comfortably within the averages for stuff like arm length, leg length, waist, butt size etc, and the only issue was not selecting as pilots anyone who was unusually tall or short or fat.

Then a statistician called Gilbert S. Daniels ran the numbers and discovered that actually nobody was in the middle 30% of the distribution on all 10 important measurements, and so the idea of making stuff to fit "the average man" was a losing proposition (literally, if you were in the cockpit).

This has now entered Human Factors mythology: I found that page using Google just now, but I first heard of it decades ago as a slightly garbled anecdote from a HF person.

So no, there is no such thing as the "average American" (or average for that matter), except as a statistical abstraction.

89:

ilya87
The way schools go about this theoretically laudable endeavour, utterly fails for us Aspies.
Tell me again?
I NOW know that the "Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme" is actually a really good idea & helps people get along & explore places & things that they would not otherwise touch, but .....
I was at school when it started & it was deliberately "sold" as MORE SPURTS! JOLLY team FascismGames! ...
I enhanced my reputation as a sissy & cantankerous little member of the awkward squad { the latter is actually true though - I'm proud of it! } to be kept out of the way of the all-important "games" ethos, shudder.

Duffy
Follow the money - the last ( Hiding evidence of graft ) - including, as gasdive notes, the FSB doing it for/to you, or something like that.

OH FUCKING HELL

78, 80, 81, 82.

With at least some of the usual insults & lies & claiming HOW CLEVER she (?) is.
BORING.

Oh, yes, is LXXVII meant to mean something?

90:

Then a statistician called Gilbert S. Daniels ran the numbers and discovered that actually nobody was in the middle 30% of the distribution on all 10 important measurements, and so the idea of making stuff to fit "the average man" was a losing proposition (literally, if you were in the cockpit).

For modern US military pilots, and I assume other countries flying high performance jets, there is a non trivial list of body measurements that must be met to allow a pilot to be trained for a plane. Down to things like finger joint lengths.

91:

The way schools go about this theoretically laudable endeavor, utterly fails for us Aspies.

Concur, and ASD wasn't something they were screening for before the 1990s, except among the severely impaired. As long as you were capable of speaking and tying your shoelaces you got lumped in with everyone else.

Things are considerably better for autistic kids these days (per anecdata from parents of kids with autism who I know).

Note for Pigeon: "Aspergers" as a term is not in use these days for two reasons: they changed the DSM-4 diagnostic criteria a few years back to call it "autism spectrum" (because the original described syndrome was hard to quantify), and Hans Asperger himself has been somewhat cancelled -- it appears he joined the Nazi party and was responsible for murdering severely disabled people. (So: a Nazi doctor.)

92:

"a four hour meeting is better than a one hour meeting" or "an hour face to face is better than a 100 word email when conveying simple factual statements"

Oh, that's obvious! To a neurotypical extrovert, social interaction -- and meetings and face-to-face conversations are social interactions -- are 90% positive and fun. And even when they're not, they find the lengthy meetings less unpleasant than the paperwork or (gasp) actual work they'd have to do in the time freed up if they truncated the meeting.

93:

I met and was diagnosed by of Asperger's students in the late 70s. I'm happy to say I didn't get a Nazi vibe from her. Nor did my mother. Also worth noting: yet another generation of students lined the walls in that room that day. It was a weird scene but it changed my life for the better.

BTW, a recent episode (#152) of The Allusionist podcast was all about Hans Asperger. Credit was given to Lorna Wing for coining the term.

The Allusionist itself explores language, so that's the angle by which this topic is approached. However, there's also some unpleasant history (When is there any other kind?) and politics. As the episode's notes warn, "Nazis, eugenics, ableism, child abuse, murder. There is some very grim stuff in this episode."

94:

Footnote to the Seagull's comment, for Greg and the others:

When they mention the "77th", they're presumably talking about 77th Brigade (British Army), whose public remit is fascinatingly vague but who were created in 2015 to carry out infowar, hacking, and disinformation operations (and to counter similar ops directed at the UK).

The Seagull is suggesting that the R-360 Neptun missiles fired by the Ukrainian shore defenses couldn't have targeted the ship so accurately because they're ancient Soviet-era shit. However, IIRC a Boeing P-8 Poseidon was stooging around over the Black Sea and could plausibly have whacked the Moskva at the same time with a Harpoon. And now they're worried that the public might notice a USAF finger on the balance pan tilting the scales in Ukraine's favour.

I think the Seagull may be wrong here: while the airframe and rocket motor may be Soviet vintage, the Ukrainian defense industries have form for upgrading old Soviet gear with modern avionics, and if the Moskva was close enough to shore for someone to light it up with a laser designator the sort of accuracy we see in the photos isn't out of the question.

95:

H: there is nothing like a good warehouse fire for covering up the fact that the contents were sub-standard, or don't work, or were not up to scratch.

And a culture of corruption diffuses from the top down.

96:

Greg@1570: "Military Bands" - yeah, well, see MacDonald Fraser on the fighting qualities of Scottish regiment bands - especially as one of their instruments is often regarded as a weapon (!)

You're confusing two separate constructs...

Military bands have clarinets, conductors, trombones, sheet music, etc, and (until cost-cutting in the late 90s, when they were centralised down to "one per three or four battalions") every infantry battalion had one.

The Pipes & Drums (or, if you were the Gordon Highlanders and being awkward, the Drums & Pipes) are a completely separate group - note that while the Scottish (and some Irish) regiments have a pipe band, the ethnic equivalent for Englishlandshire regiments is the Corps of Drums.

The war role of each is different - the military band were trained up as medics (ours were), while the Pipers/Drummers fought; these days, typically as a Machine-Gun Platoon. As a "for instance", during the 1991 Gulf War, the Royal Scots' pipe band was a rifle platoon (during a peacetime gunnery competition, the Drum-Major's Warrior IFV apparently won "Top Gun"); and during the Falklands War, the newly-formed reconnaissance platoon[1] of the Scots Guards was largely pipers and drummers. Falklands War hint: Guardsmen wear berets, if you see someone wearing a black glengarry (middle row, third from right), they're a piper.

[1] In the 1970s/early 80s, mechanised infantry battalions weren't scaled for a close reconnaissance platoon; that role was filled by the medium reconnaissance regiments of the Royal Armoured Corps. Like a lot of things, that changed after the Falklands War - see also "add back formal establishments for machine-gun platoons and sniper sections".

97:

However, I consider that revisionism discriminatory and harmful. Let's ignore the politically correct aspect of airbrushing a 'syndrome' out of existence because it is named after someone who is claimed to have been a shit.

Yes, there is a gradation from 'pure' Aspergers to autism, but describing those of us with 'plain' Aspergers as dysfunctional is just plain wrong, we don't tick most of the indicators of autism, and we should be treated entirely differently. Yes, we lack a few abilities that most people have, but an equal number of people lack some equally important abilities we have strongly developed. Yet THAT lack is not regarded as dysfunctionality.

For example, is it REALLY reasonable to regard it as functional to have difficulty telling fact from fiction, to have difficulty expressing something precisely, or to expect other people to understand what you mean even if you have said something entirely different?

The point is that ALL we need at school and society is a modicum of understanding, and a preparedness to make slight allowances. Yes, we need teaching about how to interact with people at the opposite extreme, but why don't they need teaching how to interact with us?

98:

There is also a phenomenon often known as "getting lucky".

99:

Putin really, really, not looking at all well, or happy ... - wonder how desperate he is going to get, if he's that close to either snuffing it, or falling over?
Don't like that idea, either.

EC
Because the overenthusiastic loudmouthed moronic bullies who do team spurts are NORMAL - you only have to look at any big football match, say, ooh: Arsenal/Tottenham or Liverpool/Everton or Rangers/Celtic or Charlton/Millwall to see how normal & friendly and sociable they are!

100:

Bugger
Update - from that twitter feed.
(?) Putin has Parkinson's, badly & it's progressing rapidly (?)
Prognoses, anyone?

101:

"However, IIRC a Boeing P-8 Poseidon was stooging around over the Black Sea and could plausibly have whacked the Moskva at the same time with a Harpoon."

IMO, if NATO/US did provide aid to the Moskva strike, it was in the form of initial targeting information that allowed the Neptune missiles to get close enough to the ship that their own radar seekers could lock on.

One of the striking features of the situation since the beginning has been the presence of various reconnaissance aircraft, notably AWACS and ELINT, flying near the Ukrainian border. As I type this, a NATO AWACS E-3A and RIVET JOINT RC-135W are over Romania just south of Ukraine and near the Black Sea. AWACS, in addition to being an air surveillance platform, can also see ships out to several hundred kilometers from its operating altitude of ~10,000 meters.

https://www.af.mil/About-Us/Fact-Sheets/Display/Article/104504/e-3-sentry-awacs/

The radar and computer subsystems on the E-3 Sentry can gather and present broad and detailed battlefield information. This includes position and tracking information on enemy aircraft and ships, and location and status of friendly aircraft and naval vessels. The information can be sent to major command and control centers in rear areas or aboard ships.

102:

Greg and Pigeon - Greg and I appear to have agreed about "the arts", even if we've specifically chosen different branches for discussion.

38 & 39 - There are also Arthurian sites in Scotland, for example "Arthur's Seat" in Edinburgh, and "Merlin's Well" near Broughton in the Scottish borders.

48 - The "Carlyle Group", aka the "ex-Presidents' Club". Also know for employing ex British Prime Ministers, including Major Major.

57 - :-)

60 - I tend to agree with your view of a typical Eng Lit syllabus. That said, my actual point was about the tools it gave me for reading fiction, and not the individual works I was dragged though.

96 - See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f3oZfXIcO9E for how the bagpipes were actually used (at least by the Lovat Scouts).

103:

IMO, if NATO/US did provide aid to the Moskva strike, it was in the form of initial targeting information that allowed the Neptune missiles to get close enough to the ship that their own radar seekers could lock on.

Yep.

The most likely modernization Ukr might have made to the Neptun missile would be to update its avionics, guidance, and telemetry to enable it to take guidance/navigation inputs from 21st century inputs rather than primitive 1980s Soviet-era electronics. Rocket motors and airframe are relatively unchanging compared to sensors and electronics: the modern missile might be several generations ahead of the 1980s version in terms of accuracy while looking outwardly identical.

104:

The Moskva is at least nominally equipped with the equivalent of the US Phalanx system: six rotary cannons, each pair with an independent target acquisition and tracking radar. These should have been capable of tracking and destroying two Neptune cruise missiles, but obviously didn't. My working assumption is that it was like the USS Stark, where the Phalanx guns were never taken off of standby status.

105:

Elderly Cynic said If the UK had a quarter-competent government, it would be getting ready to lay a damn great undersea cable or three, and negotiating contracts with solar panel companies, Morocco and points east and south for supplying it.

http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/2022/02/bad-news-day.html#comment-2139284

https://electrek.co/2022/04/21/the-worlds-longest-subsea-cable-will-send-clean-energy-from-morocco-to-the-uk/

A 10.5 gigawatt (GW) solar and wind farm will be built in Morocco’s Guelmim-Oued Noun region, and it will supply the UK with clean energy via subsea cables. The twin 1.8 GW high voltage direct current (HVDC) subsea cables will be the world’s longest.

Subsea cable manufacturer XLCC is going to build a factory in Hunterston, Scotland, and its first output will be for the Xlinks Morocco-UK Power Project. It will supply four 2,361-mile-long (3,800 km) subsea cables, with the first phase between 2025-2027 connecting wind and solar power generated in Morocco to Alverdiscott, North Devon.

106:

"These should have been capable of tracking and destroying two Neptune cruise missiles, but obviously didn't."

Yes, a lot of the naval commentary has been along the lines "this shouldn't have happened." The common guess is that the initial failure was due to inattention and/or distraction. Other things ensued.

https://gcaptain.com/russias-sunken-warship-warning-to-navies/

107:

Thank you. I am glad that someone is doing the obvious. I don't see any reference to the government in that article, except agreeing to use British steel, which says something :-)

108:

Michael Cain said: These should have been capable of tracking and destroying two Neptune cruise missiles

I read a twitter thread that I now can't find that said that two modern missiles can record the radar chirps, coordinate between themselves, and then play them back in such a way that the two missiles appear to the radar to be one missile half way between the two. As you can tell, I didn't fully understand, and so can't produce an understandable explanation, but maybe some of the more knowledgeable commenters will recognise what I'm trying to say.

109:

I believe the best short description of the American character is "I felt I had to do something". Note the lack of thinking.

It isn't about violence necessarily, though feeling one has to do something can lead to violence.

As for science fiction, Heinlein was more ambiguous about violence than some think, and of the big three Asimov was pretty anti-violence and so was Bradbury.

I'm so far behind on current sf that I wouldn't even try to guess where the tendency toward violence-as-a-solution-rather-than-a-problem is trending.

110:

Yeah, I was more saying that you were right about the cable, and obviously, are right about the government too. This being left up to private industry, rather than being done by a quarter competent government.

111:

"As I type this, a NATO AWACS E-3A and RIVET JOINT RC-135W are over Romania just south of Ukraine and near the Black Sea."

.., and now there's an RC-135 flying up and down and practising procedure turns at FL380 actually over the Black Sea. First time I've seen them venture that far east, but that may just be because of a lack of ADS-B receivers in that area.

112:

For example, is it REALLY reasonable to regard it as functional to have difficulty telling fact from fiction, to have difficulty expressing something precisely, or to expect other people to understand what you mean even if you have said something entirely different?

Throw in swearing at people who disagree with you and constantly pushing boundaries and that sounds rather familiar… :-/

The point is that ALL we need at school and society is a modicum of understanding, and a preparedness to make slight allowances. Yes, we need teaching about how to interact with people at the opposite extreme, but why don't they need teaching how to interact with us?

That does happen, actually, at schools with autism programs. At least here where I taught — don't know about where you are.

113:

I'm so far behind on current sf that I wouldn't even try to guess where the tendency toward violence-as-a-solution-rather-than-a-problem is trending.

Well, mil-sf is a whole subgenre now, so looking at sales figures for that compared to the whole field might reveal something.

Or might not. There's works like Stirling's Nantucket series that contain a lot of non-military ideas and things as well as the loving-written blow-by-blow fighting scenes. Is it mil-sf, or regular sf with a lot of violence? (I once calculated that the battle-and-martial-arts scenes were over half the words, but I don't have those calculations anymore and don't remember the exact number I got.)

That's not really 'current', though. Who is current nowadays? I'm so far behind that I'm not even trying to keep up anymore.

114:

(?) Putin has Parkinson's, badly & it's progressing rapidly (?) Prognoses, anyone?

Yeah. Bullshit.

I've got Parkinson's in my family, and part of the diagnosis is that the constellation of symptoms you're experiencing respond better to drugs for Parkinson's than they do to other treatments. Almost always there's a long and frustrating trail of failed diagnoses leading up to this. It's not a disease that you can diagnose from a video clip, unless it's already late stage.

The only reason I bring this up is to recruit people for the Parkinson's Progression Markers Initiative (https://www.ppmi-info.org/). It's a study that's looking to better define what constellation of symptoms is highly associated with Parkinson's, and what's less so. To do this, they need a lot of people with Parkinson's, and even more people who do not have Parkinson's. So far they've enrolled over 10,000 people, and they're still recruiting. If you enroll, the PPMI sends you a set of questionnaires about symptoms (sleep, tremor, memory, etc.) a few times a year. The questionnaires are each pretty short (5-20 minutes), and the expectation is that you'll fill them out when you have time. I'd urge as many people as possible to sign up. The goal here is to make it easier to diagnose early-stage Parkinson's and to better understand how it progresses, so that people can get proper treatment and not have to go through wrong-drug hell while the doctors rule everything else out.

115:

"I believe the best short description of the American character is "I felt I had to do something". Note the lack of thinking."

... and my default setting is "Old Testament"

I was very surprised when I lived in USA, how often USA defaults to the old testament, from "thoughts and prayers", "... under God" and near-criminalization of atheists.

116:

Thank you, I agree that "murderous Nazi doctor syndrome" is not a particularly appealing tag to have. However, I see the choice of renaming as a retrograde step. "Autism spectrum" covers an enormous range, most of which is far away from the particular area in question, so it's a considerably more misleading thing to call it; it seems to be returning to the time of my original diagnosis when "semi-autistic" was the best they could come up with because that was all they knew. See also EC @97. It has to be said that my present doctor calls it Asperger's quite happily.

Anyway, I do wish they'd check the names for things properly before letting the public get to know them. All this replacement of familiar terms is confusing. I can't catch VD any more, and I want my brontosaurus back.

117:

...but the name is a reference to the noise reduction system and Ray Dolby's son is called Thomas.

Chicken's tits...

118:

Parkinson's doesn't progress rapidly -- some things that mimic Parkinson's progress fast (eg. MPTP poisoning), but the symptoms he's showing in TV broadcasts suggest hemilateral ataxia, which isn't Parkinsonian at all.

On the other hand: he's known to have been treated for thyroid cancer, he's showing signs of high-dose prednisone treatment, and that's consistent with angry outbursts and mood swings.

Also, he's nearly 70, and geriatric medicine is complex because most folks over 70 have 3-6 concurrent chronic health conditions.

119:

Eh? I was talking about what so-called NORMAL people do, which is regarded as perfectly acceptable. Those other behaviours are entirely unrelated, and the latter is actually anti-correlated.

120:

Or maybe the warehouse was insured for an absurdly high amount, and the fire was one more bit of graft.

121:

So, let's just suppose - even if it isn't Parkinson's - that Vlad the Insaner actually does become, clearly & obviously unfit to pleadcommand - THEN WHAT?
Who takes over? Does the war go on, or do they pull back & blame the "former guy"? Or what?
To be noted that there's an unconfirmed report of RU wanting the whole Southern coastal strip, as far across as "Transnistria" - which strikes me as utterly daft ( at present, anyway )
Thoughts - both medical & military { Political is too complicated }

122:

I was trying to stay out of the Parkinson's progression question, but since you brought it up:

Yes, there's a cluster of things that present as Parkinson's. Without getting into the gory details (you have the internet, look up Lewy bodies), some rare flavors will kill in about five years. If you've got basic, fucking annoying Parkinson's, it'll take about one year off your life. So if you're diagnosed at 70, it will progress more rapidly than if you're Michael J. Fox, who was diagnosed in his 30s and is now in his 60s. The tl;dr is that Parkinson's doesn't shorten your life much by itself, but it does make your time on Earth progressively less pleasant.

As for hand tremors in a Russian stereotype, I'd first attempt to rule out alcohol binging the night before, since hangover tremors are a thing for some people. More to the point, I'd ignore talking head video diagnoses in general and concentrate on what he's doing.

123:

"but the symptoms he's showing in TV broadcasts"

Speaking of that, the CIA just posted a new tranche of declassified documents, among which is "VIP Health Watch", a paper from the 1960s (I think) describing the watch CIA was keeping on various leaders.

https://www.cia.gov/readingroom/document/06500678

which has a link to

https://www.cia.gov/readingroom/docs/VIP%20HEALTH%20WATCH%5B14747229%5D.pdf

124:

https://twitter.com/UA_Institute/status/1517156973245915136

Ten relevant books about the history of Russia and Ukraine.

125:

Also, he's nearly 70, and geriatric medicine is complex because most folks over 70 have 3-6 concurrent chronic health conditions.

And out bodies just work differently. Says he who is nearly the same age.

In just one area, the foods I can eat has changed drastically in the last 5 years. At least eat and not feel like crap.

126:

Off topic: The Atrocity Archives is on the list of Five Books Featuring Shocking Revelations and Forbidden Knowledge by James Nicoll on Tor.com. Surely such a list will provide warm fuzzy feelings and relaxing bedtime reading, right?

127:

No idea what's going on with Putin, but I sincerely hope it is uncomfortable.

If he sheds his mortal coil we can hope that the resultant power vacuum will cause the Russian military to withdraw while they wait to see who the new Czar will be and what he wants.

However, it is plausible and likely that Putin will live long enough to kill a lot more innocent people. Recent articles showing satellite images of mass graves being dug and progressively expanded in Russian held areas of Mariupol are the cause of my morning malaise today.

I don't think Ukraine is going to accept the loss of their coastline or the Eastern part of their country, but perhaps there is an upper limit to how much atrocity they will accept. Any ceasefire that doesn't involve Ukraine's original borders will likely be a short-term thing (in years).

128:

"Greg and I appear to have agreed about "the arts", even if we've specifically chosen different branches for discussion."

Indeed, but do note that you are describing the way you think about things now, whereas I was talking about what I thought while I was still at school.

Also, Eng Lit is not in the same category that I was talking about. I certainly wished that it was on the list of optional subjects so I could avoid them teaching it to me, but I couldn't honestly say that it was on my list of things that they shouldn't have bothered wasting everyone's time with at all.

What I was talking about there was the stuff that was just playing around, kindergarten-level shit prolonged into the lesson time of teenagers. Two years to go to O-level - standing around for half an hour singing "Galli galli galli galli rum sa sa" over and over again, for fuck's sake. One year to go to O-level - playing with plasticine. (OK, it was grown-up plasticine called "clay" that you could put in a kiln and make it go hard, but that was the only difference.) Right through to A-level - chasing balls through the mud. (Fortunately in the last two years you could get away with "forgetting your kit" every single week.) Religion wasn't really the same kind of thing, but I nevertheless included it in the same category because I thought exactly like Greg at the time.

"60 - I tend to agree with your view of a typical Eng Lit syllabus. That said, my actual point was about the tools it gave me for reading fiction, and not the individual works I was dragged though."

Gave me none at all, and on top of that disparaged those I'd acquired on my own.

Typical lesson involved something like the teacher leading us through Juliet doing a speech and pointing out that it starts off grim, then a bit later on there's a light-hearted bit, then after that it gets grim again... Well, yeah, I can see that, but - really, so fucking what? Someone talking about good and bad aspects of her situation says good and bad things. How is this trivial and obvious thing so significant that we have to be led through it slowly and told that we need to know this for the exam? I could get marks for regurgitating what the teacher was saying, but I hadn't learned anything at all; I hadn't the foggiest idea what I was supposed to take away from this and apply to other bits of literature, and when he told us to do the same thing with some other passage I still didn't have a clue what the thing actually was, so my ability to get marks in that case was zero.

So at one point we were assigned a "literature project", which meant choosing our own book and producing n pages of our own waffle about it. So I dived in and found plenty of stuff to discuss and actually managed to produce a reasonable quantity of coherent-ish verbiage. It was returned with comments to the effect that it was fairly good (for me) but it didn't count because the overlap between the things I found significant and the examiners' box-ticking things (which I was entirely unable to identify, as above) was minimal. "By all means discuss aspects of characterisation and style", the teacher had written, "but not at the expense of..." [stuff like whatever the fuck I was supposed to see in Juliet's speech, since that's all I'll get marks for]. I remember that bit specifically because I was so appalled at it.

129:

Labels are a hot topic of discussion amoung autistics on social media. (Wing Syndrome might work, but that's already taken. It's an avian thing.) There's no strong consensus amoung the autistics that I can see in social media. Opinions are as diverse as the people who hold them.

Perhaps a more useful question may be how labels relate to services, rather than the labels themselves. Unfortunately, there's no agreement within the service communities on how labels map to services, so the result remains chaotic. Service users (another term to question/dislike/hate/etc) are poorly served regardless. My observation is that geography plays a greater role. You can only use the services available in your area.

However, there is growing awareness of this issue. Even Spectrum, a news source specialising in Autism research, has covered this. The Autistic community has been discussing this and more on social media for much longer, but its good to see researchers becoming aware of it. So there may eventually be progress.

130:

waldo @ 54: The so-called "styrofoam fighters" have been visible via Google Maps for the best part of twenty years. Though not necessarily those particular ones, which are at Lipetsk. That airfield is evidently being used for storing cannibalisable airframes. (If you look, there are even a couple of Mig-23 airframes.)

In the last week or so Google removed the blur over Russian military bases. Prior to that they haven't actually been visible. Google usually blurs out sensitive installations when a country requests it. If you know where to find sensitive installations in the U.K., take a look for them in Google Maps to see what I mean.

131:

" it starts off grim, then a bit later on there's a light-hearted bit, then after that it gets grim again"

Chiasmus. You should have gone on at length about chiasmus. Guaranteed to have impressed the teachers.

132:

Pigeon @ 65:

"Thomas Dolby"

Uh? Surely he was the son or something of Ray Dolby, the noise reduction guy, who was definitely American. I remember when I first heard of Thomas thinking "naah, can't possibly be a connection", and then I remember being surprised when the internet happened to find that actually there was."

Wrong "Tom" Dolby. They're not related.

Thomas Dolby the musician was born Thomas Morgan Robertson ... "Dolby" is a stage name

Ray Dolby's son Tom Dolby is a writer & film maker.

133:

Duffy @ 69: So why are there so many chemical facilities burning down in Russia? A massive warehouse stuffed with $20 million dollars worth of Russian army gear and weapons. Oligarchs murdered with their families?

Coincidence?

False flag operation Putin can blame on Ukrainians.

An actual rebel underground in Russia?

Higher ups burning down evidence of theft and corruption?

All of the above?

134:

Troutwaxer @ 70: I noticed all that too. Hopefully Ukraine has some special forces in Russia,* but I suspect most of these are signs of a society that's under more pressure than it can deal with starting to fall apart.

  • If so, why aren't they attacking Russia's logistics capabilities near Ukraine?

Maybe Russian logistics near the border with Ukraine are too well guarded and the other locations in Russia are easier to get to? IF it is Ukrainian "special forces" and not one of the other mentioned possibilities.

135:

It's more fundamental than that. Consider the simplification of two groups: one is good at building consensus and working together but is not good at facing hard facts or instigating radical change; the other is the converse. Simple statistics shows that the optimal evolutionary strategy is to produce more of the former, for when things are running smoothly, but some of the latter, for when they aren't.

As someone who is partially disabled in several ways, I loathe the term "differently abled", but it IS appropriate for people on the Aspergers spectrum. In particular, a disproportionate number of leading scientists and engineers are quite a way out on it, because it actually helps. I doubt that more than a small proportion of people with it are formally diagnosed, because it is NOT necessarily disabling.

You can see the prejudice with criteria like "preferring to be on their own". When I was young, this was treated as a potentially curable defect, like homosexuality, and that continued until at least 40 years back (it may still do). Er, why?

136:

Totally agree!

"Normal" is the average of the people tou agree with! :)

137:

The word neurofascism is sometimes used for what you describe. I often wonder if that's too strong or not strong enough. It certainly fits Hans Asperger after Nazis invaded and took over Vienna. As we've learned since then (Milgram etc), fascism can arise anywhere the conditions are right.

Some people still see Autism as "curable", i.e. purely behavioral. So we have B.F. Skinner's techniques applied to autistic humans. The results are ghastly.

One recent anecdote I read: A few weeks ago Spectrum ran a feature written by a mother describing her difficulties finding doctors able to treat her autistic child's headaches. She also mentioned how she and the father missed the headaches for years due to ABA. There's so much implied by just that one line.

138:

"In the last week or so Google removed the blur over Russian military bases. Prior to that they haven't actually been visible."

According to Google (as reported by various sources e.g. the Independent), that's not the case.

Since I don't have an archive of old Google Maps images I have no idea what the true story is.

139:

Yes. Skinner's approach was certainly used on me when I was young, usually in a negative way, though that's just because that's the way upbringing was done - in a sense, it 'worked' because I learnt how to live in an alien and often hostile environment (partly due to my intelligence), but it and the hang-ups that resulted weren't something I would wish on anyone. And I am a VERY long way off 'true' autism, which is an entirely different matter, and orders of magnitude less suitable for that approach.

140:

"Google usually blurs out sensitive installations when a country requests it. If you know where to find sensitive installations in the U.K., take a look for them in Google Maps to see what I mean."

Any examples? I've looked at a number of sites that I'm aware of, and they look pretty unblurred from here. Admittedly there's not much to be seen anyway - one building looks much like another, unless perhaps it's an interesting geometrical shape.

141:

Should your brother feel down, please do tell him he is -very- appreciated for his work by this rando.

142:

For me, it was the school playground. I had to "pass" as non-autisic to avoid being bullied. So I learned fast.

However, I've met many autistics who couldn't pass even if their lives depended on it. Actually, in the first years of my life, I wouldn't have passed either. Hans Asperger would've sent me to my death. Maybe you too.

That realisation chills me.

143:

I worked in 'Community Living' for 11 years with one person who was far out towards the end of any spectrum of autism one might envisage.

There was no notion of 'curing' him, but there was a great amount of effort put into helping him manage his emotions and interactions with the community around him. He dealt with a lot of brutal 'treatment' and bullying when he was younger, and had learned that he was most often left alone when he chose to be off-the-charts violent.

Over the years his ability to engage with the world improved dramatically. But our success was largely because we went way outside the approaches promoted by the so-called experts in the field. Holding someone accountable for bad behaviour in a small but meaningful way? Impossible!

Hi life was better, but it was at the expense of >4 full time staff over decades. It also became an incredibly toxic workplace for reasons unrelated to the residents, but that wasn't their fault.

144:

Just for the fun of it, I doublechecked, and yep, I remembered right: guess who else was part of the Carlyle Group? Right in on... Bush, Sr, an W.

145:

"Normal" is the average of the people tou agree with! :)

Yes. And given how much we argue here, there is no normal for this list.

I'm now trying to get my head around whether QNuts are normal because they're normal somewhere on the interwebs. My imagination is gravely impaired, I fear.

146:

Moz@68 writes:  No-one has yet explained to me in a way that makes sense stuff like "a four hour meeting is better than a one hour meeting" or "an hour face to face is better than a 100 word email when conveying simple factual statements".

Krugman's recent column,as it frequently does, praised city living over suburban sprawl for ecological reasons, and also for the productivity boost people apparently get from working cheek by jowl, elbow to elbow with close colleagues in a face to face urban setting. I think maybe he's just 'talking his book' unconsciously because he owns a house in New Jersey and wants to promote the value of that investment whether he admits it to himself or not.

 An alternative explanation besides the supposed productivity boost could simply be an effect of class exclusivity, in other words, a bank officer or prospective business contact won't okay a loan or swing a contract your way  without satisfying himself first that you're either a member or a sincerely aspiring wannabe member of his social set, God forbid he should enable a class enemy by providing financial support to someone who won't share his values, and by so doing bring down the worth of his own investments. If you don't like all the same things he likes, you won't compete for those things in the market and consequently some small quantum of value deflates out of his own material holdings. 

So administrative authorities become adept at sussing out a person's "character" (Mad magazine once explained this as an acronym for Car-Haircut-Appearance-Religion-Affiliations-Clothes -and I forget the rest) That's the real point of management seminars in too many cases, especially now since as you say much of it can be handled online. I'm not denying genuine value in getting to know and feel comfortable with coworkers, especially the well connected middleman types, historical example being Edmund Halley discussing an astronomy problem with Newton  who pulled the answer out of a neglected pile of papers and that launched publication of his Principia, which otherwise may never have seen the light of day. But this positive facilitator effect gets totally overwhelmed too often by simple clannishness, which in and of itself is not unreasonable if you look at it as somebody trying to boost the value of their own stuff. The downside, however, is buildup of inequality, class antagonism, pressure to conform to nonproductive arbitrary standards, and waste of economic resources on social signalling. Political fragmentation ensues as a result, and the sum of human happiness is diminished accordingly. John Stuart Mill would not approve.     

147:

All I can tell you is that I've been using Google Maps to look at Russian (and Belarussian, and [nationality of your choice]) airfields for close on 20 years.

Agree, some countries ask for such things to be obscured - though I was mightily amused to find that Volkel, in the Nertherlands, was carefully pixelated, but the online airshow borocuhre I also found said, almost literally, "the B61 storage areas (allegedly) are in this area" on its map.

As I said, I have been seeing many, many ex-Soviet aircraft in this sort of condition, via Google Maps and a browser, for almost twenty years. It is very clear to me that they are being stored for cannibalisation. Similar things are visible at e.g. the Mojave Spaceport airliner storage facility.

148:

Oops. "brochure" and "Netherlands". Sorry.

149:

To a neurotypical extrovert, social interaction ... are 90% positive and fun.

I admit that I sometimes try to make those interactions less fun, or much less fun, in the hope that an extrovert who won't listen will eventually become conditioned. Another approach is to excitedly welcome the chance to get paid for not working. Especially towards the end when I can say stuff like "can you just explain again why ..." or "are you sure {someone not present} will agree? What should I tell them?"... just obviously trying to pad out the meeting.

The question is more accurately: why is... better for me and the simple, brutal answer is generally: do what I want or I'll fire you.

Also, Charlie, you're talented/privileged by your "speaker for geeks" position in a way that means you have far more insight into the thinking of the geeks than the average manager. Or even the above-average manager.

150:

an effect of class exclusivity

I have definitely worked in companies like that. One was run by people so tightly socially constrained that the pay spreadsheet was on a shared drive, letting me see the gap between peons (under $70k salary) and decent people (over $130k). I left that role after we tried to recruit someone as a peer to me and I told my boss that to keep someone like me they'd need to offer at least $100k and he said "not a chance". When I left shortly afterwards he was surprised and hurt, the idea that I could act so contrary to his desires had apparently never passed through whatever he was using instead of a brain.

And one of the few times I was fired was explicitly because I regarded the management as peers rather than masters. It grated on them in a way that I quickly decided that I liked. Instead of "yes sir, of course sir, immediately sir" I'd say "that seems odd" or "why that way" and ... it's not my place to say things like that. The other workers just did whatever stupid shit management suggested, and the company was accordingly terrible both as an employer and as a supplier. They're the ones who waited until after I'd started to give me a contract to sign, then told me I couldn't keep a copy. I STFU at that point because I fucking love working for people who don't realise that only the legislated minimum conditions apply (things like not having to work overtime and never being on call).

151:

Pigeon said: chasing balls through the mud. (Fortunately in the last two years you could get away with "forgetting your kit" every single week

I did that too. Eventually they started caning me for not having sports clothes. Caning was less likely to have permanent injury, so I got caned every week for a while.

Re the check boxes in English classes. After several years of doing essays and assignments in English and getting useful feedback like 4/10 or 6/10 and literally having no idea what the difference was I eventually asked in the middle of a class (the teacher had said, "any questions", but I don't thing they expected any as no one had ever put up their hand in the past) I asked "in science we learn how the natural world fits together, in maths we learn formulas and how to apply them to solve problems, in modern history we learn about what made people as groups do the things they did, what is it we're supposed to be learning here?

She sent me to be caned.

152:

Re: '... things that mimic Parkinson's progress fast (eg. MPTP poisoning), but the symptoms he's showing in TV broadcasts suggest hemilateral ataxia, '

My mother had non-Parkinsonian tremors aka Essential Tremor Disorder. We were told that the most common culprits for tremors of any type are genetic predisposition, along with Vit B12 deficiency and hypothyroidism (both quite common among seniors), and a shrinking cerebellum*.

*Some viruses have been associated with this - basically any virus that can infiltrate into the brain region. Oh yeah, and gluten sensitivity, and too much of any of: alcohol, coffee, stress, etc.

Sorta related topic ...

Looks like there's a 'murder-suicide' epidemic among Russian oligarchs - four along with their immediate/local families gone in the past few months. The two most recent died within 24 hours of each other.

153:

SF Reader said: Looks like there's a 'murder-suicide' epidemic among Russian oligarchs

Yes a very stressful position. As stressful as being a weapons inspector who says embarrassing things about weapons of mass destruction not existing. Enough to make one open a tiny tiny artery in a hard to reach place on the awkward side of one wrist with a blunt knife that you don't leave fingerprints on and then lie in a field for the many hours it takes to bleed out through such a small vessel and then go somewhere else to actually die, so there's not much blood.

154:

Re: 'Yes a very stressful position.'

And a ton of possible suspects and motives - domestic and foreign.

Although the first scenario/motive that came to mind was this:

'Give me all your money - I need it to pay off national debts/hire more mercenaries!'

'No!' (Stab/shoot - gasp, expire)

Wonder how long it takes for wills to clear the Russian court system because I'm guessing that these people did have up-to-date wills and the last oligarch did have a surviving adult child/heir. Yeah, I know -- an official gov't or internal corporate audit will show that all of these oligarchs committed some sort of fraud and after all the various legal expenses and fines/penalties have been paid, there will be next to zero left in their estates for any surviving family.

155:

given how much we argue here, there is no normal for this list.

There is. It's a pretty broad one, but there are attitudes and viewpoints that aren't represented here, and others that are very under-represented.

156:

getting useful feedback like 4/10 or 6/10

There is a lot of evidence that attaching grades to student work is counterproductive, as (most) students just look at the grade and ignore any feedback the teacher has given. This matches my experience — hand back an assignment with extensive feedback and the question was invariably "where did I lose 3 marks?" or "what should I have written instead?" even what that was answered in detail by the feedback I'd written on the assignment — adding a grade short-circuits any attention being paid to the feedback.

I have colleagues whose schools have gone grade-free. Students get extensive feedback but no actual grades on assignments. Most students like it, except the top keeners who are invested in having the best score and have lost bragging rights. Parental acceptance is mixed; parents coming from more traditional cultures (where rote learning, cramming, and standardized high-stakes exams are normal) don't like it, most of the rest are neutral or support it. What makes it work is that the school administration is also onboard with it, and will not allow parents to bully teachers into 'just giving a mark'.

My administration wasn't that supportive, so my solution was to create fairly detailed rubrics for each assignment listing what criteria I was using and using the language from the Ministry of Education assessment guidelines to rate how well those criteria had been met. There were no numbers to argue with, no half-marks to bargain for, and no overall grade to look at — and I found that students actually read the feedback and learned from it. (Internally, my gradebook app assigned ratings to each item in the rubric so I could track whether a student was improving or not, and most students improved with each successive assignment.) The Ministry language was there because that way my administration couldn't object that I wasn't following guidelines*; the students ignored it and focused on more specific (ie. in plain English) comments like I wanted them to.

*Because I was actually one of the few people who was following the guidelines as they were written.

157:

Re: '... invisible Neo-Nazi Symbology .. . They. Are. Killing. Any. Children. In. The. House. As. Well. ...keep on posting your vapid takes...'

Agree on all three points --- although 'naive' would be more apt. (I have no issues with being considered unknowledgeable on some subjects.)

Unfortunately I don't understand your other points/references ... not a gamer.

158:

The one bad thing I've heard about a non-grading school is what happened to a lab mate who went to such a place and then applied to grad school. Because of the need to meet minimum GPA standards for entrance, they had to go back to every teacher and request a letter grade. Took awhile. Fortunately, no one had left or retired.

159:

My experience with "alternative grading" was positive, albeit I was in the cohort that revealed exploits in one of the systems. Completely gradeless would, as you suggest, rule out entry to most competitive systems afterwards so I have assumed they were used primarily by people not interested in academically competitive education.

In NSW one issue that's being worked through at the moment is the International Baccalaureate system (IB) because their grading is quite different to the usual NSW grading, and the grade output is coarser which results in IB kids getting "rounded up" ion a way that significantly advantages them. I vaguely recall that it's something like IB marks out of 40 rather than 100, and 40/40 is definitely an option. But the mainstream system scales exponentially at the top end so the gap between 99% and 100% is significant (if 100% is even possible). Result: competitive kids switching to IB and things like medical schools crying at the resulting rush of 100% IB kids.

160:

To be clear, I don't object to not grading, and I agree with Robert Prior that it can be useful when the goal is providing feedback and actually educating someone. That's the way getting a masters or doctorate works, of course. When the goal includes things like ranking and hoop-jumping (getting into grad school, for example), lack of grades can be a problem.

I was a real stinker at the end of my teaching career: I not only told all the students precisely how they were being graded, I told them how to calculate how much the next test would shift their grade, and I made sure that I tested (rather comprehensively) on what I taught, no more and no less. They hated my tests, because I simply tested everything, weighting more on the stuff that was important. They knew at at the end how they'd done, which, to be fair, most of them didn't particularly want to know.

The gutsiest student I had took me seriously. He was auditing the class (pass/fail), and calculated that he'd pass whether or not he took the final. So he skipped my final to study for a class in his major that he needed an A in. He got that A and he passed my class too, with the TAs in awe of his sangfroid. Most undergrads don't have that much confidence in their math or their skills.

161:

I took an Alexander Technique class in college. It's a method of improving coordination by a release that lets the head move up and that propagates through the whole body. It improves kinesthesia.

The teacher didn't grade on performance because he found that thinking about grades made people forget Alexander Technique. He wasn't the only AT teacher who wouldn't grade directly. He mentioned one who graded on class notes. He assumed that anyone who showed up would learn AT so he graded on attendance.

162:

Cantina said: If you teach like you moderate

As near as I can tell he does. These are the rules, clearly laid out. Everyone knows the score. You stick to them, you get to be exactly as you wish within those rules.

You've got a 3 post limit rather than the permanent ban any other blog would give. You can't make 10 posts and then complain that the wrong ones got deleted, and then abuse the poor volunteer that's giving up their time to keep order. Well actually you can, you did, but it's on par with abusing the unpaid referee at a kid's kick ball game.

Stick to the not onerous rules and none of your precious words of wisdom will be lost.

163:

Ya dun goofed up

You know what? I'm gonna tell you right now, this is from her father, you bunch of lying, no-good punks! And I know who it's coming from, because I back-traced it, and I know who's emailing and who's doing it, and you've been reported to cyber police and the state police. You better not write one more thing or screw with my computer again, you'll be arrested, end of conversation, from her father! And if you come near my daughter, guess what? Consequences will never be the same, you lying bunch of pricks!

164:

gasdive
The MURDER of David Kelly by US "intelligence", you mean?

161 - also 162, 163, 164, 167, 168, 169, 170, 171, 172
What a surprise! Arrogantly sounding-off on a subject of which you are ignorant ( Like ALL of them ) & then insulting a poster for shits & giggles.
How about a POSITIVE contribution, just to shock us all, eh?
{ See also: gasdive @ 166 }
- Can you tell we do not respect you? - you don't respect ANYBODY AT ALL - that's the problem, your overweening arrogance & self-centredness.

Do we really, really have to put up with this?

{ I trust skulgun @ 173 is a spoof/sarcasm/rejoinder to the above listings? }

165:

151 - That I can agree with. What Eng Lit teaches in Scotland is "how to pass Eng Lit" with a side order of "useful tools for analysing English prose and poetry" (fact, fiction, poems and lyrics). Having achieved my university entry grade pass in Eng Lit, the tools are the only things that mattered for the next 43 years.

156 - I see your point. In "Fuzzy Studies" (anything where there isn't a right answer) what the teacher is actually teaching is "gaining Uni entry grade in Fuzzy Studies". OTOH, if the subject was Accounts and the question a variation on "describe the main systems of deprecation" marked out of 20, you would score 4 marks for knowing the 4 main systems, 8 for defining them, and 8 for correctly worked examples of each. The lesson plan should now be obvious.

159 - As per the above, N/N may or may not be possible, depending on how well $subject deals with facts and marking schemes.

166:

paws
Precisely.
Since the subjects I used to teach were & are "definite" - general science / Physics / Maths, then the grading was actually easy, almost all of the time.

167:

Done it again ..... ( I forgot something )
Given Zelensky's warnings & the spoutings from the Kremlin, what's the odds that Putin will try for not only Transnistria, but Moldova, as well?
Lots of "Russian-speakers" ( about 1/3rd of the population ) there, what a wonderful excuse ...
Or have they already got enough on their plate, or can't they tell, with all the belief in their own propaganda?

168:

Greg said: The MURDER of David Kelly by US "intelligence", you mean?

Let's just say that people who are an inconvenience to powerful people seem to become strangely suicidal and choose strange suicide. Living in other countries doesn't seem to afford protection from the sudden suicidal urges that involve stabbing themselves multiple times, or beating themselves up before hanging themselves.

https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/worldnews/18343407/putin-purge-four-suicides-top-russian-gas-executives/

169:

Greg said: what's the odds that Putin will try for not only Transnistria, but Moldova, as well?

Well Russia has said their plan is to take Transnistria, and Moldova considers that to be their territory. Moldova is ex soviet so, yeah, seems like that's their plan. If you watch the Russian equivalent of Faux, they're certainly trying to work themselves into a righteous frenzy of going to war with the whole world.

171:

gasdive @ 179/180
That is "merely" an extension of the spittle-&-foaming that's been going on for some time, but, even so, it is really scary.
I suspect they are looking for a "valid excuse" to set off nukes, which even they have not yet got.

I see that the shitgull is using a different nym in this same thread, along with the usual insults & dissing of anyone & everyone who does not grovel to the "superior intellect" of the gull. { # 181 & 182 }

172:

"I suspect they are looking for a "valid excuse" to set off nukes, which even they have not yet got."

Why do you suspect that ?

173:

P H-K
Because it fits the pattern of past behaviour - threatening, making increasingly aggressive statement, whipping themselves up in classic playground-bully fashion, until they have convinced themselves that it is "now" justified. This is what they have done, every time, so far & I see no reason to believe that they should abandon what they see as a "winning" modus operandii
I also suspect that, of course, it will be an evil smuggled Ukrainian or even "NATO" nuke, so as to self-justify their actions, against the hundreds of thousands, not to say millions of "nazis" hiding in Ukraine & all across the EU & NATO.

In other news - unverified & possibly untrue, but RU enlistment offices burnt -- maybe.

174:

I see that the shitgull is using a different nym in this same thread

Yes, slightly less obvious than usual. Normally it takes me 1 second to recognize her and to click "hush" link; this time it may have taken as long as 4 seconds.

175:

"This is what they have done, every time, so far"

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I get that bit.

But how do you get from there to "set off nukes" ?

176:

Greg: you are so ignorant you missed the bits that were deleted and why.

i think bill has something set up to scrape the current page at regular intervals but otherwise anyone is going to miss bits that were deleted

"why" is probably more because ur professed respect for our host does not extend to listening to him asking u to limit ur posting (and namecalling) rather than being due to any sinister machinations on the part of heteromeles

you sure as fuck ain't getting on the small bus labelled "Beautiful Ones Surviving the Gigicide".

oh dear

i hope it wasn't the vax

177:

I'll drop a moderation note in here.

None of the Seagull's 21 comments were deleted. They've all been unpublished. If they'd been able to stop at 3, I would have left the comments up, per Charlie's policy.

I deleted one comment of my own that I realized was inappropriate.

The only comments I delete as a moderator are my own when there's a problem with them, and duplicates when people ask a moderator to delete duplicate posts.

Again, please don't fall for the Seagull's drama. Their comments are not being deleted by a moderator, just by Charlie.

178:

Re: 'Lots of "Russian-speakers" ( about 1/3rd of the population ) there, what a wonderful excuse ...'

Yeah - considering that Russian is still one of the official languages across all former SSR states if this is the only criterion needed for an invasion/genocide, Putin is likely to try to steamroll across a dozen more countries.

A couple of questions ... take with a large dose of SF/F salt but could be useful to think about:

Given that compared with either mRNA vax the Russian COVID-19 vax didn't show as good a level of protection against the original strain and that they were clinically tested on military personnel (instead of a cross-section of the gen pub), how vulnerable are Russian military personnel to current super transmissible strains (that have more or less equivalent odds of serious illness/death)? I'm guessing that fear of newer strains might be one of the reasons their military personnel is not mixing with civilians in 'occupied/freed' areas.

Also wondering whether any donated mRNA vax shipments to other nations have gone missing and/or have been redirected. Do UN authorities keep track of stuff gone missing? Also wonder where the major distribution/redistribution locales are and whether any weird goings-on that could disrupt supply-chain tracking. (My impression is that this type of scenario has been seen many times with various endemic virus vax shipments in Africa.) I'm guessing that any Russian POWs would be tested by international medical aid personnel for COVID just as a public safety/health precaution - but wonder whether such tests could also identify all the different types of COVID vaxes and infections/re-infections.

Greg:

On the previous topic thread you asked whether it was getting safer to resume a 'normal' life.

Charlie answered 'no'. (FWIW, I concur.)

This is a weird virus - and the experts still actively studying it keep repeating 'we don't know what's next'.

FYI - re-infection is very possible - something like 20% of new cases are re-infections and one person got re-infected within 20 days of their initial infection. (Re-infection rate was approx. 7% in Jan 2022 before Omicron surged.)

Also - in one individual who had been tested repeatedly, this virus hung around for over 500 days. (The article I originally read about - but unfortunately didn't save/tag - also mentioned that some mutations within this patient were quite similar to variants of concern that arose in the world at large.)

https://www.moroccoworldnews.com/2022/04/348532/patient-in-uk-remained-covid-19-positive-for-500-days-before-death

Not trying to be morbid or getting any jollies from trying to scare you, but please be careful!

179:

Followup on moderation:

The Seagull's latest 'nym is banned. Reason: attempting to evade an earlier ban and getting totally up their own arse.

Seagull, commenting opaquely on comment affairs is okay. Repeatedly monopolizing the conversation to complain about other people here: not okay. Ignore them and move on, when you come back (hint: not before Tuesday at the earliest). Unless you've got solid evidence that they're part of a troll farm, in which case provide unobfuscated details, traceroutes, etc.

180:

whether QNuts are normal

Well THEY think they are and everyone else is just to dumb to see the truth of the situation.

181:

Re: '... unverified & possibly untrue, but RU enlistment offices burnt -- maybe.'

That link went to some other story. Here's a different news source -- not sure this source verified its info. (I'm guessing that verifying any story coming out of Russia would be pretty hard to do considering internet lock-outs, etc.)

https://hindustannewshub.com/russia-ukraine-news/russian-regions-set-fire-to-military-registration-and-enlistment-offices-in-protest-against-war-the-moscow-times/

182:

The amusing thing about conspiracy theorists on the subject of 77th Bde is that they give it so much more credit than the rest of the British Army does… cynical, moi?

Another example is the hangar at Macrihanish which the loons were convinced was a seKrit fAciLity fOr hyPerSonIC AurOrA!! Eleventy!!!, but in reality was a boring old wriggly tin shed

183:

Ah, but the boring old wriggly tin shed contains the remains of an alien spaceship shot down over Scotland. Using a boring shed is clearly just misdirection. After all, everywhere else has such things ....

As I recall, 77th Brigade was a political charade to imply that TPTB were Doing Something - not that they hadn't been doing the same things for ages, just in several organisations and not with a fancy label. I can't be bothered to look up the 77th's staffing level or budget, which would be useful measures of how seriously it is being taken.

184:

Re: '... 77th Brigade was a political charade to imply that TPTB were Doing Something'

Looked this up on Wikipedia - says that the entire UK military is being re-org'd/reshuffled per 'Future Soldier' plans finalized Dec 2021. (No budgets shown although a few details on this reshuffling on forces.net.)

185:

Sputnik-V was a very well designed vaccine.

Far superior to sinovac, and the numbers out of Italy indicate it is probably better against omni than the m-RNA vaccines. - 2 doses, each using a different vector to invoke immune response, so broad cover.

Perfectly good vaccine if you get it from the Italian or other licensed producers. There were.. incidents with the supply from Russian manufacturers.

Regrettably Russia has absolutely abysmal vaccine uptake.

Presumably, the soldiers dont actually get to say no, tough, so as long as nobody sold the army a million vials of salt water, not going to have a great war trench flu event.

186:

Pfizer and Moderna spent a great deal on propaganda, and that included disinformation against the Astrazeneca and Sputnik vaccines. There was no evidence that any part of the UK gummint (including 77th Brigade) took action against that disinformation, though. Surprise, surprise!

187:

There was a lot of wild stuff flying on the internet when the Moskva was sunk. Still seem to be.

Assuming it was a missile strike, the ship was more than 50 miles offshore when it sank (https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-61103927), so I'd be surprised if a laser designator was involved. There was some noise about how a NATO AWACs or P-6 was near enough to tell when the Moskva turned its radar away from the coast and then told the Ukrainians that they were clear to launch. If so, that implies some really good signal operations run by people with brass gonads, because if the signal had leaked, NATO being directly involved in sinking the Black Fleet flagship is WW3-level provocation, at least in my opinion.

Since a Neptun anti-ship is reportedly subsonic and they had to fly over 50 miles, the missiles were inbound for 5-15 minutes. That's where the whole NATO launch (or, for that matter, drone distract) storyline gets weird. Counting on your ability to distract a ship for 5 minutes? I dunno. I'm not a soldier, but I'd start wondering why a drone or a plane was stooging around for that long and maybe look behind me to see if I was being set up.

Probably the simpler storyline would be: drone spots ship, drone pilots relay location information to Neptun launchers, they fire two missiles and bug out (the Neptun launchers are truck-mounted) The missiles get lucky and both hit, sinking the ship. Russia is pissing themselves in anger and fear, and they quickly level the Neptun factory to try to save the rest of their Black Sea fleet from being similarly sunk. So far as I can tell, the other ships in the Russian fleet are all smaller than the Moskva, so if it could be missiled and sunk, they all could be.

Now, if it wasn't two missiles...I direct you to the 2020 burning of the USS Bonhomme Richard which was totaled and decommissioned after the fire. Note that this was likely sabotage by a disaffected sailor (note, trial is still pending, this is speculation). For the Moskva, sabotage by a disaffected sailor, coupled with firefighting deficiences on par with those described for the Bonhomme Richard, could conceivably have led to the Moskva sinking. Personally I favor the missile theory, but this is the best alternative I could come up with.

188:

177 - If I notice, I will explicitly ask a moderator to "delete duplicate posts, please". If I don't, the moderators have my permission to delete all but one instance of a duplicated post.

178 - Likewise. I have just decided that I will probably not attend, and certainly won't co-run the games room, at Satellite 7 next month. Sorry guys, and I'll miss you too. ;'-)

182 Para 2 - Using aerial view, you can presently see a variety of "tin sheds" (age and style) and some WW2 and Cold War era dispersals at Macrihanish airfield.

187 - I can't comment on the capabilities of Neptun, but you would not easily spoof Sampson or S1850M; I am almost equally certain of the capabilities of Aegis.

189:

"Since a Neptun anti-ship is reportedly subsonic and they had to fly over 50 miles, the missiles were inbound for 5-15 minutes."

... and the russian seamen had been on alert for 50 days on a geriatic ship with kit from the 1980'ies.

If the Neptun maintains a low trajectory, there is a very good chance that the occasional blips on the radar would be interpreted as sea-clutter.

Spotting such missiles with radar is hard for many reasons, you have to cover 360 degrees around the ship, you can only detect it by reconstructing what might be a hostile trajectory of doppler reflections and so on.

It does not take much creativity on the part of the missile designers to make things harder. For instance, nobody says you /have/ to fly a straight line trajectory, randomizing it, even just +/- 50 meters from straight will make it much harder to correlate the echos.

Likewise, radar-stealth is old hat, so the Neptune probably did not have a bit radar return in the first place.

But the main factor has undoubtedly been sailors eyes glazing over.

190:

"the ship was more than 50 miles offshore when it sank "

On that, some developments. There are reports that a recovery operation of some sort may be in process:

http://www.hisutton.com/Russian-Navy-Moskva-Cruiser-Wreck.html

And one of the AIS services, https://www.vesselfinder.com , shows a ship stationary at 45.3557 30.9128, about 20 km from Moskva's last reported position.

https://www.vesselfinder.com/

The bottom is only about 40 meters down there. If that's where Moskva is, I wouldn't be totally surprised if it could be seen from a satellite on a clear day. Unless the water there is very turbid -- IDK.

191:

Since a Neptun anti-ship is reportedly subsonic and they had to fly over 50 miles, the missiles were inbound for 5-15 minutes. That's where the whole NATO launch (or, for that matter, drone distract) storyline gets weird. Counting on your ability to distract a ship for 5 minutes?

Don't forget the curvature of the earth, Heteromeles. It seems obvious to me that any missile would be flying at close to sea level to avoid the ship's radar for as long as possible. And even when the missile finally gets above the ship's visibility horizon, it's still where the radar will be getting a lot of clutter from waves. So it's likely the ship would have had the missile on radar for well under a minute before being hit. That's not a lot of time for a crew that was probably distracted and not expecting an attack.

192:

" any missile would be flying at close to sea level to avoid the ship's radar for as long as possible."

Yes, that's what they do and for that reason. But the converse applies: at low altitudes the missiles sensors can't see the ship until it gets close, and that's why good initial targeting data(*) is important. The missile can fly at low level and be confident that when it gets close, the ship will show up on the missile's sensors.

(*) Or a data link to the missile, which I don't think Neptune has.

193:

From the Grauniad: Two Russian generals have been killed near Kherson, the Ukrainian ministry of defence’s intelligence directorate has said. Another is in critical condition.
The Ukrainian military on Friday hit the command post of Russia’s 49th army near occupied regional capital Kherson
ALSO:
A New anti-Colonial Struggle { If only the global left could see it }
"The Ukrainian war has made clear, if clarity were needed, how Russian nationalists view eastern Slavs with the impertinence to reject them. Russian official media explained that Ukrainians (and by extension) Belarusians were really Russians. If they rejected Russian identity and said they had their own cultures and histories that existed before the Russian empire, they proved only that they were “Nazis”. No form of human life could be lower. The Russian state had a duty to kill them or send them to labour camps; to take their children from them and crush their country and their culture."
Yuck - but true.
Coming to a country or region with any Russian-speakers in it, or that was once part of either the Tsarist or Soviet empires.
Unless they are stopped, of course.

Macrihanish?
Like this do you mean? - cough
Lots of sheds for that!

194:

Richard H @ 140:

"Google usually blurs out sensitive installations when a country requests it. If you know where to find sensitive installations in the U.K., take a look for them in Google Maps to see what I mean."

Any examples? I've looked at a number of sites that I'm aware of, and they look pretty unblurred from here. Admittedly there's not much to be seen anyway - one building looks much like another, unless perhaps it's an interesting geometrical shape.

Google denies it blurs locations at government request, or has recently UN-blurred sites due to the war in Ukraine, but Wikipedia has some examples. Sometimes they're currently blurred out, sometimes they're not blurred any more.

Also note that some of the blurred areas are NOT sensitive military installations. Sometimes they're blurred because a homeowner or a business requests it (this is particularly true in Google Street View).

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

They give coordinates so you can see for yourself. See also:

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

195:

PS: Here's something different: Have you ever tried to find yourself in Google Street View. There's a certain location here in Raleigh (approximately 3810 Atlantic Ave) where I remember passing the Google Street View car going the opposite direction (Feb 2016).

https://www.google.com/maps/@35.8359882,-78.6019229,3a,75y,320.42h,85.87t/data=!3m7!1e1!3m5!1soqVpTMUZFfkzDCAvCIfedw!2e0!5s20160201T000000!7i13312!8i6656

That's me in my little, silver Ford Focus Station Wagon (about 18 months before I got my Jeep) ... if you ever wondered what I look like. It's a fairly normal for Google Street View to blur people in passing cars.

196:

Heteromeles @ 145:

"Normal" is the average of the people tou agree with! :)

Yes. And given how much we argue here, there is no normal for this list.

Except for ME! 😛

197:

waldo @ 147: All I can tell you is that I've been using Google Maps to look at Russian (and Belarussian, and [nationality of your choice]) airfields for close on 20 years.

Agree, some countries ask for such things to be obscured - though I was mightily amused to find that Volkel, in the Nertherlands, was carefully pixelated, but the online airshow borocuhre I also found said, almost literally, "the B61 storage areas (allegedly) are in this area" on its map.

As I said, I have been seeing many, many ex-Soviet aircraft in this sort of condition, via Google Maps and a browser, for almost twenty years. It is very clear to me that they are being stored for cannibalisation. Similar things are visible at e.g. the Mojave Spaceport airliner storage facility.

At least some of that is the Open Skies initiative to verify compliance with various disarmament treaties between the U.S. & the U.S.S.R (inherited by the Russian Federation).

Also there doesn't seem to be a lot of rhyme or reason behind what gets blurred and what doesn't ... or when Google decides to UN-blur something.

198:

"But the converse applies: at low altitudes the missiles sensors can't see the ship until it gets close,"

But does it need to ?

Unless the ship maintained radio-silence, you could home in on its radar, or possibly even what the ship does to the thermal balance of the atmosphere above.

199:

"None of the Seagull's 21 comments were deleted. They've all been unpublished."

I would point out that as far as everyone reading this blog without admin privileges is concerned, "deleted" and "unpublished" are the same thing. Therefore both as a response to La Polynomielle in person and as commentary on the episode for everyone else's information, to rely on the distinction is to rely on an irrelevance.

Note that I did see at least most of it: an extended series of short and repetitive posts calling you personally all the cunts under the sun for what from this end looked like her own damnwrongbuttonery rather than any deliberate action, yours or anyone else's. I think their disappearance was entirely justified. I'm just pointing out that whether the disappearance was by deletion or by unpublishing is entirely irrelevant to anyone reading (except Charlie, and he knows anyway), and consequently relating your action with emphasis on that distinction as a factor of primary significance is likely to wind her up more, rather than less.

It's kind of a shame that this blog platform does not provide some kind of facility that one might call "semi-unpublishing", where "semi-unpublished" comments are still visible to people who have checked the "do not hide semi-unpublished comments" checkbox on their profile, so those people could still read them without any special privileges being involved. Some of us at least do want to be able to read La Polynomielle's posts without having to happen to be here at the right time (at least when they're not like last night's lot); I'm sure Bill would appreciate such a facility, and I would also. However, I am fully aware that the appropriate bug-report tags for this paragraph would be "wishlist wontfix" :)

200:

"Google denies it blurs locations at government request, [...]"

But their suppliers of imagery do.

201:

Normal is people who like arguing, obviously :)

202:

"It's kind of a shame that this blog platform does not provide some kind of facility that one might call "semi-unpublishing""

One of the most efficient implementations I know of, simply removes all vowels in the posts in question.

Strictly speaking the post is still published, but reading it is so hard, and what happened so trivial to see, that nobody does.

203:

I wrote a program once that did disemvoweling, and if I can write a program to do something, it's trivial!

204:

The one bad thing I've heard about a non-grading school is what happened to a lab mate who went to such a place and then applied to grad school. Because of the need to meet minimum GPA standards for entrance, they had to go back to every teacher and request a letter grade.

We are required to provide grade on report cards at the end of the year, so that isn't a problem here.

The assessment guidelines actually say that the teacher is supposed to look at the body of the student's work, with emphasis on 'most recent most consistent' performance, and assess within the achievement guidelines rubrics, then convert that to a percentage grade for the report card.

The percentage grade is then used in all manner of inappropriate ways, such as deciding that because student A got 93% while student B got 92% then student A is a better student, when we all know that grades are nowhere near that precise.

205:

191 - That would still be around 16NM with a true sea-skimmer, and a deck level radar about 20 feet ASL. Wikipedia gives the vessel as carrying several radars around 50 to 80 feet ASL, pushing the radar horizon to more like 19NM without use of the helicopter as a radar range extender.

They also suggest the last known location of the vessel to be more or less due South of Odesa at 45°10′43.39″N 30°55′30.54″E.

193 - Macrihanish Airport has its own pages, including https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RAF_Machrihanish .

198 - Correct as far as it goes, which for the radar horizon is about 1,1* the optical horizon.

202 - A process often known as "disemvoweling".

206:

o rely on the distinction is to rely on an irrelevance

The distinction is that if I decide they're worth reading I can re-publish her comments (if they're unpublished). Whereas if they're deleted, they're gone for good.

207:

I don't have an awk manual or interpreter handy, but I think it's something like 5 lines to write a basic disemvoweler for *nix.

208:

Since the subjects I used to teach were & are "definite" - general science / Physics / Maths, then the grading was actually easy, almost all of the time.

Not necessarily, unless you are grading right/wrong with nothing in between.

If a student makes a simple math mistake (say writes "15" as "51" when copying information) how many marks do you take off when they've done everything else correctly? (Assume the question is worth 10 points out of 100 in a test intended to take 60 minutes, so most students will take 5-6 minutes to solve the problem and write out the solution.)

How much work is a student required to show to prove that they know how to solve the problem? What if they use a non-standard, inefficient, but valid approach? What if they make two mistakes that cancel out so they get the correct answer?

Grading is a lot fuzzier than many people assume.

My (imperfect) solution was to scaffold the required steps with specific part of the page for each aspect of the solution and separate marks awarded to each step. (A single problem might be seven "questions" on the test.) So the first question would be extracting relevant information, both explicit and implied, from the written description and writing out a 'given' section using standard variables, and it would be worth a certain number of marks. The next question might be drawing a labelled system diagram, or sketching a qualitative graph representing motion, or something else to demonstrate that they had some idea what was happening — and so on. This mirrored the process we followed in class for solving numerical problems. My attitude was basically an engineer's*: you need to document your solution or it doesn't count. When starting out I would often provide the correct answer so students could check their work; I told them to think of themselves as lawyers proving a case in court**, convincing a judge that their argument was correct.

I would evaluate each 'question' by the achievement levels*** without worrying about how many marks it was worth. I had a scanning app for multiple choice questions that I extended to handle this (which also let me analyze class results to see how many students had problems with particular skills/concepts)****. Useful and enlightening (and sometimes humbling, when I realized that what I thought was a good lesson wasn't reflected in student performance).

The results were that more students attempted problems even if they couldn't finish them, and more students actually got at least part-way to a solution. Really brilliant kids complained "I know this is the correct answer, why do I have to show all that work" (including some whose 'brilliance' was more good eyesight than academic ability, as demonstrated by different test versions with different numbers on very similar problems on otherwise-identical pages, but academic honesty is a separate rant).

Another trick (in the UK sense of the word) was that the period before a test I would hand out individualized bubble answer sheets (pre-printed with student numbers) and allow them to write anything they wanted on the back. Formulas, diagrams, solved problems, definitions — whatever fit on the page. I collected those at the end of the period and used them the next class to assign seating (alphabetically). Worked much better than a review class, as students were now much more engaged and had responsibility for making sure they were complete. They thought they were getting a break; I knew they were actively reviewing and studying. It was great for the kids with anxiety, as anything they thought they might forget they could write down. They also knew the test outline — xx multiple choice, yy problems, zz explanations, etc — ahead of time. This was especially helpful for the kids in the autism program: fewer surprises meant fewer meltdowns.

*Based on my experience working as an engineer, anyway.

**Lots of TV/movies meant everyone knew about lawyers in court; very few knew about engineers and designers.

***As specified by the Ministry of Education.

**** http://newsletter.oapt.ca/files/marking-tests-faster.html

209:

Wikipedia gives the vessel as carrying several radars around 50 to 80 feet ASL, pushing the radar horizon to more like 19NM without use of the helicopter as a radar range extender.

But at that extreme range, sea-clutter would almost certainly not allow the ship to be able to distinguish the missile. I'd guess perhaps half that distance, depending on how low above the water the missile could safely fly.

So we're still talking on the order of at most 1 to 2 minutes between the detection of the missile and when it hits the ship.

210:

I've been looking into the Moskva incident a bit more.

First, the Neptun has the ability to accept mid-course correction. It will then use its active radar for the final run to target -- hence the accuracy at the end. I've not yet found out whether it is able to do a "pop-up" as it hits the ship -- like Harpoon and unlike Exocet.

Did they use the drone to give mid-flight course corrections or was that done by the US plane? Or did they launch it almost blind? I doubt we'll get to know any time soon.

As to why the ship sank: I think the reason is that there were one year conscripts on board. Just as the Russian Army relies on conscripts, I was shocked to discover that they make up a fair proportion of the sailors. If there are a lot of panicky teenagers running around a ship that's on fire, then organising damage control is that much more complicated.

Just think about the time a Royal Navy or USN crew takes to shake down in war time. Six months, say? Now, apparently Russian conscripts are posted in April, so maybe they were in good shape and well-trained when the ship went down.

211:

Like Robert, I’m from UK, in Canada but via a fifteen years stop-off in Silicon Valley.

During my school experience in uk I had the no-grade thing for my degrees & postgrad - all I ever got told was whether I was being welcomed back after each summer break. About half the class didn’t make it to the 2nd year, for example. At Imperial it was generally held that nobody outside MI5 & the KGB saw our grades.

I’m not sure which I prefer after all that. School tests and grades... well it’s a bit of a distraction from actually learning but then I suspect that is what many govt. want if we really get to it. I always quite enjoyed doing exams and finding out what I really remembered but the score never seemed very interesting.

When I did the USA green card thing I just told them they’d have no luck getting anything like the ‘college transcripts ‘ they wanted. For the Canadian immigration stuff I actually found an office that could provide a bit of paper to suit them, and that was the first I’d ever seen of any grades (which were pretty decent as it happened). The RCA simply wrote “Sir Tim obtained a masters degree. We do not provide any further details”, and several past employers just said “national security laws preclude any further information “. I suppose that was effective intimidation

212:

Yeah, that entirely fits a model of my own memories combined with what you've posted previously about your excuse for a school. The school that I was at during the period in question didn't use the cane, but I have certainly used the calculation "nothing they can possibly do to me for skiving this will be as bad as the expected consequences of not skiving it" where the first factor was predictable, and if I had been able to depend on them regarding the cane as their nuclear option rather than some unpredictable choice from the set of all things which are not the cane, I would have been able to apply that calculation to a larger set of circumstances.

"getting useful feedback like 4/10 or 6/10 and literally having no idea what the difference was"

Also familiar, but although it did apply to certain lessons it reminds me more strongly of my perception of "crime and punishment" around the age of 5. Tellings-off and (rarer) congratulations were like the weather: they just happened for their own unknowable reasons, and you just had to put up with it.

One time at that age the teacher spent one summer afternoon taking us for a walk in the countryside surrounding the school. On our return, she addressed the entire class with the words ("you" plural) "Your behaviour this afternoon has been so... im... PECCable, that I'm going to..."

At that point, I had never heard the word "impeccable" before, but she had used exactly the kind of tone and emphasis that one would expect if she'd said "so... ap... PALLing", so I was expecting the rest of the sentence to be along the lines of "...do something horrible to you". It was quite a surprise to me when she said "...do something nice to you" instead.

The point is that the only information I had to go on to understand what the word meant was the tone she said it in. I couldn't make any part of the guess by reference to what our behaviour had actually been like: I had no fucking idea whatsoever what it had "been like". To be told that it had been really bad, and to be told that it had been really good, would both have been identically unsurprising interpretations.

Similarly with a bit of unsubtle behavioural conditioning I remember from the same age: be good for seven days in a row (as recorded on a chart) and be given a spacehopper. I accepted the offer with some reluctance because I was aware the premise was fallacious and the outcome would be nothing but a pure gamble with little chance of winning, and as each evening came round I would ask "have I been good today?" with no bloody idea at all whether the answer would be "yes" or "no". Looking back, that I did get the spacehopper in the end I now attribute to some undeclared lack of rigour in the assessment rather than to chance, but even at the time I didn't think it was related to any difference in anything I'd done myself.

I am guessing that that last is what is meant by the "Skinner approach" above, though since I know nearly nothing about Skinner beyond his box, it is only a poor guess. But it doesn't seem to me to be about the pigeon learning that when the light comes on at random it can peck the button to get food. It seems to me that in this case the pigeon already knows that, and the idea is for it to learn how to make the light come on by following instructions given in human speech. And to the pigeon of course this is just so much noise, and the light continues to just come on at moments which are as random as ever.

213:

"but reading it is so hard"

Surely that depends a lot on what language it's in. I would imagine that it would kill Finnish stone dead (though I don't know how Finnish actually works, so I could be wrong), but with many languages the meaning is all in the consonants and the vowels don't do much more than keep the consonants apart, so reading it is still reasonably easy. Prsnlly, dn't hv mch f prblm rdng nglsh wth th vwls tkn t, nd 'm bt srprsd f Dnsh sn't smlr.

214:

sed -e 's/[aeiou]//ig'

215:

This is true, but it still does not affect the outcome as seen from her end at the time, which apparently was what initiated combustion last night.

216:

"I would hand out individualized bubble answer sheets (pre-printed with student numbers) and allow them to write anything they wanted on the back. Formulas, diagrams, solved problems, definitions - whatever fit on the page. I collected those at the end of the period and used them the next class to assign seating (alphabetically)."

Sorry, I don't understand this. I don't know what a "bubble answer sheet" is, but if it is related to what I'd call an "answer sheet" without the "bubble", it sounds like you were giving out the answers before the test, which surely can't be the case. If you then collected them again at the end of the lesson I don't see how people were supposed to make use of the aide-memoires they'd written on the back. And surely "(alphabetically)" implies a seating order unrelated to and incompatible with one based around whatever criterion you derived from the sheets.

217:

Once upon a time the standard conscription period was two years in the army or three years in another service, largely due to the extra training required. Many years ago I had a lad from Ukraine renting my spare room for a while, he'd done the three year option in the Ukrainian police. Apparently the basic training was less oppressive and the deployments tended to be better, so enough conscripts volunteered for the extra year. This was after the Soviet breakup, but at the time he'd done his service Ukraine was still following the old process. He had a Russian friend who was older and had done his time as two years in the army, and been posted to Afghanistan towards the end of the occupation.

218:

The distinction is that if I decide they're worth reading I can re-publish her comments (if they're unpublished). Whereas if they're deleted, they're gone for good

I'll add to this only that I've taken to counting Seagull posts, not reading them any more than I absolutely have to. So I noticed they were starting to insult me, but I didn't stop to read the posts, I just unpublished them.

I did see that they wanted to save the first three. My take is whatever. If they're worth reading, Charlie will republish them and I'll look bad.

The only reason I'm pointing this out is as an incentive: Keep to three posts, I ignore it. Keep to civil conversation, I ignore it and there's no limit. Start cranking out serial posts, whatever they say, they get unpublished. Doesn't matter whether they're attacking me, praising me, or giving out winning lottery numbers in advance of the drawing. They go to Charlie. Hopefully they are winning lottery numbers, because then he can be a millionaire, write what he wants, and we all benefit.

So if the Seagull wants to make a game out of it and win, it's not by painting me as a monster, it's by posting stuff that Charlie always republishes, so that I look like a rule-bound twit for unpublishing it. The win-win of keeping to three posts and dialog is a possibility too.

219:

First, the Neptun has the ability to accept mid-course correction. It will then use its active radar for the final run to target -- hence the accuracy at the end. I've not yet found out whether it is able to do a "pop-up" as it hits the ship -- like Harpoon and unlike Exocet. Did they use the drone to give mid-flight course corrections or was that done by the US plane? Or did they launch it almost blind? I doubt we'll get to know any time soon.

Hmmm. That's a really good point.

We won't know, but we can guess. There are some probabilities. One is the probability of the US being able to better guide in a missile, versus the probability of the Russians detecting the guidance and escalating towards WW3. Don't forget, whoever guided that missile sank probably the biggest warship in the Black Sea. The US isn't formally at war with Russia right now, and sinking a big warship is an act of war. So if the US did provide guidance, they have a communication system that they're quite sure Russia can't detect or hack. That's pretty scary, if true (for example, we civilians couldn't detect it either, so if the US goes fascist and cracks down on people like me, we won't hear them coming)

The second problem is that Ukraine is currently a US ally. However, they've been our enemy in the past (USSR) and there's no guarantee we won't be at odds in the future. Worse, we're technologically superior to them in things like missile guidance systems. This being the case, would they want to let us know how to redirect their top-line missile in mid-flight? That's keys to the kingdom kind of stuff. Maybe the missiles are password protected or something, but the simplest way to protect the system is to keep the US out of missile guidance, and keep that system entirely within Ukraine. I don't know how Ukraine runs their drones, but if it's from the back of a truck, they could have the drone pilot and the missileer sitting close to each other and sending course corrections down a wire or out the drone.

As for inexperienced crewmen on the Moskva, I like that. Thanks!

220:

There was an interview published by the UKR of a Russian soldier. He said he'd been conscripted for a year but he'd been given the choice to sign up for two years which he'd taken because he'd get paid for the whole time rather than being basically unpaid for a year.

The story seems to be that conscripts are treated very badly, does anyone know if contracted solidiers are treated better? Perhaps that's also an "incentive" to sign up.

221:

where I remember passing the Google Street View car going the opposite direction

You made me look. A few weeks ago as I was getting the mail I looked up and saw a strange car going by. Then I realized it was a Google mapping car.

So just now I looked and there I am standing in my driveway looking at the car go by.

222:

Unless the ship maintained radio-silence, you could home in on its radar, or possibly even what the ship does to the thermal balance of the atmosphere above.

Or just start looking when it gets near the GPS coordinates of the ship when launched.

223:

Sorry, I don't understand this.

"Bubble answer sheet" = piece of paper with bubbles for students to mark answers for multiple choice questions. Like "Scantron sheet" without the trademark.

Because I tracked student performance between assessments, I wanted all the data stored in my app to be linked to individual students, so I had it print sheets pre-printed with their names and with their student numbers pre-bubbled. I started this because it was faster for me than manually linking scan results to students in the app when they forgot to bubble their student number (or even write their name*).

I usually have students sitting/working in small groups (2-4). For tests I rearrange the desks into rows, and have student seated alphabetically.

On the day of the test I lay out the bubble answer sheets alphabetically, separating students as much as possible given classroom limitations, before students enter the room. When they come in they leave any backpacks/coats at the side/back of the room**, find the desk with their sheet on it and sit down. Once everyone is settled I hand out tests turned so only the front page is visible*** and, when everyone is ready, give the signal to open the test booklet and begin. When the test is over they tuck the bubble answer sheet into their test booklet and pass it up to the front of the row where I can collect it.

it sounds like you were giving out the answers before the test, which surely can't be the case

Actually, sometimes I do, not before the test but right on it. Given that I'm assessing "do they know how to solve the problem" and requiring them to show their work, including the answer lets them quickly check if they are right. It reduces anxiety. Students who are clueless don't really get any benefit, because in this case the right answer isn't worth anything. Students who have mastered the subject don't need it. Those in between tend to do better. I started doing it with college-stream students, but the results were so positive I tried it with the university-stream classes as well.

*A surprising number of students don't write their name on things they hand in. In the last decade it got so bad that I quickly check the hand-in pile within a couple of minutes of collecting it to catch that (and also call out students who didn't hand in something that was due, so they can't claim later that they handed it in and I lost it).

**The same procedure that's used for exams, to get them used to it. Has the added advantage that I don't break my neck tripping over backpack straps dangling in the aisle between desks.

***Front page has name of test, useful formulas in case anyone forgot one, table of contents expected time for each section, and a space for them to write their name. I format my tests as booklets.

224:

Sounds a bit like being a bartender dealing with an argumentative regular who's a friend/relative of the owner. They get more latitude than everyone else, and they know it and are always pushing boundaries because they go to the bar to start fights rather than enjoy the company.

225:

Thank you. It sounds very strange to me by reason of unfamiliarity, but at least I think I get what you're doing now.

226:

I wrote mine in Ruby, but definitely not difficult, even for an amateur like myself.

227:

Once upon a time the standard conscription period was two years in the army or three years in another service, largely due to the extra training required.

Back in the late '60s, I signed up for four years in the U.S. Air Force. The alternative was two years, but I would likely have spent them carrying an Army rifle in Vietnam, and the odds of a 140 pound introvert surviving it didn't look too good...

But the training I got in the AF was worth it - the beginning of my computer programming career. And now that I've retired, my veteran's health care is a real blessing!

228:

"First, the Neptun has the ability to accept mid-course correction."

Could you provide the source for that, please? I've been looking into the question of how the Neptuns homed in on Moskva and the existence of a data link would make an important difference in how to understand that.

229:

sed -e 's/[aeiou]//ig'

But what about w (rarely) and y (fairly often)?

230:

Re: 'Pfizer and Moderna spent a great deal on propaganda, and that included disinformation against the Astrazeneca and Sputnik vaccines.'

No idea how well Sputnik has performed because the only articles I could easily find didn't have links to the actual studies. The below says that at least one of the not-yet-peer-reviewed when the below article was published showed much better results vs. Omicron than either of the mRNAs. (Takes a couple of days longer to ramp up but doesn't fade anywhere as fast.)

There's more info including some on-going reports comparing the two mRNA vs. AstraZeneca vaxes on effectiveness for reducing serious disease (hospitalization) and death. The mRNAs are about 95% effective vs. AZ at 85%.

My impression is that the more traditional vaccines (AZ and J&J) had lower uptake mostly because of cardio-related side-effects among teens (esp. males). Not good when there's already a culture of fear being stirred up by screaming rt-wingers/anti-vaxers.

https://www.yalemedicine.org/news/covid-19-vaccine-comparison

Considering that independent bodies of health care pros and scientists in every country ran separate analyses on the submitted clinical trials data, I'm wondering why your comment about PR.

I'm also thinking about how a few countries went so far as to 'ignore' the mfg's suggested roll-out schedules and instead decided to stagger roll-outs to much longer intervals based on a bunch of factors as well as pretty lengthy in-house data analyses. (Turns out they were right about extending intervals between jabs.)

231:

Re: '... when the below article was published'

Arggh! Missed copy&paste of the relevant article link.

BTW - the below article was published Nov 2021 therefore I've no idea whether the clinical results paper finished the peer review process and got published before the invasion, i.e., when communications between Russia and the rest of the world stopped. (If you have a link to the final peer-reviewed published paper, pls post - thanks!)

https://healthpolicy-watch.news/russia-sputnik-v-vaccine-effective-mrna/

232:

I would have enjoyed being in your class. I was lucky to have some great teachers, along with the not so great. The better ones tended to have a system, not all the same, but process-oriented with clear goals. The toughest class I was ever in, the teacher graded strictly on the subject, and made sure we really learned it. 90% of the class earned A's. Unfortunately for education he left teaching to go for better pay as an actuary.

233:

for ys, if u assume a final y is a vowel and an initial one is a consonant u should get most of them

i like disemvowelling, it muffles rather than censors, and gives the party concerned an incentive to get their anger (or in some cases ideology) under control

giving intemperate posts an image background of cute puppies or kittens might also be fun

234:

...my perception of "crime and punishment" around the age of 5. Tellings-off and (rarer) congratulations were like the weather: they just happened for their own unknowable reasons, and you just had to put up with it.

I remember observing much the same thing in junior high school, so around age 13. By that age I was able to reflect that this didn't seem like a very effective way of rearing and educating children, or of getting whatever behavior the adults wanted.

If kids that age are noticing that the professionals around them aren't very good at handling kids, that's a bad sign.

235:

As to why the ship sank: I think the reason is that there were one year conscripts on board. Just as the Russian Army relies on conscripts, I was shocked to discover that they make up a fair proportion of the sailors. If there are a lot of panicky teenagers running around a ship that's on fire, then organising damage control is that much more complicated.

Let me offer an example from Russian military history. About a century ago was the voyage of the Second Pacific Squadron (BTW, nothing that happened on this trip was a shining glorious moment in Russian history - there's a video here by a naval historian), and about the third disaster of the voyage was the Dogger Bank Incident. I'm going to skip over details, because the whole thing is stupider than you can imagine, but it's illustrative of how conscript sailors can act when under fire; the TL;DR is that idiots mistook fishing boats for enemy warships and 'returned fire.' Confusion, darkness, and stupidity lead some of them to 'return fire' on the only visible warships, which were also Russian vessels. Sailors on the ships taking fire sometimes did things like shoot back - but others were seen donning life jackets and laying on the deck moaning and awaiting death. Others grabbed cutlasses and ran to and fro around the ship to repel boarders.

So yes, I can imagine that the crew of the Moskva was less effective than someone used to standards of the Royal Navy would expect.

It's not as if the crew: * stockpiled spare binoculars because the CO threw them at things that offended him * rammed other vessels * allowed the ship to become overrun by chameleons * stocked up on cigarettes and then at sea discovered them to be opium joints * brought a poisonous snake aboard, which then bit the captain * found winter uniforms where their ammunition was supposed to be * gave their admiral a parrot prone to screaming obscenities * loaded a live shell instead of a blank for a funeral salute and shot another Russian ship

236:

(Imagine that the last paragraph is a correctly formatted bullet list. I accidentally hit submit after fixing other formatting issues.)

237:

It's for English, it isn't for Welsh, so I don't count those as vowels. Simple :)

You could add "-e 's/y\b//g'" per Adrian Smith @ 233 if you cared enough, though, and do the same for w if you can think of a rule for it.

238:

Heh heh. Off topic, but I can use this in another context. Thanks!

239:

"Or just start looking when it gets near the GPS coordinates of the ship when launched."

I would be very surprised if GPS works anywhere near Russian military in action.

240:

Answer: No, you're lying. sonnerad was designed by Himmler. It's never been "an ancient Pagan symbol", it was designed in 1939-41 ish. It's explicitly Nazi.

Assuming that was meant to be the German word Sonnenrad, that one is ambiguous: https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sonnenrad

can be the following symbols:

  • a sun cross
  • a swastika
  • the Nazi black sun

The word means "sun wheel". The ambiguity seems to exist for the English language version as well.

HTH

241:

Heh heh. Off topic, but I can use this in another context. Thanks!

No matter how screwed up one imagines the Second Pacific Squadron to have been, there's almost always more incompetence to be found.

"...and then there was the Kamchatka..."

242:

208 - According to my teachers, if you show working but make a transcription error like that, you should lose 1 of the possible marks for that question as long as you use the correct method. Which is pretty much what you said, but is honestly how most of my teachers got us to accept we should show our working in tests and exams, by explaining that if we did so then we would score higher when/if we made a mistake in an intermediate step.

209 - Levels of sea clutter are variable, depending on weather conditions, particularly wind wave and rain if present.

210 - I'm not saying how "good" Neptun is(n't), because I've never had access to the actual data, just to the sorts of values published in sourced like Jane's or Wikipedia.

214 - And seeing that I know it's right, although I would have used "aeiouy" as the search string.

218 - H noticed that Seagull posts were starting to insult him. Now, as a moderation exercise, work out why I rarely read S posts, and never engage with them.

226 - My main issue with regexps now is lack of "recent" (say last 15 years) practice with writing them.

229 - See number 214 upthread and upcomment. This is because 'y' is sometimes used as a vowel.

230 - Not that this particularly matters in Scotland, where AZ has not been used as a 3rd or later vaccine dose.

243:

SS
Ah the fleet/voyage of the damned ...
B T W - everybody: Any (almost any? ) video by "Drachinifel" on Naval Histroy is well worth the watch & listen. Some of his longer expositions ( Up to an hour ) are really educational.
Where will THIS Russia's Tsushima be?

SPZ @ 240
She was completely wrong, as usual.
Just outside Guildford town centre is a Buddhist temple - I've seen a flag over it - a classic "swastika", except back-to-front compared to the nazi version & in red on a white ground, with small insigniae in the corners, also in red.
The Manx triskelion is also a version of the sun-wheel ...
Quote from wiki: The triskelion is an ancient symbol, used by the Mycenaeans and the Lycians.

Also, from "Britannica": The Manx triskelion is one of the oldest continually used government symbols. It is a version of the sun symbol or swastika used by many ancient civilizations. Common in Scandinavian lands, it may well have been introduced to the Isle of Man when the Norse ruled the area prior to 1266. Its use is confirmed from the late 13th century by a medieval document and by the sword of state carried in ceremonies of the Tynwald Court, the Manx parliament. The symbol became the basis for the local flag after the Scottish earl of Moray, Sir Thomas Randolph, was made the ruler of Man in 1313.

244:

I would be very surprised if GPS works anywhere near Russian military in action.

Took me 5 minutes to find a source for GPS chip sets that work on all the available sat systems plus some also do inertial positioning.

Plus you can always do the trig and figure out when it should be in sight of the targeting radar and set it to start looking for "big thing on water near flight path" at that point.

245:

"Took me 5 minutes to find a source for GPS chip sets that work on all the available sat systems plus some also do inertial positioning."

Yeah, but did you check the max speed, height & accelleration specs ?

It is actually pretty hard to get a GPS receiver that works in a rocket or missile.

That said, UA certainly have the skills to make their own.

246:

In perl it's just one line, and not a terribly long one:

perl -pe "s/[aeiou]//gi;"

Use this as a UNIX filter. eg:

cat >>sample.txt

this is some text to be disemvowelled ^D

perl -pe "s/[aeiou]//gi;" <sample.txt

ths s sm txt t b dsmvwlld

247:

GPS can be and almost certainly is being jammed and spoofed by both sides in Ukraine and nearby areas such as the Black Sea coast. Jamming is simpler, flood the local area with radio noise in the various frequency bands of the four global systems in use (US Navstar, Russian GLONASS, Chinese Beidou and the EU's Galileo) to bollix any receivers nearby. There are ways around that though, using directional antennas that reject more local signals and some other tricks.

It is spoofing that's the real threat -- a much smarter system receives the ephemeris data transmitted by the satellites and broadcasts a much stronger signal locally with a modified data set that tricks the receivers nearby into returning a false position result when queried. This is possible and, given enough smart people, not too difficult to achieve today. It's thought to be how the Iranians hijacked an American reconnaissance drone a while back, feeding the drone with defective position data until it flew into Iranian airspace and ran out of fuel.

Commercial GPS receivers have limits on how fast or how high they will return data for but amateurs have used the published specs of at least one satellite constellation to build their own unlimited receivers. They don't fit on a single chip and cost five bucks quantity ten thousand but they work, reportedly. Any nation-state will be capable of doing the same and probably better.

Inertial navigation systems for missiles are now cheap enough (thanks, Apple!) to implement as a no-brainer. A missile can use GPS while it's in "friendly" airspace, updating the INS continuously and then when it gets closer to its target where GPS might be unreliable it switches over to using the inertial system's position data for the last few minutes of flight to target. Absent black-hole engineering or gravity generators inboard INS is unspoofable.

248:

English has approximately 5-fold redundancy, so that's not surprising, but it does introduce ambiguities.

249:

"My impression is that the more traditional vaccines (AZ and J&J) had lower uptake mostly because of cardio-related side-effects among teens (esp. males). Not good when there's already a culture of fear being stirred up by screaming rt-wingers/anti-vaxers."

Yes, and that was the propaganda. The phenomenon exists, but it is very rare and probably less common than similarly serious side-effects of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. Vaccination is always a risk, but it should be (and, nowadays, is) MUCH less risky than not vaccinating.

250:

You're assuming I religiously check for unpublished comments every day, then read them in context.

Spoiler: I don't do that. (If I did, I'd never get anything else done.)

251:

Y is not simple. Yes, it's (almost?) always a vowel in the final position, and usually (in modern English) a consonant in the initial one, but it also occurs in middle positions as either a vowel or consonant. Yclept. Yggdrasil. Pyx. Chyle. Steelyard.

252:

As you say. The fylfot (swastika) is ancient, and the sun cross is much older; only the black sun was invented.

253:

As you say. And, the more you are teaching concepts rather than plug-and-chug procedures, the harder it gets.

254:

Found references to a documentary I watched with the lodger from Ukraine. "Soldat" is from the Channel 4 series "True Stories" first broadcast in 2001 and is a 90 minute programme following a group of new conscripts in Russia. He thought it was accurate and was surprised that similar things didn't happen (so blatantly anyway) in the UK military. I haven't been able to find an online copy but it's well worth a watch if it turns up.

255:

About a century ago was the voyage of the Second Pacific Squadron

See also a space opera titled "Singularity Sky" by some guy who occasionally posts around here. (Premise may have included "what if the Second Pacific Squadron in Spaaaace arrived at the Straits of Tsushima only to run face-first into a couple of Astute-class submarines?" Because the author was kinda bored with reading the same-old "Napoleonic broadsides in space" narratives in which the adversaries are evenly matched.)

256:

230 - Not that this particularly matters in Scotland, where AZ has not been used as a 3rd or later vaccine dose.

Am in Scotland. Vaccinations to date: first two doses AstraZeneca, booster shot half-dose Moderna (mRNA). So they're mixing it up a bit.

I believe I'm likely to be scheduled for a second booster some time in June, but policy is liable to change within a time scale of months.

257:

The phenomenon exists, but it is very rare

Yup. And the real issue is that the cardiovascular side effects from the vaccines are a few orders of magnitude rarer than the exact same effects from the virus itself.

It's a nonsensical reason for refusing the vaccine that makes emotional sense to folks who don't have the statistical numeracy to realize that a 1 in a million chance of dying from the vaccination, plus 1 in 10,000 of dying from severe viral disease even if vaccinated, is far safer than a 1 in a hundred chance of dying from the virus (unvaccinated).

258:

Quite. I looked at the data, and the evidence was inadequate to distinguish the relative risks of the vaccines (whether for teen or other), even ignoring the detail that AstraZeneca were more open than the USA vaccines, but Pfizer and Moderna had the propaganda, er, marketing departments. The Sputnik issue was more complex, because the Russians had cut corners and had not provided enough evidence to the WHO; but then the politics cut in, and it was actively obstructed by the usual culprits.

With regard to your previous post, the evidence is that mixing the vaccines seems to work slightly better, and there is no evidence of problems. My wife had Pfizer as a booster; I had Moderna.

259:

Kardeshev (@228) asks:

[Me: "First, the Neptun has the ability to accept mid-course correction." Could you provide the source for that, please?

I thought I'd read it somewhere on the internet, but the best I can do now is the following from minnews (whoever they are?):

The "Neptune" missile adopts mid-course inertial navigation + terminal active radar seeker guidance,[...]

(Link here https://min.news/en/military/1531f6c86a806ec6af77ed0672ebe84a.html )

However, the ability to input mid-course corrections would make sense. A typical range for surface to surface radar would be limited by the (radar) horizon, so it might be about 100 miles or so. If the missile has a range greater than the radar horizon -- which I think Neptun does -- then having a mid-course correction facility would be almost obligatory.

Thinking more about H's musings in @219, I'd say that the NATO plane might have been acting as a spotter, passing on the location of the ship, with the drones acting as "plausible deniability", and with the course corrections being input by the operators back on shore.

(This is roughly how the RAF sank Rommel's fuel supplies for the Afrika Corps. GCHQ in Bletchley obtained the cargo manifest, then a spotter plane was sent out, which in turn called in the attack aircraft. Sometimes the spotter or the attack planes missed the target.)

And finally, a big thanks to Vulch (@217) on the details of Russian Conscription practices. I think a two year posting makes more sense and makes things much better. Nevertheless, a ship's company has to be "one for all, and all for one" since you sink or swim together, as the saying has it. And I am not getting a good vibe from what I'm reading about Russian military practice -- it all too frequently appears to be based on bullying.

260:

Premise may have included "what if the Second Pacific Squadron in Spaaaace arrived at the Straits of Tsushima only to run face-first into a couple of Astute-class submarines?"

<sarcasm> Because the Second Pacific Squadron did so well against an equivalent-tech naval force... </sarcasm>

In both scenarios the superior technology is overkill given the targets!

(Speaking of targets, I've heard claims both that the cruiser Aurora was hit during the funeral fiasco and that the shot just missed her. Does anyone have a good source on that?)

261:

"Commercial GPS receivers have limits on how fast or how high they will return data"

In any case, the limits, AFAIK, are not a problem for a subsonic missile like Neptune that flies at low to modest altitude.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coordinating_Committee_for_Multilateral_Export_Controls#Legacy

In GPS technology, the term "COCOM Limits" also refers to a limit placed on GPS tracking devices that disables tracking when the device calculates that it is moving faster than 1,000 knots (1,900 km/h; 1,200 mph) at an altitude higher than 18,000 m (59,000 ft). This was intended to prevent the use of GPS in intercontinental ballistic missile-like applications.

[[ changing markup links now to work with updated markup version - mod ]]

262:

The issues with the Sputnik V vaccine treatment was mostly that it wasn't actually developed specifically to provide targetted immunity to SARS-COV-2, it was a two-shot combo of two different existing coronavirus vaccines intended, AFAICS to provide a boost to someone's general immunity against any coronavirus. It worked somewhat as a stopgap but it was way less effective in the early days of the pandemic compared to the AstraZeneca modified adenovirus vaccine and the Pfizer/Moderna mRNA vaccines which replicated specific parts of SARS-COV-2 spike proteins for the immune system to detect and develop targetted resistance to.

The "propaganda" you claim was actually the published results of multiple efficacy tests of the mRNA vaccines conducted in several different countries around the world, most of which matched each other generally. For Sputnik V the claimed results of providing immunity against original SARS-COV-2 viral infections were obscure and the published data incomplete and, to put it bluntly, untrustworthy.

263:

You're assuming I religiously check for unpublished comments every day, then read them in context. Spoiler: I don't do that. (If I did, I'd never get anything else done.)

Good to know. I'm just pointing out to everyone here that I'm not reading the Seagull's productions, because spending the end of my Friday evenings unpublishing stuff is tedious enough as it is.

264:

RE: Covid, I just spent the last week or so self-isolating, because my wife had lunch with a friend at work who tested positive later that day. The friend was symptomatic at the time. The kicker is they're both vaccinated and boosted hospital workers, and I'm vaxed and boosted too. The friend's fine, but has no clue where they got infected. My wife and I are fine so far too.

This isn't an argument against vaccines, it's just a point that vaccines alone don't provide full immunity, any more than they do against the flu (for different reasons!). I'd suggest that adopting the East Asian habit of masking up when you get sniffles or a cough is probably the better way to limit spreading viruses to others.

Yes, I'm an American saying that. The odd thing is that, when I explain to some mask skeptic that I'm not worried about getting sick from them, I'm trying not to give them what I have, they're considerably more polite about me wearing a mask. Too bad mask wearing got framed as an act of fear, rather than an act of politeness.

265:

No matter how screwed up one imagines the Second Pacific Squadron to have been, there's almost always more incompetence to be found. "...and then there was the Kamchatka..."

You know, I think we may have stumbled onto something like the Russian national myth. Perhaps that myth is that all Russians all disposable tools, and the powerful are mostly idiots who waste people. That might explain a lot of the paranoia, alcoholism, abuse, etc., and help fuel the rage at those who are struggling to do away with this myth. Ukrainians for instance.

Apparently US Republicans are hell-bent on instantiating that myth throughout the US too.

266:

256 - Most of the people I know (double figures I can speak for) had first 2 AZ, 3rd Pfizer, but I don't know what was used as the 4th dose for the one person who's had that.

263 - Similarly, subject to the note that since I don't have to read the Seagull's text, I don't.

267:

I would be very surprised if GPS works anywhere near Russian military in action.

But what about Russia's GLONASS system? Would they disable their own version of GPS?

268:

Charlie, have you ever heard this saying?

Dungeons & Dragons players take COVID seriously because they know that 2% chance occurs much more often than you would think

269:

GLONASS is a military positioning system with encrypted super-precise options not available to the five-buck four-system GPS chip in smartphones and Garmin-type receivers. The Russians can switch off or mess with commercial GPS data from GLONASS satellites in certain areas of the world while still providing good data for their military receivers in Ukraine and environs.

It's more likely the Ukranians will be brute-force jamming GLONASS by broadcasting mush on the frequencies the military GLONASS channels use in their areas of control. The Russians may be doing the same in their areas of control to GPS, Beidou and Galileo frequencies since the Ukranians might be using them against Russian forces. Whether the US is giving the Ukraianians access to Navstar military capabilities (which have improved resistance to jamming, spoofing etc.) is another matter.

Don't you just love an arms race?

270:

The propaganda I referred to was NOT that - it was the way that Pfizer and Moderna hyped up a very few (serious) reactions to the Astrazeneca vaccine, implying that the mRNA vaccines had no such problems. But, at that time, they had NOT published the reactions to their vaccine (only disclosed them to the FDA 'in confidence'). When they later disclosed their data, it turned out that they have a comparable incidence of some equally serious problems. Something like pulmonary embolism, but I can't remember what. The propaganda was against Astrazeneca, which was a serious competitor to them.

W.r.t. Sputnik, that wasn't the result I saw. There is definitely misinformation about Sputnik, but I haven't checked deeply enough to be sure whose; quite probably both. There MAY have been an efficacy trial not done by the Russians (please post a link if you have one), but the claims of low efficacy that I have seen appeared to be based on no evidence whatsoever (i.e. were pure propaganda). HOWEVER, let this one pass, unless you can provide some solid data; you might be right. I am disinclined to search further; the politics were as I said.

271:

Note: All four of my vaccine doses have been Pfizer - as a datapoint, anyway.

272:

Not Charlie, but I've played the game long-enough to once roll three natural 20s in a row, so I know, to quote Sister Rosetta Tharpe, that "strange things are happening every day!"

273:

Too bad mask wearing got framed as an act of fear, rather than an act of politeness.

It is the culture war, with a side-helping of blaming the messenger. Don't fight the virus. Fight the doctors and scientists and liberal politicians who are trying to tell you what to do.

274:

There were definitely adverse reactions to all approved vaccines, in very small numbers and these reactions only became clearly observable after millions of doses had been administered -- an adverse reaction rate of one case in two million doses wouldn't turn up in the vaccine-makers Phase III tests which had, at best, forty thousand volunteers with half of them receiving a placebo. Those adverse reaction reports were not collected by the vaccine manufacturers, they were collected by the national health services like the NHS, CDC et al. as part of their broad-reaching ability to monitor vaccine rollouts.

The vaccine makers had no control over the publication of information about adverse reaction to other maker's vaccines after the rollouts. The AstraZeneca vaccine was first out of the gate with approval and deployment in the West with the mRNA vaccines following along shortly. The first public notice of adverse reactions was with AstraZeneca, that's all and no conspiracy needed.

As for Sputnik V, it was and still is a technically inferior vaccine to the genetically-engineered Western vaccines which produced proteins matching the genetic fingerprint of the spike proteins of the original Wuhan strain of SARS-COV-2 to confer specific immunity to the disease. The Russian efficacy data was, as I said, incomplete and poorly sourced according to some knowledgeable commentators I read in passing and the raw data was not available at all to independent observers. That may be down to a difference in how such things are dealt with in Russia compared to the West, it does not automatically mean that the West denigrated an adequate or superior product simply because it was Russian.

275:

Don't you just love an arms race?

From a purely technical and historical viewpoint, yes. I love reading about such things. However, I'm not so fond of living in a period where I can to read about it as it happens. Of course, we're always in such a period.

Last year I read several news articles on GPS spoofing from the same source, The Register. A simple search just now produced two articles from last year and another from 2012. Russia spoofed AIS data to fake British warship's course days before Crimea guns showdown was an article from last June. The second article, in September, was an "embedded" account of an exercise on HMS Severn.

276:

Am in Scotland. Vaccinations to date: first two doses AstraZeneca, booster shot half-dose Moderna (mRNA). So they're mixing it up a bit.

I'm in Ontario (Canada)*. I had a first dose of AstraZeneca, second of Moderna (because mixing doeses seemed to give better results), and third a full-strength Moderna because that was what was available at the only appointment I found in two months.

*Health care is a provincial responsibility here, so we've had a variety of approaches to vaccination. Ontario's was a Hunger Games-style lottery of trying to find clinics with openings and book appointments. Kinda like finding the free rapid tests — they are available but usually not in stock, so you pretty much have to show up to grocery stores every day and hope you're there within the 3-4 hour window between them being unboxed and running out. (The stores don't known when the next shipment arrives — sometimes several days in a row, sometimes weeks between shipments.)

277:

I should add, for anyone unfamiliar with the site, that The Register is a general IT news source. They also cover a few topics also of interest to their readership. So the two articles have some small significance, but are obviously far from the most authouritive sources available.

So I think the number of "arms race" articles from last year may be suggestive only. It primarily suggests to me that this isn't a big secret. Even mainstream news media, like the Guardian, are covering this. (Well, they are now.) El Reg still has the edge over The Grauniad for technical details, but that's not saying much. It just means I can enjoy comparing them and judging^Wassessing the assumed technical knowledge of their readerships by their journalists.

278:

You impugn El Reg? Jail for Rodgers, jail for one thousand cycles! May BOFH scramble your mariadb (autocockup suggested ‘marinade’) tables!

279:

"But what about Russia's GLONASS system? Would they disable their own version of GPS?"

GLONASS has a military encrypted signal and much more robust signal, just like GPS. Without the keys, you cannot receive them.

I doubt UA is on the distribution list any longer.

Of course it is theoretically possible that USA has slipped UA some receivers with a time limited key, but integration etc would take time, so I doubt it.

280:

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1198743X2100639X

Hungary used every vaccine they could get their hands on, and also had a mediocre overall uptake so made for a near-ideal natural experiment. Sputnik-V is indeed as effective as the m-RNA vaccines. There is also some in-vitro work out of Italy suggesting it has better efficiency against omnicron than any other vaccine. But well. Petri-dishes.

281:

Certainly not! I would never impugn the publisher of the late Lester Haines and his prolific punning.

282:

On speed limits for GPS modules: some years ago I read a piece by someone who programmed a Raspberry Pi to act as a GPS receiver with a bit of RF circuitry to drive an input pin. I don't know how accurate it was, although I do know that the exact calculations are hairy. But for even a small nation-state weapons program a decent GPS receiver capable of operating at supersonic speeds would not seem to be an obstacle.

283:

Ahh, here is a more modern link that is up to date: GNSS-SDRLIB. Doesn't run on a R-Pi, but close enough.

284:

Yes, writing a decoder for good, strong, un-jammed GPS signals is not the big deal.

But once you need to deal with jamming, you get into phased array antennas and then things get hairy fast.

One particular relevant issue in context of Neptune is that the power budget is very limited in such missiles.

285:

And I am not getting a good vibe from what I'm reading about Russian military practice -- it all too frequently appears to be based on bullying.

There's a story I heard (so take it with a grain or two of salt) that Eisenhower was appalled at some of the Soviet practices when they met up in the summer of 45. Supposedly the way the Soviet Army cleared a mine field was to have the lower ranks walk through it.

Which fits with all of these other stories about the bottom end of the Russian fighting forces.

286:

On a more optimistic topic, there have been discussions here on the possibility of generating solar power in sunny countries south of the Mediterranean and then transporting it north using HVDC transmission.

This is a project to do exactly that, providing 8% of the UK electricity demand using solar power in Morocco and a large battery.

287:

It's a nonsensical reason for refusing the vaccine that makes emotional sense to folks who don't have the statistical numeracy to realize that a 1 in a million chance of dying from the vaccination, plus 1 in 10,000 of dying from severe viral disease even if vaccinated, is far safer than a 1 in a hundred chance of dying from the virus (unvaccinated).

There's a large group of people in the US and I assume on most of the planet who feel that DOING SOMETHING and something bad happening means it is their fault. But doing nothing and having something bad happen is fate.

This is not the thought process in their brains, but this is the way they get to a decision to not do something. Like not take a vaccine.

Here's an article on the trolley problem that also notes this.

https://arstechnica.com/science/2022/04/universal-ethics-testing-the-trolley-problem-around-the-world/

288:

"One particular relevant issue in context of Neptune is that the power budget "

Also relevant is that it has a maximum range of 300 km and "subsonic" speed, which I'll asssume is like 1,000 kph. That means that the nav system only needs to work for 20 minutes at the most(*). I suspect that available INS will do the job, which is to put the missile where its seeker can acquire the target. So GPS in this case is in the "nice to have, but not strictly necessary" category.

Note that "where its seeker can acquire the target" benefits from pre-launch data on where the target is likely to be. Which gets back to those NATO ELINT and AWACS planes.

(*)Looking at the map, I think the Neptunes that hit Moskva flew between five and ten minutes, depending on the launch position.

289:

Still waiting for the western oligarchs to contract this disease....

290:

After I went back to college (I'd been out nine years), I finished (eventually) my AA, then my BSc. all part time, mostly at community colleges. In the years I went, I only had three lousy teachers. The rest - let me assure you that anyone taking college courses at night, while working full time, is not going to put up with bs - the students will eat the bad teachers alive.

And then there was me: all three bad teachers, with no planning or forethought, I wound up intimidating. And everyone in the class knew I was getting an A in those classes. The real mind-boggler was the stat teacher: during the first exam, I finished pretty much first, and stepped out, and he was out there. He commented on my calculator having a lot of stat functions... and I said no, but mentioned I'd just finished, the term before, intro to diff eq... and that seemed to intimidate him. But then, for some unknown reason, the class was listed as having no math prerequisites.

291:

Yes! I really, really dislike the Napoleanic broadsides in spaaaace.

Anyone who's read my first novel saw that a) I'm really not into space war (esp. with broadsides), and that I did my best to reflect modern, and far futuristic battles (two? three? launches/blasts and it's over. As I think of it, more like a fight between actual samurai. (position, position, position, draw/swing/oops, you're dead).

292:

There's a large group of people in the US and I assume on most of the planet who feel that DOING SOMETHING and something bad happening means it is their fault. But doing nothing and having something bad happen is fate.

That's cat logic.

Years ago I had an elderly rescue cat who had been morbidly obese when I adopted her: we eventually got her down to a vet-approved weight, but it took a couple of years for her to shed the 2/3 of her body mass that was basically flab, and thereafter she had osteoarthritis in her tail and three out of four legs.

A cat with osteoarthritis does not enjoy using the litter tray: it hurts. But cats are creatures of habit who associate activities with places. Hunting, eating, shitting: the association is "this place makes me hurt, therefore I must avoid it", and suddenly you find yourself scooping up their turds every morning from whichever new place they've found to dump them overnight.

(It's not the cat's fault, and strong pain killers helped ... but then she got bowel cancer and it stopped being a problem permanently.)

Anyway, it's the correlation != causation narrative again.

293:

I don't know where to start, but will try :-(

I was NOT talking about post-rollout. In the UK, at least, all post-rollout adverse event reporting is optional and completely unchecked (so massive reprting bias), and is confounded by a huge number of relevant factors. Rarely, some organisation gets permission to access the data, and does some data mining, but few results are more than indicative, for the previous reasons.

Phase 2 and 3 trials are run by some organisation (often a university or similar) under a contract that includes the manufacturer, but who does NOT have any involvement with actually running the trial. Interim results (including adverse effects) are required to be reported to the regulatory authority, but there is NO requirement to publish them until (some time after) the trial is complete. Indeed, that usually happens well after approval.

The trials for COVID cut corners, and approval was given (for all of the vaccines) very hurriedly. Astrazeneca were very open with their interim results; Pfizer and Moderna were not. At the time I am talking about, such results (including adverse effects) were available for Astrazeneca but not Pfizer or Moderna.

The adverse events I was referring to were a few (2-3?) in young adults, where only 0.1 or so were expected (*); no, they were NOT deaths, but could lead to deaths when untreated. There was a hoo-hah, and even the UK put a hold on Astrazeneca for young people (which is still present). Pfizer (I think) was hyping its safety and was asked "we know Astrazeneca's risks; what about yours?" and got the response "we have disclosed everything to the FDA". Once the data were published, it became clear that Pfizer and Moderna were no safer than Astrazeneca, probably not even for young adults.

(*) But where more like 100 were expected if an unvaccinated young adult got COVID.

294:

270 - What Charlie and I refer to is actual vaccinations administered without side effects beyond short term headache, muscle pains or chills (up to 24 hours, easily treated using paracetamol and/or ibuprofen).

276 - I'm not sure about Ingurlundshire regions, but healthcare in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales is devolved to the national assemblies, and from there administration is usually further devolved to regional health boards (for example I'm in a different RHB to Nojay and Charlie, and until I got renal failure last February was in a different RHB to the one I am now; all 3 RHBs being in Scotland).

288 - Wikipedia gives performance for Storm Shadow (France and UK) of range 350 miles at ~1_000kph, guidance system Inertial, GPS and TERPROM.

295:

"I'm not sure about Ingurlundshire regions, but healthcare in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales is devolved to the national assemblies, ..."

Policy is not devolved; implementation is. Roughly.

296:

That's cat logic.

Yes and no.

Cats and humans seem to have place-based memory. Words, for example, are not learned in some "word part of your brain that suddenly evolved 70,000 years ago," they're associated with memories and places. This is why, when you deal with government (go on a jury, testify at a meeting, whatever) you start spouting bureaucratese--you've learned that's what you're supposed to do, and you're using this whole clunky polysyllabic language with too many verb modifiers, even when it's inappropriate. Or in America, you practice loving your neighbors when you're in Church, you practice tyrannizing the wait staff when you go to a restaurant after Church, you practice killing your neighbors later on the gun range to prepare for the collapse of society. It takes real work to not compartmentalize, to not be essentially an incipient multiple personality case, who's made no effort to port the lessons learned in one place to the rest of your scenes.

Hospital professionals are notorious for this: they're taught to compartmentalize in school and at work so they can do their jobs without becoming overwhelmed by the suffering around them, but then when they get home, they make egregious health and sanitation errors. They've come to think of themselves as medical professionals where they work, they've learned to not bring work home, and they have to be reminded not to be slobs. And typically, the words pouring out of their mouths excuse their behavior, because otherwise they'd have to do the even more difficult work of decompartmentalizing some parts of their lives, while compartmentalizing others.*

Cats seem to do this even more than humans. If a cat's hungry, you can have some pretty sophisticated interactions with them around food. Talk to them about that poop they left lying around, they have no idea what your words mean. That's not where their heads are that moment, and the noises you're making aren't perceived as words, because they're not part of their internal "food scene."

THAT'S NOT WHAT'S GOING ON WITH ANTI-VAXXERS. You have to remember that we've been in an infowar for years with people who are trying to create Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt. They're not trying to create an alternative narrative that favors them, they're trying to splinter narratives that oppose them, because that's easier. Anti-Vaxxing is just a random shard resulting of this decades-long effort to shatter a society based on progressive values, so that they can install themselves as the powers in the resulting pieces.

You can test this pretty easily. If someone's antsy about you wearing a mask (are you a sheeple? Are you scared of them?), tell them you're trying to be polite and not infect them with something you think you have. It breaks the scripts they've learned, and in my limited experience, they default to politeness and leave you alone.

*Why do I notice this? Ecologists get taught to decompartmentalize more than most people. We have to deal with so many different things at once that we're taught (and learn) to constantly shift perspective and pull in plausible models from elsewhere to help us try to make sense of whatever mess we're working on. Being a decompartmentalizing ecologist married to a compartmentalizing pharmacist has been a really interesting trip.

297:

"There's a large group of people in the US and I assume on most of the planet who feel that DOING SOMETHING and something bad happening means it is their fault. But doing nothing and having something bad happen is fate."

I suspect that's not just a large group, but a majority, albeit in a somewhat more complex form. People tend to emotionally process perceived cause and effect based on active versus passive.

298:

for some unknown reason, the class was listed as having no math prerequisites

Prerequisites are as much political as they are pedagogical.

299:

"GLONASS has a military encrypted signal and much more robust signal, just like GPS. Without the keys, you cannot receive them."

GPS was originally designed to be receivable using the kind of processors that were available at the end of the 70s, ie. at the time when you had to have an analogue front end chewing on the received carrier and feeding the processor with extracted data that came at a rate slow enough for it to follow.

By the early 90s processors had got fast enough that you could track the carrier directly, without bothering about the coded signal. Doing this, it no longer made any difference that there was an encrypted military code and a not-so-good unencrypted civilian one, since you could now get a better result than either without even looking at the code. This was part of the reasoning behind the US switching off the encryption on the military code during the first Gulf war so the troops could use civilian GPS receivers because they'd run out of military ones: it might have been a big deal 15 years before, but it wasn't any more, because the original security no longer existed anyway so they weren't really losing anything.

With GLONASS being basically the Soviet version of the same idea, I'd be rather surprised if much the same didn't also apply to that.

It does seem though these days that people are now so used to using GPS for everyday personal purposes (or probably in most cases something that calls itself GPS but uses non-satellite sources as well, I'd expect) that they see it as the be-all and end-all of positioning systems and forget that it's only one input of many that are available. It actually isn't all that suitable as a primary reference, and is better considered as something that needs checking by reference to other sources and can then be used to improve the accuracy of the aggregate position output as long as you are careful: natural conditions can cause it to give the wrong answer as well as deliberate interference. But in personal use, with a human brain doing all the post-processing, you almost always have lots of other positional information, and you very rarely need it to give you an accuracy better than a few hundred metres (even if you think you do); so you just apply the required corrections automatically without realising you're doing it, and end up thinking that your successful navigation is all due to GPS and not to you.

For something like a missile, in particular, people seem to forget about inertial navigation (though a couple of posters have mentioned it briefly) and/or regard it as a bit flaky and inaccurate compared to something like GPS. In fact it's very good; never mind bloody Apple, the military have been working on it hard since the days when it was all mechanical and even decades-old implementations can produce staggeringly accurate results. It's an oversimplification to suggest that a missile keeps track of itself using INS and just uses GPS to check the INS for drift and dropped bollocks, but it's closer to the truth than the apparent perception that it's more the other way round.

Having said all that, I'm still not sure why we're spending so much time discussing exactly how the particular wave patterns at the moment of firing perturbed the trajectory of the shell the Bismarck sank the Hood with and how it came to hit in exactly the worst possible spot.

300:

That could have been me, with the note that I'm more likely to say something along the lines of "this missile uses multiple guidance methods including GPS, inertial navigation, and some form of laser or tv painting, as available."

301:

Dungeons & Dragons players take COVID seriously because they know that 2% chance occurs much more often than you would think

My D&D groups (in Portland OR) are still masking, whereas only about 1/3 of Portlanders I see in the grocery store are.

302:

"since you could now get a better result than either without even looking at the code"

I dont want to all all time/gps-nut on you here, but that is simply not correct.

For Carrier-Phase-Tracking to be useful, you still need to know the gold code epoch, otherwise you cannot measure the time difference between the satellites.

That is under normal circumstances quite easy, and under competent jamming near impossible, unless you have a steerable narrow beam antenna and know where the satellites are.

In practice that means phased-array antennas and many more RF frontends, but given a stable local clock, you can also do it with a single steerable dish. (There's on on top of the USNO for instance.)

"This was part of the reasoning behind the US switching off the encryption on the military code during the first Gulf war"

Also wrong. They turned off "Selective Availability", which was a deliberate distortion of the "CA" signal.

The "Coarse Acquisition" signal is only there to make it faster to acquire the "real" encrypted P ("Precision") signal.

Brute-force search for the P signal code is impossible, because you need to figure out the time, the satellite position, the propagation delay, the doppler shift, the (very long) "gold code" and the encryption. Time, gold code and encryption are interconnected but it does not reduce the search space very much.

Brute-force search for the CA signal took maximum 15 minutes (= the period of the almanac), because the gold code is almost trivial and the chirp frequency only a tenth of the P signal. If you already had the "almanac" and knew time to within a few hours or position to within 15 degrees, it could be done in a minute or less.

Once you have locked to the CA signal, you have the satpos, time and the gold code epoch and you can find the P signal in tens of seconds.

To their horror, DoD found out that the CA signal was almost as good as the P signal, the main difference being that CA was only on L1 where P was on both L1 and L2, allowing a very precise modelling of the ionospheric delay.

Therefore "Selective Availability" was added to the CA signal, basically randomizing things so that your position would be up to 300' wrong, so that "enemies could not use it to precision bomb back".

303:

All existing GPS systems don't just "track the carrier signal", they need the precise ephemeris of all of the satellites they're using at any given time i.e. exactly where each satellite is in space and its velocity. That ephemeris is transmitted by each satellite. The military and super-high-precision signal ephemeris data of all GPS systems is encrypted and the keys are not generally available, the ephemerae on the general-use channels are less accurate with larger error bars resulting in a spread of ground location positions reported by the receiver. From speaking to someone who used to be an artillery observer in the British Army the US NavStar military system changed keys about every two weeks in "peacetime" (he was one of the guys who went around with the crypto "gun" to reset the key suites in various bits of kit for his battalion). In a shooting war the key replacement tempo would probably ramp up.

BTW the EU's Galileo system is the only one of the Big Four that is not military-oriented but it still has a "justified requirement" for access to the highest precision channels which is pretty much indivisible from military use.

The days of GPS-only terminally-guided weapons like free-fall bombs is pretty much over unless it's being used to blow up grass huts (AKA "w**-stomping"). Any conflict between two technically ept forces today both sides will face GPS jamming and spoofing up the wazoo and even if it isn't actually happening at any given location the attackers can't be sure their GPS-guided weapon won't be spoofed. Inertial navigation systems have taken over even for cruise missiles and other loitering munitions which spend long times from launch to target. They may well be initialised using GPS before launch but it may be the launch teams use very accurate paper maps (why do you think they call it the Ordnance Survey?). Both methods would work. Once the missile is in dirty air where GPS cannot be trusted INS will function well enough (accumulating errors on the way, but only gradually) until the terminal guidance systems find the target and deliver the good news.

From various sources I understand that NavStar has been progressively upgraded to try and get around the spoofing and jamming problem, how successful that effort has been no-one is saying. The current GPS satellites flying today are a lot smarter and a lot bigger than their predecessors and are designed to be updated more thoroughly than before.

As for the Moskva attack with the Neptune missiles, most reports I've seen on this event suggest that the ship was being shadowed by a couple of Ukranian TB2 drones. That would provide enough intel to get the truck launchers into position and fire the missiles at a likely intercept point with the ship given its heading and speed (warships don't sit around dead in the water much even when there's no perceived threat, and with enemy drones buzzing around...) Updated track and speed data from the drones could have been used for an in-flight correction of the Neptune missiles in flight, if they do possess this capability, to refine and correct the intercept location to the point where the final attack sensing systems of the missiles took over.

Some time after this clusterfuck is well behind us the truth will be revealed, probably in a best-selling book and a Hollywood movie where it will turn out that the whole thing was orchestrated by a passing US Navy ex-SEAL Delta Force Ranger SpecOps CIA operative on holiday in the area. Honest.

304:

In fact it's very good; never mind bloody Apple, the military have been working on it hard since the days when it was all mechanical and even decades-old implementations can produce staggeringly accurate results.

See, for example, nuclear ballistic missile submarines with ICBMs. IIRC, by 1980 an Ohio class sub with Trident missiles had a circular error at the target of less than 400 ft. Call it a bit over 100 meters.

305:

"Trident missiles had a circular error at the target of less than 400 ft"

And a lot of that came from the weather at the target.

A very large reason for the B61 mod12 upgrade, is to get the new steerable tail-kit, which uses INS and GPS to correct for that.

306:

I'm trying not to give them what I have

Apparently Abraham Lincoln was coming down with smallpox as he was going to Gettysburg to make his famous speech.

As he was recovering in the White House, he remarked that what he had was every politician's dream: he could give something to everybody! (Not sure whether this is something he actually said, ought to have said but didn't, or would never have dreamed of saying, but got attributed to him anyway.)

I was driving around on errands today around southwestern Ontario. I saw a couple of portable billboards with demented anti-vax / 'COVID is a hoax' crap on them. Plus, yesterday I saw someone driving around with three big flags hanging off their car: Canadian flag, American flag, and the yellow 'don't tread on me' flag. With their car plastered with anti-vax crap.

There must be something in the water. Or perhaps the air.

307:

"the yellow 'don't tread on me' flag"

You mean the signal flag for Q, the quarantine flag? Do you think they knew that's what it was? Would it be worth trying to give them a present, in the form of a flag with a diagonal arrangement of black and yellow squares?

308:

"Also wrong. They turned off "Selective Availability", which was a deliberate distortion of the "CA" signal."

Yeah, I got mixed up. What I said didn't make sense, since de-encrypting the military code would not have made any difference to whether boggo civilian receivers could be used or not.

309:

"Talk to them about that poop they left lying around, they have no idea what your words mean. That's not where their heads are that moment"

Cats seem to see things in a way that has a fair resemblance to me aged 5 as described above. Similarly to me asking "have I been good today" without having any idea whether I had or not, cats have no idea of the answer to "will my food ape be nice to me" having anything to do with whether or not they have done a big shit in the middle of the draining board. It doesn't even occur to them that they have done a big shit in the middle of the draining board. If they could converse well enough that you could make them an offer like "if you can go seven days in a row without shitting on the draining board (as recorded on a chart), I will give you a pen of live mice to play with", they would not have any idea whether or not they would be able to comply with the condition and would regard it as a pure gamble whether they got the mice or not.

310:

There must be something in the water. Or perhaps the air.

Well, Fox News is definitely in the air... :-)

311:

It's thought to be how the Iranians hijacked an American reconnaissance drone a while back, feeding the drone with defective position data until it flew into Iranian airspace and ran out of fuel.

This technique shows up in Greg Egan's recent novel, Perihelion Summer.

312:

AlanD2 @ 209:

"Wikipedia gives the vessel as carrying several radars around 50 to 80 feet ASL, pushing the radar horizon to more like 19NM without use of the helicopter as a radar range extender."

But at that extreme range, sea-clutter would almost certainly not allow the ship to be able to distinguish the missile. I'd guess perhaps half that distance, depending on how low above the water the missile could safely fly.

So we're still talking on the order of at most 1 to 2 minutes between the detection of the missile and when it hits the ship.

Y'all are still assuming the radars were operational and hadn't fallen prey to lackadaisical maintenance or failures in operator training. Every bit of information I've been able to locate on the incident shows ALL defensive armaments still stowed. My best guess is the whole thing came as a BIG SURPRISE! The missiles weren't "detected" until they impacted the ship.

313:

Prerequisites are as much political as they are pedagogical.

Uh, not in Electrical and other Engineering, Physics, Chemistry, etc...

After 2 years of Engineering we (electrical especially) realized that no mater what the name of the course, many were Calculus 8, 9, 10, ...

314:

Pigeon @ 216:

"I would hand out individualized bubble answer sheets (pre-printed with student numbers) and allow them to write anything they wanted on the back. Formulas, diagrams, solved problems, definitions - whatever fit on the page. I collected those at the end of the period and used them the next class to assign seating (alphabetically)."

Sorry, I don't understand this. I don't know what a "bubble answer sheet" is, but if it is related to what I'd call an "answer sheet" without the "bubble", it sounds like you were giving out the answers before the test, which surely can't be the case. If you then collected them again at the end of the lesson I don't see how people were supposed to make use of the aide-memoires they'd written on the back. And surely "(alphabetically)" implies a seating order unrelated to and incompatible with one based around whatever criterion you derived from the sheets.

Pre-printed answer sheet for "multiple guess" tests: Use number 2 pencil only.

https://tech.msu.edu/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/20-Question-10-choice-3-essay-box-blank-space.pdf

315:

If they could converse well enough that you could make them an offer like

People who study such things basically say dogs and cats don't really have the concept of tomorrow. They mostly think about NOW and a few minutes into the future.

Which is also why those folks who spend fortunes keeping decrepit animals alive (to be nice to them) are deluding themselves. It is all about the people's feelings and desires.

316:

"Use number 2 pencil only."

https://xkcd.com/499/

317:

THAT'S NOT WHAT'S GOING ON WITH ANTI-VAXXERS.

It is with some. But in the vaccine case not the majority.

There are a lot of folks out there who don't want to have a medical checkup (they might find something needing serious care), get their car serviced (they might find that if not repaired will cause a wreak), call the bank as to why their card was declined (they might discover they are out of money / at their limit on that card), and so on.

In their minds bad things aren't real until they poke them. They live in a totally Schrödinger world never wanting to open the box.

And when the bad news is forced on them, well it wasn't their fault, it was fate.

318:

I need to point out that the majority of anti-vaxxers in the US apparently get their information from Faux News and voting red. If it was just people being too poor for a doctor's visit, or too in denial, the vax/anti-vax divide wouldn't correlate so well with US political divisions. Which it seems to, even in Canada (cf JReynolds at 306).

319:

Ivan Ilyin has been getting some buzz recently, with references to this 2018 Timothy Snyder piece, which is paywalled:
Ivan Ilyin, Putin’s Philosopher of Russian Fascism (Timothy Snyder, March 16, 2018)
Ivan Ilyin provided a metaphysical and moral justification for political totalitarianism, which he expressed in practical outlines for a fascist state. Today, his ideas have been revived and celebrated by Vladimir Putin.

Here's what may be a non-paywalled copy (it is what I read), perhaps stolen (on an Albanian site? US Cloudflare ip addresses):
https://politiko.al/ivan-ilyin-putins-philosopher-of-russian-fascism
The Russian looked Satan in the eye, put God on the psychoanalyst’s couch, and understood that his nation could redeem the world. An agonized God told the Russian a story of failure. In the beginning was the Word, purity and perfection, and the Word was God. But then God made a youthful mistake. He created the world to complete himself, but instead soiled himself, and hid in shame. God’s, not Adam’s, was the original sin, the release of the imperfect. Once people were in the world, they apprehended facts and experienced feelings that could not be reassembled to what had been God’s mind. Each individual thought or passion deepened the hold of Satan on the world. And so the Russian, a philosopher, understood history as a disgrace. Nothing that had happened since creation was of significance. The world was a meaningless farrago of fragments. The more humans sought to understand it, the more sinful it became.
...
One current of thought that is coherent over the decades, however, is his metaphysical and moral justification for political totalitarianism, which he expressed in practical outlines for a fascist state.
...
Though he died forgotten, in 1954, Ilyin’s work was revived after collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, and guides the men who rule Russia today.

320:

"A very large reason for the B61 mod12 upgrade, is to get the new steerable tail-kit, which uses INS and GPS to correct for that."

I'd always assumed that the B62-12 was going to use GPS/INS and strakes to give it the glide-bomb-like capabilities of JDAM. But it seems not. No GPS, no strakes, just INS and tail fins. I asked around about why that and the opinion is that, more than the possibility of GPS jamming and spoofing, the object is to limit how far the bomb could go astray. INS-quality is good enough for nukes if it receives a pre-release GPS update from the carrying aircraft.

If you search for "B61 Mod 12 Life Extension Program Tail Kit Assembly" and look at the 2020 version, it says

The [Tail Kit Assembly]design does not include a GPS receiver. It receives pre-programmed target location data and updates from the aircraft prior to release.

The link is bizarrely long and I don't understand it completely:

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=&ved=2ahUKEwil1-P_5q33AhURm-AKHffkCJYQFnoECAgQAQ&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.dote.osd.mil%2FPortals%2F97%2Fpub%2Freports%2FFY2020%2Faf%2F2020b61.pdf%3Fver%3Do2y_8no8vy14EtWUm_0hVw%253D%253D&usg=AOvVaw3RgAw-8rFifDoeoMkakteY

321:

Similarly to me asking "have I been good today" without having any idea whether I had or not, cats have no idea of the answer to "will my food ape be nice to me" having anything to do with whether or not they have done a big shit in the middle of the draining board.

In my limited experience, the cats I currently have know damned well when they've made a protest (pooping on the draining board here). They're pissed about something and they want me to know it. Even a rescue pigeon I had decades ago was perfectly capable of trying to piss me off if he was angry with me, and pigeons aren't unusually brilliant.

That's a different problem than a cat hating the litter box because they associate it with pain, or even having a poop that lands outside the litter box by accident. There the cat doesn't see that it's doing anything wrong, so it's much more difficult to figure out how to persuade the cat to not do that in the future.

As for future, cats don't count above two or three, so seven days is probably meaningless even if they do understand future. On the other hand, they're exquisitely good at both setting up and messing with schedules, so they get cyclic temporal patterns. I suspect that if someone went on predictable trips of a few days and you videoed their cat in their absence, the cat's behavior would show they had a sense of duration and were preparing for the human to arrive at the normal time.

322:

It's just bloody google trying to pretend they're the only thing on the web. And then it got fucked by markdown on top of that.

This worked for me:

http://www.dote.osd.mil/Portals/97/pub/reports/FY2020/af/2020b61.pdf

323:

It's an oversimplification to suggest that a missile keeps track of itself using INS and just uses GPS to check the INS for drift and dropped bollocks, but it's closer to the truth than the apparent perception that it's more the other way round.

Yes, it's the age-old "dispute" between dead reckoning and celestial navigation, and rolls up all the debate about the use of chronometers in the 18th century. Cook reached Tahiti with around 20 miles difference between his observed position and his dead reckoning track, which was exactly his estimated error for the ship's log line. The story goes that because dead reckoning was mostly seamanship, learned on the ob so to speak, it was somewhat shunned by clever-pants Royal Society types with their ephemera and log tables. I think in practice people who liked to use things that work tended to succeed more often, that there's always a mixture and interplay.

And of course INS has been a thing since the gyroscope was invented, now that you can haz hundreds of tiny gyro-in-a-chips, all working at once, it would be amazing if it turned out that great accuracy could not be achieved.

324:

"This worked for me:"

Oh. Thanks. This stuff still baffles me on occasion.

325:

I'm sure Bill would appreciate such a facility, and I would also.
I would appreciate not having to stay up (on the US east coast) until Het's California sleep time to catch potential deletions, yeah.
After seeing three inoffensive and interesting comments (which I may or may not argue with here eventually), then two more (that I could interpret as a call for Smiting some Scum in the US) that might trigger a deletion spree, I finally quick wrote/tested a bash script to poll a thread for changes and record them.
Disemvowelling would be rude, though fine as a personal choice in a killfile approach. (If not a personal choice, akin to DJT's habit as POTUS of ripping up meeting notes knowing that the archivists will have to tape the bits back together.) Another approach that is slightly less annoying (though still rude) is to shuffle the interior letters of words 4 characters or longer. Interesting trick that; one can also pack more text on a page by keeping the first and last letters at a normal font size but reducing the size of the (unshuffled) interior letters. Takes some practice to read the result, though.

France was uncomfortably Fascist-friendly, but the electorate came through:
Live updates | Ukraine leader congratulates Macron on win
(For the 2019 election, the far right parties in Ukraine combined to try to exceed the 5 percent threshold for proportional representation, and failed with 2.15 percent (they got 1 constituency seat).
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2019_Ukrainian_parliamentary_election
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Far-right_politics_in_Ukraine)

[[ changing markup links now to work with updated markup version - mod ]]

326:

A bit of reading this afternoon -- Inventing accuracy : a historical sociology of nuclear missile guidance -- tells me that 400 ft accuracy for the late model Tridents required doing a star fix somewhere along the trajectory, and wasn't available until about 1990. The "Beryllium Baby" and surrounding parts in the silo-launched Peacekeeper missiles, accurate to about 500 meters, seems to have been the best purely inertial system small enough to put in a missile ever built. 19,000 moving parts and ridiculously expensive.

Interesting the political arguments back and forth about accuracy. There was concern that if the ICBMs were too accurate, so could take out even hardened silos, the Soviets would interpret that as a first-strike capability.

327:

To be clear, I agree that Anti-Vaccine in the US is not the "hiding from what I don't know" issue. My wording may not have been clear.

But Faux News is not the source. They are late to the game. I have relatives in the anti-vaccine movement and they've been there for a decade or more. (I didn't know my niece in law before then but my brother and I think she and her family are the source of most of it. Or at least the big amplifier.)

Facebook was the big source prior to 2018.

Did you know that measles isn't all that bad? It can even suppress some cancers. And the FDA lies about the stats. Just look at the VAERS. This proves vaccines are worse than the disease. And those retracted anti-vaccines papers, well the conspiracy runs deep. And on and on and on. Fox News was late to this game.

328:

"This stuff still baffles me on occasion."

Oh, I see, at least partially.

https://www.freecodecamp.org/news/ascii-table-hex-to-ascii-value-character-code-chart-2/

329:

At one point in time decades ago I could "read hex" and translate to "normal" on the fly. Thank goodness I don't need to do that all that much anymore. Every now and then to deal with embedding a string in a scrip or similar. But I now mostly look it up. You can go far if you know 20, 30..., 41..., and 61...

330:

David L @ 285:

And I am not getting a good vibe from what I'm reading about Russian military practice -- it all too frequently appears to be based on bullying.

There's a story I heard (so take it with a grain or two of salt) that Eisenhower was appalled at some of the Soviet practices when they met up in the summer of 45. Supposedly the way the Soviet Army cleared a mine field was to have the lower ranks walk through it.

Which fits with all of these other stories about the bottom end of the Russian fighting forces.

I've heard the same stories, although instead of lower ranked Russian soldiers they used German POWs.

331:

Ah, I see where you're going with this. I was thinking of the covid19 anti-vaxxer/ivermectin and oxidizer chugging crowd.

I still stand by the original claim that current anti-vaxxer popularity is a FUD campaign. Anti-vaxxers have been around since forever as a fringe movement. They were against smallpox vaccines in the 19th century*, against influenza masking in 1919, so that's kind of normal. The rapid spread of the Qnuts, however, isn't just Faceplant, it's more deliberate than that.

But while I do disagree, I see what you're trying to get at. There is something inexplicable and knuckleheaded about anti-vaxxing, and it's always tempting to try to make sense of it.

*I tripped over a smallpox anti-vaxxer in the current project I'm goofing on. Alexander Milton Ross is Wiki'ed as "a Canadian botanist, naturalist, physician, abolitionist and anti-vaccination activist. He is best known as an agent for the secret Underground Railroad slave escape network, known in that organization and among slaves as 'The Birdman' for his preferred cover story as an ornithologist."

Apparently he and his children had been vaccinated, but he was anti-vaxx. Go figure. In this, he's like a bit like Zero Population Growth advocate I knew, who had four children and I don't know how many grandchildren, but was staunch in his view that the rest of us shouldn't breed.

332:

Disemvowelling would be rude, though fine as a personal choice in a killfile approach.

Here's an approach that stashes the vowels with enough metadata to recreate the text:

echo "sample text" | perl -nle 'print join "", grep {/[aeiou]/?($zip .= $_) && 0:($zip .= "-") && $_} split ""}{print $zip'

smpl txt

-a---e--e--

Not useful or for serious consideration, just for fun really.

333:

Pigeon @ 307:

"the yellow 'don't tread on me' flag"

You mean the signal flag for Q, the quarantine flag? Do you think they knew that's what it was? Would it be worth trying to give them a present, in the form of a flag with a diagonal arrangement of black and yellow squares?

No he means the Gadsden Flag from the American Revolution that has been universally adopted by selfish bastard "Libertarian" fascist assholes who don't know shit about American history.

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

334:

Nah, the specific source of the Covid Anti Vaxx thing is not the general anti vax movement. The Covid Anti Vaxx movement is purely political, couched sometimes in pseudoscience, but the pseudoscience is not the reason.

They're owning the libs.

This is indeed mostly propagated by Fox News.

335:

It being past 300 I’m going off on a tangent. In a discussion about colony sizes on the previous post Charlie said:

‘600K is "can sustain the 19th century industrial revolution technologies if given a hospitable biosphere as a starting point".’

That gives me an idea for a CliFi/Steampunk mashup setting.

Future earth, only the polar regions are habitable. That’s not a lot of total land area, the land is crap (former muskeg at best, former subglacial rock at worst) and the total solar energy per unit area ~10x less than the tropics. This will limit the maximum possible human population, to where peak Empire can just barely manage steam, and then only if they get lucky in how many geniuses are born in a given generation.

By the way, with no easily reached coal or oil left, running your steam-powered war machine means chopping down a forest. (Preferably someone else’s)

336:

Damian @ 311:

It's thought to be how the Iranians hijacked an American reconnaissance drone a while back, feeding the drone with defective position data until it flew into Iranian airspace and ran out of fuel.

This technique shows up in Greg Egan's recent novel, Perihelion Summer.

Iran claims they lured it off course. The US claims it malfunctioned. I have yet to see definitive proof either way, but note that IF Iran did it, they don't appear to be able to repeat the performance.

337:

Re: 'Rarely, some organisation gets permission to access the data, and does some data mining, but few results are more than indicative, for the previous reasons.'

The 'some' organization in this case was the WHO, CDC, NIH, and equivalent national health agencies in about 180 different countries.

Given how much time was spent on reviewing the data before approvals here in NorAm (USA & Canada), I'm guessing that the reviewers did not rush their analyses. Also, my impression is that the vaccine submission data encompasses more than the clinical results - it also includes various technical info like how the vaccine is supposed to work.

About the rush to vaccinate and collect data plus lack of detail in the clinical trial results for Sputnik ---

One of the concerns that I heard discussed on TWIV about any vaccine was the rare but possible (and potentially fatal) reaction to the vaccine vector. (Sputnik uses two vectors.) I forget which particular vaccine the TWIV panel discussed but the article below discusses one such event. All of the TWIV panel (mostly virologists but from a variety of different unis/labs) were familiar with this tragedy. So it's really not surprising that the virologists, immunologists and other assorted '-gists' who were charged with examining the various vaccine candidate submissions (meaning complete descriptions of active and inactive components, manufacture, delivery, clinical data, etc.) were damned upset when they didn't get complete data on Sputnik.

'Research shows why 1960s RSV shot sickened children'

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-rsv-shot-idUSTRE4BM4SH20081223

PS - One of the senior researchers on the Sputnik vax had finished a post-doc/placement in one of the virology research labs at the NIH sometime before or shortly after COVID-19 happened therefore probably was well aware of the type and level of detail required. However, this could also be the ever-present right vs. left hand screw-up in admin coordination.

From my non-tech perspective one of the biggest screw-ups was the lack of consumer-level info (plain language) about how vaccines work. And then to confuse things further, (in the US) the gov't decided to let these same uninformed consumers choose the 'brand' of vaccine they'd get. Just plain nuts!

338:

"Disemvowelling would be rude, though fine as a personal choice"

I wouldn't consider it rude, provided

  • It was signalled in advance that it could be done
  • There are reasonably clear criteria for which posts might receive it (they would of course be a bit subjective, but enough to ward off "Why that post?"

While I'm here, there is a strict mathematical definition of Normal. In fact there are two, depending on whether you are doing algebra or geometry.

JHomes.

339:

Michael Cain @ 326: A bit of reading this afternoon -- Inventing accuracy : a historical sociology of nuclear missile guidance -- tells me that 400 ft accuracy for the late model Tridents required doing a star fix somewhere along the trajectory, and wasn't available until about 1990. The "Beryllium Baby" and surrounding parts in the silo-launched Peacekeeper missiles, accurate to about 500 meters, seems to have been the best purely inertial system small enough to put in a missile ever built. 19,000 moving parts and ridiculously expensive.

Interesting the political arguments back and forth about accuracy. There was concern that if the ICBMs were too accurate, so could take out even hardened silos, the Soviets would interpret that as a first-strike capability.

I'm pretty sure when you're talking about Megaton warheads a C.E.P. of 500m is probably "close enough for government work!"

340:

Nah, the specific source of the Covid Anti Vaxx thing is not the general anti vax movement. The Covid Anti Vaxx movement is purely political, couched sometimes in pseudoscience, but the pseudoscience is not the reason.

Yes. But it was built on a foundation of anti-vac craziness that existed before 2018. Or even 2016. I didn't realize how crazy my relatives were before 2016. I think they were hiding it. (In my case till my mother died.) But they are part of a vast US clump of people who just believe anything the government does is a conspiracy to turn them into mindless communist droids.

If you dig into it the Tea Party folks had a lot of overlap with these early anti-vac anti-government, anti-"freedom" folks.

Covid just lit a match to the pile of petrol soaked wood.

341:

Seems apropos. Only 3 minutes long.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WKK2W7iTmu4

342:

The few I've met in Australia are very much part of the "alternative (to) medicine" movement, with covid being a big dramatic thing that in a few cases kicked them back to sanity, but in others showed them they they can live as hermits if they want to... so they are.

But it is very much a piece of the Montessori, organic vegan crystal homeopathy movement here - Byron Bay being notorious as a savagely gentrified hippy hangout and centre of the anti-vaxx movement. Both in general, and for the covid vaccines.

There does seem to be a correlation with income independent of work, but I suspect that is very much a class effect (viz, I know people who are 50+ and well off, so no surprise that some joined the hordes choosing early retirement during the pandemic). Most, though, being anti-covid rather than pro-covid... it's just that the exceptions stand out.

There appear to be a lot of {ahem} "government employed anti-vaxxers" who get whatever income they get via government benefits. I would not be surprised to discover that political pressure was applied to the benefit system one way or the other, but since there was also scientific pressure being applied much more loudly it's hard to tell (viz, making people queue at the dole office during lockdowns was tried in Australia but IIRC abandoned fairly quickly.

343:

Here's an approach that stashes the vowels with enough metadata to recreate the text:
I'd also forgotten about rot13.
echo "I'd also forgotten about rot13." | rot13
V'q nyfb sbetbggra nobhg ebg13.
Reversible:
echo "I'd also forgotten about rot13." | rot13 | rot13
I'd also forgotten about rot13.

344:

I'm not familiar with cats that have that much ability at forward planning. They have the idea of trying to piss me off on purpose as a means of communication, but they do it interactively, not by setting up a situation for me to react to later.

Pigeons are more socially oriented than cats, and they are a different matter. Both wood pigeons and town pigeons understand that kind of forward planning just fine, and think it's tremendous fun to fuck something up when I'm not there and then laugh at me swearing over it when I get back and find what they've done. They even do the flying from where they're sitting to the thing they're going to fuck up, and then back again afterwards, as quietly as they can manage so I don't hear what they're up to. The one bit they haven't figured out is how to wipe the cheeky smug grin off their beak before I come back into the room, so even though they're still in the same place I left them I still know from the first sight of them that I'm going to find a pile of electronic components that has been stirred violently with a beak and flicked all over the room, or my browser rendered unusable by activation of all the secret keyboard shortcuts to functions I don't even know it has, or (in the case of a town pigeon; wood pigeons aren't really into toilet humour) a conspicuous turd in the middle of what I was doing before I left the room, etc.

I get the idea of cats that avoid the litter tray due to arthritis etc, but I don't think "the cat doesn't see that it's doing anything wrong" applies only to that kind of motivation; I think it applies no matter what their reason is. All the cats I've ever known have learnt standard cat toilet procedure from their mothers and from instinct before I met them, and then carry it out robotically as a pure rote procedure executed entirely open-loop. They derive zero feedback from the results, and don't really even know what they're doing: if they've positioned themselves too close to the edge of the tray so the turd falls outside rather than inside, they don't see that as a failure, they simply don't see it as anything. In the same way, they do not learn to "bury their turds" as popular belief has it that they do: they merely learn to perform a preprogrammed sequence of scraping movements on the surface around it. This automatically has the desired effect on a surface like sand or soil; on a surface like newspaper or stainless steel, though, it does sweet bugger all, but they are entirely unaware that nothing is happening and don't make the slightest attempt to modify their actions to try and get some result, not even trying to scrape harder or performing any more than the regulation number of strokes.

So a cat doing a shit is simply executing a routine of pure automatism in a habituated spot. It's not even aware that the routine has any results as far as anything outside its own body is concerned; the only result it thinks exists is that it feels better afterwards. So if it feels some motivation to choose a different spot, it makes no difference whether that motivation is arthritic pain or just that it seemed like a good idea at the time to whether the cat does or doesn't think it's "right" or "wrong". It's not thinking "I know I'm not supposed to shit here but I can get away with it because I've got arthritis for an excuse", or "I'm going to shit here knowing fine it's wrong deliberately to piss my food ape off"; it's just thinking "I feel happy here to do my little dance for making me feel less bulgy", and having achieved that internal result it thinks no more about it.

Certainly my own draining board shitter didn't have the foggiest idea that she was doing something I might react to. I walked in on her once while she was in the middle of doing it, and she simply expected me to completely ignore her same as I usually did when I walked in on her having a shit (ie. in the litter tray). She didn't even expect to be yelled at for being up on the side in the kitchen (which she just about had managed to learn not to do when I could see her doing it). I suspect that that was the only connection she made when I did react, and it was never even a tiny bit possible to get her to realise any connection between the presence of a turd on the draining board and what she had been doing up there.

As regards cats' sense of time and "seven days", yes, I know conversational ability is not the only requirement, but I didn't see much point in giving a detailed description of the sphericity of the cat when surely everyone could see it had to be round anyway :)

345:

My best guess is the whole thing came as a BIG SURPRISE! The missiles weren't "detected" until they impacted the ship.

No argument from me. Russian taxpayer rubles at work! :-)

346:

And in a bit of serendipity, tonight's US PBS episode of "Call the Midwife" (a UK import) was about people avoiding medical issues because they were more comfortable with the current suffering than being told what the issue really was and how to deal with it.

And in a similar vein to your comments a few years back someone wrote an editorial rant about "Whole Foods" customers.

This WF shopper talked about how the typical WF customer was proud to be a knowledgeable science believing D party aligned liberal. And yet the book section of the stores was/is mostly about homeopathy, crystals, and other anti-science based food and health topics.

Basically their point was that the typical WF customer was not who they wanted their image to be.

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

347:

So I wonder where this will go. Last time it was directed at me my son was a secret agent of Israel. Or some such.

Oh well.

Anyone bring the popcorn?

348:

Oh, right, thank you. I hadn't heard of that.

I'm now thinking I ought to be finding something significant and witty to say about Scotland having the thistle and "Nemo me impune lacessit" :)

349:

Looks like time for another seagull expunging...

350:

Speaking of things that can't count... one, two, many?

Anyway, it is the happy time when the ANZAC day shop closures are over and I can wander of the the supermarket. I leave you with this happy article about the war memorial "proudly brought to you by Boeing, makers of the finest weapon systems"

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/postcolonial-blog/2022/apr/25/an-australian-war-memorial-sponsored-by-weapons-dealers-is-no-place-for-quiet-reflection-on-anzac-day

351:

Me: Prerequisites are as much political as they are pedagogical.

You: Uh, not in Electrical and other Engineering, Physics, Chemistry, etc...

Actually, yes. Many universities are eliminating physics as a prerequisite for engineering. They are doing this not because it isn't needed but because girls tend not to take high school physics, and the universities want to encourage more women to study engineering. So they decided that they would rather teach high school physics in first year than have a student body dominated by guys.

At a conference a few years ago I had a conversation with a prof pleading with the high school teachers there to encourage students to take physics, because 80% of the students entering her program without a high school physics class dropped out. (Should have been an easy sell — we were all physics teachers, after all.) I asked her why the university didn't make physics a prerequisite, then, and she said that they were afraid if they did they wouldn't get enough students and the program would be cancelled. I told her that I was pleading with students (and parents) to take physics but they were focused on having a high average in the required subjects, as recommended by the guidance counsellors, and that if the university was serious they needed to have a dean or someone higher communicate with guidance counsellors.

When I was taking my specialist additional qualification course (required to be a department head, which I'd gotten a position as contingent on passing the course over the summer) I ended up having to take two simultaneous AQs because the Registrar decided that a course in Microprocessor Design had nothing to do with computers. The Dean of the university I got my EE degree at was willing to talk to her personally and explain that it had everything to do with computers, but she insisted that all that mattered was it was an EE course on my transcript, not a CS course, and so I didn't have enough prerequisites and so had to take a dual specialist course. No appeal possibly until September, so I paid double tuition and pulled 80 hour weeks to complete two courses simultaneously. My father wasn't surprised – apparently that university has a reputation for not recognizing prerequisites and transfer credits from other universities even when they have signed agreements, forcing students to pay to retake courses they have already completed elsewhere.

So, I'm not disputing that there is prerequisite knowledge, but I know that up here those prerequisites are not just pedagogical in nature. Possibly American universities are different — but that's not the impression I get reading EdWeekly and Inside Higher Ed.

352:

Which is also why those folks who spend fortunes keeping decrepit animals alive (to be nice to them) are deluding themselves. It is all about the people's feelings and desires.

My father said one of the hardest things about being a vet was keeping some poor animal alive in as little pain as he could manage, because without it the widowed owner would die of loneliness and/or guilt.

353:

Faux News is not the source. They are late to the game. I have relatives in the anti-vaccine movement and they've been there for a decade or more.

If you haven't read it, this report might be of interest:

https://www.counterhate.com/disinformationdozen

354:

girls tend not to take high school physics

The reason isn't simply that most physics teachers are male. At my school we had about 1/4 of the senior physics classes being female, despite all but one of the physics teachers also being female. Math and the other sciences both tend to be 50% female.

I'm not certain what the reason is. I rather suspect multiple factors at work, but don't know enough sociology to guess what. Implicit bias, portrayal in the media, poor advice from guidance counsellors…

http://newsletter.oapt.ca/files/tag-diversity.html

355:

My D&D groups (in Portland OR) are still masking, whereas only about 1/3 of Portlanders I see in the grocery store are.

I don't know if you were at the last GameStorm last month (I wasn't, due to work), but vaccinations were mandatory and masks were required in many areas and strongly encouraged everywhere. From what I saw in the con photos there were very few bare faces outside the hotel restaurant.

And yes, I'm one of that third.

356:

Pigeons are more socially oriented than cats

As are chickens.

I've had everything from "really wants to be friends" to "just leave the food and fuck off" relationships with different chickens. The guy who got my last lot has trained them to be much more social, to the point where even Ms "fuck off" is willing to be handled. A couple of them will happily sit on his shoulder and even refrain from shitting on him.

That lot were absolutely committed to living outside the pen most of the time, and a mere 2m high fence was not going to stop them. They took a certain delight in sitting on the boundary fence and if I approached them would of course fly off into the neighbours place. Luckily the kids on one side loved chickens and would chase them around until they could pet them. Chickens preferred to fly into the other neighbours place :)

But interestingly I managed to persuade them that the vege bed was out of bounds... it had a ~1m fence around it but any chicken I caught in there would be chased, dangled upside down, then locked in the sleeping shed until dark (when the rest of the chickens came in). Even the chicken who preferred to sleep on top of my shed decided that the vege garden fence was an insurmountable barrier.

They all learned really quickly that clicking my tongue meant treats. Sometimes official junk food ("grain mix"), but mostly grapes, watermelon etc from the dumpsters behind the local greengrocers.

357:

Ah, the Shegull, always so clear, concise, comprehensible and, above all, genteel. I've never seen anything quite like it.

358:

Normally I'd suggest you dial it back a notch, but after the last few days I think you need to dial it back many notches. Maybe turn some things off entirely and come back in a few days.

359:

At my school we had about 1/4 of the senior physics classes being female, despite all but one of the physics teachers also being female.

I didn't realize you were talking prerequisites for college from high school. I went to high school in a far from the big city area of far western Kentucky in the early 70s. And to get into the engineering program at the primary state school, you needed a pulse and a high school diploma or GED from Kentucky.

As to females. In high school we had about evenly split in chemistry and advanced math. But top heavy boys in physics. But in a graduating class of 235 we only had 11 in physics. And 5 of us with the same first name for a statistical oddity.

But given the state of Kentucky school high school systems back then, the state run universities had to assume no one had a decent back ground in chemistry or physics when they got to college. So my college freshman year the chemistry and physics were a repeat of high school but with calculus for the math.

I've mentioned before around how my senior year of high school we got some amazing new teachers for STEM. So my trig skills meant I didn't have to repeat that in college.

When I got to the big state university after a year and half at a local community college there were over 900 students in the engineering college. About 1/3 of them were in the civil program with most of those planning on a job with the state highway department. 9 women total. 5 were in Chem E so most of their classes were in the chem/phys building. Of the remainder 2 or 3 were in grad school so us peons never saw them. The one we saw regularly at the peon level was in civil and planning to work for the state. She was a minority and was upfront about being headed for a quota job.

Things HAVE changed a lot for the better. Of my kids friends about 1/2 headed for STEM careers in engineering and such. Of course those numbers tended to be skewed by the close friend of our family who re-took the SAT so she could have a perfect score.

As a side note, Comp Sci in those days was still new. Lots of discussions about how to make it into a real science and engineering oriented fields. And in the US there were two flavors of the degree. The ones that grew out of university math programs had a distinctly different flavor from those that grew out of the engineering programs.

Anyway the best programmers I ever saw were a few ladies in college. Off the charts brilliant. And with personalities that could function in public. Not like so many of us engineering / comp sci male slobs.

360:

And yes, I'm one of that third.

Here in central North Carolina it varies hugely by what part of the area you are in. My local stores are 2/3s masking. 10 miles south maybe 1/10 or less. I suspect there's a interesting correlation with how the local voting went back in 2016-2020. But it is just a guess.

361:

Anti-Vaxx ... exists here, but it's tiny.
Why that should be so compared to (say ) the US or some regions of France or Hungary would be interesting from a social "sciences" p.o.v. perhaps.
I mean, what's the actual advantage for the proponents of anti-vaxx? They aren't going to be making money & their followers, by definition (almost) will diminish ... Uh?
Along with ( Thanks, Moz! ) * Montessori, organic vegan crystal homeopathy* - Sectionable, the lot of them.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
Meanwhile:
338, 339, 341, 343, 346, 348, 351, 354, 356, 358, 359, 360, 361, 363, 364, 368, 370, 371, 373, 374, 376
... and the not-so subtle rootin-for-putin digs against ""blue/yellow" - Tankie. ... and the personal attacks, too.
... And - didn't Charlie { @ 179 } specifically suggest waiting until TUESDAY?
Like - TOMORROW?

zephvark @ 378
😍

362:

I mean, what's the actual advantage for the proponents of anti-vaxx? They aren't going to be making money & their followers, by definition (almost) will diminish ... Uh?

I used to look at them this way. And so did the news in the US. But now I think differently.

Some of it was the mindset of WHAT DID I DO TO CAUSE THIS. My mother wanted a reason that she or my father did something to cause my sister to die at 4 from kidney disease in the early 50s. She could not deal with it just being the luck of the draw. And it seems that much of the anti-vaccer sentiment of a few decades ago grew up out of this kind of thinking. If my kid has an issue at 2 or 3 or a bit later, but was fine for the first year or two, what was done to them to make the issue happen. It could just not be the luck of the draw. It HAD TO BE SOMETHING WE DID TO THE BABY.

Then in the US this merge with the libertarian anti government groups to go totally off the rails. This was chunks of my grandfathers family tree starting around 2000. Obama's election just amped it up. Then Trump took it to crazy levels in 2020.

363:

Moderators

You might want to kill off this comment and the one it refers to as it now doesn't make any sense.

364:

MODERATION NOTICE

She of many names: RED CARD.

This is a permaban from this thread. All your comments from now on will be deleted. If you post under a new pseudonym, that pseudonym will be banned from commenting on sight.

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You might be allowed back in the door on future discussions as long as you do not exceed three comments per 24 hours, do not use more than one 'nym, refrain from abusing/insulting other commenters, and bear in mind that the comments are for discussion, not your personal soapbox. But I will publicly invite you back in the comments, if I want to hear from you. Until then, stay away.

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365:

Besides smartphones my experience of GPS is for landscape mapping purposes, measuring field sizes and crop areas. The kit used was a backpack reciever linked to a laptop with the mapping software on it. The results were accurate to less than 1m. It recieved regular updates (at least every hour or so IIRC) for corrections without which it would refuse to work as it couldn't guarantee accuracy. Apparently there are various known locations (lighthouses are popular) which regularly check where the GPS satelites tell them they are and send out the required correction based on where they really are. Don't know any more technical details, unfortunately, but thought people might be interested/able to expand on this.

Also, my father taught Physics at a UK university for over 40 years, retiring about 10 years ago. Latterly he was running remedial maths and chemistry for first year students who nominally had the required qualification but couldn't actually understand the application of things they supposedly knew.

366:

I’m sure litter tray use is ore than just a habituated location. I once found cat paw prints on the tray of my barbecue. In the now cooled disturbed coals there was a tiny, burnt sausage-like object. There was plenty of loose soil in the borders of the lawn so a good choice of defecation sites. But the cat chose a high object filled with hot coals. The paw prints suggested a calm beginning and a frantic end to the exercise. There were always urban foxes close by so the elevated litter tray could have been seen as a defensive convenience. But it was still a bad choice for the cat.

367:

I was at Eastercon last week, at a hotel in Heathrow, London. Vaccinations were required for attendance, masking was enforced and complied with 90%-plus by con members. The hotel staff wore masks, the other non-con hotel residents sometimes wore masks (not being racist but the Asians wore masks 80%-plus, the Westerners generally didn't.)

I came home on Tuesday with "con crud", tested negative for COVID-19 that night, tested positive the next evening. Oh joy. A followup PCR test on Thursday confirmed it.

Basically attending a plague mixmaster event like a convention or whatever, masks will not save you. All they can do is knock a few percentage points off the chances you'll get infected and after that you're rolling the dice again and again.

I am of course vaccinated and boosted and the past few days has been, for me, about as bad symptom-wise as a moderate cold. I've had worse, literally. I'd rather not have had it at all though.

368:

I see, as others have noted, that Macron won over Le Pen.

As Charlie mentioned in Twitter:

Macron is a horrible, bad, no-good President but the alternative was far, far, worse. Like a choice between gonorrhea and Fournier's gangrene.

Le Pen was like necrotizing fasciitis. Or perhaps necrotizing fascists?

369:

I was at Eastercon too and also came home with con crud (non COVID bronchitis). Apart from being triple vaccinated I also had COVID after Novacon last year. It could have been flying ABZ <-> LHR that did it though as Heathrow airport was probably worse than the con for catching things.

370:

If you've got foxes around, are you sure it wasn't one of them? They will poo on high points as a territory marker. Back in the autumn for a while there was a large mushroom in my lawn with a neatly deposited fox turd sitting on top.

371:

Differential GPS has been in use for a long time. Depending on what exactly is being looked at it can be as simple as a fixed GPS unit in the corner of a field broadcasting the difference between where it thought it was when it started and where the latest fix thinks it is, and the mobile unit wandering up and down the field (eg archaeology geophysics surveying a site) applying that offset to its own fixes. In the days of selective availability and deliberate jitter, DGPS could restore the accuracy over a decent sized volume as the offset would be the same for all nearby receivers. Also handy for GPS assisted auto-landing of aircraft at a couple of steps up in cost, the unit at the end of the runway knows where it should be and can tell the approaching aircraft with sufficient accuracy to not bend the undercarriage too far.

372:

"Besides smartphones my experience of GPS is for landscape mapping purposes, measuring field sizes and crop areas. The kit used was a backpack reciever linked to a laptop with the mapping software on it. The results were accurate to less than 1m. It recieved regular updates (at least every hour or so IIRC) for corrections without which it would refuse to work as it couldn't guarantee accuracy. Apparently there are various known locations (lighthouses are popular) which regularly check where the GPS satelites tell them they are and send out the required correction based on where they really are. Don't know any more technical details, unfortunately, but thought people might be interested/able to expand on this."

Differential GPS (DGPS) is the search term, also Local Area Augmentation System (LAAS) and Ground-Based Augmentation System (GBAS). The same approach can be used to improve the accuracy of other navigation systems such as eLoran. Accuracy depends on your distance from the lighthouse, so it's not a universal solution.

There's also WAAS (Wide Area Augmentation System), where multiple DGPS measurements are combined and rebroadcast via another satellite to give a wide-area correction, which is less accurate but better than nothing.

btw I'd have expected something faster than hourly updates, given that the total electron content (TEC) of the ionosphere varies on much shorter timescales, being driven by fluctuations in the solar wind. (Military GPS operates on two frequencies, which allows it to correct to first order for changes in TEC; civilian kit using only the CA channel can't do that.)

373:

David L @ ( what is now # 362 )
Thanks - that makes some sort of sense, but why is it so bad in the USA - is US society really on the point of fracturing, as many have suggested?
An almost-fascist minority are in far too many postions of power & we know that a majority of the US population do not support them ... which is always a bad sign.
Here, having made a worse, permanent error ( Brexit ) there are signs that rowing back is beginning, but not in the US ????

Nojay
DAMN! - Missed you - I was there too ....
( No C-19 though, but another friend, who lives locally did get it there ... )

Vulch
Allotment foxes will do it on your Pak Choi plants (!)

374:

It's likely a lot of French people held their nose and voted for Macron against the fascist Le Pen and the same probably happened in the opposite direction. That doesn't mean the same numbers did so on each side though.

This was a straight runoff competition, no other candidates were in the race so no protest votes or write-ins were reportable. I've not seen turnout figures though.

375:

I think the updates were continuous, it was just that there was a timeout that allowed for a short break in recieving them if there were signal issues but shut things down if it's been too long. I remember being told it was an hour, it might have been less of course. It was described as using multiple known location installations across the country to generate the updates. Apologies, but this was some years ago and the person explaining it wasn't up on the technical details, just how to operate the kit.

376:

DAMN! - Missed you - I was there too ....

Well, I was wearing a mask. Mostly. Except at breakfast and in the Real Ale bar which was, I understand, Ground Zero for most cases including, I suspect, my own case. The rest of the time I mostly spent at the Art Show helping out as is my wont.

377:

As far as the original anti-(measles-)vaxx movement (the one that falsely connects vaccination and autism) is concerned, there is hbomberguy's informative and entertaining video essay from last year: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8BIcAZxFfrc

Summary in one sentence: It all comes down to a single grifter spreading false information for his own personal gain, and scores of people quasi-religiously following him even decades after he was exposed as a fraud and grifter.

It would be funny if it weren't so depressing (or maybe it would be depressing if it weren't so funny—is there even a difference?).

378:

312 - That was me, not AlanD2. As for whether or not the radars were stowed, several of the antennae are fixed, and I'd like to know how you tell whether the others were rotating or not from a still picture.

325 - My only mention of disemvoweling was over the intellect question of how hard it is or isn't (not very).

379:

Back in 2008 I happened across a geophysical location marker on top of a mountain in Nagasaki. I used my (by modern standards quite dumb) Pocket PC's GPS receiver to compare what it was telling me and what the more accurate marker's sign reported. My GPS, with solid locks on about eight or so NavStar satellites was out by about 12 seconds north and about 8 seconds east and altitude was out by about 5 metres. This was after Selective Availability had been disabled (which happened during the Clinton administration).

According to a Great Circle converter online my GPS was reading about 430 metres "off" during this rather unscientific test.

380:

I'm pretty sure when you're talking about Megaton warheads a C.E.P. of 500m is probably "close enough for government work!"

Maybe not.

Remember, CEP of 500 metres means that 50% of warheads land more than 500 metres from the target. (I'm not sure what kind of statistical distribution they'd get, but I think a Poisson curve is likely, maybe squished along one axis because RVs come in at an angle.)

A megaton sounds like a lot, but hardened silos ... the contents are in a prestressed concrete capsule with walls over a metre thick, sitting on shock absorbers inside another deep bunker, surrounded by earth. A 1Mt ground burst may dig a crater on the order of half a kilometer wide, and ground coupling means the shockwave will probably wreck most buried structures close by, but most ICBM warheads are designed as airbursts, to maximize their damage radius: less ground shock, more radiation and air shock.

381:

" It was described as using multiple known location installations across the country to generate the updates. "

In and around the US, NOAA has the Continuously Operating Reference Stations network that does something like you describe. Probably similar arrangements exist elsewhere.

www.ngs.noaa.gov/INFO/OnePagers/CORSOnePager.pdf

https://geodesy.noaa.gov/CORS_Map

[[ changing markup links now to work with updated markup version - mod ]]

382:

I find that odd. GPS is much better at position than altitude. The Garmin I have (and rarely use) claims to be +-10 metres horizontally and +-30/100 metres vertically (I can't remember). Certainly, when I tested it, its altitude was completely useless for my purposes. My tablet's GPS (which I use, occasionally) is certainly about +-10 metres horizontally.

383:

Er, no. In order to get more than a guess at side-effect (or even efficacy) figures, you need access to the complete medical records for each patient; those are rarely disclosed and the WHO does not deal in data at that level. Even with access to that data, it's damn hard to get reliable estimates. I could explain the statistical issues in detail, but this blog is not the place for such a lesson.

384:

"I find that odd. GPS is much better at position than altitude."

That depends critically on your latitude.

At Equator the difference is nearly nil.

At my 56N it near maximum, because there are no sats north of me, but I am not far enough north to spot them on the far side of the "hole in the constellation".

385:

"Pocket PC's GPS receiver to compare what it was telling me and what the more accurate marker's sign reported."

It is very doubtful that the position on the marker were in WGS84 coordinates, that that's the first error-source right there.

Most local coordinate systems differ a LOT from WGS84 in height and less in lon/lat.

386:

It was an old Pocket PC with an old GPS module inside (probably manufactured around 2000, maybe earlier). I always had problems using its GPS functionality "natively", probably due to case design and radio noise from all the other components inside so I added a high-gain external antenna which improved things significantly. IIRC it could only receive 12 satellites at a time whereas today's commercial GPS receivers will handle many more signals from multiple constellations simultaneously.

387:

"It's likely a lot of French people held their nose"

As Paul Krugman quipped on Twitter: Maybe this time the Sword were mightier than Le Pen.

:-)

388:

why is it so bad in the USA

I'll hazard a guess that religion plays a significant role.

America is a far more religious country than Britain.

389:

I could explain the statistical issues in detail, but this blog is not the place for such a lesson.,/i>

Well, if you find a place, please share the location. That's a lesson I'd show up for.

390:

The foxes were wary of humans. This was 1980s Leeds not 21st century London. Nobody fed them. We only saw them when we came back home in darkness and they were usually on the lawn, or occasionally we could see them hiding under a hedge. And the tray and barbecue were about 40 x 15 cm and 70 cm high- too small and high I think for foxes. But it was quite common to find a squirrel leg, lots of feathers or fox droppings on the lawn. These droppings were bigger than the offending item in the barbecue

391:

The Wilbraham Road stop, of Tharpe etc fame, was on the line which is now the Fallowfield Loop, not the one which is now the tram line. It's near the junction of Alexandra Road South and Mauldeth Road West. See here. Last time I was there you could still see remains of the platform and station buildings.

392:

Thanks. I tested it at 52 and 57 north.

393:

Yeah, airports themselves are scary for that. Aircraft are fine - the ability to use the air nozzles to keep you in properly filtered air is great, but those horribly congested checkin queues are nasty.

I (we) got CV at Novacon too, but happily we didn't catch anything at Eastercon (or at least not that has revealed itself to testing). However I was unhappy by the number of staff I saw there that weren't masked, starting with those behind reception.

394:

My Covid app has been bitching every couple of hours for the last few days that I was been in close contact with someone who has since tested positive, on both Sunday and Monday.

Why yes, I did spend quite a bit of time in the Real Ale Bar

395:

Thanks guys (you know who you are) for the reports of Eastercon related Covid.

396:

Nojay
So I walked right past you several times - I chatted to 1/2R - as I've known him for years & also Queen Ynci, who bought something.
I was wearing a full-face transparent mask, as I have problems with the usual sort, if wearing one for more than about 15 minutes ...

397:

GPS personal account - I was handed a hand held GPS to check the calibration of at work. I had a table of local OS triangulation pillars in the office, and could see one of them through the office window. So I went out and put the GPS on the pillar, and checked the location. The Lat and Long were both good, but I had a sink rate of 30m/s, which is a lot when the concrete pillar is on top of a hill which is 300 feet of Lewisian Gneiss.

398:

That gives me an idea for a CliFi/Steampunk mashup setting. Future earth, only the polar regions are habitable. That’s not a lot of total land area, the land is crap (former muskeg at best, former subglacial rock at worst) and the total solar energy per unit area ~10x less than the tropics. This will limit the maximum possible human population, to where peak Empire can just barely manage steam, and then only if they get lucky in how many geniuses are born in a given generation. By the way, with no easily reached coal or oil left, running your steam-powered war machine means chopping down a forest. (Preferably someone else’s)

You rang?

Looks like I missed an interesting Sunday night.

Anyway, I literally wrote Hot Earth Dreams as a sourcebook for creating settings like this, and it includes a section on living at the poles. It's a bit dated now, but it's still more than good enough for what you're proposing.

The two things I want to clear up.

A big one is that if the Earth gets that much atmospheric CO2, the latitudinal gradient goes away, mostly because a lot of clouds at higher latitudes go away. Scotland and Seattle go from stereotypically gray skied wet places to places somewhat more like Hawai'i in terms of the skyscape. But the polar forests do not mean that the rest of the planet is completely uninhabitable. As we're seeing now, the poles warm considerably more (and faster) than the rest of the planet does.

As for fuel, the whole wood or charcoal for steam was a bi problem in Mark Twain's day, meaning that riverboats had to switch to coal after a few decades because all the riparian forests had been cut for fuel. Industrial scale steam just doesn't work on wood power, because wood doesn't regenerate fast enough. This was a known problem in Medieval England, where glassmaking guilds owned whole woodlands (in the original sense) that they cut on rotation for charcoal, just to keep their glass furnaces hot.

Wood captures (at a really rough guess) around 10% of incident solar energy. That's a crude guess compiling 30% photosynthetic efficiency plus 20% of what the plant gets going into the soil, plus a bunch being respired, plus all the photosynthate caught in roots, leaves, and bark. If you're running on charcoal, the normal way to get it (going back to the Bronze Age, IIRC) is to have coppiced woodlands. You're not waiting a century and spending a huge amount of human work chopping it into pieces small enough for the charcoal kiln, you're cutting branches and leg-diameter trunks on willowsand similar fast-growing trees, leaving the basal burl to regrow and produce more. Heavily managed woodlands are an essential part of the Medieval Industrial Complex.

The additional problem at the poles is that there's not much sunlight during the summer, and no sunlight at all during the winter. That hasn't stopped polar forests from growing in the past, but they're not going to be giant rainforests, and certainly not on the PNW scale of redwoods and doug firs (which take ca. 300-500 years to get that big anyway). Anyway, I went into this in Hot Earth Dreams, and it's still selling on BigMuddy if you want it.

So yeah, that word Medieval kept popping up. Not quite so steampunk, I'm afraid. I'll end by simply pointing out four things: One is that if the north pole is habitable, Antarctica will be too, and it hasn't been mined out. Another is that Europe is far from the only high culture that's been "Medieval." There's also China (particularly the Ming Dynasty) and India. Check out the blog "Great Ming Military" if you want to expand your vision of what's possible in the way of medieval cold arms and low-tech fire arms. I'd also recommend reading up on Tiwanaku and their agricultural systems around Lake Titicaca. I suspect their system would work at the poles too. And finally, the north pole has the world's great peatlands, so wood is actually a bit of a distraction. They're likely to get into managed peatlands for fuel and managed woodlands for building materials. Check out Struzik's Swamplands if you want to get bogged down in worldbuilding.

Have fun!

399:

I suspect the real ale bar at Eastercon was a bad place to hang out: people don't mask while they're drinking, and their voices get louder as they get more inebriated (shouting/singing/laughter are extremely infectious activities).

I just went out food shopping today in an FFP2 mask and was deeply unhappy with the way masking in Scotland has fallen apart in the past week: my regular supermarket went from about 80% masked shoppers to 80% unmasked, and I won't be going back again.

400:

No, the wood supply wasn't a big problem until well into the 18th century, except during periods of mismanagement. Despite the common myth, seacoal didn't start replacing charcoal for industry (including ironworks) until the industrial revolution was well under way. Most people don't realise how fast coppices regenerate in suitable conditions, even at 50-56 north.

I can't say whether an overheated north-western Europe would have such a coppice-friendly climate, nor whether the warmed-up areas of Siberia would be.

401:

Man, between comics and cats the 'I am very certain about things I don't actually know that I don't know a lot about" tendencies around here are coming out strong lately.

402:

I'll end by simply pointing out four things: One is that if the north pole is habitable, Antarctica will be too, and it hasn't been mined out.

Russia has put a lot of effort and money into developing infrastructure to extract oil and gas from northern Arctic waters over the past ten years or so (one reason I find the people who claim that they only invaded Ukraine for the gas to be laughable). They're not saying how much oil and gas they've already found there but I imagine they wouldn't be industrialising their northern coasts and building floating power plants like the Akademik Lomonosov if they didn't think there was a lot of fossil carbon there to exploit. Most of that will probably still be available to fuel the northern Polar civilisations for at least a few centuries, assuming their populations remain in the low millions.

As for Antarctica I expect most of the countries that have carried out geophysical surveys there have a good set of maps of fossil fuel resources on the supposedly-inviolate continent tucked away at the bottom of their filing cabinets. For later.

403:

Sorry. I forgot to add that it was not and is not trash woods like willows; inter alia, they produce a God-awful charcoal. Also, the dry weight per hectare per annum is almost the same for almost all trees in the UK, because the limit is insolation. It was chestnut, oak, ash, beech, hazel etc. (see Rackham).

404:

The general problem with offshore oil drilling is that you need a huge global infrastructure to get it going. Even steampunk can't produce that much cheap steel, let alone everything else. Long story short, even if they leave an oil deposit in place, it's not going to be reachable by somebody relying on coppices or peat for industrial fuel. As a comparison, if I wanted to run a car on ethanol, a hectare of sugar cane is enough to power a car for a year, very roughly (depending on car, latitude, etc.). Biofuels just aren't that plentiful or energy dense.

As for coal in Antarctica, the published reports from West Antarctica said that what they found were small deposits of low grade coal that weren't worth the trouble to mine. East Antarctica is mostly under 3 km of ice, and just a few years ago they finally finished the radar mapping of the land beneath the ice. Whether there are coal deposits that would survive the massive erosion of the glaciers melting I don't know, but I don't think they have good survey data for most of the continent.

It doesn't matter anyway, since CliFi fiction set in a future we won't see. For Antarctica, posit what you like. The big treasure there is the glacial till making highly nutrient rich soil anyway (look up the origin of loess).

405:

America seems a far more religious society than Britain, but it's a bit like Ireland in that respect -- religiosity in Ireland crashed a few decades ago, but nobody dared admit it in public until the Church shot itself in both feet with the child abuse scandals. Then public discourse shifted in a landslide.

In the USA, religious belief is incredibly stratified generationally: old folks (over 70s) are almost all churched (FSVO church) but under 25s are about 30-40% "no religion" on polling ("atheist" is a dirty word, like "communist", so they don't use it).

An additional factor is the First Amendment to the US constitution, which not only established freedom of speech as a right, but also freedom of religion. Which has been interpreted weirdly by the courts: on the one hand, there's no RE in schools (unless they're private religious establishments), but churches are exempt from tax. So every grifter and their dog sets themselves up as a preacher with their own goddamn church ...

406:

No, the wood supply wasn't a big problem until well into the 18th century, except during periods of mismanagement. Despite the common myth, seacoal didn't start replacing charcoal for industry (including ironworks) until the industrial revolution was well under way. Most people don't realise how fast coppices regenerate in suitable conditions, even at 50-56 north.

Agreed, but steampunk is 19th century, and the idea of raiding other people's forests for fuel implies mismanagement. I completely agree that you can use charcoal to make steam. Charcoal just has less energy density, and there's less of it to be had, compared with a fresh coal seam in Newcastle or Wales. So if a scenario is running on charcoal or peat, they really need to be energy efficient and crafty, rather than industrial and brute force. Beyond that, imagination is the only limit.

Seacoal was used in Britain in Roman times and thereafter. Even the classical Greeks used coal when they could get it, because it's really good fuel for blacksmithing. The problem all along was that there wasn't much of it (no big coal seams in Greece, for instance), so people had to make do with wood and charcoal for most things.

I do agree on the good English charcoal woods. I just grabbed willow out of the air. Rackham's books are a great source, with the small caveat that his really good books are out of print, and getting them often requires an interlibrary loan or a fair bit of cash.

407:

Back when I was an Engineering student, I did a summer course in surveying. One of the days my partner and I spent using theodolites to pinpoint a set of survey points round a few acres of soggy Cambridge. We did a closed circuit, and all was good except that one of our points was a couple of centimetres out, even though our final position matched our starting point almost perfectly

We maintained that the one that was out was starting to float

(Yes, it was a concrete block, but even so, soil can swell under the right conditions. That was our story anyway.)

408:

his really good books are out of print

which are those? i've only got the history of the countryside

410:

Michael Cain @ 326: A bit of reading this afternoon -- Inventing accuracy : a historical sociology of nuclear missile guidance -- tells me that 400 ft accuracy for the late model Tridents required doing a star fix somewhere along the trajectory, and wasn't available until about 1990. The "Beryllium Baby" and surrounding parts in the silo-launched Peacekeeper missiles, accurate to about 500 meters, seems to have been the best purely inertial system small enough to put in a missile ever built. 19,000 moving parts and ridiculously expensive.

Interesting the political arguments back and forth about accuracy. There was concern that if the ICBMs were too accurate, so could take out even hardened silos, the Soviets would interpret that as a first-strike capability.

I'm pretty sure when you're talking Megaton warheads a C.E.P. of 500m is probably "close enough for government work!"

411:

Oh, yes, charcoal doesn't scale up to energy-intensive (19th century) use, though it does have the benefit that coppiced woodland is useful for some other purposes as well. Few are relevant nowadays, though they were in earlier centuries. It doesn't fit well with steampunk, which I would quite happily lose, but does with some forms of semi-technological neopasturalism.

Some coals are good for blacksmithing, but others contain too much sulphur etc. I think that you posted earlier than we have mined out almost all of the anthracite outside Antarctica.

412:

Nick @391,

Thanks for the correction. I'd seen some other photos of Wilbraham Road station and it looked quite like the layout in Chorlton.

413:

It was Cambridge. Anything there that isn't floating has already sunk out of sight.

414:

My favorite Oliver Rackham book is The Nature of Mediterranean Europe, which I was lucky enough to get new (check out the prices on the link. It's cheaper on Alibris by a bit). This is basically two ecologists who really know the Mediterranean taking dead aim at the thesis that the Mediterranean is a landscape despoiled by millennia of civilization, and trying to categorically disprove that notion. For a while it was one of Yale Press' best sellers, at least at scientific conventions. It's really good for Mediterranean coppicing, pollarding, and shredding practices, among many other things.

The one I'm thinking of for Medieval English coppicing is Ancient Woodland: Its History, Vegetation and Uses in England. I read this in the library as a grad student and loved it.

If someone else (EC?) has another book where he goes into English coppicing practice, by all means link to it.

415:
Remember, CEP of 500 metres means that 50% of warheads land more than 500 metres from the target. (I'm not sure what kind of statistical distribution they'd get, but I think a Poisson curve is likely, maybe squished along one axis because RVs come in at an angle.)

Charlie,

I'm open to correction from your other contributors, but the usual model for bomb hits is a two-dimensional Normal Distribution.

This is transformable into polar representation in which r is a distance which is exponentially-distributed, and an angle theta which is uniformly distributed. Look up Box-Cox transform.

For the more general case, you squish the axes.

416:

trash woods like willows; inter alia, they produce a God-awful charcoal.

Willow charcoal is a specific product, even today.

Energy-wise anything with lignite that can be partially combusted can be turned into charcoal. Wood gas as a side-product is a bonus if the engineering is there[1] but coppicing and charcoal-making is a labour-intensive affair for not much return on energy. Its only advantage is very high temperatures with little contamination from sulphur and other chemicals in the furnace blast.

[1]Classically charcoal was made by setting a wet bonfire and then covering the smouldering pile with sod and dirt to restrict oxygen. The pile would be poked with sticks occasionally to keep some combustion happening then cover the pile again and wait for days or weeks before breaking the pile apart and harvesting the charcoal.

417:

Some coals are good for blacksmithing, but others contain too much sulphur etc. I think that you posted earlier than we have mined out almost all of the anthracite outside Antarctica.

I think I posted that too, but the US series Forged in Fire occasionally used coal for smithing, so it can't be that impossible to find yet.

For those who don't know, Forged in Fire is a bladesmithing competition that's sort of Iron Chef meets swordsmithing. Four smiths compete in three elimination rounds making various historical and modern weapons, two blades in the studio, one at their home forge. The materials they use, designs they make, tests the blades undergo, etc. all change every episode. Every once in a while they make the smiths work with a coal forge rather than gas. I don't recall ever seeing them use charcoal, but it's certainly possible to forge with charcoal, and you can find videos online.

418:

AlanD2 @ 349: Looks like time for another seagull expunging...

Just get the "Blog Killfile" extension for whatever browser software you use and ignore he, she or it.

419:

You're right. I had forgotten its use for drawing, where it is THE predominant wood. But, for burning, no.

420:

Here in the US at least, the anti-vaxx grifters make fookwads of moola peddling their bs on Youtube, twit, fb, etc. They also often sell quack nostrums as well as receiving 'donations' from the idiots.

Other anti-vaxxers are like those who voted for le Pen throughout the French Caribbean because it is White People stuff and due to long history regarded with at best vast suspicion. We see this in Jamaica particularly strongly among the Rastafarians, for multiple reasons that include their own concepts of physical health related to spiritual health, as well as vaccination being regarded 'white evil.' And certainly in the US among these various African heritage populations. Haitians who have been living here for at least a generation aren't vaxxed by and large, because they are convinced it's a plot to kill them -- and this is believed even more strongly in Haiti itself.

Black Cubans are a big exception to this.

421:

It may well be the usual one, but I would be flabberghasted if it were a good one; I would expect far longer tails.

422:

lignin rather than lignite, but otherwise I agree.

...

One thing for those reading this with less technical background: I don't think EC, Nojay, or I are implying stupid or primitive when we're talking about Medieval. If you're thinking about committing clifi, what we're talking about is how much energy you get to work with (not a lot), how much muscle work you need to do (a lot), and so forth. In this scenario, you can do decent analog computing with a slide rule, abacus, and books of nomograms. Or you can run a Classical Greek slave state with a few steam toys. A lot is possible.

423:

"Wood captures (at a really rough guess) around 10% of incident solar energy. That's a crude guess compiling 30% photosynthetic efficiency plus 20% of what the plant gets going into the soil, plus a bunch being respired, plus all the photosynthate caught in roots, leaves, and bark."

I managed to look up some figures for this once. Can't remember what the source I found was, but it was something to do with people doing actual science rather than just regurgitating their own guesses on the web. Apparently plants capture something between 3% and 11% depending on what plant they are. It didn't say whether woody plants mostly clustered at any particular part of that range or not, but even so, it looks like your guess is more or less confirmed.

424:

Which has been interpreted weirdly by the courts: on the one hand, there's no RE in schools

In theory, but I keep reading of places where religion (ie. evangelical christianity) has a huge impact on public education, including kids being required to attend supposedly-optional services and classes. Seems to be a red-state phenomena.

Note that this is based on what I've read in education newletters/blogs and the news, as well as heard from Canadians who've visited/lived in America.

425:

steampunk is 19th century

Steampunk also seems to imply (or actually require) some sort of colonial/exploitative society for the 'punks' to be opposed to.

Unless you're talking about steampunk as a fashion, which seems to require brass gears and fittings glued to vintage-style clothing that exposes a lot more skin than was common in Victorian times…

426:

I don't think you'll mind me posting this, but if I am wrong please delete.

Offer to La Polynomielle: if you want a platform to post your pronouncements on without being subject to the restrictions of Charlie's blog, email me and I will set something up for you. It will be a "pinboard" thing rather than a discussion platform, it will probably operate by automatically displaying correctly-formed emails sent to a specific address (because that's easiest for me to set up), and of course it will have nothing whatsoever to do with Charlie's site.

I expect you will be well able to find your way to my email address from my previous posts on here (hint: keyword "goggles") but if I am wrong, Charlie has it.

427:

At least for the UK in good conditions, you could find out the calorific value of wood and production per annum and compare that to the insolation. I have seen all of those, but am disinclined to search.

Globally, it's tricky because plants are often limited by lack of water, lack of nutrients or poor growing conditions. Few trees like boggy conditions, for example, and relative growth on well-drained and poorly-drained locations (even feet from one another) is very obvious at least in the UK and NZ. Similarly, in arid terrain, the growth near watercourses is much more vigorous.

428:

Energy, it always comes back to energy. Medieval energy was provided by animals, humans, some wind and hydro and fire from wood and coal for processes such as pottery, iron-working etc. Steam was a way of using fire to produce useful work i.e. turning shafts and wheels which led to non-animal-powered land transport and eventually non-wind-powered sea transport too.

The issue with transport is that the vessels need to carry their fuel with them and that requires density and high energy value per kilo of fuel carried hence the use of coal, specifically anthracite but by the 1930s the engineers were reduced to burning whatever black crap they could get out of the ground. By that time oil was making its way onto the stage, displacing coal in the same way that gas (and gas-generated electricity) is displacing coal in its turn. Give it another century or so and maybe nuclear will displace gas as mankind's primary energy source, I don't know (and probably will never know).

429:

Thanks - that makes some sort of sense, but why is it so bad in the USA - is US society really on the point of fracturing, as many have suggested?

Sadly, yes. I think there's a positive feedback loop involving conservative politicians, conservative voters, and Fox News. It's a closed loop with no outside feedback, so they're all going increasingly crazy.

People who deny facts should have no place in a sane society... :-(

430:

My understanding of commercial grade GPS and satnav systems such as those used by Garmin is that they had/have a 'differential' programmed in to INCREASE the error range by up to 100 m (Horizontally) and possibly more vertically.

The reasons given to me at the time were to prevent it from being used to steer missiles etc. A 'good sailor' would be using GPS alongside charts and visual bearings to navigate. Of course, most of the fishermen and sailors I knew would chug along blindly, glancing at the GPS every so often.

I do recall that some of the fish boats I worked on in the 90s had somehow paid to have their 'differential' reduced to 10m. The general understanding was that military level GPS was down to the decimetre in accuracy, but unavailable to the general public.

I see no reason the US would not have provided Ukraine with that high level of accuracy, if it is possible.

431:

That was me, not AlanD2.

Actually, it was both of us - which can be confusing.

432:

Nojay
RU planning to exploit more oil & gas .....
ANOTHER reason to shut the bastards down, in fact!
- and
Um. - "Queen Elizabeth" class battleships, launched 1913-15. Oil-fired turbines.

EC & also H
Actually, serious quantities ( for the period ) of coal were being shipped from the Tyne & to a lesser extent the Tees to London by the middle of the 18thC. Wooden & plated waggonways were already common - it's absolutely zero coincidence that Geordie Stephenson came from there - ditto the Cornishman Richard Trevithick, operating in S Wales )Pen-y-Darren), about 1804.
- Re: O Rackham: "New Naturalist number 100 - "Woodlands" - still available - a masterly work - & yes I have a copy. I've got a copy of "History of the Countryside somewhere in the pile, too.

433:

...but most ICBM warheads are designed as airbursts, to maximize their damage radius: less ground shock, more radiation and air shock.

Can the bursting elevation be dialed in just before launch? Given that a lot of the warheads will be aimed at known enemy ICBM sites, this would seem to be desirable.

434:

That's why I favour technological neopasturalism. You don't NEED a lot of iron or a lot of near-slaves to run even an early industrial revolution technology, if you are smart enough about it. Steel used to be handed back to the blacksmith when it was past it's initial use, and copper and brass to the coppersmith. Wood (done right) is a damn good structural material, lasts a long time (if wanted), and isn't as time-dependent to make or use as is often believed. For example, I have a wooden block plane (with a steel blade) that works as well as a modern steel plane (and is over a century old). Wattle and daub sheds last as well as the steel equivalents in the UK, with a bit of maintenance. And so on.

Yes, that needs a bit more effort, but my estimate was that we currently waste almost all of people's potential working time (at least 75%). The social changes to avoid that are beyond radical - I can't even imagine how to get there and stabilise the society on a large scale.

435:

I'll hazard a guess that religion plays a significant role. America is a far more religious country than Britain.

I concur. Evangelical Christians, in particular, are especially aligned with Donald Trump, the GOP, and Fox News (the unholy triumvirate). Despite knowing (or denying) that neither Trump nor the GOP espouse any Christian values. :-(

Fox News, of course, has no values of any kind. (Can we blame this on Murdoch's Australian upbringing?)

436:

"Can the bursting elevation be dialed in just before launch? Given that a lot of the warheads will be aimed at known enemy ICBM sites, this would seem to be desirable."

Almost all deployed warheads have some kind of "dial-a-yield" functionality.

With respect to buried targets:

The original reason for air-bursts were simply that the warheads were not trusted to land and function, therefore bunkers needed tens of megatons.

Later "parachute lay-down" where the warhead is in contact with the surface, reduced the necessary yield to single megaton range.

These days ground penetrators where the warhead ends several meters below the surface can do the job with with less than a third megaton yield.

With more precision the necessary yield drops further, few bunkers will handle a 20kt direkt and well-coupled hit.

Intellectually this increased precision is assumed to lower "the nuclear threshold", but so far it has held, and there is still no evidence that Putin is that stupid.

437:

The location error in the original NavStar system (the US military GPS which was made available to the public) was called Selective Availability. This was a variable random error in the ephemeris data broadcast by the satellites which reduced the accuracy of the position reported by commercial receivers. This is probably what you're thinking of, it was not something built into the receiver itself.

Selective Availability was temporarily disabled during the first Gulf War to allow US troops to use off-the-shelf GPS receivers at the squad and individual level and it was decided to remove it completely around 2005 (possibly because battlefield use of GPS for weapons targetting was becoming problematic due to jamming and spoofing and there were other non-US GPS constellations in use by then).

Differential GPS (DGPS) is something different (no pun intended). It uses GPS plus fixed land-based stations located at very accurately surveyed points such as lighthouses to refine the result a receiver will return, but only over limited areas such as around a harbour and its approaches. It costs more to implement and the receivers are more expensive too but the benefits can easily offset the ticket price.

438:

" [...] any Christian values."

Most of the rabid "Christians" in USA really only care about the first episode, eye for eye, tooth for tooth and all that. Episode two they dont care for, and they are perfectly willing to stone or cruxify any bloke, who insist the must be nice to "those people" - no matter who his father might be.

439:

... One is that if the north pole is habitable, Antarctica will be too, and it hasn't been mined out.

If Antarctica is habitable, its glaciers will likely be gone (as will those in Greenland) and sea levels will be ~100 meters higher. A lot of current resources will be under water... :-(

440:

In the USA, religious belief is incredibly stratified generationally: old folks (over 70s) are almost all churched (FSVO church) but under 25s are about 30-40% "no religion" on polling...

Yes. Gives me hope for the future of the U.S.

As I have said in other forums, when kids grow up, they stop believing in Santa Claus. When adults grow up, they stop believing in God.

441:

I agree with you, with some strong caveats.

If we're dealing with a Hot Earth Dreams PETM scenario, or even the now more-likely Middle Miocene climate scenario, a lot of the Earth would be some flavor of tropical: tropical savanna (equator), tropical desert (north of equator), paratropical rainforests (the old temperate zone) and so forth. These conditions normally also grow termites and fungi, not just wood.

What this means in turn is that stuff doesn't last as long. Clearly what you're proposing would work in such an environment (cf civilization in South China, India, Ethiopia, or East African coast, or West Africa, for example), but with changes. Things have to be replaced more often, so elaborate buildings that can't be easily repaired are problematic. Libraries are problematic too, in warm, humid climates. I suspect that one reason some African kingdoms ran on the memories of "mentats" is that this was more durable than writing (but see South China).

The two other points: most resources will be mined out of dead cities, not primary ores. This will foster a different relationship with past and future: past needs to be recycled, and your life and works will in turn be remade and recycled by those who come after you.

The other is that, unless we get our heads out of our asses, most large animals on the planet will be the descendants of current domestic animals and various vagrants like raccoons and foxes. If you know about how wildly domestic animals were bred in the 1900s and you know a bit about adaptive radiations in wild species, you'll have an idea of the diversity that's possible. But it's still going to look weird. Similar things will go on with plants (a plethora of domestics and weeds), but it's going to be a real struggle to keep useful, slow growing trees like oaks, apples, and redwoods around. The early stages of recovery from an extinction event are going to be rather strange and sad, at least from my perspective.

This is the kind of situation where coppicing rhododendron for charcoal and loading it up on a pig-drawn cart may be as good as it gets for somebody somewhere.

442:

Just get the "Blog Killfile" extension for whatever browser software you use and ignore he, she or it.

I'm really good at scrolling past her stuff... :-)

443:

Scott Sanford @ 355:

My D&D groups (in Portland OR) are still masking, whereas only about 1/3 of Portlanders I see in the grocery store are.

I don't know if you were at the last GameStorm last month (I wasn't, due to work), but vaccinations were mandatory and masks were required in many areas and strongly encouraged everywhere. From what I saw in the con photos there were very few bare faces outside the hotel restaurant.

And yes, I'm one of that third.

So am I. But I just realized I forgot to wear a mask while going into at least one store yesterday.

Haven't had my SECOND booster yet, but otherwise fully vaxxed and usually masked in public ... although I always worry somebody is there to rob the Glendale train.

444:

Almost all deployed warheads have some kind of "dial-a-yield" functionality.

I knew about "dial-a-yield". I was asking about "dial-an-elevation".

I know that the U.S. (and presumably other countries) have conventional ground penetrator bombs. I would think the weight for penetration armor would be an issue for nuclear ICBM weapons.

445:

If Antarctica is habitable, its glaciers will likely be gone (as will those in Greenland) and sea levels will be ~100 meters higher. A lot of current resources will be under water... :-(

More like 70 meters, but otherwise yes. It will thousands of years to get there, because melting a couple of kilometers of ice takes awhile.

That said, IIRC, the more recent models suggest that not all of the Antarctic ice sheet will melt, even under the worst current scenarios.

The bigger point is that we're kind of at an equal-suffering point: how much we suffer adapting civilization to this (rather more and faster that buggies to cars), is probably less, but getting closer, to radical depopulation, severe climate change, us being totally forgotten as worthless, and adaptions to whatever's next.

446:

I've always thought of the variations on the form "berropunk" as meaning a setting in which the development of the means of production of energy (and with it the nature of devices which produce or use energy, and some proportion of the associated infrastructure, along with the related work practices and other bits of society) has bizarrely come to a crashing halt at the berro-power stage and all subsequent developments somehow haven't happened, while all the other exercises of human ingenuity we are used to have proceeded more or less unhindered. So we get all kinds of devices whose impracticality ranges from mild to wild, from gramophones driven by a little berro engine with berrovian amplification instead of electronic, up to berro-powered FTL interstellar spaceships.

Such settings naturally lend themselves to somewhat dystopic narratives, because everywhere is full of all the muck and crap that results from exclusive use of berro power, and everything is more difficult to do than we are used to; also the oppressive labour conditions which were common in the historical berro-power era tend to still apply, at least for the berro workers themselves, as do a selection of other historically contemporary political factors (such as the colonialism of the time). However, I don't think a dystopic narrative is a necessary result of such a setting - after all most authors who were writing during the historical berro-power period did not produce an oeuvre massively skewed towards dystopianism.

I don't really think you can separate berropunk as a genre of fiction from berropunk as a fashion involving sticking bits of old clocks to your jacket. I think the whole concept of berropunk is a fashion, and the fiction and the clocky jackets are both expressions of the same thing. The fiction is very much like the clothing, in that the setting makes it easy to produce stories which are highly "decorative" (lots of work for costumes, props and special effects if you make a movie out of them), but (since it's basically a fairly daft idea anyway) it isn't a particularly practical setting, and may well be rather impractical, for the purpose of producing a story which actually makes sense.

I'd hazard a guess that the development of such genres arises from people reading things like "Pavane" (Keith Roberts), and then skimming the obvious and spectacular aspects off the surface while ignoring the deeper and more complicated parts of the setting that make the story plausible and consistent with common sense. (Not an uncommon kind of developmental path.) Dystopianism is of course another obvious feature of "Pavane", so it's fairly natural for that to be carried over also, but if you were so minded it would not be any more difficult to come up with another alternate history that leads to the same kind of technological development as in "Pavane" but without the dystopia, than it was for Keith Roberts to come up with the alternate history he did come up with.

447:

First: I don't hang out here on weekends as much as I do every weekday, so I missed the bunch that people are talking about. However, based on comments... I'm wondering what's happening wherever they live, if there's some real personal stressor right now on She of the Many Names.

And if she reads it, and cares to say something non-obfuscated, and not based on reddit usage, she can certainly find my email, given that I've mentioned my website with email links is mrw.5-cent.us

448:

The US allowing users to "choose"... only for certain values of "choose". In most cases, people who wanted to get vaccinated got whatever their provider had.

449:

"(Can we blame this on Murdoch's Australian upbringing?)"

Can probably blame it on his dad, who was much the same kind of arsehole but with less capability for expressing it.

450:

… coal, oil, gas, nuclear fission, nuclear fusion and then something black hole related is what I expect for the future of energy.

Small black holes evaporating via Hawking radiation (mass a few hundred kilograms, supposedly they don’t form under 8kg) is one possibility. I expect you’d push it around with magnetic fields. Oddly hard to control - toss in more matter to slow down energy production!

Larger black holes where you toss in stuff to get energy radiating from the hot crushed matter rotating through the hole’s magnetic fields. Lots more energy, but hard to move and I guess less efficient for converting mass to energy.

The ultimate would be antimatter, but that’s not available as a natural resource. Still could be useful for energy storage and transport.

So, a story could be about a ship’s small black hole running out of fuel and making the ship go faster, until the hole explodes with Hawking radiation when it gets too lightweight. Then you’re out of luck until you find another light black hole.

451:

I finished reading NEVER, by Ken Follett, last night. This 800 page book deals with increasingly severe international incidents that snowball to the start of World War III.

In the last two pages, after China destroys Pearl Harbor with a nuke, U.S. President Pauline Green authorizes the launch of an all-out nuclear attack on China. The final sentence of the book is "And then, at last, she began to weep."

This struck me as what all of us may be about to endure as a result of Russia's war with Ukraine. :-/

452:

The ultimate would be antimatter, but that’s not available as a natural resource.

Wasn't it Larry Niven who posited an antimatter planet? :-)

453:

I suspect the whole "that's a guy thing", and it doesn't help that many work extremely hard to make it boring. My physics teacher in high school did... and that was in the sixties, with amazing stuff going on.

454:

Small black holes evaporating via Hawking radiation (mass a few hundred kilograms, supposedly they don’t form under 8kg) is one possibility.

Eek, nope!

IIRC the release of Hawking radiation increases exponentially as the mass diminishes, and the last 10,000 tonnes goes "poof" in under a second.

That's 10^6Kg, and each Kg gives you an explosive-equivalent yield of 21.6 megatons.

You don't want to be in the same solar system as that, let alone on the same planet ...!

455:

The whole (alleged) culture in the US makes people feel that they have to say they are, or they're attacked as "not good Americans". We're decades behind Europe in de-religionizing, but the Christianist extremists shoving through "Christian" sharia law is doing a great job at turning people against it.

456:

Nojay #437: "Differential GPS (DGPS) is something different (no pun intended). It uses GPS plus fixed land-based stations located at very accurately surveyed points such as lighthouses to refine the result a receiver will return, but only over limited areas such as around a harbour and its approaches. It costs more to implement and the receivers are more expensive too but the benefits can easily offset the ticket price."

That tracks with my experience on the trawlers. Their livelihood was predicated on catching the right amounts of the right types of fish in a particular season. 80 miles offshore the only way they knew what was below was from experience and memory- their fishing sites and charts were the fiercely guarded secrets of the Captains - and if they went to a different boat they took their knowledge with them.

In those circumstances dropping the trawl net 100 m off course could mean the difference between an $80k catch and nothing at all (or worse, losing the $35k net). Typically the skippers would have satnav, GPS, Loran-C and a variety of charting programs and software on the bridge, and would check with all of them when selecting where to fish. Travelling from harbour to the grounds was a different thing altogether - any of the crew, myself included, would sit up there on watch while the boat chugged along the programmed route. They had all been in and out of all the harbours and inlets so much they could have done it blind and half asleep.

The very skilled and experienced captains had their fishing timed to the tide, moon cycles and season. If we arrived on a particular site an hour late it would be too late to bother dropping the net. As was explained to me at a high and sustained volume over a series of days by a skipper when my car broke down on the way to departure.

The very unskilled, unscrupulous and inexperienced captains would go to a general area, drop their nets down and drag them across the bottom, killing everything and throwing out whatever they couldn't sell. Most of them ended up on shore when individual vessel quotas were imposed (a long and fraught story in itself).

457:

In the mid-Atlantic, the fastest growing and most widely-spread trees are poplar (which some folks consider "trash trees").

458:

In theory, but I keep reading of places where religion (ie. evangelical christianity) has a huge impact on public education, including kids being required to attend supposedly-optional services and classes. Seems to be a red-state phenomena.

Note that this is based on what I've read in education newletters/blogs and the news, as well as heard from Canadians who've visited/lived in America.

This is nuts. Outside of private schools.

Not common and would even start a lawsuit within minutes of someone trying.

Says he who has lived in KY, PA, CT, and NC with time in TX, IL, TN, MO. And I have friends with kids in other states.

Just not true.

459:

That anti-matter planet was a real hypothetical! They won’t last very long in our part of the universe, or at least the part swept out by our normal matter galaxy. Though Niven had the nifty idea of the anti-matter ablating the otherwise indestructible ship hull.

460:

And let's not forget corsets worn outside the dresses, instead of inside.

461:

Doc Smith, Lensman universe, or rather after Thorndyke gets them into alternate universes.

462:

Biofuels have atrocious efficiency.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photosynthetic_efficiency 3-6% and further losses in conversion to char.

Trying to use them in arctic regions is. Uhm. Not happening.

And again, I must question the strange conceit that a post-apocalyptic society would somehow forget about electricity.

Dynamos and alternators are vastly easier to build than steam engines. For one thing, they dont explode if you get it wrong. This means the shortest industrialization path is to find a good spot to build a dam and just use electricity for everything. Including fuel production! Electrolysis is not a complicated technology.

Hey. This also means you get a setting where air-ships actually make sense. If hydrogen is the standard fuel for anything that requires combustion, well, the lifting gas is also your fuel tank.

464:

paws4thot @ 378: 312 - That was me, not AlanD2. As for whether or not the radars were stowed, several of the antennae are fixed, and I'd like to know how you tell whether the others were rotating or not from a still picture.

You don't know the difference between an antenna and a missile launcher?

Not having the radar turned on doesn't require the antennas to be "stowed". If they are turned on, someone has to be paying attention to them. And anyway, rotating antennas are usually not "stowed", they're parked. The Moskva was equipped with rotating antennas as well as phased arrays.

Be that as it may, I wasn't referring to the antennas. "Defensive Armaments" means the defensive missiles those radars are supposed be used to guide, which DO require the launchers be deployed into firing position. The available photos show the missile launchers are NOT deployed; they are still "stowed".

465:

Convert to char(coal)? Not sure what you're suggesting, says the guy who's seen a number of biodiesel cars....

466:

Implicit bias, portrayal in the media, poor advice from guidance counsellors…

Everybody and their dog including random old women on the bus feeling compelled to opine that physics is not a proper subject for a girl / young woman .. the less they know about physics the worse.

467:

That much energy, so quickly? That suggests pulsed very small black hole creation and subsequent destruction, adding a bit more matter each time than what’s needed to create the next black hole.

The drawback is that you now have to lug around the black hole creation hardware (fusion explosions around a hollow sphere to collapse it past neutron density?) The advantage is way more power than a heavier black hole that merely dribbles Hawking radiation.

468:

Biodiesel produced as a primary product is an affront to the planet. If you have a bunch of plant material in a handy pile as a side product of food production, sure, might as well ferment it. But growing corn for this purpose... ugh.

469:

Charlie Stross @ 380:

I'm pretty sure when you're talking about Megaton warheads a C.E.P. of 500m is probably "close enough for government work!"

Maybe not.

Remember, CEP of 500 metres means that 50% of warheads land more than 500 metres from the target. (I'm not sure what kind of statistical distribution they'd get, but I think a Poisson curve is likely, maybe squished along one axis because RVs come in at an angle.)

A megaton sounds like a lot, but hardened silos ... the contents are in a prestressed concrete capsule with walls over a metre thick, sitting on shock absorbers inside another deep bunker, surrounded by earth. A 1Mt ground burst may dig a crater on the order of half a kilometer wide, and ground coupling means the shockwave will probably wreck most buried structures close by, but most ICBM warheads are designed as airbursts, to maximize their damage radius: less ground shock, more radiation and air shock.

I think you overlook the meaning of "close enough for government work" in American (USA) English slang, i.e. it ain't all that close, representing a rather lackadaisical attitude towards doing a job correctly.

OTOH, if "50% of the warheads land more than 500 metres from the target" it also means 50% of the warheads land LESS than 500 meters from the target ...

Either way, if you're near the target "area" and are not privileged enough to be INSIDE of a deep, hardened bunker, it's gonna' fuck up your whole day.

470:

Me @ 410:

I didn't realize that was the last thing I posted last night. When I got here in the afternoon today I found that in the document I use to keep my reply templates & thought I hadn't yet replied ... hence a duplicate post.

If the mods want to delete the duplicate, I would appreciate it. You'll probably want to delete this one too since it will no longer make any sense.

OTOH, leave it if you need further evidence I'm not perfect. 8^)

471:

The overall conversion efficiency is pretty rotten for them as well, though. Seems to be not entirely straightforward to get more energy out of the diesel you grow than you need to put into the tractors you grow it with.

Of course, when you're converting to food rather than fuel the overall efficiency is even worse. We'd be better off synthesising at least carbohydrates and fats, and probably proteins/amino acids also, directly from oil instead of using the oil to run farms with.

472:

Growing corn for it? No, the ones I saw, 15 years ago, they were collecting used cooking oil from fast food restaurants.

473:

Montessori, organic vegan crystal homeopathy movement

are you mixing up Waldorf schools and Montessori schools?

Montessori shouldn't come with any belief system except that children are curious and learn fastest when you arrange the lessons as play opportunity.

Waldorf, OTOH, comes with "spirituality".

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474:

You have to have a totally reliable system for feeding them with matter that you can be really really sure isn't going to break down or run out of stuff. Otherwise they put out energy faster and faster until it ends with an absolutely fucking massive bang like nothing on earth.

You could certainly use the idea as a basis for a story like that movie where they can't stop the bus or else the bomb will go off. Only in this case it destroys your entire solar system.

475:

He also seems to be of the notion that there's oodles of places in heavily glaciated terrain where abundant hydropower can be generated. While there are some, most of the Arctic seems rather flat-adjacent. Guess he's pining for more fjords, or something.

476:

Late breaking news: in a frantic bid to help one Charles Stross write and blog more, Twitter and Elon Musk have reached a deal for the latter to buy the former for $44 billion.

https://www.bbc.com/news/business-61222470

In other news, IQ.45 observed drooling for some reason, possibly related to this news, possibly because someone currently holds him in contempt: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-61221860.

477:

And here, too. The point is that, whether as dry wood or charcoal, they (and willow) burn out very fast (and at a lowish temperature) because they have such a low dry matter density. That's a real pain in a stove or open fire, and NBG for ironworking. Woods like yew and hawthorn (at least ours) fail in the opposite way - they burn very hot and for ages, once got going, which makes control difficult. That's why the woods used were all the intermediate density ones that I mentioned (plus lime, elm and a few more).

478:

"I knew about "dial-a-yield". I was asking about "dial-an-elevation"."

Yes, there generally is at least three fusing options, one of which may be laydown.

"I would think the weight for penetration armor would be an issue for nuclear ICBM weapons."

The B61 has at least two earth penetrator mods, and there are pictures from successful tests on national lab homepages.

I suspect it can work because even though the fairing is busy getting crushed by the geology, that happens on a millisecond timescale, whereas the physics-package only needs microseconds to do its trick.

479:

Poul-Henning Kamp @ 436:

"Can the bursting elevation be dialed in just before launch? Given that a lot of the warheads will be aimed at known enemy ICBM sites, this would seem to be desirable."

Almost all deployed warheads have some kind of "dial-a-yield" functionality.

The answer to AlanD2's question is, "Yes, height of burst is programmable right up until the time of launch".

With respect to buried targets:

The original reason for air-bursts were simply that the warheads were not trusted to land and function, therefore bunkers needed tens of megatons.

Later "parachute lay-down" where the warhead is in contact with the surface, reduced the necessary yield to single megaton range.

Originally, "parachute lay-down" was simply a means of delaying detonation until the aircraft escaped beyond blast range.

These days ground penetrators where the warhead ends several meters below the surface can do the job with with less than a third megaton yield.

With more precision the necessary yield drops further, few bunkers will handle a 20kt direkt and well-coupled hit.

Resurrect Barnes Wallis's Grand Slam design & stuff the warhead from a Davy Crockett (W54) inside instead of the Torpex

Intellectually this increased precision is assumed to lower "the nuclear threshold", but so far it has held, and there is still no evidence that Putin is that stupid.

The problem with that is that IF/WHEN we ever do get evidence that he IS that stupid it will be too late I think. If he's not, how do you prove the negative when he says he is?

480:

When I was young, we lived in a converted water mill and had some land along the river, on which land grew decent sized willow trees. And willows are quite fast growing, meaning we had lots of tree limbs that we'd cut in order that the trees didn't just split under their weight.

There's FA you can do with the wood. It's no good for fencing, you can't do proper carpentry with it, and if you're going to burn it indoors, you need to do it in an enclosed stove because you will get embers trying to launch themselves in all directions.

On the other hand, goats really love to eat the leaves

481:

We did the math on "Health and Safety of advanced SF energy sources" many years ago.

Most of the energy would be delivered as radiation at inconveniently high energies, which we have no way to direct, or realistically contain, for any reasonable service period.

(The bit about "direct" is relevant, because a isotropic radiation is no good for propulsion unless you can mirror it.)

482:

Robert Prior @ 425: Unless you're talking about steampunk as a fashion,

Steampunk is what happens when goths discover brown.

Jess Nevins.

483:

Steampunk also seems to imply (or actually require) some sort of colonial/exploitative society for the 'punks' to be opposed to.

Not necessarily, though I'm not the expert. AFAIK, there are a bunch of flavors, from Girl Genius' "Gaslight fantasy" (magic as mad science), to "What if 19th century tech was right (Space:1889), to straight alt-world SF (which I'm working on) to even the old TV series Wild Wild West. Per KW Jeter (a California SF author) who coined the term in 1987, "Personally, I think Victorian fantasies are going to be the next big thing, as long as we can come up with a fitting collective term for Powers, Blaylock and myself. Something based on the appropriate technology of the era; like “steampunks,” perhaps." Shortly thereafter, Gibson and Sterling published The Difference Engine and the goths started thinking gears, dusters, and outerwear corsets looked cool together. So we're talking something in the strange attractor that holds Anubis Gates, Difference Engine, Girl Genius and others around it.

484:

"Biofuels have atrocious efficiency."

At current efficiencies, if you decarbonize farming, all the biofuel that can be theoretically be produced would barely sustain the fuel requirements of farming.

485:

If hydrogen is the standard fuel for anything that requires combustion, well, the lifting gas is also your fuel tank.

Problem (a): Hydrogen leaks like crazy.

Problem (b): as you burn it, you lose lift. Much better to have a double-walled gas cell with the outer bag full of blaugas, a buoyancy compensating fuel, and the inner bag deflated at first. As you burn the blaugas you inflate the inner bag with air, and the overall buoyancy remains static.

Actual blaugas is produced from mineral oils, but it ought to be possible to come up with something not too dissimilar using terpenes from pine plantations. Takes a lot of 'em to fuel one zeppelin, though.

486:

Yes, with reservations. The Benin empire did remarkably well, but that climate rots damn-near anything in timescales most people can't believe; there is even a fungus that secretes hydrofluoric acid and etches glass (I have evidence). So let's ignore that one.

But savanna climates aren't too bad. Termites are the main menace, so the durable material for buildings is mud brick, and removing their runs every day is needed to protect roof timbers and equpiment. However, there are usually some woods that are fungus and termite-resistant (just as there are fungus- and woodworm-resistant native to Britain), so tools can last quite a long time.

The savanna is not really any worse than British conditions, with our nightly condensing atmospheres at ground level, and damn near no evaporation for half the year. But I am talking about back before central heating, and I can witness how fast wood and paper could rot without that. But those WERE preserved, with some difficulty.