Alex Tolley

Alex Tolley

  • Commented on Eleven Tweets
    Likewise, at the bottom, the motivation to work certainly matters, but in a country as wealthy as the United States, perhaps that incentive does not need to be so extreme as to elicit the specters of homelessness and destitution. There...
  • Commented on Eleven Tweets
    Your numbers while appearing logical, miss both reality and history. As Keith pointed out, investments were being made during the high tax era, especially in the US. That has to be accounted for. As for investment returns, you seem to...
  • Commented on Eleven Tweets
    Stephenson alluded to a trust filtered internet in his novel "Anathem". I would like that as a support to my preferred sources. However, I don't want that enforced, as it then becomes a target for corrupting influences. Unforeseen consequences are...
  • Commented on Eleven Tweets
    You have fallen into the authoritarian trap....
  • Commented on Eleven Tweets
    I concur that education would be a good option. But you cannot force people to be educated even if they must attend school. Where I live, the uneducated wear that a badge with pride as part of their despising elites....
  • Commented on Eleven Tweets
    For a decent deterrent, what is needed (but don't ask me how) is a way to reproduce the effect of when you drop your clever crass remark into the conversation and look round grinning to see who's impressed, to find...
  • Commented on A reminder
    The Guardian has a nice piece with comments by historians on how Trumpism and Fascism compare. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/dec/01/comparing-fascism-donald-trump-historians-trumpism...
  • Commented on A reminder
    I think Eco's points about fascism are rather narrow. For a more wide ranging description, I recommend: "Fascism in Action: A Documented Study and Analysis of fascism in Europe". This was a US House of Representatives study published in 1947,...
  • Commented on Facts of Life and Death
    Too simplistic. If the markets expect a future fall in the forex rate, then interest rates will rise. If the fall has happened and bottomed out, rates will not rise, they may even fall. Investors will only be hurt in...
  • Commented on Facts of Life and Death
    The UK government is still issuing gilts with a high credit rating despite recent downgrades. There is no evidence that the UK government has to borrow in foreign currency. I think you comment reflects what you think the world ought...
  • Commented on Facts of Life and Death
    Why would the UK need to issue debt in foreign currencies? Any sustained devaluation just requires an increase in interest rates to maintain attractiveness as an investment. In a reduced demand led recession, high inflation isn't an issue, so no...
  • Commented on Facts of Life and Death
    (...) Post-hard Brexit Britain with a crashed currency and a financial sector fleeing to the continent is going to be short of is capital. A crashed currency is almost irrelevant to raising capital. Indeed it is better if the perception...
  • Commented on What else can you do with a Big Dumb Booster?
    John Mankin's book on space solar power looks for a $200/kg to LEO cost of access to space as a target for baseload solar power satellites to be economic. SpaceX' BDB looks like it gets close to that figure and...
  • Commented on Sad Trombone Exoplanet Reality Check
    this also means that its mountains will be taller, Wouldn't the higher gravity of the more massive world have the opposite effect? There have also been quite a few theoretical studies of atmosphere dynamics on exoplanets, including tidally locked...
  • Commented on Sad Trombone Exoplanet Reality Check
    The 1970s British SciFi tv series "Doomwatch" had an episode "The Plastic Eaters"[?] about bugs rapidly eating plastics. The tv remake of "The Andromeda Strain" made a big deal about the organism digesting plastic. However the most memorable for me...
  • Commented on Sad Trombone Exoplanet Reality Check
    You can get around the paywall by inserting ".sci-hub.cc" after the "nature.com". It is a good paper with a lot of detail in a supplementary Methods section....
  • Commented on Sad Trombone Exoplanet Reality Check
    The play "Wine of India" solves the problem of decrepitude by medical intervention. Your body stays young, but you have to voluntarily die at age 70. We seem to be moving forward with improvement in slowing aging, although we haven't...
  • Commented on Sad Trombone Exoplanet Reality Check
    Information propagation by means of some cultural institution devoted to continually re-copying it lasts only as long as does the culture supporting the institution. Obviously DNA doesn't have any "institution" to ensure copying. Computers automatically handling copying can ensure...
  • Commented on Sad Trombone Exoplanet Reality Check
    But as we've seen, copying, even with errors, can extend the life of information. While modern media might be ephemeral, the ability to copy it with high fidelity, produce copies on different media (magnetic, dead trees, metal or glass) ensures...
  • Commented on Sad Trombone Exoplanet Reality Check
    Let's suppose for argument's sake that the planet is confirmed. Furthermore, let's assume that it is later confirmed to be a rocky world, that it has an atmosphere that spectrographically hints at a biosignature. Is the fact that it is...
  • Commented on Reality is broken
    Maybe now you will reconsider doing far future fiction? Fewer costly rewrites when reality gets inconvenient....
  • Commented on The iron law of development
    The comments on Brad's blog site are worth reading. Personally I think this is classic "iffy" extrapolation. Just because the population growth rate increased with population until the 16th century doesn't mean that it could have continued up to around...
  • Commented on Cyberpunk 2.0: Political economy, energy, and the future US
    Talking about green scams, this was cute: The Fake Factory That Pumped Out Real Money...
  • Commented on Cyberpunk 2.0: Political economy, energy, and the future US
    The central valley in California will have to adjust, but even when groundwater fails, they'll still have more than enough snowmelt to provide staple food for California. I wish that were true, but it isn't. Farms relying on snowmelt irrigation...
  • Commented on Cyberpunk 2.0: Political economy, energy, and the future US
    I hadn't forgotten about ag. I'm more sanguine about salts than you are. If you are distilling water for recycling, you end up with a solid cake of salt that can be stored/buried in containers. Conceivably in some cases, you...
  • Commented on Cyberpunk 2.0: Political economy, energy, and the future US
    Propane distribution already fulfills that role. For farms, you have propane delivery to fill a tank. For a backyard BarBQ you buy refillable propane containers. Both are a lot more expensive than utility gas today. Living in California, obviously solar...
  • Commented on Cyberpunk 2.0: Political economy, energy, and the future US
    Assuming a 20 year life for a solar panel, 15% conversion efficiency and an average 4 hour peak watt efficiency equivalent, 1 gallon of gasoline is replaced by 0.0017 m2 of solar panel. If you want that 1 gallon every...
  • Commented on Cyberpunk 2.0: Political economy, energy, and the future US
    I notice that costs are not included. The fact is that gas furnaces at 97-98 efficient in converting energy, and these can be easily used to update older, less energy efficient gas furnaces. Make a cheap, electrical, heat pump and...
  • Commented on Cyberpunk 2.0: Political economy, energy, and the future US
    My area of California has just installed "smart" water meters. Water was not metered and so waste was obvious, made worse by those who think the drought is a hoax and over water their lawns and feel the need to...
  • Commented on Cyberpunk 2.0: Political economy, energy, and the future US
    A good essay, and barely a word about GW ;) Some points: 1. The Taylor Act prevents a lot of California farmland being converted to other uses, like solar farms. This is politics, but it will have to be overturned....
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