Charles H

Charles H

  • Commented on Sad Trombone Exoplanet Reality Check
    These kinds of problems are why I generally favor a version of generation ship adapted to live off of wandering planets, etc., with slow speed and no real destination. It needs to be large enough to be a nearly complete...
  • Commented on The iron law of development
    Actually there was a decent alternative to core called the electrical relay. The other two were "laboratory toys". They worked, sort of, but they weren't really practical. Core memory wasn't cheap, and wasn't easy to make. If there had been...
  • Commented on The iron law of development
    Patriotism is a necessity when you have lots of enemies around you, and you depend on the army/navy to protect you. Jingo-ism, however, is a corruption of patriotism that is damaging to the country. This is taking the quote "My...
  • Commented on The iron law of development
    I believe the original Zeiss computer used relays for memory. That was, of course, around the same time period as Colossus. Many different groups started building computers at about the same time taking different approaches, and many were successful. This...
  • Commented on The iron law of development
    Theoretically possible to build doesn't translate into useful to build. For memory the electrically switched relay was better than the alternatives, and the early vacuum tubes were so unreliable that even radios were difficult. They had already gotten a lot...
  • Commented on The iron law of development
    I'm not sure if that means the mercury tank memory, but you're right that core memories weren't first, they were just the first that were reasonably practical, just as the early vacuum tubes existed, but burned out too quickly, and...
  • Commented on The iron law of development
    Digital computers require more than just vacuum tubes, they require working memory. That means core memory at that time...and it took awhile for core memory to be invented. Even more importantly, computers require a LOT of vacuum tubes, and the...
  • Commented on The iron law of development
    As far as I am aware there is no prediction made by the EGW MultiWorld model that is not also made by all other valid interpretations of Quantum Theory. The MultiWorld Theory is an INTERPRETATION of Quantum Mechanics. It doesn't...
  • Commented on A plaintive request
    I wouldn't want to read about a world where everyone being well-off was the point of the story. But that's exactly the kind of world I'd like to live in. Consider "Beyond This Horizon" by Heinlein. Everyone was well-off. I...
  • Commented on A plaintive request
    Basic income only seems open to abuse if there isn't already an essentially universal requirement for each person to have a unique id. In this way it's a bit like health care. Providing it to people allows for centralized control...but...
  • Commented on We'll all go together when we go
    The problem with synthesizing chemicals from your generator to store power is generally efficiency. Exceptions are generally called "flow batteries". The one's I've heard of tend to use rather poisonous compounds. Fixing ammonia is one example of a traditionally inefficient...
  • Commented on We'll all go together when we go
    O, dear. You're probably right, I was probably conflating the two plants. In that case storage remains a really big problem. Pumped water works, but there's a big penalty. Somebody even thought the ideal method was to pull railroad cars...
  • Commented on We'll all go together when we go
    The Great Filter, in my understanding of the most common use, is called that because it consists of the composition of all the minor steps that an ecosystem must go through before it produces a "lifeform" that spreads sufficiently that...
  • Commented on We'll all go together when we go
    I find it less than clear that Cro-Magnon and Neanderthals didn't interbreed much...but I believe that there is reasonable evidence that there was a high mortality of the mother during child-birth due to the different shape of the heads of...
  • Commented on We'll all go together when we go
    That's not "nuclear reactor policy sans politics", that's "nuclear reactor policy with different politics". Neither China nor Russia are run without politics, or even with less politics. It's just different, often worse at making decisions (consider Lysenko), and sometimes deadly....
  • Commented on We'll all go together when we go
    Re: extinction by lawyer Patents are not universal laws. In particular, countries can decide to ignore any patents they choose to, if they're willing to pay the price in international relations, so... Sorry, that's not an extinction event. In that...
  • Commented on We'll all go together when we go
    As for storage of energy...some forms of solar energy are quite storable for periods of weeks. I'm thinking particularly of the molten salt approaches based around mirrors. This works best in desert areas near the equator, but doesn't seem to...
  • Commented on We'll all go together when we go
    Actually, China has lots of land suitable for solar power. Most of it is a bit far North, however, and IIUK, nearly all of it is far from the sea. So they'd need to build some hefty transmission lines. That...
  • Commented on We'll all go together when we go
    For a variation on the "leftover war robots" scenario you could think of Saberhagen's Berserker robots. (Or Stugeon's "There is no defense".) F. Herbert also alluded to this in, I think, "The God-Emperor of Dune" as the Ix-ians' "They can...
  • Commented on We'll all go together when we go
    Whether a micro-organism mutates to a more successful less harmful stage or to and even more harmful stage depends upon it's life cycle, and especially on how it reproduces. It can go either way. If it is spread by sneezes...
  • Commented on We'll all go together when we go
    That's true. I think a disease that masqueraded as something harmless, but, say, included a genetic drive to, say, produce only sons might be more successful. Some people would want it even if they knew it was dangerous, and it...
  • Commented on We'll all go together when we go
    There are lots of possible variations on this scenario. E.g., it could well not be toxic in ANY concentration. Totally harmless. Except that even a small sliver can foster a colony of some lethal bacteria. Not just any lethal bacteria,...
  • Commented on Constitutional crisis ahoy!
    Define your terms. Fascist is a loose term meaning very different things to different people. For some reason some people seem to call any bureaucracy "fascist". I think of this as a misuse of the term. Others reserve the term...
  • Commented on "Tomorrow belongs to me"
    It is true that racism and bigotry is only one of the characteristics of fascism, and not an ideologically central one, but it is a central characteristic of how fascism is remembered as having acted in history, and one of...
  • Commented on A game of consequences
    You might want to look into the history of the children of the Kibbutz. Communal raising of children is not a good idea. Not long term. But communal child-care works well...or can work well. This is a bit peculiar, since...
  • Commented on A game of consequences
    Actually, small (Dunbar's number) societies aren't a bad idea, but you need tech that's very different from the current level. Among other things you need AI's handling all the messy details. Do remember, however, that tribal societies are frequently quite...
  • Commented on A game of consequences
    Severity is, indeed, useless for fairness. Reliability is. My guess is the system would need to be run by an AI designed to optimize things, but there would need to be human figureheads who would be periodically replaced. Sort of...
  • Commented on Cytological Utopia and the rapture of the eukaryotes
    I had been thinking that this would imply a phase space. With quantum computer simulation, and just not collapsing the state (i.e. Multi-World quantum theory, EWG variety) you might be able to do this completely with one computer. Of course,...
  • Commented on A purely theoretical dilemma
    I'm sorry, but in my language consensus means that an overwhelming majority agrees. If it's even arguable that it's close, it's not a consensus. The basic meaning I learned was unanimity, but the term was applied in that way in...
  • Commented on A purely theoretical dilemma
    "Is the language of thought the same..." Current evidence indicates that it is highly similar. Words with similar meanings activate similar connections between different areas of the brain. Currently this is only known at a very coarse level, but this...
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