Allen Thomson

Allen Thomson

  • Commented on No comment necessary
    Because coumarin has been mentioned here, morphic resonance caused this to appear: https://www.atlasobscura.com/foods/tonka-beans The tonka bean, which gives off notes of vanilla, cherry, and almond, infuses desserts, drinks, and even perfumes around the world. British chefs mix it into cocktail...
  • Commented on No comment necessary
    210Po is kind of dodgy stuff. It seems to have had a brief fling in the late-1950s through late-1960s, but clearly lost out to Pu-238 for NASA. Other interested parties were absent or lost interest. https://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19700026329.pdf...
  • Commented on No comment necessary
    Pu-238 hits a sweet spot for RTGs For relatively short-duration applications like the proposed Aqualine drone Po-210 looks promising. Half-life of about 4.5 months, mostly alpha radiation with not many gammas and high specific heat output. Just don't eat any....
  • Commented on No comment necessary
    For something different, something old, the CIA's nuclear-powered(*) spy drone disguised as a bird! http://alert5.com/2020/07/31/cia-declassifies-project-aquiline/ The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has declassified its Project Aquiline on Jul. 30. The secretive program from the late 1960s was to build a...
  • Commented on No comment necessary
    it's too hot to work creatively today (Checks weather in Edinburgh) So ~ 25 C? That's coolish here....
  • Commented on No comment necessary
    the House Sergeant at Arms Not a toothless post, it would appear: https://www.house.gov/the-house-explained/officers-and-organizations/sergeant-at-arms and https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/2/5605 2 U.S. Code § 5605. Law enforcement authority of Sergeant at Arms (a) Law enforcement authority The Sergeant at Arms of the House of Representatives...
  • Commented on "It'll all be over by Christmas" (Part 2)
    The closest thing I'm aware of is the Rosetta Code site. Thank you, that's certainly close enough to what I was wondering about....
  • Commented on "It'll all be over by Christmas" (Part 2)
    > like the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is used for natural languages. E.g., https://omniglot.com/udhr/index.htm...
  • Commented on "It'll all be over by Christmas" (Part 2)
    same from Ada to C++ For some reason this caused me to wonder if there's any standard block of code besides "Hello World" that's used to illustrate what different computer languages look like. Sort of like the Universal Declaration of...
  • Commented on "It'll all be over by Christmas" (Part 2)
    SLOW space habitats that drift along at around .01c or less WRT the average local drift. They need to drift fast enough to continually encounter new resources, and slowly enough to be able to acquire them. c/100 (3000 km/s) or...
  • Commented on "It'll all be over by Christmas" (Part 2)
    Unlike sunlight the laser intensity doesn't drop off along an inverse square curve as you get further away. That's only true in the near field of the laser transmitter, not the far field, and interstellar distances are pretty far unless...
  • Commented on "It'll all be over by Christmas" (Part 2)
    https://space.stackexchange.com/a/9446 goes into it in some detail, but the TL~DR is that the brains are 3-way redundant computers, with each computer double-checking itself by running the same code on two cores. Very interesting, thanks or the link....
  • Commented on "It'll all be over by Christmas" (Part 2)
    Still, in the application in question, you don't need the ability to do billions of operations per second, you've got a billion seconds to do them in. Interesting question. Just how many Z80s does it take to run a c/4...
  • Commented on "It'll all be over by Christmas" (Part 2)
    the author Possibly this one: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Habitable_Exoplanet_Hunting_Project...
  • Commented on "It'll all be over by Christmas" (Part 2)
    The Shuttle: not fucking hardly. Two out of 135 missions. For lots of numbers relevant to space launch vehicles, see https://www.spacelaunchreport.com/log2020.html#rate particularly the tables ACTIVE LAUNCH VEHICLE RELIABILITY STATISTICS and, relevant to STS, RETIRED LAUNCH VEHICLE RELIABILITY STATISTICS which gives...
  • Commented on "It'll all be over by Christmas" (Part 2)
    But we have 3 months to go. Starting up schools with a few clumps of dead teachers and kids will likely lead to rout for Biden. Other things might go against him like bars and restaurants still being shut down....
  • Commented on "It'll all be over by Christmas" (Part 2)
    ...in the USA - cases are still increasing & the rate is, or app ears to be - going up. Yep. In the last ten days the US doubling time of reported cases has slid from ca 40 to...
  • Commented on "It'll all be over by Christmas" (Part 2)
    the dogma was that there was no such thing as a psychosomatic disease, and such people were merely being hysterical and reporting made-up symptoms. There's been a somewhat depressing replay of that wrt the "Havana Syndrome", slightly inverted. A certain...
  • Commented on "It'll all be over by Christmas" (Part 2)
    The UK changed methodology on 2nd July to eliminate duplicates: Ah. Thank you. The statistic I like to keep track of is the doubling rate of reported cases derived from day-over-day ratios(*) and it was somewhat disconcerting to see it...
  • Commented on "It'll all be over by Christmas" (Part 2)
    and says the UK will soon have herd immunity For liberal values of "soon." If the doubling time derived from published statistics just stays constant at its present value rather than continuing to increase, 60% of the UK population will...
  • Commented on "It'll all be over by Christmas" (Part 2)
    Speaking of statistics and the UK, as sometimes happens, did the UK adopt a more restrictive definition of confirmed COVID case on or around 1 July? The stats in https://ourworldindata.org/coronavirus-source-data show a step downward of some 30,000 cases. In addition,...
  • Commented on "It'll all be over by Christmas" (Part 2)
    Another one of those off topic things, but for you fictioneers looking for something very weird on the galactic scale, there's this: https://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/goddard/2020/hubble-spots-feathered-spiral...
  • Commented on "It'll all be over by Christmas" (Part 2)
    It seems to me here people have just bloody given up. Yes, de facto even if they don't realize it, which I suspect most don't. If you look at the reported statistics from as-respectable-as-available sources, many large populations now have...
  • Commented on "It'll all be over by Christmas" (Part 2)
    In the US jamming cell signals in almost any situation, at least by civilians, is a huge no no. Yes. Perhaps twenty years ago a late friend and I were having a discussion about that. He was a Senior Executive...
  • Commented on "It'll all be over by Christmas" (Part 2)
    Except the State [TX] is now backtracking, and doing other things, to try to slow/stop the spread which will throw those estimates off - and those estimates are likely based on testing results that don't reflect the wider population. Yes,...
  • Commented on "It'll all be over by Christmas" (Part 2)
    Remember that a lot of GOP state politicians are up for re-election this November, and having my option #3 hitting the state (massive death toll + economic collapse) this fall would doom a bunch of them. Texas is still on...
  • Commented on "It'll all be over by Christmas" (Part 2)
    'reasonable' schedule is based on what criteria Well, it all depends (of course) and the real answer is "as long as necessary", which is a total non-answer. However, the US Internal Revenue Service has this advice for small businesses:...
  • Commented on Roll the dice
    I'm guessing 737s and A31x/32x sales don't get quite that fancy treatment as they're for about $30M a pop No, new current new-model 737s run ~$100M and I'd suppose A31x/32x are similar. I discovered that a while back while looking...
  • Commented on Roll the dice
    It looks like the US regions likely to get the worst of the dust are the ones that have the highest COVID-19 spikes, i.e. Florida, Texas. We talked with a friend in San Antonio, TX yesterday and it's already a...
  • Commented on Roll the dice
    before the election in November is a pretty optimistic guess Just looking at Texas and going by the reported cases carried in https://dshs.texas.gov/coronavirus/additionaldata/ , if the doubling rate levels out and stays constant rather than continuing to decline, 60%...
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