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I thought I was unshockable.

But if this is real—I think it's most likely a hilariously bleak piece of internet satire, but there's an outside chance it's what it says it is—well, I don't want live in a world where there is a real market for this kind of thing.

Anyway, I present to you: The Billionaire Bone Bureau.

PS: they advertise on Twitter.

PPS: my fingers are itching to write them into a horror story, but only if it's confirmed as real. I mean, you just know supplying them is a profit centre for the Wagner Group, right?

(What's your most shocking find on the internet? No limits!)

💀💀💀

2012 Comments

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1:

I... can't even tell what it is? Their FAQ page is a good deal less than helpful.

2:

Start by reading the linked pages from left to right.

I suspect the captions on some of the images are a clue that it's satire -- find it hard to believe a Bezos would really allow their name to be displayed on such an exhibit.

It's totally nailed the New Management vibe, though. Rupert de Montfort Bigge would be an Order 206 Hunter's Lodge member for sure.

3:

I still think the Centre for Policy Studies + Braverman recommendations are worse, because we know those proposals are real ....

4:

I suspect the captions on some of the images are a clue that it's satire

Isn't this fishing for your email a take off on the "TV news" in the over the top satire movie version of "Starship Troopers"? I have a memory of each TV news clip in the movie ending with this question and some way to get more info.

Would you like to know more?

5:

Haven't seen the movie ... but I note that mailing list sign-ups are marketing gold dust: the conversion rate is sky-high compared to any other form of internet advertising. So it's worryingly not implausible.

6:

If there is a market for these things, it could drastically reduce the lifespan of billionaires.

Sell the option to bid on the bones.

Use the proceeds to fund "acquisition" of the asset.

Profit?

Surely more ethical than selling rhino horn...

7:

Huh. You read it as a club for collectors of billionaire bones?

Yeah, I could definitely sign up for that. (But it wasn't my first interpretation.)

8:

Would I like to know more? He11 No!!

More seriously, I also had a feeling that it is completely computer rendered. It doesn't have the feeling of an Austrian Beinhaus.

9:

A disruptive business, able to revitalise the relic industry in territories lost by the Catholic church since the reformation. Definitely not NFT's, but "decentralized ownership network technology, we we are able to keep a publicly held, real time verifiable record of the current owner and last sale price of the relics and allow our clients to buy and sell their pieces on their own timeline in our certified auction house".

10:

There are further opportunities that the BBB do not appear to be exploiting that are available to the suitably ethically challenged. Relic futures, or living people, as they are sometimes called. Purchase of and trading in options on a person whose remains may become a valuable relic at a future date. Some much needed cash for say, a struggling young artist, who may make it big in their later career and the comfort of knowing that there will be no funeral bills to pay for their estate.

11:

It's not real. Look at the hashtags on their tweet:

https://twitter.com/TheofficialBBB/status/1599147586136715265?s=20&t=d5_TLc1tgnFe_uphV60krw

The Billionaire Bone Bureau
@TheofficialBBB

Dec 3
The common question that gets asked in business is, 'why?' That's a good question, but an equally valid question is, 'why not?' -Jeff Bezos

The #Bezos collection coming soon from The BBB

NFT #NFTart #Billionaire #bone #opensea #ElonMusk #JeffBezos #Crypto #Whitelist #web3
12:

I suspect the labels in the images are aspirational, and meant to describe the "original" owner of the bones in question. Their twitter feed makes it explicit: https://twitter.com/TheofficialBBB/status/1599431537799274496

13:

No investor with any wit would waste a dime on this. 'BBB' has long been the Better Business Bureau, who could tie up the domain registration with trademark litigation once they notice. Therefore, it's a gag, a stunt, a throwaway joke.

14:

Two tells: - They misspell "que [sic]" - The legal footer refers to the year 2xxx

15:

What more valuable relic could there be for a "Child of Mammon" than authentic physical relics of departed billionaires? i would imagine that someone who accumulated a fortune pre-Reagan/Thatcher might be considered more sacred than those who made fortunes under a more lenient tax regime.

16:

So, this is necromancers grifting on the blockchain with skeleton ownership NFTs?

17:

Hosted by GoDaddy FWIW.

18:

Yes, I was going to argue that these are legitimate relics for a Mammonist religion.

The thing to remember is that Mammonism isn't Christianity. It's borrowed ideas from Taoism (or, equally likely, come up with them independently).

The points I'd make are:

  • In Mammonism, money is equivalent to Qi/Chi in Taoism. It's the energy that makes everything work in the Mammonist world, and increasing personal money is a major goal of Mammonism. Also like Qi, flows of money are more important than amounts, but most people are more impressed by amounts.

  • In Mammonism, a central ritual of consecration is "alienation." In the Mammonite view of the universe, things are worthless until a) someone claims ownership of them, and b) someone is willing to pay the owner for some use of them or to own them in turn. This two-step process of claiming ownership and someone else buying in is the ritual of alienation to consecrate things so that the belong to the Mammonite world and have a monetary value (see 1. above for the importance of having a monetary value). \

  • 3 Note the magic: monetary value is inherently subjective, regardless of attempts to give a science-y aspect to valuation. This applies even more to really expensive things. Money is power, but it comes from sharing an imagined creation. In other words, it's like Qi in Taoism, which also ultimately comes from Wuwei (emptiness). This is what magic is: creation mediated by belief.

    Now, what could be a better relic of Mammonism than the alienated bones of someone with a lot of money? Or even better, a con or spoof notionally based on the alienated bones of someone with a lot of money? It doesn't matter if it's real or not, if someone spends money to own the "relic," it becomes a true relic of Mammonism. Especially if the owner can then sell the relic to a bigger sucker, and thereby get the money moving.

    Here endeth the lesson.

    Your homework, should you choose to accept it: Imagine how radical atheist former Mammonites would live in a Mammonite world that governs from a Mammonite worldview.

    19:

    The short answer, as subhumans. Longer answer, reprising history, building on "Use it up, wear it out, make it do".

    20:

    From the Graun a couple of days ago - Death and the salesman: the 22-year-old selling human bones for a living. Definitely not implausible even if this site is satire.

    21:

    hmmm... why does this sound familiar?

    "Quark, believing himself to be terminally ill, auctions off his remains; when he discovers that the diagnosis was incorrect, he must either violate the contract, or end his life in order to deliver the merchandise."

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Body_Parts_(Star_Trek:_Deep_Space_Nine)

    let's all support "contract enforcement", eh?

    22:

    The short answer, as subhumans. Longer answer, reprising history, building on "Use it up, wear it out, make it do".

    Normally I'd let the responses build up, but this I strongly disagree with. Anatomically modern humans have been around for at least 300,000 years. Money has been around ca. 2,500 years. 995 of human history was without even the concept of money, and quite a few people on the planet were forcibly inducted into various monetary economies over the last few hundred years of imperial colonialism.

    Being fully human has nothing to do with money.

    People are not the sum of their debts and assets.

    That's the point of the homework: far more than Christianity or Islam, everyone reading this lives in a world permeated by Mammonism. If you recognize it as artificial, see it as unessential to being fully human, and perhaps see alienation as a big part of our most vexing global problems at the moment...where do you go from there? Remember, you are fully human without money. But what does that mean for you?

    23:

    I mean, there's loads of really horrible things that I can't see any merit in looking for again and linking, like cartel torture videos. There's some promise in things are more suprising than the name might suggest, like the sounding subreddit. Not going to link that either but Googling that much will let you know enough to decide if it might interest you. In terms of weird and totally opaque, I present r/ooer. I used an archive link because it only plays properly on old reddit.

    24:

    I’m sure it’s real.

    We all know Trump has skeletons in his closet.

    25:

    You are correct, but from the viewpoint of the Mammonites, you will be dehumanized, even if you're an insufficiently blessed practitioner. I'm not particularly social, and that's not improving as I age. Often I feel safer when I think of myself as not quite human.

    26:

    The part I really love is that you have to "be checked to see if you are up to the rigid standards held by the BBB" to join the Social Club, but to be a member of Order 206 you just have to own the bones! By purchasing their "relics", you have proven you meet the rigid standards.

    27:

    I'll just point out that the Yale secret society, Skull and Bones, is sometimes called Order 322.

    I would bet a shiny nickel (or similar value) that this is a prank/hoax along the lines of The Yes Men, by someone culturally literate in northeast US snobbery.

    28:

    For me, the most shocking find is a recent one: the planned linear city of Saudi Arabia, which is also on Twitter (https://twitter.com/NEOM). The most stupid geometric shape a city can take (with the possible exception of fractal dust), and allegedly three nomads have already been sentenced to death for resisting displacement. The marketing stuff has to be seen to be believed. The whole thing makes the world cup in Qatar look sustainable and inclusive.

    29:

    I can't help but note that all the pictures are computer generated. Caveat Emptor.

    30:

    While there is a black market in human bones, I lean heavily towards that exercise in terrible web site construction being a prank/troll for attention/art project.

    31:

    We all know Trump has skeletons in his closet.

    And they are the BEST skeletons.

    32:

    Also note the conspicuous use of only black people in their gallery photographs; given that the models look obviously CGI and they probably could've found more photorealistic ones of white/Asian people if they were trying to be plausible, it's clearly trying to be clever by doing a reversal: "what if black people came to gawk at the bones of white men in museums, eh? eh?" (This is very up to the second given the Wellcome fuss.) It may be a NFT crypto grift at heart, but it's doing a good job of imitating the norms of contemporary conceptual art.

    33:

    And they are the BEST skeletons.

    They are GREAT skeletons!

    34:

    Their twitter feed is more obviously satirical than the website.

    35:

    Charlie Stross @ 2:

    Start by reading the linked pages from left to right.

    I suspect the captions on some of the images are a clue that it's satire -- find it hard to believe a Bezos would really allow their name to be displayed on such an exhibit.

    Reminds me of this Donald J. Trump Library

    36:

    Friend,

    The Country, and the world, need to know. The Fake News won’t tell you, which is why it’s up to us to EXPOSE the truth.

    The WOKE LEFT has been claiming that I have sordid skeletons hidden in my closet. I am writing to tell you, friend, that this is another LIE. My skeletons are the BIGGEST and BEST SKELETONS in America. There is nothing sordid about my GREAT skeletons — the GREATEST in our Great Country!

    The only way to make sure we are heard is to FLOOD the airwaves with our ad, which is why I am calling on YOU to help raise $2,000,000 for our Trump Ad Blitz Fund.

    Please contribute ANY AMOUNT IMMEDIATELY to our Official Trump Ad Blitz Fund to help keep our ad on the air.

    I really need you to step up, Friend.

    I’ve asked to see a list of EVERY Patriot who steps up to help us reach our $2,000,000 goal, and I want to see your name on there.

    We only need 150 more donations today to air this ad. 118 Patriots have already donated - I’m just waiting for you.

    Please contribute ANY AMOUNT TODAY to our Official Trump Ad Blitz Fund and to get your name on the list of Patriots I see.

    Thank you,

    President Donald J. Trump 45th President of the United States

    Based mostly on regular fundraising emails from the former guy.

    37:

    I know we're supposed to be unearthing Horrors from The Interwebs, but the biggest shocks I've had via the internet (okay, Zoom meetings and downloaded papers) were good ones.

    Among young life scientists and activists, the idea of humans being special and separate from the natural world is breaking down, big time. As much as anything, that speaks to a growing breakdown of Xtianity as the social norm in the US, and it may well be in reaction to, well, reactionary politics in the US. I don't know how far it's spreading, but it feels like the biology-aware are getting pretty comfortable with "all our relations" (the American Indian standard phrase) being a description of reality rather than a bit of poetry. And our non-science activist fellows are becoming more open to getting a clue about what we're talking about.

    Symbiosis also seems to be increasingly the mainstream in evolution and biology, after 150 years of competition red in tooth and claw shit. Random example: my wife the clinical worker shrugged when I asked her about a study that showed that human immune systems don't properly develop without various bacteria colonizing infants' intestines. Apparently this is standard medical knowledge now, to the point where she's forgotten that it wasn't when we were in school.

    38:

    I saw nothing but the initial blurb, because I run with scripts disabled by default on anything new, and I did not think I wanted to enable them there 8-)

    Also, finally created an account here - been reading for more than a decade but stayed in touch via twitter, which is, well, you know 8-)

    Riderius

    39:

    Charles Stross asked: What's your most shocking find on the internet? No limits!

    This first time we cracked 1.5 above 1850-1900. 3 months spent way above the preindustrial limit set at the Paris agreement just a few months earlier. Like >0.2 degrees above.

    https://berkeleyearth.org/archive/temperature-reports/march-2016/

    We've broken that limit again most years since then.

    The second most shocking is the thousands and thousands of popular articles that pretend like that hasn't happened. Like if you just ignore reality hard enough you can substitute your own. You can just keep talking about how action should begin to start in a decade and gradually ramp up over the following 2 more decades. Just substitute your preferred reality really really really hard and it will just... be.

    40:

    You have hit on a very rich vein for horror fiction.

    Given that financialization will infiltrate everything it can, the inevitable result of creating a market for 'relics' would be the securitization and hedging of those same relics, with increasingly opaque derivatives markets driving an asset bubble - with a correspondingly ghoulish spike in demand for new product.

    Take the logic of every real estate huckster out there - 'there isn't going to be any more land, so land will always go up in value!' Similarly, 'the globe cannot carry any more population, so the availability of relics will inevitably go down in the future, driving prices up!'

    There is a rich story in the potential experience of a mid-level popular name, something like a recognized genre author. At some point she discovers that the futures market on her bones has been financialized, and due to a collapse in an unrelated commodity the financial system is at risk of collapse unless a hedge fund can make good on its heavily leveraged, securitized and ill-advised futures contract before next Friday. Someone must deliver her C1, C2 and C3 vertebrae to the buyer (itself a massively leveraged hedge fund) in order to prevent a cascading default.

    Through a complex set of derivatives and asset swaps, her bones are somehow worth $37 Billion. Since she is only middle aged and relatively healthy, most traders assumed she would survive at least another 25 years, long enough for them to clear their books.

    While everyone from politicians to regular folk would agree that it was something of an injustice, when faced with a collapse in the value of their pensions, financial investments and other assets they find ways to rationalize the necessary steps. A deep dive into her past discovers that she once broke up with an ex via text message three days before Xmas, which combined with the financial threat to jobs and 'regular folk' mean that most people either want her dead or look away and pretend it isn't happening.

    For any attempted rational counterpoint, I refer you to Dutch tulips, pets.com and the many, many awful real estate bubbles currently extant.

    As an aside, creating a demand driven value for relics would create an astonishing backflip on the part of the mammonites who have thus far campaigned against abortion rights. Henceforth they would campaign for mandatory abortion, to keep the supply of future relics artificially low and boost their asset values.

    41:

    an astonishing backflip on the part of the mammonites who have thus far campaigned against abortion rights ... mandatory abortion, to keep the supply of future relics artificially low

    Why settle for a mere bone fragment when you can have a whole preserved human in a jar? Of course it has a soul, there's a certificate attesting to that and everything.

    Could go any which way, but my bet is that the current trend to criminalising interstate (intestate?) travel for the purposes of procuring a prostit an abortion will eventually catch up with those who the law protects as well as those it binds. Not every senator has nice white upper class mistresses, after all. And what's the equivalent when the mistress is male, I'm thinking "rent boy" but that's too derogatory. There's got to be a US-polite euphemism for that (or is gay sex still to dirty to even have a euphemism?) Sigh, morality police make life so difficult.

    42:

    she once broke up with an ex via text message three days before Xmas

    I got shit from some friends for how I dumped someone once. They STFU when I explained that the problem started when I developed an STD and their explanation only made the situation worse. I deliberately aimed for "too much information" because fuck people who make judgements based on incomplete information. You want to judge, you deserve to have all the information necessary to make that judgement. Especially if you don't want that information...

    43:

    China might launch a methalox-fuelled rocket into orbit before SpaceX. Landspace, a private Chinese rocket startup is apparently going to attempt to launch their medium-lift methalox rocket this month some time. See the Dongfang Hour webcast on Youtube for details.

    44:

    My entry for the most shocking thing I've seen on the internet (lately)

    North Carolina Power Outages Caused by Gunfire at Substations, Officials Say

    A county in central North Carolina where about 45,000 customers were without electricity Sunday night declared a state of emergency and was under curfew, after two electric substations were damaged by gunfire the night before in what officials called an “intentional” attack.

    Part of the reason for the state of emergency & curfew was all of the traffic signals were knocked out and police & emergency services were overloaded responding to accidents. Equipment at the substations is damaged beyond repair and the substation equipment will have to be replaced.

    Some are linking this to opposition to a "drag show" scheduled in Southern Pines, NC.

    I'm not so sure about the "reasons". Could be, BUT there are a LOT of OTHER irresponsible, stupid fucks with guns and it might be just sheer cussedness; some fuckwit's idea of a joke.

    Outages in the Carolinas

    Important outage update for Moore County >
    Acts of vandalism in Moore Co. have caused significant damage to components of the electric grid resulting in widespread power outages across the county. Equipment replacement is needed in some areas where damage is beyond repair. Technicians are working in 24-hour shifts to bring service back on as quickly as possible; however, due to the nature of the damage incurred, full restoration will take up until mid-day Thursday. We will continue to provide updates as our restoration efforts continue. Thank you for your patience.
    45:

    This is ENTIRELY too plausible, which is the heart of the best satire. That said, I've had the Bone Clones website bookmarked for years and years now. Actually got my sister, an anthropology student, her graduation present from them. Every California girl needs a smilodon skull I say and she agreed.

    46:

    Wonder if these people also belong to the Morningside Cannibals dining society ?

    47:

    Some are linking this to opposition to a "drag show" scheduled in Southern Pines, NC.

    This has mostly been regulated to "we have no idea of why at this time". Drunk bubba's maybe, but with two targets, not likely. FBI, state police, and I think other federal agencies are all involved now. It was definitely something more than shooting out the window of a truck from the road. They broke down a gate to get close enough. And aimed at the parts that couldn't be repaired in the field.

    This happened Saturday night and power will likely not be restored before Thursday. Not that many 230kv step down transformers sitting on the shelf.

    The Drag show tie in was due to a lady who is a fierce LGBTQ opponent posted on Facebook after the lights went out that she knew why. So the local gendarmes went over that night and had a talk. After a bit they left saying it was an interesting conversation about how God had intervened to stop the Drag show. They thanked her for the time and conversation and left.

    I know that lady. She's a clone of my deceased mother.

    Maybe someone really hates golf. The USGA has a major office (HQ?) there in Pinehurst.

    48:

    If anyone fancies some wild speculation with some facts in about the January sixther who posted that she knew why the substations were shot up - Moore County Sheriff posing with the woman he sent deputies to "pray" with after the substations were shot up.

    49:

    That is a mis-statement of what the sheriff actually said. The reddit comments even talk about this.

    50:

    securitization and hedging of those same relics, with increasingly opaque derivatives markets driving an asset bubble

    That is an absolutely awesome high concept horror-fic idea, and somebody (not me) should write it.

    Not me, because I'm elbow-deep in space opera for the next few months, after which it's back to the Laundry.

    Also not me because it needs to be a "fifteen minutes into the future" kind of thing and I can't see how to get to that kind of future in the UK -- it needs someone more familiar with contemporary US idiom to make it work.

    (I could transplant it to the New Management setting and swap "soul" for "relics", but that loses some of the impact. But, hey, there's a derivatives market for spiritual essence futures and you're, uh, leveraged so you need to go straight to hell ASAP or the market will collapse is quite a take. And, uh, now I have another subplot for the fourth New Management novel ...!)

    51:

    well, we all have our personal quarks 'n quirks...

    but finding yourself over-extended on the soul futures exchange is just a bit much too quirky... kind of being in a conflict of interest between your accountant and your clergy when both lay claim to some portion of you...

    terrible thing for your wife to learn, your heart belongs to another

    52:

    terrible thing for your wife to learn, your heart belongs to another

    And now I'm imagining a whole new literal meaning to the song My Heart Will Go On, complete with the fitting video…

    53:

    Bugger the country/world reverting to the 18th century - this is reverting to the mediaeval period.

    I was a thinking about this, and it gave an idea. I have told my family I don't give a damn what happens to my body after my death - I shall have lost interest in it. They have vetoed feeding it to lions at the zoo or throwing it on the compost heap, on the grounds of illegality, and the medical donation people won't be interested (I have checked). But I should be happy for the skeleton to be donated to a local play-group, so they could play with a real skeleton while singing:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pbl4BNkAq_U

    54:

    So are billionaires supposed to be the new saints, and are these bones the new relics that we capitalist pilgrims must travel to worship?

    56:

    Worried that your job will become obsolete? Think to the future. Retrain as an AI psychiatrist. Contact the Hypothetical University now.

    57:

    Not so very far, a reliquary would really take up little additional room at your bank's lobby.

    58:

    Assuming one's bank even has a lobby.

    1/2 of my bank accounts are in banks without a physical presence.

    59:

    The original version of the story comes from Damon Runyon. The lead character was particularly tall (with a strange-shaped head, if I remember rightly), but not very smart and completely skint. A rich doctor gave him a stack of money to enjoy a lavish last month, after which he had to kill himself so the doctor could have his skeleton. Unfortunately the exact name of the story escapes me right now, and Google isn't helping me find it. It's uncannily similar to the kind of thing Charlie has posted.

    I think the most interesting part of this story is the fact that it's shocking to us, because it tells us about culture shifts and what's socially acceptable. Obviously medieval and earlier people were fond of "relics" of saints which were parts of their body, and there are still a whole bunch of places around France, Italy and Spain which have their saint's finger or whatever in a glass bottle.

    But also going forwards, the Victorian trend of public consumption of surgery and doctoring as a fun afternoon out was very real, and anyone interested in medical things would generally buy a skeleton. Back then they were all real skeletons from real people who'd donated their bodies to medical research. And by "back then", that basically means up to the 1970s, when decent quality plastic and resin became an option. Certainly the skeleton had some practical value as a demonstration tool, but it was just as much decoration. The "Doctor" series of books and films are fairly clear that their resident skeleton was also the regular hat and coat stand.

    60:

    Also not me because it needs to be a "fifteen minutes into the future" kind of thing and I can't see how to get to that kind of future in the UK -- it needs someone more familiar with contemporary US idiom to make it work.

    Well, picture this...

    A young but promising actor signs away first rights to his bones for help making ends meet in school. It's a bit more money than donating plasma and participating in medical trials, which he also does. But not much more money, because promising actors have low odds of ever succeeding.

    And, of course, you don't option the body futures of someone who's already famous or powerful, because they have lawyers and greedy heirs to stop you from collecting. The futures market only works if you get 'em young and risky. And Mr. Body's leaving all sorts of data around anyway (plasma, medical studies, social media of all his travels), so the creditors have plenty of data which can be used to verify that they have the body if they ever collect.

    Anyway, Mr. Body beats the acting odds a little bit, and becomes modestly well-known as the hunk in a series of medium-budget chick flicks. Then he has a revelation, gets religion, and makes a killing as a megachurch fundamentalist preacher. You know, bodily resurrection, creationism, all that good ol' stuff.

    Then he gets leukemia, gets a bone marrow transplant, lives on thanks to the prayers of his flock and modern medicine, and dies tragically young from influenza he picked up preaching for the Christmas pageant one year. Immunosupressants will do that to a guy, even though the show must go on.

    Then the agents of his creditor come to collect his bones. And the person who owns the rights to his bones is very wealthy and very determined for $Reasons to own (pwn?) Rev. Body (deceased).

    The elders of his church believe in the whole bodily resurrection thing, and refuse to exhume him. And when they lose in court, they try to pass off other things as the body, and that's where the story starts...

    Basically this is an excuse for someone to drag the less ethical stretches of fundie American Christendom through the burgeoning swamplands of the American biotech industry, along with highlighting all the insults to bones that Native Americans have had to deal with getting their remains back.

    Since Mr. Body left behind an extensive health record (because his death at a young age means he beat destruction of records), attempts to pawn off another skeleton fail (wrong gender and nationality, perhaps). Attempts to clone Mr. Body and pass off the forged body progressively fail, not only because of multiomics (proteomics, transcriptomics, etc) and that pesky bone marrow transplant (two genomes in the bone make it fun to clone), but also because of isotopic and other sampling showing that the cloned bones aren't his (wrong isotopic prints for where he grew up due to the impossibility of getting isotopically correct growth media*, difficulties in replicating the effects of early bone breaks, exercise, and especially cancer therapies, ad nauseum). As the conflict grows there are many such attempts, along with the resulting litigation and financial tortures.

    The essential conflict is the Church elders, who are trying to retain the Body dealing with the yawning gulf between the simplistic faith they want to believe in (get baptized, pay your dues, go to heaven after growing the church as a thriving business) and the biomedical esoterica they have to drown themselves in to protect the Body, which all of course challenge their beliefs, as well as little things like ethics and morals.

    If someone wants to write this up as a black comedy, go right ahead. It's perfect for someone with a biomedical background who's dealt with this kind of churchianity before.

    *Due to the food you eat and water you drink, the isotopes, elemental proportion, and chemicals found in your bone can be used to make a pretty decent guess of where you lived throughout your life. Testing for all this is grinds up a fair amount of bone, but it's probably considerably easier and cheaper than faking it in a cloned body, because not just the chemicals but the isotopes going into the clone have to match the history of the original body, especially when someone moved around a lot as a child.)

    61:

    All skeletons are confirmed tobacco addicts.

    62:

    I'm not going there, but I am making notes for the secondary plot thread of a hypothetical New Management Book Four (assuming the sales track of books 1-3 justify continuing the series). One that'll hopefully do for financialization and derivatives what "Quantum of Nightmares" did for supermarket deli counters.

    63:

    In other local news here in North Carolina:

    Emu on the loose in Person County

    Not fodder for horror, but weird.

    64:

    Ugh. How about parents die, and the elder brother financializes his two sisters' and younger brother's bones to provide them a way to live until they're old enough to get jobs.

    Then there's a collapse from scum (eg FTX), and the owners of the futures foreclose?

    65:

    The coat and hat stand? Is that why there's no place to hang my hat or coat when I go to the doctor's - there's no skeleton, only wall posters.

    66:

    I'm not going there, but I am making notes for the secondary plot thread of a hypothetical New Management Book Four (assuming the sales track of books 1-3 justify continuing the series). One that'll hopefully do for financialization and derivatives what "Quantum of Nightmares" did for supermarket deli counters.

    Fine by me! I just want to reiterate that this is all I'm ever doing with this particular idea, so if it inspires someone else, I'll be quite happy with that outcome.

    That said, there are real life parallels with this issue, particularly in American archaeology. Native tribes rightfully got upset when scientists dug up their ancestors' bones and kept them as specimens, not just because it violated their beliefs, but because of the inherent power disparity of who got to dictate whose beliefs were violated, why, and whose relatives were processed for science without their consent.

    Science as the pursuit of knowledge, moving in tandem with political power, has many parallels with mammonism as the pursuit of loot, moving in tandem with political power. While we often deride traditional Christian beliefs here (with good reason, when it comes to the apocalypse), it's worth thinking about all the possible power dynamics in this scenario. Respectable people (the elders of a megachurch) are being forced to switch back and forth between identities (Pro-Mammon business-people and modern Americans versus believing Christians) as if they were tribal folk fighting to get parents' bones back from a museum.

    It took me an embarrassingly long time to get why people in the tribes were so upset and why science properly should respect their limits, but the more family members I bury, the more I get it.

    67:

    JohnS, see your emu and raise llamas and wallabies in West Dumbartonshire (Scotland).

    69:

    Yeah, saw a report where this idiot woman (idiot: "non-partisan conservative group) who'd been making a lot of noise against a drag show apparently said "you know what to do" on social media. The local cops pooh-poohed this.

    Now that the FBI has come in, however....

    70:

    I read the article and I am confused.

    Are the directory names generated via "ls -al" command actual directories somewhere on the same machine where OpenGPT is running? Or are they complete fabrication? If the latter, what happens if you type say "cd proc" followed by "ls"? Will OpenGPT create on the fly a bunch of filenames? What if you the do a "vi" on one of those filenames?

    71:

    One that'll hopefully do for financialization and derivatives what "Quantum of Nightmares" did for supermarket deli counters.

    Just to be clear I'm talking about RocketPj's original idea, and I'm mulling over how it would work with mana/soul-stuff instead of bones, and quite possibly with leveraging interest-bearing student loan debt (you get a really boring degree and it eats your joi de vivre, or you drop out and, uh, the student loan company repossesses your joi de vivre, with Worse Consequences than a joyless life of wage slavery -- or maybe they just sell the bundle of junk assets that include your soul to a rich PHANG).

    72:

    "the isotopes, elemental proportion, and chemicals found in your bone can be used to make a pretty decent guess of where you lived throughout your life"

    Isotopic terroir or shibboleth, as it were.

    Do you recommend any background reading about that?

    73:

    Are the directory names generated via "ls -al" command actual directories somewhere on the same machine where OpenGPT is running? Or are they complete fabrication?

    They're complete fabrications. There's no filesystem there. OpenGPT just has a statistical model of human/computer interactions that is heavily skewed towards a prompt of "ls -al" being followed by a directory listing showing those filenames.

    It can't do terminal i/o so vi and emacs are non-starters, but it can understand cat "hello world" >>filename, and it can even execute python code plausibly if it's fed one-liners on the command line. Even though it has no python interpreter!

    74:

    Why stop at just bones?

    https://allthatsinteresting.com/robert-nelson-cryonics

    In March 1979, Nelson locked the vault and walked away from the venture altogether.

    Inside that Chatsworth cemetery he left nine bodies in liquid nitrogen capsules that, without regular maintenance, would melt and leave the bodies to decompose. The cemetery eventually covered the entrance to the vault with turf and denied having any records of it.

    I'm seeing treasure hunt here!

    75:

    "While we often deride traditional Christian beliefs here (with good reason, when it comes to the apocalypse)"

    Do we? Naturally we deride the fuckwits who think we're supposed to make it happen faster, but I don't think that counts as a "traditional Christian belief" (more of a "typical modern US perversion"). But we spend a considerable amount of time posting chunks from Revelation rewritten using modern language and modern cultural references etc, often with links to the newspaper articles the chunks originated from.

    76:

    *"the isotopes, elemental proportion, and chemicals found in your bone can be used to make a pretty decent guess of where you lived throughout your life"

    Isotopic terroir or shibboleth, as it were. Do you recommend any background reading about that?

    There are probably textbooks out there, but I'm not familiar with them. I have seen pop science on this issue in books on Stonehenge archaeology, talking about where people interred at Stonehenge traveled during their lives.

    77:

    Talking of "w.t.f?"
    I've come across a couple of minor (?) - maybe not-so-minor nasties. The same bloody thing, to do with environmental damage & degradation & looting the land. The Boss likes/used to like *Chocolate Digestive Biscuits" ( McVities )- the latest batch looked slightly different - & when she tasted them, that was different, too. So, she looks at the detailed ingredients list: Fucking Bloody PALM OIL! The same has happened to M&S luxury "Mince Pies" Fucking Bloody PALM OIL again ... Destroying the "jungles" of SE Asia for fun & profit & robbing endangered species of habitat. for no real long-term return at all. The muck doesn't even taste nice, either. WHY are our stupid manufacturers doing this?

    78:

    Around half of the world's sunflower oil is produced in Ukraine and Russia. Between drastically reduced output from the former and trade embargos on the latter, Putin's invasion has therefore a huge effect on both available supply and (because supply has halved and demand hasn't changed) prices.

    This has (a) left a lot of big food suppliers frantically looking around for alternative food-grade oils they can use instead and (b) caused increased prices and some scarcity issues for other types of food oil, because supply of those is largely inelastic too. (Some more so than others; if you want to increase the supply of olive oil NOW, your grandfather needs to have planted the trees before I was born.)

    Palm oil is the cheapest commonly-used food oil, and will therefore be dropped in as a substitute wherever someone was (a) using whatever the 2nd-cheapest oil is, and doesn't want to either raise prices or go bust or (b) caught off-guard and had to make do with whatever oil they could get at short notice.

    79:

    paws4thot @ 67:

    JohnS, see your emu and raise llamas and wallabies in West Dumbartonshire (Scotland).

    Running loose? The reason it's weird news is because it escaped ...

    I know where there are two Ostrich farms (and I guess Emus are close enough they might be raised on them) and I know of at least one farm where they have Llamas.

    And I only mentioned it because it's comic relief from all the other grim news I've been seeing lately.

    80:

    Ok, the llamas escaped, but seeing them in a residential street in Scotland is a touch surreal. OTOH the wallabies were released on an island in Loch Lomond by Lady Arran, and have appeared on the loch shores at intervals since.

    81:

    The one I loved was somewhere in Austria that had wallabies running loose. Which got reported as kangaroos often enough to confuse the issue. Just saying "you know, Austria, the place with the wild kangaroos and wallabies" made me happy.

    Wallabies seem to go feral pretty easily, I think from all the pastoral people who build their fences too low to be useful. So you get an escaped grazing animal that can easily travel anywhere it likes and has no local predators (other than cars, and they're not very good at hunting wallabies).

    82:

    In a shocking, shocking turn of events (https://www.nytimes.com/live/2022/12/06/nyregion/trump-organization-trial-verdict), an American real estate mogul's "family real estate business was convicted on Tuesday of tax fraud and other financial crimes, a remarkable rebuke of the [mogul's] company and what prosecutors described as its 'culture of fraud and deception.'

    "The conviction on all 17 counts, after more than a day of jury deliberations in State Supreme Court in Manhattan, resulted from a long-running scheme in which the...Organization doled out off-the-books luxury perks to some executives: They received fancy apartments, leased Mercedes-Benzes, even private school tuition for relatives, none of which they paid taxes on." (story continues on link above)

    83:

    Which will have absolutely no effect on the various continued nefarious activities of T and his cronies.

    87:

    The ultimate expression of late stage capitalism?

    88:

    So why is this site listed under Reddits dealing with Non-fungible tokens (NFTs)?

    How could pictures of human bones and skeletons be "cryptographic assets on a blockchain with unique identification codes and metadata that distinguish them from each other"?

    89:

    Which will have absolutely no effect on the various continued nefarious activities of T and his cronies.

    Alas.

    However, I have an active fantasy life, so I can imagine Donald Trump taking the place of Julianne Moore in a certain scene from Lost World.

    Yeah. Kinda repellent actually.

    SO anyway, if we're imagining the DoJ as a re-engineered T. rex that's out of her paddock, I'd kind of hope that Trump graduates from the Julianne Moore scene in the second movie to the scene played by Martin Ferrero in the first movie.

    Hope these help or something.

    90:

    Placing a unique (usually copywrong related) identifier in a visual image is a long-standing technology. I presume that making that identifier a blockchain is a simple linking of 2 technologies.

    91:

    context = UKR / RUS

    such bittersweet schadenfreude

    quote from CNN: "trajectories are unchanged: Ukraine: cold in winter, but winning and slowly better armed. Russia: cold in winter, but losing and slowly broken militarily. The key variable is Western patience and support."

    a slow win is still a win... and basis for legends ("what did you do in the war grandpa?")

    a slow loss is still a loss... and leads to embarrassment of a man habituated to pushing people out of windows and spicing up tea with radiological poisons... his inner circle ought to be experiencing quite the anal port pucker factor prior to partaking of afternoon tea with Putin...

    schadenfreude(v) 1: savoring someone else's misfortune 2: combo of two German words schaden (harm) & freude (joy)

    https://lite.cnn.com/en/article/h_d560bf41fe883451128d24ccac07054b

    92:

    Heteromeles @ 89:

    However, I have an active fantasy life, so I can imagine Donald Trump taking the place of Julianne Moore in a certain scene from Lost World.

    If he did, would you take the Jeff Goldblum role and climb down to save him?

    93:

    If he did, would you take the Jeff Goldblum role and climb down to save him?

    I'll admit I got stuck trying to figure out who would take the Goldblum role.

    So maybe a different Julianne Moore scene would be more appropriate? With Trump taking the Hans Gruber role instead?

    94:

    It can't do terminal i/o so vi and emacs are non-starters, but it can understand cat "hello world" >>filename, and it can even execute python code plausibly if it's fed one-liners on the command line. Even though it has no python interpreter!

    Now I began wondering what it would do with a one-liner fork bomb.

    95:

    So, not so much an internet WTF, but a seriously IRL WTF.

    I met a middle aged couple who were looking to buy a house for their daughter and her two little kids. They were walking around the house doing a video chat and chatting (with her mid flight to Sydney), all very 2020s.

    I struck up a conversation with the dad and found out that their daughter was had left a high paying tech job and her social networks in Austin Texas (I believe that is in the USA?) because... one of her kids was about to start kindergarten, and the school district required kids to wear a Kevlar backpack to school.

    There are places in the US that now require four year old kids to Kevlar wear body armor to attend school.

    WTF!

    96:

    Oddly it makes me think of the section in Cheswick and Bellovin's original Firewalls and Internet Security back in the day, which narrates the story of when they set up a honeypot and ended up simulating a slow response from a loaded unix box to the would-be hacker of said device.

    97:

    There's a passage in the narrative, where the hacker, who believes they have a root shell and are located in "/" basically gets bored and gives a "/bin/rm -rf *" by way of covering their tracks. The authors regard this as a "declaration of war" so to speak, being a sign of intent to break the machine. I wonder whether the AI would have a similar reaction, and whether it has concepts of retaliatory responses. There's a story in that I imagine.

    98:

    95:

    while Austin the city is on the North American continent, residents will be insistent they are in Texas not citizens of the United States...

    much the way holdouts in Montreal still are not accepting they are not citizens of Canada but rather "Quebec the nation"

    as to those "kevlar backpacks" such 'performative security theater' is utterly useless since the area protected is less than half of one side of the child's torso but allows everyone to proclaim victory... my suspicions are on some amoral manufacturer (or retailer or both) bribing policy makers into making those useless items mandatory to oblige purchasing...

    cheaper-simpler-better to outlaw rifles thereby avoiding the 'performative security theater'... which will never happen unless there are many, many more deaths of "important people" rather than mere children... * sigh *

    99:

    "school district required kids to wear a Kevlar backpack to school."

    As they say, citation needed.

    I can find lots of requirements for clear or mesh backpacks. The googling of kevlar backpacks turns up people building and selling them, but no requirements from schools.

    It does, however, sound exactly like a Republican propaganda bite.

    100:

    "but it can understand cat "hello world" >>filename"

    ...which typically gives cat: hello world: No such file or directory

    So many of these things remind me undeniably of stuff that's been around longer than I have, just operating off a much larger data corpus.

    101:

    My bad, I meant echo, not cat.

    102:

    There were a couple of wallaby colonies in England, too, but they may have gone extinct. I don't see them as any more unusual than any of the other naturalised animals we have.

    103:

    One of these places was near Leek in Staffordshire. Wallabies and other animals escaped from a private zoo while its owner was away in WW2. The locals called the Wallabies Kangaroos. While my family was visiting relatives in Leek when I was about 7 or 8 years old and we went to The Roaches (A rocky outcrop which got it’s name in the Napoleonic wars when French POWs called them “Roches”). My relative shouted out “There’s a kangaroo behind you.” I didn’t believe them and by the time I’d turned round it had gone. Their numbers were decimated in the cold winter of 1963 but I think there are still a few left.

    104:

    "there's a derivatives market for spiritual essence futures and you're, uh, leveraged so you need to go straight to hell ASAP or the market will collapse is quite a take"

    This sounds like something that Max Gladstone should write... (in a really different way to how it would be in the New Management world)

    105:

    Reminds me a bit of Clifford Stoll's honeypot in The Cuckoo's Egg.

    106:

    while Austin the city is on the North American continent, residents will be insistent they are in Texas not citizens of the United States...

    I think you seriously misunderstand the population of Austin.

    107:

    There are places in the US that now require four year old kids to Kevlar wear body armor to attend school.

    Maybe it's my poor google-fu, but I can't locate such a requirement, even when I broaden the search to outside Austin. Lots of sales sites, and a Florida Christian school that is recommending (and selling) them, but that's it.

    108:

    Yep. Every time something goes wrong in the US some snake oil guy or group comes out with a "fix". But really it is almost always a way to extract money from people with too little sense.

    And such things quickly morph into an exaggeration of reality. Like the tale of the sheriff in Moore county who supposedly sent out deputies to pray with a lady about the shot up power substations. (Just down the road from me.) That was NOT what was done. But the story fit the narrative that some liked so it spreads in a hurry.

    Now for a really toxic mix of things to avoid, TV preachers (especially the cable only / late night guys) who are selling something to deal with the news headline crisis of the moment.

    109:

    With Trump taking the Hans Gruber role instead?

    More than one person, looking at his potential post-2020 options, were of the opinion that if he fled to Russia it was only a matter of time until he recreated Hans Gruber's exit. That may have gotten back to him, reinforcing his decision to take his chances in the US.

    110:

    "Do you recommend any background reading about that?"

    It's a very big development in archaeology, so there is quite a bit of material out there. For an example, check out 'River Kings' by Cat Jarman. It's academic and dry, but goes quite deep into some of the analysis of various bones (and other objecs) found in some 9th to 11th century gravesites found on the British Isles, as well as Scandinavia and deep into Eurasia.

    I gather that isotopic analysis has upended a number of historical/archaeological assumptions, which is a good thing IMO.

    111:

    More than one person, looking at his potential post-2020 options, were of the opinion that if he fled to Russia it was only a matter of time until he recreated Hans Gruber's exit. That may have gotten back to him, reinforcing his decision to take his chances in the US.

    Possibly.

    I think the more interesting issue here (with the verdict yesterday) is how difficult it is to disempower a billionaire who's actively resisting.

    The other thing that's even more interesting is how much the super-rich world rallies around someone like Trump to insure that his debts won't take him down (e.g. https://www.forbes.com/sites/danalexander/2022/07/29/donald-trumps-great-escape-how-the-former-president-solved-his-debt-crisis/). To me this is fascinating, because if there's one family who could be sacrificed to burnish the global reputation of tycoons, it would be the Trumps. But instead they bailed him out again. It's hard to say this isn't classism at work.

    That's why I agree with Retiring, that just because Trump's business is now a convicted felon, it's no more likely to go out of business than other convicted felons like PG&E.

    112:

    I'd heard that the wallaby colony around the Staffordshire Roaches were wiped out by another cold winter in '97, but a quick search of newspaper and BBC reports just now suggests more recent sightings. I've kept an eye out when visiting the area over the years, including in the mid '90's, when the colony was pretty large, but never spotted one.

    113:

    The most famous UK wallaby related location is of course 62 West Wallaby Street.

    114:

    Why would pics of bones (allegedly), with unique numbers, not be salable to suckers as NFTs?

    115:

    I prefer him as the business guy in one of the two favorite scenes in Aliens. You know, where he opens a door....

    116:

    I see nothing suggesting a requirement. On the other hand, a GOP propaganda byte - why, because cities?

    117:

    Agree. The actual attitude of too many (white racist) Texans is they're not really sure Austin's part of Texas, being very liberal, even though the that's the Capital.

    118:

    wallaby colony

    Reading the Wikipedia article on wallabies, apparently the UK is big on letting them loose to form small groups all over the island(s).

    119:

    How can I resist?

    Tie me wallaby group down, boys....

    120:

    Oh yeah, bodysnatching was big business back then, and medicine has generally always been interested in "unusual" bodies. The difference in Runyon's story was the victim still being a "futures commodity", as someone wonderfully put it above.

    121:

    "Watch me wallaby's feed, mate, watch me wallaby's feed. They're a dangerous breed, mate, so watch me wallaby's feed."

    122:

    Heteromeles @ 93:

    If he did, would you take the Jeff Goldblum role and climb down to save him?

    I'll admit I got stuck trying to figure out who would take the Goldblum role.

    So maybe a different Julianne Moore scene would be more appropriate? With Trump taking the Hans Gruber role instead?

    A simple no would have sufficed.

    123:

    David L @ 118:

    wallaby colony

    Reading the Wikipedia article on wallabies, apparently the UK is big on letting them loose to form small groups all over the island(s).

    Hmmmm? I wonder if the Red-necked wallaby would thrive here in the American south?

    124:

    "I wonder whether the AI would have a similar reaction, and whether it has concepts of retaliatory responses."

    It's not an AI in that sense. It doesn't really know what unix is, or what python is.

    It's a chatbot backed onto a vast dataset. It'll look up a much-more-than-encyclopedic memory based on what textual responses that textual input expects, add in definitions of terms that make it look smart, and attempt basic inference given the semantic connections of the terms.

    My experience is that if you ask a typical question, then it'll do very well. And at basic inference, not bad. Ask an atypical question that requires actual knowledge and it'll do less well.

    I don't have the transcript, but I asked ChatGPT "When Abraham Lincoln went to Washington, did his left left go with him?" ChatGPT's reponse said that this was not known, gave a nice description of who Lincoln was, and then said that it wasn't known whether his left leg or any other of his body parts went with him went he went to Washington.

    It can answer detailed questions about anatomy. It will say "yes" if you ask if Lincoln had a left leg. But it can't say if Lincoln's body parts went with him when he went to Washington.

    It's very impressive at taking an input and giving an expected response it's seen elsewhere. Asked "If Bob is Anne's father, then is Anne Bob's daughter?" it got that right. But asked "Is Kanga Roo's mother?" it said that's not known, and then described who Roo is (Kanga's child), who Kanga is (including that she is motherly and her child is Roo).

    But it's been extremely well trained to couch its response using grammar and word choice that are social cues that demonstrate knowledgabilty and inspire confidence in its replies. So when it says something wrong it still sounds very smart.

    125:

    Yup.

    They haven't invented Artificial Intelligence; they've invented Artificial Boris Johnson.

    126:

    Attention conservation notice

    I am about to go dark for a few days -- heading off to Dortmund for a friend's pre-Christmas party and some socializing. My flight out takes off at 6am tomorrow, so I need to be in a taxi at 4am; I am going to bed.

    Back next Wednesday. (Not taking a laptop, this is R&R!)

    127:

    You deserve it. Relax, and enjoy yourself.

    128:

    Surely that's Bonnie Bedelia, not Julianne Moore?

    129:

    Surely that's Bonnie Bedelia, not Julianne Moore?

    Surely it is, and surely I screwed up. Thanks.

    130:

    So what somebody needs to do next is a DeepFake Johson to present the answers in suitable blather-mode. (Why, yes, we did just watch the second series of 'The Capture'; excellent tech-thriller, recommended)

    131:

    To me this is fascinating, because if there's one family who could be sacrificed to burnish the global reputation of tycoons, it would be the Trumps. But instead they bailed him out again. It's hard to say this isn't classism at work.

    The link gives me "404 File not found" and directs me to other Forbes articles.

    However I think it is less classism and more class interests. No tycoon wants to set a precedent which could be used against him. And by "precedent" I mean less in the legalistic sense ("it happened once therefore is allowed to happen again) and more in the sense of lessons learned -- they do not want any law enforcement agency anywhere in the world to have a working example of "this is how to take down a billionaire".

    Also, "sacrificing" Trump family will not gain any goodwill to any other billionaires, except MAYBE to one or two who take a major and public role in the said sacrificing. If anything, it moves the Overtone Window on prosecuting billionaires in the direction none of them want it to move.

    132:

    (Why, yes, we did just watch the second series of 'The Capture'; excellent tech-thriller, recommended)

    I think we all need to start saying where things such as this are to be seen. I just looked it up and it's on Peacock. So I can see it. :)

    133:

    I'd love to have a citation too. Unfortunately, as stated, it was just one meat bag talking to another meat bag, about why their daughter was fleeing the USA and where they were going to house her and the kids. If I read it online I would assume hyperbole, but in real life it is a gut punch.

    134:

    If I read it online I would assume hyperbole, but in real life it is a gut punch.

    In real life it is still possibly hyperbole, misinformation, or mistake. There's a reason hearsay isn't highly regarded as evidence…

    135:

    I can point you to a large number of people around here (central North Carolina) who will tell you similarly crazy things in person. All nonsense. But firmly believed. For most such things there is a nugget of truth but the story grew as it got passed around.

    I can see a school board member proposing or even the entire board of a small rural school voting for such a thing. But so far I really doubt any such thing has passed. Around here it would be in the news within 24 hours, even if done is one of our remote counties. Ditto Texas.

    That doesn't mean the state of Texas isn't somewhat over the top with crazy things. And I have friends in Texas who will tell you the same. Plus my wife was a resident of the state for a 10 year stretch that ended with Covid.

    136:

    The site is satire - or at any rate aspirational about acquiring the bones of billionaires.

    From their Twitter:

    The Billionaire Bone Bureau
    @TheofficialBBB
    Which Billionaires are you most excited to see pieces of when we launch our first collection?

    #JeffBezos #elonmusk #markzuckerberg #NFT #NFTS #Crypto #NFTinvestor #Whitelist #NFTartist #nftgallery #nftnews #metaverse #web3 #ETH #web3 #opensea #NFTart #ethereum #ETH

    138:

    A good point. We got ‘The Capture’ on big-river prime, but it it was a BBC or maybe ITV show so likely available on quite a few systems. The first series is mostly a somewhat alive young DI discovering how technology can be (mis?)used in intelligence/policing but the second series goes much, much, bigger and more serious.

    139:

    Sounds like something I needed to read 30 years ago. Queued in my reading list now.

    141:

    Yes, particularly the bit where he rubbed his keys against the wires.

    142:

    Talking of "wtf?"
    This Grauniad piece - showing just how utterly insane, fascist & out-of-control the tory right are at the moment.

    143:

    oh... crud... just took me twenty minutes to remember how to properly spell "versatile"... about a dozen false starts...

    which suggests my brain fog is rolling in again... hopefully just early onset fatigue due to being 61...

    I really want to be a hypochondriac about it but there's been at least three intervals when I suspect I have had covid just not the (extreme) respiratory distress warranting hospitalization... brain fog & exhaustion & loss of appetite & other less joyous affects...

    so if in coming days I post anything particularly drivel-ish I shall tidy up in a couple weeks (knock woodish veneer)

    144:

    Regarding Wallabies in the UK, I'm a native of West Sussex and I can remember seeing them back in the 1960's and 70's in the area north of the South Downs around the Steyning, Ashington, Washington area. Not seen any for a while, but being in my mid 70's now I don't get out walking as much as I used to. I found this with only a quick search; https://www.sussexexpress.co.uk/news/people/meet-the-mysterious-animal-lurking-in-the-sussex-countryside-3608612

    145:

    What shocked me recently wasn't on the internet, but experienced on Tuesday evening at Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge. For those that don't live round here, this is the flagship hospital for the East of England, a major teaching hospital, occupies the area of a medium-sized town, etc..

    Whilst I was getting details taken and stuff, this guy came in. Vomiting, suspected ulcerative colitis flare-up, couldn't sit up without being in extreme pain. And there were no trolleys free for him to lie on. God knows what they'd have done if someone came in with a broken leg. Anyway, this guy periodically had to lie on the floor whilst he was waiting, because sitting for any length of time was too painful.

    You know your NHS is in a bad way when patients have to lie on the floor in the waiting room.

    I actually got seen pretty quickly. Suspected viral chest infection, so basically told to bugger off and wait for it to get better on its own. At that point the other guy had still not been seen by a doctor. Neither had another guy who came in shortly afterwards, who'd passed out in the street and was clearly having some neurological issues (hands twitching, periodically drifting off to sleep, and waking up confused and not sure where he was). I couldn't help feeling like this was battlefield triage - get rid of the minor problems first to free up space, instead of triaging by need.

    146:

    probably safe to assume folks on this blog know what schadenfreude is

    think ur calling it in a little early myself

    147:

    Scott Sanford @109:

    More than one person, looking at his potential post-2020 options, were of the opinion that if he fled to Russia it was only a matter of time until he recreated Hans Gruber's exit.

    US: We have issued a warrant for the arrest of Donald J. Trump.

    Russia: He is unavailable. Your warrant has no force within our borders. Russia, in recognition of Mr. Trump's service, has settled him in a lavish retirement dacha in Defenestritsiya Oblast, and will strongly protect his privacy.

    148:

    Russia: He is unavailable...

    And this could be months after his Hans Gruber moment. They needn't be in any hurry to release any news about the Manchurian Cantaloupe until it suited their purposes, particularly if "Donald Trump" is still issuing profitable instructions to his holdings outside Russia.

    149:

    HowardNYC @143:

    I really want to be a hypochondriac about it but there's been at least three intervals when I suspect I have had covid just not the (extreme) respiratory distress warranting hospitalization... brain fog & exhaustion & loss of appetite & other less joyous affects...

    Unfortunately that sounds about right.

    I've had COVID 3 times: summer of 2020 (almost asymptomatic, but a couple of weeks later I was asking, "Why am I so fucking stupid???"), late summer 2021 (symptoms minor although confounded by a medication problem -- took me a while to realize that I had renewed my subscription to brain fog), January 2022 (symptoms limited to "WTF, I haven't had a hangover for years? Wait a minute, I only had 2 drinks yesterday..." but then the brain fog got noticeably worse again).

    Currently doing better. I still have brain fog, but it's abating again. Furthermore, knowing what brain fog is and how it works has been extremely helpful.

    The TL;DR is: Brain fog is not dementia, not depression, not burnout, not an emotional issue. (It gets misdiagnosed as all of those.) Brain fog is a very specific symptom: a disorder of the brain's executive function. Kind of like your modern linux box is suddenly running MS-DOS 6.

    The second TL;DR is that brain fog sufferers are subject to Post-Exertion Malaise, which means that it's possible to rise to the occasion and be physically or mentally capable -- but then you pay for it with days, or weeks, of being wiped out and unable to connect the dots. This is a big deal. Whatever you do, don't try to power through. It won't end well. As crazy as it sounds, you need to develop the self-discipline to stop overexercising, and to refrain from overdoing mental work. Which sucks.

    I'm educating myself about the nature of brain fog. It's working. I highly recommend it.

    150:

    If you've got any resources on brain fog, I'd be very grateful if you posted them here.

    151:

    Graham @ 145
    I have a horrible suspicion that it is "deliberate" { Without being Deliberate }
    The NHS has been run-down & run-down - in the hope that it breaks & then we can have a wonderful US-style "healthcare" with the NHS becoming Medicaid - ie. a second-class or third-class sop for the poor plebs - i.e. 90% of the population.
    But OF COURSE the tories did everything they could to save the NHS. - I wonder if the populace are stupid enough to buy it - after all they voted for BoZo & Brexit, or enough of them did ...

    152:

    How about this story on Motherboard? The Morningside Cannibals have nothing on these two.

    153:

    Yup. That’s the show.

    154:

    "Russia, in recognition of Mr. Trump's service, has settled him in a lavish retirement dacha in Defenestritsiya Oblast, and will strongly protect his privacy."

    Heh. I've been wondering today about who would and wouldn't want to see Mr. Trump in a position to win the Republican Nomination in 2024. Or not see him a position to do that. And to undertake measures to promote their desired outcome.

    155:

    A late entry that I ran across today - Cult 'prophet' Samuel Bateman was 'disgusted' over his child bride's bedwetting, the FBI says. To borrow a line from Buffy, not enough yuck in the world.

    156:

    Greg said: I have a horrible suspicion that it is "deliberate" { Without being Deliberate }

    I followed a few doctors on "covid twitter", here in Australia, a couple of UK, and some Canadian ones for a while.

    It looks to me like they were trying to starve the NHS, but then covid hit. So the results are even worse than they intended.

    It's a gigantic disaster everywhere, not just the UK. Canadian doctors are beside themselves. As covid has destroyed or damaged the immune systems of so many people of all ages, they've just been swamped. They're telling stories of pediatric hospitals sending sick children home on oxygen, which is unheard-of. They've run out of drugs in some hospitals, they're at ~200% capacity and offloading older children into adult hospitals.

    There's an avalanche of heart attack and stroke everywhere (again, all ages) and they're just not being seen in the golden hour.

    Here in Australia, the ambulances are sitting on hospital ramps for hours.

    So yeah, the UK doctors, and doctors everywhere are reporting battle field triage, three categories. Probably not going to die, send them away, probably will die, don't bother, might die but can be sorted quickly, do them first. Not surprisingly, this is burning up medical staff like nothing else. Australia is currently trying to steal third world countries' medical staff, particularly nursing and aged care staff.

    The advice is try not to get sick or have an accident.

    157:

    I have a horrible suspicion that it is "deliberate"

    Really, most things are not deliberate, they're SNAFU.

    158:

    Troutwaxer @150:

    If you've got any resources on brain fog, I'd be very grateful if you posted them here.

    It's early days yet, but here are a few links that I've found helpful. Note that these are not medical papers. They are 10,000 foot snapshots written for the layman. If you want medical papers please Google your own. :-)

    If anyone finds any generally helpful or pertinent articles, please post them here as well. I'd appreciate it, and I guess others would too.

    The gold standard, for a survey of the field, is this one: https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2022/09/long-covid-brain-fog-symptom-executive-function/671393/

    The downside is that I think The Atlantic keeps it behind a firewall. If any of you can't access it, email me. I'm whblondeau, and my email service provider is the mail service of the Great Big Search Engine.

    This one describes how brain fog is closely related to ME/CFS ("Chronic Fatigue Syndrome"), and how the pittance of research and care that has accumulated there is giving COVID brain fog care a bit of a running start: https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2022/09/mecfs-chronic-fatigue-syndrome-doctors-long-covid/671518/

    This article describes a lot of the issues that brain fog patients are running into, and discusses some ways to get around it. It's a helpful guide to the deficiencies of medical care, and of health provider education. Useful for navigating health care structures that can't find their collective ass with their collective hands in their collective back pockets, when confronted with brain fog: https://www.popsci.com/health/long-covid-care-chronic-illness/

    Hope this is helpful. These articles really helped to orient my thinking, and I've sent these links to some of the doctors & therapists where I get care.

    159:

    Howard NYC @ 143:

    oh... crud... just took me twenty minutes to remember how to properly spell "versatile"... about a dozen false starts...

    THEY pounded spelling into us so hard back in elementary school I don't usually have TOO MUCH trouble. And "sound it out" still works all these years later - vers•a•tile.

    For the rest, with the hidden/silent letters - where 'e' is pronounced 'a' or 'i' - spell-check WORKS as long as you can recognize the word you want.

    I don't use Auto-Correct, but spell-check is my lifeline.

    which suggests my brain fog is rolling in again... hopefully just early onset fatigue due to being 61...

    Fatigue will do that to you no matter what age you are.

    I really want to be a hypochondriac about it but there's been at least three intervals when I suspect I have had covid just not the (extreme) respiratory distress warranting hospitalization... brain fog & exhaustion & loss of appetite & other less joyous affects...

    Instead of worrying about it, get tested and know the bad news for certain.

    so if in coming days I post anything particularly drivel-ish I shall tidy up in a couple weeks (knock woodish veneer)

    If you do, someone will surely point it out for you 😕 /snark

    160:

    there's basic definition of "deliberate" in the common dialect of the English language and then there's the political variant...

    "deliberate" versus "intent" versus "motivation"

    each having its place in the linguistic toolkit of politics... I have no doubt a 'political science' wonk has an exquisitely nuanced glossary somewhere amongst the zillions of blogs 'n self-published books (but damned if I know whose version is trustworthy)

    actions based on decisions are "intentional" (thinking/selecting) but not always having an outcome that was "intended" (sought out)... with "motivation" driving the policymaking which in turn spurred onwards the decisions made in support of policy drafted to reflect that "motivation"

    when I was dating actively a hundred years ago, I had as my "intention" to get laid... if ever a woman had a missed period, it was never "intentional" by her nor my "intentionally" provided DNA to conceive a child... that was not my "motivation" for sex... so pregnancy was not "deliberate" but result of poor decisions and flawed policy and clumsy implementation of decisions in support of glandularly-driven policy...

    everyone involved in the health care industry proclaims "patients are number one" and yet here we are... 30 months into a planet-wide pandemic and very few nations avoided mass causalities due to effective policymaking nor was there deep thought prior to decisions leading to laws-regulations-decrees

    and 'ditto' on that chain of linked flaws which led to suffering due to nobody ready to prevent economic implosion nor support the 95% of populace not wealthy enough to have a safety net...

    here in US we are slowly crawling out of the crazy pit filled with fascist snakes who are (happy news for the rest of us) beginning to attack one another...

    whereas in the UK someone seemed to have as underlying "motivation" to implement a nation-wide LARP revival of those most horrid pages from Charles Dickens novels... with involuntary cos-play participation in malnutrition-loneliness-frostbite by the elderly-children-unemployed...

    why they are "motivated" towards destroying the lives of the poorest 10 million out of a populace of 67.33 million is a good question to be asking... my gut hunch is whispering "industrialized serfdom" and "debt peonage" and "civil rights rollback"

    ...my worry is there are crazies in US who find this "deliberate" FUBAR economy in UK to their liking and thus a role model

    161:

    RE: Covid-19 brain fog: Nat Geo has a bit of a fluffy article that might be paywalled: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/article/why-does-covid-19-cause-brain-fog-answer-immune-inflammation-synapse?

    It's about some research which suggests that Covid may trigger a process that causes damage to synapses between neurons (original article here https://www.cell.com/cell-stem-cell/fulltext/S1934-5909(20)30495-1?)

    162:

    Those look interesting. Thanks much!

    163:

    CONTEXT = USA

    For folks learning English as a second language, those silent letters are nasty...

    ...so to help newcomers to America, keep in mind

    there is one silent 'K' in "knight"

    two silent 'KK' in "knickknack"

    and three silent 'KKK' in "Republican"

    164:

    Just when you thought things couldn't get any worse ...

    There's apparently chatter on Twitter now about Musk buying Wikipedia to eliminate its "Left Wing Bias".

    165:

    It's fascinating to me, how a Congress of lickspittles and (demi)fascists can nonetheless boot out people like Liz Cheney, whose politics I loathe but whom I nonetheless admire for standing up for the rule of law.

    I guess, in D&D terms, this is analogous to how orcs beat hobgoblins?

    166:

    chatter on Twitter now about Musk buying Wikipedia

    I suspect that while technically plausible that falls into the wild fantasy set of ideas. It's all non-profit and not shareholding based, so while the current directs could definitely convert it and transfer ownership, the question has to be why they would do that, and what would happen if they wanted to.

    Maybe we need a new Laundry Files character, a very rich person who is not competent enough to be properly evil despite trying very hard.

    168:

    The new one being eHarmony?

    I'm sorry, I'll get back in my box now.

    169:

    Canadian doctors are beside themselves.

    Nurses too. Here they've been under emergency orders (which means they can be reassigned to any hospital, even one hours away from their family*), not to mention a government-mandated pay cut**. It hasn't escaped their notice that administrators' bonuses and politicians' 'extra duty pay' wasn't similarly limited — or that they waited until after the police got very nice pay raises before passing the law…

    Hospitals were operating over 100% capacity even before Covid. They've been running on fumes since then. Lots of bad blood there, such as administrators getting vaccines before nursing staff (back when we rationing them).

    Alberta's worse. But that's a given, unfortunately, with the convoy-adjacent extremists in charge there. There they're deliberately cutting the number of doctors and nurses 'to save money', despite having a budget surplus.

    Years ago a former conservative cabinet minister was recorded telling his staff they had to "create a crisis" to force a change in the system (ie. open it to privatization). I think this is more of the same, given what happened with Long Term Care***.


    *UK readers note that the UK is over 4 times smaller than Ontario, so "hours" can mean multiples of 24 in terms of driving time…

    **OK, a 1% pay raise, which was less than inflation even before Covid.

    *** Former conservative ministers own large chunks of the enlarged private LTC sector, and the liability laws were recently changed to make private LTC homes basically unsueable. Fatalities at for-profit LTC homes were four times those in non-profit homes.

    170:

    It's fascinating to me, how a Congress of lickspittles and (demi)fascists can nonetheless boot out people like Liz Cheney, whose politics I loathe but whom I nonetheless admire for standing up for the rule of law.

    I guess, in D&D terms, this is analogous to how orcs beat hobgoblins?

    The difference between chaotic evil and lawful evil?

    171:

    The difference between chaotic evil and lawful evil?

    I was about to say more or less that. You beat me to it.

    172:

    Liz Cheney, whose politics I loathe but whom I nonetheless admire for standing up for the rule of law.

    This is US based but I believe the trends apply to much of the world just now.

    Liz believed that to win elections you had to convince people your way was better than the other way. And if you didn't convince enough people, well you went home and maybe tried again.

    DT has convinced a non trivial number of people it is OK to believe "their" way is right and if a fair election gets in the way of power, change rig the election or just skip it entirely.

    Here's an article about the loser of the Arizona Sec of State (who runs elections) where once he lost he went full on nuts. (For bonus point check out the loser for governor there, Kari Lake) (I think you get a few reads of articles before the paywall starts.)

    https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/politics/elections/2022/12/08/mark-finchem-channels-election-loss-in-vitriolic-antisemitic-tweets/69709981007/

    173:

    H @ 165
    It's the difference between "lawful Evil" - Cheny & "Chaotic Evil -the rest of the "R's" (!)
    - Ah I see Rbt Prior has had similar thoughts ... nice one.

    174:

    And what's the equivalent when the mistress is male, I'm thinking "rent boy" but that's too derogatory.

    A bit late to say this, but I don't think anyone else has said, a catamite. Lovely archaic word that sounds properly posh.

    175:

    No, a catamite is a boy kept by a man. "Kept man" is the closest.

    177:

    Brain fog: I know all to much about this being nearly 5 years into M.E! As Bill says, M.E seems to be a good guide. The M.E society is a good place to check out, this is a more specific link:

    https://meassociation.org.uk/product/covid-19-long-covid-me-cfs/

    But the M.E society now mention long covid in the same breath as M.E on their front page. So lots of information:

    https://meassociation.org.uk/

    179:

    "Kind of like your modern linux box is suddenly running MS-DOS 6."

    It does. Whenever I want to run PSPICE. QEMU FTW.

    "Whatever you do, don't try to power through."

    I find it can be useful to switch to something sufficiently different. Avoiding or handling hitting the wall of mud over analogue design by fiddling with software instead, or finding some new book about WW1 or articles on railway or industrial history to read, or something, for example.

    180:

    "Bit on the side" seems to more or less work and has the advantage that it still works whatever the preferences and genders of the parties concerned.

    181:

    I'm not sure we have reliable records for all places and times in "99.5% of human history ... without money or the concept"

    183:

    The wallaby story I heard was of a climber who pulled over the top of an edge which might well have been the Roches, and was face to face with a Wallaby to their mutual surprise. The Wallaby bounced away and the climber ... was leading on a rope with proper protection placed, but also bounced a bit.

    184:

    Russian agents/dupes/fellow travellers breaking components that will remove spares or production of components required for the Ukrainian power distribution system as part of the Russian special war operation.

    Or perhaps not.

    185:

    I'm sorry, I'm with EC on this, catamite has a specific meaning and no more modern usage to generalise it.

    "Bit on the side" doesn't really carry the power imbalance that the politician types seem to need, and "kept man" seems like the least awful. Polite society version, anyway, since fuckbuddy has a word in it that people who can't say "toilet" struggle with. "let me visit the bathroom to consult my kept man" has that ring of euphemism about it.

    186:

    Well, yeah, but it sounds like it's a euphemism for going for a wank. Possibly a bit too solitary for the context.

    187:

    Better than coming face to face with a fulmar chick.

    188:

    Money in this case isn't barter or credit. Nor is it a fixed weight of a precious substance (e.g. a silver shekel). Money as we understand it was first a fixed weight of a precious substance (a metal), molded into a standard shape and often stamped with various symbols of the local ruler, who generally guaranteed the value of the money and generally collected taxes in that money.

    In other words, a coin, although when the Chinese did it, they made little knives first.

    This form of money demands a bunch of innovations (civilization, metallurgy, a need for coinage abstracted from credit), of which metallurgy leaves the most durable scars on the landscape.

    This is where we get into the same mess as that Ancient Apocalypse thing that's reportedly playing on Netflix. The basic point is that metallurgy causes two kinds of evidence that appear to be long-lived.

    --One is the disappearance of readily worked surface deposits, for obvious reasons

    --The second is the appearance of large debris and slag piles from mining and smelting.

    A third bit of evidence is that even local metallurgy leaves a fair amount of atmospheric crap in local glaciers and probably in varved (sediment-layered) lakes in the vicinity. They've used Andean glaciers to estimate the onset of Andean metallurgy about 1300-odd years ago, for instance.

    Anyway, without metal, it's hard to get metal for coins and hence money, and we apparently have decent data on when those all started.

    Note that I agree with Graeber (Debt) that credit preceded money by at least 1,500 year, and that people have been trading stuff as long as there have been people. The Bronze age ran on silver weight (the shekel being a weight of silver that could be traded to feed a workman for a day), and often stuff was credited against silver or other things stored in temples and castles and borrowed against, rather than people carrying around hunks of silver or bronze and weighing them out (tedious!).

    We can also argue about whether the use of cacao beans in Mesoamerica and shell and other beads meet all the definitions of money (being an abstract symbol with a given value guaranteed by an authority who often had an army to coerce full faith and credit for them). That also gets interesting.

    But that's where I'm coming from. We're missing evidence for any of this going back very far, and we've even got modern evidence well into the 1920s of large populations (e.g. Highland New Guinea) where people lived without money. It's kind of new, so far as I can tell.

    189:

    "Bit on the side" doesn't really carry the power imbalance that the politician types seem to need,

    Boy-toy?

    190:

    Adrian Midgley @ 184:

    Russian agents/dupes/fellow travellers breaking components that will remove spares or production of components required for the Ukrainian power distribution system as part of the Russian special war operation.

    Or perhaps not.

    Well, a Russian agent, Maria Butina, DID infiltrate the NRA.

    NRA Was 'Foreign Asset' To Russia Ahead of 2016

    Interesting thing about that, ... Russia invaded Ukraine on 24 February 2022; on 26 February 2022, CONVICTED RUSSIAN SPY Maria Butina appeared on the Russian State TV show Vremya Pokazhet to condemn Ukraine's leadership for passing out guns to civilian volunteers willing to resist the Russian invaders because “people don’t know how to handle them and a child might be killed at home”

    [REDACTED]! [EXPLETIVE!! DELETED!!] !!!

    191:

    "I'm sorry, I'm with EC on this, catamite has a specific meaning and no more modern usage to generalise it."

    Yes... it implied not just something about the age of the person, but particular sex roles.

    The sodomite/catamite distinction relates to a cultural milieu in which someone who received anal sex was considered a different type of person that someone on the, uh, other end of things.

    And whether that was really the views on sex roles in the classical period, or a weird spin invented by classicists in decades past attempting to interpret the classical period through their own bizarre cultural hangups, or half of each, I don't know. But I do know that they're terms with a lot of baggage and I'd stay well clear of them unless I was trying to be very, very offensive.

    192:

    Q: can we resume discussions of the BBB and cease this chatter of sodomy?

    if I wanted to read about unwelcome abuses of power and dry humping I'd be tracking headlines about the US GOP's efforts to turn America into a realm of industrialized serfs and prevent peasants from having unrestricted access to books

    193:

    Well, to get back to the original topic, consider the following connected mess:

    1) creepy dystopian billionaires (our favorite guys Musk and Thiel)

    2) crypto (S. Bankman-Fried/C. Ellison)

    3) "effective altruism" and "longtermism" (MacAskill, Bostrom, et al.)

    4) Bay Area rationalists (thought-leaders S. Alexander and E. Yudkowsky)

    5) "human biodiversity" and neoreaction (C. Yarvin et al.)

    It's all a bunch of stuff that I find not so much *shocking* as (to echo the song) "kinda funny/kinda sad". Goddess knows I am very sad myself, and am yet another person who fits the demographic of the comment section here. But I should think maybe all these people would do better at creating something a little more stylish and a little less cringey.

    194:

    The big picture is the rise of fascism and the decay of belief in democracy in “the west”. Billionaires and obscure cults (crypto and Q) are symptoms.

    It’s not a coincidence this is happening as the fight against fascism slips from living memory.

    Right wing dictators have always been fine for our puppet states. But once our elites would rather break/bend the rules at home than lose within them then we are all in trouble.

    Outside the EU the UK is particularly vulnerable. We have always depended on convention and elite consensus. Without that we are a commons majority away from tyranny. I don’t have particular faith in the emergency backstop of a septuagenarian monarch.

    195:

    H The shekel being a weight of silver that could be traded to feed a workman for a day - ah like the Japanese Koku of rice?

    Johnny @ 194
    All too true - I've almost given up on commenting on this: The parallels with the 1930's claiming that "Democracy is weak & spineless" are very telling. Encouraged by scum like Cruella Braverman & her extremely nasty friends of course ...
    From TODAY's papers: This
    and
    This too
    ... Echo from the 1950's & people saying "It couldn't happen here" & my father who saw 1945-48 Germany, up close & personal { CivMilGov } growling in rage that oh yes if bloody well could, all too easily.

    196:

    remember, "it's only sodomy if it's from the sodom and gomorrah area of mesopotamia, otherwise it's just sparkling butt stuff"

    197:

    correction, "it's only sodomy if it's in sodom..."

    I don't care what folks do for fun, I came here to engage my declining intellect in something approaching challenging brain stuff...

    ...better yet if we could all mash we collective intellects proper-like we could save the freaking planet by figuring out how to convince everyone to implement EV replacement of ICE at a rate of 5% annually... that and require every city with a populace of 10^6 or more to install a gigawatt of wind turbines annually inside city limits...

    ...its just crazy enough that it might work

    198:

    Before the commentariat really offends someone, I've got to point out that a catamite is "a boy kept for homosexual practices," or as we call them, "sex abuse victim." It would probably be a really good idea to make it clear that no one on this blog thinks this is a good idea, even if previous societies condoned it?

    The current term for a man whose partner supports him financially is "house husband."

    199:

    It’s not a coincidence this is happening as the fight against fascism slips from living memory.

    Same thing happened even earlier with banking. Once those who lived through the Great Depression were no longer politically relevant, governments relaxed banking rules set up to prevent Boom-Bust, with predictable results.

    I think Jane Jacobs got it right in Dark Age Ahead: losing institutional memory as people retire/die is a more serious problem than we admit.

    200:

    how to convince everyone to implement EV replacement of ICE at a rate of 5% annually

    Well, step one would be having EVs available to purchase. Around here the wait time is nearly two years, with dealers charging 'access fees' on top of the sticker price for a customer to actually get a vehicle. (Apparently legal by the fine print in purchase agreements.)

    I'm planning on running my ICE car into the ground. I put so few km on it that the economic case for an EV just isn't there even if electricity was free, and practically given that all the environmental costs of its manufacture have already happened it makes no sense to replace it with a new vehicle while it still works. I'm hoping to get at least another five years out of it, maybe longer.

    201:

    Outside the EU the UK is particularly vulnerable.

    I don't understand your point. Hungary, Poland, England, Italy, Turkey, France, and others to some degree are all getting into authoritarianism at various levels.

    202:

    figuring out how to convince everyone to implement EV replacement of ICE at a rate of 5% annually

    or maybe find a way to live without feeling we're entitled to drive everywhere as much as we do before such a way is found for us by (reduced) circumstances

    203:

    …better yet if we could all mash we collective intellects proper-like we could save the freaking planet by figuring out how to convince everyone to implement EV replacement of ICE at a rate of 5% annually get rid of motorised individual transport…

    There, fixed that for you.

    EVs are not a solution for the impending climate crash. Reducing energy consumption is. And in case of the most energy-consuming nation on the planet (the USA) that means: reducing it by 80% or so. 'Keeping the American lifestyle as it is now, just a little greener', isn't going to cut it.

    204:

    EVs are not a solution for the impending climate crash. Reducing energy consumption is. And in case of the most energy-consuming nation on the planet (the USA) that means: reducing it by 80% or so. 'Keeping the American lifestyle as it is now, just a little greener', isn't going to cut it.

    Oh dear, it's a bit more complicated than that.

    American energy consumption is literally cast in concrete, because most major American cities are built around car culture. They were designed with housing generally separated from heavy industry for legitimate health reasons (google "environmental racism" for examples of what happens without this separation), but the upshot is that we don't have the infrastructure to get away from cars anytime soon.

    Rather worse, it's reasonably likely that we don't have the raw materials (especially concrete as currently made) to rebuild our cities into a more sustainable configuration, even if there was the political will to rewrite people's land ownership claims on the massive (Cultural Revolution) level required.

    Worse still, we've largely built from shoddy materials that only last a few decades, and unlike say, rammed earth or rock, we can't remake the resulting rubble into new building material in energy-efficient ways*, any more than we currently can remake old lithium batteries into new ones, or old solar cells into new ones.

    There are some ways around this.

    --The easiest one, of course, is to provoke a nuclear war, with the hope that enough people survive to rebuild cities sustainably. I'm not entirely joking: treating the US to a WW2 level fire-bombing campaign is impossible, so that impetus for urban revitalization is off the table. Nuclear war is the only practical method we currently have to force the US to rebuild its cities. So if you want this to happen rapidly, you need to cozy up to Mr. Putin and Mr. Xi. And I think most people (likely including Putin and Xi) would reject this proposal with extreme prejudice.

    --Possibly a truly nasty virgin-ground pandemic would do it too. Covid doesn't count, unless we run out of vaccines. And no, I'm not going to suggest cozying up to the anti-vaxxers and wannabe plague engineers.

    Otherwise we're stuck with EVs, incremental renovations, finding new materials, staving off the extinction crisis (anyone noticed COP 15? If not, why not?), and working in democratic politics to fight the influence of people who profit from the status quo and spend their influence accordingly.

    Which sucks, of course, but here we are. If you're not involved in this (I am), why aren't you? It's not like politics in a democracy is a spectator sport, after all. We're all supposed to be on the field, not in the stands. Otherwise the game becomes an oligarchy or worse.

    *Building with trash is where things like earthships come into play. Cue Greg Tingey disparaging these...

    205:

    @102: there are allegedly wild wallabies in the woods behind my house (Cambridgeshire). I've never seen them, but I know there are deer living there and the only time I see them is when they get into next-door's garden.

    It's not implausible: there's a zoo not that far away that has both wallabies (including albino ones) and cassowaries wandering around.

    206:
    It's not implausible: there's a zoo not that far away that has both wallabies (including albino ones) and cassowaries wandering around.

    Well, that's Christmas dinner sorted out: if you have the cajones to take one on, of course ;)

    Do they admit to any escapes?

    207:

    H @ 198
    You had better look up the classical legend of Ganymede) then.
    Sometimes regarded as the avatar of homosexual love, as well as being a "very pretty boy" - NOT to be confused with: "No, he's just a very naughty boy!" { M. Python }
    - later -
    Covid doesn't count, unless we run out of vaccines. - which looks like is going to happen in China, which could cause an "interesting" partial collapse of the PRC & then the world supply chain - maybe.

    Re. Your comment on "Earthships"
    - you DO REALISE that re-using old car/lorry (etc) tyres is completely forbidden, here, yes/no? ... for apparently good actual environmental reasons { Like 'orrible chemicals leaching out, I think }
    This causes those of us who are saddled with old tyres as to W.T.F. do we do with the damned things & dispose of them?

    208:

    “any more than we currently can remake old lithium batteries into new ones, or old solar cells into new ones.” Nonsense not supported by facts, with supporting evidence presented several times in the past on this very blog.

    209:

    “Reducing energy consumption is. ” Not entirely correct - it’s not the energy it’s the environmental damage caused in its production and possibly, usage. If you produce energy without creating pollution then there is no problem. Starting a new coal mine in Cumbria is not an example of doing that.

    210:

    And finally for this morning, paraphrasing from a Guardian article, Kwareng admits “we didn’t think of the consequences “, which seems like it should be a career ending move. Most definitely a WTF.

    211:

    "In other local news here in North Carolina:

    Emu on the loose in Person County

    Not fodder for horror, but weird."

    I live in southeastern Michigan, and have seen an emu/ostrich running around on a farm, in February. I didn't know that they could survive 20 degrees (F) and six inches of snow.

    212:

    "...the dreams in which I'm dying are the best I've ever had" ?

    213:

    Yes, in Trumps! There are some blocks of flats in Glasgow where the serious estimate of the lifespan of the buildings is less than a usual UK 25 year mortgage!

    214:

    Heteromeles @ 198:

    Before the commentariat really offends someone, I've got to point out that a catamite is "a boy kept for homosexual practices," or as we call them, "sex abuse victim." It would probably be a really good idea to make it clear that no one on this blog thinks this is a good idea, even if previous societies condoned it?

    The current term for a man whose partner supports him financially is "house husband."

    I think the thread has drifted somewhat. I believe the original poster was looking for a male equivalent of a "mistress", not a partner in marriage.

    A brief google search & consultation with on-line dictionaries suggests "Gigolo".

    Although "kept man" may be more to the point if the woman pays for some arrangement of living quarters (as is common with men and their mistresses).

    215:

    Is that actually happening though? Last I heard it had been on again/off again for the last 10 years or so, and the majority view was that it was basically a scam based around using regulatory obstacles to play silly money games, and actually getting to the point of doing some mining wasn't really part of what they were up to, just what they pretended to be after to make the scam work. Some Australian outfit involved who had a bit of a habit of doing things like this.

    216:

    Robert Prior @ 199:

    I think Jane Jacobs got it right in Dark Age Ahead: losing institutional memory as people retire/die is a more serious problem than we admit.

    Preaching to the choir here brother. Who you gotta' convince is the Gen-XYZ "Ok Boomer!" crowd.

    217:

    Actually, I just had AN IDEA for horror-tinged hopepunk, or possibly hopepunk-tinged horror (translation: get the brain bleach ready).

    This is about Solutions to many of our urban woes, and possibly to climate change: Radical mycology and termite cults.

    The point is that much of our stuff in modern civilization doesn't decompose easily. This was seen as a feature, but now it's turning out to be a bug, because we need to be able to trash or at least remanufacture mass quantities of junk without using mass quantities of energy, and that's really hard to do.

    For many/most organics, fungi are probably the best decomposers, and people like Paul Stamets have built careers out of finding and culturing fungi that break down everything from carpet to nerve gas (see his book Mycelium Running).

    Problem is, mycology gets a bad rap in anglophone science, primarily because of a culture-bound ick factor (eww! mold and rot, mildew and toadstools!), so commercial and academic research on mycoremediation is exasperatingly slow and half-assed (see Stamets. This has also been my personal experience. "Not invented here" doesn't even begin to cover the prejudice against working with fungi).

    Enter the radical mycologists, a group of mycophilic biohackers who have decided to take matters into their own hands. If capitalism won't save the world with fungi, they will try to DIY-style. Note, this is a real group, and they're less noticeably wingnuts than most of the groups we talk about here. McCoy's Radical Mycology tome is far larger than my college mycology textbook. Or than Stamet's Mycelium Running. And quite honestly, I support them, at least emotionally. I'm weird.

    Then there's the "termite cults", which I tripped over in Fairhead and Leach's (2000) paper "Termites, Society, and Ecology: Perspectives from West Africa," which you can read part of on Google Books (it's in a really trippy symposium publication). Termites, like fungi, are really good at breaking stuff down. And like fungi, they're generally hated on in Anglophone countries (example: let's see how the Aussies respond to Mastotermes darwinensis. Or how about "Formosan Termite" for my southern friends?) This differs from West Africa, where among the Mande people and others, having termites mounds in your field is considered a good thing, because they help make the soil more arable (improve drainage, increase fertility). Termites and their mounds are used in multiple ways there. There are even experts who will ritually establish termite mounds as part of a land blessing, and I'm calling them a "termite cult" although that's almost certainly incorrect.

    On a more amusing note, when the French colonized the region, they built their army barracks out of wood. The local termite experts then surreptitiously infested all the buildings, ultimately causing the French to abandon their outposts. The anthropologists who wrote the paper tripped over the story repeatedlt in their work in the region, found out that the French did know they had a termite problem, but never figured out it was sabotage, and that launched them into the research for the paper.

    You can see where this is going...

    In this story universe,some sensible and creative do-gooders start doing bioremediation, using fungi cultured to break down industrial chemicals and various obnoxious kinds of trash (old garbage, treated wood, plastics of every stripe). And some WhitePeople get the African gospel of the termite (the first being created by God, to the Dogon), and start culturing termites to also deal with the avalanche of house debris that make up so much of landfills.

    And these work great! And because they work great, they get scaled up! And because they get scaled up....

    ...they get out and start spreading uncontrollably.

    That's the setting for a story: a near future where the materials of modern life are under attack by enthusiastic little white bugs, and even more by enthusiastic white mycelia. Resistance is futile, you will be assimilated And these unabashed consumers churn through the cornucopia of stuff we've created, making the world both safe from plastics and increasingly inconvenient for people who grew up with such materials.

    So what happens as civilization involuntarily becomes totally recycled and then struggles to sustain its new recyclability? It's both a hopepunk story (a sustainable future through natural processes. Cool!) and a horror story (ick! fungi and termites? Gross!) Whether the hopepunk or the horro dominates is up to any artist who picks this up.

    And this is as far as I'm going to take this idea. Take it and do what you want with it. Anyone who wants to learn more may want to get copies of Mycelium Running, Entangled Life, Underbug, and possibly Radical Mycology if you have the shelf space. And at least have fun reading these books, all of which are pretty good.

    Now go apply brain bleach as necessary.

    218:

    Robert Prior @ 200:

    how to convince everyone to implement EV replacement of ICE at a rate of 5% annually

    Well, step one would be having EVs available to purchase. Around here the wait time is nearly two years, with dealers charging 'access fees' on top of the sticker price for a customer to actually get a vehicle. (Apparently legal by the fine print in purchase agreements.)

    I'm planning on running my ICE car into the ground. I put so few km on it that the economic case for an EV just isn't there even if electricity was free, and practically given that all the environmental costs of its manufacture have already happened it makes no sense to replace it with a new vehicle while it still works. I'm hoping to get at least another five years out of it, maybe longer.

    Same here. My current vehicle is 20 years old. In 2020, 2021 & 2022 (so far) I've averaged about 2300 miles/year. The year before that was less than 5,000. Plus, if I got an EV, I couldn't have a charger here at home. My electric service just wouldn't handle it.

    I did all the "right things" all my life - worked hard & saved my money (as much as I could); deferred gratification until retirement - and look where that's got me.

    I still hope someday to get out to the western U.S. for a photo safari, but the way the economy is going it don't look so good right now.

    219:

    "...the dreams in which I'm dying are the best I've ever had" ?

    Another Tears for Fears fan?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u1ZvPSpLxCg

    220:

    Who you gotta' convince is the Gen-XYZ "Ok Boomer!" crowd.

    Hey, I'm generation X, at least as Coupland used it. Got taken over by the following generation as a cool-sounding name.

    221:

    And these work great! And because they work great, they get scaled up! And because they get scaled up....

    ...they get out and start spreading uncontrollably.

    Used as the plot of several SF novels I read in the last millennium. Not necessarily fungi, but bioremediation.

    In one, bacteria used to clean up an oil slick ended up using plastics as food, and so essentially all plastics (as well as oil) disappeared. I remember a scene where one of the characters was listening to her cherished CD collection one last time before the CDs decomposed.

    222:

    I did all the "right things" all my life - worked hard & saved my money (as much as I could); deferred gratification until retirement - and look where that's got me.

    I hear you. Travel looks dicey right now, and even without Covid I just discovered I may have arthritis. (Gone from walking 10 km a day to needing support to walk around the house in just a couple of months.)

    Not unhappy, but wishing I'd made different decisions.

    223:

    “any more than we currently can remake old lithium batteries into new ones, or old solar cells into new ones.” Nonsense not supported by facts, with supporting evidence presented several times in the past on this very blog.

    Um, you missed the critical word in my statement, which is currently. I agree that there's no theoretical reason they can't be recycled, it's just that we're only starting to figure out how to do that at scale. For example, in my part of the world, there's only one plant in Arizona that can disassemble lithium batteries for raw materials (lithium and cathode, iirc), and it's grossly undersized for the problem.

    The real problem is that production is still growing faster than recycling on these technologies. We'll be in better shape when these two are more-or-less equal in scale.

    224:

    Used as the plot of several SF novels I read in the last millennium. Not necessarily fungi, but bioremediation.

    Yeah, I'm aware of that. Western science interestingly tends to be bacteriophilic and mycophobic, except for single-celled fungi like brewer's yeast.

    What I'm suggesting here is cringey more than horrific. Horror's all about our culturally mediated addictions to sex and violence. Instead, I'm pointing towards transgressing cultural taboos about what we eat and what eats us, pointing toward the xenophobia inherent in how we've treated people who don't have those taboos, and pointing towards the essential conflict that happens when we're forced to confront these taboos with no recourse.

    I mean, just imagine if the most plentiful animal protein you can get either is tentacular seafood or terrestrial and exoskeletal, and crunchy? Lovecraft would have waxed purple for pages over that.

    225:

    I don't understand your point. Hungary, Poland, England, Italy, Turkey, France, and others to some degree are all getting into authoritarianism at various levels.

    All have to varying degrees constitutional protections against tyranny. Mostly around higher thresholds to clear to change the constitution than standard legislation (can’t claim to have checked the constitutions of all you list). Hungary’s protections have been partially bypassed.

    The EU in turn acts as a further check on a government intent on eroding democratic norms. Again not wholly successful but better than nothing. I’d suggest, but it’s hard to prove the counterfactual, that Hungary would be a lot further down the road to dictatorship outside the EU. Note that Turkey - significantly more autocratic - is not in the EU.

    Compare to the UK. You literally need a commons majority of 1 to back you and you could pass a law removing the vote from all except men over 30 owning property above a certain net value and having both grandfathers as British citizens. You’d need to package it with a bundle of linked amendments to other laws and you are away.

    The Lords could delay but not stop the law passing. Then you are dependent on the King using his “use once” power to refuse to sign the law, dissolve parliament and hold an election under the existing rules.

    226:

    Why are you so pessimistic. About 11 percent of new cars sold in November inthe UK were electric. Plus over 7 percent plug- in -hybrids.

    227:

    just imagine if the most plentiful animal protein you can get

    ... is us?

    'Tender is the Flesh'.

    As a kid I had a copy of 'Mutant 59: The Plastic Eaters'. Way before CDs.

    Thanks for the fungus book titles; the first three are at my local library.

    228:

    Hetero said: the upshot is that we don't have the infrastructure to get away from cars anytime soon.

    Nope.

    You don't have the legislative structure to get away from cars.

    The US legislation has been created by car companies for car companies. When you live in a legislative structure it seems natural, but it's not.

    A couple of simple changes would turn things around.

    25 km/h (15 mph) speed limiters fitted to all vehicles. Remove the laws limiting development to single family homes, and instead allow multi storey mixed use development.

    You'd get walkable/cyclable development with shops and businesses on the ground and residential living above because people would want to live there and developers would be allowed to build places people want.

    229:

    I think the thread has drifted somewhat. I believe the original poster was looking for a male equivalent of a "mistress", not a partner in marriage.

    A brief google search & consultation with on-line dictionaries suggests "Gigolo".

    Although "kept man" may be more to the point if the woman pays for some arrangement of living quarters (as is common with men and their mistresses).

    If the person with the money in this arrangement is female, the term you are looking for is "boy toy".

    230:

    Preaching to the choir here brother. Who you gotta' convince is the Gen-XYZ "Ok Boomer!" crowd.

    I am Gen-X, and I am extremely aware of the concept of institutional knowledge. In fact, just a few days ago I began the task of converting a bunch of database processes NOAA runs daily/weekly/monthly from UNIX cron to Oracle Scheduler... and found that some of these processes had either not run at all, or ran and always crashed, for the last several years. Apparently because passwords were changed, and the processes continued to try and log on with outdated passwords. And nobody noticed. Until I noticed, yesterday.

    231:

    I'm pointing towards transgressing cultural taboos about what we eat and what eats us, pointing toward the xenophobia inherent in how we've treated people who don't have those taboos, and pointing towards the essential conflict that happens when we're forced to confront these taboos with no recourse.

    I mean, just imagine if the most plentiful animal protein you can get either is tentacular seafood or terrestrial and exoskeletal, and crunchy? Lovecraft would have waxed purple for pages over that.

    Every post you wrote her over the last couple days makes me laugh because I am the absolute opposite of your intended audience.

    First, I am mycophilic. That's hardly a surprise, all Russians love mushrooms. Second, I always had a soft spot in my heart for termites, ever since reading a book called "Bumblebees and Termites" as a child. I perceive them as just another beneficial communal insect, similar to ants and yes, bumblebees. Third, I vastly prefer seafood to mammal meat. Specifically invertebrate seafood, as I am deathly allergic to fish. (Yes, I have the inverse of the usual seafood allergy.) Tentacular meat? Bring it on! And finally, my reaction when I read "The Shadow Over Innsmouth" for the first time was "Cool! I'd like to live under the sea forever!" Which I am pretty sure the opposite of what H.P. Lovecraft intended.

    232:

    For the mycophiles, faceplant has been consistently marketing something called Mud Watr as an alternative to coffee. I won't link to it because it's an easy search, but one of the touted ingredients is Cordyceps.

    I don't know much about fungi, but what little I know suggests to me that Cordyceps is about the last fungus I'd be interested in consuming, nevermind on a regular basis.

    Can't remember the name of the book, but I remember reading a middling quality zombie novel that used Cordyceps as the somewhat plausible mechanism of infection.

    233:

    {context: USA et al} EVs are not a solution for the impending climate crash. Reducing energy consumption is.

    I think we have enough evidence to say with some certainty that the USA will go to war to protect its high energy lifestyle. Deathstyle. Whatever. It's an addiction, and the addict is willing to use nuclear weapons if that's what it takes to keep the hits coming.

    So we're left with persuasion and genocide. Again, the USA is happy to commit genocide so the question really is: is anyone willing and able to commit genocide against the USA? I can't think of anyone, and genocide for environmental reasons seems unlikely, it would take an ecophilosopher in the mould of Pol Pol or Aung San Suu Kyi, leading a coalition of ecovictims.

    What happens instead seems to be Modi and Duterte... people whose focus is more internal than external, and the threats they address are local rather than global. Genocide is definitely an option (or practice!) but it's not used against the energy addicts.

    Leaving persuasion. And I don't think "this won't work, it can't work, it has never worked and should not be attempted" is a very effective way to persuade people to do something.

    234:

    Aung San Suu Kyi? What does she have in common with Pol Pot?

    235:

    Hetero said: the upshot is that we don't have the infrastructure to get away from cars anytime soon.

    Nope. You don't have the legislative structure to get away from cars. The US legislation has been created by car companies for car companies. When you live in a legislative structure it seems natural, but it's not. A couple of simple changes would turn things around.

    Oh my dear sweet summer child. I've actually been dealing with most of this for the last few months. Let me explain the sick hilarity of your ideas. It's sick, because we've got some new planners on city staff from elsewhere in the country, and to the degree they're planning at all, they're proposing this stuff, and annoying both older planners and professors in local collegiate planning departments.

    25 km/h (15 mph) speed limiters fitted to all vehicles.

    Well, class 1-3 ebikes are fitted with 30 kph speed limiters, so you've already pissed them off, along with the muscle bikers who'd need to install electronic brakes to comply. The real people burned by this are all the lower-income commuters, who live up to 100 miles from where they work, because that's where the affordable houses are. You're forcing them to spend six hours commuting each way (12 hours/commute) or to pay unaffordable rents ($3000/ month +), or save up for a down payment on a $1,300,000 house. This on less that $65,000 year minus taxes.

    Worse, we're in the land where a sizable chunk (majority?) of gun crimes are committed with illegal, untraceable "ghost guns." It's also the land where there was (is?) a profitable aftermarket in diesel car computers that circumvent emissions controls to "improve performance," but which are reset to factory spec for emissions testing.

    You seriously think there won't be a burgeoning market for tech to circumvent speed limiters? We don't have enough cops to even investigate bike thefts. Have them prosecute universal speeding.

    Remove the laws limiting development to single family homes, and instead allow multi storey mixed use development.

    Yep. City of San Diego is doing that. What they're not doing is making those places transit accessible, and they have at best limited plans to expand transit (example, my community of 70,000 has limited transit. I'm about two miles from the nearest bus stop, and it runs a few times per day). I just commented on a community plan update where the community planning board (I know them) pointed out that, by allowing densification without creating new transit or even parking spaces, they were "planning" for permanent gridlock. It passed anyway.

    It actually wasn't a planned community update, since all the document did was to remove density restrictions and leave the rest as a gift for the developers to do what they want. Our prediction is they'll put in more high end condos, let the residents fend for themselves on parking, offer no transit, and pay the fees so they won't have to include affordable housing, which is what they've been doing. Meanwhile, the workers who staff the shops in the area will have to drive in hopefully less than 30 miles (2 hours with your speed limiter) and park somewhere, because there's not enough transit for them to get there in less than two hours on a bus.

    You'd get walkable/cyclable development with shops and businesses on the ground and residential living above because people would want to live there and developers would be allowed to build places people want.

    Nope, you get a mess. However, I'll point out that, with your ideas, you could probably hire on as an entry level planner at the City of San Diego. They've abdicated any pretense of using what they should have learned in school and are currently spouting stuff like this, while their retired predecessors (my friends and colleagues) look on in disgust. Problem is, planning jobs don't pay well enough for you to live within walking or biking distance of downtown, so you'd have to commute...

    236:

    228 - OK, using the same level of thought you seem to have used in this post:-

    1) The legislative and built infrastructure have evolved together over 120 years. You therefore need a similar time to make your changes, and can't change the legislation without matching changes in the built infrastructure in the same timescale.
    2) Velocipedes are vehicles every bit as much as IC and EV powered machines are. I await with interest your proposal for restricting my racing bike to 15mph, rather than the present 30mph (burst up to 40mph for a specialist sprinter) on level ground, and up to 60mph for a specialist descender on a mountain pass.

    229 para the last - Er, the singer Madonna used the term "boy toy" as a self-description.

    237:

    Every post you wrote her over the last couple days makes me laugh because I am the absolute opposite of your intended audience.

    You and I are more alike than not, although I love eating fish. You may want to get those books I listed, because I think you'll enjoy them.

    There is some fun to be had in watching others twitch, too.

    238:

    The famous opening sentence of Anthony Burgess' ambitious but less successful novel Earthly Powers reads:

    "It was the afternoon of my eighty-first birthday, and I was in bed with my catamite when Ali announced that the archbishop had come to see me."

    That book ended up somewhat less well-known than the one he's famous for, A Clockwork Orange. But it's certainly a striking opening.

    239:

    You and I are more alike than not, although I love eating fish. You may want to get those books I listed, because I think you'll enjoy them.

    I had realized that you and I are alike for quite some time. And I already looked up these books on Amazon :)

    240:

    Heteromeles --

    Out of curiosity, what exactly do you do for work? I do data processing (and occasional odd diving jobs) for NOAA.

    241:

    " Er, the singer Madonna used the term "boy toy" as a self-description."

    I've come across that usage too, in various places.

    OTOH, I've also come across "toyboy" to refer to the original idea of a young male in a relationship with a significantly older person, and that does seem unambiguous. I don't know, however, if it can apply to same-sex relationships.

    JHomes

    242:

    Hetero said: Nope, you get a mess

    You make a convincing argument that mandatory single family housing and 85 mph speed limits are the most humanitarian possible arrangement, and that anyone trying to have housing on a human scale with walkable cities where people work and live close together are both impossible, and evil. What's more, converting cities to rule by car is a one way process that can't be undone.

    However there are plenty of examples where this has been done. All it takes is enabling legislation, and then a groundswell of people appears. If it's illegal to have anything but a single family home, everyone lives in a single family home and then the only difference is proximity to the good things. So the workers have to live far out.

    If you allow medium density then you can have shoebox apartments and grand penthouse in the same building. There's suddenly the density needed to support restaurants and shops on the ground floor, that employ the workers in the shoebox apartments. So the workers can walk or cycle to work, and don't have to drive 100 miles a day, at 85 mph getting 15 mpg, and so don't spend the first 6 hours at work earning enough money to get to work.

    There's enough density to support public transport at high frequency. So you're not going to be two miles from a bus stop.

    As I said, it seems inconceivable when you've never seen anything different, but if you make the enabling changes, change happens.

    Right now your reaction is "we tried it in this one small place, with none of the right conditions, and it didn't work, so it can't work."

    It would definitely work. We know it works, because it's been done and it works.

    What doesn't work is half measures. If you put in cycleways that get you half way to work, but you'll die in the remaining bit, they don't work.

    If you have one high rise apartment in a sea of single family houses, it's still a 10 mile drive to the nearest store, school, theater, doctor and park, so every family in the high rise needs 3 cars and so there's no parking, just like you said.

    It's very different when you live in an apartment, in a place where there are hundreds of similar apartment blocks. Below you on the ground level of your block there's a bank and a supermarket. The next building has a chemist and a bakery. The next building has a cafe and a bicycle shop. The next building has a medical centre with 12 doctors, the next building has a phone store and a gym, the next building has an underground train station. Across the road is a park that takes up a city block. There's a lake with ducks and the sports field used by the school that's on the other side of the park.

    Cities like that exist, and some of them have been made out of the horror that was a car infested hellscape.

    244:

    This reminds me of a short story I read once where aliens crash landed and utilised materials belonging to a human who owned the property on which they crash landed. They wanted to repay the human but due to scale differences they couldn't think of what to do, until, from memory, one of them proposed a formula that turned plastic into whiskey and seeded it into their rubbish bin...

    245:

    Both were unconcerned about the deaths of people who were in the way to the point of genocide.

    246:

    I think the argument is about how to get there, not whether there is desirable or necessary.

    The idea of standing up in the USA and saying something that translates to "shoot me now" to 90% of USA residents is likely to work, just not as an improvement to urban planning systems.

    Some people here have spent decades trying to influence urban planning, with a considerable degree of scientific method about it. "let's try this. What happened? Is that what we wanted? Can we change what we did to get more of what we wanted and less of the unwanted?" and so on. Sure, it's a red queen race against people who want very different things and are using similar analytical techniques, with similarly varying results (including, locally, some jail sentences! Ooops, apparently giving money to elected officials if they do what they're told can be illegal... who knew?)

    247:

    I always enjoyed the expression "Goy Joy Boy Toy", from Howard Chaykin's TIME SQUARED grapic novel https://imagecomics.com/comics/releases/time-2-omnibus-hc

    248:

    Moz said: I think the argument is about how to get there, not whether there is desirable or necessary.

    Oh, OK.

    That's different.

    You can't get there. The rich and powerful want things as they are and they don't care how poor and miserable that makes everyone else. Nor do they care that it will eventually kill them, because they think their money will protect them.

    So if that's the conversation, I'm out because it's pointless. I'm on an SF blog, I'm looking for pleasing escapism, like, "just change these two laws, what happens?". Not reality: "is there an actual path from here to a decent planet"

    249:

    Um...

    By rough analogy, what you proposed was akin to me proposing that, as a technical diver, you could double your earning potential by halving the time you spend in decompression and using that time to fly between jobs. You'd quite rightly tell me to either go frack myself or try it myself, because it's a lethally stupid idea. And you'd furthermore be rightly amused if I got angry at your response.

    By slightly better analogy...one model planners sometimes resort to is that a city runs like a human body. This is all kinds of BS, but in this case, it helps explain where you went wrong. Your proposal to densify and reduce speed limits is crudely analogous to letting the density of a human's muscle cells expand without limit, while dropping their blood pressure by about two-thirds. Hopefully I don't have to explain why this won't work?

    San Diego embodies over a century of previous planning. As a result, it has residential neighborhoods, commercial districts, and industrial districts, among five military bases, a couple of airports and so forth. Because San Diego embodies car culture, these neighborhoods are well-separated. I'm 25 miles from downtown, for example.

    Slowing traffic and densifying only works if you entirely rebuild the city into a bunch of smaller, multi-use neighborhoods (the equivalent of chopping up the human and refashioning them into a bunch of cats). AND it only works if people can get everything they need, including a job, spouse, food, medical care, etc. within easy biking distance. AND it only works if the communication and circulation between these villages and special purpose facilities (port, airports, big industrial plants, military bases) is sufficient to sustain both the villages and the other big sites.

    While I agree this is what we should be planning towards, in complexity it really is like turning a human body into a bunch of cats, because most of the roads, infrastructure, and buildings have to be rebuilt to serve the neighborhoods more than the City as a whole. And, since we're in a democracy, everyone has to go along with this in some form or other.

    Hopefully you're not at all surprised that a good chunk of San Diegans have serious problems with these ideas? And I sincerely hope you agree that planners doing a crap job of actually figuring out how to rebuild San Diego into a "City of Villages" deserve little respect or support for their blunders.

    This is also why I suggested that it would be easier to rebuild San Diego after a nuclear war. The nukes, at least, would destroy most of the problematic legacies, and the survivors would be more interested in surviving than in resurrecting past planning mistakes. This does not mean I support getting bombed, but hopefully it makes the scale of the problem clear.

    250:

    PS, I'm also pointing out that piecemeal solutions don't work.

    Just like having bicycle infrastructure that only gets you killed on part of the trip doesn't work.

    If you arrange things such that you have a neighbourhood that's not a hellscape, but everywhere else is, 1) Everyone who lives there has to have a car or three to access "everywhere else" and 2) no one who can afford to live there will be willing to work in the jobs there and 3) no ordinary business could afford the rents in such a special place, so the only businesses in the neighbourhood will be selling 10,000 dollar handbags and such.

    You need to make everywhere livable, and or, make the unlivable places literally unlivable. Places that are just single family homes 100 miles from shops and work for example. You can either nuke them, as suggested by Hetero, or devalue them so people leave, by making the 100 mile gap to work uncrossable in a day.

    251:

    Hetero said: and the survivors would be more interested in surviving than in resurrecting past planning mistakes.

    No, they wouldn't. They'd be even more interested in replicating the past planning mistakes.

    People don't build single family homes 100 miles from everything because they're stupid. They do it because they have no choice. They have no choice because the laws have been carefully crafted to give them no choice.

    City planners can't fix that. They're probably not as stupid as you make out (note, this leaves a wide scope for them to be quite stupid)

    They're probably doing the best they can "Given the circumstances" (meaning, operating within the laws we have foisted upon us by the fossil fuel industry and the car industry working in tandem)

    Working with the stakeholders to try to improve things is a worthy cause, and hats off to anyone who does it. I've tried and it's gigantically shit. However it's not going to do any good in this case if you still have a legal framework that was specifically created, and then carefully honed with the sole objective of making your goal impossible. Not even a nuclear strike would help unless it also vapourised the laws that created this situation. All a nuclear strike could do is prompt people to buy cars better suited to driving without pavement. If it's impossible to live near your work, you either get a giant car that can drive over what's left of the roads, or you starve. Everyone picks "giant car".

    252:

    Billionaires can be moved. There simply aren't enough angry people yet.

    253:

    Well the Dutch did it. So it can be done.

    254:

    Gas: People don't build single family homes 100 miles from everything because they're stupid. They do it because they have no choice. They have no choice because the laws have been carefully crafted to give them no choice.

    Okay, more ignorance. I'm in a planned community, designed in the 1960s, built in chunks, using money originally from the Teamster's retirement fund in the 1980s, and finishing out now with the last two parcels bought in the 1960s for investment land now having around 548 town homes and condos built on them.

    People buy the houses where they can. Where they're built is planned. Whether they're close to work, etc. is in part up to luck.

    And that makes minimizing travel distance hard.

    255:

    Isn't "where they can" and "because they have no choice" saying the same thing?

    256:

    OK, so we don't "have" to nuke current cities. "All" we have to do is bomb them flat over 5 years or so, then rebuild them using aid monies from a larger and richer nation. (you were the one who used NL as an argument)

    257:

    Isn't "where they can" and "because they have no choice" saying the same thing?

    That depends on income. But you're saying people build their own houses. I'm pointing out that planners designated where those houses were to be built decades before. One huge problem is the mismatch between what planners designed for decades ago and what is needed now.

    The hundred miles thing is because the more inland counties have lower land values, in large part because they're less pleasant places to live. But they're building the same way.

    Providing affordable housing in expensive places like San Diego (fifth most expensive place to live in the US, last I heard) is hard.

    258:

    Hetero said: Whether they're close to work, etc. is in part up to luck.

    There's no luck involved if the zoning laws are written so that you can't build a residence above a business.

    I haven't seen your planned community, but I've seen a few US planned communities. Chances are, there's a golf course, and a club house with a restaurant. 5 gets you ten that none of the greens keepers can afford to live in the community and they drive an hour to work. That's not luck. No one working in the club restaurant can afford to live there either.

    I'm betting that each family has to themselves one sewer connection point. One telephone connection. One data connection. One electricity connection. One driveway. And 20m of roadway.

    There will be no supermarket, no bank, no tiny artisan cafe, no hardware store, no nothing. Everything will be 10 miles drive, with no public transport stop inside the community.

    There will be basically no work, no business within walking distance. That's not luck.

    Just how the car companies want it to be.

    259:

    [REDACTED]

    Charlie is on the verge of closing the blog, so I deleted my response. You're a hundred times more annoying than Catinadiamond ever was.

    260:

    Changing the topic only slightly, the NEOM linear development in Saudi Arabia is under construction. At least they're digging holes for it.

    https://gizmodo.com/saudi-arabia-line-city-satellite-image-built-1849875521

    If you still think it's somewhat insane...well, this is an example of how development works. It will take until 2030 to build it out if things go according to plan.

    By the way, if you think this kind of big-scale planned economy project smacks of Ye Olde Soviet System, you're far from the first to notice that conservative, wealthy developers sound positively communist when insisting that the plan must be built, even if it's outdated by decades. It's a jarring juxtaposition, the first time you hear it.

    261:

    There's no luck involved if the zoning laws are written so that you can't build a residence above a business.

    doesn't this sort of thing normally go back to someone having once built a capsule hotel on top of a slaughterhouse and having the whole thing collapse one morning

    262:

    ilya187 @ 234:

    Aung San Suu Kyi? What does she have in common with Pol Pot?

    Some compare Myanmar's persecution of the Muslim minority Rohingya to the Cambodian genocide. Aung San Suu Kyi has been criticized for not speaking out against it.

    263:

    They both had awesome theories of how their countries should work, and unfortunately a lot of people died as a result. Neither acted alone but both became the figureheads for their regimes.

    When you get people saying "lets limit travel speed to a fast run", implementing that would cause harm in direct proportion to the vigour with which is was applied. I mean, you don't want to see someone get out of the ambulance because it's faster to walk to the emergency department... and think about a major industrial fire, where appliance have to come from some distance away. "hold on, we'll be there in... 18 hours".

    264:

    People don't build {single family} homes

    IMO it's more accurate without the qualification. I expect more than 90% of people have never lived in a home they had any say in the original construction of. More have never renovated beyond changing paint colours or light fittings. Even in Australia when more than 50% of families owned their homes most bought what was built and liked it.

    There's a circularity here between people not having any say over their homes, not being interested in planning, and planning being run by and for property developers. It's one of many fun and interesting aspects of urban planning.

    There are also many, many examples of good ideas that miss some aspect of the problem they're creating, and as a result are actually bad ideas. Whether that's as simple as combining "shops are allowed to have zero setback from the property line/footpath" with "people are allowed to ride bicycles etc on the footpath" or as complex as political donation rules that allow structuring to avoid disclosure or limits, there are many things to consider when making the rules that govern the behaviour of the people who plan urban areas (in Australia we get all five levels of government playing!)

    265:

    Moz @ 263:

    They both had awesome theories of how their countries should work, and unfortunately a lot of people died as a result. Neither acted alone but both became the figureheads for their regimes.

    I don't think she is quite as culpable as he was. She's more in the mold of the "good Germans who did not resist the NAZIS" than an actual bloody handed mass murderer like he was.

    Still, I understand the comparison.

    When you get people saying "lets limit travel speed to a fast run", implementing that would cause harm in direct proportion to the vigour with which is was applied. I mean, you don't want to see someone get out of the ambulance because it's faster to walk to the emergency department... and think about a major industrial fire, where appliance have to come from some distance away. "hold on, we'll be there in... 18 hours".

    I believe I missed THAT argument. It was probably put forth by one of the idiots I block for being annoying idiots. FWIW, I agree it's a damn stupid, ill considered idea.

    266:

    More What-The-Fuckery from the interwebbies.

    Ultimate Transnistria Victory Day Tour

    267:

    People don't build single family homes 100 miles from everything because they're stupid. They do it because they have no choice.

    Well many times neither. In the US coming out of WWII people were fed up with run down multi-family housing. (The 1930s were economically terrible in the US. Just flat out terrible.) And had the money to change. So they wanted different and waived money at builders/developers who would build them a single family home with a yard away from the factory/train track/office tower/whatever. And the builders/developers followed the money.

    Planning back then was light weight or aimed at fixing immediate issues. The planning H is talking about developed over the decades since to deal with the issues this "sprawl" caused. But many people (voters) have absolutely no interest in any of the fixes. They want things fixed. Just not in any way that would irritate them.

    Now the one issue is a lot of people (kids and grand kids of those WWII folks) want what they grew up with. And ANYONE err, any elected official telling them they have to change will mostly get a long walk off a short plank. Especially if they enact laws. They problem is the election cycles (in the US) are mostly 2 years while the issues are on 5 to 30 years tracks.

    Now my personal knowledge of Europe on this subject is thin to say the least. But I suspect the same issues, only different, are at play there and other places like OZ. To me Brexit is the same basic meal. Only with a different place setting, drinks, and condiments.

    A couple of personal notes.

    First I grew up in a fairly rural area. We had a mix of country and small town. And I watch what I described happen close up. My father built houses "on the side" and people WANTED out in the country, drive to work, single family housing, with a yard. Period. To the extent that when someone built a duplex in an 18 lot development we started but were done with their neighbors wanted my father to sue to have it torn down. He passed. It was against the deed restrictions he had written but he realized it was the wrong thing by the time of the fight.

    I lived in a rental duplex for 5 years in the Pittsburgh area. It was OK but at times listing to the neighbors fight was a hassle that I'd rather not deal with as my work had me trying to sleep during the day at times.

    My wife and I just ended a 10 year run of apartment living in the Dallas / Fort Worth area. Neighbors can be assholes. And you many times can't do anything about it. From porch thieves to shooting out car windows with pellet guns to get people to leave the nice parking places for them. Or just lifting (and dropping) weights in the unit above. Four different complexes over the 10 years.

    To H's point: Slowing traffic and densifying only works if you entirely rebuild the city into a bunch of smaller, multi-use neighborhoods (the equivalent of chopping up the human and refashioning them into a bunch of cats). AND it only works if people can get everything they need, including a job, spouse, food, medical care, etc. within easy biking distance.

    We're trying to do that in my neighborhood. (By neighborhood I'm talking an area 5 or more miles across.) And the push back is fierce. It just caused over half the city council to get tossed. Which has happened mostly now after the same thing for 10+ years. The new enable the dream folks campaign on dreams, get elected, face reality, and don't enable the dreams. Then they get tossed for the realists. The realists actually try and do at least some of what needs to be done. And the activist dreamers go nuts and throw them out for a new crop of dreamers. Fun times.

    And to Gas, your US planned communities do exist. In large numbers. But they are no where near the majority of new housing. Just the poster child for what people who can afford it think they want and those who can't aspire to. Most new housing in the US is 2 to 4 story apartments or planned communities which mix up row house/town house/apartments with a few of those golf course houses (maybe without the golf course because land is EXPENSIVE) for the brochure. And most of the folks who own older existing single family 1/4 acre or so lots want these things SOMEWHERE ELSE. Out of sight out of mind.

    My last point. People in the US WANT that single family house with a yard. But it doesn't work for most folks when you have 300 million people to deal with. H and I know it. My relatives who moved to Detroit in the 1950s kept telling us to move up to the good life. (1/6 acre lots and 1500sf 2 story housing with a school down the street.) Of course by the 1970s they had moved to the burbs outside the city because, well, things changed and no longer worked. If you have walk to school neighborhoods based on everyone living there having a few kids, what happens in 20 years. Do you evict the empty nesters or close the schools due to too few students.

    As to the SF blog aspects of all of this. I think H (me putting words into his mouth) and I get our hackles up when folks start waxing poetic about colonizing Mars err quick fixing 21st century living in the industrial world. We're living it and it sucks that pie the sky solutions go nowhere. But keep being proposed.

    Until the current system breaks hard people will keep trying to keep it going.

    Is Germany closing down all those indoor heated water parks this winter to deal with the lack of Russian gas?

    268:

    and instead allow multi storey mixed use development.

    There are few places in the US where mixed use business on first floor or few and living spaces above is not allowed. But it costs a lot more than the standalone of either.

    If you put business below living spaces you have to really beef up the fire codes and egress situations for the living spaces. Or severely restrict the types of businesses on the lower floors. No restaurants, dry cleaners, auto shops, or most anything with flames or flammable stuff. Basically only businesses with white collar offices or maybe a clothing store. And without those building codes the insurance companies will not insure the properties.

    So it comes down to money. When the land cost gets high enough, think New York City, Tokyo, London, etc... and now down the street from me, well then it becomes economically viable. But until then nope. Of course by then you don't get low end stores, you get the high end stores selling over priced stuff to rich folks.

    1/3 acre lots in my neighborhood were selling for $450K 3 years ago. Now for $735K+. Ten year ago, maybe $120K.

    269:

    Adrian Smith said: doesn't this sort of thing normally go back to someone having once built a capsule hotel on top of a slaughterhouse and having the whole thing collapse one morning

    No. It goes back to two interests that happened to be fellow travellers.

    Racism, and laws that ban it.

    Fossil fuel/car companies.

    Racism, you set things up so that black people have low paid jobs. Then you zone new housing so that only single family dwellings can be built by developers in all the new suburbs. Presto! You have whites only suburbs without breaking the law.

    Fossil fuel companies' interests are obvious.

    It's not the developers. (with few exceptions where the developers are also crazy racists). Developers like medium density housing. There's far less cost of infrastructure, there's less land that needs to be acquired, larger blocks with less road (you can't sell roads) less building cost per dwelling, more profit on sales, higher rents to commercial tenants, cheaper finance.

    Developers like high density even more. It's all those things, on steroids. Instead of a cafe and a hair dresser on the ground floor you can have a whole shopping centre. Kmart, Target, Woolworths (Australia) M&S, Aldi, Lidle, Tesco (UK) plus a hundred specialty shops.

    But when the law is that developers are only allowed to build single family dwellings, they build single family dwellings and people who can't find any accommodation near where they work, have to buy them. And if you grow up in one, there's no jobs near where you live and nowhere to live near jobs, so you must buy your first car on finance and drive 3 hours a day at 85 mph.

    It's not, as Moz points out, that anyone had a choice, or "built the house" beyond being a customer for a developer, but in the same way that buying a burger kills a cow, even if you've never seen a bolt gun, they cause the house to be built. Not because they're stupid. Not because they want to sentence their offspring to a 3 hour drive every day, but because they have no choice (or they buy what they can as Heteromeles puts it).

    Look, it's late here and I've already got a headache.

    Watch this

    https://youtu.be/SfsCniN7Nsc

    It's a "climate town" video and it says everything I'm failing to get across, but funny and engaging and features the young Burt Reynolds of climate change.

    And this

    https://youtu.be/cO6txCZpbsQ

    Which is a "not just bikes" video, and shows rather than tells, and it's also funny and engaging.

    Now if you want to talk to me about this, and like paws, you don't watch the linked videos that are part of what I'm saying, please say so, so I can not reply, both for my sanity, and to preserve this blog.

    270:

    Tackling inequality from the demand side The classic example is the 90%+ top tax rates that prevailed for much of the period between FDR and JFK. The most common critique of that policy is it didn’t raise a lot of money, as very few people ever paid those rates. Why did no one pay those rates? Because it was dumb to earn incomes into a tax bracket from which funds would just be confiscated. So the rich, so good at gaming to pay themselves more money, also proved adept at gaming to pay themselves less. They behaved as if they were less greedy, regardless of whether in some deeper sense they were or were not.

    Interesting justification for confiscatory tax rates.

    271:

    gasdive & H & Moz
    AIUI at least 75% of the problem IN THE USA is the "zoning laws" - so you are NOT ALLOWED to have a corner shop, or small collection of them. People would probably love to open such small businesses to serve the inhabitants, but they are immediately faced with penalties & fines if they try it.
    Yes?
    ... later from H: these neighborhoods are well-separated. I'm 25 miles from downtown, for example. which is utterly fucking STUPID.

    LASTLY
    Amidst all the gloom & Stupidity ...
    We get something like this which tells you that "salvation" is possible, if all the politicians & religious leaders were packed off to a reservation.

    272:

    Greg said: AIUI at least 75% of the problem IN THE USA is the "zoning laws" - so you are NOT ALLOWED to have a corner shop

    That's my understanding as well. R1 zoning means single family dwellings and that's it.

    273:

    That site seems to have all the WTF holidays.

    I quite like the look of the Lebanese refugee camp and North Korea tours myself.

    274:

    reading about the "NEOM linear development" over the last several years what might have been overlooked was attention to certain details regarding water and transportation and security...

    if you ignore the authoritarian overtones of a known hereditary dictatorship -- "king owns the country and his male relatives run it as a family-owned business" -- what NOEM could well be intended to be a 'lifeboat'... if not perfect recycling then an attempt at re-use of water as much as feasible with biological waste products quietly pumped to an out-of-sight-out-of-smell assemblage of greenhouses... little doubt of massive battery installations plus square kilometers of mixed photovoltaic and windturbines to provide (my WAG) reliable 2.0 gigawatts per hour

    as bad as UK was slammed this past summer, try to imagine living in Saudi Arabia during the 2050s... going out-of-doors during daylit hours will verge upon life threatening to anyone over fifty and life shortening to those forced to work there...

    so... for the elite... in a remote locale... "lifeboat"

    275:

    hey, i'm not out here trying to pick fights (other than about nato/ukraine)

    thanks for the links

    276:

    R1 zoning means single family dwellings and that's it.

    Very little of the US is R1. R1 in almost all cases means 1 residential unit per acre. Unless you move way way WAY out, the land for such costs too much for all but the uber rich. My subdivision is typical for my area (3 to 4 million folks depending on the definition of the area) and is zoned R4. (A few years ago we had a zoning fight that sort of got it to R3 but not really but ...) Much of the area is R4 to R10. 4 residences per acre up to 10. But still single family. But there's a LOT of mixed use and/or apartment zoning near me. But many of my neighbors are very dedicated to keeping it as far away as possible.

    277:

    It's a "climate town" video and it says everything I'm failing to get across, but funny and engaging and features the young Burt Reynolds of climate change.

    I watched it. And yes he's funny and engaging. And makes a lot of good points. But he poisons his presentation.

    In the second minute he said, and I quote, "We don’t build low-density, low-efficiency housing because America prefers it, we build them because house developers are forced to because of a thing called single family zoning." And by "we" he means the US.

    This is assumption permeates his video and to be blunt, it's just not true. Maybe it is true in the social circles he travels. But most of the population of the US wants a single family house. While many of these folks can't afford it, they aspire to it. And any narrative based on his false assumption is a total mis-read of US politics. Or wishful thinking of what "should be" vs. what "is".

    He also states that Japan has affordable housing prices. Everything I've read/heard about Japan is that this is only true in farm country there or with commutes that make H's look easy. In the cities where most jobs are it is London type prices for very very tiny spaces.

    As to his comment about mixed use as in Europe (13:11 in the video) being uncommon in the US. Well not so much for a while now.

    278:

    Is Germany closing down all those indoor heated water parks this winter to deal with the lack of Russian gas?

    No, they are making them UNheated water parks:

    https://www.cnn.com/2022/07/29/energy/hanover-gas-saving-cold-showers/index.html

    [Hanover]'s the first city in Germany to switch to cold showers in public buildings, making hot water unavailable for handwashing and other uses in government facilities, gyms, and swimming pools.

    The city, located in the country’s northwest, will also reduce heating in public buildings, as well as stop lighting up public buildings during the evenings. Hanover will also turn off public fountains.

    279:

    Interesting justification for confiscatory tax rates.

    You have never seen it before? I am surprised. "The purpose of 90+% marginal tax rate is to ensure investment and hiring, instead of hoarding" is something I had seen for years. I do not know if that was actually in the minds of FDR-era legislators (I suspect it was not), but it is both empirically true, and has been a left-wing talking point for a long time.

    280:

    I haven't seen your planned community, but I've seen a few US planned communities. Chances are, there's a golf course, and a club house with a restaurant. 5 gets you ten that none of the greens keepers can afford to live in the community and they drive an hour to work. That's not luck. No one working in the club restaurant can afford to live there either.

    Now we get to the crux of the problem: you have no idea what I'm talking about, but you're going to prove I'm wrong and you're right.

    Sad part is, this is the second time I've dealt with this kind of ignorance in action this week, and the first time was the result of a real life City planner acting like Gas.

    Background: right now the City doesn't seem to be promoting planners within their department, but rather hiring people from other departments or from outside. As a result, there's staff high turnover, and institutional knowledge rests with outsiders: the developers, consultants, community planning boards, and NGO people like me.

    So anyway, last year they assigned a community plan update to a brand new planner, fresh out of college and from a state over 1000 miles from here. At least that state has a reasonably-sized city in it and has more people than the city of San Diego does (e.g. not Wyoming, the Dakotas, or Alaska). But they had no idea what they'd gotten into, and like Gas above, they were proceeding from first principles and making the same sorts of mistakes.

    And like Gas, they've so far been unwilling to listen when we tell them why their proposals won't work.

    Problem is, they're messing with a community that's fiercely defended by a bunch of old and very knowledgeable locals (university professors, people who've run community friends groups for decades). The sad part is, the locals have far more sophisticated ideas about what's wrong and how to fix it. The planners have no institutional knowledge and aren't listening.

    Long story short, I'm getting pulled into a coalition to fight this. If the planners don't get a clue, it likely will end up in court, and any effort to fix the problems will be delayed for years.

    With the housing crunch we're all trying to deal with, the planning department seems to be defaulting to letting the developers build whatever they want in the way of high density, wherever they can get the land, with no planning to adapt the infrastructure to make it all work. I'm sure all the developers build will be mixed use in part (that's been going on for decades), but I'm betting that most of the housing they build will be surplus high end condos, rather than desperately needed cheap apartments.

    Anyway, I'm out of this discussion with Gasdive. Thanks to David L and others who are trying to get him up to speed on American land use.

    281:

    No, MSB is right. He didn't say it is simple, but that the greenwash of just converting to EVs won't solve anything. In fact, they will only reduce a few of the problems, even if our energy generation were all 'green'.

    282:

    By the way, if you think this kind of big-scale planned economy project smacks of Ye Olde Soviet System, you're far from the first to notice that conservative, wealthy developers sound positively communist when insisting that the plan must be built, even if it's outdated by decades. It's a jarring juxtaposition, the first time you hear it.

    Not so surprising. The Soviet Union was partly designed on Taylorist principles, which were in vogue for large corporations at the same time.

    283:

    And the technique didn't work. All that happened was that the very rich and greedy found ways to bypass the taxes altogether, and effectively paid themselves more. Vindictive tax rates as a way of reducing social inequality are stupid.

    284:

    My wife and I just ended a 10 year run of apartment living in the Dallas / Fort Worth area. Neighbors can be assholes.

    I grew up in a house. Lived in apartments after I moved out until I finally bought my own house 25 years ago. I would resist going back. I've got an asshole neighbour here, but it's way better having a patch of open ground separating us rather than just a (thin) wall.

    285:

    It seems to me that you could have a compromise. A housing development would have an area zoned for single family housing, but it would also have an area zoned for business, perhaps along with an obligation to build (at least) a corner-mini-mall type place, plus an area specifically for a (hopefully) right-sized office building. If you wanted to keep the business area away from the residential area, you could separate them with a park/community center/community garden/small wilderness area. I'm not sure you need to put businesses under apartments, but if new residential builds required business and office spaces to be in biking distance of your neighborhood that would be very good, and possibly far more sellable to the public!

    286:

    No, MSB is right. He didn't say it is simple, but that the greenwash of just converting to EVs won't solve anything. In fact, they will only reduce a few of the problems, even if our energy generation were all 'green'.

    Now you're falling into the same quagmire that Gasdive went into.

    What you wrote is obvious. If you don't understand that any more drastic solution demands massive rebuilding of cities (what I referred to above as "turning human bodies into a bunch of cats," to highlight the reorganization problem), and that such drastic reorganization is going to take time and huge resources--or nuclear war and survivors' bricolage--then you're just repeating Gasdive's mistake.

    In the meantime, we need EVs, because they can be rolled out and adopted faster than we can renovate cities.

    287:

    "In the meantime, we need EVs, because they can be rolled out and adopted faster than we can renovate cities."

    THIS! ^^^

    Though I might add "powered by Green energy" right after the word "EVs."

    288:

    It seems to me that you could have a compromise. A housing development would have an area zoned for single family housing, but it would also have an area zoned for business, perhaps along with an obligation to build (at least) a corner-mini-mall type place, plus an area specifically for a (hopefully) right-sized office building. If you wanted to keep the business area away from the residential area, you could separate them with a park/community center/community garden/small wilderness area. I'm not sure you need to put businesses under apartments, but if new residential builds required business and office spaces to be in biking distance of your neighborhood that would be very good, and possibly far more sellable to the public!

    Oddly enough, this is what has been built in my area for about 20 years or so. This is what a generic "planned community" looks like around here.

    There are some problems though. The big one is that the people who work in the business and especially in the stores generally don't live in the community. This is almost inevitable, since people rarely stay in jobs that long any more, and it's easier to commute than to move.

    A new and interesting problem was unearthed by covid, which demonstrated that work-from-home was quite viable. Great news for workers, but it left a lot of businesses paying rents on empty offices, and a lot of business owners paying the mortgages on empty office buildings. I'm pretty sure this is behind the huge push now to get employees back in offices, even though it makes little sense environmentally.

    In the longer run, we've probably got a surplus of business buildings, so they'll have to get repurposed, ideally for lower income apartments, which in turn will need surrounding businesses like grocery stores and other amenities which don't occur in business parks, along with upgraded water and sewer to deal with more people.

    This is where planning gets messy. In the 1960s we planned for sprawl that didn't happen as planned, resulting in some weird unbuilt roads in some places, and ad hoc roads built where people did end up moving. In the 1980s and 90s we built golf courses everywhere and raised the price of surrounding lots for "the view." For the last decade, golf play has plummeted, courses have closed, and plans to convert them to condos or (gasp) apartments or senior living facilities are being sued over by homeowners who see the lost "view" as a loss to their home values. Now we've probably got surplus business parks, insufficient affordable housing, a need to go to PV wherever we can, and no understanding by planners that buildings casting shade on existing panels will be an endless source of litigation.

    And as always, there are whiners like me, who can see the problems coming, but who aren't listened to, in part because the cost of lawsuits is now penciled in to the development price. Potentially this last is one reason they build high end investment properties rather than affordable housing? I dunno.

    289:

    Not so surprising. The Soviet Union was partly designed on Taylorist principles, which were in vogue for large corporations at the same time.

    Yes and no. Their argument is more "this has been planned for decades, so it has to be built now." The stress is on "the plan."

    In part I get it, but it's a sunk cost argument. They've been paying property taxes on development parcels sometimes for 40 or more years. The land was purchased as an investment, on the idea that it would be eventually upzoned and sold to a developer or builder. It's this sunk cost that drives their pushing to follow "the plan," even when the plan makes little sense.

    This is another kind of inertia in the system. We need rapid change, but many parcels have millions of dollars invested in them becoming something else. Often, litigation solves the problem of who pays to make that dream get lost, or whether it gets built. That, in turn, adds to the cost of whatever happens to that land, and it also makes it harder and slower to change.

    And so it goes.

    290:

    This is almost inevitable, since people rarely stay in jobs that long any more, and it's easier to commute than to move.

    So we make commutes hard! Very slow cars with 15mph top speed (didn't someone propose that?) would theoretically make commutes too painful to bear, and effectively chain people to the jobs they already have! Problem solved!

    291:

    You are backing the motor lobby, unquestionally. Even assuming that 50 mile commutes are the norm and cannot be reduced, there is no need to use multi-ton juggernauts to transport one or a few people. Furthermore, there is no need to continue to head in the wrong direction, as far as most aspects of city building are concerned.

    292:

    If we don't want people working from home, and we don't want them driving to work then the obvious solution is to bring the work to to them.

    I propose the development of itinerant office buildings and factories that roam the landscape, collecting and depositing employees as they go.

    Optimising paths between employee housing is NP complete, but it can be fixable with "hot bedding" and "hot jobbing" - the employee is deposited in a free house at the end of their shift and collected by a new workplace at the beginning of their next one.

    Having all their worldly possessions in a single bag will reduce environmental impact.

    Whether or not the workplaces walk around on chicken legs TBD.

    293:

    I propose the development of itinerant office buildings and factories that roam the landscape, collecting and depositing employees as they go.

    As satire, this is a delight!

    In reality...

    ...This actually appeared in print a few years ago. Some industries depend on cheap labor. Clothing is a big one, since there's always a demand for cheap garment workers for cheap clothes. As a result, the garment industry has gone global, with each piece (spinning, weaving, garment manufacture) in a different country where local laws and economics favor that particular bit.

    One exec in the garment industry suggested something similar to what you proposed: putting garment factories on big ships. These would move from one hurricane-ravaged port city to the next, exploiting the demand for any paid work in the aftermath of disasters to keep costs down. When the city recovered enough that the garment workers started demanding higher wages, the factory ship would simply fire them all and move on to the next port. The person proposing this idea suggested that it was a humanitarian operation, providing temporary jobs in areas that needed them. Whether you view it as that or as exploitation of the vulnerable is one of those interesting questions, and it may be why we can't have nice things.

    Anyway, great idea. And I'd vote for chicken legs over cassowary legs (or rooster legs, for that matter). Maybe those chicken legs need to be on e-scooters? I dunno.

    294:

    So we make commutes hard! Very slow cars with 15mph top speed (didn't someone propose that?) would theoretically make commutes too painful to bear, and effectively chain people to the jobs they already have! Problem solved!

    Exactly! Heck, and while you're at it, stop paying your workers entirely and just own them. Then you can fine them if they try to run away at more than 15 mph. I mean, they emitted a lot less CO2 when slavery was legal, didn't they?

    295:

    Ok, with the note that some illustrations of Baba Yaga's hut make it quadruped rather than chicken legged.

    296:

    I should have remembered that modern capitalism is impossible to satirise.

    297:

    The Hut of Baba-Yaga
    There you go - { YouTube clip + Mussorgsky! }

    298:

    Whether or not the workplaces walk around on chicken legs TBD.

    It would of course be more carbon-friendly if the workplaces simply drifted with the wind, hung from giant dirigibles.

    299:

    If you had hung around here long enough you would know all the talking points about hydrogen as fuel or lifting gas, and cheap helium is out as fusion is 50 years away.

    300:

    It seems to me that you could have a compromise. A housing development would have an area zoned for single family housing, but it would also have an area zoned for business, perhaps along with an obligation to build ....

    Around here there is much of that. But you have to drive a mile or so to the shops. Which is way better than 5 miles. This is how my area now works. Groceries, food, movies, restaurants (cheap and fancy), etc... are all within 1 1/2 miles of me. So while I need a car, it's not like it was in the Dallas area where the gas gauged moved after going to get groceries.

    Of course this makes my area VERY desirable for the new folks showing up with their new Apple or Google badge and a suitcase full of money to pay for the house next door. And totally pisses off the old farts who want the world to go back 30+ years.

    Where the issue bites hard is re-development or urban areas. My best client is an decently sized architecture firm. They deal with re-developing urban warehouses, older department stores, urban infill, etc... a lot. All kinds of fire code and similar issues come into play to make these things work. If you make it work first floor retail, second floor and maybe a few more of offices, maybe a few floors of parking, then residential on up can make for a vibrant urban area. But you can't just have just one block. And without groceries and pharmacies, people will have to drive.

    301:

    Re: 'If you've got any resources on brain fog, ...'

    Here's a general nutritional overview mostly based on other immune disrupting conditions but believed to also be relevant for long COVID.

    Short answer: try the Mediterranean diet.

    'Dietary Recommendations for Post-COVID-19 Syndrome'

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8954128/

    'Patients with COVID-19 have shown alterations in the composition of the gut microbiota, especially in the context of antibiotic use, and this can have both short- and long-term consequences for physical and psychological well-being, including recovery and the occurrence/severity of post-COVID-19 syndrome '

    Personalized diet plans are also mentioned: everyone's different, their bodies/organs' cells will react differently.

    About the brain fog - below is a preprint about an existing med that's shown promise in a lab animal study. (Also, from my POV, answers why medical problems with certain organs may increase risk for people.)

    https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.04.01.438122v1

    I'm guessing the above will see publication - researchers are from University College London (UK), neuroscience dept.

    Re: Original topic thread about 'weird' --

    I've recently seen some 'illusion sculptures' on Twitter - unfortunately without the artist's name. Very interesting and I'm wondering whether they can be achieved via holograph image maybe for one of Charlie's book covers.

    Here's an example of this art form - the video is 4:38 long.

    'Illusion Sculptures Only Appear If You Stand In The Right Spot' | Master Craft

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

    And now for a different topic since we're at or about 300 posts...

    Re: SKorea/golden oldies music covers

    Recently saw this pulled up by the YT algo. Best version of 'Scarborugh Fair' I've ever heard. Apart from the vocals, kudos to whoever did the music arrangement - really gave it a Celtic feel. (Group's name is Forestella - not KPop, but popera like Il Divo.)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NWo1l3w69Ng

    302:

    Vindictive tax rates as a way of reducing social inequality are stupid.

    But it does create a and sustain the industry of tax avoidance. If your accountant will charge you $500K to save $10 mil in taxes, why not?

    303:

    Your comment is a great summary of our current food fight over zoning. Folks are yelling about the PLAN. They city council is not following the PLAN. And they voted many of them out last month.

    When I ask what should be done when the plan is based on 10K people moving to area X and 30K show up ... crickets.

    There are 1 million people in my county, 1/2 million in my city. 67 people a day move to the county. And have been doing it for over 30 years. The PLANNED growth folks keep saying this is temporary. I want to know just when the temporary kicks in. Oh, we have world class universities here. Did you tell your kids to move somewhere else when they got their degrees? Crickets.

    Basically they want to have a top 10 place in the country to live (most every survey for 30+ years) but no one allowed to know about it or move to here.

    Oh, well.

    304:

    Sounds like being the 90th or the 100th "best place in the country to live", is actually better than being in "top 10". I live in Gloucester, MA. Nobody ever claimed Gloucester is in top 10. But I very much prefer it to either Boston, or Boston's immediate suburbs.

    305:

    I will NOT argue against your point.

    Me, I do NOT like cold. Not at all. 7 years in Pittsburgh and 2 in Connecticut with frequent trips to Boston, Chicago, etc... convinced me to move south to a climate like where I grew up.

    While typing this US CBS Sunday morning is playing over my shoulder with a segment on the Nakagin Capsule Tower Building. It is being torn down.

    306:

    Oh, I completely agree with you about the weather. My ideal place to live would be something like Kihei, HI -- which my ex-wife disparagingly called "Gloucester with palm trees". But when comparing same-climate places, to me Gloucester wins out over Boston. And Kihei wins out over San Francisco.

    307:

    A friend lives in a 100 or so year old house in an older section of town. He's been there for 30 years or so. It was a crime infested area with street walkers and drug dealers on the nearby streets when he moved there. Over time he and other gradually worked to make things better. Now it's a nice area to live. But some of the people are seriously complaining about how the result was to increase their property values and thus their property taxes. They just get mad if asked if they want the street walkers and drug dealers back to lower their taxes.

    309:

    Oh, I completely agree with you about the weather. My ideal place to live would be something like Kihei, HI -- which my ex-wife disparagingly called "Gloucester with palm trees". But when comparing same-climate places, to me Gloucester wins out over Boston. And Kihei wins out over San Francisco.

    Kihei's quite nice. Gotta get back there someday. Personally, I also like Hilo, which is sort of like a warm mini-Seattle. And unlike Seattle it's downslope from some reasonably friendly volcanoes...if you give Tutu Pele and her family proper respect, of course. Fortunately She doesn't do Mt. Rainier-style lahars, unless you really, specially piss her off.*

    *to the atheists in the crowd...yeah yeah. If you're ever on Hawai'i and see an old lady hitchihiking on a deserted road, give her a lift and be polite. Hawai'i's got a tradition of vanishing hitchhikers who are also gin-loving volcano goddesses, and it generally pays to be nice to them.

    310:

    There's some weird preconceptions here.

    Medium density housing and slow commutes = modern slavery.

    Take major hospitals as an example. A major hospital needs a population from which to draw patients. That's roughly 800,000 people.

    Housed in typical US suburban density that's 1100 sq km. A circle radius 18 km. That implies hospitals would be about 36 km apart.

    Housed in medium density mixed, equal to Barcelona that's 50 sq km. A circle radius 4 km. That implies hospitals will be about 8 km apart.

    Housed in high density mixed, equal to the dense parts of Barcelona that's 16 sq km. A circle radius 2.25 km. That implies hospitals will be about 4.5 km apart.

    If you're a hospital worker, and you chose your accommodation because it's next door to the hospital, and you decide to make a change of employer, at an average of 50 mph, you can drive to the next American hospital in 27 minutes (Freedom! Baby!). There you can park your car in a giant tarmac acreage, and walk 5 minutes to the front door of the hospital.

    At 15 mph you can cycle to the next 'Barcelona' hospital in 9 minutes and park right at the entrance. (this is far too long, and you're trapped in one job, slavery! Booo Hisss)

    Similar calculations apply to ambulance travel times, commutes to theatres, shops, schools, everything. Medium density just makes everything, including alternative employment vastly more accessible. And it works the other way around. If you want to lay or maintain a sewer system for a community of 800,000, it's cheaper to lay out 16 sq km than it is to lay out 1100 sq km. That applies to garbage collections, road maintenance, water supplies, electricity, phone, street lighting, footpaths (sidewalks), public transport, fire fighting, the lot.

    311:

    No. I'm in Raleigh NC. H and I are 2400 miles or so apart. Although we each sort of know what the other is dealing with. Growing up with my father building houses on the side (10 or so while I was growing up plus multiple re-models) I tend to look at such issues as I travel about. I think I understand the issues H is dealing with in San Diego more than most here. And here where I am we have the same issues but all the details are different.

    I have dealt with living in or dealing with houses in 7 states and 12 cities spread across 2000+ miles.

    312:

    Gahhh, just did a Mars climate orbiter.

    11 minutes to get to the other hospital.

    313:

    I was thinking of Cavorite paint.

    314:

    Heteromeles posted on December 10, 2022 21:23 in #235:

    ...we're in the land where a sizable chunk (majority?) of gun crimes are committed with illegal, untraceable "ghost guns."

    Well, CNN seems to be a neutral source (neither the distorions of Everytown nor of the Washington Examiner) https://www.cnn.com/2022/04/11/us/ghost-guns-what-to-know/index.html

    San Francisco: About 20% of the guns it seized in 2021 were ghost guns

    New York City: 8.33%

    Chicago: 3.76% up from 1.15% in 2020

    Personally, I feel 80% is too low a hurdle, and I would like to see something more like 20% plus the barrel and the action for permissible DIY gunsmithing, but lack of effective enforcement and prosecution of gun crime, plus the lack of effective rehabilitation in prison, are equally significant problems. IMHO.

    315:

    A full-grown adult emu can weigh up to 60 kilograms, which equates to roughly the same poundage as 150 well-fed pigeons.

    Your pigeon fact for the day, courtesy of an article about a couple of emus that were banned from a pub for being antisocial.

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-12-12/search-for-yaraka-pub-banned-emus/101717988

    316:

    The problem comes when you say "with completely different infrastructure you'd only need to travel at 30kph, so we will start by enforcing that speed limit on the current infrastructure".

    Kinda of like "once you're fit running a marathon will be hard but do-able. So this weekend you're going to run a marathon". Even if the person survives the attempt they're likely to suffer permanent damage from doing so.

    Amsterdam quite famously went about it completely the other way round. They started with a political decision to swap from car cultists to a walking/cycling city, and proceeded from there. Which meant building infrastructure to allow walking/cycling even when doing so was at the cost of the motorists.

    317:

    Which is why I also say, "you can't get there from here"

    Even with Heteromeles' tempting solution of nuking the USA flat and starting again.

    318:

    PS.

    If the doctor says to you, "you need to get some exercise, and ideally, a young man like you should be able to run a marathon" then you need to look at what the blockers are. Why are you not running them already.

    You might look at willpower. You might look at if you own the right running shoes etc...

    But if you never acknowledge that it's literally illegal to get out of bed and that if you try, you will likely be killed, you're not going to make much progress.

    At the moment it's literally illegal to have medium density mixed residential in the USA. If you try to walk or cycle, you'll very likely be killed.

    You can propose all sorts of work around things, like building 300 million EV cars, and bulldozing neighbourhoods to make more freeways and parking lots, but if you never admit to yourself the real roadblocks, you're not going to get anywhere. Not that I think that's possible.

    319:

    Robert Prior @ 284:

    My wife and I just ended a 10 year run of apartment living in the Dallas / Fort Worth area. Neighbors can be assholes.

    I grew up in a house. Lived in apartments after I moved out until I finally bought my own house 25 years ago. I would resist going back. I've got an asshole neighbour here, but it's way better having a patch of open ground separating us rather than just a (thin) wall.

    I had some asshole neighbors when I first moved in here. I just out-stubborn-ed them & out-lived them.

    But I AM determined that now that I'm the old guy on the block that I won't be the asshole here.

    320:

    Agreed, and thanks for the updated ghost gun figures. I checked again, and the figure cited in SD is that a majority of guns seized by law enforcement are ghost guns.

    Anyway, the point isn't about gun crime, but about living in a culture where technocratic fixes are often recast as "attacks on our freedoms." If someone proposes a "simple solution" of a technological impediment that can be easily overcome or just ignored en masse, that solution is going to fail. Heck, even my mom's dog figured that one out, when he destroyed an anti-bark shock collar...then didn't bark much afterwards.

    It's like Prohibition, as I've been learning from reading Schrad's history of the Temperance movement. It wasn't aimed at outlawing drinking, but rather at reining in predatory saloons and an unregulated liquor industry that controlled rather too many politicians, much as the petroleum industry does today. As such, it was a bipartisan and progressive issue.

    The parallel is that after Prohibition was repealed AND the alcohol industry was heavily regulated, there's been this Big Lie-style push to portray Prohibition as a ban on individual consumption of alcohol and a failure, when it was neither.

    It's this culture, that portrays any attempt to make life better through limiting regulation as "taking our freedoms" that's the problem, and I don't think it's a problem that's limited to the US.

    321:

    Heteromeles @ 288:

    A new and interesting problem was unearthed by covid, which demonstrated that work-from-home was quite viable.

    Maybe for "information" workers, but not so much for the guy running the 7/11 store ... or the employees at Target, Walmart et al. And how do you run a grocery store on work-from-home? The butcher, the baker ... the greengrocer & the shelf stockers can't just phone-it-in or click a mouse ...

    322:

    paws4thot @ 295:

    Ok, with the note that some illustrations of Baba Yaga's hut make it quadruped rather than chicken legged.

    No reason the hut couldn't have four chicken legs.

    323:

    Maybe for "information" workers, but not so much for the guy running the 7/11 store ... or the employees at Target, Walmart et al. And how do you run a grocery store on work-from-home? The butcher, the baker ... the greengrocer & the shelf stockers can't just phone-it-in or click a mouse ..

    I'm not sure why you selectively quoted me, except to argue, but in this case you're wrong. The point I was making was about business parks, which largely employ people to process data and documents. They can largely work at home, apparently.

    Conversely, the people you are talking about work in retail and industry, which are different zones in conventional planning codes. I agree with you on that.

    324:

    "Amsterdam quite famously went about it completely the other way round. They started with a political decision to swap from car cultists to a walking/cycling city, and proceeded from there."

    Er, no. They started several centuries before there was such a thing as a car, let alone a cult thereof, and were able to capitalise on the way the city had been built in the absence of cars. Basically, they were undoing a recent change that had proved bad (Yes, I know there is more to it than that).

    Changing a city built from the ground up on the assumption that private cars were the way that people got around will be an order or two of magnitude more difficult, even without political interference by those intending to profit from the way things are.

    JHomes

    325:

    I've heard that "garment factory on a ship" proposal. The person talking during the garment factory segment is Tim Maughan, who isn't in the fashion business; he's a sci-fi novelist and futurist.

    326:

    David L @ 300:

    It seems to me that you could have a compromise. A housing development would have an area zoned for single family housing, but it would also have an area zoned for business, perhaps along with an obligation to build ....

    Around here there is much of that. But you have to drive a mile or so to the shops. Which is way better than 5 miles. This is how my area now works. Groceries, food, movies, restaurants (cheap and fancy), etc... are all within 1 1/2 miles of me. So while I need a car, it's not like it was in the Dallas area where the gas gauged moved after going to get groceries.

    There's a cluster of grocery stores & other shops around 2 miles from my house (Costco, Wegmans, Trader Joes, Staples, Pet Supplies Plus, Advance Auto Parts & a Trek Bicycle store). I would consider that to be walking distance except for one thing ... NO SIDEWALKS ... although the city has now painted bike lanes on the Atlantic Ave bridge

    Of course this makes my area VERY desirable for the new folks showing up with their new Apple or Google badge and a suitcase full of money to pay for the house next door. And totally pisses off the old farts who want the world to go back 30+ years.

    Oddly enough I haven't received any calls from people wanting to buy my home in the last month or so. Probably can't get through what with all the people calling me to try to sell me Medicare supplemental insurance.

    But thinking back 30+ years (and certainly 40+ years) there were TWO grocery stores (and a hardware store, a drugstore, two barber shops ... AND Krispy Kreme Donuts) all within 1 mile of my house and the streets I had to traverse to get to them DO have sidewalks.

    Where the issue bites hard is re-development or urban areas. My best client is an decently sized architecture firm. They deal with re-developing urban warehouses, older department stores, urban infill, etc... a lot. All kinds of fire code and similar issues come into play to make these things work. If you make it work first floor retail, second floor and maybe a few more of offices, maybe a few floors of parking, then residential on up can make for a vibrant urban area. But you can't just have just one block. And without groceries and pharmacies, people will have to drive.

    That seems to be what they're doing DOWNTOWN Raleigh with stores & such at ground level & redeveloped apartments above. Downtown is within walking distance & there's even semi-convenient mass transit (bus) service. And despite Publix having a store on Peace St, there still isn't a good supermarket downtown yet.

    327:

    Heteromeles @ 323:

    Maybe for "information" workers, but not so much for the guy running the 7/11 store ... or the employees at Target, Walmart et al. And how do you run a grocery store on work-from-home? The butcher, the baker ... the greengrocer & the shelf stockers can't just phone-it-in or click a mouse ..

    I'm not sure why you selectively quoted me, except to argue, but in this case you're wrong. The point I was making was about business parks, which largely employ people to process data and documents. They can largely work at home, apparently.

    I "selectively quoted" the part of your post I found deficient. Work-from-home is NOT a solution suitable to all jobs as you seemed to imply ... any more than restricting all vehicles to no more than 15mph top speed or banning all privately owned vehicles (as some others have proposed) is going to work to reduce energy consumption.

    You argue for a mixed economy while appearing to forget a significant portion of the people living in that economy. Your proposals will work quite well for the upper half of the income economy, but I think you're ignoring the lower half and how your proposals will affect them.

    And in that, I don't see anything to choose from between you and gasdive OR the urban planners you were railing against. You're all wrong and too blind to see and too stuck up to consider alternatives that include the economic underclass.

    328:

    And how do you run a grocery store on work-from-home?

    Online, with delivery. It's being done in major cities all over the world right now. Often without permits, or regulatory compliance in general, but it's being done. Little "warehouses" full of groceries, independent contractors freely negotiating terms with the remote employer to perform all the necessary tasks. Often bicycles for delivery in more built up places.

    329:

    They started several centuries before there was such a thing as a car,

    That was amazingly foresighted of them, then. Converting away from car centric planning before cars were even invented.

    330:

    The author of this article in Politico argues that rather than a failed experiment, Prohibition was a successful tactical action for breaking up a corrupt industry that had a toxic effect on US politics. He seems to put a similar article up around the time of "Repeal Day" each year, something celebrated by, among others, anti-government Libertarians as a sort of proof that government initiatives can't achieve their goals.

    331:

    Schrad's history of the Temperance movement

    Oh hey, snap.

    332:

    "That was amazingly foresighted of them, then."

    Not really. It's quite easy, in my experience, not to base your planning around something that not only doesn't exist, but which you have no idea could exist.

    If I have to be more explicit, a lot of Amsterdam's infrastructure was in place before cars, and was still there to be used when they decided to ditch cars.

    Or, if you prefer, much of the work that would have been needed for the conversion had been done before cars, albeit not for that purpose, which made the conversion a lot easier.

    JHomes

    333:

    JohnS said: You're all wrong and too blind to see and too stuck up to consider alternatives that include the economic underclass.

    I wouldn't say I'm "too blind to see". I said at the start I was wrong.

    And

    I wouldn't say I'm too stuck up to consider alternatives that include the economic underclass (which is me actually, as it happens)

    Would I rather, as a member of the economic underclass, prefer the current system, or the one I proposed (as an alternative to just nuking the suburbs)

    Ok, so let's imagine that I'm in the USA, and due to some unfortunate glitch in the matrix, the two unpalatable changes to law were made. (and let's assume I'm a bit younger, as most people are)

    So yeah, I'm an orderly at the big hospital in town. The closest place I can find to live that I can afford is 100 miles from my hospital. I earn 15 dollars an hour, 2400/m. I have a 10 year old F-150 that I bought on finance a couple of years ago, that costs me 190 a month in repayments. I work on it myself, and keep it tuned, so I'm getting the EPA rated fuel economy. I think that's pretty good, most people say you can't get those figures. I burn 7 gal each way. 14 gal return, at $4/gal is 56 dollars a day, or 1232/m. Insurance is 144/m. So as long as I don't need tyres or stuff, getting to work costs me 1566, leaving 834 dollars a month for rent and food. When fuel hit 5 dollars a couple of months ago it cost me an extra 300 a month. So that month I had 534 dollars a month for rent and food. I'm living in a converted garage owned by some rich people, and I had to owe them half the 600 for the month. I blame Biden. Trump wouldn't have let that happen, he cares about the little guy.

    Now they're saying the speed limit is going to be changed to 15. I don't know what I'm going to do.

    Well the speed limit change came in today. This sux big time. I had to sleep in the back of my truck last night to be here in time for work this morning. It was freezing. Then some security guard came round in the middle of the night and told me I had to move. I showed him my hospital pass and he said I could stay. Biden has ruined this country.

    It's been 3 weeks now and I'm only going home on the weekends. There's about 60 of us sleeping in the parking lot. Some of them are in tents. It's disgusting what they're doing to the workers. At least there's showers at the hospital. There were more of us, but some of them have got jobs laboring on building sites. There's all these 5 storey apartments being built near here. The hospital is getting desperate. Word is we should ask for a pay rise. The builders are offering 22 bucks an hour plus on site accommodation.

    3 months now since I let the garage go and moved here. The building work is a pain. I think they're cutting a lot of corners on safety. They made me buy my own tools. The hospital always provided everything. Seems like a scam. Still, I haven't had to clean up vomit for weeks. Plus I haven't filled the truck for the last 4 weeks. There's like a temporary town set up in old shipping containers. It's just 2 minutes walk from the building site. I don't know how they got permission. The city used to go ape shit if you did anything. I had to laugh at the hospital. We asked for 22 an hour to match what we can get everywhere else and they told us to take a hike. Now I hear they're offering 30 an hour to try to get people. The builders say they've got 10 years work lined up, so there's no way I'm going back to the hospital. Except for the truck, I'm completely out of debt for the first time in years. I'm even thinking about putting down a deposit on one of the apartments. They say there's a deal where they rent it out for me and I only put in 1000 a month and the renter pays the rest. After 15 years I'll own it. Imagine, me a landlord. It's not even going to cost as much as I used to spend on gas. I can't live in these shitty portable cabins for the rest of my life.

    334:

    Regarding "we can't get there".

    Any amount of discussing even fanciful solutions that are not viable is better than any of the things I find myself more likely to do: running around screaming, curling up in a ball and covering my ears. Most of the ideas I see here really do work somewhere, and we all sometimes fall into the trap of saying "that doesn't work for me or my area so it can't work anywhere".

    I'm reading a new book by an Australian climate scientist about climate hope at the moment, cautiously optimistic it's a good one ( Humanities Moment ). I gave up on the book about coping with climate grief by a well-known science journalist, finding it too cloyingly auto-biographical and bordering on self-indulgence. But I guess there are bigger and smaller despairs, and bigger and smaller hopes, and there's a path between that might not ultimately be a satisfactory solution but is still liveable for another lifetime or so.

    Anyhow, I've got a tonne of running around screaming to do and it isn't doing itself.

    335:

    Schrad's history of the Temperance movement/Oh hey, snap.

    Yeah, I read that same article in Politico, and got a couple of his books.

    He's a good writer, easy to read but occasionally goes off on small rants.

    Temperance is an interesting subject, because the parallels with other addictive industries, notably social media and addictive drugs, are fairly obvious. I'm still wondering whether it's something I'm reading into Schrad's history as he presents it, or whether it was there all along. Right now, I'm leaning towards the latter. Anyway worth reading, and far better than running around screaming.

    With regards to the latter, I decided to start dealing with climate change seriously a few years ago. I'm not an expert compared with what many people are doing, and it's fucking obvious that the big problems are capitalist greed and politics, not a lack of technical solutions.*

    What gets me annoyed is when someone who's just starting out pops in with any variation of "if you just did X, it would all work, you idiots. Why don't you do X?"

    As if no one ever thought of X, often dozens or hundreds of times before.

    Then they get all up in their feelings when you try to point out what you've learned about trying to make some variation of X work, and claim that you're an agent of The Enema because you don't agree with them in every detail.

    We. Literally. Don't. Have. Time. For. That. Any. More.

    And it's not just bikes and tech. It's college kids seriously proposing that if we just start a social movement like Gandhi or King did, it will all work. They're so naive that they don't realize that the cops study non-violence far more assiduously than they do, and they've figured out really good counters to stuff that worked once decades ago. It's sort of like reinventing WW1 tactics when the enemy's doing modern maneuver warfare and has more far more resources than you do. And if you don't want to watch a modern recreation of the Children's Crusade, what do you do?

    People's hearts are in the right place, and I can only hope their expertise catches up soon.

    *Affordable housing is a great example. It would be easy, so long as the words "sufficiently profitable to the developers" could be stricken from more projects.

    336:

    context = world

    YMMV... repeating YMMV

    by way of random attempts and careful observation, I've noticed there are certain foods making my health better or worse, no surprise there... what is eye-popping is which foods...

    bananas... turns out the skin is human digestible just not human edible... your stomach can process but your teeth cannot... so... scrub the exterior, trim the top & bottom lumpy woody chunks... cross cut into one inch lengths... lay flat inside plastic bag... freeze overnight... then 8 ounces of whole milk into blender, 8 ounces of frozen banana chunks with skin, one heaping spoon of unsweetened bitter baking cocoa... "liquefy"... a cheap almost-ice cream milk shake... advantages: insane amounts of fiber, high in potassium, low in fat, easy to prep, tasty, cheap

    turns out those weeks when I have failed to have at least two of those (three seems the magic point) I would have irregular heartbeat as well galloping pulse of 140+ BPM.. and severe constipation... okay the blockage I understood why...

    turns out a lot of elderly and/or ailing folks need more potassium than young 'n healthy... who knew?

    turns out people with superior medical care are being prescribed potassium supplements as part of efforts at half-arsed treatments of longcovid given there's nearly nothing bad about heavy amounts of potassium below toxicity threshold...

    lots of trial 'n error with a handful of doctors listening not just talking... they've been cautiously advising patients towards tripling fruit portions... raw better than cooked... ripe good, riper better never mind if fruit turns ugly or soft... blueberries, bananas, apples, grapes, persimmons, etc topping the list...

    repeating YMMV

    but anyone else noticing easing longcovid by way of over-eating fruit?

    337:

    There was a piece in the Guardian about a study where they got people who salted their foods to substitute potassium chloride. As long as your kidneys are good to process the excess potassium it does wonders for your sodium intake. And it's a bit more salty than salt and relatively expensive, so I'm using less of it anyway. Been four months since that article prompted me and so far so good.

    338:

    Golly, you actually like that stuff? I tried a bit once. I wouldn't call it "more salty", more like "half salty, half yuck" (which is about the same as the molar ratio of NaCl:KCl, as it happens). Can't say I'd be wanting to put it on my food. Does have its uses for making explosives though.

    339:

    Affordable housing is a great example

    One of the reasons that property development is perhaps the first* industry I'd nationalise if I were God, or whatever role it takes to arrange such a thing. It's not just in terms of aligning developments themselves along gasdive's ideals (although to be clear that's a big part of it... well and others... there is a lot of thought out there in this space), but much more and more simply around aligning the goals of controlled land use and what sort of societal goods they add up to. The problem with this really is not being God.

    * Okay maybe doing hyper-scale renewable infrastructure development and collapsing extractive industry based energy production at the same time requires some nationalisation and maybe that's a higher priority. But counter factual hypotheticals and all that.

    340:

    Prohibition in the USA
    There may have been corrupt owners of alcohol-related businesses affecting US politics { Indeed, I'm virtually certain of it }
    SO FUCKING WHAT?
    Prohibition was an unalloyed complete disaster, that has/is still making it's deeply unpleasant effects on US society.
    The other corruptions of gangland(s) the ongoing criminalisation of what in civilised countries is normal behaviour, the ultra-puritanism of the whole thing.

    341:

    But I AM determined that now that I'm the old guy on the block that I won't be the asshole here.

    do not struggle against ur destiny

    (jk)

    342:

    Re: Potassium chloride

    Does have its uses for making explosives though.

    Sorry, no. You're thinking of potassium chlorate which is a very different and much more energetic chemical. AFAIK there are no kitchen-top routes to easily convert the chloride into chlorate.

    KCl is a common "no-sodium" salt substitute, highly radioactive but good for you because it's not nuclear power or something.

    343:

    I like those Scandinavian licorices with ammonium chloride too. I have an odd palate.

    344:

    Electrolysis ;)

    345:

    I find those things thoroughly unpleasant, but if there is an open packet nearby I will eventually eat all of them.

    346:

    affordable houses

    One of those lovely phrases that no one in the argument agrees to define the same way. When this comes up and I ask for affordable for who, the responses are interesting. It can range from dealing with the homeless folks all the way to why can't I afford the house I want if making I'm making $150K per year.

    347:

    »KCl is a common "no-sodium" salt substitute, highly radioactive but good for you because it's not nuclear power or something.«

    KCl is not "highly radioactive" on any relevant scale: There are only 120PPM K40 in it, and that has a half-life of 1.2B years.

    Since every single cell, in every living thing, contains K40 atoms, the hypothesis has been floated that only is our biology adapted to precisely that source of radioactivity, it may in fact be depending upon it, to flip a few K atoms into Ca in situ.

    348:

    Is that 'Humanity's Moment', by Gergis? It seems not to be out in dead-tree in the UK yet, unfortunately.

    349:

    Are those figures realistic? the part that stands out to me is "The closest place I can find to live that I can afford is 100 miles from my hospital." [snip] "I work on it myself, and keep it tuned, so I'm getting the EPA rated fuel economy. I think that's pretty good, most people say you can't get those figures. I burn 7 gal each way." I know a US gallon is smaller than an Imperial gallon but that's still 5.8 Imp Gall. That's 17.2 mpg.

    I can't get over that. Is that type of fuel consumption typical? Our Skoda Octavia (car buying criteria - can you put a contra-bass clarinet in it?) does mid to high 60s per gallon. T That's a bit distorted because our town driving is in an EV so it only does journies of over 20 miles. he previous Citroen C5 was about 10 mpg less efficient. I've tended to think that Americans drive a lot because fuel is so cheap, but with that consumption it pretty much evens out.

    350:

    The "some kinds of radioactivity are good for you and others, not so good" sophistry is not uncommon but wrong. If ionising radiation and particles from a nuclear power plant can cause leukemia in kids living fifty miles away (cf Chris Busby) then ionising radiation from ingested K40 is similarly life-threatening. Many folks who grew up on a diet of Godzilla movies can and do hold the first is true but the latter is not.

    The radiation hormesis idea has not been proved or disproved as any positive or negative conclusions are buried in the noise levels of the biological results of very low radiation exposures being overtaken by other environmental factors like air pollution, diet, water quality etc.

    351:

    Or even potassium perchlorate - if you can get it. Probably best not to try to buy it on Amazon.

    Not sure about the radioactivity you mention. May be in urban myth territory there.

    352:

    I've tended to think that Americans drive a lot because fuel is so cheap

    Going back in history it was. In the early 70s before the middle east blew up oil supplies there would be gas wars in the communities in the US. Gasoline got down to under $.30/gal. A few times down to $.25/gal.

    My understanding was that prices in Europe tended to be 3 to 4 times what it was in the US.

    Just now my supply (US) is a few pennies under $3/gal (US). Which I think translates to £0.64/liter. Or about $3.60/gal UK.

    353:

    Their argument is more "this has been planned for decades, so it has to be built now." The stress is on "the plan."

    Like I said, large corporations. Those in charge of planning have a vested interest in those plans coming to fruition. Their careers will be adversely affected if the plans aren't implemented, while they can move on in a blaze of glory if they are (leaving their successors to deal with the failure).

    Taylorism, like economics, makes the (invalid) assumption that people/systems are rational and predictable, and that things that can't be measured aren't important. (At least as I understand it. I could well be wrong.)

    354:

    No radiation is generally better than some radiation, and potassium-40 is radioactive.

    Given that it makes up about 0.012% of any given potassium sample and it has a half life of around 1.25e9 years it is so far down the list of things worth caring about that you may as well ignore it though.

    355:

    Oddly enough I haven't received any calls from people wanting to buy my home in the last month or so. Probably can't get through what with all the people calling me to try to sell me Medicare supplemental insurance.

    Up here it's waterfowl cleaning services that make spam calls. Usually speaking English with an Indian lilt, and claiming to be located in buildings that somehow don't appear on Google maps…

    356:

    I have no clear idea what spam calls here are trying to sell. I have caller id, and they're all from the same few geographic numbers or identified as "caller withheld".

    357:

    "In the early 70s before the middle east blew up oil supplies there would be gas wars in the communities in the US."

    Still happens on a small scale. Typically a few gas stations within a couple of blocks of each other will have prices noticeably lower than in the surrounding area. Checking Gas Buddy shows a current example here, where there's a cluster of four stations having prices of $2.83 or $2.84 per US gallon and the surrounds are at $2.98/$2.99.

    358:

    I haven't seen your planned community, but I've seen a few US planned communities. Chances are, there's a golf course, and a club house with a restaurant... I'm betting that each family has to themselves one sewer connection point. One telephone connection. One data connection. One electricity connection. One driveway. And 20m of roadway. There will be no supermarket, no bank, no tiny artisan cafe, no hardware store, no nothing.

    You're not wrong (and oh boy do American developers like to build unlivable "neighborhoods") but if you're willing I'd be curious for you to compare and contrast your ideal planned neighborhoods with Ladd's Addition in Portland Oregon, the oldest such development in the city.

    For the casual reader: It's half a square kilometer of tree-lined streets set diagonally to the city grid, most structures being single family homes, bordered north and south by reasonably major streets.

    The predicted "tiny artisan cafe" is on the central roundabout, conveniently located to nobody who's not local; there are others along the main streets. There's a hardware store on the north edge, on Hawthorne (I happen to know someone who works there). There's no supermarket within the development, but one's across the street at the southeast corner and another is just a few blocks east of the northeast corner; there's currently only one 24 hour convenience store. I don't think there's a bank, though there's an elementary school and a large church.

    It strikes me as a functional neighborhood. It doesn't have everything in it or immediately nearby but it's got plenty (and is particularly well gifted with quirky restaurants, even after the Vietnamese place burned down a few months back), and there's frequent bus service to the rest of the city.

    359:

    One of those lovely phrases that no one in the argument agrees to define the same way. When this comes up and I ask for affordable for who, the responses are interesting. It can range from dealing with the homeless folks all the way to why can't I afford the house I want if making I'm making $150K per year.

    If I recall correctly, around here, affordable is "affordable for a family at median income for the area." In many local neighborhoods, that actually turns out to be an 800 ft2 (80 m2) or smaller apartment for a family of four.

    Locally there are various categories based on cost relative to the median income, from "housing the homeless" to "high end and above," and affordable is near the bottom. The "high ened" are what in the 1980s were considered normal 2 bed/2 bath houses, which now sell for $700,000 and up, in a region where the median family income is closer to $80,000/year.

    The essential problem locally is that developers and builders claim that single family homes (including connected townhomes and larger condos) are the only profitable things to build. They're required by law to provide 10% affordable housing within the development, or (previously) to pay a fee to get out of the requirement. While they inevitably make a big deal out of how much affordable housing they are building, it doesn't come close to demand.

    Currently San Diego has just about all the single family homes it needs, given that fewer people each year can afford them. Some proportion are being snapped up as investment properties. In contrast, we desperately need housing for the half of the population that's living on below median income. This segment is not getting built in sufficient quantity because it's "not profitable." When it does get built, typically a government program or a non-profit provides several hundred kilobucks to make it "sufficiently profitable" for it to get built.

    Yes, our housing system is insane and at best semi-functional. I've very deliberately skimming the surface here.

    My suggestion, before anyone decides to get some jollies about proposing fixes, is for them to fully describe how well their local housing system works. And if it has problems, maybe also describe what they personally area doing to try to make it less destructive or insane...?

    Incidentally, my job is to try to keep the insanity from causing local plant species go extinct, and normally I go after highly destructive, high end developments out in the countryside.

    360:

    More electrolysis.

    361:

    Well, our local housing system doesn't work. We own our home, but only because we rode a wave of absurd housing prices out of the nearby metropole and into our current home. Which is now priced absurdly in the metrics of the area - a nice thought if it wasn't painfully obvious that any big numbers would just have to go into the next home.

    Rents around here are now something like equivalent to my monthly mortgage payment for a 1 bedroom apartment. Which is categorically insane, I have friends who are single parents who live very painfully close to the edge, every month.

    The local council is making some effort to cause affordable housing to be built. Affordable is defined as costing <30% of a household income. Our recently elected mayor was a homelessness outreach worker immediately previous.

    That's nice, but a couple decades ago I made a career out of working with local governments to help them figure out just how to approach the multiple overlapping housing/mental health/poverty crises they were facing, given their very limited resources and capacity. Being willing and open to ideas is not enough, it costs large amounts of money to provide adequate housing for a given population, and local governments don't have it. Senior governments may have it but have competing priorities. And developers aren't interested because they are trying to make money.

    When I burned out and walked away from that work (and into front line work) we had made very little progress on resolving any of it. We won't make any serious progress until we take what is a basic need out of the for-profit realm. We don't have to look far to see what happens when core needs are profit centres, and housing is a big cautionary example (health care is another).

    362:

    »The "some kinds of radioactivity are good for you and others, not so good" sophistry is not uncommon but wrong.«

    No it is not wrong, it is worse: It is non-falsifiable: There is no way we can find out if it is true or false.

    With respect to nuclear power plants: There is one ugly detail which nobody wants to talk about: When we built them close to cities, the word from science was "antineutrinos has no mass, so there is no way they could damage anything."

    This was always a weird kind of argument, given that they /were/ detectable with very low probability.

    In the meantime we have now concluded that, yes, they do in fact have mass, not much, but they do, and that means just ignoring them in health-physics is no longer possible.

    The way antineutrinos react is to kick a light atom one step to the side, and if you look at the top left side of the periodic table, there are a number of such reactions you wouldn't want in your body.

    But again: At the rates we are talking about: No way to prove or falsify that hypothesis.

    But it is no longer "scientifically impossible" and that is why nobody is allowed to live within 3km of new nuclear reactors in the self-proclaimed civilized world.

    363:

    Nojay @ 350: "If ionising radiation and particles from a nuclear power plant can cause leukemia in kids living fifty miles away (cf Chris Busby) then ionising radiation from ingested K40 is similarly life-threatening."

    For some value of "similarly".

    The question would be, for K40 and each of the radionuclides emitted by power plants, how long does an atom of them hang around in the body once ingested, and how long do you have to wait for it to decay?

    364:

    Has anyone considered that Russia/Putin has been dicking around in Zaporizhzhia in a very non-strategic way?

    Sure, cruelty is a given, even cruelty that goes so far as to undermine their strategic goals. But it feels odd that they are lingering there, especially when they might believe that Zelenskyy is a lunatic who could blow it up. Were he willing to do that, it'd made quite a bit of their eventual prize worthless.

    Then it occurred to me. Something was happening behind the scenes that I have not heard talked about in the news media...

    Putin and his cronies were looking for evidence of uranium enrichment and/or plutonium breeding. I wish I could listen in on those conversations: "It's there, you're just not looking in the right place, find where it's hidden or else" every 6 hours as they radio back in status reports.

    Now, I also think that they were so certain of the results that they made no provision to fabricate them. Why bother with complicated, expensive schemes, when you'll have the real-deal smoking-gun evidence just as soon as you get there?

    Given their opsec, I'd be shocked if everyone involved in this is upholding the absurd levels of secrecy needed to hide this from the intelligence analysts in western countries. Maybe the media's being nudged to keep quiet about it? (Are there any reasons to keep quiet about it)?

    Also, if they didn't have a nuclear program before, are they planning on pursuing one soon?

    365:

    Elon emerged from his bubble briefly into the real world. It did not go well. And, predictably, Twitter took the video down.

    366:

    nobody is allowed to live within 3km of new nuclear reactors in the self-proclaimed civilized world.

    Well, apart from the people who work at reactor sites for 1800 hours a year, often within the reactor containment a few metres from 4GW (thermal) worth of nuclear reactions going on. If antineutrinos were really a health hazard to the general population at 2.9km then their effects should show up in the health records of hundreds of thousands of reactor workers over the past sixty or seventy years and... from what I've read, anecdotally, working in the nuclear power business up close to the hardware results in an average or longer lifespan (much less workplace exposure to toxic chemicals, smoke, pollutants etc.) with the same or less incidence of cancer (possibly less because of careful medical condition monitoring of the staff, catching any cancer cases early before they progress to more dangerous conditions).

    367:

    Affordable is defined as ...

    Ah. You and H are using the local government's definition. I was referring to the "man in the street". You know, the one who shows up at the local zoning feedback meeting not having read more than two sentences about what is going on but their neighbor told them someone wants to destroy their local community.

    368:

    »Putin and his cronies were looking for evidence of uranium enrichment and/or plutonium breeding.«

    I'm surprised nobody has latched onto the fact that the two nations Putin is trying to buy weapons from are both very focused on getting enough nukes that USA will respect them.

    I dont think the nuclear power plant in Ukraine plays a role, I think that is just about denying Ukraine the electricity.

    369:

    apart from the people who work at reactor sites for 1800 hours a year

    Or the reactor operators on nuclear powered ships?

    370:

    P H-K
    AND - putting weapons launchers really close to the actual reactor buildings, so that UKR can't shoot at them { They hope }

    371:

    Because potassium is preferentially retained in the body biologically speaking a typical adult human being emits over 4,000 Bequerels of radiation from K-40, that is over 4,000 disintegrations per second. In the human body only Carbon-14 comes close to causing that level of deadly gamma rays coursing unstoppably through bones and soft tissues wreaking havoc on cells and DNA. From the Health Physics Society's webpages:

    Potassium-40 content of the body can be obtained from its natural abundance of 0.0117 percent of potassium and calculating the specific activity of natural potassium (30.5 Bq g-1) using the half-life (1.28 x 10^9 y). The potassium content of the body is 0.2 percent, so for a 70-kg person, the amount of 40K will be about 4.26 kBq. Carbon-14 content of the body is based on the fact that one 14C atom exists in nature for every 1,000,000,000,000 12C atoms in living material. Using a half-life of 5,730 y, one obtains a specific activity of 0.19 Bq g-1 of carbon. As carbon is 23 percent of the body weight, the body content of 14C for a 70-kg person would be about 3.08 kBq.

    Potassium chloride can be purchased in large sacks from home improvement centres for various purposes such as hot tub conditioning and the like. There are Youtube videos of people with radiation detectors wandering the aisles of those stores and reporting the enhanced readings.

    372:

    Somewhat to my surprise, there seem to be cases in which neutrinos are a health consideration. They have nothing to do with power reactors, but rather big accelerators/storage rings that have been proposed for muon and neutrino studies.

    IIRC, calculations show that the neutrino emission from a supernova would be fatal out to 5e8 km or so and I think such showed up in OGH's Iron Sunrise.

    But no, the neutrino health hazard from power reactors is way down on the list of concerns. Citations to the contrary would be read with interest.

    373:

    Doire @ 349:

    Are those figures realistic? the part that stands out to me is "The closest place I can find to live that I can afford is 100 miles from my hospital." [snip] "I work on it myself, and keep it tuned, so I'm getting the EPA rated fuel economy. I think that's pretty good, most people say you can't get those figures. I burn 7 gal each way." I know a US gallon is smaller than an Imperial gallon but that's still 5.8 Imp Gall. That's 17.2 mpg.

    I can't get over that. Is that type of fuel consumption typical? Our Skoda Octavia (car buying criteria - can you put a contra-bass clarinet in it?) does mid to high 60s per gallon. T That's a bit distorted because our town driving is in an EV so it only does journies of over 20 miles. he previous Citroen C5 was about 10 mpg less efficient. I've tended to think that Americans drive a lot because fuel is so cheap, but with that consumption it pretty much evens out.

    I think the reason "Americans" drive a lot is because we're spread out a lot more. The land area of the U.S. is about 37 times larger than that of the U.K.; Canada is about 5% larger than the U.S. and Australia has about 81% of the area of the U.S., but you also have to look at population distribution & density as well.

    A lot of the places you might need to get to are too far to walk and if there's no convenient bus service between them ...

    374:

    paws4thot @ 356:

    I have no clear idea what spam calls here are trying to sell. I have caller id, and they're all from the same few geographic numbers or identified as "caller withheld".

    Here in the U.S. it's apparently real easy to spoof caller ID. The problem comes when I'm expecting a call from someone and often I don't know what their number is going to be other than it's going to be within the (919) area code. And nowadays, (919) is not the only area code for Raleigh & the Research Triangle area [(984) overlay].

    I have a speaker-phone with an answering machine on my desk and I'll usually let unknown callers go to the answering machine. But the ringer is LOUD and annoying, and when I AM expecting a call I answer it.

    I don't know why I even bother with the answering machine any more because hardly anyone ever leaves a message, even the legit callers ... to the best of my recollection, the only messages I've gotten in the past year have been from doctors at the VA (and they usually leave another message on my cell phone as well as sending me a text message) - but the rest of the world has gotten rude as hell & completely forgotten anything resembling telephone etiquette.

    When I encounter an answering machine (or the more frequent "voice mail") I ALWAYS leave a message (name, telephone number, reason for calling, repeat telephone number). I even leave a message when I've dialed a wrong number even if it's nothing more than "I apologize, I appear to have dialed your number in error.".

    It's not polite to leave people wondering who was that & why are they bothering me.

    PS: If you don't answer the calls you can't tell them to put your number on the DO NOT CALL list ... not that that does any good nowadays.

    375:

    Doire asked: Are those figures realistic?

    I tried to make them realistic. I stayed with a guy in Florida who lived in a hut he'd made out of what was once a caravan and building waste he'd collected off the side of the road. Not a completely atypical lifestyle in the woods of Florida for a veteran living on disability payments.

    He drove a 10 year old Ford F150. It's the most common vehicle in the USA. His friends we visited had 3 of them in various states, scattered around their campsite/home.

    So I felt confident picking that as the transport of choice for the "economic underclass".

    The fuel economy figures come straight from the EPA, who helpfully also gave gallons per 100 miles. They gave 6.9 gal/100 miles in mixed urban/highway when the vehicle was new (I actually used the 2010 model as I think of 2010 as "10 years ago", I need to update that). The term YMMV comes from the fact that people don't generally get the EPA claimed economy and I mentioned that.

    376:

    Hadn't heard of Busby before, so I looked him up...

    So what level of deadly gamma rays coursing unstoppably through bones and soft tissues wreaking havoc on cells and DNA would we expect to see from power-station radionuclides (particularly those that aren't in the body anyway, because of biology) at the concentrations at which one might encounter them fifty miles away?

    Incidentally, as I think you know very well, the becquerel's a tiny unit (I have several GBq on my keyring), and not a very good measure of life-threateningness. Sieverts per excess banana (or Brazil nut) might be a better choice.

    377:

    It's been years since I studied this stuff but I believe the interaction cross section for neutrinos scales with energy^4.

    I did have a lunatic idea for a story about assassinating people from half way across the planet by aiming a neutrino beam at their house. I bet nobody ever checks exactly where physics experiments are pointed.

    378:

    Scott asked about Ladds Addition

    It looks really nice, but it seems to me to be suburbia done well rather than the kind of medium density stuff I was thinking of. Most suburbia seems soul crushing, and this isn't. It's still mostly gigantic single family homes, out of reach for most people, even if property speculation wasn't driving up land prices.

    https://maps.app.goo.gl/WpyGv5xoDvkH2dQf6

    I'm thinking more of medium density with shops at street level. Here's an example of it done badly, which is in my opinion a better result than suburbia done well in some respects.

    https://failedarchitecture.com/behind-four-walls-barcelonas-lost-utopia/

    Which ends up looking like this at street level

    84 Rambla de Catalunya https://maps.app.goo.gl/d1wRTPehQtfj3x4e6

    If you spin around you'll see most of the buildings have shops at street level. The middle of the street is outdoor dining. People are walking around, something quite absent from the photos of suburbia. The speed limit here is 30 km/h, about 18 mph. You'll also see that the most common vehicle is a scooter, rather than an F150. It's not as cycle friendly as I'd like to see, but it's also not a parking lot desert full of giant trucks. It's pretty obvious, given that most of these buildings don't have off street parking, that very few residents have cars. There's just not that many cars parked around the place.

    379:

    Scott Sanford @ 358:

    I haven't seen your planned community, but I've seen a few US planned communities. Chances are, there's a golf course, and a club house with a restaurant... I'm betting that each family has to themselves one sewer connection point. One telephone connection. One data connection. One electricity connection. One driveway. And 20m of roadway. There will be no supermarket, no bank, no tiny artisan cafe, no hardware store, no nothing.

    You're not wrong (and oh boy do American developers like to build unlivable "neighborhoods") but if you're willing I'd be curious for you to compare and contrast your ideal planned neighborhoods with Ladd's Addition in Portland Oregon, the oldest such development in the city.

    For the casual reader: It's half a square kilometer of tree-lined streets set diagonally to the city grid, most structures being single family homes, bordered north and south by reasonably major streets.

    The predicted "tiny artisan cafe" is on the central roundabout, conveniently located to nobody who's not local; there are others along the main streets. There's a hardware store on the north edge, on Hawthorne (I happen to know someone who works there). There's no supermarket within the development, but one's across the street at the southeast corner and another is just a few blocks east of the northeast corner; there's currently only one 24 hour convenience store. I don't think there's a bank, though there's an elementary school and a large church.

    It strikes me as a functional neighborhood. It doesn't have everything in it or immediately nearby but it's got plenty (and is particularly well gifted with quirky restaurants, even after the Vietnamese place burned down a few months back), and there's frequent bus service to the rest of the city.

    Less than a mile across, even on the diagonals (0.21 sq mi). Subdivided in 1891; built up 1905 - 1930, so it mostly pre-dates the dominance of the automobile. Deep inside a city metro area that stretches ~15 miles E-W & N-S (225 sq mi).

    It does look like a pleasant place to live, especially if you do have good bus service. I especially liked the "Lounge Lizard" furniture store on SE Hawthorne Blvd.

    Planned communities in the U.S. date back to colonial times - St Augustine, FL (1565); Charleston, SC (1672); Philadelphia, PA (1682) ... even New York City (redesigned by the British in 1731)

    And then there's Washington, DC and a number of state capitals - including my hometown of Raleigh, NC (1792).

    The thing is, as towns & cities grow they outgrow their plans. And if you can't or won't grow UP (upwards), you have to grow out. This was facilitated in the post-war U.S. by automobiles, cheap gasoline & cheap farmland (as farming became more mechanized & industrialized MORE crops could be grown on less land), and has resulted in urban sprawl.

    Most cities that did grow upwards had some physical constraint that prevented them sprawling outward (NYC is located on several islands).

    Now environmental concerns we didn't worry about 75 years ago require we come up with a NEW PLAN for a post-industrial society of some 335 million people (or else the world is going to die).

    But anything that size has a certain amount of inertia. We've been set in one direction for the last 75 years & it's going to take a lot of work to change that direction.

    The problem I have with many of the comments here is they just don't account for how hard that work is going to be, and how many difficulties we're going to have to deal with along the way.

    Societies DO NOT turn on a dime at the snap of someone's fingers; not even totalitarian societies.

    380:

    »Well, apart from the people who work at reactor sites for 1800 hours a year, often within the reactor containment a few metres from 4GW (thermal) worth of nuclear reactions going on.«

    Those are grown up people, and their cell-division ratio is nowhere near what it is in infants, so alone for that reason, they are a lot less exposed.

    381:

    »Because potassium is preferentially retained in the body biologically speaking a typical adult human being emits over 4,000 Bequerels of radiation from K-40, that is over 4,000 disintegrations per second. In the human body only Carbon-14 comes close to causing that level of deadly gamma rays […]«

    The fact that people as a general rule die from pretty much anything but gamma rays, means that by /definition/ the K-40 decays are not emitting "deadly gamma rays".

    (You would be a lot more fun to have around if you could cut the idiotic hyperbole…)

    382:

    Richard H said: Sieverts per excess banana

    That would be good, except that it's zero. In a healthy person potassium levels are held pretty tightly. If you eat an "excess banana" you just excrete the excess potassium and so the additional absorbed dose is nothing.

    The whole "you get more radiation from a banana" is lying with facts. You do "get more radiation" from that actual banana, but the amount of additional radiation you're actually getting is zero.

    383:

    »I bet nobody ever checks exactly where physics experiments are pointed.«

    That's not even funny.

    At Århus university they had an acellerator in the basement and the landscape outside the building was designed to act as shielding.

    …which it did, until somebody hired a landscaping architect to modernize the place.

    384:

    JohnS - I still get messages from legit callers who use the landline but most legit callers not in the landline directory as, say, Hectorina McG are more likely to call my sister's or my cell than the landline.

    385:

    Re: '... but anyone else noticing easing longcovid by way of over-eating fruit?'

    My guess is that most people hadn't been eating enough fruit/veg before getting sick with COVID - no reserves. Also that there's probably some similarity among which cells get most destroyed/screwed up by COVID in terms of building blocks to replace the damaged cells. (As well as keep everything else going. In many respects kinda similar problem to how do you keep maintaining, building and rebuilding a city according to current and future needs.)

    You've looked at radioactivity (bananas), have you looked at different light frequencies - specifically infra-red and near infrared? Different people get different symptoms including for long-COVID. The article below mentions three different mechanisms/paths of long-COVID. (And there's no reason why someone can't have any combination/permutation of the three, i.e., not mutually exclusive.)

    https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-01693-6

    'COVID and the brain: researchers zero in on how damage occurs Growing evidence suggests that the coronavirus causes ‘brain fog’ and other neurological symptoms through multiple mechanisms.'

    Major take-away for me --- There's some (increasing) evidence that astrocytes are a big feature of long-COVID brain fog, very similar to what happens in an aging brain.

    https://www.news-medical.net/news/20220815/Study-shows-astrocytes-as-breeding-grounds-of-SARS-CoV-2-during-brain-infection.aspx

    Below is a very brief case study - concussed athlete who used light therapy.

    https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fneur.2020.00952/full

    There was a very small clinical trial a few years earlier as well. Although both papers' subjects were trauma patients, my impression is that results would likely also apply in aging.

    'Significant Improvements in Cognitive Performance Post-Transcranial, Red/Near-Infrared Light-Emitting Diode Treatments in Chronic, Mild Traumatic Brain Injury: Open-Protocol Study'

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4043367/

    No idea whether there are any new clinical trials for light therapy - COVID or other virus related brain/nervous system issues.

    The UK is looking at a couple of existing meds to treat some long-COVID symptoms.

    https://www.bhf.org.uk/informationsupport/heart-matters-magazine/news/coronavirus-and-your-health/long-covid/long-covid-research

    386:

    Inverse square law applies -- someone who works a hundred metres from an operating nuclear reactor vessel will receive a thousand times more antineutrino exposure than someone three kilometres away (roughly thirty squared). They may spend a large part of their working life, twenty years and more within this blast radius, 40,000 hours and more of exposure. For antineutrino decay to have any real effect on human beings it would have to happen thousands if not millions of times a second in thousands of human bodies for decades before the collective damage might be statistically noticeable and there is a sample cohort that meets that requirement, those long-term nuclear power plant workers.

    If antineutrino decay "sickness" was a real thing then statistically speaking it would have shown up in the sorts of medical studies carried out on nuclear power plant workers around the world over the past seventy years or so. As far as I can tell it hasn't.

    As for the "idiotic hyperbole" I was parodying some of the more crazypants anti-nuclear power pundits like Busby who I mentioned previously. He was the lead "scientist" behind a series of "childhood leukemia clusters downwind from nuclear power plants" reports in the 1980s here in the UK, published by one or other of his grandly-titled one-man research organisations. He had maps and diagrams and everything (this was pre-PowerPoint so he had to use green crayons) and he got his name in the papers and on teevee news a few times. There are a few others like Busby who, in a rational world, would have resulted in the anti-nuclear brigade getting laughed at but we're not in a rational world so his reports got treated like they were real science and many people concluded that nuclear power was a really really bad thing. Instead of going heavily into nuclear power during that time we burned coal and now we burn gas to produce energy and that's okay because no antineutrinos.

    387:

    Heteromeles @ 359:

    One of those lovely phrases that no one in the argument agrees to define the same way. When this comes up and I ask for affordable for who, the responses are interesting. It can range from dealing with the homeless folks all the way to why can't I afford the house I want if making I'm making $150K per year.

    If I recall correctly, around here, affordable is "affordable for a family at median income for the area." In many local neighborhoods, that actually turns out to be an 800 ft2 (80 m2) or smaller apartment for a family of four.

    [...]

    The essential problem locally is that developers and builders claim that single family homes (including connected townhomes and larger condos) are the only profitable things to build. They're required by law to provide 10% affordable housing within the development, or (previously) to pay a fee to get out of the requirement. While they inevitably make a big deal out of how much affordable housing they are building, it doesn't come close to demand.

    The reason it doesn't work is the "median" income is just that MEDIAN - half of the incomes in a given area are going to be less than the median income. And while that 10% housing may be affordable TODAY, demand is going to price them out of affordability VERY SOON.

    If I didn't already have a home, I couldn't afford to buy one ANYWHERE in the U.S. I could afford to buy another house in some places, but not Wake County, NC, IF I sold my house for the property tax assessed value - but the house flippers don't want to pay me that much. They want to swindle me out of ALL of my equity and I can go live under a fuckin' bridge somewhere.

    Currently San Diego has just about all the single family homes it needs, given that fewer people each year can afford them. Some proportion are being snapped up as investment properties. In contrast, we desperately need housing for the half of the population that's living on below median income. This segment is not getting built in sufficient quantity because it's "not profitable." When it does get built, typically a government program or a non-profit provides several hundred kilobucks to make it "sufficiently profitable" for it to get built.

    Yes, our housing system is insane and at best semi-functional. I've very deliberately skimming the surface here.

    More than insane I think. Late stage capitalism in the U.S. has become a massive criminal enterprise that would make the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge recoil in horror.

    My suggestion, before anyone decides to get some jollies about proposing fixes, is for them to fully describe how well their local housing system works. And if it has problems, maybe also describe what they personally area doing to try to make it less destructive or insane...?

    Thing is, I think you might be better off there in San Diego than a lot of other parts of the country. The insanity that is housing policy in the U.S. is a nationwide problem. But any real solution is "socialism" and might as well be COMMUNISM. Those who profit from the system as it is have the power to block meaningful reform.

    388:

    I saw a map of excess-cancer clusters from one of those studies, covering the area around Aldermaston (military nuclear, of course). It was quite clear that the "clusters" (which looked to me like random clustering) correlated better with the major roads than with the nuclear sites.

    389:

    Re: '... someone who works a hundred metres from an operating nuclear reactor vessel will receive a thousand times more antineutrino exposure than someone three kilometres away (roughly thirty squared).'

    Pre and post Chernobyl would make for an interesting test of the above.

    Also I'm guessing that not all nuke power plants had the same architecture or used the same building materials therefore each location should be compared against every other location across a number of different factors (medical/health outcomes). This would be in addition to comparisons for socioeconomic and demographic variables cuz who would want to live next door to any power plant!

    I have zero knowledge of these particles but a search turned up articles about neutrinos affecting chirality in molecules. Molecular geometry is a big deal in medicine/health - e.g., proteins. Has anyone looked at incidence of L vs R chirality by distance from a power plant?

    390:

    It's neutrinos, there could be a hundred metres of interstellar vacuum between the Standard Human Radiation Target and the running nuclear core, there could be a hundred metre thick slab of depleted neutronium, neutrinos and antineutrinos don't care, the irradiation dose of the target from neutrino decay would be the same. That's what makes the "nuclear power antineutrinos kills babies" storyline so good for those who are against nuclear power, there's nothing the nuclear power plant designers and builders can do to lessen the neutrino and antineutrino emissions outside the plant.

    Radioactive decay doesn't produce neutrinos AFAIK, it's fission that does it and you only really get that from nuclear reactors so post-Chernobyl is not going to show up anything, ditto for Fukushima and even fallout events such as post-Castle Bravo, nope.

    391:

    The definitive British study published in Nature about ten years ago found no correlation between nuclear power stations and leukaemia clusters in surrounding areas. They did, however find a cluster at the site of a planned nuclear power station which was never built.

    392:

    D amino acids are found at a low level in humans. Some are actually synthesised but others are ingested as good. ISTR from a lecture by the head of a Leeds University/LGI research unit in 1990 that processed cheese was the major source. But of the over 2000 clinical trials I was involved in I can’t remember any involving D-amino acids. And the Leeds Unit involved eventually closed down and my lab inherited the few clinical trials the had left plus a technician. None of these trials involved D-amino acid either. So I doubt if there’s a lot of data on this.

    393:

    Re: 'Radioactive decay doesn't produce neutrinos AFAIK, it's fission that does it ...'

    Thanks for the explanation. Not sure I understand the difference between fission and decay, but that's another matter - I'll look it up later.

    Meanwhile ...

    Just saw a couple of headlines in Google news ... FUSION!

    https://theweek.com/energy/1019175/us-reportedly-set-to-announce-major-fusion-energy-breakthrough

    394:

    Jane Jacobs should have been awarded the Nobel prize in economics.

    395:

    And as I've said a number of times, I want a hybrid minivan. USED ones are currently running more than new.

    396:

    Fission involves neutrons hitting the nucleus of a fissionable atom like U235 or Pu-239 and breaking it up into two or more chunks, plus extra neutrons and radiation like X-rays and gamma rays. Unstable radioactive elements spontaneously decay, emitting electrons (beta radiation), helium nuclei (alpha particles) and/or gamma rays and become different elements, usually themselves radioactive which will decay in their turn.

    That is very simplified, there are a lot of special cases and gotchas, like two-stage decay paths and so on. With fission sometimes the extra neutrons are captured by other atoms transmuting them into a new element -- this is how plutonium is "bred" from uranium.

    397:

    Here in the U.S. it's apparently real easy to spoof caller ID.

    Canada too. Virtually all my waterfowl callers with subcontinental accents are apparently calling from my local area code. And although I have caller ID, many numbers (such as my nieces') just display the number and no other description, so being unable to reemmber all the phone numbers of people who might legitimately call me I answer more spam calls than regular calls.

    I do report those like real estate agents to the CRTC, for violating the Do Not Call list (which I've been on since it was created).

    From what I dimly remember from my time writing phone switching software decades ago, the phone system was created to assume good faith from someone already in the system, so the designed-in security was in no way ready for internet phones. This could be way out-of-date technically, but my spam experience suggests otherwise.

    398:

    Here in the U.S. it's apparently real easy to spoof caller ID.

    Canada too.

    Likewise in Oz: at a point in time some years ago when most POTS landlines were being replaced by VOIP, and every other company was relocating its call centre overseas anyway, it appears to have been deemed too hard for telcos to manage phone numbers, and "CLI overstamping", where businesses could basically manage them themselves, was allowed. Since this led to an explosion in scam calls from overseas posing as listed business numbers, since 2020 the rule has required the overstamping to show a legitimate Australian number with certain parameters. Which is why these days the thing that's most valuable in Australian data breaches where customer accounts are exposed is the phone number list. Scammers use databases of valid mobile numbers both as targets and as numbers to overstamp. It means that the common reaction people have, which is reverse search the number and/or block it is futile and even counter productive (one day it'll be someone they actually wanted to hear from).

    This does means it's effectively impossible to block scammers, and also be able to receive calls from people you don't already have in your contact list.

    399:

    Right, thanks - now I remember that Ganymede was "the Gods cupbearer", which sounds like as good a name as any for a kept man.

    400:

    What I read was the mine in Cumbria was intended for coking for steel.

    401:

    That's awful fast for arthritis. I have osteo, and both of my knees were partially replaced. I'd check with an orthopedist, if I were you.

    402:

    US planned communities - um, nope. Greenbelt, MD. Walkable. And a small shopping center in the middle - co-op, I think, supermarket, ditto a restaurant/club. And a theater. Few other things, walk-to-able, and no golf club. But I think it was planned and built (to start) in the 30's, before Cars Are All.

    403:

    I think it's a bit different in cities, esp. further north. In the DC metro area, rents increase starting at 1 mi from a Metro stop, and go higher the closer you are.

    "1500sf 2 story housing" um, WHAT?!!! I live in a freakin' split level - that's 1.5 floors, and we're listed at about 1494 or so sq foot. Two floors - my house in Chicago was that, sort of a stucco four-square prairie, and it was about 2140sf.

    Wish this *was

    2 story. Then, too, it would also have a full basement.

    404:

    Well, no, it did. Since Tricky Dick started the lowering of the top tax brackets, the difference between the bottom income earners at corporations and the CEO has increased by a literal order of magnitude.

    405:

    We know the easy solution: all aboaaaard!

    Got a friend who lives in Cary, IL, 40 mi from downtown Chicago. Hell, no, he takes the commuter rail.

    407:

    No. Hell, no. I want to walk down to the corner store now, buy some cocoa, so I can make brownies now, not tomorrow or next week.

    And there's absolutely no reason that a lot of various kinds of stores can't be downstairs from housing. Bodega, anyone?

    408:

    It transferred big money from companies to organized crime. Ditto for the "War on (some) Drugs".

    Hell, my (late? can't get hold of him) friend, the superannuated outlaw biker, told me that what used to be fun changed in the eighties, when serious drug money came in, and the biker gangs turned into organized crime, rather than fun.

    409:

    RE: Today's nuclear fusion "holy grail breakthrough" announcement.

    Here is a video that throws cold water on any thought of having fusion by 2040. Its a nice look at the boring logistical stuff starry-eyed dreamers don't think about.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JurplDfPi3U (why we won't have fusion power by 2040)

    Just the time/cost needed to build any major infrastructure project, let alone a completely untried new energy source, is measured in decades (just try getting a fission nuclear plant built these days).

    And this just one on the hundreds of technical breakthroughs to make fusion possible in the first place:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BzK0ydOF0oU (the problem with fusion)

    "Nuclear fusion is the power of the future - and always will be."

    Which is a damned shame.

    Because with nuclear fusion we could:

    Have a nearly infinite source of clean energy. Use it as a torch to break down and destroy any and all pollutants into their constituent atoms, cleaning up our industrial and hazardous waste. Allow us to grow all of our food indoors with cheap lighting, allowing farm land to return to nature and restore biodiversity. Terraform entire planets easily, and comfortably colonize the solar system out to the Kuiper Belt. Power starships that could travel a significant fraction of the speed of light.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Pmgr6FtYcY (the impact of nuclear fusion)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ChTJHEdf6yM (fusion power)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0B_9EbEobMk (fusion propulsion)

    P.S. Isaac Arthur's videos are amazing.

    410:

    My partner orders then, and likes them, a lot.

    411:

    On the fusion proto-news:

    This is, at most, an interesting science experiment. If there's a path from it to reliable gigawatts going into the grid, it isn't obvious. And if there is such a path, it's going to be a long, long one.

    (It's amusing that the LIF fuel pellets are teeny versions of the second stage of Teller-Ulam thermonuclear weapons. Swords into plowshares, I suppose.)

    412:

    And here is a great video on tritium fuel losses, the structural damage caused by continuous neutron bombardment, and other technical stumbling blocks to nuclear fusion.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FrUWoywZRt8 (what no one else is telling you about nuclear fusion).

    You want a simple and inexpensive fusion reactor?

    Dig a hole a few miles deep into solid bedrock far away from any fault lines or facture zones.

    Drop a small fusion warhead down the hole.

    Detonate is when it hits the bottom.

    This will create a more or less round chamber with super heated walls that will stay hot for a very long time.

    Pump the chamber full of water and pump the now super heated water to a heat exchanger at the surface.

    Use the steam from the heat exchanger to flash steam water to run a turbine and then send the now cool water from the chamber back down the hole to be reheated.

    Generate electricity.

    Keep the chamber hot by dropping nuclear fusion charges down the hole at regular intervals.

    Voila! Cheap and simple nuclear fusion.

    413:

    A commercial molten salt Thorium reactor could be developed at something like 1% of the cost of a commercial fusion reactor, so it is amazing that the latter is fully funded while the former is not.

    414:

    "Keep the chamber hot by dropping nuclear fusion charges down the hole at regular intervals."

    Yeah, I remember that from the 1960s. Don't know if it originated at Livermore, but it sounds very Teller-ish.

    415:

    You missed my point, twice.

    Amsterdam started down the path of car centric planning, but changed away from that.

    You keep talking as though never doing car centric planning is the same thing. But it's not. And specifically in the discussion you joined, saying "it never was car centric" means it's useless as an example to refute "but we have car centred planning now so we're stuck with it forever".

    Yes, Amsterdam existed before cars. But that's not why I'm talking about it.

    416:

    Hell, no. I want to walk down to the corner store now,

    Yeah, then getting groceries delivered isn't going to work for you.

    But the point of the microwarehouses is that they offer delivery within 30 minutes. Like corner shops they have a limited selection, but I think the "higher prices" are shared between the investors and the customers, so the price isn't as high as you'd expect (see also Uber et al)

    417:

    "You missed my point, twice."

    And I still seem to be missing it.

    My point, FWIW, is that most of Amsterdam having been built pre-car, and still there when they realised that car-centric was not the way to go, meant that they did not have to rebuild the entire city just to cope with not everything based on cars. Most of what they needed to undo the car-centric policy was already there.

    A city built round cars, OTOH, requires massive rebuilding if the cars are to be no longer there. Much time, much money, much opposition from just about everybody affected, even thos who would eventually, many many years down the line, wind up better off.

    In case the way I expressed it at first has led to misunderstanding, I will say I intended it the same way I say that I gave up smoking the easy way. I never started.

    JHomes

    418:

    Amsterdam existed before cars. But that's not why I'm talking about it.

    Indeed.

    I wonder whether it's worth pointing out to the people who keep insisting about this that the cities they are talking about, at least most of them, also existed before cars.

    It's a bit like way people say we could never have trams back in Brisbane, because the streets are so narrow and won't someone purleeez think about the poor under-supported cars. I think it would be a great way to reduce car traffic in the CBD.

    419:

    JHolmes said: A city built round cars, OTOH, requires massive rebuilding.

    Does it though? The city centre, even the centre of cities built since cars appeared won't need rebuilding.

    The very centre is always walkable anyway.

    The outskirts of the centre (ie, the not suburbs, but not central, in Australia we call them the inner city) might need some building changes, but they're not generally a single family dwellings desert.

    It's the suburbia that's the problem.

    Say you had a small city, say 1.2 million, with 800,000 living in the surrounding suburbia. If you decide that must all be retained, and redeveloped into medium/high density walkable then you're going to have housing for 55 million people.

    You don't have 55 million people.

    Redevelop 16 sq km closest to the city proper. That will house your 800,000.

    The people who live in the chosen 16 sq km should get a fair price, and they can buy a house in the existing suburbs if they want to. The people who are in the existing 1100 sq km of suburbia don't have to do anything. They can stay and work from home, or commute 4 hours a day, or sell and buy in the new buildings close to the city or just walk away and let the bank figure out what to do with it.

    Circumstances change and some areas that people used to live aren't worth living in anymore. That's why there are ghost towns, even when the population is growing. There's no contract when you buy a house that it must always be worth lots of money.

    Cars made some places that no one should want to live in, places people wanted to live. There's no rule that they must remain so forever. There's no rule that cities must keep subsidising the suburbs forever. Suburbs cost the local council/City much more to maintain than they bring in revenue. They use more water, make more garbage, need more roads, more street lights, and so on. The local taxes being based on land value skew things. The land is cheap (so it's taxed low) but it's expensive to provide services. Councils can never afford public housing while their budgets are draining into suburbs.

    Now, as Damian said, (and I wish I had said because it sums up everything so perfectly) I have some running around and screaming to do.

    420:

    »A commercial molten salt Thorium reactor could be developed at something like 1% of the cost of a commercial fusion reactor«

    MSR has so far been very underwhelming in practice.

    The origins of MSR is very much also it's curse: Back when people still seriously thought there were money to be made on fission products, the idea that you could continuously "refine" the molten salt for these had great attraction.

    However, it transpired that the only valuable element in spent fuel is Pu, which we A) Really do not want people to extract, and B) Is necessary to keep the reactivity up to keep the MSR reactor critical.

    However, in order to keep the reactivity up, you have to get rid of the neutron-eaters, so the refining step is not optional.

    Apart from the literal chemical horror of sifting out those neutron-eaters from stream of 700°C hot melted salt, it also raises a question about what you are going to do with them, once they have been separated ?

    Normal civilian spent fuel processing only happens after the fuel has "cooled" for years.

    Even military plutonium processing let the spent fuel "cool" for months.

    In a MSR reactor you either have to do it on-line, or design your plant to have only approx 5% of the melt circulating, while the other 95% is cooling, awaiting refinement, before it can be sent back in circulation.

    (One exception: You can evaporate out the Xenon, in fact it is very hard to prevent it from doing so, but what are you going to do with it ? Vent it to the atmosphere ? In normal fuel elements it stays put until it has decayed to a solid element.)

    The waste-stream from a normal nuclear reactor are spent fuel assemblies, everything nicely packed and encapsulated, so that after cooling in a pool for some years, it can be put in a concrete "casket" and left standing around for decades, until somebody finally decides where to dig a hole to bury it permanently.

    The waste-stream from a MSR reactor is pretty much the exact same as it was on Hanford and Windscale: The ugly and highly radioactive end of the periodic table, dissolved in strong acids or other environmentally problematic solvents.

    The big "unknown, unknown about MSRs" is what it costs to make them /chemically/ environmentally acceptable.

    Nobody wants to talk about that, because it is not really an "unknown unknown": Everything we have learned from the remediation of Hanford and Windscale applies.

    From a non-proliferation point of view, MSR+ALIS is a nightmare: Remote sensing cannot tell you if Pu239 is being produced clandestinely, or if it is just a perfectly innocent civilian power producing reactor.

    The fact that none of the bomb-wannabee states have gone this route is probably the biggest of all warning signs over the MSR technology.

    421:

    Say you had a small city, say 1.2 million, with 800,000 living in the surrounding suburbia. If you decide that must all be retained, and redeveloped into medium/high density walkable then you're going to have housing for 55 million people.

    Pre-quakes this was something that Christchurch was considering, IIRC. Some people were trying to preserve the green belt and city boundaries by encouraging densification including pushing up height limits. Then the CTV tower collapse made a lot of people quite skeptical about high-rise during the rebuild, and a whole lot of political bullshit happened and it's all very sad.

    Sydney is kind of interesting in that regard, it's only 5M or so but has a solid train system and generally pretty reasonable public transit. Plus some real effort to get high rise next to train stations and encourage intensification in the existing city. Unfortunately politics is happening as well, so we get corruption scandals and sundry disasters on the side. Relatively few people die, it's less than 1% of the "everything is back to normal" pandemic death toll that we've all learned to live with*. So that's presumably not worth mentioning.

    Both countries are in the transition from local population growth to imported, so there's no actual need for city growth at all, other than an economic system based on endless growth. Oh, and we must have significant immigration from poorer countries, otherwise wages will go up.

    * except those who have contributed to the death toll, obviously

    422:

    "Radioactive decay doesn't produce neutrinos AFAIK, it's fission that does it"

    Yes it does. That's where the idea that neutrinos ought to exist came from in the first place - beta decay needs a fudge factor to make the spins add up, and neutrinos were it. Indeed, the process by which these terribly lethal nuclear reactions in the human body are induced by neutrinos from nuclear reactors is essentially that in the incredibly rare event that a neutrino does interact with something, it makes it do a beta decay backwards.

    (Of course it works any way round with the appropriate combinations of neutrinos/antineutrinos and electrons/positrons being eaten/emitted, and all that, but this is unnecessary complication for the point in question.)

    423:

    "Because potassium is preferentially retained in the body biologically speaking a typical adult human being emits over 4,000 Bequerels of radiation from K-40, that is over 4,000 disintegrations per second."

    It is not that biology is defenseless against radioactivity-caused DNA damage... I venture a guess here: our repair mechanisms are evolved to deal "well-enough" with the "natural/unavoidable" radiation levels by sources like Kalium40, so if you'd magically remove all K-40 from a human's body you would have "capacity" for addition radioactive material in the body without having to expect considerably worse problems. However it seems rather "hard" to get rid of all the K-40 and hence you need to be careful in how much additional radiation sources you add not to overwhelm our repair capability... As Deinococcus radiodurans* demonstrates, humans are not nowhere near the top of "tolerance against ionizing-radiation" chart by any means, but we have little ways of getting there, let alone quickly.

    *) Note it seems that D. radiodurans apparently did not primary evolve to tolerate ionizing-radiation, but this is "merely" a side-effect of a different selection process that resulted in elevated DNA repair capability that comes in handy.

    424:

    "From what I dimly remember from my time writing phone switching software decades ago, the phone system was created to assume good faith from someone already in the system, so the designed-in security was in no way ready for internet phones. This could be way out-of-date technically, but my spam experience suggests otherwise."

    What I vaguely remember is that you are right, and there is so much heavy backwards compatibility stuff in phone systems that doing something about it was next to impossible, so the best they could do was fudges around filtering the inputs and stuff which still left things significantly porous. The compatibility restrictions aren't quite so bad these days but the situation still isn't great. Specific details vary according to which country's phone system you're talking about, but the principles are the same: it's all basically security by obscurity and none of it's obscure any more.

    I had a look once at the sequence of tones which precede "This is the United States calling, are we reaching...? ... See, he keeps hanging up. And it's a man answering." The sequence was recorded off a real phone call. It's a string of digits in some version of DTMF which is different from what phone keypads generate, produced by the operator pressing some button, meaning something like "repeat last operation" to the system. Had Pink been so inclined he could probably in theory have replayed the recording down the phone instead of hanging up and thereby retried the call once again. There was a fashion in the US at one point for building your own alternate-DTMF generators to issue similar but more useful commands to make the system do things like put long-distance calls through at local-call charge rates. I don't think that worked on the British phone system, but there were different things that did.

    Caller ID in the UK, when it first came out (and I doubt it's changed much), was a total kludge that actually used one of those holes in the British phone system. The connection between calling and receiving phones is established before the receiving phone starts ringing (ringing current being kept separate from the audio by the audio being between the lines while the ringing current is between one line and ground), so if you stick a capacitor in series with the hook switch you can lift the phone without the exchange knowing about it, and people who are prepared to talk over the constant interference can call you for free. Caller ID made use of this by sending a tone sequence generated at the calling end to the receiving phone over the audio circuit immediately the connection was made and the receiving phone started ringing.

    So if you built your own tone sequence generator you could override the official sequence with any number you liked, and soon enough people did. I think they knocked that one on the head reasonably quickly, but there are still other ways of doing it.

    425:

    »What I vaguely remember is that you are right, and there is so much heavy backwards compatibility stuff in phone systems that doing something about it was next to impossible«

    Well, it was impossible for a several different reasons.

    Much of the trouble started with "Signalling System" protocols which was what official state-sanctioned telcos used to control the exchange of international traffic.

    Not trusting your peer telco would be seen as rather bad form, and bandwidth was severely limited, as was processing power.

    By the time scammers had become aware how cheap it was to get access to SS7, telcos had gone from "public infrastructure" to "make money fast" operations and expending significant money on a major overhaul, just to protect the customers from a few nuisance calls were clearly not indicated.

    The fact that scammers could be quite lucrative for telcos or corrupt telco employees didnt help.

    But it is also technically hard to do something about, because by design mobile phones drag their number with them when the roam.

    Any telco in the world, can claim that my mobile phone is roaming on their network, and the only way to disprove such a claim, would be to send traffic to the phone via that telcom which makes the phone validate its identity.

    This is what the IMEI number was supposed to do, except any telco can just ask for it via SS7, because GSM was designed back when you could clearly trust any telco with enough money to roll out a celluar network.

    Needless to say, professional spies, governmental or otherwise, where happy about this, because in addition to knowing where in the world any interesting mobile phone was, you could literally steal its traffic or pretend to be it, if you wanted to.

    There is some dispute about precisely how far the british tabloid press went in this respect, but no dispute that they did.

    The US gov't is finally starting to tighten the thumb-screws on telcos, but the progress is being politically sabotaged by party-partisans who know the efficiency of malicious spamming right before or on election-day.

    426:

    All you say is true.

    It's still easier to develop MSR thorium reactors than nuclear fusion.

    427:

    Yes, that's a useful one because we shut down all the coal mines on the basis that we could feed the coal power stations by importing any old shit as long as it burned, and the remaining bits of steel industry have been unhappy about it ever since.

    The site the proposal is about is a point on the coast where two or three different mining companies in the old days were all going at it next to each other, so there's quite a maze of badly-mapped or unmapped old workings down there, further complicated by at least one of the old companies having been a half-arsed cowboy bunch that kept having collapses and inrushes and other adverse consequences of unsafe procedures happen while they were working it. They got all they could get under the land and then went out under the sea for more, and only got some of that. What's down there now is two sets of old workings, the set closer in and easier to get at being in a right state and nearly all flooded, and also being in the way of getting at the other set which are thought to be in much better condition, then further out under the sea there's a whole lot more coal that hasn't been worked at all, which is what makes the idea worth thinking about.

    They've been doing this repeating cycle of engaging in a bout of surveys and investigative work, then getting into an argument over regulations and environmental legislation, then back to investigations, and so on, with the tendency for the regulations and legislation to keep being tweaked helping to keep this going. But the surveys and investigations have all been piddling around in the region of the bad set of workings, where there's no reason to expect to be able to get coal easily or cleanly in the first place, and making very little effort to investigate the areas that actually would be worth trying to work. So actual miners, including some who used to work in the former pits at the site, being clued-up about what modern mining technology can actually usefully do with the place, look at what's going on and say "WTF are they playing at?". The point seems to be that every time they go round the cycle, it gives them a new and different way to say "well this is a problem, true, and this is going to be a limitation... but this that we'll be able to do is going to be super amazingly great!!!1!" and the fresh blob of new hope can be used to get people to give them lots more money, which they can then find more ways to not spend on getting a mine actually started.

    428:

    " (ringing current being kept separate from the audio by the audio being between the lines while the ringing current is between one line and ground), "

    Except that there is no ground. In the normal UK POTS setup, there are only two line wires into the back of the master socket.

    Maybe you're thinking of the (obsolete) party-line system where ringing was indeed between line and ground and the "call exchange" button (which signalled which party to bill for the call) was between the other line and ground?

    430:

    =+=+=

    typo = "Ebenezer Scrooge recoil in horror."

    correction = "Ebenezer Scrooge would avidly scribble notes and request for additional detailing upon advanced scams."

    =+=+=

    fusion will indeed solve all problems... once all the fiddly bits are resolved...

    scaling up something every researcher admits to be flaky will be 20+Y to reach stable engineering and an addition 20+Y to force it through regulatory hurdles...

    what will be really funny by 2060s the entrenched industry for energy will be wind-plus-PV not fossil fuels therefore it will be those 'Fortune 500' megacorps manufacturing wind-plus-PV who will grimly fight any attempt to build gigawatt hydrogen fusion reactors

    =+=+=

    431:

    424 Pigeon - Neatly demonstrated by my landline handsets, which include 1 wired el cheapo unit and 3 wireless handsets on base stations (charger, personal directory and answerphone combined). With an incoming call, the sequence of events is:-
    1) El cheapo rings
    2) Caller id displays calling number, and then switches to personal directory narrative string if available
    3) Answerphone plays outgoing message and offers you a chance to leave a message.

    It's amazing how often (2) is a recognised number from an exchange where we know no-one (personal or corporate) who knows the landline number, or is "number withheld", and (3) doesn't get a message.

    429 Uncle Stinky - Or, without a newspaper's advertising cluff, London Ringway

    432:

    It's still easier to develop MSR thorium reactors than nuclear fusion

    Really? No-one's even proved that thorium can be fissioned, because, well, it can't. What the thorium boosters hide behind the Green curtain is that the fuel system requires thorium (Th-232) to be bred up into U-233 which is fissionable. That is what generates all the power in a proposed thorium MSR, a uranium fission cycle. To do that requires a lot of very tight nucleonics processes since the breeding process uses up a neutron that isn't available for fissioning a uranium atom later. The engineering has to deal with very concentrated radiation fluxes and high temperatures in a small confined space while piping the reactant in and out of the working volume and hoping it doesn't all slag down and melt.

    And please, please, PLEASE don't waffle on about the ORNL molten-salt reactor. It was never run on thorium, it used U-233 which was produced at great expense at Hanford via breeder reactors. The ORNL reactor was only ever a lab research tool, it was never meant to be a power-plant prototype.

    At that time in the 1960s engineers were throwing everything at the wall, nucleonically speaking, and seeing what stuck and what didn't. Some worked, a lot failed (pebble-bed designs, high-temp gas-cooling etc.) or were shown to be over-complicated and pointless. The "steam-kettle" simple PWRs and BWRs won out, a couple of gas-cooled designs made it into the second generation power station builds. Breeders were tried and failed, other than providing some countries a nuclear weapons breakout capability.

    433:

    »No-one's even proved that thorium can be fissioned, because, well, it can't.«

    Not directly, but in the presence of neutrons it happily absorbs one and become Uranium, which can fission.

    Since most neutrons are "wasted" in a normal nuclear reactor, that makes thorium a viable part of fuel for fission reactors of all designs.

    USA even tested a nuclear bomb "with a lot of thorium in it" and got a respectable bang.

    The biggest problem about Thorium is it is significantly more expensive to mine it than Uranium.

    The second biggest problem is all the neonuclear scammers hyping it.

    434:

    Much of the trouble started with "Signalling System" protocols which was what official state-sanctioned telcos used to control the exchange of international traffic.

    Ah, yes. SS7. Since only large trusted phone companies around the planet will talk to each other they can trust each other.

    Back before the late 60s / early 70s (in the US and I suspect most else where) companies didn't have switch gear that the owned. The transistors suddenly made it possible for a company to have a PBX (Private Branch eXchange). Lots of legal wrangling across the US (and I suspect elsewhere) but reality moved forward. Then as PBXs got computers things started to fall apart. Suddenly enterprising folks discovered ways to bypass long distance toll calls by routing calls on internal "data only" networks. And so on. Oh yeah. Security was an afterthought on much of the small PBX designs so there was a big underground market in finding unsecured PBX systems and using them to make long distance (around the planet) calls for "free". You dial in via the facility to allow the intended users to call in to someone in the office and then dial back out to Brazil or wherever.

    Then deregulation in the US.

    Then cell phones showed up. And IPVN took over. In band signalling went away (mostly).

    Then, at least in the US, number portability. Which as a side effect eliminated the issue of the US (and other places) running out of phone numbers using the old geographic and CO based numbering system.

    As PHK said, suddenly you had to take calls from everyone or no one. And anyone could claim to be from any number.

    There is a way to try and clean up the mess. But uptake is slow. Telcos are looking at staggering amounts of money they do not want to spend on working systems. So they are foot dragging in the US. Not sure of the rest of the planet.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/STIR/SHAKEN

    There is a staggering amount of copper wire in the US that is abandoned. First PBXs replaced Centrex where every circuit on those 6 button phone had a complete path back to the office. So businesses in the US had an incredible amount of 50 pair cables running in the walls and ceilings. Then IPVN and fiber eliminated the need for a copper pair back to the CO from each end point. I wonder if anyone has estimated how much copper is buried in the US never to be used again?

    435:

    the old companies having been a half-arsed cowboy bunch

    Wow. A US idiom being used to describe a UK company.

    436:

    It's amazing how often (2) is a recognised number from an exchange where we know no-one

    A few years back the scammers in the US started using fake numbers with the same prefix as your number so as to try and get you to think it was someone nearby. (Number portability now withstanding.)

    In the use for me that would be any 919-332-xxxx number.

    I have a few thousand numbers in my cell phone contact list. And the majority of the calls to me are still from "Unknown Number - SPAM Likely". Oh well.

    437:

    What I read was the mine in Cumbria was intended for coking for steel.

    So say the political backers.

    There was a well written article I read in the last few days about these proposed mines and the use of the coal for steel production. All of the steel companies they talked with said they had no interest in using more than maybe 10% of the coal. If that. Thank you very much. They seem to be actively working on reducing the amount of coal needed to make steel.

    438:

    It's obviously falsifiable, but the experiments required to test the hypothesis are ridiculously expensive and complicated, even on mice. Setting up a radioactivity-reduced environment could be done, but I can't see anyone shelling out the gigabucks needed. We already know that significant increases in radioactivity are harmful.

    There is also epidemiological testing, but the complexity of that is such that huge amounts of very carefully collected data would be needed, which brings us back to shelling out gigabucks.

    The former could be done even for neutrinos, to some extent, by running experiments around Earth and Neptune; we don't have the technology to shield neutinos, so that would test only for solar ones. We could also text higher fluxes by running fission generators nearby, shielded against gamma rays but, again, that's only one source of neutrinos and not for lower fluxes.

    It's certainly plausible that a certain level of background radioactivity is important (or even essential) for proper development of our immune system but, as it's not a practically usable result even if true, it will remain speculation.

    439:

    "However, in order to keep the reactivity up, you have to get rid of the neutron-eaters, so the refining step is not optional."

    It's this that is really the whole point of the thing. It's not something that's a nuisance because you can't skip it, it's what you're trying to be able to do in the first place: take all the crap out of the reacting mass continuously at the same rate as it's being formed, so all you've got in there is fissile and fissionable nuclei plus transparent carrier materials and the conditions for the fission reaction are closer to ideal.

    The chemistry isn't too bad really. The actual refinement part of the whole chemical processing sequence, which of course any reprocessing method has to do, is basically the easy bit, because all the elements you do want are conveniently chemically special in much the same way and all the ones you don't aren't; so as long as you're not wanting to separate the different fissile/fissionable elements from each other, and only need to concern yourself with separating them in a bunch from everything else, that step is straightforward.

    Since you're getting rid of all the neutron-eaters as they are formed, the reactor has enough spare neutrons available that you indeed can stuff any old fissi[onab]le element in there and it'll get eaten eventually, so the only possible way you can have a requirement to separate them from each other is if you want a particular one to make bombs with. So that's that bit taken care of.

    The other important bit is separating the reaction material from the carrier material. With conventional reactors this step is where most of the shit comes from, but with molten salt reactors it's a lot easier and the bit that would end up as shit ends up as stuff you put back in. You don't have to process a stream of molten salt at 700°C - they use fluoride salt mixtures with lower melting points than sodium chloride, more like 350 to 450 roughly. You also don't have to work on it in the same state as it is in in operation; you can cool it down and dissolve it, then reverse that once you've finished.

    You don't have to have 95% of it hanging around waiting for stuff to decay. It doesn't matter if the stuff going through the process is horribly radioactive, because you're not doing it by hand, you're doing it with a bunch of plumbing and some computers. The plumbing doesn't care, and anyway you can dilute it as much as you want for convenience. You might want to have more than one bunch of plumbing so you can let them cool down one at a time for maintenance, but that's not really the same thing. They're also not particularly big bunches of plumbing, because they're essentially doing the equivalent of processing one reactor's fuel mass in the same time as the refuelling interval for a comparable conventional reactor, at an appropriately low continuous rate.

    You can then leave the crap to cool down after you've separated it from the fuel and salt. This is less of a problem for containment than leaving whole fuel elements to cool off, because you're only storing the stuff you're actually cooling plus any suitably benign and inert carrier material that's convenient, and not any other noxious substances mixed in with it. Also, you have the same continuous low flow rate advantage as with the actual reprocessing, so there's not a huge amount of storage needed plus it's only the start of the line that's seriously hot. And the longer-term storage is also a lot easier, because again you've extracted all the stuff that has a really long half-life and put it back in the reactor, so you're only dealing with things that need to stay locked up for a few hundred years.

    They are really not very good for making bombs with if they haven't been designed for that to start with. Certainly they are useful for making bombs with if you do design them that way, because the continuous reprocessing gives you a chance to separate out the bomb isotopes and/or their precursors while they are still isotopically pure, and get super-duper bomb juice without double capture products in it. But that means reprocessing at a much faster rate to keep the concentration of wanted isotopes low, plus a whole extra chunk of plant to separate the different heavy elements from each other and extract those wanted isotopes at those low concentrations at that same faster rate. It also means the nuclear properties of the circulating material are not the same because you're not leaving those isotopes in there to make up for the fuel consumed in producing them. A non-bomb reactor is even less use than a conventional one if you're trying to make bombs on the side, because the circulating material is a brew of bomb isotopes plus multiple-capture higher versions all mixed up together, and with a lot more of those higher versions than a conventional reactor because they all just go round and round until they get eaten and you never take any of them out. There isn't an equivalent trick to making an ordinary reactor and just changing the fuel really often, without building the reactor and the reprocessing plant in the first place to make that kind of operation possible which would be really really obvious.

    Not that that matters anyway since we have the worked examples of places like North Korea doing the equivalent with conventional fuel cycles, and responding to queries like "oi, that looks like a plutonium extraction plant, you don't need that for generating electricity, what's all this then?" first with something transparently shit like "it's only for research purposes, no honest it is" and then with "piss off", and getting away with it; or South Africa going the whole way from scratch entirely on their own with no help from anyone... and then taking the bombs apart again because they decided it was more trouble than it was worth to have them. I don't reckon all the non-proliferation guff is worth the agonising it gets. Either somewhere wants them badly enough that it goes ahead regardless and nobody cares enough to stop it anyway, or it wants to not have them at all. It might even do both one after the other, but it doesn't harbour a half-arsed desire which is weak enough to be put off by one comparatively and increasingly minor obstacle.

    440:

    DavidL- I've not had a spam call from $this_exchange, but lots at least purporting to be from major conurbations:-
    0121 - Birmingham, West Midlands
    0131 - Edinburgh
    0141 - Glasgow... 0191 - Newcastle upon Tyne

    And yes my cell is in my landline's directory as "Paws Mobile".

    441:

    By rights "Paws Mobile" should refer to a Captain Cavemanesque camper van or similarly absurd vehicle.

    442:

    I think I'm getting mixed up between the line wiring and the internal house wiring, for which I think the convention has changed at least 3 times since my first memory of what it was like when all phones were hard-wired... come to that the original master sockets weren't wired quite the same as they are nowadays, though I can't remember what the difference was.

    443:

    Baba Yaga's camper van? (Camping sites don't allow chicken feet.)

    444:

    I know a camp site on Dartmoor that has chickens, and they all had feet.

    445:

    And yes my cell is in my landline's directory as "Paws Mobile".

    I don't even think the phone companies in the US put out "white pages" of people/businesses. I may be wrong.

    But most land lines are now owned by "old farts" and businesses. But the old farts are dying off. And more and more small businesses just don't have one. Or maybe just one number.

    A client that had a DID (multiple numbers into the system) for each employee which was handled by a VOIP provider. These range to the receptionist or direct to a persons desk. Between older management leaving/deaths and the pandemic so everyone went how, we switched it to a single number handler at the VOIP where all the inbound calls wound up. You got a recording which then, depending on the extension picked, forwarded the call to people's cell or to a voice mail setup. (Employee's choice.) When a voice mail was left the person with the extension got an email saying "you have voice mail".

    And I know other small businesses that I work with who just do not have anything like a land line. They have a cell phone for the business. And allow people to sign up for appointments and such via Facebook or whatever.

    PS: At 68 I qualify as an old fart. And I dropped my home land line 15 years or so ago. $45/mo back in my pocket.

    PPS: Many of the people who still have residential land lines (mostly old farts) think they have a copper pair back to the Central Office (CO). This makes them feel secure. They don't want to hear that it's really VOIP to the neighborhood pod where it is put back on copper for them for the last 1000 feet or so. And AT&T no longer will install copper into a house anywhere in the US now unless that's the only way to give service. Not sure about Verizon.

    446:

    That's awful fast for arthritis. I have osteo, and both of my knees were partially replaced. I'd check with an orthopedist, if I were you.

    I have osteoporosis. Just had an x-ray to check if this is really arthritis or something else. Doctor I saw (not my GP — someone filling in for him who was a sport doctor) recommended physiotherapy. The walking problem is probably muscle-related but the root cause might be deeper (if I understood her correctly, I might have seriously strained/tore muscles unconsciously compensating for a problem in the joint).

    Anyway, I consider my aging body definitive proof against intelligent design. Ain't nothin' intelligent about all these different failure modes…

    447:

    Voila! Cheap and simple nuclear fusion.,/i>

    Project Plowshare?

    See also cheap excavation of harbours, mountain passes, etc…

    448:

    You parrot quite precisely the basis on which MSR reactors where originally suggested, as an alternative to the "messy" traditional reactor.

    However, the fact is that experience has already shown us that very little of what you write holds true on practice.

    Waving a magic wand and intoning the incantations of "automation" and "computerized" does not change that reality: Molten salt is a mess, even before you add fissile materials and fission products from the nasty end of the periodic table.

    May I remind you, that the class of components in nuclear power which has caused most trouble for the last six decades are heat-exchangers: Trivially simple plumbing, which do nothing more fancy than move heat from one medium to another while keeping them separated.

    But thanks for reinforcing my point about neonuclear scammers being the second biggest problem for nuclear power these days :-)

    The primary problem being, of course, that it is just too damn expensive.

    449:

    Not directly, but in the presence of neutrons it happily absorbs one and become Uranium, which can fission.

    So, it's not actually a thorium reactor but a uranium reactor. That's not what the thorium boosters want you to hear (they like to use the word "convert" because "breed" has uranium cooties). There are other issues like the startup charge in the "thorium" reactor has to include lots of high-assay uranium and plutonium to kickstart the breeding cycle making the initial fuel load more dangerous to handle than regular PWR and BWR fuel rods. You can find images on the Web showing people wearing light protective clothing (or none at all sometimes) while handling unused fuel assemblies, not something you could do with molten salt fuel.

    Since most neutrons are "wasted" in a normal nuclear reactor, that makes thorium a viable part of fuel for fission reactors of all designs.

    Those are normal reactors meaning uranium-fuelled cores the size of a bus operating at a temperature of about 300 to 400 deg C with no breeding required to produce heat and generate electricity so they can be profligate with their neutrons (typically a little more than 2 neutrons per fission event on average). Thorium-fuelled breeders NEED 2 neutrons to run and can't afford to waste many hence the small dense cores running at high temperatures because of the reduced surface area.

    USA even tested a nuclear bomb "with a lot of thorium in it" and got a respectable bang.

    Never heard of this myself but I am just an interested enthusiast rather than a historian of the subject. I do know that the US fired off a couple of U-233 test devices during the 1950s, and I presume their cores were bred up from Th-232 at Hanford. They seemed to work but there may have been technical issues we've never been told about. There might have been some thorium content left over in the cores after processing, I don't know.

    Regular enriched uranium was and still is cheap and plentiful and the production facilities were already established. This resulted in the US Department of Energy recently attempting to dispose of a couple of tonnes of U-233 left over from these experiments, I'm not sure what they finally decided to do with it.

    One of the "gimme money" thorium booster companies did have some test fuel pellets manufactured with significant thorium content to see if it could be used as a fuel supplement in regular PWRs and BWRs. The fuel rods were going to be exposed in a test reactor in Norway for a couple of years to see what happened to them, the chemical characteristics and nucleonics etc. but the reactor got shut down permanently for safety and engineering reasons and I don't know what happened to the thorium-supplement pellets thereafter.

    450:

    I have a friend in the float glass business. What he tells me about the maintenance requirements for furnaces containing relatively well behaved hot liquids does not fill me with confidence when it comes to radioactive molten salt.

    451:

    Keep the chamber hot by dropping nuclear fusion charges down the hole at regular intervals.

    In many places if you go down a few miles might you get to rock hot enough to not need the follow on fusion charges?

    452:

    »The fuel rods were going to be exposed in a test reactor in Norway for a couple of years to see what happened to them«

    And true to form for the credibility of the neonuclear fantasts, there have been accusations of scientific improprieties with those experiments.

    453:

    A nuclear weapon doesn't actually put out a lot of heat compared to a nuclear reactor. 1kg of TNT produces about 4MJ of energy so a 1MT yield fusion weapon would produce about 4 x 10^15 Joules. A 1GW nuclear reactor generates about 3GW of heat when it's operating so it would produce the same amount of heat energy in about 1.3 x 10^6 seconds or about two weeks, and it's reusable for decades unlike the fusion weapon which... isn't.

    Someone in Iceland was drilling to find superheated water underground for a geothermal power plant a while back. They hit magma instead. They made some effort to try and recover heat from this but it ate all of the well-string end equipment thanks to heat and chemical action (acidic or alkaline, I'm not sure but anything significantly variant from Ph 7 in either direction plus temps of 1600 deg C is not going to give a good outcome for heat exchanger endurance).

    454:

    The fuel pellet experiment wasn't anything to do with molten-salt thorium reactors, it was just going to to test a novel fuel mix for conventional PWR and BWR reactors (and maybe CANDU/HWRs too). There were some upsides like less Pu239 and Pu240 production expected compared to regular enriched uranium fuel mixes but it wouldn't eliminate the Pu breeding totally so it wasn't completely proliferation-resistant. Any U233 bred in the pellets couldn't be chemically separated from the U235 and U238 in the spent fuel.

    455:

    I'm not parroting it, I'm pigeoning it :) working most of it out myself from basically understanding how the things are supposed to work.

    "May I remind you, that the class of components in nuclear power which has caused most trouble for the last six decades are heat-exchangers: Trivially simple plumbing, which do nothing more fancy than move heat from one medium to another while keeping them separated."

    They cause trouble in non-nuclear power stations too. You're pumping energy into a system with lots of random opportunities for acoustic resonances of reasonably high Q to occur, and also for random exciting frequencies to be generated especially if there is a phase change going on. More fun if you have to withstand high pressures at the same time, and also if you're not operating at constant power level. They're an interesting example of problems which you don't normally even notice on everyday scales which become pains in the arse when you make a huge giant big one... although actually quite a few of them do appear on everyday scales when you start to look for them.

    456:

    Yes, but if you could look closely enough you'd see that they didn't quite touch the ground.

    457:

    You might look into the Prius V (the station-wagon version of a Prius) or a Toyota RAV-4, which is an SUV and also a hybrid. The RAV-4s get more like 35 MPG, but that's not bad for a class of car where mileage runs in the 12 - 25 MPG range.

    458:

    Steam generators in PWRs are replaceable components, usually swapped out at suitable intervals of between twenty and thirty years of operation. The French fleet of M910 reactors has been undergoing just such a scheduled replacement operation over the past few years. The advantage of having nearly all of the French fleet being of a mostly-similar design (the later models had five steam generators, the earlier reactors just three) meant that EdF could order identical fifty steam generators at once, a big saving in time and money.

    Watts Bar 2, the last reactor ever brought online in the US just completed the installation of new steam generators, although its timeline is a bit messed up since it started construction, was abandoned and then completed much later.

    459:

    Fusion Power
    So, rather than being 30 years in the future, it's now 20? Or, maybe 15 on a good day?

    Seriously, though ....
    This needs real serious money thrown at it, because it could be a viable "route out" { ??? }

    460:

    I think it's 29 years into the future now. And note the exponential curve...

    461:

    Nope. And I don't want some underpaid Uber driver, who's being screwed by Uber (or Lyft), who is actually a cab driver, not a "ride share", and the company's neither paying taxes on that, nor are paying the benefits due AN EMPLOYEE, to hit a warehouse, where underpaid and overworked workers are trying to keep up. And if I go to a corner store, the money stays in the community, rather than going to some CEO.

    462:

    You wrote:
    Then deregulation in the US.

    Then cell phones showed up.
    ---
    Nope. My late wife wanted a cell phone for safety, and we got one around '94 or '95. Dereg - I was working for Ameritech, starting in '95, became a signatory to the Bell dismemberment of '86, then the SOB running Ameritech demanded that we write letters to our Congresscritter and Senators supporting dereg (and by "demanded" I mean my manager told me that I had to write them, and send copies to him to forward to upper management - I wrote something that didn't really say "do dereg", but it was enough to make them happy enough that I kept my job), and dereg was in '96.

    whitroth