Peter Erwin

Peter Erwin

  • Commented on Oh, 2022!
    JBS @ 178 Yeah, but the conversion of Pennsylvania's German population into a Dutch population occurred a generation earlier, during the FIRST World War. No, they've been called "Dutch" since the 18th Century (and they've never claimed to be from...
  • Commented on Oh, 2022!
    All of which have much deeper gravity wells -- and storms! Really big storms. Hauling a nuclear propulsion unit out past the frost line is hard enough even if it's only to provide power for an ion rocket and a...
  • Commented on Oh, 2022!
    That's about the time all those "Dutch" people moved to Pennsylvania. Um, no. The "Pennsylvania Dutch" are descended from Germans who moved there in the 18th and 19th Centuries; "Dutch" is just a corruption of "Deitsch/Deutsch" (meaning German)....
  • Commented on Oh, 2022!
    nearer isn't necessarily easier in those cases In this case it is, though. Jupiter is 4–6 astronomical units (au) away from Earth; the Oort Cloud lies between 2,000 and 50,000 (or so) au away. And, as I mentioned, Oort Cloud...
  • Commented on Oh, 2022!
    Next century (if only because of the distances involved) someone is going to go helium prospecting out in the Oort cloud. Big snowball comets might well have enough helium to make it economically viable. There's vastly more helium in much...
  • Commented on Fossil fuels are dead (and here's why)
    All references I see online are recent. I remember the stories, including in the underground newspapers (where the Weatherpeople would send communiques to) as reporting warnings. These are "recent" articles involving interviews with people who were there at the time....
  • Commented on Fossil fuels are dead (and here's why)
    sigh Here you are, complaining that they don't want to talk to the elders, and bring up the bombing at UW-Madison. The Weatherpeople made it a point of not hurting people, but destroying symbolic property. The idiot who was killed...
  • Commented on Because I am bored ...
    once they're dead, they strongly resemble planetary nebulae in both form and function, and gravity will recycle them. I'm afraid that doesn't really make sense. Planetary nebulae are expanding shells of hydrogen and helium, surrounding (and ionized by) the hot-but-starting-to-cool...
  • Commented on Yet another novel I will no longer write
    Charlie @ 616: In your universe, when did Jim Crow end? Or discrimination against African Americans, red-lining, and white flight to the suburbs? The fundamental problem with your argument is that you are saying "X is an aspect of American...
  • Commented on Yet another novel I will no longer write
    Then this narrative got appropriated and transplanted to America, in film, TV, and fiction. Where it hybridized with white settler fear of a slave uprising. The survivors/protagonists of the zombie plague are the viewpoint the audience is intended to empathize...
  • Commented on Do my Homework
    In the 1950-1999 period, tales of the 21st century were everywhere. Where are the equivalent stories of the 22nd century, that should be being told today? They'll be written in the 2050-2099 period? In effect, you're complaining that people aren't...
  • Commented on Test Case
    (Admittedly the UK driving test is a lot stricter than the US one and includes things like parallel parking and making a three-point or n-point turn.) There is no such thing as "the US driving test", since it's up to...
  • Commented on Solarpunk rising, or how to turn boring bureaucratic meetings into creative fodder
    Also just to return the snark, the fact that you think you can accurately predict when a royal flush is going to be drawn is exactly Talebs whole point Because card drawing exists on a normal distribution humans tend to...
  • Commented on Test Case
    ... the maximum penalty for vehicular homicide in Arizona is a mere three years in jail, which would be laughable if it wasn't so enraging. (Rob a bank and shoot a guard: get the death penalty. Run the guard over...
  • Commented on Solarpunk rising, or how to turn boring bureaucratic meetings into creative fodder
    Also, what problem are "white roads" supposed to solve? I'm not very bright, but I do know that re-radiated insolation tends from the visible to the infra-red spectrum irrespective of the visible colour of the surface it lands on. There's...
  • Commented on Why I barely read SF these days
    Not inventing a completely new class of substance unobservable except via its finagle factor pervading the universe (whether it be quintessence, aether or dark matter) is definitely simpler, in at least one sense. Right, because if 20th Century physics has...
  • Commented on Why I barely read SF these days
    Interesting. I note that he favours MOND, which is one model that assumes Einstein's formula breaks down in its limits, just as Newton's did. [Sigh.] Modified Newtonian Dynamics ("MOND") is about postulating a breakdown in Newtonian physics, as the name...
  • Commented on Why I barely read SF these days
    Are you familiar with Lee Smolin's cosmological natural selection model? Because you're getting awfully close to it... (One of the cool thing about it is that Smolin suggested random perturbations of the laws of physics in daughter universes spawned from...
  • Commented on Why I barely read SF these days
    You simply can't have black holes accreting matter during inflation, for several reasons: There is no normal matter for black holes to accrete during the inflationary epoch. The inflationary model is a period of expansion when the only meaningful thing...
  • Commented on Why I barely read SF these days
    I merely noted them in passing, when I saw the papers and other reliable references. I can remember that one was written by a Dr I. Drummond. I'll assume that "I. Drummond" probably refers to this, which is a single...
  • Commented on Why I barely read SF these days
    how long to go? Oh, about the same length of time until the Flat Earthers triumph......
  • Commented on Why I barely read SF these days
    First, why is it not possible that during either Inflation, nor the early expansion, that smaller masses, or perhaps extremely large masses, created in the Bang and following, have become huge black holes, and hoovered up much of the original...
  • Commented on Why I barely read SF these days
    Actually, no, you aren't. There are several alternative theories... Do tell. Which theories (or "theories") do you have in mind? Note that my discussion was not based on "stacks of speculations"; it was based on standard Big Bang Nucleosynthesis calculations,...
  • Commented on Why I barely read SF these days
    I mean, is there any description of them as made of some not-so-quarks? Well, I was talking about the gravitational behavior of dark matter, in terms of how it affects the formation of galaxies. For that purpose, you don't have...
  • Commented on Why I barely read SF these days
    Millenarianism also shows up in Islamic history....
  • Commented on Why I barely read SF these days
    No, because it doesn't interact with photons, like, at all, so no shadow. Photons just pass them by. Yes, exactly. (It may help to consider "dark matter" as "perfectly transparent matter".) Dark matter, on the other hand, is so un-"sticky"...
  • Commented on Why I barely read SF these days
    You say "dark matter (and energy) should get sucked into a black hole. Given the little I know about them, should they not be repelled by a black hole? Heteromeles (@ 533) has got it right: dark matter is (thought...
  • Commented on Why I barely read SF these days
    On the other hand, when something goes beyond an event horizon, all that's left of it's ability to interact with this universe is its gravity. There's no other interaction possible. So in the sense of full interaction, we do lose...
  • Commented on Why I barely read SF these days
    Physicists? It's up the flag pole. Fire at will. O-kay... (technically, I'm an astronomer, but since I study supermassive black holes in the centers of galaxies, I'll assume I'm somewhat qualified...) "Dark energy" is something that has positive mass-energy but...
  • Commented on Why I barely read SF these days
    My understanding is that dark energy appears in the gaps between galaxies, not at the edge of the universe. So your black hole idea would require some kind of mapping of boundaries to gaps that I'm not sure would help...
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