Pigeon

Pigeon

  • Commented on Canned Monkeys Don't Ship Well, the Remix Version
    Interesting. The peculiar vulnerability is identical, but what I'm thinking of was an actual story in a book, and there was more than one human captive....
  • Commented on Canned Monkeys Don't Ship Well, the Remix Version
    Everyone seems to be taking the presence of this computer as a given, but I can't help thinking: what is it actually for? The navigational calculations are not all that hard - the geometry is basically the same as for...
  • Commented on Canned Monkeys Don't Ship Well, the Remix Version
    The most dangerous thing to a sailing boat is land. Surviving a storm in the open ocean basically boils down to making sure you stay afloat while you wait for it to stop; this isn't trivial, but it is largely...
  • Commented on Canned Monkeys Don't Ship Well, the Remix Version
    Surely if you have an effective mechanism for tweaking those dials at all, the more useful tweak for the sexual attraction vector is not adjusting its angle, but greatly reducing its magnitude? I'm not convinced that imposing measures to control...
  • Commented on Canned Monkeys Don't Ship Well, the Remix Version
    ...And this reminds me. WHAT is the SF short where the human exhibits in an alien zoo discover that any sound that humans consider harmonious and musical causes great pain to their alien captors, and weaponise music hall songs to...
  • Commented on Canned Monkeys Don't Ship Well, the Remix Version
    "AND the fucking school system doesn't teach music ( as in simple theory & READING it ) to everyone - WHY NOT?" When I was little some bod got everyone in the class to try blowing down a loose oboe...
  • Commented on Canned Monkeys Don't Ship Well, the Remix Version
    It's not as easy as that... Producing food that doesn't contain any unstable isotopes is not exactly a trivial task, partly because of the amount of separative work required, partly because of how far back down the chain you have...
  • Commented on Canned Monkeys Don't Ship Well, the Remix Version
    "a growth-based economy is not only unsustainable but suicidal on board a generation ship" I don't consider that "sticking your neck out", I consider it a basic axiom. After all it still applies when the generation ship in question is...
  • Commented on Canned Monkeys Don't Ship Well, the Remix Version
    I suspect 5% efficiency photons to food is overestimating it a bit. I remember looking up some numbers on this a while ago (checking out whether Daedalus's idea of a train that powers itself on grass mowed from between the...
  • Commented on Canned Monkeys Don't Ship Well, the Remix Version
    They are all over ebay: lamps consisting of roughly equal numbers of red and blue LED chips, so the overall light is the kind of purple that some people call pink. You really would not want the human environment lit...
  • Commented on Canned Monkeys Don't Ship Well, the Remix Version
    I doubt it would be impossible but I do think it would be sufficiently hard that it might as well be impossible, particularly if it has to operate independently of existing Earth infrastructure. The difficulty is that as well as...
  • Commented on Canned Monkeys Don't Ship Well, the Remix Version
    The radiation problem could probably be solved by dropping by a handy comet and sticking a dirty great chunk of ice on the front of your ship before you start turning the juice on, as suggested by Arthur C Clarke....
  • Commented on Canned Monkeys Don't Ship Well, the Remix Version
    "What is hard is trying to deal with things like market saturation" Only if you are fool enough to allow the term to have a meaning in the first place. One advantage of the generation ship approach, if you can...
  • Commented on Canned Monkeys Don't Ship Well, the Remix Version
    On the other hand, worked stone tends to be quite attractive to people who are building or repairing later stone structures and could do without having to work it themselves. One way around this is to write on a ruddy...
  • Commented on The Pivot
    "IMHO, "CO2 pollution" is the real red herring" Well, yes, I tend to have some sympathy with that point of view, although I think my angle is not quite the same as yours. I don't share the trust in the...
  • Commented on The Pivot
    Thank you, I was going to ask you what had happened with the USSR's district heating systems after the collapse. Good to hear that they're still being efficiently repaired. "Other types of coal usage" are a red herring spawned from...
  • Commented on Unsustainable Interstellar Civilization, Hotspot Colonies, and Dwarf Culture
    I prefer to think of a gas turbine as cutting out not the steam bit of a steam turbine plant, but the pistons and crank bit of a reciprocating IC engine. It's a logical evolutionary path from the idea of...
  • Commented on Unsustainable Interstellar Civilization, Hotspot Colonies, and Dwarf Culture
    Difficult to get Tin on a Stirling engine anything like as high as on an IC engine; also their power density is a lot lower. For a mobile power source that you can take with you on the spaceship so...
  • Commented on The Pivot
    "Anyone know if..." I suspect "ease of use" ( = "familiarity", = standard consumer kit) has a higher priority....
  • Commented on Unsustainable Interstellar Civilization, Hotspot Colonies, and Dwarf Culture
    I thought of NiFe as it ought to be really easy, with those common elements, but they're also really frigging expensive, which I thought was why we hardly use them any more and must indicate that there's some sort of...
  • Commented on Unsustainable Interstellar Civilization, Hotspot Colonies, and Dwarf Culture
    It would pretty well have been there. After all, to get a chain reaction going all you need to do is make a big enough heap of uranium (as metal or oxide) and graphite, and you just take it from...
  • Commented on Unsustainable Interstellar Civilization, Hotspot Colonies, and Dwarf Culture
    Nobody said anything about string theory, but your description was so close a parallel to the way people attack it that I had to point it out :) Phylogenetic trees are a different class of problem - basically dictionary compilation....
  • Commented on Unsustainable Interstellar Civilization, Hotspot Colonies, and Dwarf Culture
    No... she made predictions which (apparently) made good sense, but were not good :) (Equations which make good predictions but make no sense are "edged tools" - you can use them, but you'd better be careful, because they don't do...
  • Commented on Unsustainable Interstellar Civilization, Hotspot Colonies, and Dwarf Culture
    (This is a digression, but it's your digression and your thread :)) "If a computer can do something a human with a paper and pencil can't do in a lifetime, that's a form of artificial intelligence, period, end of story."...
  • Commented on Unsustainable Interstellar Civilization, Hotspot Colonies, and Dwarf Culture
    Why we need bioaccumulation - something that seems to be largely missing both from the wikipedia and microbewiki articles is that quite a bit of the chemistry behind many of those groundwater-circulation ore-formation processes is driven by microbes. Changes in...
  • Commented on Unsustainable Interstellar Civilization, Hotspot Colonies, and Dwarf Culture
    Hey, steam-powered aeroplanes - aerodynes, not aerostats - have been built and flown, quite successfully. Mostly in the period between WW1 and WW2. A particular advantage was that they were so much less noisy than internal combustion piston engine planes...
  • Commented on Unsustainable Interstellar Civilization, Hotspot Colonies, and Dwarf Culture
    I was thinking that while we are proof against them nearly all the time, there are instances where our defences do fail, and the consequences are pretty horrible (eg. gangrene); and the logic that something that has evolved to respond...
  • Commented on Unsustainable Interstellar Civilization, Hotspot Colonies, and Dwarf Culture
    Am I missing something or has this discussion actually got two largely incompatible sub-points? It seems that we've been discussing two different types of successive colonisation under the same heading. On the one hand we have the rapaciously unsustainable, fast-moving,...
  • Commented on Unsustainable Interstellar Civilization, Hotspot Colonies, and Dwarf Culture
    "As for chemical defenses, that's a red herring: most of the really dangerous things are hacks on our biochemistry" On Earth, maybe; I agree with your point that alien versions of them wouldn't work on our architecture. I'd think the...
  • Commented on Unsustainable Interstellar Civilization, Hotspot Colonies, and Dwarf Culture
    Troutwaxer @ 76: yes to pretty much all of that. With respect to the temperature rise of a misaligned exit - yes, there is a bit of margin as you suggest, although it's not the structure of the ship whose...
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