graydonish

graydonish

  • Commented on Generation Z
    AND it means there's more and more political muscle dedicated to not admitting the entire current housing stock needs replacing with stuff that's designed for broader temperature ranges, worse weather generally, and isn't dependent on a furnace. Which is a...
  • Commented on Generation Z
    The Polar Vortex as the ring-wall around the Arctic air mass, sure, that's a normal thing, driven by the Arctic and Temperate temperature differences. Having that collapse and spawn self-contained air-masses that wander away south while there isn't a polar...
  • Commented on Generation Z
    Yep. Direct from nuclear reactors. Which might give 0.3 x 0.6 x 0.3 ~= 0.05, which isn't much but if you're the USN you're certainly not going to give up aircraft carriers. As a primary input into an economy, one...
  • Commented on Generation Z
    Weather forecasts rely on weighted averages of previous events. We're seeing major circulation pattern shifts; weather forecasting is declining in accuracy, despite everything, and we have no ability to predict what the next novel pattern is. For instance, the whole...
  • Commented on Generation Z
    Uh, Charlie, two serious "oh no" things. One is, you don't want methane for the *current* infrastructure; it's not an especially good fuel. Can't run jets off it, lots of redesign required for anything mobile. OK really only for power...
  • Commented on Generation Z
    I think the systemic problem's very simple. Profit is not a legitimate objective. This isn't a comfortable notion; pretty much the entire organizing principle of the Western World is "maximize profit". If it was the *other* profit -- the proof...
  • Commented on "Write me something fresh and new, but make it just like the last one"
    Urban Fantasy? It's not even Secret History, is it? It's Lovecraftian Horror -- the more knowledge you have, the more risk you're at and the less hope you have. Knowing what you're doing in a lot of Urban Fantasy is...
  • Commented on A nation of slaves
    I think, for planning purposes, one has to suppose that the elderly plutocrats get, or will get, effective anti-senescence treatments and won't die of natural causes. This being equivalent to supposing capable heirs, I don't think it's that rash. Fossil...
  • Commented on A nation of slaves
    Dubious, I'm afraid. Legacy fuels (coal, gas, oil, radioactives) are wonderful things for holding energy. I'm afraid we'll get away from them when it becomes more than obvious that the hazards outweigh the benefits of using them, and when the...
  • Commented on A nation of slaves
    Argh. Turnip. Do not multiply supply in tonnes by capacity in kg. 13 Mtonnes of lithium is 13 x 10^9 kg, so 1.8 *billion* 85 kWh battery packs, and the world just passed a billion cars, so potentially doable. Something...
  • Commented on A nation of slaves
    And unlike uranium destined for nuclear reactors, lithium in batteries is not consumed by use. A great many other uses do consume it (lithium grease!), and even all 13 Mtonnes is, at 12 kWh/kg, at most a couple million Tesla...
  • Commented on A nation of slaves
    For batteries, you might want to Google "nickel-cobalt battery". https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wCaR6MiYmck is a demonstration, complete with lamentable elevator music. Sodium-sulfur also looks promising. Then there's the prospect of vanadium boride rechargeables, which would be lovely, as the non-rechargeable version has a...
  • Commented on A nation of slaves
    The problem in your example is the presumption of a king. (It's actually pretty easy to set up a system where you have obligations on the village level, rather than taxes as such; that's what the Wessex system started off...
  • Commented on A nation of slaves
    Ashby's Law of Requisite Variety, aka "the solution has to be as complex as the problem". (The aka isn't quite formally correct but is a useful way to think about it.) If the solution has an unspoken requirement that a...
  • Commented on A nation of slaves
    People will work; robot designers, ecological planners, that sort of thing. Lots of people will be doing semi-commercial stuff (gardening, farming, clothes design, entertainment, etc. can all fall into this category) on an enjoyment-and-extra sort of basis. I imagine it...
  • Commented on A nation of slaves
    There are only two things in Darwin; "many more are born than can possibly survive" and the definition of a Darwinian individual; born, dies, recognizably itself between times, reproduces, descendants have a chance of variation. That's it. From that, you...
  • Commented on A nation of slaves
    I think Charlie has this slightly wrong, through looking at it from a strictly utilitarian view. Any job is better than no job in the same sense that some status is better than no status. (See the long history of...
  • Commented on A nation of slaves
    Jobs are a mechanism to establish a social hierarchy; to a conservative, this is the most important thing about them. This is also most of why people's identities get attached to their jobs; it's a means of claiming status. (Perhaps...
  • Commented on Implications
    No one's pointed out that you can start fires electrically, and there are lots of biological examples of electric field sensors and quite some number of electric field generation. Just because we don't have electric octopodes doesn't mean there couldn't...
  • Commented on A hypothesis
    This doesn't look competent from a terrorist perspective. It looks like piracy. Terrorism has political goals; as a political goal, "make everyone very angry with you" serves no obvious purpose. There isn't anything that the people responsible can possibly do...
  • Commented on A hypothesis
    Well, we know the transponder went out. We know the plane didn't get to its expected destination. We know there's been no detection of a debris field anywhere expected. So far, I think that's all we know; I don't think...
  • Commented on Circumstantial connections
    Some time back, a 707 came in for a landing too low over Lake Victoria, hit the water, ripped the engines off, and floated for a long time, weeks. You can get a widebody down on water intact. If the...
  • Commented on The latest Hugo awards storm
    It seems to me entirely appropriate that someone who is habitually professionally offensive should suffer consequences for it. Doesn't really matter if the offensiveness stems from personal conviction or a calculated persona, it's a real failing in either case....
  • Commented on Schadenfreude
    Banking is a vital economic function, the marriage of capital to appropriate levels of risk. Really seriously useful. There's a reason fractional reserve banking, aka borrowing from the prosperous future, is sitting there at the start of the Renaissance. Extracting...
  • Commented on Schadenfreude
    Do note that I specified _staying in_ that middle-of-the-middle-class bracket, which Baroness Thatcher most obviously did not. I am perfectly willing to entertain the possibility of a social status construction for males in which prudent husbandry dominates. It's not the...
  • Commented on Schadenfreude
    It's neglected because there's just about zero practical chance anybody's ever going to be able to read a mind state. The idea generally makes biologists roll about laughing. Once you've got it read, then you've got the interesting problem of...
  • Commented on Schadenfreude
    There is, by the way, a pretty good fix for bank behaviour. Don't let men be bankers. Insist that the people making financial decisions are female, middle-aged, have kids, and are not and have never been much above median wealth...
  • Commented on Schadenfreude
    They're not trying to do anything other than kill the ability for a state to make them pay taxes, if there's any ideology involved at all. Paying taxes is an obligation of citizenship; it's the obligation citizenship is built out...
  • Commented on Miscellanea
    Bastard William, known for intemperate rages, is clearly Infra-Red William. William II Rufus is obviously Red William. William III of Orange is equally obviously Orange William. William IV "the Sailor" had to have been The King in Yellow. (and that...
  • Commented on Miscellanea
    I think that depends on who is on Mahogany Row; if they're all major-conflict survivors, with stable internal politics, and not too much budget, it's the sort of thing that can happen but never lasts with regular lifespans. Given that...
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