Heteromeles

Heteromeles

  • Commented on A death in the Firm
    Balloons on Mars are a no-go. While gravity is only one third, atmospheric density is just one sixtieth of Earth's. Not really. Ordinary weather balloons routinely fly to 100,000' (30,840 m) and the air pressure there is around 1% of...
  • Commented on A death in the Firm
    I should point out that we get weird about powered flight. I mean, Santos-Dumont won the Deutsch prize for flying around the Eiffel Tower in a dirigible on a 14 km course back in 1901. That was a propeller-driven craft,...
  • Commented on A death in the Firm
    Okay, space time: Ingenuity is not the first human aircraft to fly on another planet. That honor belongs to the balloon probe attached to Vega 1, which flew for 11,800 km, 50-55 km up in the atmosphere of Venus, back...
  • Commented on A death in the Firm
    While I would love to see Heteromele's data that dense cities have minimized transmission better, I don't think that it's possible to build multi-residential housing in the US to resist the next pandemic I'm just paying attention to news out...
  • Commented on A death in the Firm
    So - what type of urban planning (incl. housing) do you need to have in place in order to be ready for the next pandemic? None. Dense cities are doing better than many red rural states, when it comes to...
  • Commented on A death in the Firm
    What I'm not sure about is how much the Chinese and Russians have military-industrial complex issues analogous to those that plague US politics. Well they do have that habit of executing the someone at the top of a process if...
  • Commented on A death in the Firm
    Um, yes, the US is used up and all, but has anyone realized that we've got the most veteran military force in the world at this point, warts and all? I don't think China's fielded their military as much as...
  • Commented on A death in the Firm
    Imagine an end game almost like the Roman Empire. Population declining and aging, economy shrinking and trade ceasing, infrastructure crumbling, government becoming ever more irrelevant and expensive, a military becoming ever more powerful and ineffective, the elite consuming more and...
  • Commented on A death in the Firm
    Just to be a bit of a contrarian, but.... Well, there's all this stuff the Windsor firm owns, to the tune of about $28 billion. Has anyone thought about whether getting rid of the crown will strip them of the...
  • Commented on A death in the Firm
    She got a couple of new dogs earlier this year, one corgi cross and another whose details I forget. She had planned to not replace her dogs but that's a hard plan to stick to as I found out myself....
  • Commented on A death in the Firm
    As we always say: thoughts and prayers. Condolences on your loss. I'd also add that QE2 seems to be not planning to be around much longer: she's not replacing her corgis as they pass, because she doesn't want them to...
  • Commented on Official Announcement: April Fools Day is Cancelled
    The big problem with carriers, unlike most of the things that can replace or destroy them, is that the actually have a very useful role in disaster relief, since they can serve as a floating airfield to get stuff in...
  • Commented on Official Announcement: April Fools Day is Cancelled
    Niala's right: Tear gas is banned on the battlefield. It's not banned for use against civilians by police. Nor is it necessarily that harmless, although compared to a true nerve agent it certainly is. On the scale of things it's...
  • Commented on Official Announcement: April Fools Day is Cancelled
    Not Greg, but I agree with you about Xi. I'd venture that, among the problems of dictators, hubris ranks higher than most measures of intelligence. Additionally, looking at both Trump and Xi, what I'll refer to loosely as "dictator smarts"...
  • Commented on Official Announcement: April Fools Day is Cancelled
    It's a job for the government. And here in the UK, government agencies are doing it: my wife and I are both participating in the Oxford University/Office for National Statistics COVID-19 infection survey, along with a huge number of other...
  • Commented on Official Announcement: April Fools Day is Cancelled
    I partially agree. It's not just lethality, it's also transmissibility. If two strains are equally transmissible, but one kills its hosts faster, probably the one that is less lethal will spread further, because it has more time to spread before...
  • Commented on Official Announcement: April Fools Day is Cancelled
    I think the "viruses morph into a moderate nuisance condition is something that happens over millenia, not months. Sorry, but I doubt it, and I'll give a thought experiment backed by evidence. First off, the evidence: https://nextstrain.org/ncov/global This is a...
  • Commented on Official Announcement: April Fools Day is Cancelled
    The dangerous myth is that this is a short-term problem and, once we have herd immunity (by vaccination or otherwise), the problem will largely go away. I am surprised to see you promoting it. Ahhh, now I see where the...
  • Commented on Official Announcement: April Fools Day is Cancelled
    The mind boggles. Anyone who calls himself an epidemiologist should know better than THAT! In particular, it is already known that catching COVID does not give you long-term immunity, which is an essential factor in developing natural herd immunity. I...
  • Commented on Official Announcement: April Fools Day is Cancelled
    This is wrong on multiple levels. First, there's no such thing as "the common cold." There are 200+ known viruses that cause colds (https://www.lung.org/lung-health-diseases/lung-disease-lookup/influenza/facts-about-the-common-cold), including, for some people, Covid19, which, based on symptoms and lethality, is for many people no...
  • Commented on Lying to the ghost in the machine
    Also responding to 1430: Yeah, it's not nearly that simple, sad to say. Cities have a lot in common with certain biological entities, although urban metabolism is the kind of architectural metaphor you'd expect from people who took biology in...
  • Commented on Lying to the ghost in the machine
    My favourite line for those types is: my starting point is half for nature. I'm happy to negotiate which half of your land gets turned into national park. I'd retire that line. Around here, they stopped doing that in 1997,...
  • Commented on Lying to the ghost in the machine
    Not really. I've got to find the precise quote again from architectural historian Spiro Kostof. He said something to the effect that every city goes through a huge drama when it stops growing out (sprawl) and has to grow up...
  • Commented on Lying to the ghost in the machine
    De nada. A local professor came up with the great mnemonic for development in California: "First the cow, then the plow, then the bulldozer." Land that's settled in California generally first gets ranched, then gets intensified into farming as demand...
  • Commented on Lying to the ghost in the machine
    Not in any way doubting your point, but I can’t help wondering why insurance rates don’t have more of a deterrent effect on irresponsible development. It's a good question, and I'm going to go into detail because I'm surprised more...
  • Commented on Lying to the ghost in the machine
    Well, it's worth spending a bit more time chasing your tail rather than patting yourself on the back (and not just you). The real problem with theodicy isn't the philosophical debate, it's the idea that natural evils (e.g. disasters) are...
  • Commented on Lying to the ghost in the machine
    Best advice I got was this: Before you claim the ticket, you form a corporation, list the ticket as the corporation's asset, and yourself as the trustee and CEO of said corporation. Then claim the ticket on behalf of the...
  • Commented on Lying to the ghost in the machine
    It may just come down to "nobility sells as a standard trope in fantasy." Plus, in the biggest English-language fantasy market, there's this notion that America invented democracy and before that it was the feudal Middle Ages, so it's anachronistic...
  • Commented on Lying to the ghost in the machine
    Yes and no. I'm not advocating that this is a panglossian world, because obviously there's a lot of pointless stupidity, evil, and misery around, and we can make some things better. The problem, from a more Christian point of view,...
  • Commented on Lying to the ghost in the machine
    I think you're confused with Yog-Sothoth. Anyway, I'm not the only person to think there's a far better candidate for Azathoth in the Milky Way: Sagittarius A*, the black hole at the center of our galaxy. Here's HPL's description: "amorphous...
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