Allen Thomson

Allen Thomson

  • Commented on Ask me anything!
    Also, as someone who literally works in the Pentagon basement Heh. I went there on a number of occasions in the late 1980s and early-mid 1990s. It was gratifying in its overall WW-IIish gray, no-nonsense seriousness. Earlier, in the 1970s...
  • Commented on Ask me anything!
    Since the thread is named "Ask me anything!", I'll ask OGH or anyone else here to comment on Paul Krugman's SFnal piece, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/15/opinion/future-billionaires.html...
  • Commented on Ask me anything!
    But of course: http://hypergeertz.jku.at/GeertzTexts/Person_Time_Conduct.htm...
  • Commented on Ask me anything!
    Which 'classic' SF story would you most enjoy doing a rewrite of (or sequel to, or other story in the world of)? Endorse that. My candidates would, of course, be from the golden age, 1935-1965ish....
  • Commented on Ask me anything!
    Unfortunately, its [Falcon Heavy] performance declines when it comes to GEO AIUI, though probably imperfectly, that's due in large part to the lack of a hydrogen (high Isp) upper stage. SpaceX apparently intended to develop such about a decade ago...
  • Commented on Ask me anything!
    Well, since you asked... Both Merchant Princes and the Laundryverse have a view of the nature of reality. In the case of MP, it's explicitly Everett-Wheeler quantum non-collapse and I'm not sure how to describe the Laundry universe, but it's...
  • Commented on Story time!
    > But I won't be continuing it as a series with the same ongoing cast of protagonists: there are too many of them. Whatever you'd choose to do, of course. Schmitz' Federation of the Hub comes to mind as a...
  • Commented on Story time!
    >There probably won't be a supplemental essay at the end of Invisible Sun because the book is already 25% overweight. Alas. I really like the Merchant Princes et seq. and would be very happy to see the seq. continue. As...
  • Commented on Story time!
    >> “I had tentative plans to do [an essay] for INVISIBLE SUN, on the history and design principles of the Commonwealth's attempt at computerizing—with 20/20 hindsight based on being able to see everything the USA did wrong through the year...
  • Commented on Story time!
    Safety is another issue. If you are doing stupid things in much of the US you can get in big trouble. "Much of" doesn't include, unsurprisingly, places like Texas. During some twenty years there I saw plenty of construction workers...
  • Commented on Story time!
    I'm predicting a move towards communal kitchens/canteens/restaurants as resources diminish. A precursor of that in USia and similarly influenced places is the breakfast area in hotels. Kind of a DIY cafeteria, and it works reasonably well for the purpose....
  • Commented on Story time!
    They may use something like a high resolution ink jet. So what if the "chip" is A4 sized? Now that's an intriguing thought! I wonder if anyone has tried it -- if not, it would make an interesting science...
  • Commented on Story time!
    I raise you growing up in Leeds during the cold war.' For a late Cold War look at what FEMA estimated a full Soviet laydown on the US would look like, see https://fas.org/nuke/guide/usa/napb-90/index.html The maps in Annexes A and B...
  • Commented on Story time!
    I found the matrix notation difficult to work with (also dot and cross products) In the long-ago day when I was doing such stuff, I found that the Einstein notation was vastly easier to deal with. And Kronecker deltas and...
  • Commented on CMAP #16: Book Title Blues
    DFW terminal D I think is for international but there are a LOT of domestic only flights that also use it due to a gate shortage. We had the opposite experience in IAH a couple of months when our flight...
  • Commented on CMAP #16: Book Title Blues
    Electric radiant is the step up option. That's what I have now and actually it's fine. Yes, we had radiant for the past few years (now on community bottled gas) and were quite happy with it. Need to get more...
  • Commented on CMAP #16: Book Title Blues
    I think we'd usually call it "heating element" Doing a little checking, "burner" seems to be an acceptable alternative, but I'd have a bit of hesitation about applying that to electrical hotspots. After all, there's nothing burning there unless...
  • Commented on CMAP #16: Book Title Blues
    On the cooking front, can I just note that the terms "stove" and "oven" are linguistically ambiguous? As long as we're doing linguistics, I'll comment from an USAian perspective: "Oven" is the large parallelepiped heated from below with gas or...
  • Commented on CMAP #16: Book Title Blues
    or they were born out of state decades ago My father was born in 1906 on the AS&R concession in Aguascalientes, MX(gasp!). When the Mexican Revolution came along a few years later the gringos cleared out and the hospital...
  • Commented on Social architecture and the house of tomorrow
    By that measure the Brits do much better ... Handing over/back huge areas of the planet to the people who live there. No arguments that the Brits did much better on that score, but as a solicitation of opinion(*), how...
  • Commented on Social architecture and the house of tomorrow
    Utterly off topic, but this might be useful for worldbuilding. Summary: the sand on the beaches around Hiroshima Bay contains a heterogeneous collection of small glassy spherules... https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2213305419300074 Excitingly, it opens up "[A n]ew avenue for research linking the chemical...
  • Commented on Social architecture and the house of tomorrow
    I absolutely LOATHE the autodecorrect features, partly because my working vocabulary is much larger than theirs, and partly because of the need to type in proper names and foreign works. Tell me about it. This very afternoon we were trying...
  • Commented on Social architecture and the house of tomorrow
    Incidentally, 20m is also the predicted sea level rise if Antarctica goes ice-free! Not that it's an immediate prospect, but isn't that more like 70m? Including, I guess, Greenland....
  • Commented on Social architecture and the house of tomorrow
    All this talk of upgrading/extending rail in Scotland/ England/(Wales?) reminds me that the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative is keen an doing that sort of stuff. Post-Brexit, maybe post-Union, the PRC might be interested in lending a helping hand....
  • Commented on Social architecture and the house of tomorrow
    D-D fusion can be achieved Indeed so. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ivy_Mike Probably want to throttle that back a bit....
  • Commented on Social architecture and the house of tomorrow
    As long as we're talking about fusion power reactors, I'd like to understand their tritium economy in the start-up phase and thereafter. I.e., currently discussed reactors mostly use the deuterium-tritium reaction to produce energy and then capture the neutron from...
  • Commented on Social architecture and the house of tomorrow
    On climate change: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-01313-4 Permafrost collapse is accelerating carbon release In short, permafrost is thawing much more quickly than models have predicted, with unknown consequences for greenhouse-gas release. No particular surprise for the readership here, but a status report....
  • Commented on Social architecture and the house of tomorrow
    It took me a number of these posts to figure out that y'all use "pumpkin" as the generic, rather than "squash". You do have to watch out for local usage. When we lived in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, it...
  • Commented on Social architecture and the house of tomorrow
    The easy way to cook pumpkin is slice it in half, and place on cookie sheet cut side down. Bake at 350 for about 45 minutes, that depends on size so experiment. In the link they talk about scooping out...
  • Commented on Social architecture and the house of tomorrow
    On a related subject, in houses that are being heated we could care less about efficiency of electronics once we transition off of gas, since we'll be heating our houses electrically anyway. Yes, but the fraction of houses that are...
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