Nojay

Nojay

  • Commented on The unavoidable discussion
    From an educated European's perspective, the USA is a bit of an odd duck in the first place. A common currency but State budgets and income tax/sales tax/property tax collection authority? How does that work? A largely unelected Supremem Court...
  • Commented on The unavoidable discussion
    The Guatemala/Belize affair never actually came to a shooting match, thanks to the Royal Navy and an impressive bit of naval aviation and bluffing. in the 1970s Belize (British Honduras as was) was being threatened militarily by their neighbours, Guatemala...
  • Commented on The unavoidable discussion
    "It's impossible to prove a negative, but I'll try. If you look at Latin America since the second world war, except for the Falklands war, the wars fought there have been civil wars or US interventions. Outside of the Falklands...
  • Commented on The unavoidable discussion
    Traditional British foreign policy with regards to Europe was to maintain the ability to fight two simultaneous wars with European nations, mostly at sea. In times of peace it was "Wogs begin at Calais" and the foreign affairs focus was...
  • Commented on The unavoidable discussion
    The Cold War cost the regimes both sides of the Rhine a fortune in defensive spending over a period of several decades, probably more in terms of consumption of wealth than a real conventional war would have. Absent a politically...
  • Commented on Some notes on world building
    The AGRs have an intrinsic lifespan problem involving cracks developing in the carbon moderator blocks in the core. Too many cracks too close together and the reactor will not pass licencing inspections. The cracks are cumulative and the blocks can't...
  • Commented on But it's not April 1st yet!
    First thing to do, and it's reasonably affordable is to make a baseline backup of your existing pictures collection onto an external hard drive or two. That done, find a good home for the backup away from where you live...
  • Commented on But it's not April 1st yet!
    Nine out of ten kids won't get anything out of the Bit, nor would they get anything out of a Raspberry Pi. One kid in ten will, and sparking that interest when they're at school is worth a lot to...
  • Commented on But it's not April 1st yet!
    Folks don't talk about ATM security issues relating to the software because ATMs are not connected to the internet which blocks 99% of the possible attack methods. The attacks that have been noted tend to be insider jobs carried out...
  • Commented on Deploying the monomyth in Space Opera
    The unspoken tradeoff in the frozen-human-embryos-raised-by-AIs colonisation concept is that the first half-dozen generations and more are going to be severely broken with a lot of violence and antisocial behaviour in the first hundred years or so due to a...
  • Commented on Deploying the monomyth in Space Opera
    Would that have been 3 Para's chaplain, circa mid-80s perchance? I recall reading that their chaplain had been expressly instructed by his Bishop to leave his target rifle at home when he shipped out with the Regiment to the Falklands....
  • Commented on Deploying the monomyth in Space Opera
    The excellent manga/anime series "Planetes" has radiation-induced cancer as a common ailment of folks who spend a lot of time in space. Treatments for cancer are better than today-standard but not that much better....
  • Commented on Defining space opera
    Properly designed and built (and expensive and space-rated) ion thrusters will give an Isp of a thousand and more. The xenon-fuelled thruster on the SMART-1 lunar probe had an Isp of 1600 and that flew over ten years ago. As...
  • Commented on Defining space opera
    Reasons. The EPRs were "state of the art" designs back when they were first designed and they had some sales before they were mooted for the UK. They've had a very problematic build history -- The French keelplate EPR at...
  • Commented on Defining space opera
    The UAE are also building four nuclear reactors because the sun doesn't shine all day. The gas (and oil) under the sand can be sold abroad for money rather than being burned locally to provide electricity and fresh water. The...
  • Commented on Towards a taxonomy of cliches in Space Opera
    One of the Vernor Vinge short stories had the tricksy humans orbiting a giant warship around an alien planet. It was piloted and manned by one person who was mostly bored out of his skull since it wasn't actually a...
  • Commented on Towards a taxonomy of cliches in Space Opera
    We have an active-cooling worked example in the SR-71 where the fuel is used as coolant before it is burned in the engines. This isn't for stealth reasons but simply because of the skin-frictional heating effects of high speed flight...
  • Commented on Towards a taxonomy of cliches in Space Opera
    The Grendels were created by Dr. Jack Cohen who knows a bit about biology and reproduction. They may be unlikely but they're not totally implausible....
  • Commented on Towards a taxonomy of cliches in Space Opera
    OTOH the cloud of gas doesn't have to absorb: it's enough for it to disrupt the focus of the beam and so bugger up the concentration of energy. (Which it will do pretty much regardless of what it's made of...
  • Commented on Towards a taxonomy of cliches in Space Opera
    Heh. Call those megastructures? I'll give you megastructures, the way only seriously-over-the-top anime can do megastructures. The giant vaguely-humanoid mecha "Super Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann is 52.8 billion light years tall, according to the official guide book from GAINAX". That's...
  • Commented on Towards a taxonomy of cliches in Space Opera
    As well as the slightly strange but comfortable bed there are washing facilities, and also a toilet if the story is not about those strange mutant humans with no arses. The Twin Chorons, an alien bar, with three doors labelled...
  • Commented on Towards a taxonomy of cliches in Space Opera
    And to assume that nuclear plants will always be as difficult to maintain as the currently are ignores, e.g., the history of radio and computers. If nuclear plants start to become common, then they WILL be easier to maintain because...
  • Commented on Holding pattern (part N ...)
    There's a Japanese manga about the very last ever serving of sushi. It is not a comedy. Saying that it's also a Deep Time SF story and it does have its funny moments....
  • Commented on Holding pattern (part N ...)
    Facts the LFTR boosters skip over a lot: Thorium (Th-232) isn't fissile, in needs to be bred into U-233 which IS fissile. This is not an option, it is the only way the reactor can be powered by pixie dust^W^Wthorium....
  • Commented on Holding pattern (part N ...)
    I rather enjoy giving the thorium breeder molten salt reactor (LFTR) fanboys reality wedgies, especially the Real Soon Now types who orgasm over the latest Memorandum of Understanding or vague handwaving report about the possibility of one of the wing-dragging...
  • Commented on Holding pattern (part N ...)
    Power is the problem. A Lunar cubesat is 240,000km from home and is maybe 15cm on a side. The energy budget for something that small to provide even one-way communications just isn't there. It MIGHT work if there was a...
  • Commented on What Goes Around...
    Being a man and not of high status was also lacking in opportunities too, in those times. I still say the Monty Python historical movies (MP and the Holy Grail, Life of Brian) are pretty much the most accurate depiction...
  • Commented on Maneuvers in the Dark
    There's also Freefall, a quirky webcomic that's been running for a long time now. A mixture of comedy, Science! and moral philosophy about AIs, terraforming, sleazy alien spaceship captains and bioengineered lifeforms and their creators (Doctor Bowman is a hyperintelligent...
  • Commented on Maneuvers in the Dark
    He wasn't a pilot due to problems with his eyesight (caused, he said by a defective immunisation during his induction into the RAF) and he couldn't even make aircrew because of it, hence his role as an Intelligence Officer. I...
  • Commented on Maneuvers in the Dark
    Also the story about the only pilot ever shot down in a Link trainer... I rather got the impression that accuracy and an honest retelling of his own experiences wasn't at the heart of that book and a lot of...
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