blackanvil

blackanvil

  • Commented on Dead plots
    Speaking as someone who lived in a group-home back in my youngish-professional days, if you don't think the power company can shut off your power pretty arbitrarily in the US, just try not paying your power bill for a couple...
  • Commented on Dead plots
    RE: y2k, I was the manager of a group of engineers at a large ISP back in 1999, and worked with another team who literally tested every single piece of gear we had on the network, identifying which ones could...
  • Commented on No comment necessary
    Despite (or probably because) of a governor's executive order mandating face covering masks in all public places, I'd say based on the last week's shopping expeditions that only about 75% of people actually wear masks in any position, despite kiosks...
  • Commented on Roll the dice
    I've played off and on for (gah) 40ish years, in a number of groups. I have to say it vastly depends on the GM and the players: using the same rules (usually some variant of D&D 3.5/Pathfinder) I've seen everything...
  • Commented on Cough Cough
    Meanwhile, my VP of an investment bank brother has announced that he intends to visit my 80 year old mother with his wife and child in the next few weeks and wants to meet with me as well on his...
  • Commented on I ain't dead
    Having studied nuclear physics in my college days, considering how easy it would be to make a world-burner type doomsday device (just build a hydrogen bomb then surround that with a bunch of additional 3rd stage capsules of lithium deuteride...
  • Commented on Yet another novel I will no longer write
    I was in college during the very end of the Cold War (we watched the Berlin Wall come down while taking a class on "Soviet Political Systems"), but a semester before the end I took a class called "War in...
  • Commented on Update to Public Appearances in a time of pandemic
    Shopping update in Virginia: no eggs, no flour left in the markets, but otherwise pretty good levels of supplies now. Many (25%) people are wearing masks or bandanas. Both the regular supermarket and the government-owned liquor store had marked out...
  • Commented on Public appearances in a time of pandemic
    Ran out for a few staples (milk, tomato paste, fruit), and wow, even in an affluent western DC suburb the shelves were surprisingly empty. No eggs other than a just-restocked supply of $5/dozen yuppie eggs, nothing in the paper goods...
  • Commented on CASE NIGHTMARE BLONDE, Part 2
    Greg Tingey @ 905 Which just shows how totally fucking INSANE the US system is. "Soil & Water concervation director" SHOULD NOT be a voted-in-office, any more than police chief or District Attorneys should be ... Not to worry, Greg,...
  • Commented on CASE NIGHTMARE BLONDE, Part 2
    I'm doing research for voting tomorrow here in Virginia, and I see from the sample ballots that there are two local races where neither candidate chose to identify with a party at all, both running as independents in both races....
  • Commented on CASE NIGHTMARE BLONDE, Part 2
    To spread a new geas-based control scheme wouldn't take much, just an offer of power to those who accept the geas. While I'm not sure that Urucks can use Alfar-style magical power, if they could I could easily see a...
  • Commented on The Pivot
    "Wrought iron is MUCH more corrosion-resistant than almost all steels, but it's also softer than bronze. And, while the process you are describing doesn't require much chemistry, it's complex and needs a fairly large industrial base." I'm a practicing blacksmith/knifemaker/archeaometallurgist,...
  • Commented on Happy 21st Century!
    "The other significant component of the leftovers is carbon monoxide, you probably don't want to use the output of the air miner without doing something about that..." Carbon monoxide is exactly what your want in order to reduce iron oxide,...
  • Commented on Some notes on the worst-case scenario
    'Total world wealth is estimated to be in the region of 250 trillion. Claiming that a full quarter of all wealth is just fossile fuel infrastructure seems fishy unless you are misleadingly permissive with what you'll consider part of "infrastructure...
  • Commented on Policy change: future US visits
    "And here's the problem in a nutshell: because (a) "roving cannibals from the cities" is unavoidably and blatantly racist in a US cultural context (hint: white suburban flight), and (b) in general, in disasters, almost everybody pulls together: see for...
  • Commented on Free ebooks! Get 'em while they're hot!
    I bought the paperbacks back when, but was traveling when I decided to buy the omnibus ebook versions and re-read before starting the new series. So I literally just bought this. Oh, well, more money for our host to spend....
  • Commented on Empire Games sneak peek
    Charlie, are you going to see any financial impact from TOR UK publishing paperback instead of hardcover?...
  • Commented on Just plain icky
    In your original post, you state "An austere, low-energy biosphere—think of the high Arctic, with months of total darkness every year and little insolation—can't support anything like as much life as a tropical biome. High energy means more active biomass,...
  • Commented on What are you reading this summer?
    So far this summer, I started off with Stephenson's Interface, to get ready for the election cycle. New reads include Our Host's latest, plus Dad's Nuke, a take on the post-apocalypse, and "The Utterly Uninteresting and Unadventurous Tales of Fred,...
  • Commented on "Tomorrow belongs to me"
    I really like Morgan cars. I've been lusting for one for ages, though reports of the hacks required to make one legal for the US have rendered that mostly an obvious lost cause: Lucas electronics and a Rover engine from...
  • Commented on Towards a taxonomy of cliches in Space Opera
    One pet peeve of mine is when world building, the author decides that something as basic as iron is missing. Stasheff, Card, and others have decided humans can live where one of the basic building blocks of life isn't there,...
  • Commented on Towards a taxonomy of cliches in Space Opera
    "Psychic powers are a bit of a bust this century -- ironically, AIUI it was the endowment of the Koestler Chair of Parapsychology that finally put the knife in, hard: having a full-time academic research base allowed enough peer-reviewed research...
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