Heteromeles

Heteromeles

  • Commented on Unsustainable Interstellar Civilization, Hotspot Colonies, and Dwarf Culture
    So who understands quantum theory? As I understand it, it's a set of equations that gives accurate predictions, but is it about calculating Bayesian probabilities for where particles are to be found, observer effect, infinite worlds...? That's the problem with...
  • Commented on Unsustainable Interstellar Civilization, Hotspot Colonies, and Dwarf Culture
    Who said anything about string theory? This method, incidentally, is how phylogenetic trees are constructed and tested. It's also similar to the natural selection process of making random variation, testing it against a standard, and discarding the failures. You're right...
  • Commented on Unsustainable Interstellar Civilization, Hotspot Colonies, and Dwarf Culture
    I'd disagree that you need sentience to find a Theory of Everything. What you have are huge clouds of data about how particles act, and huge clouds of data about how gravity acts. What you're looking for is a single...
  • Commented on Unsustainable Interstellar Civilization, Hotspot Colonies, and Dwarf Culture
    Cells as such are probably necessary, although there are organisms such as seaweeds (notably Caulerpa taxifolia) that are coenocytic, meaning they have multiple nuclei and not many cell divisions. Still, the point about cells is that membranes are where most...
  • Commented on Unsustainable Interstellar Civilization, Hotspot Colonies, and Dwarf Culture
    There's a difference between "taking an active interest in taxonomy" and doing it, and at this point you're trolling well into aquatic ape theory territory on this (remember how that felt like to support that theory on this blog?). In...
  • Commented on The Pivot
    I'll blunder in, confused. First off, the general problem with nerve agents is that they're not generally things that can be cooked up in a garage, any more than odd isotopes can be. Something with a P linked to an...
  • Commented on The Pivot
    Actually, according to the NPR broadcast I heard, Roger Federer is tested more than Serena. The newsreader speculated that perhaps the problem isn't Serena's race, it's that both she and Roger are in their 30s and playing amazingly well for...
  • Commented on The Pivot
    The question is still: in what context(s) is Dunbar's number relevant? Is it relevant for the American Rainbow Gathering, which is allegedly anarchic? Not on the surface, but apparently "a few hundred" people build and maintain most of the critical...
  • Commented on The Pivot
    Fair enough, we'll agree to disagree....
  • Commented on The Pivot
    Check your units: the variation in output is on a per-year basis. Coppicing in ye olde woodlands was done in multiple sections doing rotations. What you get depends on the section cut. Then there's the other woodland products, which are...
  • Commented on The Pivot
    re: charcoal in the Andes: I'm not going to prove or disprove it. The point was that you can't speculate about the presence or absence of wood based on elevation or latitude alone. If you don't believe me, look at...
  • Commented on The Pivot
    Thanks! I think the point of scale in traditional blacksmithing, though, is that you're not building skyscrapers using iron smelted by blacksmiths, you're making tools that would be used to build wood or stone buildings. One question, since I've seen...
  • Commented on The Pivot
    The weird thing about Dunbar's Number is that it's not an absolute. The really neat counter-example is the The Rainbow Family Gathering which put hundreds to tens of thousands together in an area for a month as a reasonably functioning...
  • Commented on The Pivot
    Yes and no. Allen's idea had the causality backward, with the notion that potters and smiths chased hotter fires because they knew what they would get if they could make things hotter. I flipped the logic, because it's obvious that...
  • Commented on The Pivot
    Maybe a little bit more complicated than yes. From reading the experimental archaeologists fiddling around recreating forging technology, the normal complaint is "expletive setup isn't hot enough, it doesn't fully melt [whatever]." I'd guess that the quest for a hotter...
  • Commented on The Pivot
    Any idea why kiln technology took longer to develop? Not a clue. It's one of those things, like Europeans failing to figure out mold-board plows. I tripped over the notion of kiln technology being a central issue in Robert Courlands...
  • Commented on The Pivot
    Steel takes trees (charcoal, really). What do mountains (esp. if you require agriculture) not have an abundance of? Trees. (c.f. longer discussion about different arboreal types and heat and how generally tropical rainforest wood density is shit compared to colder...
  • Commented on The Pivot
    First off, the bronze age collapse surviving information is (not counting archaeological dig records) far less than the amount of babble we've produced on this particular blog entry. It's a pareidola: the surviving pieces can be put into any shape...
  • Commented on The Pivot
    This is also true for plants (of which there are 250,000+ species and hundreds that are edible) and animals (ditto). Species that can be domesticated are generally a small subset of this planet's biota. It's an underappreciated factoid, because domestication...
  • Commented on The Pivot
    Just to revive a dead argument (sorry, Martin), I was catching up on War is Boring, and stumbled over this article on the development of the B-21 by the USAF. Flying bombers escorted by a next gen fighter squadrons deep...
  • Commented on The Pivot
    Perhaps for the same reason that it hasn't caught on with the Orthodox, who can fast from meat up to 1/3 the year depending on which Church they're in: it doesn't follow from the religion. As I understand it, in...
  • Commented on The Pivot
    You and my wife. Some people like imitation meat, some people do not. For example, I'm okay with it, my wife is not, and we bicker endlessly about vegan meals as a consequence. As for the "monk's meat," it's seitan...
  • Commented on The Pivot
    I don't think there's an ideal way of choosing judges. For example, there's the current case in San Diego of Superior Court Judge Gary Kreep, who, despite being Christian on the, erm, extremely conservative end of spectrum and litigating "birther"...
  • Commented on The Pivot
    Incidentally, the notion that Buddhists are vegans is more complicated than that. IIRC, Buddhists monks can't eat alliums (onions and garlic), due to priestly prejudices in India at the time of the Buddha. Originally they were only to eat donated...
  • Commented on The Pivot
    Um, you flipped that, I think. The Japanese emperors (at least prior to the Meiji) used to fairly routinely abdicate and move to a monastery. IIRC, in the Kamakura period, there were several active retired emperors who, while in the...
  • Commented on The Pivot
    To clarify, salad, crimini, and portobello are the same species, and portobello are just big crimini. It's worth taking a poll of your friends and asking how many will eat anything other than salad and portobello. You might be surprised...
  • Commented on The Pivot
    And there's mycophobia on full display, thank you very much for providing that. Incidentally, I've passed on lots of Amanita scare stories myself over the years, and I refuse to hunt mushrooms that aren't easy to identify. We're at a...
  • Commented on The Pivot
    No, he's correct, the problem is the "US" government, if you broaden that to include all governments from local municipalities up to the feds. The judiciary is indeed independent, but the police and prosecutors (and sometimes the public defender) are...
  • Commented on The Pivot
    Not quite: First off, coastal systems are on the downstream end of everything in the watershed, so not only do they get hit directly by a storm, they also get inundated by all the crap washing out of the watershed....
  • Commented on The Pivot
    I've read Dark Emu, and it's nice to know others are reading it too. The parallel in California is Kat Anderson's Tending the Wild....
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