Simon Farnsworth

Simon Farnsworth

  • Commented on The dog ate my homework
    In a parallel universe where a Twitter-obsessed property magnate turned reality TV star manages to win the US Presidential election, and where (in the UK), a badly considered referendum results in an authoritarian right-wing Prime Minister leading the UK's exit...
  • Commented on Eleven Tweets
    One point on the "paid-for advertising is bad" meme; advertising itself splits into two categories: 1. Commercial provision of information to an audience that's already interested in the type of product you're selling. 2. Attempts to persuade someone to buy...
  • Commented on A reminder
    Same underlying bias, different expression. In this case, the assumption is that (for whatever reason), women can't be asked to balance more work with childcare - they "need" the childcare time - but men can, because you'll find a way...
  • Commented on A reminder
    Along similar lines, I've encountered a potential employer who shifted an interview from 0930 (gave me time to drop children at school etc before interview) to 0845 (would have to ask my wife to handle childcare) specifically because they discovered...
  • Commented on Children and War Toys and Violent Video Games and Action Stories
    When I had my first child, I was given two pieces of parenting advice that I've tried to keep to: 1) Only place limits on your child when they're not mature enough to handle the consequences of their actions. 2)...
  • Commented on Facts of Life and Death
    Not all computers have power plugs. The one on my desk does, because it's a portable appliance in the electrical sense (I can, as a lone human being, conceivably unplug it and move it by myself). However, the ones in...
  • Commented on Facts of Life and Death
    Putting it ever so slightly differently, naval engagements tend towards one of two forms: Standoffs. No-one actually shoots, and one side breaks when they start to get closer in All-out shooting match. This is sustained until one side or the...
  • Commented on What else can you do with a Big Dumb Booster?
    The flip side of the fuel synthesis question is "what raw materials are you working with, and how much does it cost you to make them into fuel?". If, for example, you're getting your power in the Nevada desert, you'll...
  • Commented on What else can you do with a Big Dumb Booster?
    Depends crucially on the efficiency of your hydrocarbon synthesis process, given the available feedstocks. A big oil tanker consumes about 0.1% of its total cargo load per 1,000 km travelled, whereas a high-efficiency HVDC interconnect wastes about 3% of the...
  • Commented on Cyberpunk 2.0: Political economy, energy, and the future US
    I was more reaching towards what causes a block that's been working well to fall apart, socially speaking. When everyone who can cope with communal life has a job (and thus can go to the pub for a beer, or...
  • Commented on Cyberpunk 2.0: Political economy, energy, and the future US
    It depends very strongly on the design and running of the tower block. British ones were built as social housing, and generally didn't have enough communal areas, nor the staffing to keep the shared areas in useful state, nor "penthouse"...
  • Commented on We'll all go together when we go
    Arbitrarily small amounts of energy, down to zero energy - the trick is to use entropy from another conserved quantity for computation; in the experimental case, spin angular momentum. There's no free lunch here - while the act of computation...
  • Commented on Cyberpunk 2.0: Political economy, energy, and the future US
    Then you run into the question of whether you should prefer a more efficient datacentre and energy transport between generation and the DC, or a less efficient DC and energy generation on site. If you cut the DC's energy needs...
  • Commented on Cyberpunk 2.0: Political economy, energy, and the future US
    It was the southern end of Botswana - still sub-Saharan, but with some unique politics that come from never actually being under white rule....
  • Commented on We'll all go together when we go
    Nothing's broken. We previously believed that computation had to cost you thermal energy (in the form of heat dissipation); it's been demonstrated that, in fact, it's possible to "expend" other conserved quantities. The demonstration used spin angular momentum instead, showing...
  • Commented on Cyberpunk 2.0: Political economy, energy, and the future US
    Yeah - I'm describing the oral history of how things were pre-colonialization, so a very long time ago. Men accumulate wealth (herding, in that region), or provide luxuries. Women worry about survival, and do what it takes to ensure that...
  • Commented on Cyberpunk 2.0: Political economy, energy, and the future US
    You need to understand the underlying social structure from pre-colonial to get a sense of why that was accepted. * Men don't do survival work unless they have to - men's work provides luxuries only - and are mostly expected...
  • Commented on Cyberpunk 2.0: Political economy, energy, and the future US
    I think he's being more nuanced than that - renewable energy is going to be cheap enough that, in order to get you to pay the full cost of transport and metering, it's going to be "bundled" with your access...
  • Commented on Cyberpunk 2.0: Political economy, energy, and the future US
    Your comment intrigued me, so I went and ran the numbers. Assuming 100% efficient batteries, you still have the energy cost of running the trucking system (both the energy needed to maintain the roads, and the energy needed to run...
  • Commented on Constitutional crisis ahoy!
    Race riots are more likely because our press has been pushing the immigrants blame game for decades; thus, in the mind of your average thug, if nothing improves after this referendum, it'll be immigration to blame. Race is a fairly...
  • Commented on A game of consequences
    I can see a couple of things that you'd probably need to make a space colony viable; first, the end of privacy. Everything possible is recorded, and that recording is useful in evidence (probably with an AI flagging the "interesting"...
  • Commented on Competition Time!
    It's not even watered down. Before harmonization, EU countries were either 220V or 240V at 50 Hz, with 6% tolerance. Now, we're all 230V at 50Hz with 10% tolerance, national authorities allowed to tighten the tolerances. The eagle-eyed will spot...
  • Commented on Updating a classic
    You need to tell employees privately that money is tight for the contrast between public statements (no problem buying anything you need) and private statements (we're one mistake away from bankruptcy - don't ask me to spend anything). Nothing else...
  • Commented on Updating a classic
    If you're management, mix your messages between your public statements and your private statements to your employees. For example (again, taken from a real job), in public, tell your employees that the company will pay for anything that helps them...
  • Commented on Updating a classic
    Another one you can do as an individual; when anyone is hired who's better than you but distinct from you in an "affirmative action" category, have lots of loud conversations about times when "affirmative action" has resulted in hiring a...
  • Commented on Updating a classic
    Some from a previous bad experience: 1. Fix your immediate problem, and damn the fallout for other developers. If challenged on this, you're making progress, and the rest of us need to keep up. 2. Threaten co-workers who try and...
  • Commented on Updating a classic
    Compulsory off-site team building exercises near deadlines. This one requires you to have deadlines that are almost feasible, if you work flat-out up to the deadline. You use this to establish a catch-22; anyone who fails to meet deadlines gets...
  • Commented on Updating a classic
    Measure productivity as hours of system downtime times hours worked. A team that institutes good practices, automated monitoring and remediation etc thus has a poor rating - very few hours of downtime, because their system just works. A team that's...
  • Commented on The unavoidable discussion
    The simplest explanation I've got is that the referendum promise was coalition-fodder. Polls before the election were expecting another hung parliament. Cameron knew that his Eurosceptic back bench would take nicely to the promise of a referendum if they won;...
  • Commented on The unavoidable discussion
    I don't see the gain for the USA in holding a gun to the EU's head - too much risk of it backfiring and damaging USA interests in the remainder EU, and risking damage to the USA economy. Better for...
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