Allen Thomson

Allen Thomson

  • Commented on The Labyrinth Index: sneak preview!
    Guided bullets: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EXACTO https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vX8Z2MDYX3g...
  • Commented on Do my Homework
    We already know that modern servers aren't remotely powerful enough to sustain anything we'd accept as "consciousness." I'd like to know if a modern server, properly programmed, could be as intelligent and conscious as an ant or, heck, as...
  • Commented on Do my Homework
    I’ve never seen a lever action in the wild Oh, they're around. My parents gave me a Winchester Model 94 for Xmas in 1959 and we went hunting whitetail deer and javalinas with it. Never saw, much less shot one....
  • Commented on Do my Homework
    Operation FRACTURE JAW: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/06/world/asia/vietnam-war-nuclear-weapons.html I do love narratives that include official briefings and memos, which OGH does very well. In this real case, With the approval of the American commander in the Pacific, General Westmoreland had put together a secret...
  • Commented on Do my Homework
    Use of fire / use of metals / WRITING / use of electricity All qualify as singularities - admittedly slow ones, but, just the same..... Also my favorite, the printing press in Europe ca. 1450. Once mass duplication, dissemination and...
  • Commented on The Labyrinth Index: sneak preview!
    > Is it time to spin up a new blog topic specifically for discussing the state of global political crises? >> I think that might be sensible, with restarts once a month or so as needed. I'm tempted to agree...
  • Commented on Do my Homework
    "Please do not breed with the natives" Our totally adorable grandkids are 1/4 Lithuanian Ashkenazi (*) 1/4 Austrian Ashkenazi (*) 1/4 Puerto Rican-Galician(**)-Basque 1/4 Irish-Scots-English-German And, looking around, it seems that here in San Antonio people are miscegenating quite happily....
  • Commented on Do my Homework
    Second, pace the 2nd law of thermodynamics, it's a myth that you can't transform high entropy into low entropy. Entropy is generally reversible temporarily and on a local scale, even if not long-term and globally. Any system that uses an...
  • Commented on Do my Homework
    "homogenizing swarms" I think that was "hegemonizing swarms." Not sure if it would make a practical difference in the context, though hegemonies can be heterogeneous at certain scales....
  • Commented on Do my Homework
    How does a solar updraft tower produce during the hours of darkness. I understand the basic theory that hot air rises, but where do you get the hot air from during the time the sun's not shining on the base?...
  • Commented on Do my Homework
    Wrt the decline of the Westphalian model of state organization, it appears the CIA isn't buying it yet. The CIA is returning its central focus to nation-state rivals, director says By Shane Harris Washington Post September 24 2018 at 10:28...
  • Commented on Do my Homework
    What I do not see (or may be am ignorant of) are examples of seriously thinking about future impacts of the breakneck speed of development in biological sciences, An extreme example of this was Greg Bear's 1983/1985 "Blood Music." It...
  • Commented on Do my Homework
    Speaking of surveillance societies, the private sector continues to lead the way. Strap on the Fitbit: John Hancock to sell only interactive life insurance Suzanne Barlyn September 19, 2018 / 7:11 AM (Reuters) - John Hancock, one of the oldest...
  • Commented on "I doubt me an it be commercial."
    The Sunspot mystery's denouement: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2018/09/20/new-mexico-solar-observatory-a-child-pornography-investigation-not-aliens-triggered-the-mysterious-closure-of-the-facility New Mexico solar observatory: A child pornography investigation, not aliens, triggered the mysterious closure of the facility [excerpt] But, much to the disappointment of conspiracy theorists, what appears to have triggered the observatory’s complete shutdown...
  • Commented on "I doubt me an it be commercial."
    From the Washington Post this morning: https://tinyurl.com/yb4ostkn An FBI spokeswoman declined to comment, and a spokeswoman for the association [AURA] did not return messages seeking comment Sunday night. Otero County Sheriff Benny House said Sunday evening that he had not...
  • Commented on "I doubt me an it be commercial."
    Now this: http://www.aura-astronomy.org/news/news.asp?newsID=389 AURA Statement about the Status of the Sunspot Solar Observatory at Sacramento Peak, New Mexico September 16, 2018 Sunspot Solar Observatory is transitioning back to regular operations as of September 17th On September 6th, the Association of...
  • Commented on "I doubt me an it be commercial."
    Anyway, we're playing with pareidola here. Yes, we're making stuff up that kind of fits the observations. Me, I think that The Authorities (AURA and maybe others) are still figuring out how handle the situation, whatever it is. Any physical...
  • Commented on "I doubt me an it be commercial."
    BTW, the Homunculus Nebula and Eta Carinae in the Carina Nebula are deeply fun sources of story. And, (ahem) of haiku-like microverse: http://www.ultimax.com/pentapaul.html...
  • Commented on "I doubt me an it be commercial."
    I think it's silly to think that a big mercury spill is the cause of the AURA closure The CH3Hg speculation is not that there's now a spill of elemental mercury, but that there was a spill/leak, possibly unnoticed(*),...
  • Commented on "I doubt me an it be commercial."
    AFAIK the test would just involve a routine blood draw I seem to have been wrong -- hair samples are apparently the standard. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minamata_disease...
  • Commented on "I doubt me an it be commercial."
    Also, it would be extremely surprising in the litigious USA if a methylmercury incident were not followed by testing of everybody resident or working on the site. An incident would be embarrassing; hushing one up and not testing the people...
  • Commented on "I doubt me an it be commercial."
    With regard to the mercury spill/leak idea, that's the only thing I could think of that came close to making sense What I was thinking of was a leak of mercury into water that eventually got converted into https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Methylmercury ....
  • Commented on "I doubt me an it be commercial."
    With regard to the mercury spill/leak idea, that's the only thing I could think of that came close to making sense, but, FWIW, there's this: https://www.alamogordonews.com/story/community/2018/09/13/sunspot-observatory-remains-closed-unknown-security-risk-nmsu/1296835002/ The Richard B. Dunn Solar Telescope, which McAteer and his team operate, rotates on...
  • Commented on "I doubt me an it be commercial."
    What is certain is that the security balckout is the worst possible thing the "authorities" could have done. Exactly. This smacks of incoherent amateurism on the "security" side. That could have been explained for a couple of days, but this...
  • Commented on "I doubt me an it be commercial."
    > The situation continues. Most peculiar. Citizen reportage: http://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/23609/watch-this-guy-go-up-to-the-mysteriously-evacuated-sunspot-observatory-and-walk-all-around I've been to Sunspot and, as far as I can tell, this seems reasonably genuine. But caveat spectator....
  • Commented on "I doubt me an it be commercial."
    US sunspot solar observatory closed The situation continues. Most peculiar. https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2018/09/remote-solar-observatory-remains-closed-after-mysterious-evacuation https://www.space.com/41834-national-solar-observatory-facility-closed-security-issue.html The Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA), which manages the Sunspot observatory with funding from the U.S. National Science Foundation, hasn't said much, either. The organization...
  • Commented on "I doubt me an it be commercial."
    The best they could do was the W54 warhead used on the Davy Crocket Both the US and USSR developed 152/155 mm (aka 6-inch) artillery rounds as early as 1960-ish, but they seem never to have been all that popular...
  • Commented on Taxonomy of story, or, why murder?
    FlightRadar24 for tracking flights There's a similar one for ships: https://www.marinetraffic.com . Mildly interesting, but probably less informative overall than FlightRadar24....
  • Commented on Dread of Heinleinism
    because he had what I call the authoritative voice That, and because, IMO, he hit it just right in terms of timing/milieu and audience. Post-WWII was an age of technological miracles popping up right and left, American ascendancy was established...
  • Commented on Taxonomy of story, or, why murder?
    A sub with HEU fuel doesn't need to be refueled for the vessel's effective working life (25 years plus) whereas a sub with LEU fuel or even medium-enriched fuel in the 20% region would need refuelling at least once...
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