Jay

Jay

  • Commented on Unwelcome reality excursion
    Apparently there are about 850,000 Top Secret clearances in the US, as of 2010. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Security_clearance#Jobs_that_require_a_clearance...
  • Commented on Unwelcome reality excursion
    the UK (which has traditionally been a whole lot more isolationist wrt. the continent than, say, Germany and Poland). In all fairness, the Polish would love a chance to be isolationist. They just suffer from inconvenient geography....
  • Commented on Unwelcome reality excursion
    One thing I feel needs saying is that the subtle nature of modern Western social control actually counts for quite a bit. There's a big difference between being subtle to subtle social controls and being subject to brutal social controls....
  • Commented on Unwelcome reality excursion
    I think the best answer is that suppression of dissent in post-Soviet Britain would be a lot less subtle. Everyone would know people who've disappeared in the middle of the night. People would try not to be seen laughing at...
  • Commented on Unwelcome reality excursion
    I think what Charlie's trying to explore here is the uses a totalitarian regime would have for PRISM-style surveillance. The catch is that the Soviets are the wrong flavor of totalitarianism; nosy neighbors are more appropriate to communism than signals...
  • Commented on Unwelcome reality excursion
    The Soviet approach to security was all about human intelligence, not electronic intelligence. Part of that came from the ideology of communism; people were supposed to pay attention to each other and keep each other on the straight and narrow....
  • Commented on The Curse of Laundry
    Amplifying this, the American fantasy is that we can allow the rich to accumulate limitless wealth and still have a government that responds to the will of the masses....
  • Commented on The Curse of Laundry
    This disincentive only applies at ministerial/top executive level. True, but the executives can't effectively oversee an organization that they're distant from. Their job is to be the link between the policy setters in the capital and the grunts on the...
  • Commented on Some thoughts on turning 50
    My other tomb is a pyramid....
  • Commented on Some thoughts on turning 50
    I see the youth of today all the time. They seem like a bunch of conformist squares who wouldn't know fun if it drove by them at three times the speed limit, laughing. It's a very disappointing feeling to have...
  • Commented on Some thoughts on turning 50
    Tombstone idea: I'd rather be living....
  • Commented on Some thoughts on turning 50
    Happy birthday, Charlie. May the forces of evil get lost on the way to your house....
  • Commented on Some thoughts on turning 50
    I am just anticipating that fast computer simulations and expert systems should lead to more rapid advances in material science, rocketry and cheap energy sufficient to drop the cost of space flight by several orders of magnitude. I think...
  • Commented on Metacommentary
    We're still a few minutes away from nuclear annihilation. The nukes didn't go away when their management changed. We've just (mostly) forgotten about them. AFAIK, everything's still ready to launch, on both sides. Well, not everything, but more than enough....
  • Commented on Metacommentary
    An overwhelming sense of doom and dread simply means that you've been paying attention....
  • Commented on Metacommentary
    Every model is wrong, because models are by nature mathematical abstractions smoothing over a messy reality. Having said that, models can be good enough for specific purposes....
  • Commented on Metacommentary
    reality is much better explained with an almighty, evil and malicious god An almighty malicious god would have turned the air to spiders or something. An indifferent or nonexistent God makes more sense....
  • Commented on Metacommentary
    I'm not sure, but I get the general impression the waste problem is of comparable magnitude for fission and (at this stage theoretical) fusion energy. The fusion waste is probably shorter-lived, depending on what it was before it was exposed...
  • Commented on Metacommentary
    IIRC, the failure modes of fusion reactors are relatively benign. The plasma loses containment and cools down, no big deal, Batman and Spiderman notwithstanding. The success modes of fusion reactors are not so benign, though. The neutron flux is truly...
  • Commented on Not a Manifesto
    Most of the big problems are, ultimately, some form of the Prisoner's Dilemma. If everyone continues to use fossil fuels, horrible things happen. If everyone backs off of fossil fuel use quickly enough, fewer horrible things happen. But if some...
  • Commented on Metacommentary
    Actually, there are credible reports that Ebola can spread via aerosols (i.e. sneezing). http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1997182/...
  • Commented on Not a Manifesto
    To believe there is an inflection point in our near future you have to believe that we won't solve one of a handful of serious issues Many of us do believe this, mainly because the history of the past 40...
  • Commented on Not a Manifesto
    I've heard that the Navy sometimes runs into high wet bulb temperatures. On a ship near the Equator, in a confined space near a hot engine, that kind of thing. It's also worth emphasizing that shade and shelter won't solve...
  • Commented on Metacommentary
    Although realistically nobody considers himself to be evil, the English stereotypes of Germans that Charlie based these elves on are pretty much the English idea of Pure Evil....
  • Commented on Not a Manifesto
    Actually, if you scroll down, they do have hourly measurements. The 94% humidity was measured at 6 and 7 am (77 deg F both times); at 4:00 the temperature was 105.1 but the humidity was 30%. Texans at that time...
  • Commented on Metacommentary
    Book 6: the Laundry is still desperately clinging to the shadows but Laundry-related subjects are coming up in COBRA briefings and ministers are Unamused I imagine the temptation to just slap a geas on Westminster to keep them out of...
  • Commented on Metacommentary
    Should be interesting. "So, Bob, how did you get the nickname TEACUP?". Paxman would probably think that was a softball....
  • Commented on Metacommentary
    I'm most interested to see what happens when the Laundry just can't keep things secret any more. They've had a city of 2.5 million Americans totally isolated for several days; I can't imagine that the Denver mystery blew over. After...
  • Commented on Metacommentary
    One of the drawbacks of moving to a new genre is that you will initially lack an understanding of previous influential work in the genre. I'm pretty sure I've seen this take on elves before, although I'm having a hard...
  • Commented on Metacommentary
    The similarity between Elves and 14 year old human girls has often been remarked. Of course they hog the phone....
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