Tim McCaffrey

Tim McCaffrey

  • Commented on Do my Homework
    One blindspot I see in SF that tries to cover more than a few thousand years: Stars move. They move to the point that in a million years Gliese 710 will be close enough to disturb our Oort cloud. In...
  • Commented on Canned Monkeys Don't Ship Well, the Remix Version
    So, there is always the ultimate starship (Earth), and slowest STL (do nothing). Just wait for another star to get close enough. According to wikipedia, Gliese 710 will approach the solar system to within .2 light years in about 1.2-1.3...
  • Commented on Canned Monkeys Don't Ship Well, the Remix Version
    Some of these are obviously solvable: Use baffles so the water doesn't slosh. Land the propellant plant first, then land other stuff when that works. Also, I think the attitude of using more (or more complex) technology to solve these...
  • Commented on Not dead but dreaming
    For more information, this site is always interesting: http://spaceweather.com/...
  • Commented on The Nakamoto Variations
    ok, you know about this, right? https://yro.slashdot.org/story/18/02/26/2148216/satoshi-craig-wright-is-being-sued-for-10-billion-for-stealing-his-partners-bitcoin Summary: Craig Wright, the nChain chief scientist who previously claimed to be the pseudonymous bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto, is being sued for a whopping $10 billion for stealing $5 billion in bitcoin from...
  • Commented on Why I barely read SF these days
    One idea for charging EVs: Use wireless induction charging, and allow the car to have the information to negotiate paying the bill. Possible results: When a installed on a street (or parking lot), your car just charges, no muss/no fuss....
  • Commented on New Book Week!
    I wasn't expecting you would start from 1900 level. You would start with either a very modern nuclear or solar generator for power, modern construction materials for the initial colony (to build the first green houses and living quarters), plus...
  • Commented on New Book Week!
    There was some speculation in another thread about the infra-structure required for a Mars colony. This led to discussions about what would be needed for a modern civilization (things like chemical plants for plastic, and where do you get the...
  • Commented on What can possibly go wrong?
    Thinking about the intersection of emotional face recognition and AI real time optimization of what your seeing, which gives rise to things like the basilisk or siren app. It could also be used for things like psychological screening, testing for...
  • Commented on Unforeseen Consequences and that 1929 vibe
    So musing about how this whole BitCoin thing would work in the Laundry Universe (which hopefully isn't reachable from the Empire Games Universe :) ). Computation attracts creatures from the multi-verse. Why wouldn't governments, knowing this, have executed any BTC-like...
  • Commented on Unforeseen Consequences and that 1929 vibe
    Re: column mounted manual shifts: Nice history with pictures here: https://driventowrite.com/2014/12/16/theme-dashboards-the-column-shift/ As to floor mounted emergency/parking brakes: Our 2011 Ford Escape has one, so they are still around I think....
  • Commented on Crib Notes: Empire Games
    Well, you only actually need machine language :) In fact, the early CDC OS's were written in octal. They disassembled them later when they got an assembler working.......
  • Commented on Crib Notes: Empire Games
    There were other mainframes than IBM and other terminals than 327x. e.g. VT52 on a DEC-10 (and lots of others)...
  • Commented on Crib Notes: Empire Games
    The 8900 resembled (very closely) a Data General Nova. > As for being a "dead end", the 6502 is still around as a microcontroller core. Well, it was always a microcontroller. It just barely worked in early personal computers. As...
  • Commented on Crib Notes: Empire Games
    Re: rotodyne When I found out what this was, I immediately remembered the failed Rotary Rocket SSTO project. (not sure it wouldn't have worked, they just ran out of money)....
  • Commented on Crib Notes: Empire Games
    Mainframes could not really do "what if" spreadsheet operations as batch jobs and they were not really amenable to run on multitasking OSes, Er, no. Mainframes were quite capable running spreadsheets, but a combination of politics & economics actively discouraged...
  • Commented on Crib Notes: Empire Games
    C has it problems (a bad programmer can write bad code in any language...) But the language the send chills down my spine these days is Javascript. What a nightmare....
  • Commented on Crib Notes: Empire Games
    I haven't read the book(s) as yet, but if you were going to start the computer revolution, you wouldn't start with desktops, you really do need to build discrete component systems first. You need the compute power in order to...
  • Commented on Crib Notes: Empire Games
    If I had the chance to do the microprocessor revolution over again, I wouldn't start with the 6502, which you pretty much had to assembly language program. You want to start with a simple, but relatively powerful, architecture that takes...
  • Commented on Crib Notes: Empire Games
    >Anyone starting from scratch to design CPUs that are useful for general-purpose computing will go CISC since a complex instruction that takes 8 cycles at 1MHz will take four RISC ops in 20 cycles at the same clock rate along...
  • Commented on Crib Notes: Empire Games
    Trump just leveraged what the Republican party setup. See: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/03/us/politics/gerrymandering-supreme-court-wisconsin.html (Or just google "Wisconsin Gerrymandering"). The Republicans hired a firm to come up with a re-districting plan that makes it practically impossible for the Democrats to win the state. It...
  • Commented on Crib Notes: Empire Games
    The biggest problem is that gerrymandering has been allowed to get out of control. States are so gerrymandered that it is basically mathematically impossible for Democrats to get elected. I think this has allowed the fringe element to take control...
  • Commented on Excuses
    The tankage might be cheap, but integrating it with the engine isn't. Since SpaceX wants to eventually land the rocket, and fly it again in 24 hours that integration time gets *really important*. You see, this is what happens when...
  • Commented on Excuses
    Wow. Gas is really expensive there. It is about 1/2 the price in the US. Hybrids will get 40 MPG reliably (I speak from experience), so your numbers might be just a bit different in the US for somebody driving...
  • Commented on Excuses
    Sure. I find it interesting that they have changed the rules this year reducing the amount of solar cells they can use. I take this as a sign that these might actually be practical at some point (i.e. a car...
  • Commented on Excuses
    How about Darwin to Adelaide in Australia? Oh, and you don't get to re-fill your petrol tank... https://www.worldsolarchallenge.org/dashboard/map...
  • Commented on Excuses
    My guess is the combination of electric self-driving vehicles and Uber/Lyft will pretty much kill car ownership. Not only do you not have to drive the car, you don't even have to maintain it! If Uber/Lyft can keep the cost...
  • Commented on Houston: what are the long-term consequences?
    Jerry Pournelle died Sept. eighth....
  • Commented on Paging Agent 007
    If only there were a device that could locate where you are and display it on a map. Wow. What a great Sci-Fi idea!...
  • Commented on Laundry summer madness sale!
    I have not read the study, but I can see the reasons for the flip. The car insurance industry charges probably approx. (within say x4) the same amount as you pay for gas. That is a big money, and a...
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