Charlie Stross

Charlie Stross

  • Commented on So you think you can be a reality TV producer
    I wasn't specifically going for her age (I thought minimum for POTUS was 30, not 35) but her lack of experience; first term in Congress is functionally insufficient -- she's still learning how stuff works in DC (although she's had...
  • Commented on So you think you can be a reality TV producer
    You're not accounting for hijacking scenarios. This is why we periodically hear sonic booms: some pilot switched their radio to the wrong channel or there's a malfunction or they dialed in the wrong transponder code and the air force sets...
  • Commented on A serious question
    Sidetracking queries: does the required energy of the transformation consume extra oxygen? Irrelevant. An adult human consumes roughly 0-8-1.0kg of oxygen per day; the CSM stack used LOX to power its fuel cells and provide breathing gas, and had two...
  • Commented on A serious question
    Reminder that Collins wore a pressurized space suit for launch and re-entry only: Armstrong and Aldrin wore Moon suits (with extra insulation and an optional PLSS -- life support backpack -- the while in the LEM and on the surface)....
  • Commented on A serious question
    It's not light that causes the switch; otherwise (as noted) werewolves could simply stay in a windowless room....
  • Commented on A serious question
    NOTE: I specified Michael Collins because, as the CSM pilot, he remained aboard Columbia for the entire mission. He therefore performed 10-11 more Lunar orbits than Armstrong and Aldrin....
  • Commented on A serious question
    Huh: figure I found for the Moon was 0.518 degrees, so I was low-balling it a bit. Someone was probably averaging. Let's go with "Earth's moon is never too far away to trigger shapeshifting, but anything significantly smaller won't suffice."...
  • Commented on A serious question
    That's a hilarious question! This is my saturnine expression. (Points to face.)...
  • Posted A serious question to Charlie's Diary
    (Because I am still elbow-deep in the guts of "Invisible Sun", blogging is sparse right now ...) I just asked a couple of questions on twitter, and I thought you might like to share the misery. SERIOUS QUESTION for space...
  • Commented on So you think you can be a reality TV producer
    Greg is also utterly wrong about Corbyn. A better analogy would be: Corbyn is (was) the UK's nearest thing to Bernie Sanders. Luckily for the USA, there's no obvious equivalent of Brexit for Bernie to fall to pieces over. Unfortunately,...
  • Commented on So you think you can be a reality TV producer
    The problem with the Pacific routes is distance. You really need about a 5000 mile range to cope, which first-gen Concorde simply didn't have: it'd have had to land and refuel in Hawaii. While Concorde did fly some long-haul routes...
  • Commented on So you think you can be a reality TV producer
    There's an aviation museum in Washington State that has the nose section of an SR-71 on display (from a plane written off in a ground accident). You can actually sit in the cockpit! I have sat in the front seat...
  • Commented on So you think you can be a reality TV producer
    The Duxford Concorde actually has bail-out hatches cut in the floor -- one behind the cockpit tunnel, one near the back of the flight test engineers' station -- chutes with firemans' poles to allow everyone to grab a parachute and...
  • Commented on So you think you can be a reality TV producer
    "First class" on an American domestic carrier is frankly a bit shit. I've flown it. On Air France long-haul they call it "Premium Economy". Same seat pitch, recliners, leg lifts; the only difference is that Prem Ec passengers have to...
  • Commented on So you think you can be a reality TV producer
    I mean I can't tell the difference between any two large jet-engine airliners AT ALL - the're all just big tubes with semi-blunt noses & the more recent ones have vortex spoilers at the wingtips ... Okay, from the top:...
  • Commented on So you think you can be a reality TV producer
    If anyone wants to see both a Concorde and SR-71 they are on display at the Air and Space museum annex next to Dulles airport. Yup, I had a good day at that museum back in, I think, 2008 or...
  • Commented on So you think you can be a reality TV producer
    Like software developers, I'm sure both design teams would have like to have been able to do a major V2. You know about Concorde B? It nearly got green-lit. If the 1974 oil crisis hadn't hit so soon -- causing...
  • Commented on So you think you can be a reality TV producer
    And as a postscript: the collaborative agreement that gave rise to Concorde eventually grew into Airbus. So even though Concorde itself was a dead end, it came to dominate approximately half the planetary market for >100 seater airliners....
  • Commented on So you think you can be a reality TV producer
    Work on Concorde designs began in the early 1950s; the RAE group (in the UK) tasked with researching a supersonic airliner first met in February 1954 and delivered a report in 1955; Sud Aviation came to the table in 1960,...
  • Commented on So you think you can be a reality TV producer
    Wow, I would never have guessed any of that from the linked article. This is your regular scheduled reminder that biological systems can do really weird shit with electrochemistry; the Hunters Organ in an adult Electrophorus electricus (electric eel) can...
  • Commented on So you think you can be a reality TV producer
    A ballistic missile warhead will not reach ground at anything like orbital velocity even if it was powered all the way down, thanks to air resistance. Nevertheless, they deliver a hell of a punch: I'm trying to remember who it...
  • Commented on So you think you can be a reality TV producer
    Whatever happened to the idea of sub-orbital "antipodes" rockets? I took a whack at that canard on the blog a few years ago. Leaving aside that a sub-orbital rocket makes a single passenger bizjet look like a Prius in terms...
  • Commented on So you think you can be a reality TV producer
    My favourite time would be 1913, when you can go to Vienna and kill both Hitler and Stalin in the same day. Ahem: Hitler, Stalin, Sigmund Freud, and with a bit of legwork Lenin and Trotsky too. One of...
  • Commented on So you think you can be a reality TV producer
    Orion's Arm has a bit of an explainer on empire time Never played it. But it puts me in mind to make a fine distinction: Empire Time vs. Federation Time. ET is broadcast from or always derived from a single...
  • Commented on So you think you can be a reality TV producer
    On hold right now, but one of the features of the universe of "Ghost Engine" is the idea that a wormhole empire needs: a universal/absolute time and coordinate system (for organizing travel/communications), a common trade language, a common trade currency,...
  • Commented on So you think you can be a reality TV producer
    A sign of bad space opera: ships hiding behind asteroids in an asteroid belt, ship crews listening to the tiny asteroid fragments pinging off their hulls, ships dodging asteroids. (Typical asteroids are a couple of million kilometres from their nearest...
  • Commented on So you think you can be a reality TV producer
    Yes, I have actually been to Australia and looked at a map from time to time. (The temperate rain forest was temperate because it was up a fscking mountain and as you know, Bob temperatures drop with altitude.) There are...
  • Commented on So you think you can be a reality TV producer
    There's a problem with the idea of a tropical rainforest developing in higher latitudes, the amount of sunlight the areas in question get each year. Yes: but there's also a much-less-well-known-thing called a temperate rain forest: different plants, different growth...
  • Commented on So you think you can be a reality TV producer
    Happily, the roofers came this morning and the broken tiles on my roof are fixed! Just in time....
  • Commented on So you think you can be a reality TV producer
    No: it's a matter of switching off the insecure apache server while leaving the SSL version running. (Prior to the dist-upgrade that replaced init.d with systemd it was fine. Now ... if I get it wrong, I break the blog.)...
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