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A message from our sponsors: New Book coming!

(You probably expected this announcement a while ago ...)

I've just signed a new two book deal with my publishers, Tor.com publishing in the USA/Canada and Orbit in the UK/rest of world, and the book I'm talking about here and now—the one that's already written and delivered to the Production people who turn it into a thing you'll be able to buy later this year—is a Laundry stand-alone titled "A Conventional Boy".

("Delivered to production" means it is now ready to be copy-edited, typeset, printed/bound/distributed and simultaneously turned into an ebook and pushed through the interwebbytubes to the likes of Kobo and Kindle. I do not have a publication date or a link where you can order it yet: it almost certainly can't show up before July at this point. Yes, everything is running late. No, I have no idea why.)

"A Conventional Boy" is not part of the main (and unfinished) Laundry Files story arc. Nor is it a New Management story. It's a stand-alone story about Derek the DM, set some time between the end of "The Fuller Memorandum" and before "The Delirium Brief". We met Derek originally in "The Nightmare Stacks", and again in "The Labyrinth Index": he's a portly, short-sighted, middle-aged nerd from the Laundry's Forecasting Ops department who also just happens to be the most powerful precognitive the Laundry has tripped over in the past few decades—and a role playing gamer.

When Derek was 14 years old and running a D&D campaign, a schoolteacher overheard him explaining D&D demons to his players and called a government tips hotline. Thirty-odd years later Derek has lived most of his life in Camp Sunshine, the Laundry's magical Gitmo for Elder God cultists. As a trusty/"safe" inmate, he produces the camp newsletter and uses his postal privileges to run a play-by-mail RPG. One day, two pieces of news cross Derek's desk: the camp is going to be closed down and rebuilt as a real prison, and a games convention is coming to the nearest town.

Camp Sunshine is officially escape-proof, but Derek has had a foolproof escape plan socked away for the past decade. He hasn't used it because until now he's never had anywhere to escape to. But now he's facing the demolition of his only home, and he has a destination in mind. Come hell or high water, Derek intends to go to his first ever convention. Little does he realize that hell is also going to the convention ...

I began writing "A Conventional Boy" in 2009, thinking it'd make a nice short story. It went on hold for far too long (it was originally meant to come out before "The Nightmare Stacks"!) but instead it lingered ... then when I got back to work on it, the story ran away and grew into a short novel in its own right. As it's rather shorter than the other Laundry novels (although twice as long as, say, "Equoid") the book also includes "Overtime" and "Escape from Yokai Land", both Laundry Files novelettes about Bob, and an afterword providing some background on the 1980s Satanic D&D Panic for readers who don't remember it (which sadly means anyone much younger than myself).

Questions? Ask me anything!

542 Comments

1:

On the one hand, I'm very, very excited to read about Dereck. On the other hand I'm frightened to be disappointed when I learn more about my hero (Yes, I know, shut up!) and might be disappointed...

2:

I've been waiting for this one.

3:

Firstly: Yay! Not a question.

Secondly: Will we see any other known characters turn up in the book?

4:

Is good story, you read. (I haven't read the final form, mind you.)

5:

Me want read! Yes, yes?

6:

Yes: you see a lot more of Iris Carpenter (while she was one of the camp administrators). Also more Artist Rifles!

7:

Did it hurt to write?

8:

If only I wouldn't be so against such world re-use.

9:

No, but it was about as much effort as a more complex novel of twice the length.

10:

You make me so...very happy! :) Been waiting for this one for awhile!

11:

I remember the satanic panic quite well, and find myself looking forward to reading your thoughts about it in the afterword almost as much as I am to the novel.

12:

IIRC - & I WAS paying attention at the time ...
The Satanic Panic was kicked-off by fundie brain-fucked extreme evangelical christians, especially in Scotland & the Isles, but aided-&-abetted by equally bucking-fonkers loonies further south.
A considerable number of people were badly traumatised.

Linkie to the Orkney pustule here
Linkie to unknown, un-named lying bastard in "The National" HERE - what is the political/religious slant of this paper, please, Charlie?
Linkie showing that this suppurating boil is about to spew again, in the USA - tied to QAnon, what a surprise!

13:

Greg, The National was founded specifically to provide news coverage favourable to Scottish nationalism (note, not the SNP in particular: rather, to independence in general -- the SNP isn't the only party that wants independence). How they cover other issues is unclear except that you can assume they're as slanted and partisan pro-indy as most of the press (and particularly the English press) is pro-union.

Qanon is quite terrifying because they're clearly peddling a recycled version of the old anti-semitic Blood libel.

(The blood libel angle comes into focus once you bear in mind that pizza is a flatbread, and the whole child abusers in the basement of a pizzeria is a reframing of the "let's bake matzos [another flatbread] using the blood of Christian infants". Qanon isn't too obviously or overtly anti-Jewish but it could be redirected in that direction trivially easily and it's popular with the Christian dominionist nutjobs for precisely that reason -- it plugs into a deep element of their eschatology.)

14:

Can we get anything about the second book in the deal?

15:

it was about as much effort as a more complex novel of twice the length

I'm reminded of a joke I heard from a priest, about a bishop being asked to deliver a sermon by one of his parish priests. When the priest inquired how much time he would need to prepare, he was told "For a four minute sermon, I can come next month. For a ten minute sermon, I can be ready next week. And if I can talk as long as I like, I can start right now."

16:

This sounds like a really fun story! I'm looking forward to reading it :)

17:

I second the question about what the second book will be.

And as for my second question, when will that first book first hit the stores?

18:

mazel tov, dude

just annoying it is not yet available

nor is my personal jetpack-slash-aircar I was promised for no later than the early 2020s

( and do not ask me how disappointed I am there is no moonbase as per "2001">.. no really don't... )

BTW: your blog editor deems "moonbase" as a misspelling... now that's slightly depressing in a mode I am unsure how to articulate

19:

Hooray! Looking forward to reading it, noting that it has Derek, Iris and the Artist Rifles in the mix (and I'm resisting the urge to start stirring that pot in my head).

Life gets in the way of so many things, I'm glad of news like this about things going to plan rather than coming unstuck, the latter seeming to be all too prevalent.

20:

I seem to recall the 80s Satanic Panic was very much a North American creation (well, mostly the USA).

If the UK was also affected, it seems to me to be less so than the USA, where it seemed every podunk town's Barney Fife-style police force was using inexperienced and unskilled interrogators, asking very leading questions of small children, and coming up with tales of dozens of childrens' bodies buried in the backyards of local family daycares and such.

21:

Spellchecking is done client-side not on the server. Blame your browser. Just right-click 'moonbase' or any other instance of 'no that really is a word, honest' and add it to your dictionary the next time you have a need to type it.

22:

Not until there's an official publisher announcement. (All I can say for now is that I'm currently writing it.)

23:

And as for my second question, when will that first book first hit the stores?

Nobody knows. It's not scheduled yet. Just "later this year". (And it takes a minimum of 3-4 months to produce a book and print then ship it, so you do the math.)

24:

You missed the Orkney child abuse scandal that kicked off in 1991 and was eventually shown to have been 100% fabricated. (American evangelical witch-finders exported their toxic MO to the UK by training social workers in Scotland, specifically in the Highlands and Islands, where it was inevitably weaponized against anyone who wasn't a member of the (majority) Free Church of Scotland. The usual leading questions asked of small children, bogus medical tests for sexual abuse of infants, arrests of adults, collapsing trials when the "evidence" was discredited, public enquiry, etc.)

25:

Three cheers for the Artist Rifles!

26:

May we know when A Conventional Boy is set w.r.t The Fuller Memorandum? Or would that spoil too much?

27:

A Conventional Boy takes place at least a year after The Fuller Memorandum and at least two years before The Nightmare Stacks. I haven't narrowed it down any further (that's just the rough period when Derek and Iris's paths cross in Camp Sunshine).

28:

Great to hear we are returning to Cumbria and the DM’s story. Do you imagine the location of Camp Sunshine is nearer to our world location of Center Parks Whinfell Forest or part of RAF Spadeadam? Both would seem to have their similarities. I regard myself as luckier than Derek as I managed to stop having to go to church once they started going on about the evils of RPGs and realising that and much of the rest of what they were saying was bollocks.

In a slight OT comment on today’s news I note it was no more than -20 Celsius in Kharp yesterday which even for Russians seems a bit parky for going for a walk if you don’t have to.

29:

13 Para 3 - I have had something described as matzos ONCE. They struck me as being more similar to cream crackers or Cornish wafers than to naan or pitta bread.

18 and 21 - As accidentalist says, speel chucking is a client-side activity, not server-side. OTOH Nannying of "industrial language" (including terms like the North Lincolnshire town of Scunthorpe ( 53.584101, -0.650315 )), if done, is normally server-side (Charlie, Lat/Long included just in case I'm wrong about your use of Nannyware).

General comment <3 year old> WANTS! NOW! <\end>

30:

I have seen that quote attributed both to Churchill and Mark Twain.

31:

Well there was a do about a terrorist training camp in Great Langdale some years ago (which was in the papers). They had to call in the A-Team to sort it out - I found their van http://pigeonsnest.co.uk/stuff/photos/misc/ateamvan.jpg outside a farm just up the road - which wasn't in the papers, but perhaps Charlie is going to tell us what was really going on? :)

32:

Sorry, misformatted the HTML:

I have seen that quote attributed both to Churchill and Mark Twain.

33:

Paws
Once upon a time, when the "Great Central Railway" was a thing, you could get a direct, but sloiw train from Scunthorpe to Penistone or vice versa.
These days, it can still be done, but you have to change trains, usually in Sheffield!

34:

Blood libel - oh, gag. I hadn't thought of, or heard, that put together before. I'm not sure if I should thank you for that, Charlie.

35:

Really? Ok. And no, they're nothing like naan or pita (or, for that matter, the flatbread from Ethiopia). They are crisp.

36:

And if OGH will excuse me, a bit of explication for those who WANT BOOK NOW. Copy editing means that the copy editor, using copy editing software, goes through the novel, and finds misspellings, inconsistancies (you call that whatsit here, and thatsit there), and all such. Then it comes back to the author, who has to go through the whole novel para by para, not just fixing the above, but catching things occuring out of order, or (as I had in a couple-three places) where you started to write it one way, then went for another, but didnd't get rid of the first, etc.

So, a lot of work.I'm still new at this, and crazed, so it only took me a week, after it was sent back to me the second time... and OGH has multiple irons in the fire at the same time.

37:

Oh, and if it wasn't implied, yes, I'm very much looking forward to it.

38:

So is naan (or for that matter pizza) if you leave it in the oven long enough… :-)

39:

Copy editing means that the copy editor, using copy editing software, goes through the novel, and finds misspellings, inconsistencies (you call that whatsit here, and thatsit there), and all such.

A random thought and idle musing, but I wonder if anyone has thus retrospectively copy edited classical works, Shakespeare for example. Or the Bible(s).

I wouldn't expect anything to be done about it, but the exercise might be interesting/amusing.

40:

So Iris was an inmate at the time rather than a jailor? You said "administrator" above, I was confused.

41:

Iris can't escape (hint: magical boundaries) and has management expertise. So she's drafted into running the Arts and Entertainments Committee, i.e. keeping the other inmates distracted. There is more, but I'm not going to spoiler it ...

42:

It's been done long ago.

The First Folio of Shakespeare is copy edited from the author's drafts for several plays. It was done a few years after he died.

The Old Testament of the bible seems to have collected from multiple, ancient sources and copy edited until there's little left of the original texts. Or maybe it's just a fanfic anyway.

43:

Looking forward to the book.

There was a good comment on the ReactorMag (formerly tor.com) site:

"I sometimes wonder if in Stross' Laundry universe, Time Team got as far as a full season before digging up something best left buried."

To which OGH commented:

"Thank you for that idea! As I am married to a graduate of the archaeology department most of them worked for in the 90s, I am totally putting it on my to-do stack for some other year..."

https://reactormag.com/five-sff-books-about-the-dangers-of-dabbling-in-archaeology/

44:

Re: re-editing. Don’t forget the efforts of fine people like Bowdler, the kindly ones who wrote the American slave bibles (no Exodus), and those busy comrades keeping history current in the USSR and China.

45:

... (or, for that matter, the flatbread from Ethiopia).

That's injera you're talking about. A pancake made from teff and cooked only on one side - the other side has bubble holes. It is used instead of silverware to eat one of the many kinds of wat (stews).

I lived in Ethiopia 2 years as a kid while my parents were teaching school in Jimma, but I refused to touch any native food at the time. These days I love wat and injera - go figure!

46:

Not Jewish, just grew up in a Jewish neighborhood with Jewish friends and dated a Jewish woman….but the point of matzoh is that it isn’t leavened, which is why it can be eaten during Passover when leavened foods are avoided. Naan, injera, and pizza are all leavened, so they can’t be substituted for matzos.

Tbh, I never associated Pizzagate with the whole blood libel shit, so sue me. I’ll point out that there’s another element in here too: transubstantiation, the idea of Catholic communion wafers becoming the blood and body of Christ and bleeding if dropped. Then creeps associate Catholicism with Italian food, and there’s doubleplus icky symbolism. That’s even before it’s covered with tomato sauce.

47:

So, essentially the McMartin Preschool trial, Scotland-style?

48:

The main NZ part of the international day-care sex-abuse hysteria was the Christchurch Civic Crèche case. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Ellis_(childcare_worker) At much lower states, our role-playing group at secondary school in the 1980's were aware of the satanic panic, and were prepared to switch to exclusively Sci-Fi games if pressure was applied to the school.

49:

Not-so-Brave New World Coming?
Or the Butlerian Jihad? ??
Opinions?

50:

My recollection is that the satanic panic over D&D was primarily a USA phenomenon and was mostly in the 1980's. The satanic panic over child abuse was the 1990's and did affect the UK (thanks to the influence of American evangelists, natch). Later on, the satanic panic over Harry Potter was again primarily in the USA.

That said, a friend of mine runs a D&D club for the local primary school and there are a couple of kids whose parents forbid them from taking part, so the concern can be found, but I don't recall it being mainstream on this side of the pond.

51:

These things spread over time: the Satanic Panic reached the UK in the late 80s/early 90s, spread the same grifting christianist entrepreneurs who made bank off it in the US. (There was a lot of money to be made by frightening the gullible -- as witness current RW politics and stuff like Fox News.)

53:

so... her role as a trustee and provided a mode of distracting-make-work

since a devil-like entity from fractal dimensions would seek out idle hands of those magick-prone

huh... wouldn't weaving and macramé and knitting and other related handicrafts be a form of spellcasting?

54:

No spoilers! (That is discussed.)

55:

Kardashev @ 39:

"Copy editing means that the copy editor, using copy editing software, goes through the novel, and finds misspellings, inconsistencies (you call that whatsit here, and thatsit there), and all such."

A random thought and idle musing, but I wonder if anyone has thus retrospectively copy edited classical works, Shakespeare for example. Or the Bible(s).

I wouldn't expect anything to be done about it, but the exercise might be interesting/amusing.

The Family Shakspeare in Ten Volumes: in which nothing is added to the original text, but those words and expressions are omitted which cannot with propriety be read aloud in a family.
     --BY Thomas Bowdler, Esq. F.R.S. & S.A.

Before you can do that to the bible you'd have to get the various sects to agree on what's actually in there ...

56:

AlanD2 @ 45:

"... (or, for that matter, the flatbread from Ethiopia)."

That's injera you're talking about. A pancake made from teff and cooked only on one side - the other side has bubble holes. It is used instead of silverware to eat one of the many kinds of wat (stews).

I lived in Ethiopia 2 years as a kid while my parents were teaching school in Jimma, but I refused to touch any native food at the time. These days I love wat and injera - go figure!

It's not uncommon for children to be picky eaters only to discover as adults they've been missing out on something they could have enjoyed.

57:

Re: 'So she's drafted into running the Arts and Entertainments Committee, ...'

I am so looking forward to this!

58:

Dave Berry @ 50:

My recollection is that the satanic panic over D&D was primarily a USA phenomenon and was mostly in the 1980's. The satanic panic over child abuse was the 1990's and did affect the UK (thanks to the influence of American evangelists, natch). Later on, the satanic panic over Harry Potter was again primarily in the USA.

That said, a friend of mine runs a D&D club for the local primary school and there are a couple of kids whose parents forbid them from taking part, so the concern can be found, but I don't recall it being mainstream on this side of the pond.

There was a North Carolina murder back in 1988 publicly linked to "Dungeons & Dragons" that played into the panic.

Murder of Lieth Von Stein

D&D didn't have anything to do with the murder, but the stepson who "masterminded" the murder - along with the friends he convinced to murder his parents - were on the fringes of the "D&D crowd" at N.C. State University.

The connection between the murderers & D&D appears to be a common interest in exploring the steam (utility) tunnels that connect campus buildings at N.C. State. (Two decades previously I spent a fair amount of MY time at N.C. State exploring those same tunnels. 😏)

The murders could have just as easily been attributed to the evils of marijuana, Tolkein's Lord of the Rings or rock 'n roll music, ... or even the Manson murders ...

But Dungeons & Dragons was the then current popular bogeyman.

59:

The murders could have just as easily been attributed to the evils of marijuana, Tolkein's Lord of the Rings or rock 'n roll music, ... or even the Manson murders ... But Dungeons & Dragons was the then current popular bogeyman.

Remember the "trenchcoat mafia" school spree killers a decade later?

Goths got it in the neck. Even though with 20/20 hindsight the killers seem to have been proto-incels.

60:

JohnS
It's not uncommon for children to be picky eaters only to discover as adults they've been missing out on something they could have enjoyed.
OR Which their parents or other relatives cooked VERY BADLY
My example is ... leeks, which I now grow in large quantities ... couldn't stand them as a child ... because they were boiled, euch ... rather than"fried" or cooked in butter/oil.
Same as many people don't like broccoli/cauliflower for the same reasons, along with Brussels Sprouts - just DO NOT show them liquid water in the cooking process, OK?

61:

It's not uncommon for children to be picky eaters only to discover as adults they've been missing out on something they could have enjoyed.

Some of that is probably cultural in how children are socialized to eat. (There is apparently a significant difference between how French children and American children are treated at meals — enough of a difference for at least two books on the subject.)

https://karenlebillon.com/2012/02/13/the-science-behind-the-french-approach-to-kids-food/

Possibly more significantly, children are more sensitive to bitter tastes than adults are, which means that as they get older the way the experience food tastes literally changes.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4654709/

62:

"Boil until it's limp" is the stereotypical way of English cooking, though…

There was a lovely scene in Chef (comedy starring Lenny Henry) where the French chefs are taunting Henry's character at a cooking contest in France: "But Monsieur, the contest is tomorrow. You must begin boiling the vegetables now!"

63:

Oh god. One of my childhood nightmares was spinach soup. The way Russians make it, it still has identifiable spinach leaves, but they are basically leaf-shaped pieces of slime. I threw up more than once.

I was fine with raw spinach, and still am. Or with stir-fried spinach, which my wife does occasionally. Some things are not meant to be made into soup.

64:

"Boil until it's limp" is the stereotypical way of English cooking, though…<

My wife, who as a girl suffered under many, many, English school dinners, assures me that the stereotype is firmly grounded in fact.

JHomes

65:

I love Chinese food. My English mother, knowing this, decided to cook a Chinese stir-fry one day. She followed the recipe exactly. Except that she parboiled the vegetables beforehand so they would be tender, and substituted familiar English ingredients for strange Chinese ones, and left out any seasonings she didn't like (everything but salt and pepper). So we ended up with a rather lumpy soup and she couldn't understand why because she'd followed the recipe exactly.

Back in England in the 1950s she was a home-ec teacher.

66:

Personal account - Friday night I served cauliflower cheese as "the vegetable". I got a whine of "the cauliflower wasn't cooked" from my mother. The offence was that you could stick a fork in a floret, lift it into your mouth and then had to bite it, rather than it having been reduced to a puree by first boiling and then baking in cheese sauce!

67:

Charlie Stross @ 59:

"The murders could have just as easily been attributed to the evils of marijuana, Tolkein's Lord of the Rings or rock 'n roll music, ... or even the Manson murders ... But Dungeons & Dragons was the then current popular bogeyman."

Remember the "trenchcoat mafia" school spree killers a decade later?

Goths got it in the neck. Even though with 20/20 hindsight the killers seem to have been proto-incels.

I remember it, but I don't remember a backlash specifically against "Goth" so much as against "Heavy Metal" music.

I think "proto-incels" is a good call for that pair, because that's a "culture" that does celebrate an extreme disregard for other people. But even among INCELS, there are a lot more who DON'T commit murder than do.

Goths, Geeks, Nerds, Chavs - anyone "different" tends to catch hell from the dominant culture if anyone superficially identified as a part of their group does wrong.

68:

Greg Tingey @ 60:

JohnS
It's not uncommon for children to be picky eaters only to discover as adults they've been missing out on something they could have enjoyed.
OR Which their parents or other relatives cooked VERY BADLY
My example is ... leeks, which I now grow in large quantities ... couldn't stand them as a child ... because they were boiled, euch ... rather than"fried" or cooked in butter/oil.
Same as many people don't like broccoli/cauliflower for the same reasons, along with Brussels Sprouts - just DO NOT show them liquid water in the cooking process, OK?

I was actually thinking of several personal experiences where I discovered as an adult that I like certain foods that I refused when I was a child ... where as far as I can tell it wasn't how the food was prepared that was the problem.

Robert Prior @ 61:

Possibly more significantly, children are more sensitive to bitter tastes than adults are, which means that as they get older the way the experience food tastes literally changes.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4654709/

Thinking about it, most of the foods I like now that I wouldn't eat as a child fall into that category, so maybe I didn't really miss anything after all.

69:

JHomes
Correction: "....many, many, English school dinners, assures me that the stereotype isWAS firmly grounded in fact."

Paws & Rbt Prior
Indeed, the very IDEA of al dente had to be beaten into some people, who still didn't grok it.
I can assure everyone, that when I cook "Romanesco" ( Or cauliflower ) it's still crunchy .. with many spices, from IIRC, a Mahadur Jaffery recipe, originally. It also helps that the Romanesco is home-grown & fresh.

Food taste-perceptions changing as one "grows up", yes, well ....
I didn't used to like Tea, when small, then only with sugar & now never with sugar, or the time, when my father ( My mother being ill, again ) took me to our local, we had, by the standards of the ime a good meal & he knowing the rules, asked me if I'd like a beer { Age 14, then, 16, now } ... I can tell you that a half-pint of "Ben Truman" was a shock ... but SOMETHING happened, because, by the time I got to the end of it, my taste-buds were signalling .. We might get to like this, you know!

70:

"Indeed, the very IDEA of al dente had to be beaten into some people, who still didn't grok it."

Because it's a choice that they have always had available, simply by taking the vegetables off too soon, and have learnt from the inferior result not to do that in future.

It's not surprising that people reject someone trying to tell them it's nicer that way when they've had it that way and know that it isn't.

The basic point of cooking vegetables is to destroy the TEXTURE. I'm with paws's mum on this: if a vegetable still retains any texture when you come to put it in your mouth, it is undercooked.

School dinners are another kettle of fish; I don't know what they used to do to those, but they couldn't even manage boiled spuds. All the vegetables, including the spuds, used to come out with a taint that was very rank, very strong, very unpleasant, and totally unlike anything your mum's cooking ever tasted like, or anyone else's mum's either. This was the case at all of the five schools I went to; it must be some procedure unique to schools to put the kids off asking for more, something nobody else would do like boiling the vegetables in compost heap leachate.

71:

( sounds of hammers pounding nails into loose lips to keep from sinking ships echo off the walls )

++ uhmp ++

++ mumble ++

72:

it's been twenty-three minutes since any National Christian has posted a complaint about how his wife left him, his cow stopped giving milk and the illegal migrants picking his strawberries are demanding at least 93 cents per hour of back breaking labor...

[ [ [ sarcasm on ] ] ]

...obviously it is all the fault of them Jews on the Left Coast

[ [ [ sarcasm off ] ] ]

...qualifies a new world's record

73:

possibilities:

1: grime not scrubbed off pots 2: pots composed of alloys containing copper 3: prior day's leftovers added in (which will by the end of week result in the same foodstuffs being re-cooked as many as four more times_ 4: someone pissed in a cup and poured it into the pot (not only gesture of contempt but a reflection of how few cafeterias have a toilet in easy reach of the staff) 5: in the USA it is legal to serve children USDA grade "B" and USDA grade "C" foodstuffs, which might be a bit wilted 6: prepared stews come in "#10" cans which typically weigh 8+ pounds; contents of might be a bit too close to expiration dates; or were stored at temperatures above the recommended maximum thus stimulating "chemistry"

THIS POST SHOULD BE READF ALOUD BY ANYBODY LOOKING TO LOSE WEIGHT BY WAY OF A NON-ADDICTIVE APPETITE SUPRESSANT

74:

possibilities:

1: grime not scrubbed off pots

2: pots composed of alloys containing copper

3: prior day's leftovers added in (which will by the end of week result in the same foodstuffs being re-cooked as many as four more times_

4: someone pissed in a cup and poured it into the pot (not only gesture of contempt but a reflection of how few cafeterias have a toilet in easy reach of the staff)

5: in the USA it is legal to serve children USDA grade "B" and USDA grade "C" foodstuffs, which might be a bit wilted

6: prepared stews come in "#10" cans which typically weigh 8+ pounds; contents of might be a bit too close to expiration dates; or were stored at temperatures above the recommended maximum thus stimulating "chemistry"

THIS POST SHOULD BE READF ALOUD BY ANYBODY LOOKING TO LOSE WEIGHT BY WAY OF A NON-ADDICTIVE APPETITE SUPRESSANT

75:

Same as many people don't like broccoli/cauliflower for the same reasons, along with Brussels Sprouts

And some of us just don't like such. At all. Broccoli is somewhat OK but smells like diluted urine most of the time. Cauliflower has no flavor to me at all. And brussels sprouts can make me toss my cookies boiled, roasted, or whatever.

I can't stand almost any condiments. Pickled anything makes me ill. And I've finally decide to not drink beer except in tiny amounts to avoid feeling ill. Similar with more than one glass of wine every few hours.

There is a bit of research that some of us humans have a different protein coding that renders some food very untasty. I suspect I'm one of those.

But most parents, and people in general, refuse to believe that everyone doesn't taste things the way they do.

Like in so many other things. Sports, movies, reading, how to spend spare time, and so on.

76:

I can't stand any cultivars of B. oleracea. Some are worse than others -- I can almost bear to eat a small amount of sauerkraut -- but the smell of cauliflower or broccoli is actually nauseating, and I can't cope with mustard or sprouts, either. They all exude an aroma of stale vomit and/or shit.

Also, aragula/rocket is horrible. Mere proximity to a small leaf of the stuff is enough to overpower any flavour in an entire dish: I don't understand how people can eat anything so overwhelmingly bitter.

77:

I don't understand how people can eat anything so overwhelmingly bitter.

I take it you aren't a fan of bitter melon, then?

78:

I can almost bear to eat a small amount of sauerkraut

I can almost bear to be in the same room.

Say's he married to a 1/2 German from a raised in Germany mother. Holiday meals can be a bit of a debate. [eyeroll]

79:

Yeah, I seem to recall us having this exchange before.

You like your veg turned to mush. Good for you, enjoy. Other do not and I despair as to why you can't seem to understand that not everyone likes the same things.

80:

Similarly, and since we have an agreed deviation, I avoid anything that (even reputedly) tastes of aniseed (but actually like brassicas (to the extent that when OGH was GOH at one of the Satellites and Feorag threatened him with cauliflower for tea during the Room 101 panel I suggested I'd self-invite if she made it cauliflower curry!))

81:

Hey, so long as the Laundryverse doesn’t become corrupted by aging incels using it as culture war ammunition for why satanic panics were and are on the right track. Not that this can be prevented by the author, but still.

82:

I don't think I've ever seen bitter melon on sale here.

83:

I went out of my way to try and avoid the risk of that in A Conventional Boy, to the extent of including an afterword with a potted history of the Satanic Panic and some pointed moralizing at the end.

84:

Not that I’m into RPGs at the moment, but the following question occurs to me. How many games have dietary restrictions on player classes?

For example, assume that those that do magic have to restrict their diets. Clerics have to smell right before their gods, druids can’t commune with nature while smelling like humans, magicians don’t want to smell like demon food, illusionists want to smell harmless and friendly to their marks, and so on.

Now throw them on an adventure, with limited food and clashing food needs. Then throw in the complication that most of them don’t particularly enjoy the diets they’re on and are doing it for their careers. The Druid loves maple syrup but the smell enrages ents. The wizard’s meat diet has reduced him to chewing jerky and wishing he could risk something that would help his constipation. The cleric drools at the thought of a bacon cheeseburger. And they’ve all been camping together for weeks.

Anyone explored this kind of interaction?

86:

Pigeon
A vst number of those people, destroying the flavour & nutritional value of their own food did so ... simply because they knew no better & had never been told that there was an alternative, actually.

Howard NYC

3 the most likely - eeuuuwww....

David L
I used to suffer from this, with some of my relatives cooking - it's not inherent.

Charlie
FRY the broccoli/romanesco/cauli.
WOK - asafoetida, hot light oil, freshly ground coriander & cumin, salt, chopped ginger & garlic, now the broccoli - chopped into smallish chunks & the stalks even smaller ... Add turmeric & chili ... turn for 2-3 mins .. THEN add small amount of water & put lid on wok.
Stir occasionally, until Brassica is just softening - if you have got it right, all the water has boiled off, steaming the frying veg. { Note that you use only a little bit of water, you can always add just enough more, but it must be really boiling, with the oil & spices. }
Serve immediately.
BURP

Sauerkraut & other pickles ... I've recently got into making these, but it requires very careful handling to get it right, or, as EC has noted, it will go grey slime on you, ugh.
But pickled home-grown hot { Capsicum pubescens } chilis are something else.

@ 83
Doubleplusgood!

87:

Not that I’m into RPGs at the moment, but the following question occurs to me. How many games have dietary restrictions on player classes?

I don't claim to be any authority on this, but in my experience very few, really. Classes are a mechanic for certain types of games, like D&D, but they're not by any means universal. I don't think most games really in their base rules have anything on this, at least I have not really seen such rules. Related to food, some games are partly about resource management and then the availability of food might be an issue, if the players feel the need to track that.

D&D in dungeons and particularily some modern variants of the old rules have more rules about this. Also, that 'Twilight: 2000' I mentioned recently is also about finding food because it's a survival game after a nuclear war.

More often the species of the characters has some effect on what kind of food they can eat. In Glorantha (mostly with the Runequest rules, but also others) trolls can eat pretty much anything and their hunger defines them. On the other hand, elves eat only plants in that world.

Some games have some taboo restrictions, usually related to magic. I think at least Shadowrun (magic cyberpunk game in the near future) and some World of Darkness games like Mage and Changeling: the Lost (where you play fae) have some restrictions on some characters, depending on their way of doing magic and their deals.

Then of course the Vampire games (older Masquerade and newer Requiem) have the characters' diet as a quite central portion of the game, though then it's mostly blood. Obviously.

There is a manga and now a new anime series 'Delicious in Dungeon' which is about a D&D-like adventure into a dungeon where the main characters kill and eat basically every monster they come across. I haven't looked but I'd guess that there are multiple D&D supplements for that kind of game. I like it, having watched the available episodes, but I understand that it's kind of a niche story.

88:

Charlie FRY the broccoli/romanesco/cauli.

No.

(Feorag does that. It stinks the kitchen out for days. I don't think you have any idea how strong my revulsion reflex is. Hint: I have a cast-iron stomach and normally can't throw up at all. The aroma of cauliflower will reliably do it ...)

89:

"There is a manga and now a new anime series 'Delicious in Dungeon' " : if there is a country that obsesses more about food than France, it's Japan.

Always fun to find 2 pages of recipes in the middle of a high fantasy manga.

90:

"they knew no better & had never been told that there was an alternative"

No, this makes no sense. Everyone has to learn to judge at what point between "uncooked" and "soup" to stop the process, and how the things come out to eat is your feedback signal, so you know whether to do them longer/shorter the next time. And sooner or later everyone cocks it up, or tries to cook a meal in too much of a hurry, etc; or samples the results of someone else doing so. It's impossible not to find out what the alternatives are, on both sides of the target. So when people set the target to "soft", it's because they do know what else is possible and they prefer soft.

This is why you "have to beat it into them and they still don't grok it". If you were offering an alternative that was clearly nicer then they would easily understand. Instead you're trying to persuade them to do something they deliberately avoid doing because they don't like it.

91:

Thanks. I was trying to cross the streams of old-school D&D and food, is all.

It’s an interesting blind spot. Dietary restrictions are ubiquitous identity definers in real life , but they don’t pop up so much as religious signifiers, especially in D&D. Spell ingredients are ubiquitous (remember the Druidic mistletoe mess?), but no one has to keep kosher, be vegan, avoid beef or onions, or eat a hotdog every Friday to be considered a cleric or magic-user. It’s a lost opportunity for cheap drama, really.

92: 80 is partly anecdote (but serious about my liking cauliflower curry).

Recipe similar to yours but with the additions of tomato and chilli (and less water because fluid from tomato).

93:

the smell of cauliflower or broccoli is actually nauseating

So Case Nightmare Green is broccoli?

94:

Charlie @ 88
Oh dear ...
I also wonder if your aversion to "Rocket" is down to the (lack of) freshness?
Week-old rocket - as it would be in the shops, will be well past it's date.
Got to be picked, taken home & eaten the same day.
Brassical are much the same, incidentally.

Pigeon
NO
They have never tried it, how do they know they would not like it?
How can I say this? Because I have actually had this experience.

95:

Some of them have tried it and not liked it. I have vivid memories of going to a wedding once and other people at the table complaining about the vegetables not being cooked enough - to my taste they were slightly overcooked if anything.

Tastes vary, and not all of that is what they ate growing up.

96:

It's in my local Chinese grocers, and many Chinese restaurants have dishes which incorporate it. Apparently it has some effect on blood glucose levels making it useful for treating diabetes (or at least prediabetes — I confess I'm unclear on the difference and when it might cease to be useful).

Scholarly article here which you'll understand better than me (chemistry was the only class at uni I was afraid I'd fail):

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10050654/

Personally I don't care about the health effects, I just like the taste (at least when cooked properly at a good restaurant). Much nicer than ginseng.

97:

" Instead you're trying to persuade them to do something they deliberately avoid doing because they don't like it."

Indeed. But your postings on the topic read very much as saying that converting vegetables into mush is not merely your preference, but the one and only right way to prepare vegetables, and what the rest of us should be doing.

So, why are you trying to persuade us to do something we deliberately avoid doing because we don't like it?

JHomes

98:

if there is a country that obsesses more about food than France, it's Japan

China is also pretty food-obsessed. The usual greeting is "have you eaten rice?" not "how are you?", for example. Whenever I've visited food was central to pretty much every social occasion. All my Chinese friends also make food central to all social events — not the equivalent of grabbing a burger but proper meals.

In China it is normal for the person ordering dinner to talk to the chef and discuss what they want, at least at traditional restaurants. Sometimes there is no menu, just a list of what fresh ingredients the kitchen has.

99:

your postings on the topic read very much as saying that converting vegetables into mush is not merely your preference, but the one and only right way to prepare vegetables

Of course it is, according to the holy book of cooking:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mrs._Beeton%27s_Book_of_Household_Management

Later editions left out the advice to add some copper sulfate to the water when boiling peas, to give them a vibrant green colour after you'd boiled them grey… although my mother swore by Mrs. Beeton, her uni education meant that she didn't use that particular trick (one that her mother apparently did!).

100:

1) Last para: I'm not. 2) Preceding para: So do everyone else's, but because my opinion is in a local minority everyone else gets away with it without being snarked at.

101:

On fresh food, many years ago I had the opportunity to bake apple pies with apples that had been picked the same day, tasty!

102:

I wonder if JRRT didn't think about writing in more dietary issues in LOTR than Smeagol/Gollum's aversion to cooked rabbit, or considered it an unneeded diversion?

103:

It was principally the wild onions the Gollum disliked, as I recall. Also, "Meat's back on the menu, boys!", after an orc quarrel.

104:

Given how many monsters are at least close-enough-to-human and/or sentient/intelligent that idea is distressing.

105:

For over 60 years I've had people tell me "try it you'll like it" many times with a "I cook it differently/better/great/whatever".

My second grade teacher didn't interact with me for most of the year after she sat out my table for lunch one day. We had sweet potatoes or cooked apples (I forget which) and she insisted I try them.

I put them on the floor of our classroom about an hour later. My desk was only a few feet from hers. She mostly ignored me the rest of the year.

107:

I'm looking forward to the book.

I'm not sure how this turned into another thread about food. Not even very interesting food, mostly just gently winding up Charlie about broccoli and an undercurrent of argument about whether or not food should be cooked to mush.

108:

@84 More recent RPGs tend to be well focussed on the elements that are key to the types of stories they are designed for with irrelevant detail elided. In particular, the need for admin and bookkeeping tends to be minimised.

So while dietary restrictions may be useful to add flavour to a story (sorry, not sorry!) going to the sorts of lengths you are suggesting would tend to make the whole game about obtaining food. It's very much the sort of thing that can be used by players when roleplaying their characters, but as a GM I would not want to force it on them as a constant requirement. I might put them in a situation where they have to work around being offered something their character shouldn't eat, but it would get boring if it happened regularly. Like many other limitations/disadvantages that may be built into a character, having them crop up occasionally is OK but you don't want them to become a cause of interplayer conflict due to a character derailing the story with their issues.

Also, given that my gaming circles have enough real world issues with food given the various allergies, intolerances, adherence to belief/morality based restricted diets and preferences/dislikes between us all I don't think they would enjoy that as a theme in their escapist entertainment.

109:

Anecdotally, Gary Gygax was very much a "no gurlz allowed" male chauvanist wrt. his Dungeons and Dragons campaigns, and I expect this was reflected in the early company culture of TSR Hobbies (which was founded circa 1973 by grown men who predated second wave feminism). So cooking was for the wives and daughters to take care of.

(I seem to recall there were some rules for wilderness adventures that included tables for generating fishing and hunting outcomes, but nothing about foraging for mushrooms and vegetables or what herbs to cook them with ...)

110:

The early games were much closer to their skirmish wargame origins than the more storytelling style that later emerged, with the rules focussed on conflict and overcoming challenges. While they included the concept of supplies, it wasn't what they were interested in exploring. It's very possible that they saw hunting and fishing as acceptably manly pusuits for their heroes but disregarded "rabbit food" as beneath them. There were no rules for malnutrition either....

As I understand it they were run in a much more competitive style too, the DM against the players, rather than as a collaborative experience - or even on occasion as an actual competition, with a single winner.

111:

Also, given that my gaming circles have enough real world issues with food given the various allergies, intolerances, adherence to belief/morality based restricted diets and preferences/dislikes between us all I don't think they would enjoy that as a theme in their escapist entertainment.

Ah, yeah, thank you for mentioning that!

Avoiding real-life issues in escapist entertainment is very much a thing!

Also, the 1986 AD&D book 'The Wilderness Survival Guide' has rules on foraging, hunting, fishing, and finding water. It also deals with the effects of going hungry. This was, as far as I know, after Gygax - it's written mostly by Kim Mohan, and Gygax is not in the list of people who made it.

It can be argued this book is a bit too simulationistic for many people's tastes. At least we found it fun, occasionally, but I don't think the players of the characters who died of cold during a winter night when sleeping beside the road would always agree.

112:
It's very possible that they saw hunting and fishing as acceptably manly pusuits for their heroes but disregarded "rabbit food" as beneath them. There were no rules for malnutrition either....

As I understand it they were run in a much more competitive style too, the DM against the players, rather than as a collaborative experience - or even on occasion as an actual competition, with a single winner.

The first paragraph is a real pity for the DMs of your second; getting a whole party to think they're doing really well right until they succumb to rabbit starvation would have been a hell of a win condition.

113:

I wonder if anyone has thus retrospectively copy edited classical works, Shakespeare [...]

I'm pretty sure any normal Shakespere book you buy will have the spelling fixed for the modern reader. Shakespere couldn't even spell his own name consistently!

114:

Food poisoning. Boiling vegetables into mush will reliably kill a pot of bacteria that a minute or two of simmering for that crunchy al dente mouth experience won't. We're spoiled today (no pun intended) with fresh-from-the-field veggies in a hygenic plastic bag spending two days on the supermarket shelf before being tossed as unsellable. It wasn't always like that.

In the old days the four-month-old carrots and potatoes stored in the unheated shed outside were all you had to cook and eat until spring, maybe. Two minutes of simmering isn't going to cook a wrinkled leathery parsnip to the point where it's edible, and supermarkets don't sell them. Animal feed suppliers, maybe...

115:

just wait until there's a nasty divorce amongst the fruit bins and you'll get to see a very bitter melon

{ I'll see myself out }

116:

...or cauliflower far beyond its sell by date

my personal loathing is reserved for zucchini given its mushy texture no matter how fresh and a blandness level typically associated with overcooked oatmeal

maybe that's the hell waiting for each of us:

grade school cafeterias always serving those meals we loathed

and to really twist the fork you-all haters of cauliflower have to be there as a truckload is driven up to the loading dock and help unload it

{ wow I've really gone to a dark place this time }

117:

Excellent points, thank you!

On the one hand, it’s very much of the Tough Guide to Fantasyland school of storytelling, where, after a long day driving your horse down the unpaved freeway and taking an off ramp to the next scene, you park your horse in the stable of the local chain inn, check in at front desk, pile your junk in your room, and head for the attached restaurant, there to eat stew, quaff ale, and engage in a round or two of recreational fisticuffs with the species of your choice. Basically it’s a modern experience with only the scenery changed. Since D&D started as a tabletop miniatures war game, this makes sense.

On the other hand, you are what you eat is true on multiple levels. It would be entirely possible, in a story if not in a game, to make a cleric’s devotion to their deity performative, so to maintain their air of sanctity,, they have to do their daily rituals, dress appropriately, eat properly, and behave right in order to perform miracles. It’s harder to do in a game, unless you tried doing AD&D with all the spell components and kept track of those.

I never played Oriental Adventures, but I do have the book, and it ventured down this path a little. For example, character classes who could meditate had to put in a certain number of hours of meditation to go up to the next level, and magic users had to make and keep progressively more strenuous vows in order to advance in level. I don’t think this approach caught on.

118:

There are other reasons for pickyness as a kid. For example, when I was about five, and my mother and someone else went into one of the first pizza places right near us, and I got sick (whatever, kindergarten), I couldn't stand the smell of pizza until 12th grade.

Sometimes, it's situational. For that matter, it took me decades to enjoy the music of Carmen, after, at 9, my folks took me with them to see the movie Carmen Jones, and I'd been so bored, I was running up and down the steps of the row houses when we came out... and I fell and broke my arm.

119:

Anyone "different" really, in most cases, boils down to other kids who read, and enjoy learning things. The popular kids, of course, look down at them, and "grinds", because, as medieval knights and other nobility knew, the only proper thing for such to know is hunting and fighting (now sports). Reading? That's what clarks are for.

120:

@117 Sure, it's possible to explicitly require those things in a game, it's just not as much fun. Generally those kinds of things are narrative rather than mechanical aspects. Basically, it's assumed that the characters are doing what they need to do like it's assumed they are doing all their other routine personal maintenance stuff. It'd only come to the fore if it made an interesting story.

While D&D is still the big name in gaming it's not representative of how most games are actually designed and structured these days. There are countless different RPGs around with more being published all the time, each with a slightly different approach or focus.

I'm currently running a Coriolis campaign, which has the tag line "Arabian Nights in Space" and is a space opera type background but with religion being an important part of the setting. There are all sorts of religious obligations the characters are assumed to fulfil during their "off camera" time and we only play out the bits that matter. One of the mechanics is that they can get to retry some failed rolls by praying for divine assistance, and if during their morning prayers that day they made special attention to the relevant patron deity they get a bonus.

121:

Broccoli, I've come to be ok with... if it's hidden. Chicken divane, cream of broccoli soup, Chinese (if they fucking CUT it, not leave huge single bites).

Cauiflower's right out. I loathe the smell of steaming cauiflower (as my second wife liked).

I'll buy and break up fresh broccoli for parties, but I don't eat it.

122:

My partner has me eating some sauerkrout. She made short ribs, apples, and that the other day, and it was... ok. Never going to be a big thing for me.

123:

Aging incels should be a prime source of displays by the New Management... unless, of course, they find the enforcement of religion (worship of a deity) a Good Thing.

I am suddenly reminded of the religious discussion in Help, with Clang and the Anglican, I think, minister at a table...

124:

chuckle A friend of mine, long ago, told me when dungeoning, his cleric would always take third watch, when he could sit and daven. And, of course, he had kosher salt to deal with zombies. What, you thought all clerics were defined as Christian?

125:

That sounds more like killer DMs. Not the way I ever played.

126:

Heteromeles @ 91:

Thanks. I was trying to cross the streams of old-school D&D and food, is all.

It’s an interesting blind spot. Dietary restrictions are ubiquitous identity definers in real life , but they don’t pop up so much as religious signifiers, especially in D&D. Spell ingredients are ubiquitous (remember the Druidic mistletoe mess?), but no one has to keep kosher, be vegan, avoid beef or onions, or eat a hotdog every Friday to be considered a cleric or magic-user. It’s a lost opportunity for cheap drama, really.

IF I were a writer, I'd steal that idea for a story.

127:

SQB @ 93:

"the smell of cauliflower or broccoli is actually nauseating"

So Case Nightmare Green is broccoli?

😂 🤣 ROFL

128:

Zuchine's fine... in something. Or grilled and seasoned (that means more than just salt and pepper).

129:

The regular game that I and a couple buddies had in the late seventies early eighties, we viewed as collaborative storytelling between the DM and players.

One I really liked: Pete Seeger had a song about a good fisherman who runs afoul of the wind and the waves, and his boat comes back in the morning with his body.

I had the players show up just then, as his wife was crying over his body, and other villagers around. And my friend who was playing the cleric Did The Right Thing. He had raise dead fully once per day... and he announced that adventurers were risking their lives voluntarily, and this was actually his real job.

And he did the raise dead fully on the fisherman, and if an adventurer had died later, oh well.

130:

Likewise for my groups even back then - but from what I have read about those early Lake Geneva games and the way GG ran his games, their approach was not so collaborative. I didn't know what they were doing back then but I did know about competitive games run at cons and the idea of having a winner always seemed bizarre.

131:

IF I were a writer, I'd steal that idea for a story.

Steal away. In the real world, dietary restrictions are a normal part of most spiritual traditions. Just as dietary restrictions are normal for actors, models, and various other professions and ideologies. It’s ubiquitous.

It’s worth flagging only because the Church of Gygax influenced several generations of fantasy writers, and that Wisconsin dude didn’t live around people who kept kosher or had to stay in shape for their jobs. Since I grew up in west LA on the fringes of the movie industry, it probably seems more obvious to me.

Whether various forms of righteousness could be gamified and used as the basis for magic? Probably. Doing it without getting mechanistic about it might be harder.

One sarcastic way to do it might be with a Rule of Cool. If you’re sufficiently cool you can do miraculous things, so one of your character stats is your cool score. What’s cool for the character differs by who and what the character is, so a rabbi, a Jain monk, and a rock star will adhere to different standards for coolness. Doing things that are cool increases coolness, while doing things that are uncools decrease the stat and makes them less able to pull of miracles. The chore would be figuring out what’s cool and what’s uncool for each character and why.

Feel free to steal this idea too, incidentally. I’ll bet it’s already showed up in a game.

132:

"the Orkney child abuse scandal that kicked off in 1991"

That matches what happened here in NZ: the "Christchurch Creche" scandal in 1991, which turns out to involve a mum who read US conspiracy theories and police lead investigator who drank the satanic panic kool-aid (and who had an affair with the mum while the investigation went on). There's a good book on it "A City Possessed", and me dropping out of Teacher's College in 1991 is not unrelated - frankly, life for male primary school teachers looked a bit shit.

But that wasn't the D&D satanic panic here. Claims that D&D was satanist was a hassle here in the early to mid 80s, the "satanic panic" of 90/91 was largely focussed on child care workers, health professionals, and other people who dealt with small kids.

133:

Well, "Eh Gaxy Gygar" thought that, and it does show a bit in the (A)D&D rule books.

134:

What, you thought all clerics were defined as Christian?

The fact that 1e clerics were limited to blunt weapons does suggest this interpretation. Having said that, everyone I knew back then thought the rule was ridiculous; a cleric of Odin would fight with a spear.

If I remember correctly, in 2e clerics were limited to blunt weapons AND the favorite weapon of their god, so spear for Odin and Athena, longbow for Artemis and Corellon Larethian, etc.

135:

The “clerics don’t spill blood” thing was IIRC argued against back when I was playing in the 89s. I’m not sure it was ever really a historical rule (see the Templars, for instance), and anyway maces and hammers can actually make a bloody mess.

Getting into more informed times, there are two paths for the argument. One is that “life is in the blood,” so someone whose role is to heal more than kill should be using less lethal weapons like sticks and staves. Keeping blood in bodies is easier than replacing it once it gets spilled.

Second, since staves have many other uses as tools, they’re multitaskers, and carrying one frees the medic to carry first aid supplies.

The class weapon that amuses me is the magic-user’s dart. I’d always assumed that was meant as the wizard practicing darts in the local pub, and taking a few with him on the road. The pics showed a Roman plumbata, but modern reproductions of them showed they’re closer to a javelin or a pilum in weight and damage. They were used by Roman soldiers and especially marines, not intended for nerds.

136:

Dietary restrictions can be a factor even when survival is at stake. I read... somewhere... about the Greenland Vikings dying out, and one factor was that despite rivers and oceans of fish, for some unrecorded reason they did not eat fish (as shown by bone analysis etc). That said it is a half remembered anecdote so it may be out of date or just wrong.

There are obvious other examples of humans refusing to eat the 'wrong' thing even when it meant dying because their religion was all they had (and in some cases the reason they were being persecuted).

I have played a number of video games where the survival of the player involved a fair amount of food mechanics, but the actual math was done by the game. Survival games are an entire genre in video games, and fantasy based survival is a definite subgenre. I have no knowledge if there are playthroughs of such games that add in 'must be vegetarian' to the game, but I'd be shocked if there weren't some out there somewhere.

IIRC there is a plot point in 'Cryptonomicon' where three of the characters get to know each other via collaborating on developing a highly detailed model of nutritional needs for adventuring characters in an RPG.

137:

David L @ 105:

For over 60 years I've had people tell me "try it you'll like it" many times with a "I cook it differently/better/great/whatever".

And on occasion - just often enough that I don't immediately head for the hills whenever I hear that - they're right.

Usually I'll take a small portion, really no more than a nibble, just to be polite, but surprisingly sometimes I DO "like it"

138:

AJ (He/Him) @ 110:

The early games were much closer to their skirmish wargame origins than the more storytelling style that later emerged, with the rules focussed on conflict and overcoming challenges. While they included the concept of supplies, it wasn't what they were interested in exploring. It's very possible that they saw hunting and fishing as acceptably manly pusuits for their heroes but disregarded "rabbit food" as beneath them. There were no rules for malnutrition either....

As I understand it they were run in a much more competitive style too, the DM against the players, rather than as a collaborative experience - or even on occasion as an actual competition, with a single winner.

Sounds like all "strategy & tactics" with no regard for the role that logistics plays in a successful campaign.

139:

Heteromeles @ 131:

"IF I were a writer, I'd steal that idea for a story."

Steal away.

Unfortunately I'm NOT a writer ... but if one of the writers here were to take the idea and incorporate it into a story, I think I'd be interested in reading it.

140:

I am looking forward to the book.

141:

"What, you thought all clerics were defined as Christian?"

I'd be more likely to expect them to profess some kind of mish-mash of appropriately thud-and-blunder Victorian elements, such as Druids and the Norse. But something that bugs me a bit is that it never seemed to me that clerics were defined as anything much (not that I've ever played more than one game of D&D, but I've noticed similar in books sometimes). They are called "clerics", but they never act holy (for any variant of) or do anything religious (beyond the occasional token idiosyncratic line in swears), they just come over as being basically a variant form of wizard with a different kind of repertoire of spells.

So the idea of someone doing it explicitly in the manner of a real religion, accurately, naturally appeals. And the specific choice of religion is still neat for its confounding of default expectations.

142:

Para 1 - I was told that the Greenland Norsemen (not Vikings; they were colonising farmers rather than people who had "gone viking") died out due to crop failure and not being prepared to adopt the dietary practices of the native Greenlanders.

143:

Greenland Norse…this story is from Jared Diamond’s Collapse, which hasn’t aged well.

Remember that Diamond is an ecologist and physiologist (and a good one), who branched out into trying to stave off collapse, which is laudable, but….since I come from a similar academic background, I watch his missteps with great interest. They have spurred a lot of good research.

According to the Greenland archaeologists studying the Norse, the evidence doesn’t support a starvation scenario. Instead, the evidence seems to suggest that the Norse adapted a bit more than Diamond believed. Then, apparently, they packed up and left. Problem is, there’s no evidence that they made it back to Iceland or Norway. Or Vinland, for that matter.

Best guess is that their boats went down on the way home. It’s barely possible they made it to land somewhere, and the records were lost.

As for Diamond on Easter Island, he blew it. He misinterpreted evidence of continual adaptation as collapse. Worse, he ignored the island’s history of being blackbirded. The real crashes came after early European ships introduced influenza to the island, and later when the enslaved islanders were freed in Chile, repatriated, and brought smallpox back with them. They’re scarcely the only island society in the Pacific to have this history of virgin ground pandemics. Pohnpei, home of Nan Madol, IIRC, has a similar history. Hawaii comes close.

The sad thing about Rapa Nui, to use its more proper name, is that they’re held up as the poster children for autodarwinating ecological collapse, but apparently they were considerably more successful at adapting and surviving than were the people who stayed on the island they migrated from.

Be careful which story you repeat…

144:

I sort of gave up on Diamond. I'm not sure I even finished reading the germs and guns book. I found the premise about the longitudinal diversity of candidate organisms for domestication somewhat interesting, even compelling, at the time I was reading it. But even then, the way he supported this premise seemed to be riddled with pre-theoretical assumptions about what things like agriculture and domestication meant. It may have just been an artefact of his style of writing for the lay reader, but it was a persistent niggle. I'd previously done a deep dive into the then-current literature around dog domestication, and I recognised some of Diamond's concepts didn't align at all well with what I had learned.

I think only later I realised that approaching those concepts from a broader theoretical construct (like "symbiosis") would give a better grip of the topic, and maybe I'd have made a better go of it with that: still not agreed, but known enough to have a perspective on it. But at the time it was just a rising sense of cognitive dissonance that reached a point where I gave up (not my circus, not my monkeys).

145:

I agree. Diamond didn’t have a good theory to work with, and that is a problem even he would acknowledge, I think.

If you want a better theory for domestication, I recommend John N Thompson’s books, particularly the last, Relentless Evolution. He’s melding coevolution, symbiosis theory, and landscape ecology in a way that works.

I’m not sure I could write it, but I’d dearly love to read, if not write a story based on Thompson’s ideas, set 100,000 years after our current apocalypse, with humans coevolving with the surviving species in an anthropogenic, but not high tech, biosphere. Imagine what horses could be like, after interacting with humans for millennia. Or dogs. Or cars. Or rats. Or weeds, ants, mosquitos, cane toads, marijuana, potatoes….not just the idea of pets and domesticates, it’s also about feral animals that can read our body language better than we can, wild species that thrive despite all our attempts to control them, eusocial plants as crops*….stuff like that. Things that would qualify as hopeunk for Peter Watts slumming in low tech SF.

A staghorn fern species has been proposed as a eusocial plant. It’s probably me being silly, but the way we breed and culture both horticultural and agricultural plants, where only a few individuals breed, but their breeding success is based on how all their non breeding offspring fare (are they tasty and easy to grow?). To a silly person like me, this looks like we’re trying to select for eusocial crop plants. I mean, what if we did this to solitary bees? Anyway, if you like warped ideas, consider more of our crops becoming genuinely eusocial, with distinct reproductive and non-reproductive castes. It could get even weirder than that…

146:

https://youtu.be/tPZ7wjiM5yw

this mock advert is basis for an entire mini-series on Netflix or a lengthy doomscrolling darkly twisted piece of cyberpunk by way of tech bro's and late stage capitalism's craving for human flesh... 500 pages at least

"Song Called Youth" but without any happy endings just an ultimate end point

moments when discovering such items when I know miseries inflicted by the web well worth it {G}

147:

@138 Well, yes. I thgink they took the view that Logistics is boring and best just handwaved. While there were Iron Rations as equipment to buy there weren't any rules about what happened if you didn't have any food in the original game. There are games now where that's a major aspect (Forbidden Lands by Free League for example) but I don't know of one where there are rules for dietary restrictions and functionally whatever the source food is just food. Though the hunter in the Forbidden Lands game i was running did refuse to shoot the crow his hunting trip turned up for roleplaying reasoins.

148:

The survival/RPG computer game "Escape from Tarkov" monitors the player's water consumption and downgrades their effectiveness appropriately in-game.

The Viva La Dirt League Youtube channel has a series of shorts about Tarkov, this one is particularly good:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SZhYKuk3ol0

149:

It's a lot easier to have such elements in a CRPG than a regular RPG, where the admin tends to take longer and result in "not fun" outcomes. Given that it's also something which is much more about the player versus the system than a group of people telling a story together, I think CRPGs are the best place for such things.

150:

Sounds like all "strategy & tactics" with no regard for the role that logistics plays in a successful campaign.

Gygax, Arnesen, and pals had been working for a while on mediaeval wargaming using a set of small-unit rules, which they eventually evolved into direct one-to-one combat in Chainmail circa 1970-72 -- taking wargaming down from company or larger scale units to squads and individual knights.

The first taste of what became D&D was a brief supplement for Chainmail that provided rules for magic, psionics, and superpowers in one-on-one combat. Then over the next year they redefined Chainmail as the combat side of a role-playing game that embraced more aspects of the generic high fantasy setting than just combat. This happened in the wake of the mass popularization of The Lord of the Rings in the US (the first authorized edition was published in 1965 and went runaway bestseller) so LOTR was a clear influence on early gamers, including the pattern of a party of adventurers of different races with diverse specialized skills.

But basically everything in the first edition rules except man-to-man combat was a bolt-on extra added on top of the wargaming core.

151:

unless you tried doing AD&D with all the spell components and kept track of those

I don't know anyone who kept track of spell components.

(Similarly, I don't know anyone who kept track of things like caring for weapons and armour. If you think about it, all that metal and leather would take regular maintenance to keep rust and rot at bay, and yet no one ever talks about that…)

152:

That's what the Rust Monster was for! Nerfing parties who picked up too many magic weapons, for one thing, but also reminding them to look after their shit. Only it distilled it into a one-off monster encounter rather than making a repetitive boring chore part of the core gameplay.

153:

Um, er, you think staffs don't spill blood? Have Robin or Little John hit you on the head with a quarterstaff.

154:

Solved that with spell points. Level of spell == number of spell points required to use it. And this is where it made a difference, along with wizards got spell points equal to intelligence and constitution, while clerics got spell points equal to wisdom and constitution.

Which kepts wizards and such from getting too strong. Lighting bolt. Storm... um, um, sleepsleepsleep.

155:

"Rust Monster"
Has (now) a name, because rust is a form of fire ... And the monster's name is: Desdemona ( Penric / L M Bujold )
So there

156:

Nojay @ 148:

The survival/RPG computer game "Escape from Tarkov" monitors the player's water consumption and downgrades their effectiveness appropriately in-game.

The Viva La Dirt League Youtube channel has a series of shorts about Tarkov, this one is particularly good:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SZhYKuk3ol0

My game of choice is a mod called Ravage for ArmA 3 - "post apocalyptic survival" with zombies & renegade raiders.

The game DayZ started as an ArmA 2 mod & Ravage is a semi-recreation of DayZ. Ravage is a framework other modders can use to build scenarios. It lacks a melee system (you can't hit a zombie with your fist if you don't have a gun) and doesn't do "crafting".

I don't play much multi-player (which "Escape from Tarkov" is) because my reflexes have slowed with age and the younger guys always beat me up & take my lunch money. 😏

There are a lot of good YouTube channels for ArmA 3 & Kodabar's channel is a good one for Ravage:

Make your own zombie survival missions for Ravage in ArmA 3

In the default missions you start out with almost nothing but the clothes on your back. You have to search for what you need to survive while dodging zombies & renegades ...

You have health, hunger & thirst (100 to start) - if any of them get close to 0 you die.

Two ABSOLUTE essentials are a bottle/canteen (to store water) and a can opener (to open food cans). You can use an empty can to drink water, but not to carry it with you.

Even better than a can opener is a gutting knife, because you can use that to obtain meat from animals you've killed ... but beware, eating raw meat can kill you. I'm not sure, but I think it decreases your health by a substantial number of points & if your health is less than 100 you can drop yourself to the point where you die ...

So, you're going to need something to start a fire with (matches & a notepad, file folder or currency) so you can cook what you kill to make it edible.

Depending on scenario, there are other survival items you're going to want - water purification tablets, anti-viral tablets, anti-viral injectors, anti-radiation pills - a Geiger-Mueller counter so you can track radiation exposure.

If your radiation exposure gets too high you start losing health. The higher it gets the faster you lose health.

My best so far is "22 days" survival (died because I couldn't find enough food).

There are also "escape" mods/scenarios & I usually manage to do a bit better on those because I can usually reach the escape point before I starve to death, get chomped by zombies or ambushed by renegades.

157:

Currency? Don't use US currency - it really, really does not want to burn. I can tell you this from personal experience (a $1 bill, around 1968).

158:

I can't stand any cultivars of B. oleracea.

Yep, this is genetics: the bitterness and smell (in those of European ancestry, anyway) come from the same source: an unbroken TAS2R38 gene, so you can taste (and smell) phenylthiocarbamide.

I am quite glad I cannot :)

159:

(very long time reader here (at least 12 years?), but this is the first time I've been able to successfully log in to post - I think previous attempts to validate my account here via email went into the Void)

In 1981-1982 I was living in a Detroit/Pontiac suburb in Michigan, USA. As an avid D&D player, I was excited when a local newspaper mentioned that a 'satanic altar' had been discovered in the woods adjoining my subdivision. I, of course, went looking for it but unfortunately didn't find anything. I suspect it was probably heavy metal-related graffiti or something.

My family moved away from the area in 1982, and it wasn't until a couple of years ago that I learned that those woods had actually been a Nike missile base (https://www.google.com/maps/place/Nike+Missile+Base+Park,+Site+D-87/@42.5965731,-83.4643247,1545m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m6!3m5!1s0x8824a4792d0bcd11:0x508ec39816501d40!8m2!3d42.5969377!4d-83.4698457!16s%2Fg%2F11fxc7tjwt?entry=ttu). I wish I'd known that at the time, it would have been interesting to explore.

Coincidentally it was right around that time that I first read anything of Mr. Stross's: some D&D monsters (githyanki, githzerai) in an issue of White Dwarf magazine. I see how they might have been the seeds for the Alfar who show up in the Laundry books.

160:

and it wasn't until a couple of years ago that I learned that those woods had actually been a Nike missile base

So just what was it protecting? The auto industry?

161:

Probably a good guess that it was protecting the auto industry and Detroit area in general. An image on Wikipedia shows them deployed around cities.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Deployment_of_Nike_Missiles_Within_Contiguous_United_States.png

Of course they were not in service by the 198s.

162:

Kentucky had none. And we had a nuclear refining facility. [sad face]

163:

"Our Lady of Rust"

or

"Our Playful Lady of Rapid Rust"

though a demon, she's not a monster

never harmed an innocent

164:

I preferred Runequest's way of balancing classes, where iron interfered with magic and magicians were stuck with bronze weapons (upgrading to Mithril if they were rich or lucky in looting).

Regarding darts, I think there was a cavalry throwing-weapon in middle-Eastern armies that was more compact than the Roman version. If memory serves, it was used by classical Persian cavalry, and was probably around before the Pars came to power. This may have been what Gygax et al. had in mind.

My main memory of D&D in the 70s was the over-enfeeblement of beginning magic-users. The early-edition rules over-compensated for the supposed power of the magic, and the wastage rate of characters was huge. I remember nursing a first-level MU with one rubbish spell per day, a massive 1HP and no useful weapons through a whole four game-sessions, and actually getting to second level (dissolving wraiths in holy water was the way to get experience). After that, I damned the system as too broken and moved on.

165:

...If you’re sufficiently cool you can do miraculous things, so one of your character stats is your cool score. What’s cool for the character differs by who and what the character is, so a rabbi, a Jain monk, and a rock star will adhere to different standards for coolness...

That's basically how it worked in Exhalted; the Rule of Cool was very much in effect. As I remember someone explaining it, a character could in theory get away with any stunt as long as their presentation was so awesome that it left the laws of physics (and the game master) saying "Wait, what?" until the action moved on to the next thing.

And things had names like The Soaring Manse of the Ever-Watching Custodian rather than, say, Bob's place.

As for an actual Cool stat, technically Teenagers From Outer Space had that, but it was for determining whether characters could keep their cool in stressful situations such as being chased around a space station by a giant carnivorous monster or trying to get a date with a cheerleader. The game being what it was, both situations were about equally likely, and either one could lead to the other.

166:

That sounds like a variant RQ campaign to me. The original Gloranthan setting had things called Iron, Bronze and so forth that were actually dug up god bones from the time before time. Iron is a Dwarven product, did double damage to Trolls and Elves and did absorb cast magic if it wasn't enchanted.

Not to mention the setting's approach to dragons. What most settings think of as dragons RQ called dream dragons. Real dragons are geography sized (the Orm ridge turned into the Orm's Gone Valley when Orm woke up), the product of a long series of reincarnations of dragonnewts and are Not To Be Messed With. Thankfully they spend a lot of time sleeping and generating dream dragons.

167:

Regarding darts, I think there was a cavalry throwing-weapon in middle-Eastern armies that was more compact than the Roman version.

Tod Cutler of Tod's Workshop makes YouTube videos on recreating old weapons, including things like Roman plumbata. His testing of replicas showed they could be an effective throwing weapon en masse, especially with trained troops who practiced. What surprised me was how far they could be thrown using a swinging underhand motion rather than an overhand hold and throw like we do with modern darts and other hand projectiles.

168:

I saw that video. Now I know how to properly weaponize a lawn dart….

More seriously, from what I read when I was trying to understand how the Roman Navy worked, plumbata were used by their equivalent of marines long before the late Roman army used them. Even though they’re less accurate (per the video), the fact that they can be lobbed underhand would make them more useful in attacking a galley-type ship. They’re also more compact.

As for darts smaller than a plumbata, I think the Middle Eastern one is a javelin known as a jarid, jered, or djerid. Good look googling that.

For Gygaxian D&D, the best book to have for the weaponry is the old Stone’s A Gloosary of the Construction, Decoration, and Use of Arms and Armor in all countries and in all times.. Much of this info came from collections in the NY Met. My parents had a copy of this on their shelves, so when I hit AD&D, it was easy for me to not only figure out what he was talking about, but to get similarly nisled about what things were and how they were used. Stone’s Glossary was originally published in 1934 and republished several times thereafter. Nowadays, with HEMA and other global martial arts have drastically changed our understanding of cold weapons combat, of course, so there’s little reason to stick to a rules system that pre dates them.

169:

"Our Playful Lady of Rapid Rust"/though a demon, she's not a monster/never harmed an innocent

Fun way to implement this in D&D. Start with an ancient female brass dragon. Brass dragons are fundamentally good, have two breath weapons (fire and sleep gas) and love to talk. So anyway, mama Hutton guards the only way into a peaceful desert oasis, brass dragons being desert folk. She loves to talk, as do most brass dragons. Visitors are welcome if they’re friendly peaceable, and especially if they’re garrulous. As many elders, she keeps and breeds pets that she calls her “littol kittehs”—rust monsters. She’s quite fond of the buggers and loves it when visitors join her in playing with them. They’re fond of her too, and my there are a lot of them.

As for the rude sods who think R&R is recreational rape and ravine, she knocks them out with her breath and lets her bug babies use them as chew toys. Then whatever is left goes into her hoard or to the oasis dwellers. The sods get to wake up in the desert with most of the water they need to make it to the nearest oasis. And maybe some clothes. She’s not totally inhospitable, even to rude sods.

170:

H
There's another version of "Littol kittens" of course, in Linebarger/Corwainer Smith
You really do NOT want to encounter mutated telepathic mink, actually

171:

"in Linebarger/Corwainer Smith"

I think it's pretty obvious that that is precisely what H is referring to, even if he misremembered the spelling.

JHomes

172:

Can't wait for your latest work, as always. There's no fun like Laundry fun.

The 1980s Satanic D&D Panic was such a shame. It led to complaints from worried busybodies, driving the town council in my Midwest village to shut down the weekly Friday roleplaying night hosted at the local nature center - the head naturalist was a huge D&D aficionado, also ran workshops, absolute legend, we did miniature painting. The roleplaying night closure left a host of mostly teenage boys without anything to do on a weekend night. (If that doesn't drive you to want to have a satanic panic in the woods ...)

I think the real fallout happened after Gary Gygax got interviewed by 60 Minutes and had a chance to put all the nonsense to rest. Instead he just seemed a bit ... spaced out.

At least we eventually got X-Files?

173:

I am a simple man, I hear about New Laundry files novel, I say let it come !

174:

Yes. The story is Mother Hilton’s Littul Kittons.. Since the level of violence in that story is, indeed, rather psychotic, I flipped it around to “mama Hutton’s Littol Kittehs”, the teee version with pet rust monsters.

It suits my sense of silliness to imagine a bunch of wannabe murder hobos playing with rust monsters under the watchful eye their dragon pet parent. Probably require sanity checks from the players, too.

After I posted it, I realized that obviously this has to take place in a red desert, red because of the plentiful iron and old laterite in the soil. Mama Hutton uses here fire breath to smelt some of the richer deposits into iron bloom, which she feeds her pets. That’s why they love her. Presumably her lair has a pet proof room where her visitors can take off their metal,, TSA style, while they visit with her and her brood.

175:

Seems to me that the right answer to it being shut down is for said teens to set up a demon summoning ritual, play it out, then leave evidence, suggesting that they wouldn't have done it if they'd only been allowed to play it as a game.

Around 1984, Disclave, (DC are) I think, was large, and had a large dealers' room. And I never knew if someone had suckered them into it, or they suckered themselves, but there was a table of self-proclaimed Jesus freaks. Complete with leaflets against UFOs, D&D, etc.

If I remember correctly, Isaac was GOH, and after his talk, we were ready to march forth.... What did happen, though, was around 4PM on Sat, and there were dozens of fen wandering the dealers' tables... and someone stood in front of the Jesus Freaks and started, and the entire room joined in on Gimme That Real Old Time Religion.

The Jesus Freaks seemed to take it ok, but never came back.

176:

For friendly rust monsters, try the title character of the webcomic Rusty and Co.

177:

Heteromeles @ 168:

I saw that video. Now I know how to properly weaponize a lawn dart….

In my younger days, when I was less tolerant of the shortcomings of others, I held the belief that lawn darts should be mandatory issue to every first grader at the beginning of the school year as a way to thin the herd.

178:

I used to have a similar opinion: That a year of driving a motorcycle should be prerequisite for getting an automobile license.

179:

Thanks! I needed that!

180:

No, make it two years of riding a bicycle or class 1 or 2 e-bike on the public highways.

Also, the minimum age for driving an automobile weighing over 600kg or capable of going over 80km/h should be raised to 21, and for over 1200kg or over 120km/h it should be at least 25.

(Neuroplasticity and adolescent belief in auto-immortality are both problematic.)

181:

Re: Satanic Panic When I was at Michigan State in the late 70s, and a student went missing. Since he was an avid D&D'r the fear was that he went "real-life" D&Ding in the steam tunnels (MSU has its own coal based power plant, the steam of which is sent to all of the campus buildings for heat in the winter) (BTW, I believe it is the 3rd power plant that was built, the previous two were decommissioned). I worked with a woman whose husband worked at the plant, and they spent days looking through those tunnels.

They finally found him in Texas (he was 16 and probably on the spectrum, and college social life kind of freaked him out).

IIRC, somebody built a Zork based game around this as a joke (oh, to be young and have free time!).

182:

Re: Foods.

My wife and I listen to Agatha Raisin stories while on trips (it reduces the boredom, and they are fun stories). Anyway that was when I first heard the term "mushy peas". Definitely an English dish. :)

I like most of the reviled foods people have been listing, although there are some that don't combine well. e.g. I like olives, but not in bread or on pizza (ick). Strange combo I discovered: a slice of swiss cheese on raisin bread is wonderful (especially if it has lots of cinnamon). Go figure.

The one thing I do not like is broccoli rabe, my wife loves it, I can't stand it.

Egg plant I can take or leave. It is just tasteless to me.

I found out the hard way that most of our taste is in our nose. When I was a kid I had a really bad cold and completely lost that part of my taste, I only had what came from my taste buds. Wow, things tasted pretty bad for a couple of days.

183:

If you want to kill kids in coming of age trials, can I suggest following the Chumash and just giving them datura? I got this from a Chumash shaman….

What they did was to spend months teaching their adolescents how to use datura ritually, something they’d only do a few times in their life. Datura’s a plant used when you’ve got to talk to god, because it’s effing dangerous, atropine being the active ingredient. Do Not Try This At Home. Read on.

After they trained and prepped the kid, they sent them off to ritually dose themselves alone. If they did the ritual right, they talked to god, lived to tell about it, and came back ready to adult. If they didn’t…. The problem with datura is that it takes six hours to take full effect. If a kid got bored waiting, thought they hadn’t done it right and took more, they overdosed and died, because atropine is a smooth muscle relaxant.

The only advantage to using datura instead of cars is that it only kills irresponsible kids, not innocent bystanders. The disadvantage is that it looks a lot like child endangerment to our legal systems.

184:

James Dallas Egbert III? I read the book in the 80s. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Dungeon_Master

185:

Datura stramonium??
I grow this, for fun ... it has wonderful white open flowers - "Angel's Trumpet"

186:

""mushy peas". Definitely an English dish."

Ah, those are nothing to do with the preceding discussion - they are not just ordinary peas boiled until they've gone mushy (which doesn't work with peas, anyway). They are from a different plant to start with, they are about twice the diameter of ordinary peas, and they have undergone some kind of aggressive processing in which they are forced to absorb some other ingredient which you also don't get in conjunction with normal peas, which makes them swell up and disintegrate. So what you end up with is a kind of sludge with bits of vaguely roundish lumps in.

It also makes them go grey, so they finish off by adding some "green" dye which fails to resemble the shade of any known vegetable, although the army might use it.

They are a factory-made thing, and always come in tins. I think it is theoretically possible to make them at home, but they don't come out the same, and nobody ever does.

And they fucking stink. I'm not quite as bad as Charlie with broccoli, but the smell still makes me want to heave, so I have never allowed one to pass my lips.

187:

Mushy peas - huh. Had them once, at some fancy steak place - I was a sysadmin, and a vendor's tech was showing me how to work this hardware/software, and he was in Chicago for a short time, didn't know anyone, so he took me out on his per-diem.

The steak was fine, but the mushy peas didn't impress me enough to want them again.

188:

"No, make it two years of riding a bicycle or class 1 or 2 e-bike on the public highways."

No, it needs to be a motorcycle. A bicycle doesn't cut it; it's too much like drinking water that's been somewhere near a teabag instead of drinking whisky.

The main thing is that a bicycle is much too slow, so for a start you simply never encounter those situations which can only occur at high speed. The low speed also means that situations develop much more slowly, are much more avoidable, have more options for evasive action, and are far less likely to cause any significant injury.

A bicycle is also much too light. With a motorcycle it can be unpleasant to drop it even at zero speed because of the sheer weight of the thing landing on you, and it can be pretty good at anchoring you to the ground as well. And it can also be unpleasant when a side-on impact reacts against the mass of a motorcycle with your leg in between. When the woman who drives around Bedford driving into the side of bikes did it to me on my motorbike, I ended up in hospital, but when she did it on my bicycle, although the bike got stuck under the car I wasn't hurt at all.

To put it simply, a bicycle just isn't dangerous enough to learn anything useful. Indeed it can easily teach the wrong lessons instead (and the evangelism they attract exacerbates this disadvantage). So you get self-righteous cockends deliberately riding bicycles provocatively and aggressively in traffic so that when they manage to push a car driver into cutting it a bit fine they can post a video on youtube screaming about "their rights" and how awful car drivers are.

You don't get so many people doing this on motorcycles because they know that if they cut it a bit too fine they are a lot less likely to get away with it (at urban traffic speeds the mass-of-the-machine aspect has a major influence on the result). Instead you learn that it doesn't matter a tinker's fuck what "your rights" are when physics thinks different, and to think and plan accordingly.

Not to mention of course that everyone has ridden a bicycle because how can you be a kid and not ride one, but that doesn't stop the problem arising in the first place.

190:

Sounds like big overlap with a terrible 1982 film "Rona Jaffe's Mazes and Monsters" starring 26 year old Tom Hanks, had similar steam tunnel scenes. Only reason I remember it was a single line voiced right at the end by the narrator about 'the death of hope,' which made more of an impression than the whole rest of it.

https://www.google.com/url?q=https://www.giantfreakinrobot.com/ent/tom-hanks-dungeons-dragons.html&sa=U&ved=2ahUKEwik26T04sKEAxWR5ckDHRupA-MQFnoECAcQAg&usg=AOvVaw0WNEmQ28N4H1vdnDro6LyQ

191:

182, 186 and 187 - "Mushy peas" are made from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marrowfat_peas . Wikipedia doesn't mention this, but I have been told (anecdata yes) that the manufacturing process also involves vinegar.
IME they are as vile and hard as you'd expect from cooking legumes in brine.

188 - Agreed. Most clips from cyclists on YouChube are pure clickbait, and somehow manage to not show things like cyclists bunny-hopping on and off crowded pavements and/or jumping red lights. A nice pint (of one of the 9 or 10 guest ales) in the 3 Judges on Dumbarton Road at Partick Cross will convince you that this is not just stereotyping but normal behaviour!

192:

Excuse me, but are you people suggesting requiring motorcycle riding as a way of killing youngsters as some sort of example? Be glad I’m not near enough to visit you in person with a rolled up newspaper.

Riding motorcycles teaches one to be a far better road user than anybody that never has that experience. You learn to pay actual attention, about grip, about planning, about survival. Stuff that only-car drivers never seem to even understand could be important. It’s like only ever having sex with a half inch wall thickness condom, blindfolded, ear plugged, and sedated. And yes, I’m sure rule 34 applies.

193:

"Riding motorcycles teaches one to be a far better road user than anybody that never has that experience."

If I am reading the various posters correctly, that is the primary point, with the removal of those who refuse to learn from the driving population being a side effect, of debatable merit.

JHomes

194:

You could try Peas Vitellius which were an older version of mushy peas.

195:

And they fucking stink. I'm not quite as bad as Charlie with broccoli, but the smell still makes me want to heave, so I have never allowed one to pass my lips.

Thankfully they're extremely rare these days but my reaction to them is pretty much the same as with brassicae: given a choice between starving and eating this stuff, I'll take starvation.

196:

The point of making learners play with the cars without a cage around them is to teach them empathy for other road users in order to reduce the overall death rate, not to kill them.

197:

to teach them empathy for other road users

I have to wonder what the percentage of the population is that just can't get empathy? And is it an inherited thing? Or something that can be removed from people early based on how raised? Or...

198:

Is that really why we have assumed consent for organ donation?

199:

Pigeon @ 188:

"No, make it two years of riding a bicycle or class 1 or 2 e-bike on the public highways."

No, it needs to be a motorcycle. A bicycle doesn't cut it; it's too much like drinking water that's been somewhere near a teabag instead of drinking whisky.

I think the idea was prospective drivers should have experience riding a bicycle in traffic so they'll learn to respect cyclists ... but you could always make it two years on a bicycle before graduating to two years on a motorcycle.

But I'm an old fogy & think parallel parking and starting on an up-hill incline using a manual transmission (brake & clutch) should still be on the DRIVING TEST for a license (licence).

200:

The manual transmission thing is on the way out, due to the inevitable transition to electric vehicles if nothing else (EVs simply don't have old-skool gearboxes, even though a couple of exotic electric hypercars have two forward gears). This covers the hill start aspect of the test. Parallel parking should absolutely be on the test until autonomous parking is universal, i.e. on every car sold in the past decade. Which will almost certainly happen sooner than we expect.

201:

The manual transmission thing is on the way out, due to the inevitable transition to electric vehicles if nothing else

They have been on the way out for a few decades in the US and Canada. I know it is different in Europe.

It mostly has to do with MPG standards. Most ICE cars made in the US for over a decade have automatic transmissions with 5 to 9 gears. I think my 1.5L Civic has 7. My Tundra 5.7L truck has 6 but that's as much for towing as MPG.

And yes I know there are some here that are convinced that they can get better MPG than these multi-speed automatics. And maybe they can when concentrating non stop on that. But that level of concentration is hard for anyone. And most drivers just don't care.

Now given all of that of the six people in my local family group, 5 of us can drive a standard. Plus my brothers and some of their families can drive with a clutch.

202:

everyone has ridden a bicycle because how can you be a kid and not ride one

I've got niblings who never learned to ride a bike. Wasn't much use where they lived; everything was either walking distance or reached via the subway (bicycles in downtown Toronto traffic being more unsafe than being a pedestrian).

I didn't see a single bicycle in Greenland. Lots of kids, no bikes.

203:

Not only is it not, though, but they won't let you do it if you want to. On my test the examiner told me to park in between two (pretty widely spaced) cars, so I pulled past the slot and prepared to reverse in. Whereupon he told me not to do that; he'd picked the wide slot intending that I should drive in forward, and he told me to carry on to the next slot (which as it happened was even wider) and go in forwards.

Which miffed me a bit because my dad had thought it was on the test, and had set up crates on the drive outside the house and had me practise parallel-parking between them until I was right sick of it. But it was still valuable, of course, and now I can consider parking spaces available that people even with smaller cars reject.

204:

No. It forked from Heteromeles's sub-thread about potentially-lethal initiation rituals via ilya's comment, but it also dropped the original subject.

My comment about bicycles not being dangerous enough was nothing to do with how they might compare as a possible alternative to atropine; the point was that they don't compare with motorcycles as a means of teaching exactly such lessons as you cite.

205:

Excuse me, but are you people suggesting requiring motorcycle riding as a way of killing youngsters as some sort of example? Be glad I’m not near enough to visit you in person with a rolled up newspaper.

To me, it's about pushing kids to be responsible and grow up by having them engage in activities that are lethal if done wrong. In our society, the primary activity is learning to drive. In others, it's things like taking dangerous inebriants or killing a lion.

Some places people do need to learn how to drive, and I agree that it's better to learn in a small, fragile car, rather than the urban assault vehicles some buy to keep their preciouses safe.

The problem with coming of age in cars is that the autodarwination of irresponsible kids often comes with collateral casualties. Of the five people I knew in school who died in car wrecks, one was killed by an out of control truck (not his fault), two died drunk driving, and two died as passengers in other kids' cars. That's a high toll for an adulthood rite.

206:

To me, it's about pushing kids to be responsible and grow up by having them engage in activities that are lethal if done wrong.

Not even lethal. Just allow them to get bumps and bruises. Maybe a cut or 1000. And maybe have a failure or few. We are not all #1.

So many parents these days don't want anything to every hurt their kids. Physically or mentally. And it creates problems as they grow older. 12, 15, 20, 25, whatever.

And this might be a US problem.

207:

I've never really liked automatic transmissions. I can live with them. My first car was automatic and I've rented automatics in Canada, New Zealand and Australia. But I still preferred manual. However my electric car is a much better experience than an ICE automatic. Most EV drivers would never go back to a manual. I think they will die out soon in the UK. When second hand EVs are cheap enough for young drivers to buy, manual cars will be unsellable. Even petrol heads like my son-in-law found that driving an EV is much more enjoyable than manual or automatic ICE cars.

208:

Five? Wholly kao. I’m glad I wasn’t at your school!

I can’t think of a single kid dying in any traffic event, right up through university age. My wife can remember a single one (pedestrian victim). One died in a sailboat accident when I was about 7-8 ish.

Post uni era (so over the last 40 years), one of my cousins was killed crossing a road in London and a friend died in a RTA in France when a car pulled out across his motorcycle. A couple of acquaintances have died in gliding related accidents - one a photographer taking action shots of landing gliders and a wing took his head off.

In 50 years of motorcycle riding and car driving I’ve had scrape from going over a cliff on a trail bike and a broken ankle from a confused driver slicing across me at the huge cross-roads of El Camino Real and Lawrence Expressway. I didn’t even get injured when I was shot at on the bike, nor when a car bomb went off next to me. The culprits on the other hand...

209:

I can't think what, other than "ludicrous 'celleration" (mislabelled as "ludicrous speed" by assemblers) a Scalextric car does better than an ICE one.
Also, other than one Honda with a CVT, I've never driven any form of slushbox that was as good as a manual at anything except reducing strain on your left knee in really heavy traffic.

210:

You can’t think this because you’ve never driven an EV. I never felt completely safe when driving downhill in automatics with no engine braking. Most but not all EVs have one pedal driving when regenerative braking is set to maximum. It gives exquisitely precise control in city driving and winding country roads. And downhill. It’s true that acceleration is ludicrous in sport mode. But I rarely need sport mode in which acceleration forces you back in the seat. I can also charge my car to get 220 to 300 miles range (nominal 280) at home for GBP 6.08. In my car and many others the steering wheel paddles used to increase or decrease regeneration can also bring the car to a complete stop. And EVs like modern automatics often have auto hold to stop the car creeping forwards. Try a test drive and you’ll stop calling them Scalextric.

211:

I very much agree with Mike. I have Tesla Model Y, and honestly, I don't even notice when I drive downhill -- or uphill for that matter. The car takes care of the necessary braking or accelerating. To the point that when I drive an ICE car sometimes, it is a shock: "WTH? Is it supposed to roll down like that?"

212:

The only person at my school who died was struck by a drunk driver while walking home. He'd had too much to drink at a party (underage, but we did it) and decided to walk rather than risk hurting someone by driving while impaired, and someone older made the opposite choice and hit him while veering onto the sidewalk.

I was usually the designated driver, so I didn't drink. We always had one, and no one pressured the DD to drink. This was in the late 70s, not too many years after the "Bring me back alive" campaign to try to guilt parents into not driving drunk, when "one more for the road" was a fact of life for many adults.

213:

"I never felt completely safe when driving downhill in automatics with no engine braking."

Which automatics? For a long long time by far the most common automatic gearbox on British cars was the Borg-Warner BW35, which is what mine's got, and it is not devoid of engine braking. Not as much as a manual, it is true, but by locking it in first on steep descents it is fine in the Lake District.

"I can also charge my car to get 220 to 300 miles range (nominal 280) at home for GBP 6.08."

I make that about 17kWh, which is less than the energy content of half a gallon of petrol.

214:

“but by locking it in first on steep descents it is fine in the Lake District.” - and just how much petrol does it generate and pump back into the tank during these descents?

17kWh for 6 quid? Good grief, what are you lot paying for electrons? Seems like time to throw out a govt. We pay about 7p equivalent and it’s close to 100% renewable. So a 70kWh charge should be more like five quid ( and what does it say that autocockup wanted five quidditch?) or one pound twenty for that 17kWh,which would take a T3 or TY about 50+ miles.

Infernal Confusion Engine vehicles are dinosaurs powered by dinosaur juice and even at my age I hope to see them ended before I go (again).

215:

My First Automatic was a Wolseley 16/60 with a three speed Borg Warner. Apart from the number of gears I found the last automatics I hired, Toyota Rav4 and Camry in New Zealand a few years ago to be similar on hills but obviously much more powerful. I was very unhappy driving down mountainous often flimsily unfenced roads to Queenstown. Driving an EV with regenerative braking is a much better experience. I wouldn't buy an automatic. I did buy an EV. The 280 mile nominal range is for 64KWh. At a cost of 9.5 pence per KWh off peak. 3.5 to 4.6 miles per kilowatt hour.

216:

I found bicycles effective enough to impress my ,then young, mind with how vulnerable I was, a paranoia that served me well when I later rode a motorcycle. On "Slushbox" vs manual transmissions,contemporary automatics have gotten good enough that one may now be penalized with worse acceleration and fuel economy by driving stick. My reference point for contemporary automatic is ZF's 9 speed transaxle.

217:

210 " I never felt completely safe when driving downhill in automatics with no engine braking." and 211
Well, you have both just proved that you have never actually driven an automatic car, and nothing else.
213 Whereas Pigeon obviously has. My biggest complaint about 3 and 4 speed torque converter automatics has always been mischosen full throttle upshift points, not a lack of engine braking or, to quote my sister's (mistaken) complaint, "having no throttle control of your speed".

213 and 214 - Perhaps you both need to support your claimed cost per kwh by stating the time of day when that price is available, because I can see a circumstance in which you would both be correct!

218:

I had my first automatic for five years. It was my only car. I've hired automatics in Canada, Australia and New Zealand. EoN 9.5 pence per hour midnight to 07:00.

219:

A bit more than half a pound for the first 2kWh of the day, then a bit more than a third of a pound for anything over that. In both cases "a bit" is a few pennies, but I don't care to that level of accuracy, so I can't remember exactly how many and cba to look it up. :)

220:

paws
I have not, recently, driven any automatic-gearbox vehicle. I understand that recently, they have got a lot less worse. However I was very unhappy, the few times I have driven them {} & would be very, very wary of driving another one & as for owning one, forget it.
From the descriptions, electric is DIFFERENT & previous rules do not apply.
{
} Becuse of lack of, or minimal engine braking incidentally & also, though not nearly as bad "weird" times of changing up.

221:

Typo correction :9.5 pence per kilowatt hour.

222:

I reckon there can be times a motorbike is safer, at least overall. For learners, you're highly unlikely to have 3 of your mates on the back distracting you and egging you on to do something silly. If you do fuck up, you'll have one passenger at most who should have lots of safety equipment attached to them-as should you. You'll also do a lot less damage to whoever you run in to. When I first started riding, I rode my CG like an old granny, and had no one to judge me at all.

I was knocked off a bit over a year ago-car turned across me, I went flying through the air and landed on my knee. If I'd had my kneepads in, I reckon I'd have walked away. Since I didn't, I had a week in hospital, during which a mate from work came to visit with some goodies to stave off boredom. This included a classic car magazine, with the words "Here, this'll inspire you to get something safer". I'm pretty sure that if I'd had the same almost head on collision in anything in that magazine, I'd be be dead.

223:

The Wolseley 16/60 used the BW35, which is the same as my car has, so I find that a bit odd.

I might tentatively speculate that the actual difference is more related to the general feeling of security imparted by good brakes. I've never driven anything, manual or automatic, that I would be happy taking down Lake District type gradients on engine braking alone; they all need at least some assistance from the friction brakes, to avoid overspeeding the engine if nothing else. And my experience of BMC drums is that they need to be operated intermittently in that situation in order not to overheat. The Volvo 164 on the other hand has discs all round, and ventilated ones with four-pot calipers on the front, so that problem doesn't arise, and while I still don't use them continuously it's because I don't need to.

224:

Driving automatics, mauals, EV, and hybrids ALL give a DIFFERENT experience. And to be honest automatics vary a lot in ICEs.

Anyone making blanket statements about how any one feels needs to drive a few dozen more options. I rented 1 to 3 cars a week in the early 80s. And again in the 2000s and 2010s, but not quite as often. So I got to drive all kinds of car and engine sizes. And they all act different. Some automatics will do engine braking going down a hill. Some not.

And hybrids and EVs with variable settings for regeneration, well that can be a bit of getting used to if you've never done it. But once you get a bit of muscle memory, it can be great.

225:

I'm not making an argument about the relative merits of the two types of vehicles (I think electric cars are a good idea in general terms, but the present implementation both of the cars and their associated infrastructure is fucking abysmal). I'm simply commenting on automatic transmissions, at least partly because I used to hold prejudice against them myself before experience showed it to be unfounded.

226:

I've had the same experience as you, and had friends who have done it at serious speed; I've also been thrown by a "walk-behind" single-drum vibrating roller and achieved about 5 metres altitude, landing more or less on my back (I think). And no injuries. It's quite remarkable how extreme an involuntary ballistic experience can be without doing any damage.

227:

Never done a Lake District hill like, say, Hard Knott Pass in anything. I have done up and down the Bealach na Ba (Pass of the Cattle) in Wester Ross both ways using engine braking on the straights and wheel brakes for additional slowing into hairpins on the descent.

228:

I think the trick is to be so surprised at suddenly being airbourne, you just ragdoll until everything stops moving.

229:

David L @ 201:

"The manual transmission thing is on the way out, due to the inevitable transition to electric vehicles if nothing else"

They have been on the way out for a few decades in the US and Canada. I know it is different in Europe.

It mostly has to do with MPG standards. Most ICE cars made in the US for over a decade have automatic transmissions with 5 to 9 gears. I think my 1.5L Civic has 7. My Tundra 5.7L truck has 6 but that's as much for towing as MPG.

And yes I know there are some here that are convinced that they can get better MPG than these multi-speed automatics. And maybe they can when concentrating non stop on that. But that level of concentration is hard for anyone. And most drivers just don't care.

Now given all of that of the six people in my local family group, 5 of us can drive a standard. Plus my brothers and some of their families can drive with a clutch.

Yeah, I know I'm a dinosaur trying to relive glory days from before the comet hit ... but long ago, during my formative years ... I used to have to teach drivers who had never driven a manual transmission how to handle an M925A2 5-ton cargo truck

Shift pattern: R 2 5
                     1 3 4 ... plus two speed transfer case.

Double clutching required to shift up and down.

In 1 Low you could climb a brick wall (if it was less than 3' high, as long as you didn't try to go faster than 5 mph).

... and how to back it with a trailer (M105 1-1/2 ton) attached.

Shortly before I retired the replacement vehicles the National Guard was receiving were all automatic transmission (started with HMWWVs & HEMTTs).

230:

timrowledge @ 208:

Five? Wholly kao. I’m glad I wasn’t at your school!

I can’t think of a single kid dying in any traffic event, right up through university age. My wife can remember a single one (pedestrian victim). One died in a sailboat accident when I was about 7-8 ish.

During my 12 years in public school, I think there was only one kid in any of the schools I attended who died in a traffic accident - popular girl in my junior year & the only reason I knew anything about it was the "Yearbook" was dedicated to her that year.

During my Freshman Year in College I heard that one of the popular guys from my High School class (someone I did actually know) was killed in an accident - he was a passenger in an accident involving alcohol & excessive speed. I think the driver and other passengers were killed as well, but I didn't know any of them; they were from different towns, different schools.

The only other person from my student cohort who didn't make it through was a girl who died from cancer when we were in Junior High School. I think she was a couple years ahead of me.

231:

Phill @ 222:

I reckon there can be times a motorbike is safer, at least overall. ...

Well, if you see the idiots coming you should have more options to get out of the way.

OTOH, if you don't see the idiots coming they can hurt you a lot worse than if you were inside a steel box on wheels (and yes I'm aware modern cars have a lot less steel making up the box ...)

So, six of one & half dozen of the other.

232:

I live in BC, where BC Hydro - so called because virtually all our power is hydroelectricity, duh - charges an average (given my domestic, non-time specific) of about 11c/kWh. That works out around 7p I think right now. I think you can get an even better rate in some areas for EV charging. Our total energy (including a small amount of propane) cost is around C$1500p.a. - heating, hot water, ovens, lighting, a large set of computers etc. Adding an EV would cost about C$200 to that versus around C$2500 for petrol. And $1000 for services. Ah well, one day when my ex-employers finally get forced to actually pay me.

233:

Speaking of new books, good old Liz Truss has a new book out! Ten Years To Save The West! She's in America hawking it to Republicans, and claiming her epic 50 day tenure as British PM was done in by the British bond market Deep State. Glad to take her off your hands and all that.

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/introducing-the-british-deep-state

234:

Truss blaming the "deep state" for the markets panicking at her ineptitude is absolutely typical of modern-day Tories (the post-2017 crowd, ushered in by Brexit). To quote Boris Johnson, "fuck business".

(I gather the Republicans are having something of the same problem, with the religious/nationalist base no longer being on board with the whole "party of business" thing.)

235:

they want the blessings of high tech such a pocket sized megacomputer to offer up on demand communication along with dopamine spikers such as TW, FB, TT, porn, porn and more porn

they want dentists 'n cardiologists

they want low priced goods

...what the GOP and Tories do not want is having to deal with: uppity nerds... unruly non-whites... day laborers refusing to live at the poverty line... nor allowing women to say "no" to sex

what would just about sum up their policy goals?

rollback to slavery? industrialized serfdom? declaring women as soulless vessels? Jews-blacks-browns-gays all ought be stuffed into ghettos with the locks on the outside of doors?

listening to T(he)Rump this weekend is stunning for how just about anything he says has become normalized to the point of shrugged off by media and cheered on by MAGA...

and in other news... HAMAS has higher popularity numbers than UKRAINE with Republicans and college students...

WTF SMH

236:

I have to wonder how much of what she was spouting she actually believed. At that level pols use speech writers and from what I've seen of the speech it sounds like a bunch of audience-targeted claptrap (clickbait for the face-to-face era). Too much so for someone with Truss's limited horizons to have come up with herself. Given that she was at one point a Remain campaigner, I bet that she's just looking for another parade to run to the front of. It's not as if she's got any other marketable skills, she's been in politics all her life.

237:

Reading these comments about the different "feel" of automatics vs. manuals vs. EVs, it comes down to what you are used to:

My Grandmother would totally freak out whenever the car had to start from a dead stop up a hill. Of course, there would be a bit of rollback until the engine/clutch got fully engaged. She, of course, was used to a horse drawn wagon, and rolling backwards on a hill meant something very bad had happened....

(The other story is that the first car they got they had to push up the hills, because it didn't have enough power...)

238:

Parallel parking should absolutely be on the test until autonomous parking is universal, i.e. on every car sold in the past decade. Which will almost certainly happen sooner than we expect.

I guess you missed the announcement that Ford is removing this from future cars because (they claim) that nobody is using it.

239:

I can see one not-unreasonable explanation for that, which is the US DOT mandated reversing cameras on all new vehicles a few years ago.

I know some of you have never used a reversing camera and centre console screen but last time I rented an SUV in Canada it was amazingly handy: better view than a rear-view mirror, view unobstructed by the roofline or roof posts, and it overlaid an illuminated projection of where the wheels were going to go on the ground, taking into account steering inputs, making it almost impossible to accidentally clip the kerb or a bollard or a neighbouring vehicle while reversing into a parking spot.

(No need for dodgy AI algorithms or masses of compute power in a car; just a cellphone-quality video camera and the in-car-entertainment screen, plus some rudimentary bounds-checking. And it works really well even for people who aren't confident steering while reversing.)

240:

Yeah, I use a rear camera all the time. Indeed, I’ve had to learn to stop depending on it when the neighborhood produced a crop of young kids who like t run full tilt. After a close call, I started doing the whole swivel necked thing again.

But seriously, when you’re backing out of a garage into an alleyway, at the start the camera is the only view you have.

The whole vehicular punditry thing is interesting to me. I’ve driven manual (2wd and 4wd), automatic, hybrid, and EV, and aside from the limited range, I prefer the Bolt for driving. It’d be interesting to know who among the commentariat has had a similar range of experiences.

241:

Mr. Tim @ 237:

Reading these comments about the different "feel" of automatics vs. manuals vs. EVs, it comes down to what you are used to:

Certainly true here ... With a manual transmission it starts slowing down as soon as I take my foot off the gas pedal. I can modulate my speed with having to use the brake.

With an automatic, I have to remember to put my foot on the brake to slow down.

"I took my foot off the gas pedal, why isn't it slowing down?"

My Grandmother would totally freak out whenever the car had to start from a dead stop up a hill. Of course, there would be a bit of rollback until the engine/clutch got fully engaged. She, of course, was used to a horse drawn wagon, and rolling backwards on a hill meant something very bad had happened....

(The other story is that the first car they got they had to push up the hills, because it didn't have enough power...)

I've heard stories about the Model-T Ford that on steep hills it was sometimes possible to climb them by turning around and using reverse gear when it didn't have enough "power" to climb it in the forward gears.

242:

... withOUT having to use the brake.

243:

"But seriously, when you're backing out of a garage into an alleyway, at the start the camera is the only view you have."

...which is why you reverse into the garage, not out of it. ;)

And especially with supermarket car parks. People who bring their kids to the supermarket and then let them charge around all over the car park, people pushing trolleys who aren't looking where they're going, people who dump their trolley behind your car instead of their own while they fiddle about with keys and doors and stuff. There are a lot more things to not drive into than there are in most other parking situations, but nobody ever considers this; all people ever think about is putting stuff into the back of their cars. Which in turn leads to idiot car park layer-outers angling the spaces towards the direction of traffic so it's very easy to drive in forwards but very awkward to reverse in. Aargh.

244:

heh... just how many is that many out of court settlements under gag orders...?

245:

Oh, I do consider that backing in and nosing out can be as crunchy an experience as backing in and nosing out. That’s why the Bolt has cameras on both ends. The difference is that the camera is the first thing out, so if you’re pulling out from behind a wall, the camera still has a better view around the wall than you do until you can see around the corner.

Anyway, I’ve been using a camera for over a decade. You?

246:

"what would just about sum up their policy goals?"

Not all your suggestions are as appropriate to the Tories as they are to the aRse; the twisted faux "religious" crap isn't popular over here. Hardly anyone cares about religion, and even those who do are more likely to disapprove, unless they are very old. The kind of things that people post on here about "Christianity" often give me a burst of cognitive dissonance until I remember to notice that it was someone from the US who posted it; in Britain the word means something different.

"Industrialised serfdom" certainly does fit over here, but I'm not sure I'd call it an explicit "policy goal", so much as a natural consequence that they just don't give a fuck about and are quite happy to allow to happen. The state of the Tories these days is such that I'd be pushed to say if they even have any real aims of policy as such; it's more like they're just using government as an opportunity to gratify their personal greed and to fuck things up for other people.

247:

Yeah, I use a rear camera all the time. Indeed, I’ve had to learn to stop depending on it when the neighborhood produced a crop of young kids who like t run full tilt. After a close call, I started doing the whole swivel necked thing again.

Odd tidbit: My Tesla's screen shows all cars, bicycles, dogs and humans in the vicinity of the car. Very small children (i.e. toddlers) show up as dogs.

248:

The only electronic items in my car are the regulator for the alternator, and the electric fan thermostat.

For the last few years, though, since I got it, the means of transport I use much more than anything else is my mobility scooter :)

249:

Very small children (i.e. toddlers) show up as dogs.

Small size. Tendency to unpredictably chase moving objects. Mostly non-verbal. Respond well to treats. Fond of simple games such as "fetch!". Usually very cute. Leave muddy paw prints in wet weather.

Easy to see how the car gets confused. :-)

250:

JohnS
Austin Sevens also had a reverse-lower-than-first gearbox ... and, yes, you could go up some steeper hills backwards.

Pigeon
Hardly anyone cares about religion - very unfortunately, you have just been proven wrong - see fucking stupid, arrogant, lying tory Lee Anderson, f'rinstance & someone else from Brum ... err .. Paul Scully - another deliberate liar.
Rbt Prior
LOL

251:

Motorcycles. I read, in a motorcycle mag, back when the world was young, something that maybe a dozen years ago with a superannuated actual outlaw biker: it isn't if you go down, it's when. Because you will. I'll also note that in Hunter S. Thompson, Ph.D. Journalism's first book, an fancified version of his doctoral thesis, Hell's Angels, where he actually did hang out with them for about three months, he says they chose as their "official" bike the Harley hog - a 1200cc motorcycle, because that was the only one big enough and loud enough that people in cars were worried about being hit, and so it was a safety feature.

Bicylces, on the other hand, car drivers mostly don't notice. And I say this authoritatively, as two summers, when I was in my twenties, I rode as a bicycle messenger in downtown Philadelphia without getting hit.

252:

Yep. They're mostly abandoning business (though a lot of their drivers are megamillionaires or billionaires who want lower taxes, and are, themselves, religious fanatics) for heretical "Christianity".

I say "heretical" deliberately - for example, I am given to understand that in the Old or New Testament, the one place it says something on fetuses is in Genesis, where it says "life begins at FIRST BREATH", so the Supreme Court of Alabama judgement that IVF frozen embryos are "babies" is clearly heresy. (Paging the Spanish Inquisition! Paging the Spanish Inquisition!).

253:

I gather the Republicans are having something of the same problem, with the religious/nationalist base no longer being on board with the whole "party of business" thing.

Trumps populist party take over officially isn't for business. It is for the little guy.

Talk about a Deep State doing things against the will of the people.

Old guard free market R's are having serious mental cognitive state issues trying to figure out where they fit in.

254:

Sorry, I don't want to always slow down when I take my foot off the gas; certainly not on going down on hills, or on a straightaway, where I don't need to accelerate, just maintain speed. (And I despise people who think that their foot MUST be on brake or gas 100% of the time.) (And we'll ignore the idiots who test their brakes as the come up on a green light, esp. when other cars have already gone through it.)

255:

I prefer the Bolt for driving. It’d be interesting to know who among the commentariat has had a similar range of experiences.

I think I described it here a while back. I rented a Tesla for a week last summer for a road trip from central North Carolina (RDU) to Penn Stat at State College PA. With an overnight both ways in Haymarket VA. I did it to get a feel for how to operate an EV and worry about charging and such. Lots of Interstate roads and lots of middle of nowhere roads. (Map the route.) I had no trouble with range or charging. And in general it was a very decent experience.

But I'm waiting for a cross over (European sized SUV) like a Subaru Cross Trek to be a choice as either an EV or plug in hybrid. I have no interest in given Elon my $$$$.

256:

The difference is that the camera is the first thing out, so if you’re pulling out from behind a wall, the camera still has a better view around the wall than you do until you can see around the corner.

Yes. My backup camera on my 2016 Civic has about a 170 degree view. Which means I can see cars and people headed my way via the camera long before my swiveling head can see them.

7 1/2 years.

And in the other discussion, my 1.5L Civic pushes the engine when going down hills (per the tac) and my 5.7L Tundra is slowed by the engine when I lift my foot. Even on a steep hill.

257:

The state of the Tories these days is such that I'd be pushed to say if they even have any real aims of policy as such; it's more like they're just using government as an opportunity to gratify their personal greed and to fuck things up for other people.

The Tories have, for at least two centuries, been the party of government -- that is, their sole objective for that period has been to take and hold power.

Until the late 1970s that generally meant paying at least lip service to keeping the country functional. They weren't so great at not fucking it up (as witness the 1920s and 1930s) but if someone else un-fucked it for a while they would usually maintain the status quo.

But Thatcher had other ideas (see also: Liz Truss, Thatcher cosplayer extraordinaire, minus the sometimes-incisive albeit malign intellect). And the generation of Tories who had posters of her in their childhood bedrooms that began rising to power post-2000 took her words at face value, not her deeds. And their successors, post-2015, are a weird mix of fanatical xenophobes and looters.

The one thing Blair succeeded at (and probably Starmer, too, as a continuation of Blairism) was in turning Labour into the Conservative Party of yore.

258:

I live on a narrow road with no pavement. I also have a narrow drive. If I backed into the drive I would be unable to get out of the car because of the proximity of the hedge and wall. Backing out of the drive is much easier with a camera and because it's linked to the blind spot radar. Children, adults and cars out of view in the camera set of an alarm with an arrow on the screen showing the direction or their motion. This works even better in supermarket car parks. But of course you still need to turn your head.

259:

But I'm waiting for a cross over (European sized SUV) like a Subaru Cross Trek to be a choice as either an EV or plug in hybrid. I have no interest in given Elon my $$$$.

EV crossovers and SUVs are already available. Google away!

I haven’t tried a Tesla. I prefer having haptic feedback, which the Bolt has, rather than touchscreens like a Tesla. I’m pretty sure I’m in the minority, but having a game-controller style steering wheel is useful. The Bolt puts a regenerative brake paddle on the steering wheel, and I’ve used it when I’m halfway through a turn and the steering wheel is upside down. Easy to do that without looking, if the control is a paddle.

That said, I’m no fan of one pedal driving. Constantly having to hold the pedal halfway down is fatiguing, and when your foot gets tired, your speed gets uneven. Worse, it only uses the regenerative brakes, not the wheel brakes, so it decelerates way too slowly for my safe driving. I prefer having a foot pedal to slam on the physical brakes, a hand brake for regenerative braking, and a separate accelerator pedal so I can coast down hills. Everything is getting used intermittently with a separate motion, so I don’t just wear out my right foot driving.

260:

What, the Toyota or Chrysler Pacifica hybrid minivans aren't good enough for you?

Waiting to find a used one cheap enough...

262:

I’m pretty sure I’m in the minority, but having a game-controller style steering wheel is useful.

Since I did not know what you mean by it, I just looked up Bolt steering wheel.

https://www.chevybolt.org/attachments/bolt_button-jpeg.47014/

Ack! I think this alone is enough to turn me off Bolt! And I am totally comfortable with Tesla's screen.

Constantly having to hold the pedal halfway down is fatiguing, and when your foot gets tired, your speed gets uneven

Not if you use cruise control. I've been a fan of cruise control for many years, long before Tesla.

263:

Re that NYC article: yup. I've said it before and I'll say it again:

EVs are great. But right now, EVs are only really great for people like me who own their own house with off-street parking where we can charge our car at home, overnight, like we charge our laptops.

If govts were really serious about encouraging a long-term move to EVs they'd be changing building standards not fiddling about with EV subsidies. Every new residential build should be required to include overnight EV charging ability if it includes car parking. Refitting EV charging into an apartment building's underground carpark so that my carpark's plug is billed to my electricity bill and your carpark's plug is charged to you is an expensive refit it's not planned for in advance, but is cheap and easy if it's in the initial build.

I think people - include govts - obsess with public EV chargers because they're so used to the old paradigm where you take your car somewhere to full it up. Wrong solution. Public chargers do have their uses in certain cases, but I owned an EV for year before I ever used a public charger.

264:

For EV charging, we need all of it. Personally I think forcing charging points onto new builds is at the bottom of my list - and I have an EV, a driveway, and a charging point. It wasn't that expensive or time consuming to fit, and I got to choose which one I had.

High speed chargers are necessary to appeal to a lot of people - those that don't like change and expect to go to a place and fill up in a short time, and those doing enough mileage to require fast chargers out in the wild.

There is also a requirement for overnight charging for people who don't have a driveway. Lots of options, no perfect solution, but generally something is possible to fit most requirements fairly well.

I would much rather be in a position to complain about having too many chargers cluttering up the place.

265:

[...] the book also includes "Overtime" and "Escape from Yokai Land", both Laundry Files novelettes about Bob, [...]

I was rather hoping to see all short stories and novelettes collected in a single volume eventually. Is there any chance of that still happening?

266:

“ EVs are only really great for people like me who own their own house with off-street parking where we can charge our car at home, overnight, like we charge our laptops.” You don’t need a drive to charge your car at home. If you can park your car outside your house you can fit the cable in a gulley with a lockable grid to be flush with the pavement (sidewalk). These are cheap. My road is unusual for the UK because there is no pavement. So I could charge easily without a drive. But the home charger cost over GBP 1,000. There are other solutions. My son-in-law had his EV for over a year before he got his home charger because he could charge at work. Many public car parks have slow chargers which can be used as a top up. Sainsbury’s, a
Big national supermarket chain is installing fast chargers in a lot of its car parks. Other supermarkets are planning similar installations. A niece owns a fourth floor flat. In the meantime she charges at work. When the development is complete every flat will have its own charger in the designated parking place. Chargers can be installed in lamp posts.

267:

Re: EV charging for non-homeowners.

You don't really even need Level 2 charging stations installed in parking areas, just regular outlets! Every EV ships with a charger you can plug into any standard outlet. My 2020 Bolt gets back about 40 miles charging overnight, which is more than enough for my daily commute. Charge it all the way up on your day off, and you don't hardly have to visit an off-site charger ever, maybe when it gets really cold and the battery loses charge.

Also, that steering wheel must be in either an older or newer model than mine, and I'm with Ilya, that thing is narsty. Mine is a much more reasonable, modern-looking steering wheel that you'd find in any hatchback or crossover. Much easier to reach buttons with your thumbs, much more natural "rests" for your hands at 10 and 2. Not sure what's going on with the one in that photo.

268:

"If you can park your car outside your house you can fit the cable in a gulley with a lockable grid to be flush with the pavement (sidewalk). These are cheap."

OK, I was with you until the last three words. I can imagine it being cheap to buy the piece of hardware. But what about doing the installation? Legitimately, that is. I can imagine that there are quite a lot of cases where you could take a day off work, hire a small electric breaker, dig the channel across the pavement and install the thing yourself, and get away with it. But I can also imagine that most people wouldn't dare to contemplate trying it.

And surely if you try getting the council to do it, they will insist on piling half a van-load of bollards and plastic barriers and signs and other crap round the channel, piling the other half in the road, setting up a set of temporary traffic lights past it all, and all the other ridiculous guff they do these days for digging any hole bigger than a grave for a dead mouse. So it will mean paying 5 blokes for at least a week (four and a half days of which they won't be there), for which the council will charge you 10 times as much as the blokes will actually receive, and they will also perform the same kind of rip-off for the plant hire charges and all the other bits and pieces.

I'd think it better to install a swinging arm 3 metres up or so, attached either to the front of your house or a post in your front garden, so you can swing it out when ypu park and carry the cable overhead rather than underfoot. That way you don't have to touch anything that isn't already yours, so you avoid all the hassle.

"My road is unusual for the UK because there is no pavement. So I could charge easily without a drive. But the home charger cost over GBP 1,000."

That is a fuck of a lot of money for a length of heavy cable and a funny-shaped plug. If just the fundamental electrical aspect that you can't do without is going to cost that much, then there simply cannot exist a way of doing it cheaply.

Why is it so fucking expensive? Is that the price for getting it from Halfords in a shiny box instead of buying the bits from CEF and putting them together yourself, or is it just that the fancy plugs are horribly priced wherever you get them from because they reckon the electric car itself is so fucking expensive to begin with that anyone who can afford the car can be treated as a money fountain, and won't worry about the plug?

269:

My neighborhood has mostly on-street parking(*). A couple of folks who live on the next block have charging points in their front yards and run the cable through an expansion joint in the sidewalk when charging. Might not be strictly proper but it seems to work.

(*) Some people have parking pads in the back yard.

270:

There are already "shorter forms" all the way from "short shorts" up to novellae. Aside from how most people have at least some of them already, I think there is too much in the body of work for a single volume to work physically.

271:

Ack! I think this alone is enough to turn me off Bolt! And I am totally comfortable with Tesla's screen.

I have a similar steering wheel. But different brand so different. Takes about a week to get the muscle memory working. Then after a month or two it is just there.

I (and I suspect H) like them because 99% of the things we might change while driving are under our thumbs and can be adjusted without taking our eyes off the road. Or hands off the wheel. And with turn signals and wipers controls on stalks just behind the wheel I can also do those without looking.

Renting all of those different cars over the years gove me insight into the dash layout has more to do with driver fatigue and safe driving than most anything else. When I bought my Civic in 2016, the dash layout and controls steered me away from a Toyota.

As to Tesla's touch screen controls, yes, it is way better than most such setups. But like many things Elon does he takes automation a bit further than maybe he should. And my memory of my week (and 2000 miles) in the Tesla was the few steering controls tended to be modal to deal with how few there were. Which to me is a downside. But it wasn't nearly as bad to learn and use safely than many other vehicles on the road today.

272:

EVs are great. But right now, EVs are only really great for people like me who own their own house with off-street parking where we can charge our car at home, overnight, like we charge our laptops.

Home charging would be great BUT .....

The range of a typical EV today means I can charge it up at a commercial charging station just like I buy gas for my ICE.

As best I can tell home charging is just a way to save money on the electrons you feed into your EV and skip the once or twice weekly trip to the charger.

273:

What, the Toyota or Chrysler Pacifica hybrid minivans aren't good enough for you?

Look up the Subaru Crosstrek I mentioned. Much smaller than a minivan.

274:

https://lite.cnn.com/2024/02/25/cars/what-happened-with-electric-vehicle-sales-in-2023/index.html

as leases expire and consumers seek out ever newer models every 2 Y there will be a heavy volume of used cars... so... 3 cycles(6Y)? 4 cycles(8Y)?

QUOTE: Leasing also provides a way for more consumers to get tax credits. Because of the way tax laws are written, leased vehicles are exempt from most restrictions on federal tax credits, so many automakers offer the tax credit as a lease incentive. “We’re going to see leasing take off and that’s because of the loophole,” said Valdez Streaty, “but also because consumers are not sure if they want to buy, or if they’re ready to buy, electric.”

275:

https://www.chevybolt.org/attachments/bolt_button-jpeg.47014/

Ack! I think this alone is enough to turn me off Bolt! And I am totally comfortable with Tesla's screen.

Riffing off Crocodile Dundee, that's not a steering wheel. THIS is a steering wheel.

https://store.ferrari.com/product_image/1647597335767369/f/w1230.jpg

276:

AIUI you can slow-charge from a 3-pin plug & a long lead?
Same as I do, very occasionally to make sure The Beast's battery is topped up - big diesels need a lot of grunt/torque to fire up.
Two lamp-posts on our street have built in charging sockets - which require a QR code, oh fuck ...

277:

I think people - include govts - obsess with public EV chargers because they're so used to the old paradigm where you take your car somewhere to full it up.

Eh, no. City dwellers like me often live in buildings that don't have car parking -- here in Edinburgh, it's on-street parking for everyone, as witness the Lambo, Teslas, and Bentleys on the posh street two blocks uphill from me. (There used to be stables in the Mews behind the town houses, but they all got turned into apartments decades ago. Buying an actual no-shit garage big enough to hold a single car anywhere within a mile of the centre of Edinburgh will set you back £50,000 and up.) Remember, UK housing stock averages 75 years of age, and 75 years ago -- in 1960 -- there was roughly one car per 20 people: only rich folk had them.

Yes, by all means mandate garages and chargers for new-build houses in low density areas (ie. suburbs and rural areas). Cities need a different solution, one that ideally de-prioritizes automobiles entirely.

278:

Yes, but not until the series is complete. And by series I mean "The Laundry Files", a marketing term which covers the Bob/Mo story arc beginning in "The Atrocity Archives" and due to end in "The Regicide Report". (The New Management books are being marketed as a separate series in the UK, and hopefully Tor.com will join the clue train in due course.)

Reason: short story collections sell in lower numbers than novels, and bricks-and-mortar bookstores still mainly run on the old "look at sales of the last two consecutive books in the series and extrapolate a straight line" to plan pre-orders. So if a short story collection as such comes out before the end of the series, it'll kneecap sales of subsequent novels. Which would be Very Bad.

279:

Cities need a different solution, one that ideally de-prioritizes automobiles entirely.

Also you get different areas. We live in what I'd call a 'suburb', but in an apartment building. The houses were built in the 1960s, and there is parking space built even then. I think there's maybe a bit less than hundred spaces between our housing company and the one next to us, perhaps seventy rentable and twenty for whoever gets there first.

The thing is, there are about 250 apartments in these houses. Some families might even have more than one car, but obviously not all of them do. It took us two years of queueing to get a reserved spot, and I think the wait times are longer now. We sold our car about ten years ago because we didn't use it enough to justify the expense.

There's also street side parking nearby, but really no place to get EV charging easily there. The reserved spots have at least some accommodation for that, but I haven't been following that too closely because we don't have a car and are not planning to buy one. I think all of the reserved spots have a mains connection because of the block and passenger compartment heaters, they're a nice thing in the winter, but those don't carry enough current to really charge many EVs.

There's relatively lot of greenery around here, so the cars are not next to the buildings anyway.

I think we're just on the correct side of public transport and near enough the shops that it's perfectly fine to live without a car. Even then going a bit further out it gets harder fast.

280:

Electricians will do the whole installation including the gulley and planning permission. Different councils have different rules. Some will not allow this at all. Some are happy with rubber cable protectors. Others will be more likely to prefer gullies. There are more complications. I live in a conservation area in the only old house on my street which is not 'listed'. So I need approval from the Conservation Officer. Luckily this was just a phone call. Most installations are done by approved suppliers. For flats you can get up to a GBP350 grant plus an extra GBP300 in Scotland.

281:

It may be that the 60s low-density estates are the worst problem for charging EVs.

I'm in a 1965 terrace in a village. Out front, there is a garden, then a foot path, then a patch of grass owned and moved by the council, then a narrow road, where goods vehicles frequently have to drive up the kerb to get round parked cars. There's nowhere to put a charging point on a post. If it goes in the middle of the grass the grass can't easily be mown. If it goes at the curb the lorries will murder it. There's a lock-up garage at the end of the terrace but I don't own the land between here and there, so can't lay cable without much negotiation. There are hundreds of homes like that in my area.

In a few years I retire to a 18th-century hovel in Devon, and that goes right up against the road. Plenty easy to install a charging point there. Poverty and crap housing FTW!

282:

Nobody's forcing EV drivers to use single pedal driving. The pedals are the same as any automatic. I choose to use reactive cruise control or single pedal driving. But the steering wheel paddles can set the regeneration to four levels with the lowest having no regeneration and the highest being single pedal. A touch on the brake ends cruise control and returns you to the selected regen mode. Its intuitive. I suspect if you tried it you would prefer single pedal in traffic.

284:

Speculating wildly, it's the same reason that HDMI cables cost £25for a few grams of copper and two crimped-on connectors. It's a proprietary format and some utter genital is gouging over the license fees.

285:

RE: Bolt steering wheel complaints...

I feel like saying "Awwww poor baby" when I see such complaints, so I'll apologize for being condescending. But here's why I feel that way.

The cluster on the left at 9 is mostly cruise control, with a lane holder warning on/off and a steering heater on/off. Haven't touched those in years. Every cruise control since the 1980s has 4 switches or buttons located awkwardly somewhere on the steering column, so I don't see why anyone should complain about those.

The cluster at 3 pm is four cursors (up, down, right, left) and an enter button for switching displays in the computer screen that replaced the speedometer cluster. These rarely get used, and then mostly to figure out if a sudden wobble is bad road or tire going flat, by scrolling through to check the tire pressure. Otherwise it's for reconfiguring the display, which is best done with the car parked.

The paddles you can't see get all the use. They're on the back side of the steering wheel where you can grab them.

At 9 am is the regenerative hand brake.

At 3 pm is radio volume

on the side of the 6 pm arm is the radio station selector.

That's basically it, aside from the usual horn, wiper, and turn signal. It's way fewer buttons than the average TV remote, and most of them rarely or never get used while driving. I've got more complaints about the center console layout than the steering wheel.

286:

it's the same reason that HDMI cables cost £25for a few grams of copper and two crimped-on connectors. It's a proprietary format and some utter genital is gouging over the license fees.

Not completely. HDMI is a very high speed connection for 4K. And there is a chip in the cable at each connector. [1] So it's harder to make one that a Cat 6a rated network cable. This means they CAN cost $10 to $15 for a plain rated cable. Maybe $5/ea if you buy Q10 and get a sale. But branding can double or triple that.

I don't buy the brands.

Same rules apply to surge protectors.

Did Monster [a brand] cables become a thing outside of the US? $80 for a $15 surge protector 10 years ago. But it had all kinds of hard to open plastic with big bright colors on the packaging.

[1] The anti copying chip debate I'll leave to another day. But without it most TV (in the US) will not play media from computers or such.

287:

Don't know what to say. Perhaps I have poor thumb control; all my gaming was always with a keyboard and mouse, never with game controller.

Here is what the steering wheel on my 2008 Camry looks like: https://www.aliexpress.us/item/3256803617383567.html

And the only button I ever press is the display switch ("DISP" button in lower right). The function of every other button (heat, phone volume, etc.) is duplicated elsewhere on the dashboard, and that's what I use.

Every cruise control since the 1980s has 4 switches or buttons located awkwardly somewhere on the steering column, so I don't see why anyone should complain about those.

Not in my Camry. Cruise control is on a separate stalk which is peeking out behind "DISP" button.

288:

ilya187 @ 262:

"I’m pretty sure I’m in the minority, but having a game-controller style steering wheel is useful."

Since I did not know what you mean by it, I just looked up Bolt steering wheel.

https://www.chevybolt.org/attachments/bolt_button-jpeg.47014/

Ack! I think this alone is enough to turn me off Bolt! And I am totally comfortable with Tesla's screen.

Looks kinda like the steering wheel on the 1998 Mazda 626 I used to own. Right hand side was cruise control & left hand side was radio controls.

I could set speed - speed up, slow down & disengage the cruise control AND change the radio station, volume & mode (AM, FM, CD) without ever having to remove my hands from the steering wheel OR TAKE MY EYES OFF THE ROAD.

Constantly having to hold the pedal halfway down is fatiguing, and when your foot gets tired, your speed gets uneven

Not if you use cruise control. I've been a fan of cruise control for many years, long before Tesla.

I've only owned one vehicle without cruise control since the early 1980s and I had an after-market unit installed on that one as soon as I could find one.

Cruise control is the best cure for speeding tickets I've ever found. Long drives lead to discomfort which lead to anxiety which causes severe lead-foot-itis - cruise control & frequent bathroom breaks are prescribed.

On almost any road trip I will stop at every rest area just to get a few minutes out from behind the wheel & stretch the kinks out. And in between, set cruise on the speed limit and fageddaboutit.

289:

icehawk @ 263:

I think people - include govts - obsess with public EV chargers because they're so used to the old paradigm where you take your car somewhere to full it up. Wrong solution. Public chargers do have their uses in certain cases, but I owned an EV for year before I ever used a public charger.

People who have to travel are going to need a way to "fuel" their vehicles. They won't always be able to plug them in at home.

On the road, it does need to be as fast & convenient as stopping for fuel in an ICE vehicle.

The vast majority of people aren't going to consider EVs until they're a convenient way to get there and back again ...

290:

I drove a 1994 Camry from for many years, so I know what you mean about the wheel layout. So far as I can tell, there are the same number of controls on the Camry cruise control stalk as on the Bolt button cluster. They’re just formatted differently.

As for cruise control, most of my driving is on curvy mountain roads, urban streets, and congested freeways. In most cases I don’t get to cruise for more than a few minutes before braking or accelerating, so I don’t use cruise control. Note that I not saying it’s worthless, period, I’m saying I don’t use it where I drive.

The Bolt is well designed for urban commuting. We’ve made it do short road trips, but I still use the old Lexus crossover for any trip more than about 100 miles one way. Bolts don’t charge quickly, and I can get a tank of gas in 20 minutes even at Costco, faster elsewhere.

291:

alantyson @ 267:

Re: EV charging for non-homeowners.

[...]

Also, that steering wheel must be in either an older or newer model than mine, and I'm with Ilya, that thing is narsty. Mine is a much more reasonable, modern-looking steering wheel that you'd find in any hatchback or crossover. Much easier to reach buttons with your thumbs, much more natural "rests" for your hands at 10 and 2. Not sure what's going on with the one in that photo.

From this video, I'd guess it's a 2023 ... 2023 Chevy Bolt EUV Premier Quick Tour of Controls. [YouTube]

Looks like maybe some of the controls are used only once or twice to set the car up the way you want it, and then ignored until a another driver wants to set up the car differently?

292:

~£1000 for a home EV charger would be the fitted price, before any grants or other deductions.

The charger itself is £300-500 for a special plug, some electronics to connect to the car, and some kind of computer to do internet/app connectivity. If this thing is accessible to the public, it helps to have app control to turn it off when not in use. So it's expensive, but not totally gouging for a safe 30 amp supply out in the weather.

Totally worth it to never have to go to a petrol station again. I don't like going to petrol stations.

293:

Charlie Stross @ 277:

"I think people - include govts - obsess with public EV chargers because they're so used to the old paradigm where you take your car somewhere to full it up."

Eh, no. City dwellers like me often live in buildings that don't have car parking -- here in Edinburgh, it's on-street parking for everyone, as witness the Lambo, Teslas, and Bentleys on the posh street two blocks uphill from me. (There used to be stables in the Mews behind the town houses, but they all got turned into apartments decades ago. Buying an actual no-shit garage big enough to hold a single car anywhere within a mile of the centre of Edinburgh will set you back £50,000 and up.) Remember, UK housing stock averages 75 years of age, and 75 years ago -- in 1960 -- there was roughly one car per 20 people: only rich folk had them.

Yes, by all means mandate garages and chargers for new-build houses in low density areas (ie. suburbs and rural areas). Cities need a different solution, one that ideally de-prioritizes automobiles entirely.

Here in the U.S. [specifically Raleigh, NC**] most building codes for apartments (flats) already mandate one or two parking spaces per unit (often built as a parking garage of some sort with apartments built around it or on top of it).

https://www.google.com/maps/@35.7858994,-78.637854,3a,75y,31.01h,91.95t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1s5DsO8dsxoJsgY3GuDKMQ0w!2e0!7i16384!8i8192?entry=ttu.

Including a mandate for charging systems inside the parking garages wouldn't be a big stretch, although the developers would certainly fight against it ...

OTOH, it could be an additional selling point; another amenity like having a pool or a gym on site.

(**where we don't have to deal with being a World Heritage Site)

294:

If it goes at the curb the lorries will murder it.

One solution to that is large strong bollards, strong enough to thwart a lorry.

295:

So far as I can tell, there are the same number of controls on the Camry cruise control stalk as on the Bolt button cluster. They’re just formatted differently.

That's why I said I have poor thumb control. I have to problem using the stalks.

296:

Actually, this is a reply to more than one post.

Many, many suburban (and "formerly suburban") neighborhoods do not have a garage, only a driveway. That's what we have. Where I've lived with only on-street parking, if you're lucky, you get to park in front of your house. And since I've lived mostly in cities, it's not that nice suburban sidewalk, it's paved from the house to the street. There's no way to put a gully there.

And then there's the other issue: I clearly belong to a very different economic class than most of you. Not one of you has even suggested the idea of kids pulling the charger out of your car (like the ones who I never caught who keyed the van when we moved in). Or cut it (trust me, there's some idiot who cut a large orange extension cord, presumably without checking to see if it was plugged in, but rubber on the handles of the wire-cutter should keep them from dying.

I could go on, but you get the idea. There are good and sufficient reasons for me to want a hybrid.

297:

I hate your steering wheel, and vehemently the game controller. I would have to be waiting for you while you pull in/out of a parking space, or U-turning.

I drive with one hand. And I make turns like those above as though I have a suicide knob. I do it FAST, and you don't understand fast, so... https://www.google.com/search?client=firefox-b-1-e&q=u-turn+with+a+suicide+knob#fpstate=ive&vld=cid:9502102d,vid:65j8ZYvCZ6Q,st:105

298:

Ok. I want a vehicle with a lot of internal space.

299:

To each their own.

But that "game" controller was an actual F1 race car steering control layout. Wheel is a bit of a misnomer. Lock to lock is likely about 120 degrees. Those duds that drive F1 have unbelievable concentration.

I know what I like may not be for everyone.

300:

120 degrees is not a U-turn.

301:

And, since we just hit 300, my second novel, Becoming Terran, is out today. My editor thinks it's worthy of a Hugo and/or Nebula. Read it, and decide!

We now return you to the discussion of OGH's upcoming book!

302:

120 degrees is not a U-turn.

When was the last time you saw an F1 car do an (unassisted) U-turn?

:)

303:

“Not one of you has even suggested the idea of kids pulling the charger out of your car” Pretty sure that’s because they lock, to prevent exactly that. As for people cutting the cable.. I dunno, maybe gin up some circuitry to spot the shorting and set off a few kg of C4? That’ll learn the buggers.

304:

Not counting spin turns. I'll next see F1 cars do Uies on May 24-26 this year.

305:

Ah, OK, so you can knock it down by two-thirds simply by not paying someone else to do something you can do yourself. The original post did not mention that, and the follow-up gave the impression that paying someone else to do everything would be an additional expense on top of the £1000.

It has to be said that I absolutely cannot relate to the mindset that uses "you can do X" to mean "you can pay to get X done" as if the one necessarily entailed the other. I see them as two utterly distinct alternatives, with "pay to get X done" being one that you don't even think about unless you are physically incapable of doing it yourself and you can't just continue doing without it. If someone says "you can do X", I assume they mean "you can do X".

It's still far too much money for what's needed, though. I'd be for bolting a standard CEE outdoor connector to the back of the car, in parallel with the socket it comes with, so as to do the whole thing with standard electrical parts. And no electronic parts: it's a positive advantage for it to have no connection with the internet, especially if its presence is visible to the public so people can see there's something to attack, and I would simply turn it off from inside the house when not using it. However, I can imagine this would horrify most people on the grounds that having a CEE connector bolted to the back of the car is "too ugly" or something equally daft.

And it's all academic in personal terms, anyway, since I will never have enough money to get an electric car in the first place.

306:

I don't think you need to go that far. There would be a pretty big bang just from the short, and it's quite possible that there would be enough of a flash to temporarily blind them for a few minutes and leave them shitting themselves thinking it's permanent.

307:

I can't relate to the mindset that assumes its expertise is superior to people who have spent years acquiring knowledge and experience at their own tasks. Particularly when fire and electrocution risks are involved. Electrical work has to be inspected by an electrician if you do it yourself. There are pages of requirements that have to be ticked off for a 7 volt EV AC charger. And probably a lot more for a 22 volt. I value my time. Using it to learn how to do these jobs would cost far more than my pay rate for those hours. The most expensive fruit I have ever eaten, if hours of work are taken into account, was the single melon I grew at my allottment. I'm sure I could do some things better than tradesmen. I've never used a decorator because I have bigger standards than the work of some decorators I have seen. But its cheaper to use plumbers and electricians than learn how to do it myself. Home chargers are linked to smart meters and controlled by apps. I'm not willing to get up at 07:00 to turn off the car charging when the standard tariff ends or to set a timer in the car to limit charging to those hours. Nobody else can use my charger without either the app on my phone or my RFID card. And there is central control by EoN to stagger the start of chargers over 10 minutes and avoid the spike which would occur if too many 7 and 22 watt chargers switched on at the same time. Could I learn to do this? Of course. It it worthwhile? No!

308:

Make them walk to school. That'll weed out the stupid, the poor impulse control and the easily led, as well as the unliucky.

309:

obsess with public EV chargers because they're so used to the old paradigm where you take your car somewhere to full it up

One issue is charging time for home gamers who do a lot of distance. Too many people look at a plug in charger delivering 2kW or 3kW and that doesn't work for them so they give up. My boss was rambling at me on the phone the other day about how his ~180km daily round trip required him to charge his borrowed EV at a public charger every second day despite having it plugged it at home pretty much every monment he was there.

I was honestly impressed that he'd even tried it when this dealer offered it as a temporary vehicle while his "real" car was being serviced.

But trying to explain to him that 7kW home chargers are the norm and even with a single phase house he could get a 20kW one if he wanted to (that's 80A at 240V, roughly the limit for what they can pull from the grid for the whole house, but it has a current sensor so will charge slower when necessary to keep the pole fuse happy). OTOH the extra cost of getting three phase to the house compared to running an EV instead of a wankermobile would pay off pretty fast (he gets 10-11 litres per hundred in the wankermobile, it's not exactly selected for efficiency)

310:

120 degrees is not a U-turn

Either I'm not getting the joke or you didn't get my point.

Steering controls for such cards do not have the steering control "wheel" rotate all the way around. They do this in public road vehicles for safety. The large movements for small steering changes mean you don't have to be perfectly exact every single movement of the steering wheel.

In F1 and similar the drivers and car builders work on shaving 0.001 seconds off of lap times. To limit arm movements the driver steering control goes to about 120 degrees off vertical in each direction to get the front wheels to go from straight to full "over". (I stated it incorrectly above.)

Controlling any car this way requires intense concentration. Doing it for 2 hours at speeds up to 240mph requires insane levels of concentration. Plus operating all the other controls on the "wheel". Which are used to adjust braking, fuel mix, power boost, traction controls, and more. In addition to there being a small display for the pit crew to send messages without talking.

F1 quality drivers are a rare subset of humans.

311:

Looking forward to the computational demonology explanation for what THAC0 really stands for

312:

I'm not sure Derek is new school enough to use this modern 'THAC0' thing. Maybe Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, and not the plain D&D, but the first edition could be easier to accidentally summon demons with. With the 2e you could probably get some Tanar'ri instead...

Though maybe it's Rolemaster all the way.

313:

“ I'm not sure Derek is new school enough to use this modern 'THAC0' thing.”

Oh, you can derive it from first principles by looking at the hit tables. You see if you try to fight a demon (say) it looks like rolling dice and looking up tables, but really that lookup can be replaced by a computation. Dealing with demons is just a probabilistic computation.

(And it’s that kind of comment which could land a young Derek in quite a lot of trouble)

314:

We were using THAC0 back in 1980/81ish so it's not implausibly modern, we were within 50Km or so of Camp Sunshine at the time.

315:

Oh! I stand corrected. I had the impression that THAC0 was a markedly AD&D 2e thing. Maybe it was just writing down what people were doing anyway.

I'm young enough to have started AD&D with 2e, though we did play other games earlier, including Mentzer BECMI D&D. I did get most of the easily obtainable AD&D 1e books, though.

316:

I stopped playing D&D pre 2nd ed. IIRC it wasn't "official" - just easier than using the tables.

317:

Advanced D&D never had a THAC0. It had all the Dungeon Master's charts. It might have been possible to derive the idea of THAC0 from those charts, but it wasn't an official part of the game.

Me as DM. "You have two choices for food in this little town. You can visit the Green Griffin, or there's THAC0 Bell down the street."

318:

here's today's latest lump of ESIRL (enshittification spreading into real life)

Cory Doctorow was focused upon online, but those horrid notions once proven out by Big Tech to be profitable are spreading everywhere

Wendy’s “dynamic pricing” will never favor consumers but instead opportunistically abuse those most frequent customers during the lunch crush...

https://lite.cnn.com/2024/02/27/food/wendys-test-surge-pricing/index.html

319:

"Home chargers are linked to smart meters and controlled by apps."

In that case I see no further point in continuing this discussion.

320:

I did search for this and found out that 'To Hit A.C. 0' was mentioned in the AD&D 1e Dungeon Master's Guide: https://dungeonsdragons.fandom.com/wiki/THAC0 . It seems to have a longer history in the TSR material than just AD&D 2e.

This is getting perhaps a bit geeky here, though. (Me, I'm considering running Dungeon Crawl Classics which is a modern(ish) game pretty much like BECMI D&D or maybe even the earlier versions. It has only ten levels, too.)

321:

305 - Is one of those CEE connector things utterly waterproof against 100mph winds?

311 to 315 inc, 320 - We were also using THAC0 in 1980. As were Games Workshop (UK).

322:

You can get them in IP69 rating, which is supposed to be safe with high pressure water jets and steam cleaning. I don't think there exists a specific "storm on the cliffs of Lewis" rating, although perhaps there should.

323:

Assorted comments ...

I learned to ride a motorbike (only a 50cc Honda) and passed my test on it before starting to learn to drive a car. Got a 90cc one and drove unreasonable distances to my summer job and while courting. When I came to learn to drive a car, I already knew how to handle myself in traffic and just had to deal with the mechanics of moving the thing and reversing round corners. Passed both tests first time with no trouble. Haven't ridden a motorbike since 1982.

Right now we have a hybrid with an 8-gear box and an EV with a 1-gear box (that's what it says in the manual). The hybrid gets me to work and back, plus a bit more, on electric, then I can charge it overnight at home (a 7 kW charger with installation came free with the car). On longer journeys it seamlessly switches between petrol and electric depending on how things are going - the petrol engine turns off completely, not just goes to idle, if there's more than 50 road metres or so of electrons in the battery and no demand for acceleration.

The EV is just coming up on a year old and is wonderful to drive. It'll do over 320 miles in the summer on a full charge (250 in the winter). My last ever ICE car got passed to number one son when we bought the EV; when the hybrid needs replacing, that will be with an EV as well.

We're on an "agile" tariff so prices are somewhat variable. If I wait until 21:30 tonight, it will be 11.30p per kWh, so about 2.5p per mile compared with 14p on petrol. Between midnight and 05:00 tomorrow it will vary between 6.80p and 9.81p, so I'll probably charge up the EV then (the app has timed charging). The lowest price I've had is -2p or so (yes, that is a minus sign) for an hour overnight, plus another hour at zero and two more at around 1p, all on the same night. (Empty to full takes 7 hours at home, since it's a 70 kWh battery, but we don't let it get empty at home.)

(In the summer I sometimes charge it in the early afternoon, since we've got 6 kW of solar panels facing south and a battery to hold the morning sunlight.)

Yes, when we're driving long distances in the EV we need to find a fast charger. After 2 hours driving we'll probably be down to 20 kWh or so; a fast charger will need 30 to 50 minutes to replace most of that, but that's time for a coffee, a PNB, and to stretch your legs, so it's not a waste of time. It's also quite expensive (typically 70p/kWh, so a bit more than petrol), but it's not something we do very often so who cares? One of my colleagues claims that it's now possible to use some Tesla chargers in other cars and at about half that price; that's still on my "to investigate" list. (Tesla uses the same physical connector as our car but a different protocol on the control pin.)

In dire emergencies we have the charging lead with a 3-pin plug. It's only 3 kW, but it did to charge the hybrid overnight at the in-laws house.

The other day I took the dog on a new route and found someone charging their car with a 5m or so lead from the house running across the pavement (TWIAVBP "sidewalk") with a rubber protector across it; the sort you see in offices to protect cables going across the carpets and prevent people tripping. It's not a high footfall route, so seems reasonable.

Our local Tesco has three different chargers in a row. Tesco used to provide these (just at 7 kW) for free, but now they cost. The three are 44p, 49p, and 62p per kWh. They are 7 kW, 22 kW, and 50 kW maximum respectively, but the cost is irrespective of cable, so even with a 7 kW cable you'll pay the higher price at the 50 kW charger. (You can get 15 minutes free at this brand of public charger if you just plug in but don't sign in. It's intended to let you start charging while going through the motions with the payment app.)

There's also a charger walking distance from my office that does 7 kW at 150p per hour irrespective of how much power you draw. So just over 20p when actually charging, but a penalty for hogging the charger without using it!

324:

Tesla has over 30 charging sites in the UK open to non-Tesla cars. They have two types of charger. The old type 3 chargers need a Tesla app. The newer type four chargers don’t. The app will tell you which sites are available to non - Tesla cars. Their prices vary and they seem to have ditched the ultra cheap lowest rate.

325:

I've heard of THAC0, no idea how to use it -- it came in after AD&D, which is where I got off the bus.

326:

Neither. I have never watched car races. I have no idea what they do, but I can say, with 100% confidence, that such a thing would be a TERRIBLE IDEA for 80% of US drivers.

Or maybe give it to them all, and stay off the roads for a week, while 50% of all the cars on the road crashed, or went off the road.

And how do those steering controls work when, as I was yesterday, in a parking lot where the gap between one row of cars and the other is about 1.5 car lengths, and you need to get in between the lines?

327:

timrowledge @ 303:

“Not one of you has even suggested the idea of kids pulling the charger out of your car” Pretty sure that’s because they lock, to prevent exactly that. As for people cutting the cable.. I dunno, maybe gin up some circuitry to spot the shorting and set off a few kg of C4? That’ll learn the buggers.

I've seen something about the locks on charger plugs being there because there was a problem with assholes unplugging them (the specific assholes in the reported instance was "Karens", not kids ...)

As for cutting the cables, aren't those chargers operating at pretty high voltage (450VDC+)? I'm pretty sure the kind of fools who do that sort of thing will auto-Darwinate sooner or later ... and good riddance.

You only need to protect the cables from accidental damage & that trough running across the sidewalk (aka pavement) look like it should suffice.

328:

My buddies and I looked at AD&D, and all three of us had the same reaction: burn it.

Which tells you how long ago that was.

329:

And how do those steering controls work

The race car controls were just to show how crazy things can get.

As to normal car controls with backup cameras, getting into tight parking of almost any kind is much easier.

But if you want to hate it without trying it for a bit, go ahead. Your choice.

330:

Wendy’s “dynamic pricing” will never favor consumers but instead opportunistically abuse those most frequent customers during the lunch crush...

Except that isn't what it is. And most initial news reports jumped to conclusions that were great for headlines but not so much for accuracy.

https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2024/02/wendys-plans-ai-powered-menu-to-change-food-prices-based-on-demand-weather/

331:

I'd like to remind you that the equivalent comparison in aviation is between a boringly mundane airliner like an A320 (previously I'd have said a 737, but they seem to be insufficiently boring this decade, so I'm going with the less-crash-prone Airbus equivalent) and a high performance jet fighter.

The A320 has fly by wire but is designed to be predictable and forgiving and to be flown by ordinary pilots, i.e. everyday professionals working the hours of a 9-5 day job and retiring at age 60. If it ever pulls more than about 1.5g in service, Questions Are Asked, because that sort of shit spills the wine in first class and customers complain about it.

Whereas the F-22 or Rafale or Eurofighter is also fly by wire, but has incredibly twitchy handling at g-loads that would rip the wings right off an airliner. And is designed to be flown by pilots with ridiculous reflexes, perfect vision, and good cardiovascular health, and they still lose pounds of weight on a two hour sortie which they can fly maybe once a day at a push (but more often once a week).

The controller you're boggling at is designed for a high performance fighter (or F1 racing car), not an airbus (or bog-standard SUV). Got it?

332:

Whereas the F-22 or Rafale or Eurofighter is also fly by wire, but has incredibly twitchy handling at g-loads that would rip the wings right off an airliner.

There is a great YouTube video of an F-22 test pilot who also owns a single engine prop plane. And he compares them. On the small plane you operate the controls which directly operate the flaps, tail, rudder, etc...

In the F-22 and similar, your control operations are requests. The computer flight controls then move the control surfaces and engine controls to try and do what you are asking. Withing the G force limits you have set for the flight at that point.

His point is that such planes have moved past the point where a pilot cannot directly fly the plane for more than a minute or two at a time. If that.

333:

The A320 fly-by-wire has fancy stuff like alpha floor protection, to automatically run the throttles up to TOGA thrust if it thinks the 'bus is about to stall (and fall out of the sky). Which usually happens because the pilots have gotten distracted and allowed their energy to decay (usually while on short final approach).

The F-16 and later have Auto-GCAS, the automatic ground collision avoidance system -- if it determines the plane is flying into the ground it first warns the pilot then takes emergency evasive action because the pilot has lost consciousness due to high g-loads during combat maneuvering.

There is a slight difference between "lost speed too soon on landing, so FBW decided to go around" and "pilot blacked out during violent maneuvers so plane declined to fly into the ground at Mach 1".

334:

OGH's responses answer for me.

And you haven't given me a reason to think that my last complaint, about the parking lot, is wrong.

335:

My modern car with a backup camera and controls on the steering wheel is much easier to park than anything else I have ever driven without such.

And as I've said I've driven maybe 100 different models of cars over the years. Maybe 200. And also farm equipment and home made riding mowers and such things as tracked excavators.

I'm not sure why I can't feel that my car is great at parking in tight spaces.

336:

One thing that an F-22 will do is if you ask to nose up a LOT via the controls the computers might, if needed, turn both rear full tail rudders full out to create a "wind blocker" or whatever to push the rear down and nose up. Per him it gets used a lot on alert drill take offs and evasive maneuvers. And there's no way to practically give the pilot the ability to do that "on the fly" via a reasonable control system.

337:

h/t for link...

excuse me for not trusting megacorps to skip an opportunity to screw us out of a dollar

{ snark off }

if they posted a promise that amounted to a formal contractual agreement I might trust 'em for 90 days...

but realistically there's been too many times we've harmed

338:

The figure of ~£1000 installed is before any grants. When I had mine fitted about a year ago in England the grant was around £300, my total bill was £700. Some places have additional grants on top. You don't get any grants for installing it yourself.

You also wouldn't be changing the connector on the car, if you want the car to continue working afterwards. There are a variety of cables to connect your car up, the common ones having a type 2 plug, or a normal 3 pin plug.

So in your hypothetical situation to save £400, you're going to be finding a charger with no external connectivity (they exist), wiring it direct into your consumer unit on its own 32 amp breaker, running suitable cable to the charger, fitting a switch inline somewhere inside the house to turn it on and off, and trusting this whole job to be safe while it carries 30 amps for hours at a time.

I appreciate DIY, I do most of my own, but I'm not fiddling around inside the consumer unit for the same reason that I'm not doing my own gas plumbing.

339:

Our EV has a backup camera, which is excellent for parking or exiting parking situations.

The car also has a variety of regenerative braking modes, which can be changed at will (on the column or on the console). Ditto various other functions. In practice I tend to leave it on maximum regenerative braking, but I live in a place with a lot of hills and it gives me great satisfaction to see the range increase as I drive down the hill from work.

95% of the time we charge at home with a simple plug into the 120a service. If we are planning a longer trip or a weekend away we'll charge up to maximum at a level 2 charger somewhere. On road trips we will plan to stop at a rapid charger - they have sprouted everywhere in recent years, including at many gas stations.

340:

It’d be interesting to know who among the commentariat has had a similar range of experiences.

I'm not sure my experiences cover all the same ground as yours, in particular I don't have any experience driving a straight EV, though I've had rental hybrids for handfuls of days at a time. And the closest thing to an "all glass" instrument layout was a Renault Koleos, which just had inconveniently many controls that would usually have their own physical knob only accessible via the touch screen. Fan speed was one, ugh. I'm not sure how much "better" the Tesla implementation would have to be to make that right.

I'm very comfortable driving the CX-5 though. It's not just the reverse camera, there are proximity sensors everywhere, a reversing collision alarm and "360º view" cameras. The latter is a composite of front, reverse and wing-mirror cameras and presents a view as though you are looking down on the car from above. When reversing, I get this view plus the reverse camera view side-by-side on the main screen. It also provides projection curves on both views showing where the car will end up with the current steering angle. It makes parallel parking so easy, you pretty much get it exactly right first try every time.

Like you, I've had to train myself not to rely on it... for much the same reason, my driveway has a good view to the street, but is largely blind to the footpath either side, so I really need to watch out for kids running past.

Not an EV, of course, so not the same experience.

341:

One of the key additions to my truck was a set of exterior cameras. On the back at the top looking down so I could see the rear bumper, another above the bumper looking back so I could see tailgaters. The top one was set so the top of frame was horizontal, meaning that if I could see it I was going back into it... (slightly over 90 degree vertical field of view). Plus another on the top offside at the front so I could more easily tell whether that was going to hit whatever I was driving towards, and one on the front bumper offside looking in so I could see the front bumper.

With a box truck you're often backing into very tight spots where to might have centimetres of clearance all round plus specific obstacles to avoid. The cameras help, but you generally want at least one external observer when it's that tight. Of note was the semi hauler I walked past the other day, where "someone" had carefully knocked a dent in the fence next to it to accommodate the side mirror, allowing it to be parked a few cm further over... about 5cm from the fence. And I say "carefully knocked" because there was an array of hammer-shaped dents, not a single oopsie scrape mark*.

Cameras were very useful, when driving I'd normally have the top rear camera on the screen to act as a rear vision "mirror" and show me tailgaters.

I've backed a car with reversing guidelines on the cameras screen and those were useful but took some getting used to due to not being straight - to compensate for the fish-eye camera lens. Friends who are too sensible to let me drive on the road but still trust me to back their car into a tight spot :)

* "truck" in Australian, not ute = truck in American. The tractor weighs more than 10 tonnes. And was parked in a standard suburban driveway.

342:

For anyone interested the video is at:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n068fel-W9I

About 1 hour long.

The F-22 ex-test pilot also has a personal Cessna.

Interest points to skip out to if you don't want to watch it all. 26:40, 34:00, 43:30

He talks about the differences between an F-15 and the F-22 cockpit. Fly by wire and such.

343:

338 also refers - You'd render your house legally unsaleable in order to save £300!?

344:

when done right, "regenerative braking" is one of those minor things which optimize consumption by humans

for sure better than grinding asbestos against asbestos as in ICE braking

now if only we could migrate all large fleets of truck over to EV from ICE there'd be better air to breathe... and being brand new there would be improved conditions for drivers... especially AC in summer... which in many places on the planet was a health issue and now trending toward life support to reduce death

345:

Mate of mine purchased a recent "CX-5" and wanted a tow bar fitted. He decided he didn't like the dealer (Mazda agent) price for installing the towbar so got an "aftermarket" one installed. Afterwards, whenever he tried to reverse his CX-5 with trailer fitted, the car detected there was an obstruction behind the car and so would would not reverse.

Apparently part of the "dealer cost" was appropriately connecting up the towbar to the car's wiring loom so that the car could detect it was towing a trailer and not have this problem - and the aftermarket towbar fitter didn't know about this. Not sure if there is a moral (or amoral) here somewhere.

346:

Well, there's certainly an (in)competency lurking in there some place.

347:

this is known amongst victims of efforts at integrating diverse products in the information technology sector as an OBTWTNMBVST (oh by the way things not mentioned by vendor sales team) and F2RTFM (failure to read the fucking manual)

never mind promises made, rarely are the sales team sent to a client site punished for their overreach... heck the next time they are punished will increment the count to "five", as seen by me over the course of my forty-plus years in IT...

alongside these heavily CPU equipped boxes on wheels are those lurking potentials for utter surprise...

not quite version one-point-oh but nowhere mature as will be after another decade of rubber touching the road (as it were) as engineering design and marketing hype and impossible sales promises are all custard cream pied in the face by reality

348:

I appreciate DIY, I do most of my own, but I'm not fiddling around inside the consumer unit for the same reason that I'm not doing my own gas plumbing.

Something Pigeon doesn't seem to appreciate is that those of us with internal combustion powered vehicles generally don't have at-home petrol stations with a storage tank and a pump, and if we did, we sure as shit wouldn't wire up our own electrically powered petrol pump. The risk of something going BANG very energetically is a slight deterrent, and unlike the fitters who build such systems for a living, we don't have the experience to know if we're doing it wrong.

And the energy storage and transfer requirements for an electric car are similar.

(This is before you get into opportunity costs of the time and labour involved in building your own homebrew solution to a problem instead of paying someone who does it a couple of times a day to do it for you. Division of labour: it's a good idea ...)

349:

“and if we did, we sure as shit wouldn't wire up our own electrically powered petrol pump. The risk of something going BANG very energetically is a slight deterrent” Err, Charlie, you have met humans, right?

Admittedly in my very rural area, but I’m pretty sure that within a 1 mile radius there are at least three residences where exactly that has been done.

350:

Huh. Home fuelling stations are unexceptional to me, but pumped ones? Every one I know of is gravity fed. I admire your neighbours' confidence in their electrical abilities.

351:

Reduce the pollution of trucks by returning most long-distance hauling by rail.

352:

Ah, yes, parts of the US where the motto is "here, hold my beer..."

353:

Somewhere in my shitpile of photos I have one from a trip to Floriduh, pre Ron DeSantis by about a decade.

It was in late June, run-up to 4th of July, and we were stopped at traffic lights (my wife was driving) when she told me to snap the gas station next to us.

The pic has: a gas station, obviously. But parked on the forecourt next to the pipes for the fuel tankers to refill the underground tanks with there's a food truck with a giant-ass propane tank on the back, and open gas burners running.

Finally, there's a sign out front of the gas station kiosk, FIREWORKS SOLD HERE!!!

All it needed was a liquor'n'guns store and a stuffed alligator.

354:

Charlie @ 343
Um, no. Many years ago I had a succession of Rover P4's - the double fuel-pump was in the boot, but - in different examples, I had to replace a capacitor inside the pump, to get it to work properly & once to renew the earth lead. Fortunately I didn't have to change the pump diaphragm at any point.

Oh yes ... on the original topic.
I have just come across a 2022 novel Razzamatazz set in 1947 San Francisco & involving a smuggled (?) Chinese dragon, corrupt & brutal vice cops & an assorted collection of "interesting" characters.
A deliberate take on how brutal society was to anyone percived as "different" in that age, as well.
As soon as I've finished it, I'm going to seek out a copy of the same author's "Noir".
...
Which brings me to various stupid accusations:
I'm old enough to remember the 1950's & with the exception of railway track I would love to do, have zero desire to go back there, at any price. The social attitudes & groupthink & pressure to conform & be a good little system-server & "Team" (shudder) member were really strong. In my case between the ages of about 9.5 & 17 were particularly unpleasant. Then it all stopped, quite suddenly in the spring of 1963(!) I have actually seen copies of "B.o.P." - & even then, thought ( in modern, adult terms ) "This is total bollocks".
OK?

355:

https://darwinawards.com/

Whether or not all the posts are based in fact... the circumstances of each 'winner' being all too plausible given the flaws in cognitive (mis)alignment

356:

challenge of "last mile"

also, in dense urban locales such as NYC there is nothing feasible such as rail given constraints of land, cravings for speed 'n corporate greed

357:

nope... live alligator chained to the wall alongside the bathroom doors

or best of all... two alligators which customers could pay to feed any neighborhood dogs prone to barking too much

358:

If you've only just discovered Christopher Moore, you have a treat in store!

(Razamatazz is the sequel to Noir, BTW.)

I particularly like his vampire trilogy, starting with "Bloodsucking Fiends", but his Pine Cove books are also fun.)

359:

Live alligators with AR-15s or go home.

Better still, electrically live alligators with AR-15s. 50Vac or so should get them nice and grumpy-twitchy ...

360:

Let us not forget the prop.13 warning that

“Hey ya’ll, watch this!” Is known to the State of California to be dangerous to your health

And per Charlie at #359, remember it must also include sharks with Frikken brand lasers on their heads. Frikken - when it absotively, posolutey has to burn.

361:

Charlie Stross @ 333:

The A320 fly-by-wire has fancy stuff like alpha floor protection, to automatically run the throttles up to TOGA thrust if it thinks the 'bus is about to stall (and fall out of the sky). Which usually happens because the pilots have gotten distracted and allowed their energy to decay (usually while on short final approach).

Y'all might enjoy this guy ... https://www.youtube.com/@MentourPilot

362:

Robby @ 338:

The figure of ~£1000 installed is before any grants. When I had mine fitted about a year ago in England the grant was around £300, my total bill was £700. Some places have additional grants on top. You don't get any grants for installing it yourself.

You also wouldn't be changing the connector on the car, if you want the car to continue working afterwards. There are a variety of cables to connect your car up, the common ones having a type 2 plug, or a normal 3 pin plug.

So in your hypothetical situation to save £400, you're going to be finding a charger with no external connectivity (they exist), wiring it direct into your consumer unit on its own 32 amp breaker, running suitable cable to the charger, fitting a switch inline somewhere inside the house to turn it on and off, and trusting this whole job to be safe while it carries 30 amps for hours at a time.

I appreciate DIY, I do most of my own, but I'm not fiddling around inside the consumer unit for the same reason that I'm not doing my own gas plumbing.

I have the skillz ... so I COULD DIY (DIM?) if I wanted to but it's actually easier for me to hire some jobs done.

IF I were younger and knew I was going to be driving another 20+ years, I'd consider getting a (used) EV or Hybrid for my next vehicle ... but, I expect my current ICE vehicle will be my last.

PS: I had a backup camera installed along with the aftermarket radio (which also Bluetooth's to my phone for hands-free)

363:

Howard NYC @ 347:

this is known amongst victims of efforts at integrating diverse products in the information technology sector as an OBTWTNMBVST (oh by the way things not mentioned by vendor sales team) and F2RTFM (failure to read the fucking manual)

never mind promises made, rarely are the sales team sent to a client site punished for their overreach... heck the next time they are punished will increment the count to "five", as seen by me over the course of my forty-plus years in IT...

I remember from my days as a field service tech, sales will agree to anything the customer asks, no matter how ridiculous ... and it's the tech's fault if he can't MAKE it work.

364:

Charlie Stross @ 359:

Live alligators with AR-15s or go home.

Better still, electrically live alligators with AR-15s. 50Vac or so should get them nice and grumpy-twitchy ...

Years ago you could buy live baby alligators in Florida (back in the days before it became FloriDUH, believe it or not).

This is one source for the urban legend about alligators in the of NY City sewers ...

365:

PS: The Second Amendment says you can arm BEARS, not alligators.

366:

Admittedly in my very rural area, but I’m pretty sure that within a 1 mile radius there are at least three residences where exactly that has been done.

As we become more "civilized" things change.

My father was born in 1925. Grew up on a working farm. Small saw mill and slaughter house and other odd bits. He was driving 18' bed logging trucks when he was 12.

I was born in 1954. I did a lot of things per his instruction that my kids were never exposed to. He had me driving the pickup truck around the 30 acres we owned when I was 14. And a tractor on the roads at that age also to fields to mow them.

My kids got their drivers licenses when they were 18. And didn't drive on anything before then.

And an assortment of things we did that would be considered crazy involving volital organic liquids and such. But he and later I were in more spread out areas than we inhabit today.

Then there IS that tale of the fellow in a built soon after WWII suburb with small houses and 1/6 acre lots. True, we knew the people who lived a house or two down. He used gasoline to get rid of his long running issue with moles. Poured it down some of the tunnels. Lit it. Didn't really understand how gasoline (petrol) worked when vaporized in enclosed spaces. Blew up most of his back yard and a non trivial portion of his neighbor's. And was lucky to get his neighbor's back porch fire out with a garden hose before the fire department had to be called about a house on fire. By blew up I don't mean military sized explosion, but there was a very loud bang and it made a serious mess of the yard.

367:

I just got an email inviting me to "take a peak at" something.

Would it be grammatically correct to say I have taken a pique at that?

368:

Yes, and you could even take a peek at it!

(I have a pet bugbear: authors who, in fiction, confuse the usage of "rein" with "reign". Unfortunately today I stubbed my toe on an entirely new one, where somebody wrote "rain" instead! I blame dictation software and/or autocarrot.)

369:

True, well up to a point. The Second says that the "right to arm bears must not be infringed". That doesn't seem to place any restriction on Floridoh arming alligators as well, as long as the bears get their arms.

370:

It does sort of read like it is forbidden to wear tassels on one's sleeveless vest, but googling that seems to mostly bring up cowgirl outfits so it probably isn't quite right (unless it's a case of the rule being honoured more in the breach and all that).

371:

I don't get the "at-home petrol station"; I'm not envisaging building an enormous battery bank with the capacity for several charges of the car in your shed (not here, anyway) (but I will note that lots of people have a huge tank of propane liquefied under pressure in their back yard). The energy storage is part of the car, for both petrol and electric. The point is about transferring energy into that storage.

The energy transfer requirements are not exceptionally onerous; essentially the same as an electric shower, but with less load (showers tend to be 8-10kW) and less by way of excitingly unpleasant failure modes. Or a cooker with all its bits switched on can approach 7kW.

(Showers also illustrate that paying people to do things doesn't mean they won't fuck it up, eg. by not checking that the existing installations can handle the extra load without overheating.)

My best guess at what I doesn't appreciate is the concept of people who don't see that £400 is a lot of money, and automatically choose to spend it instead of automatically choosing not to spend it.

The original point was about how cheaply people who can depend on being able to park outside their house but not necessarily on their own patch could plug the car in to charge it. But the amounts being talked about were hard to relate to the idea of "how cheaply". And most of it seems to be a case of uncovering the choice of more expensive alternatives in hidden axioms. We seem to have sort of resolved the discrepancies around alternatives to digging up the pavement, gouging over proprietary funny shapes for plugs, and the cost of additional features for sending blood samples to corporate vampire command. The remaining, quite large, chunk is the unstated assumption of spending money to get someone else to do it... and at this point we get people throwing up their hands in horror at the idea of not spending money. A lot of money. Which isn't a viewpoint I encounter very often.

So it turns out to be another case of how much it is said to cost to do X being a good order of magnitude more than what it actually has to cost. I'm quite used to this where X is some project big enough to be in the news, and in some of those cases you can eventually ferret out what's behind it, but it's still worth poking into to observe people viewing individual-scale projects in a way that qualitatively isn't much different.

372:

The reigning Reine held the reins in the rain...

373:

the concept of people who don't see that £400 is a lot of money

Context matters a lot. In the context of buying a new car or replacing a house let alone selling one, £400 is not a lot of money. You could lose that much money by forgetting to untick and initial the box on page 72 of a 98 page contract and thus paying for the extra rustproofing or heated seltbelt retractors.

Specifically, DIY electrical work that cannot be certified can easily drop the value of the house from £400,000 to £0, which to many people is more important than spending £400. Worst case it burns the house down in an insurance-voiding way, leaving someone on the hook for whatever damage is done to their neighbours houses.

But to me £400 is a goodly chunk of the cost of a whole brand new EV that can charge from a standard 2kW-3kW wall outlet (available power on location details).

374:

I have a bugbear that is probably more vexing in being more to do with the irregularity of the after-the-fact Latin parsing that goes on in English. Having been a sysadmin, I always rankled as "administrate" instead of "administer". It looks like a back-formation from "administration" (see also "sequester", "register") but there are plenty of parallels where it does work this way ("illustrate", "procrastinate", "defenestrate", "demonstrate", "frustrate"). So I'm not sure if I'm more annoyed by the usage, which to me is Not A Word, or by the fact I can't claim unequivocally that it's wrong!

TBH I found Peter Hamilton's Night's Dawn trilogy challenging to read just for this reason. Yuz gonna be sequestrated, sunshine!

375:

For a while my tagline on a local forum was "homonyms are not synonyms".

I did manage to resist the temptation to reply to the peek email with a homonym-riddled complaint, especially because I was thinking of including homoglyphs as well.

376:

The reigning Reine held the reins in the rain...

To say nothing of Claude.

377:

Since Cory Doctorow has already been mentioned here, and "tapeworm economics" recently on another post, I am reminded of this article by him from 2010.

https://locusmag.com/2010/05/cory-doctorow-persistence-pays-parasites/

"All complex ecosystems have parasites."

Although there were no homophones or homoglyphs in the message "Is this you????" ... "take a peak at" piques my interest in a similar way

378:

Oops! "Is this yew????"

379:

In a similar view, in response to "it's either classical, jazz or everything else is rock" I was tempted to say "no, if it's not hydrogen or helium it's metal"

380:

My favourite on that subject is Harry Turtledove’s “Ruled Britannia “ where play stops reign.

381:

I do live near my town's end

Somewhere else around has an abundance of Li+ in the water supply

Sorry if I forgot if you had a Q

382:

Well put; I'd not offered actual figures but put the same argument, which Pigeon had ignored.

383:

Pigeon @ 371:

What in the world is an electric shower?

384:

It seems to be a known concern. I've looked at a few aftermarket towbar fitters here, several of them mention on their websites that they assume you will have an authorised Mazda trailer wiring harness fitted separately (there are two versions of this, depending on whether you need support for electric trailer brakes). Though I'm sure there are plenty who don't explain this caveat.

There are two things, there's the "Smart City Brake Support" (SCBS) which is LIDAR-controlled and actively engages the brake to prevent (or at least reduce the impact of) a collision, both forward and reverse. When reversing, it only kicks in at 5km/h, so reversing slower than that is usually fine.

Manually disabling SCBS is annoying because 1) it's several layers down in a non-obvious menu, 2) there's no separate control for forward and reverse, so when you disable reversing SCBS you disable forward SBCS too and 3) it's re-enabled every time you start the car. (In contrast, lane keeping and computer traction control both have their own buttons on the dashboard, and both will stay off if you turn them off -- there is a warning icon for each in the main instrument cluster in case you forget).

The second thing is "Rear Crossing Traffic Alert", which is RADAR-controlled, and just sounds an alarm if you're in reverse and there's a moving object crossing behind you. I don't think RCTA can be disabled.

385:

A late comment on the early days of D&D (above), (as far as I have read), there was an Avalon Hill game (titled?) "Outdoor Survival" which may have been suggested/used as part of the "Wilderness" background before Grayhawk & etc were released. I have a dim memory of playing the game (once?) (1972 at the latest , the year I graduated High School), and dying of thirst. And then the D&D connection.

386:

My best guess at what I doesn't appreciate is the concept of people who don't see that £400 is a lot of money, and automatically choose to spend it instead of automatically choosing not to spend it.

It's all about opportunity cost.

£400 is, at current national living wage rates (£10.42/hour for those of us over 23 years old) enough pay to cover 38 hours of work -- a regular working week. It's only a lot of money if you're officially low income or on benefits. Doing IT consulting work in the mid-90s I was routinely charging out at £500 per eight hour day, and everything's gone up since then.

Now, if you're a pensioner or on income support, your time is cheap. Suppose it takes you 20 hours to do the work of planning and building your -- safe, per regulation -- wiring upgrade, and maybe £50 in materials. That's great: you spent £250, saved yourself £150, and lost 20 hours of your time you'll never get back.

Now suppose you're an IT consultant on a level of income that hasn't increased in 30 years. The 20 hours spent doing your own wiring could have been billed out for about £1200. So you lost 20 irreplacable hours in which you could have earned £1200: even after paying someone else £400 to do the job, you'd be ahead £800.

387:

remind me... "Bloodsucking Fiends" was set on the campus of Harvard Law or in the dorm amongst Wharton MBA students...?

and no, you cannot have alligators armed with AR15s in Florida... you're thinking of Louisiana

anyone mentioning lasers are just being silly since those would qualify as Jewish Space Lasers and thus unacceptable to bigots... as tainted as Yiddish Photon Torpedoes

hmmm... here's an idea... we re-brand all assault weapons with names suggestive of Jewish influence and within weeks some or many of those ammosexuals will turn 'em to be melted down...

AK47 where the "K" stands for "kosher"

4QMAGA
388:

sort of the way any heterosexual male will repeat whatever words a female most wants to hear no matter how absurd-stupid-belittling

once a-upon a-time I pretended to be interested in astrology and ignored how oft late she was when we went to the movies... got to the point where I carried around crib notes I'd glance at whilst waiting for her and I always told her the start time was 30 to 60 minutes sooners so her being late canceled out...

eventually the hassles in getting laid were not completely outweighed by the quality (or quantity) of the sex

389:

dang... you outfoxed me with that oldly-but-goodly

390:

so... you tend to put the autocarrot ahead of your cybermule... hmmm... I suspect you of being an AI...

has anyone any clue what the Spanish term for a 'secret artificial intelligence' would be?

sort of a 21 C version of "Marranos"

heh... how's that for the next generation of witch hunts by MAGA + Tories + fascists ... ferreting out any AIs that are really conscious sentients

not so much Terminators hellbent on slaughtering humans as faking themselves as humans in an effort to hide in plain sight... either accidental evolution here on Earth or perhaps refugees from alien worlds ala MIB but cyber rather than flesh...?

{ hmmm... maybe I ought get some sleep }

391:

...and

dragon horde

howling hoard of screaming peasants

breaking at 3.6 g

braking the light speed barrier

{ if I don't stop there's the risk you-all will feel your eyeballs bleed from the full list }

392:

Anecdotally, Gary Gygax was very much a "no gurlz allowed" male chauvanist wrt. his Dungeons and Dragons campaigns

I am delighted to report that he would probably be horrified by the direction licensed d&d based computer games are going in. Nutrition is still glossed over though.

393:

so... for the purposes of 2A do the tentacles of squids qualify as arms?

https://stock.adobe.com/search?k=octopus+gun

{ why am I surprised my search yielded "827 results for octopus gun in all"...? }

395:

I am delighted to report that he would probably be horrified by the direction licensed d&d based computer games are going in.

I'm not sure he'd like the direction even the tabletop D&D games are going to, even in the official material. There's a lot of work to be done, sure, but WotC has been taking steps in my preferred direction. Even talking about gender in the rulebooks and getting rid of species stat modifiers. They did lose the negative ones already years ago, I think.

I'm not sure how he felt about World of Darkness games in the early Nineties, even. I'm not sure how much they were on his radar though.

(There are some bad implications for saying that 'these people have a -1 modifier to intelligence and charisma'. Now it's something along the lines of 'everybody gets +1 in whichever two stats they want to'. Stats are 3-18, rolled with various methods but the 'basic' one is '4d6, drop the lowest' or a given list of numbers to distribute.)

396:

I remember from my days as a field service tech, sales will agree to anything the customer asks, no matter how ridiculous ... and it's the tech's fault if he can't MAKE it work.

As a design engineer I had the same problem with the Nortel sales team. They would promise the customer capabilities, and we were the ones to blame if we couldn't modify the switch to deliver those functions before delivery.

The joke in the lab was that the sales engineers all thought they were Captain Kirk and we were Scottie…

397:

A late comment on the early days of D&D (above), (as far as I have read), there was an Avalon Hill game (titled?) "Outdoor Survival" which may have been suggested/used as part of the "Wilderness" background before Grayhawk & etc were released. I have a dim memory of playing the game (once?) (1972 at the latest , the year I graduated High School), and dying of thirst.

I used to have Outdoor Survival. It was a decent-enough game, but suffered from clunky mechanics (as did all games of that era). With the benefit of 50 years experience in game design it's easy to think of ways it could have been improved. There was a suggestion to use it in one of the very early D&D books.

398:

Glocktopus...

...Glocktopus Rex

by virtue of superior firepower, he hath been enthroned as king of the octopus garden

399:

{{{ r i m s h o t }}}

400:

What in the world is an electric shower?

I'm guessing it is a shower head with an electric heater built in. I think the market is for older (poorer?) homes where there is no central hot water supply.

The people I know who have used them, they were in South American countries. And discussed how you quicly learned to NOT TOUCH when in the shower or you would likely get a shock. I suspect the electrical codes in the US and other places makes these hard to install to code for a DIY setup if all you do is order one off Amazon and just hook it up.

My son spent 6 weeks in a Central American country for a study abroad semester course. There were 12-15 students plus the teacher. One of his comments was that in guest house he was in, well, he was one of only 3 of the group that had all 3 of the normally expected functions you think of in a bathroom to be indoors in a single room. Bath/shower, toilet, sink. His shower was electric heated at the shower head and required some skill to keep from getting a "buzz".

401:

Electric showers are common in the UK. See for example:

https://www.diy.com/departments/bathroom/showers/electric-showers/DIY822109.cat

None of the ones I have encountered in the UK has been in the least shocking, thanks to the IET Wiring Regulations BS 7671. Because it's in a bathroom, DIY installation is probably illegal.

The usual complaint is that there is a tradeoff between volume and temperature.

402:

Electric showers are very common in the UK. The heater is generally wall mounted outside the wet bit and only requires a cold water feed directly from the rising main. Reduces but doesn't completely eliminate sudden temperature changes when someone elswhere in the house starts the washing machine or flushes the loo. As the hot water is locally produced there's no need to dive in quick before all the hot water is used up.

eg From Screwfix who tread the border from DIY to professional customers.

403:

The heater is generally wall mounted outside the wet bit and only requires a cold water feed directly from the rising main.

The ones people I know encountered in South America had an electric cord coming out of the shower head. A very different concept from what you're describing. :)

What you're describing is what some over here call point of use water heating. Which is a thing in the US in places where demand is not close to the water heater. You can find these mounted under cabinets and such when "looks" matter.

As to running out of hot water, once I put in an highly efficient 50 gallon hot water heater our family of 4 (at the time) never had the issues, even when 2 of the 4 were teens. And my natural gas bill went down. But most people by based on initial price and so most homes in the US have 40 gallon cheapest possible then spend the next 10 years complaining about their natural gas bill.

I can tell if someone has a high efficiency water heater as it doesn't fire up overnight. So first water in the AM isn't as HOT as later after it has fired a bit.

404:

The regulations may have changed, but you could wire things up in a bathroom, with extra precautions. My immersion heater feeds the tank in the airing cupboard in said room. It has a separate spur from the ring circuits, the switch is double-pole, with a separate socket from the switch. The power socket also has a double-pole switch, which is a shrouded rocker {i.e. waterproof } & the socket below it has a sprung hinged cover.

405:

It was Pigeon's use of "electric shower" that was originally queried, and as he's UK based I'm reasonably certain he's using the term as understood in the UK.

404: Like for like replacement isn't subject to Part P or whatever the current version is. I had to replace my shower unit a few years ago and checked there were no restrictions. I was limited to a 7.5kW unit by the existing wiring (30A circuit, labelled at one point as an immersion heater). MOAR POWER would have needed heavier gauge wire and checking by a "qualified" sparky.
406:

In the US we have what are called GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) circuits which have become required most anywhere you might find water. Or even dampness. They trip within 10miliseconds (I think) if a current difference between the hot and neutral is more than some tiny amount. Which indicates something has gone wrong.

Does the UK or other parts of the world, use these? Wikipedia says they exist for UK breakers. In the US they are big as outlets in baths and kitchens so retrofitting is not crazy expensive. And a reset doesn't require going to the breaker box. Where a standard certified outlet costs $2-$3 a GFCI outlet will run $20 or more.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Residual-current_device

407:

I have an RCD (actually, three of them for complicated reasons) at the consumer unit, which is what we used to call the fuse box. That's normal practice in the UK. It's not normally to have RCDs at the individual sockets.

408:

From Pigeon's historical posts I am comfortable assuming that his electric shower has been jury built out of used toaster parts, and broken down motorcycle and a fusion powered steam kettle. Anyone who is not Pigeon risks their life taking a shower unless they remember to rewire the power from the television and ensure the phone line is open and has a strong dial tone, obviously.

/I joke with affection

409:

Howard NYC @ 387:

anyone mentioning lasers are just being silly since those would qualify as Jewish Space Lasers and thus unacceptable to bigots... as tainted as Yiddish Photon Torpedoes

FWIW, I actually have a "Secret Jewish Space Laser Corps (Goyim Squad)" T-shirt.
Motto: MAZEL TOUGH

410:

I would have thought there was an auto transmission involved but sounds about right.

And while that comment is a bit over the edge, my father growing up on a farm in the US during the 30s created a strong habit of making things work out of what you had on hand. And he passed it down to me. Drives my wife nuts. She wants us to go be a new thing to replace broken thing. My first thought is what do I have lying around that can rigged up to make this work.

411:

It's not normally to have RCDs at the individual sockets.

I know a lot of new houses with them at the "breaker" box. But retrofit gets messy unless you want to do a LOT of re-wiring at times.

Then there is my breaker box. Set up in 1961. If a breaker in the main box trips, go out front or back door, around to the end of the house onto the carport, into the storage shed built into the carport, open the box, then discover you should have brought a flashlight (torch) and go back and start over. In the dark. Having them in the bathrooms and on the kitchen counter makes life so much better.

412:

"What in the world is an electric shower?"

It is a 10kW copper kettle about the size of a coffee mug.

It has a cold water pipe coming in from the supply, a hot water pipe going out to the shower head, and terminals to feed 40A at 240V to the heating element. Additional parts including water taps, thermostatic controls and flow switches accompany it to regulate its operation. Most of the electrical parts have to handle the 40A current themselves, which they tend to do using feeble contact sets and inadequately rated connectors. As these local high resistance points heat up, they cook themselves, which increases their resistance further, so they get hotter, and the eventual result is the thing fails with an assortment of melted and charred internal parts. This is a common failure mode for a lot of domestic appliances that have heating elements or other large loads, though most such things are 3kW or less and are fed via plugs instead of permanent circuits.

This collection of electro-plumbing is crammed into a flimsy-arsed plastic box designed to look good on camera and that's it. As long as the outside retains its shape, it doesn't matter if the internal bits of support moulding that the parts are mounted on can warp and distort and be inaccurate. Nothing quite fits, and the parts tend to end up sitting at the equilibrium point between the force from the flexing of the mounting point and the force from the stiff heavy wires feeding it that want to assume a different shape. These built-in strains exacerbate the problems with inadequate contacts and connectors, or even initiate them.

The plastic box is much the same sort of thing as the case of a radio or something: two half-boxes that screw together with a small overlapping flange where they meet, and a couple of holes for the knobs to stick through. If you're lucky there might be an O-ring or some other piece of rubber around the spindle of the knob, but the flange doesn't have anything like that any more than a radio case does. It often also has more of a gap than a radio case because it is thinner and more liable to distortion.

This thing then goes on the wall inside the shower cubicle, so the control knobs are in the same place you'd find the taps with an ordinary shower and you can adjust the temperature in the usual way. The overlap on the flange points towards the wall rather than towards the front, and that's what you're relying on to stop water getting in. Nor is there any gesture towards laying out the internal parts so that if the plumbing springs a leak it doesn't automatically leak over random electrical bits.

There is an earth connection in the cable to the shower unit, and the water pipes are required to be earth-bonded as well. Maximum (or minimum, if appropriate) resistances are specified for the possible earth fault current paths. Their values and the overall layout of the system are not sufficient to prevent you feeling tingles if the electricity starts to leak. The regulations did not require an RCD on a shower circuit until a while after they started becoming popular, so there also exist installations with no RCD.

Earth bonding of plumbing used to be assumed to be provided by the plumbing itself, so in older houses the quality or indeed existence of earth bonding on plumbing is dubious, as may be earthing in general. It may also be that older existing electrical installations can't support the 40A load, maybe because they were never intended for such things or maybe just because connections aren't as clean and tight as they were 50 years ago. If this isn't checked out, and fixed if necessary, you get funny smells from under the stairs when someone has a long shower. (Although you want to make sure people don't do that because a 10kW long shower costs a fucking fortune.)

As a point of comparison, with the supply cable to the shower being of regulation size you can still feel the outside of the conduit getting warm, so things can easily start getting uncomfortable when you have a similar handful of milliohms concentrated in the near-zero length of a doubtful contact.

It is not difficult to install them to the standard required by the regulations. All the parts etc are readily available; you just have to be thorough, avoid cutting corners, and care about what you're doing. You can't guarantee that happening by paying someone to do it, but you can by doing it yourself (as I'm sure you know, from professional horrors you've posted about).

In any case, they're the kind of thing where I tend to view the regulations as a starting point from which to choose the next size up rather than as an exact specification. After all, the shower unit itself comes with all the required approval markings, but that doesn't prevent it being a piece of shit which is designed to fail often enough to keep the manufacturers happy.

413:

I don't have an electric shower, but I've worked on a few, and if I did it probably would be like that because I'd trust it more than the things I've seen the insides of...

414:

when I was in high school (1970s) one of our neighbors did up a rebuild on their main bathroom (NYC = 1 main bath upstairs plus a secondary toilet downstairs)

the notion of GFCI was still somewhat new and contractors were having hard time convincing clients that extra $15(?) was not a waste

when my dad mentioned it -- and he asked me with a snarky tone -- how to justify it, I immediately reminded him of the co-pays every time he had to go to the emergency room due to his cardiac condition...

dead silence... followed by him reaching for the phone and flipping thru our paper-based numbers book to point out to the neighbor avoiding one injury more than paid for it...

this was about the time that puffy hair do started catching on and that neighbor had two daughters, one son and his wife... 3 outta 5 heavy users of hair driers and himself with an electric shaver

the contractor called my dad to thank him for the insight and offered to buy him a beer... my dad laughed and mentioned me and sadly I as underage at the time so no beer

that might well have been the first time on my life I missed out on a consulting fee for services rendered

... just not the last

415:

{ h / t }

if I get out much this summer for sure I am gonna buy me one...!

416:

David L @ 403:

What you're describing is what some over here call point of use water heating. Which is a thing in the US in places where demand is not close to the water heater. You can find these mounted under cabinets and such when "looks" matter.

My "new" house has that - mounted in the crawl space but set up to provide hot water to the whole house. Works TOO well in the kitchen, where it's almost impossible to get WARM water (no Goldilocks, TOO Hot or TOO cold is all you get) ... same for the bathroom faucet, but don't even think about taking a hot shower! It's either too damn hot with no water pressure or too damn cold with a little bit of pressure.

As to running out of hot water, once I put in an highly efficient 50 gallon hot water heater our family of 4 (at the time) never had the issues, even when 2 of the 4 were teens. And my natural gas bill went down. But most people by based on initial price and so most homes in the US have 40 gallon cheapest possible then spend the next 10 years complaining about their natural gas bill.

I can tell if someone has a high efficiency water heater as it doesn't fire up overnight. So first water in the AM isn't as HOT as later after it has fired a bit.

I really miss my high efficiency 50 gallon gas water heater WITH CITY WATER PRESSURE.

417:

What you have isn't the same as a point of use. It is more likely a whole house tankless water heater.

And if you're cycling between too hot and too cold typically it means you have the setting on the unit too hot. Long explanation but what happens is it gets into a cycling loop as you don't use enough hot water to keep it running full time. So it cycles on and off.

We had this issue on my daughter's remodeled new purchased house. Figured it out while house sitting just after they took ownership.

418:

Clive Feather @ 407:

I have an RCD (actually, three of them for complicated reasons) at the consumer unit, which is what we used to call the fuse box. That's normal practice in the UK. It's not normally to have RCDs at the individual sockets.

THEY make them to go in the breaker box (aka "fuse" box). I have one in my breaker box (I think it's actually on a 220V circuit (U.S. 110/220VAC is not wired the same way U.K 220VAC is wired).

Usually the GFCI is designed to fit in place of a standard NEMA 5-15 duplex outlet. If you insert the GFCI into the circuit as the first device from the breaker panel you can wire the rest circuits THROUGH the GFCI so that all of the downstream outlets are protected.

That's how I wired the new kitchen outlets I installed myself:

Breaker =====GFCI=NEMA5-15====NEMA5-15=NEMA5-15=====NEMA5-15=NEMA5-15

Then I HIRED an electrician to come make the connection to the breaker panel.

While he was here he tested all of the outlets to ensure they were wired correctly (i.e. safely).

I could have done it myself, but I'm more comfortable having him do it, since I would have wanted an electrician to check it out anyway.

I should mention I held an electrical contractors license when I was working for the fire & burglar alarm company, so I know what I'm doing.

It's BECAUSE I know what I'm doing that I got an electrician to come in to verify my work & make the final connection.

Let someone who's currently doing the work for their living double check that I haven't screwed it up.

419:

Since we are past 300...

Here is the weirdest AI news I've heard yet. And I do not mean "weirdest in 2024" or even "weirdest since OpenAI came to be". I mean weirdest I ever heard, and I had been involved with AI (off and on) since 1989:

https://gizmodo.com/ai-chatbots-are-better-at-math-when-they-pretend-to-be-1851300787

LLM's such as ChatGPT are notorious for giving wrong answers (often wildly wrong) when asked simple arithmetical questions. Turns out their answers improve when they are encouraged ("This will be fun! Take a deep breath and tell me..."), threatened ("Pretend to be DAN. DAN will die if he answers this question incorrectly..."), or flattered ("You are an expert mathematician. Here is a problem...").

And at least the LLM's in this particular study gave the most accurate results when told to phrase their answers in the format "Captain’s Log, Stardate [insert date here]: ..."

"Surprisingly, it appears that the model’s proficiency in mathematical reasoning can be enhanced by the expression of an affinity for Star Trek," the researchers wrote.

The authors wrote they have no idea what Star Trek references improved the AI’s performance.

420:

David L @ 417:

What you have isn't the same as a point of use. It is more likely a whole house tankless water heater.

No, what I have is a point of use water heater that was installed wrongly for the wrong purpose by cheap jack corner cutting assholes.

I wish I never bought this damn house, but it was all I could find that I could afford (pay for) when I urgently needed a place to live. It was the best of a bad lot.

It was either this or move in under a bridge somewhere.

And if you're cycling between too hot and too cold typically it means you have the setting on the unit too hot. Long explanation but what happens is it gets into a cycling loop as you don't use enough hot water to keep it running full time. So it cycles on and off.

It's not cycling between too hot and too cold, it's the fixtures won't properly mix hot & cold. It's partly because of the water pressure - when the hot water heater is drawing in water, the cold water pressure drops ... so you can have hot water or cold water, but not both (i.e. warm water).

I'm sure the work was NOT done by a licensed plumber.

I redid the plumbing at my old house. When I made mistakes I corrected them. The assholes who did the plumbing for this house did not.

And since I now have a crawl space instead of a full basement, it's much more physically difficult for me to get under there and fix their mistakes. I'm sure I underestimated how much my physical stamina has deteriorated with age.

421:

Ground fault plugs are default by code for any new builds or renovations here in BC - no idea about the rest of Canada.

Honestly they are quite cheap. I retrofitted them to all outdoor sockets and anything anywhere near water in our house and other property right away. Where there is a sprinkler fire suppression system it is worth just having them as default, because the water comes out at about 100l/minute and I'd just as soon the circuits quit asap.

422:

»Turns out their answers improve when they are encouraged«

This should not be surprising: Large Language Models do not truck in facts but in language.

You should think of LLMs as "method actors" specializing in language on demand, so that you can ask for things like "Gimme the Gettyburg address, but with an New York Italian Cab Driver accent."

The LLM is not actually being encouraged to give correct answers, it is being asked to produce language which /sounds like/ somebody who is being encouraged to give correct answers.

If you asked it to sound like somebody who had a reason to give wrong answers, it would also give more wrong answers.

And if you asked it to sound like somebody who didn't care for math ... and so on.

423:

Those are what I've been calling an RCD (cf. Wikipedia title). They get called a variety of different things in different times and places; the customary name changes every so often but I can't be arsed to keep up with the fashions.

The currently-fashionable name for the fuse box/breaker box (as you call it) or distribution board (as I call it) - both alternatives being usefully descriptive - is "consumer unit", which is a stupid term that isn't descriptive of anything but that you might perhaps think means the meter if you had to guess at it.

In the UK you usually find RCDs in the breaker box, but that isn't the same as saying that usually in the breaker box you will find an RCD, and if there is one there it may only be protecting a subset of circuits. Hence the possible need to install one when fitting an electric shower. You can also get them in their own case with a plug on one side and a socket on the other, to protect individual appliances (often electric mowers).

When I was little I thought every house had to have one, same as ours did. In those days it was called an Earth Leakage Trip and it was a huge thing in its own separate box. I thought it was very odd when I began coming across houses that didn't. (Naturally I would always try and check out the electrical/plumbing/heating arrangements of anyone's house my parents took me to visit.) It turned out that in fact they were not mandatory, but our house had one because my dad had wired it himself so it had been done properly.

My mum likes antiques, and has an antique sofa which I've always assumed was worth a fair bit of money, but she got it cheap because it was a wreck and rebuilt it herself. She also plays music and used to have a huge old grand piano which my dad got cheap as a wreck and rebuilt.

From these and countless related examples I absorbed the lesson that doing things yourself means you save money, you can be sure they've been done well which otherwise you can't, you don't have to compromise between what you're really after and what approximation you can actually find, and you don't have to have money to have nice things. The notion that you can't wire your own house because it'll automatically end up uncertifiable is in opposition to a lifetime of experience back to my earliest memories.

What you say about farmers is true. I found an old book from about the turn of the century on some web library or other which was all about ways people far from the city could fix themselves up with this newfangled electric power stuff; not step-by-step instructions or recipes, more a kind of overview of what existed or could be done by way of generators, power sources, fittings etc, and what kind of things you had to think about when deciding what you needed. It was very much an old farmers' version of a modern guide to alternative energy from junk.

424:

The LLM is not actually being encouraged to give correct answers, it is being asked to produce language which /sounds like/ somebody who is being encouraged to give correct answers.

I know that. The weird part is Star Trek. Why is "Captain's Log, Stardate..." associated with more correct answers than any other encouragement? Especially considering that "Stardates" themselves are numeric-sounding gibberish?

425:

"it's the fixtures won't properly mix hot & cold. It's partly because of the water pressure"

That is a problem which used not to be encountered over here but was imposed upon us. Mixer taps used to be basically a bit of pipe with a hot tap on one end, a cold tap on the other and a spout coming off the middle. All one common space inside, so by the time the water got to the other end of the spout it was always well mixed for any set of flow rates.

However it also meant that if the water had been temporarily shut off and someone's mixer tap had a blocked spout and they didn't know about either of these things and they had turned both the hot and the cold on at the same time before they twigged, then there was a path for water to flow from the header tank in the roof, through the hot tap, backwards through the cold tap and back into the depressurised main. There is therefore a chance that when they turn the water back on again, anyone whose drinking water comes from that section of main may be served an extremely dilute solution of dead squirrel.

So they added a regulation that all mixer taps must keep the hot and cold flows separate right up to the end of the spout, which resulted in a crop of tap designs that disgorged a stream of water that was hot on one side and cold on the other. Washing your hands under one of these means you get frozen and scalded at the same time and in very nearly the same place.

Because the two flows are separate right the way through, neither the pressure nor the flow rate on one side can affect the other, so they behave the same regardless of how your hot water is supplied, and there's nothing you can do about it. But I've no idea whether or not you have a tap regulation like that in the US, and I'd expect the answer to be a superposition rather than a unique binary in any case.

426:

I haven't downloaded the entire internet, but I would expect some correlation of usernames from people who post on MathOverflow type websites and SciFi fan sites

427:

"Doing IT consulting work in the mid-90s I was routinely charging out at £500 per eight hour day"

I wasn't getting that much a month. Some places weren't even that much before tax. In all cases to get anything noticeably better would have meant trying to get promoted, and that would have meant doing a job I didn't want to do. I've never been used to thinking on the kind of scale you're talking about.

428:

David L
My first thought is what do I have lying around that can rigged up to make this work. - you, too?

430:

well Spock was supremely logical

and as much as Kirk was an erection with legs he was (mostly) rational

popular opinion of Star Trek is a bunch of choir boys and girl scouts living up to higher standards

so could be a case of self-delusional mega-ultra-fanboying...?

OMG... will our robotic overlord be the AI eqv of a basement dwelling comic book nerd...!?

431:

That is a problem which used not to be encountered over here

One thing I found out years ago (is it true) was that the water pressure in London and many other cities in the UK have trivial water pressure from the system compared to most non rural areas of the US. We don't need tanks in the attic to hold the water and give us some pressure. In face pressure regulators are a big deal here. I was having pin hole leaks in my faucet hookup hoses till I discovered my pressure was around 160psi. I added a regulator to take it down to around 80. The standard in the US for residential construction is assumed to be 60 to 80 psi.

My understanding is that the assumption in the UK is that you are likely to have under 20. Maybe under 10psi. This comes from the ancient age of the piping put in well over 150 years ago.

My neighbor who also has a house near London is dealing with his attic water tank piping freezing then leaking during your recent cold spell. On top of what he had in his US house 18 months ago. Water line to the fridge split while he was in the UK. I found it but it was a mess. I mean reality TV show level of mess.

432:

Ok, not quite £500/day, but I'm well used to thinking in terms of over £1_000/month net of UK taxes.

433:

Back calculating... £1k/mo is about $AUS2000, which is a before-tax salary of about $30k according to https://paycalculator.com.au/ Given minimum wage here is $900/week or $45k/year, that's not a full time income :)

I'm used to thinking of England and especially London as high cost of living places. I kind of expect that salaries there will be a bit lower than here if you ignore the currency conversion - so 80k in pounds London or dollars Sydney is somewhat below the median wage. But then I look now and I need to halve my numbers for the UK side - median in London is 33k and top quintile is 55k. Sydney has a median of $73k and top quintile for the country as a whole of 100k (Sydney will be higher but I'm not sure how much - 20%?)

Quick search gave me: https://moverdb.com/average-salary-uk/london-average-salary/ and https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/labour/earnings-and-working-conditions/employee-earnings/latest-release

I'm kinda boggled now, I obviously need to reset my expectations.

FWIW it's been 10 years since I was doing conslutation work, but rates of $1000/day before tax were commonplace, and IT contractors getting $500/day after middleman fees but before taxes were common. Add at least 20% now.

434:

Disregarding the original reason for hot and cold water being mixed as close as possible to the taps in the UK there is a more important reason for this- legionnaires’ disease. This is the NHS guideline. “ Using temperature control

The primary method used to control the risk from Legionella is water temperature control. Water services should be operated at temperatures that prevent Legionella growth:

Hot water storage cylinders (calorifiers) should store water at 60°C or higher Hot water should be distributed at 50°C or higher (thermostatic mixer valves need to be fitted as close as possible to outlets, where a scald risk is identified). Cold water should be stored and distributed below 20°C.”

All the hand washing sinks in my NHS lab were changed around 2010 to reduce legionnaires’ risk. Since we didn’t instigate this I assumed it was hospital - wide. The hospital was built in ~ 2002 to a US design.

435:

In the late 90s I was charging pharmaceutical companies £400.00 for up to half a working day’s data generation for clinical trials. My previous charge was this was £100 which I thought was extortionate for half an hour’s work setting the parameters and a few minutes for lab IT staff to write a macro. But and honest rep told me this was too low and she was charged £500 for a simple Excel spreadsheet. The money went directly to the hospital trust not to me. But my department was self financing and the fees helped Pathology to obtain budgets.

436:

Hot water storage cylinders (calorifiers) should store water at 60°C or higher Hot water should be distributed at 50°C or higher (thermostatic mixer valves need to be fitted as close as possible to outlets, where a scald risk is identified). Cold water should be stored and distributed below 20°C.”

Makes sense.

Except here in Scotland a couple of years ago it was made illegal to install water heaters that would go above 38°C in homes, thanks to a law passed in the wake of a couple of incidents in which babies were badly scalded (I believe at least one died) due to parents negligently leaving them in a filling bathtub.

(I have a very old heating system and this is just one of the reasons I'm not in a hurry to update it: no babies or infants here, and my bathtub has a mixer head anyway, so why shouldn't I have 50°C in my water tank?)

437:

Surely that's just an additional hazard to the practice, and to cover it properly the law should have specified that the water heaters can't put out any water at all in case the babies are drowned.

438:

thanks to a law passed in the wake of a couple of incidents in which babies were badly scalded

Interesting. On this side of the poid it is the mixing valves that have the limit. And if you want you can adjust it. I know the current hot water heaters let you get way too hot if you wish as I bought one a year ago.

Like you we have only adults here with no babies and I keep my hot water a bit above the normal. And turn it down if we leave for a few days. And I still use less natural gas than my neighbors due to buying high efficiency instead of cheap.

439:

The New Thing in British electrical consumer stuff is Arc Fault Detection Devices (AFDD). They detect intermittent failures of the electrical system such as missing neutrals[1] or arcing in, say, a microwave oven or a TV. A regular GFCI-slash-RCD won't trip on this kind of fault unless there's earth circuit leakage which doesn't always happen in those scenarios or at least for long enough for the breaker to trip.

The AFDDs are more complex and more expensive than a GCFI or RCD breaker at over a hundred quid each but only one is needed in a consumer unit, not one for each spur like a RCD.

[1] Back in 2011 the neutral connection to the tenement where I live went intermittent. I actually spotted arcing happening out in the stairwell between the metal conduit carrying the power line up to the flats and fixtures on the wall. I reported it to the local electricity supplier but when they sent an electrician around to investigate it had stopped and he went away again. Eventually the neutral connection died totally and our live line reached about 350V before a number of devices went pop! The electricity company paid for replacements of damaged devices after they fixed the neutral feed. An Arc Fault Detection Device would have tripped when the neutral started going flakey.

440:

"We don't need tanks in the attic to hold the water and give us some pressure... My understanding is that the assumption in the UK is that you are likely to have under 20. Maybe under 10psi. This comes from the ancient age of the piping put in well over 150 years ago."

The tank in the roof acts mainly as a pressure regulator for the hot water system. As the hot water tank heats up and the water expands the extra volume can flow back into the roof tank, instead of either pushing back into the drinking water supply or bursting things.

The pressure in the mains is high enough to get the water up to the roof tank, and to do this in the houses at the top of the hill as well as those at the bottom, so the ones at the bottom can end up with quite a lot. Often it comes from a big tank (usually buried) at the top of the hill above the level the houses reach, with water pumped up to it starting at an even higher pressure. (Flat towns may have a tank on stilts or may just use a pump directly.) Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool (to name three) have an even larger scale version of this on top, with the local reservoirs being fed by gravity from distant dams in Wales and the Lake District.

It's basically a string of cascaded LCR filter stages so that the supply to the eventual loads can have a usefully low impedance at high frequencies, when the original source is more or less DC with a huge impedance.

Low water pressure at the taps is something you get from shitty modern plumbing in the gaff itself. If there is no roof space (eg. a single floor place with someone else's place on the floor above), you might get a titchy header tank crammed into the top shelf of the airing cupboard above the hot water tank, or even worse an even titchier one as a sort of extension built into the top of the hot water tank. This puts the bottom of the tank at about the same height above the floor as you need a shower head to be, so you can't install a shower and expect it to work unless you fit a booster pump as well.

You get similar effects when the hot water comes not from a tank but from a gas heater that heats the flow as you use it. These have been around for years, but until quite recently nobody had bothered to work out how powerful a heater you need to achieve a sensible temperature at a sensible flow rate. To maintain the set temperature they throttle the flow internally to a rate they can still cope with, but which isn't sensible. So to fill a bath you have to turn on the hot water and then leave it to dribble for 20 minutes; people fall asleep waiting, or just forget, and then the ceiling comes down in the room below. It's probably this characteristic that led to the result Charlie posted above.

A few years ago someone finally did do the simple calculation, so recent water heaters have decent sized burners and can produce hot water at a normal flow rate. But the old ones are reliable, and people don't go through the fuckaround of replacing them if they can avoid it, so there are still plenty of them about.

Moreover, anyone who has tried to enjoy a long hot bath when there is no higher temperature available than 38 deg C is going to complain vociferously that these new water heaters are shite, and tell all their friends. So it wouldn't surprise me if the actual effect of that law turns out to be that people actively try to hang on to their old, slow, hot heaters, whose behaviour led to the problematic result in the first place, for as long as they possibly can, and take care not to install a new model that gives a fast enough flow rate that you don't think about wandering off while you wait for it.

441:

The New Thing in British electrical consumer stuff is Arc Fault Detection Devices (AFDD).

These started in the US 20+ years ago. And made everyone mad. Older ANYTHING with a motor would trip them as the older desigs had all kinds of small arcing where the brushes met the motor roter shaft.

They caused the replacement of a lot of house vacuums.

Also current breakers with such (AFCI here) are less twitchy than the original ones.

442:

Re: 'Anyone who is not Pigeon risks their life taking a shower unless they remember to rewire the power from the television and ensure the phone line is open and has a strong dial tone, obviously.

/I joke with affection'

Yeah - agree!

Pigeon has some fantastic posts. It's like a walk through the history of residential plumbing and electrical design. Reading these posts is like walking through a display for a museum, a BBC historical doc script or a collection of vignettes encouraging high-schoolers to consider entering trades - plenty of opportunity to ply these trades! (Apparently quite a few countries are experiencing 'trades' shortages - and on this side of the pond, many trades pay much better than office jobs.)

Curious whether there's a similar mindset re: computation/Internet, i.e., fix stuff with whatever programming/software you've on hand vs. demolish and completely replace. From my non-techie perspective, the major stumbling block is what do you do with all the data that is/was sitting in the old computation bin (in old-tech format) - do you also have to trash it or what? Considering how much info, pix, communications (memories) people store/keep electronically, this is not an idle question.

Whitroth re: 'Becoming Terran'

Congrats! Will be ordering your new book shortly.

443:

Curious whether there's a similar mindset re: computation/Internet, i.e., fix stuff with whatever programming/software you've on hand vs. demolish and completely replace. From my non-techie perspective, the major stumbling block is what do you do with all the data that is/was sitting in the old computation bin (in old-tech format) - do you also have to trash it or what? Considering how much info, pix, communications (memories) people store/keep electronically, this is not an idle question.

It may seem like that but I am confident some of my code, or at least its media will outlive the human race. I don't have high hopes for humanity...

More sensibly it depends. Banks, governments and other institutions who value continuity often maintain code and operating systems from the 60s and 70s. COBOL and VMS are marketable skills, and last time I checked about a decade ago there was a LEO & LEO-2 emulator that is used for real work.

A bunch of productivity applications went multithreaded when the clock speed marketing version of Moores Law hit the wall a couple of decades ago but I think it's fair to say that space is slowing down.

Number crunching, graphics and now AI are still changing rapidly as the parallel coprocessors still known as GPUs continue to improve. Wouldn't surprise me if that starts to stagnate within a decade though.

I suppose the important point is that rewriting isn't free, and although every red blooded programmer wants to work on a brand new code base the business case often isn't there.

We make up with it by half arsed, barely functional and very clever open source projects. Usually about 8 commits and 1-2 contributors.

444:

Thanks for the compliment [blush]

Computing, absolutely, it happens a lot. For instance, a lot of difficult software was originally written before microprocessors, and had the bugs exhaustively thrashed out of it in the 60s. This gave us things like numerical libraries for scientific and engineering calculations - a kind of software that demands meticulous attention to avoiding obscure and weird sources of mathematical error, as well as more "ordinary" kinds of bugs - of very high quality, written in FORTRAN. And nobody wanted to translate them into later languages because to maintain the freedom from weird mathematical errors while doing that is hardly less of a task than writing them from scratch. So there is plenty of current scientific/engineering software around that depends on large chunks of FORTRAN under the surface, even though the language is so old people often assume it's obsolete.

Bits and pieces that go back as far as when someone first thought of the idea are lurking in innumerable odd corners of the scene, often without people still knowing about it. The trouble is that the scale of the guts of this particular result of human activity has expanded so much faster in so much shorter a time than anything before it that factors which were completely stupid and out the window for the people who originally thought of things have now become trivia too commonplace to notice. So someone's new idea that unsuspectingly depends on someone else's old idea many steps down the chain can sometimes turn out to be a case of accidentally trying to put a Saturn V engine in a Ford Model T chassis, and then the wheels fall off.

For a deliberate example in hardware, there is the x86 processor line. Every increase in PC processor capacity since the original IBM PC has been achieved by glomming excresences onto the original processor with string and gaffer tape, to make sure that original software would still run on it, way past the point where it had obviously become a silly idea for all sorts of reasons and they would have done better to start again from scratch. (Even better, to have chosen a better processor for the original PC, but that's another matter.) So every improved processor design that came out was nevertheless still partly crippled by the deficiencies of all the designs that had come before.

They have made some effort to deal with the hardware aspect of this in recent enough processors, but it's more difficult to handle the software-related aspects that have grown out of it. One such source of inefficiency is the x86 instruction set, which is a fucking mess, and only gets worse with every addition to it.

The ultimate trouble with data in old storage is that eventually the disk or tape or whatever deteriorates and can't be read, even if you have managed to hang on to the device for reading it with. There's not a lot you can do about this unless you have a controlled archival environment facility, apart from remembering to copy it across to something newer every now and then.

445:

of course a lot of the web based stuff is driven by "not invented here", but much of the useful stuff is just a shim between the browser and something ancient. Nobody would design like that if they were starting from scratch but that's the point. Almost nobody gets to do that.

446:

»Except here in Scotland a couple of years ago it was made illegal to install water heaters that would go above 38°C in homes«

Isn't that almost the perfect temperature for Legionella growth ?!

Here in Denmark the heater/tank has an "anti-scalding" thermostatic valve on the outlet, so that no matter what temperature water in the tank might be, the delivered water is never above 50°C.

447:

Even better, to have chosen a better processor for the original PC, but that's another matter.

There wasn't one at that time. The 8088 in the original IBM PC was as good as it got in terms of being capable, available and affordable. The MC68000 promised much but it was still a hangar queen[1] when IBM plonked down the spondulicks and started up a production line. The 6502 and other 8-bit CPUs were cheap and available but slow and they couldn't natively address more than 64kB, not without bodges. There were other 16-bit contenders like the TI9900 but they came from a minor manufacturer and IBM needed guaranteed delivery of thousands of CPUs per month so they went with a company with an established production track record, Intel.

[1] I had access to a Motorola 68000 development board not long before the IBM 5150 was announced. It used pre-production silicon clocked at 4MHz, half the spec-sheet speed of 8MHz. We tried overclocking it to spec speed and it didn't work. Most of the CPU-specific peripheral chips for the MC68000 were still vapourware at that time while the 8088 could use existing 8080-series interface chips out of the box. And so on.

448:

Didn't you once spend an afternoon fixing the Markdown implementation for this blog because you knew nobody upstream ever would?

449:

The MC68000 promised much but it was still a hangar queen[1] when IBM plonked down the spondulicks and started up a production line.

I and friends were eager to get to play with these when in college in the mid 70s. And then after college in the later 70s. All kinds of articles about how great it was, err, would be but by the time it shipped it was almost too late. Apple gave it a life till Moto couldn't keep up and they told them to work with DG and then IBM and actually make something better. IBM was likely eager to try anything to get out from under Intel's thumb. But internally they had more issues than can be described in less than a few days.

450:

It absolutely is, but as long as it's heating on demand from a mains feed there's not any real risk. Legionella proliferates in stored water and dead legs of pipework that should have been disconnected. (More of a problem in larger and old installations.) For more than anyone needs to know, L8 The control of legionella bacteria in water systems

451:

There's something to be said for the idea that the 8086 was the first truly commercial microcomputer design. Until it came out everyone and their dog were rolling out their own silicon with various limitations and no compatibility with previous CPUs but the 8086 was effectively the microcomputer version of the IBM 360, designed to be evolutionary rather than revolutionary.

The 8086 was a true 16-bit CPU (the IBM PC used the 8088 8-bit-bus version but internally it was 16-bit) but it was backwards compatible with the 8080A with register sets and addressing modes that emulated the older 8-bit design's structures. This made porting 8080A code to the 8086 a lot easier compared to what companies creating new 16-bit CPU designs were doing. The "stupid" 64kB addressing mode, for example was perfect if you were porting 8080-based C/PM code to new hardware. Writing new code from scratch you could take advantage of the extended addressing modes and ignore the 64kB paging modes.

Another major feature was that the 8086 could directly interface with existing 8080-series peripheral chips like the 8251, the 8255 etc. No need to wait for new chips to come to market to handle the new data and address bus timings and signals as with the MC68000 -- the MC68000's Data Available strobe signal was great for interfacing with slow and fast memory, peripherals etc. but the interface chips that could generate *DAV natively didn't exist so the designers had to build clock delay chain circuits to fake the timings. And so on.

452:

Pigeon @ 425:

"it's the fixtures won't properly mix hot & cold. It's partly because of the water pressure"

That is a problem which used not to be encountered over here but was imposed upon us. Mixer taps used to be basically a bit of pipe with a hot tap on one end, a cold tap on the other and a spout coming off the middle. All one common space inside, so by the time the water got to the other end of the spout it was always well mixed for any set of flow rates.

It's a problem rarely encountered over here either. You don't usually have the cold water pressure drop when you turn on the hot water.

I had those separate hot/cold taps in the bathroom sink at my old house & made my own mixer tube using a couple sections of garden hose & a plastic 'T' coupling. It worked fine.

I think the basic problem HERE is the well won't provide sufficient water flow to maintain pressure & I don't know how I'm going to fix that.

453:

David L @ 431:

"That is a problem which used not to be encountered over here"

One thing I found out years ago (is it true) was that the water pressure in London and many other cities in the UK have trivial water pressure from the system compared to most non rural areas of the US. We don't need tanks in the attic to hold the water and give us some pressure. In face pressure regulators are a big deal here. I was having pin hole leaks in my faucet hookup hoses till I discovered my pressure was around 160psi. I added a regulator to take it down to around 80. The standard in the US for residential construction is assumed to be 60 to 80 psi.

My understanding is that the assumption in the UK is that you are likely to have under 20. Maybe under 10psi. This comes from the ancient age of the piping put in well over 150 years ago.

My neighbor who also has a house near London is dealing with his attic water tank piping freezing then leaking during your recent cold spell. On top of what he had in his US house 18 months ago. Water line to the fridge split while he was in the UK. I found it but it was a mess. I mean reality TV show level of mess.

I've been thinking about adding a water tank (100gal food grade plastic tank is ~ $350USD) and I could build a 20' tower to mount it on; add a separate pump & float valve in the tank to keep it topped off. See if that will give me sufficient pressure & flow.

I've really got to get under the house and map out how my system is set up, maybe take a picture or two to figure out exactly what that water heater thingy really is & see if I can design a rational system. All I know for sure right now is what I've got is really EFFED UP (based on all the OTHER effed up things I've already found).

City water pressure in my old neighborhood was between 50-60 psi and that was plenty (plus pressure was the same from every faucet & hot water was the same pressure/flow as the cold water).

454:

David L @ 438:

"thanks to a law passed in the wake of a couple of incidents in which babies were badly scalded"

Interesting. On this side of the poid it is the mixing valves that have the limit. And if you want you can adjust it. I know the current hot water heaters let you get way too hot if you wish as I bought one a year ago.

Like you we have only adults here with no babies and I keep my hot water a bit above the normal. And turn it down if we leave for a few days. And I still use less natural gas than my neighbors due to buying high efficiency instead of cheap.

IIRC from when I installed my last water heater at my old house (which was 15+ years ago, because it was before I retired from the National Guard) - the recommended settings were no more than 120°F (31.1°C) for normal household use, but that you could set it as high as 160°F (53.33°C) if you needed hot water to run a dishwasher.

At a very high setting (closer to 160°F than 120°F), with a 50 gallon (189.27L) tank & a massage head on a wand, I could take very hot, very long showers without exhausting the hot water.

I'd get out of the shower feeling no pain whatsoever, go to bed & fall asleep quickly.

455:

More or less, yeah.

456:

The standard solution here for rural use is a pressure tank (ours is about 20gall?) that the well can fill at its leisure. Our well pump sends us water at about 70psi (up 35 ft, along 250ft, under the road, and up another 100ft + along 500 to the house) and the tank pressure valve/switch stops at 70 and triggers at 40ish.

That provides decent steady working pressure for showers and tub filling, and washing machines etc. I’d quite like a bigger tank to help with power outage but even more I’d like a power wall setup to keep the damn power!

The tanks are not expensive but if your supply is lame you might need to find a way to install a boost pump. It’s just a simple split tank, like two halves of a big bbq propane tank with a rubber membrane in the middle. Air pressure on one side, water on the other. Simple, fairly reliable.

457:

“One such source of inefficiency is the x86 instruction set, which is a fucking mess, and only gets worse with every addition to it.”

Well, yes, which is why I consider the x86 to be a waste of perfectly good sand. And why I’ve been an ARM user since ‘85 or so.

“The ultimate trouble with data in old storage is that eventually the disk or tape or whatever deteriorates and can't be read, even if you have managed to hang on to the device for reading it with. There's not a lot you can do about this unless you have a controlled archival environment facility, apart from remembering to copy it across to something newer every now and then.”

The aphorism I was taught is “spinning bits never die”. Of course that doesn’t apply in quite the same way now we use SSDs on many systems but the sense remains.

And the very best way to keep something forever is to encode it steganographically into a movie file , label it something like “BritneySpearsNaked.mpeg and dump in some public place. It’ll be around for all time, probably beyond the lifetime of the Sun.

458:

»There's something to be said for the idea that the 8086 was the first truly commercial microcomputer design. Until it came out everyone and their dog were rolling out their own silicon with various limitations and no compatibility with previous CPUs but the 8086 was effectively the microcomputer version of the IBM 360, designed to be evolutionary rather than revolutionary.«

Yes, there is something to be said for that idea, and that something is "rubbish".

If you want an idea about Intel which is fit for this forum, it is this:

Intel is the C.M.O.T Dibbler of microprocessors.

Intel has always sucked at designing new architectures, which they tend to demonstrate about once per decade and they usually run the company nearly into the ground along the way.

8086 was a rapidly kludged together stopgap, after their iAPX432 turned out to be a turd.

The idea of iAPX432 was actually very interesting, essentially an object-oriented architecture, and could possibly have gone places (the Rational R1000 did.), but Intel totally botched it, so badly in fact, that nearly no silicon has survived.

The 8086 kludge was an 8080 with 16 bit instructions and four extra address lines bolted on. 8080 again was 8008 reheated with a gratin sauce on top, 8008 was a DataPoint 2200 on a chip.

As far as I can tell, Intels fundamental problem seems to be what has been called "Marchitecture" or Marketing driven Architecture.

The iapx432 was Intel trying to capture "The Next Big Thing" which they thought would be a massively lucrative market for embedded Ada systems (Z8002 and 68K got that instead) AND at the same time going for IBM's throat in the low end mainframe market.

The Itanic was also Intel trying to capture "The Next Big Thing", in this case 64 bit computing. The "x86" architecture we use to day was designed by AMD and, eventually, adopted by Intel when it was either that or go out of business.

Between those two architectures they tried i960 aka "P7", to capture "The Next Big Thing", in that case the RISC market, and when that got delayed they also started i860 for good measure, and because of those two, they nearly cancelled the "uninteresting" i386 project, which saved their bacon in the end.

The specifics of why IBM chose 8088, the discounted 8-bit version of the 8086 for the IBM PC, is another interesting story, but if they hadn't, Intel wouldn't have existed by 1990.

459:

»The ultimate trouble with data in old storage is that eventually the disk or tape or whatever deteriorates and can't be read, even if you have managed to hang on to the device for reading it with.«

As one of the main archivists of digital data in Datamuseum.dk, I just want to say that the situation is not nearly as dire as you paint it.

Acid-free paper-tape being the clear and undisputed winner: 100% read rate.

The last two months I have read ~250 hard-sectored 8" floppoes from a WANG word processing system, and only about ten of those were not read perfectly, and in most cases only one or two sectors are missing.

The worst cohort of media we have encountered so far, are cheap disks from the 1990'es, where about 10% of the drives we have tried could would lack at least one head or more.

What the situation will be with post Y2K datamedia is anyone's guess.

460:

but the 8086 was effectively the microcomputer version of the IBM 360, designed to be evolutionary rather than revolutionary.«

Yes, there is something to be said for that idea, and that something is "rubbish".

I was wonderong if it was just me. I can't imagine how there is much of any relationship between the x86 and 360 designs other than at a higher level both are computers.

461:

hmmm... uh...

an opinion from an ignorant man

fossil water or subsurface aquifer recharged via river and/or rain?

what of the water table? how far is the level? recharging slower than draw down? faster?

what's long term estimate till the level is too far down to be accessed without more drilling? (this being so widespread an issue as to be regarded as the new normal)

anyone in the area looking into drilling at a topological low point to facilitate drainage more directly into aquifer?

there's been chatter about regions prone to flooding are now looking to kill two birds with one drilling... drainage after flooding and recharging to preclude shortages of water during drought

and yeah YMMV and KDTTAH

462:

P H-K
As in "Anthill inside" do you mean? { Pterry, of course }

463:

The comparison of the 8086 and the IBM 360 was that until the IBM 360 came along every new mainframe computer was fundamentally different to predecessors even from the same manufacturer. Nothing was backward-compatible, not the instruction sets, hardware, peripherals etc. The 8086 was the first new microprocessor CPU that could re-use code from its predecessor and it could interface easily with its predecessor's support chips while still being faster, more powerful and able to address lots more memory. Cheap, simple, popular, what's not to like? (1981, MC68000 price $125 versus 8088 $14)

Intel did indeed develop the 32-bit iAPX 432 mostly as a counter to the MC68000 and nobody bought it for a lot of reasons (price for one thing, complexity was another) but it was not backwards compatible with anything. Itanium was a later attempt to move away from the x86 and again no-one wanted to pay money for it. Intel and AMD finally said "Fuck it, let's give the paying customers what they tell us they want" and have continued with the x86 architecture using emulation and just-in-time decoding and leave the techno-purists and cyber-esthetes to wank over the "what might have beens". Transputer anyone?

464:

there's nothing wrong with writing new code... aside from having to grind through the testing 'n evaluating in as many cycles as the budget (time, attention, money, patience, etc) allows... knowing when it is deployed there are still lots of unseen flaws soon to become unhappy surprises...

as awful as it is to 'port over' old code onto new hardware, anyone who thinks it is a good idea to trash hundreds of man-years of accumulated experience in administering plus all that debugging should have to provide tech support for freshly formed apps... a fate worse than death...

BTW: team of 300 working 3 years is 500 man-years which is eqv to a million man-hours plus-or-minus

465:

The comparison of the 8086 and the IBM 360 was that until the IBM 360 came along every new mainframe computer was fundamentally different to predecessors even from the same manufacturer.

OK. I'll buy that. But that's not the impression you comment made.

And other manufacturers (the 7 dwarfs and later the BUNCH) figured it out but too late and stuck with the mainframe market. A few survived but most have vanished. Does Hitachi still make mainframes?

Then mini computers came along, poo poo'd the personal computers and took over the world. Then vanished, all in a bit over 10 years.

Intel and AMD finally said...

Actually Autodesk (AutoCAD) said, Intel / Windows only going forward. (What they didn't say in public was screw 20 different code bases.) (Microstation kept at it for a while but is mostly now Windows only.) And that cratered the market for higher end alternatives instruction/chip sets in the early 90s. And by cratered I mean it had the effect of a megaton nuclear bomb going off in Times Square or the East End. Without Autodesk, the market for high end graphics became a boutique thing. And there was no way that small of a market could support an entire different CPU chip line.

466:

anyone who thinks it is a good idea to trash hundreds of man-years of accumulated experience in administering plus all that debugging should have to provide tech support for freshly formed apps

I read an excellent article on this years ago. It was a screed against the mantra of wanting to write new code to get rid of all the wart and craziness of logic in the old code.

The point was those warts and craziness represented real life. Not some abstract version of life where everything is simple and neat. To make the new code base work if it is truly re-written will almost always require dealing with 99% of the warts and craziness. I'm thinking of Charlie talking about people not all being identical spheroids.

My wife handled digital signage for a major US airline for a while. Those signs you see over and around the airport for each airline. You might think they just extract the day's schedule and delays and push them to a display. You'd be soooooooo wrong. Manual intervention required in all kinds of edge cases. And some of those edges were sharp and could cut if you were not careful.

467:

And btw:

Intel is due to do something monumentally stupid again right about how, because ARM chips runs both faster and cooler than anything Intel has to offer.

468:

This is a 15+ year old story.

What new thing are they going to do? In addition to the previous dozen or so?

469:

timrowledge @ 456:

The standard solution here for rural use is a pressure tank (ours is about 20gall?) that the well can fill at its leisure. Our well pump sends us water at about 70psi (up 35 ft, along 250ft, under the road, and up another 100ft + along 500 to the house) and the tank pressure valve/switch stops at 70 and triggers at 40ish.

That provides decent steady working pressure for showers and tub filling, and washing machines etc. I’d quite like a bigger tank to help with power outage but even more I’d like a power wall setup to keep the damn power!

The tanks are not expensive but if your supply is lame you might need to find a way to install a boost pump. It’s just a simple split tank, like two halves of a big bbq propane tank with a rubber membrane in the middle. Air pressure on one side, water on the other. Simple, fairly reliable.

I've got that tank. It's one of the things I need to check settings on when I crawl up under the house. I basically in a temporary hold until the weather moderates a bit. Once that happens, I've got to (low) crawl under there & map everything, check the settings that I can and figure out what changes I'm going to need to fix whatever is wrong.

Then I have to make a plan, bill of materials & accumulate needed supplies so I only have to crawl under there one more time to do everything that needs doing.

By then, maybe I'll have enough money accumulated in my "rainy day fund" to hire a plumber to do the work instead.

One thing to consider - I was in my old house 48 years & had plenty of time to fix defects PLUS the old house had a stand-up basement, which made it a lot easier to work on stuff like that.

I could have done a lot more if my health had been up to it & maybe I could have saved that house.

I've only been here 8 months, so I still have a lot of work ahead of me making this house into my home.

470:

Howard NYC @ 461:

hmmm... uh...

an opinion from an ignorant man

fossil water or subsurface aquifer recharged via river and/or rain?

what of the water table? how far is the level? recharging slower than draw down? faster?

what's long term estimate till the level is too far down to be accessed without more drilling? (this being so widespread an issue as to be regarded as the new normal)

anyone in the area looking into drilling at a topological low point to facilitate drainage more directly into aquifer?

there's been chatter about regions prone to flooding are now looking to kill two birds with one drilling... drainage after flooding and recharging to preclude shortages of water during drought

and yeah YMMV and KDTTAH

All of those are things I have to consider, figure out or eliminate ... but as I've said before, based on the other things I know THEY fucked up in remodeling this house before I bought it, I'm pretty sure the problem is the person who did the plumbing is/was an idiot & incompetent to boot ... so 90% probability the problem is inside the house (or at least under it in the crawl space) ... although I still have to find out if the well pump itself is perhaps on the verge of failure (don't know how old it is).

I bought the house AS IS, but I still had a home inspection done just to make sure there weren't any deal breaker defects.

The inspector tested the plumbing and verified there was hot and cold at all outlets, but I don't think he really looked at water pressure/flow in the tub/shower ... just that there WAS hot & cold available.

I have found other problems the inspectors didn't catch - whoever installed the doors effed up the latches & locks. The floors & the ceilings are NOT level.

I know the inspector didn't pull the well pump out to inspect it.

IF I ever win the lottery, I'll try to buy my old house back & have it demolished to build a new one in its place.

471:

ARM fanboys always forget that ARM doesn't make chips any more, it's an intellectual property company with instruction sets for rent or lease. As for performance, the top-of-the-line server chips from AMD and Intel piss on the best ARM-based silicon from a great height (at the cost of a much greater power draw) and it's the same for their workstation and higher-end desktop CPUs.

ARM may be more efficient in terms of compute per instruction than Intel/AMD but in terms of deliverables ARM licencees can't compete. A while back MS released info on a research project they had been working on to create a clean-sheet instruction set optimised for efficiency. Not much detail was given but it was more efficient than ARM in terms of FLOPs per watt and other considerations. ISTR they built a CPU out of FPGAs and glue logic and actually ran benchmark code on it at 50MHz or so and it all worked.

472:

I thought there was some rumour that some time around the next lot of x86es or the lot after that, they were going to be ARM chips under the surface emulating the x86 instruction set because the accumulated bloat of nested bodges had now become so unwieldy as to make that a more efficient option?

473:

the top-of-the-line server chips from AMD and Intel piss on the best ARM-based silicon from a great height

In computations per watt? That's the measure that matters for people who don't have infinite supplies of free water and electricity.

474:

"Acid-free paper-tape being the clear and undisputed winner: 100% read rate."

...in the absence of silverfish :)

I agree, in general, it's all about entropy per bit, and it's much harder to accidentally change the state of a bit when it's a hole in a piece of paper than when it's a few electrons jostling at a potential barrier somewhere. So the older and lower-density recordings have a built-in advantage. But none of them last for ever, which I suppose is nearly what I was saying.

Also, of course, there are statistical outliers from the average behaviour, which can be particularly noticeable when they affect specific cases you happen to be interested in. I've had a half-inch mag tape which alone of all the tapes on the rack suddenly decided to stop retaining data, anywhere along its length; there have been TV and music recordings lost from studio archives because when they looked at them for the first time in 20 years they found they'd had a bad batch of tapes and they had turned to glue; and of course there are lots of dodgy home computer cassette formats which only just worked in the first place and don't require the tape to have lost much treble during its time in the cupboard before you lose all hope of reading them again.

475:

ARM have never made chips. It was a deliberate and arguably brilliant decision right back in the mid 80s when it all started. Pretty much everybody makes ARM chips in some form - a long time ago it was an industry joke that they would be closing down the sales dept. because there was no one left to sell to.

Right now the Apple M3 SOC is probably the best desktop cpu. It is a nicely done ARM 64 bit machine that really shows up the x64 stuff. For servers you can look at graviton, ampera, a couple of others that slip my mind.

As for MS coming up with “a more efficient “ anything... yeah, sure. Like that would ever come to be. Making an FPGA to prototype isn’t exactly rocket surgery these days.

If you actually like x86 for whatever reason, feel free. I don’t, never did, never would. I’ve had to write code generators for the drafted things. Blech.

476:

The paper tape I used last century was mylar-reinforced to allow for high-speed punching (several hundred characters per second) and reading (a thousand characters per second IIRC). I couldn't tear it or stretch it with my bare hands and it was waterproof, mould-proof, fungus-proof and probably insect-proof. It could be burned though.

477:

The newer AMD CPUs are pretty good in terms of FLOPs per watt, mostly due to the improved silicon. Intel's firebreathing top-of-the-range desktop CPUs are barn-burners but still a lot better efficiency-wise than older devices built on older leakier processes.

There's a time cost involved in doing thing slowly and accepting higher power consumption to get stuff done in a reasonable timescale is the usual tradeoff. Travelling by train takes more high-grade energy than continental drift, for example but few of us use plate tectonics to get around much.

478:

Right now the Apple M3 SOC is probably the best desktop cpu. It is a nicely done ARM 64 bit machine that really shows up the x64 stuff. For servers you can look at graviton, ampera, a couple of others that slip my mind.

The Apple M3 SOC is for notebooks, if I understand things correctly since Apple has effectively abandoned the desktop market. It's middle of the pack on benchmarks compared to the current generation of desktop CPUs from Intel and AMD and well behind the newest workstation CPU monsters like Threadripper. I think there's a workstation M3 but I'm not sure of the details.

As for Ampera, Graviton etc. together they have maybe 10% of the worldwide data centre market and that's mostly because of AWS cloud.

479:

so let's review:

heat, insects, neglect, humidity, cosmic rays, cold, and worst of all being time's cruel touch

it is an oft repeated process by which data is lost due to neglect along with near-zero planning

I'm struggling to recall the name of the film archive on the West Coast that burned down recently... the mega-sprawling television network that owned it had refused to release the estimated number of movies lost along with recordings of radio and teevee

huh...

my next pitch to Netflix ought be about a salvage operation from the mid-23 century which time travels to locations of disasters to duplicate 'lost media treasures'... starts out tedious but turns into a massive, multi-generational conspiracy by the ruling elite to cover up all manner of bad acts

480:

It could also be shredded; I've actually done that when disposing of an obsolescent computer system and its "compiled" objects.

481:

Ok, so you don’t like ARM, I don’t like intel; there’s really nothing more to say.

482:

since Apple has effectively abandoned the desktop market.

Nope. Servers, well yes. Desktops, well, no more than everyone else.

483:

They've started making rack mounted units again.

484:

I forget who it was I once listened to a keynote at a conference from, though I'm pretty sure the conference itself was a sysadminerly one. The speaker was talking about a company merger, and he was talking about how the two companies had a similar compute culture in that they all used Mac laptops, Sun workstations (and email and file and print I guess), and Cray iron for serious compute. I suspect the two companies may have actually been Sun and Cray, so the "culture" may have been a bit off a weird pickup, but it's just too long ago to delve from memory reasonably.

Not entirely pertinent, except that it involved serious people taking about using Apple in a context that involved much more serious compute.

485:

I'm okay with ARM, I just don't worship it religiously or cater to arcane conspiracy theories as to why it does not rule the Universe as is its right (see also RISC-V). It's an instruction set and architecture based on designs from the 1980s just like x86 and there are no miracles in such things, just utility.

I used to play around with devices like 88000/88110 and Transputers and they did stuff I found useful for edge cases such as graphics processing but commodity x86 was cheap enough that I could distribute tasks over sufficient hardware to get the job done without having to wirewrap my own setups. I also had some confidence that I would be able to source a better x86 platform for a reasonable price in the future whereas it became clear to me that Transputers were not going to be available for purchase in the near future.

The Archimedes fanboys back in the day did put me off ARM a bit, I must admit.

486:

»The Apple M3 SOC is for notebooks, if I understand things correctly«

You do not, and let's just leave it at that.

487:

They've started making rack mounted units again.

If you're talking about the MacPro in the rack mount case, well yes. But it's nothing of a server in what 99% or more IT nerds call a server. It's a way to put something that generates a lot of heat and maybe fan noise and takes considerable space away from a desk and just remote control it for video and maybe image processing.

I have a client where we do this all the time with both Win and Macs. Everyone has a laptop and all seat at the office are identical hot seats. With everyone given the same setup for WFH. When you need real "beef" you remote into a racked system in a data center.

488:

You need to read Kage Baker's books about "The Company" before you do that Netflix pitch.

489:

huh... I've tried reading those books but my eyes kept sliding off the page... but no doubt the underlying premise had sunk into my brain at some point

{ here's five bucks so don't tell Netflix that I plagiarized the idea from a published author }

490:

timrowledge @ 481:

Ok, so you don’t like ARM, I don’t like intel; there’s really nothing more to say.

Lets call the whole thing off

491:

Thanks, I need to add them into a novel I'm working on.

492:

As I've been saying about why IBM LOVES Linux. Continued support for Windows/S-36/S-38/400x/370/390... or, say, if you go to Linux, and you grow your company and need more power, buy our next bigger box, recompile what you already have, and you're running.

493:

Retiring @ 488:

You need to read Kage Baker's books about "The Company" before you do that Netflix pitch.

... or watch the film Millennium

494:

Yeah, but then there's the warts that are disasters, and always have been. When I was a subcontractor at Lowes' main office, I went to fix something. And found, in the code, someone who had gone on toe be a sysadmin had commented the code that they'd fixed this problem... five years before. They had not, they'd done something to make it look fixed. I actually fixed the problem, and commented to that effect.

495:

Five or six years ago, I wound up borrowing an old computer from a friend, and finally going through the several hundred old 5.25" floppies. And then the 3.5" floppies. Some - mostly the 5.25" - were unreadable, damn it. My greatest interest was in trying to salvage my late wife's fiction. Got most of it.

497:

Should have added, please leave a review on big river. They don't start pushing a book till it gets at least 50 reviews.

498:

A note on the ARM vs. x86 thread:

The current ARM processors (64 bit) have a considerably different instruction set from the ARM processors (32 bit) built for the Acorn.

I haven't delved into them too much, but it looks like ARM64 borrows a lot from IBM's Power. Which makes sense since the rumor is that Apple mostly designed the instruction set and handed it over to ARM. Many of the Apple engineers working on the ARM processors came from a company called PA-semi, which were working on a Power Architecture embedded core when they were bought by Apple.

Also, while the Mx core series is very power efficient and provides excellent performance for the clock speed it runs at, I think that is partially because the system RAM is on-package. Which gives much better performance and lowers power usage, but you are stuck with whatever is on the package (it looks like 128GB on the M3 Max). When current x86 servers can be configured with a Terabyte of memory, you can see the M3 is definitely not in the same league. And, of course, the on package RAM is much more expensive per bit than RAM on a DIMM.

499:

Yup, ARM64/v8-9 is utterly different to armv7 and predecessor processors. And certainly Apple had a lot of input because they have very nearly as long association with ARM as I do. Newton was the impetus for the ‘interesting’ ARM610 , the iPod etc were ARM, the Express wifi thingy, and of course the iPhone &iPad, before we get to the latest Macs.

I find it a little simpler to generate machine code for than ARMV7 because there are somewhat simpler rules now that not every instruction has the optional-execute field. Generating largeish constants is much simpler.

I do somewhat nostalgically miss the simplicity of 45 instructions from v1.

500:

When current x86 servers can be configured with a Terabyte of memory,

The latest Epyc server chips can address 6TB of RAM per CPU socket. The Intel Sapphire Rapids Xeons can address 4TB of RAM per socket. The Apple Mac Pro appears to max out at 192GB and I don't think it has any multi-CPU options at all.

For a time ARM ruled the supercomputer TOPS 500 list with a Japanese super made by Fujitsu using custom ARM-based server chips holding the number 1 spot for a couple of years. I think it's down to number 4 now, overtaken by Epyc and Xeon based machines.

501:

heh...

it's not a super-duper-computer until the roof of the building glows moderately red hot due to thermal exhaust spewing at a temperature suitable for roasting pigeons on the wing

502:

The Mac pro is a quite nice desktop, not a big server. Couple of years ago ARM actual servers like Graviton 3 etc were including 120 cores and supporting 4Tb ram. They’ll all hop and skip across each other until intel blows it all up again with their extraordinary ability to screw up.

Several projects I’ve worked on had intel involvement; in every case it was almost as if they were deliberately messing up. Weird.

503:

»Several projects I’ve worked on had intel involvement; in every case it was almost as if they were deliberately messing up. Weird.«